Baseball is really a what have you done for me lately league. With Ian Kinsler being put on the 15 day Disabled List, retroactive to Saturday with a right intercostal strain, (strained ribs) top prospect Jurickson Profar has been called up.
If you remember right Profar was called up last season and promptly hit a home run in his first Major League at bat before only playing sparingly down the stretch. He will be splitting time with utility infielder Leury Garcia while Kinsler is out.
This is good news for Profar and the Rangers, as Profar is playing his best baseball of the season right now. Before being recalled on Sunday, Profar hit home runs, 3 and 4 in Saturday nights win for the Round Rock Express (AAA). The latter of the two being the game winner. The two home runs also extended his hitting streak to eight games.
His minor league numbers this season might not look very good right now, he has a .278 average, but over that hitting streak he has raised his average almost 60 points.
The Rangers are likely just playing it safe with Kinsler as they have for the other two starters currently on the Disabled List, C AJ Pierzynski and SP Alexi Ogando, who was supposed to be tonight starter.
Also being called up today is Profars teammate Josh Lindblom whom the Rangers acquired from the Phillies in the Michael Young trade. Lindblom was a middle reliever in the Phillies organization but the Rangers saw him as a starter from the time they acquired him and he has taken to the transition well. After a bad spring that likely cost him a role in the Rangers bullpen he seems to be pitching well of late. He has a 4-0 record with a 2.08 ERA for the Express holding AAA hitters to a .173 average.
He has not started a game this season without Profar playing behind him and maybe that comfort of having him out there tonight will help as the Rangers take on the Oakland A’s.
– Brian Boynton (@gingabeard_man)
I’m a little late to the party here as David Ross AKA “the best backup catcher in baseball” already signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. This further thins a weak catcher free agent pool. Let’s see who’s available at backstop.
The Big Catch
No one probably wishes their free agency had come after the 2011 season rather than the 2012 season more than Mike Napoli. The power was still there with 24 homers, but the near 100 point drop in batting average cost him millions. He’s still the only catcher on the market with 30-homer potential. He would need to stay in the American League though, where he can DH and play some 1st base as he’s not the strongest defensive backstop. The Red Sox have shown some interest and he’d be an interesting tandem with the already signed David Ross. I do believe he’s moving on from Texas, where they traded for Geovany Soto at the deadline last season.
Is the Power Real? Tier
Two catchers where teams need to decide how real the numbers are. A.J. Pierzynski had arguably his best offensive season at age 36, taking home his first Silver Slugger award. I doubt that teams will trust his career-high 27 home runs, when he had 30 combined from 2009-11. He will be able to provide veteran leadership and calls a good game, just ask the great years from Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. On the other hand, how much are Russell Martin’s power numbers skewed by playing in the Bronx. He wasn’t hitting hit to the short, right field porch, but it’s still a hitter’s park. If he drops to 15 homers, is it worth it for a guy that hits .220-.230? I think he takes a pay cut from the $7.5 million he made in 2011.
The rest of the catching free agent class is full of backups. Kelly Shoppach is probably the best of the bunch of backups. Rod Barajas has some pop, Miguel Olivo’s batting average plummeted after leaving Colorado for Safeco Field. The less said about Dioner Navarro the better. That said, they’ll all find landing spots.
What catcher would you want your team to sign? If you root for an AL team, would you want Mike Napoli in the heart of the lineup? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes ( @IAmMapes)
Another year, another All-Star Game announcement with the usual outrage. There were many surprises for the 2012 all-star teams including Pablo Sandoval starting, plus Brian LaHair and Ian Desmond making the team. I understand Ron Washington taking his guy in Matt Harrison, but I think there were better options, including everyone who ended up in the A.L. Final Vote. For the Snub-O-Meter, I will not include any player that made the Final Vote. P.S. #VoteChipper!
Johnny Cueto, Reds
In my opinion, the most egregious snub for the 2012 All-Star game. Cueto is 4th in ERA in the National League and only trails R.A. Dickey in WAR among N.L. pitchers. Cueto has the top ERA in the National League over the past two seasons and deserved to go over Jonathan Papelbon or Lance Lynn.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 10 of 10
Zack Greinke, Brewers
The other big name N.L. pitching snub and from my projected roster last week I had a feeling this was going to happen. Greinke is 3rd in WAR behind Dickey and Cueto, but isn’t in the top 10 in either ERA or WHIP. Looking deeper into the numbers though shows that Greinke has been great with an xFIP 2.72 and is top ten in K/9. If the players didn’t vote in Lynn, he still would’ve been snubbed by Cueto.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 7 of 10
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Phillips has a case that he should be going to Kansas City, not just for his offensive numbers, but for being one of the top defensive players in the game. Dan Uggla got the fan vote, while Jose Altuve was a well-deserving All-Star from the Astros. Aaron Hill also has a case over Phillips, but still has a chance in the Final Vote. Phillips got squeezed in a deeper than you think National League second base pool.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 3 of 10
Jed Lowrie, Astros
Lowrie’s case is tied into his better power numbers than other N.L. shortstops as he leads them in home runs and OPS. Ian Desmond goes to K.C. over Lowrie as a 3rd shortstop. Hard to make a case to have to Astros on the team. I can’t believe that Desmond went as a 3rd SS over this next player as a utility player.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 3 of 10
Martin Prado, Braves
Why take Desmond who can only play one position over a guy who is versatile and has played the outfield, third base, second base, and first base over his career. He’s definitely more worthy than actual backup first baseman Brian LaHair. Prado is top ten in batting average, hits, and position player WAR in the National League.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 8 of 10
Tyler Clippard, Nationals
Player A: 34.1 IP, 39K, 1.83 ERA, 0.90 WHIP Player B: 29.2 IP, 37K, 3.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP Want to take a guess on who is who? Player A is Tyler Clippard who has been the go-to guy in the bullpen for the Nats with the absence of Drew Storen, the implosion of Henry Rodriguez, and the expulsion of Brad Lidge. Player B is Jonathan Papelbon who is going to Kansas City over Clippard. It’s not Clippard’s fault that he wasn’t the closer for the saves the entire season. The first-place Nationals have three All-Stars, while the last-place Phillies also have three All-Stars. Makes no sense to me either.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 8 of 10
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
I understand the picks of Matt Wieters for his defense and Joe Mauer for his offense at American League catcher, but Pierzynski is having the best overall year of any catcher in the A.L. Pierzynski knows he’s unliked and that it played a factor into him not making it. If only the fans hadn’t voted in Mike Napoli he might have had a chance.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 9 of 10
Josh Reddick, Athletics and Josh Willingham, Twins
I feel bad that these two get lumped together just cause of their first name, but oh well. I thought Willingham was going to be Twins lone representative over Joe Mauer. While Ryan Cook from the Athletics is deserving from the Oakland bullpen. Here’s how it should’ve played out. Pierzynski goes for Mauer, Willingham goes for Wieters, not sure why they need three catchers when two will suffice. I can’t fault Mike Trout or Mark Trumbo going to the game over either of these two or the next player on this list.
Reddick: 4 of 10
Willingham: 6 of 10
Austin Jackson, Tigers
An injury probably cost Jackson his chance on the team, but he’s been no less deserving. Jackson is top 5 in the American League in both batting average and on-base percentage. He also plays a Gold Glove center field in spacious Comerica Park. If a spot opens up, I could see Jackson being scooped up as a replacement.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 6 of 10
Jason Kipnis, Indians
Ian Kinsler has been solid this season for the Rangers, but I thought there were enough already on the squad. Kipnis has been a great power-speed combo for the Indians and I believed he would make his first appearance. The players voted Kinsler and Kipnis’ teammate Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop instead. Can’t really hate on that too much.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 4 of 10
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Encarnacion was on the ballot as a designated hitter, but he’s less of one than David Ortiz or Adam Dunn who made the team are. Encarnacion could fill-in at third base or first base. His credentials are pretty amazing too. 5th in slugging, 6th in OPS, 3rd in runs created, 5th in RBI, and 5th in home runs. That sure sounds like an All-Star to me.
Snub-O-Meter Rating: 10 of 10
Who were your biggest snubs for the All-Star Game? Let me know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Major League Baseball announced the 2nd round of voting for the All-Star game over the past two days. The American League voting is still being dominated by the legions of Texas Rangers fans voting at will and having their players hold down five starting spots. With just over two weeks left before the starters are announced, I think it’s time to announce what my ballot will be for my 125 votes. (Like you don’t have more than one e-mail account to use too.) My National League ballot will be coming out tomorrow, but for now here’s who I think should start for the American League. I will break this up into my pick, who’s acceptable to vote for, and players that are currently placing that you probably shouldn’t be throwing support to.
Mapes Pick: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
American League catcher is a mess right now. Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, and Joe Mauer have been slight disappointments so far. It’d be a nice final All-Star appearance (probably) for Pierzynski who last made the Midseason Classic in 2006. Pierzynski leads AL catchers in OPS and RBI currently, while being 2nd behind Mauer in batting average (.288), and 3rd in home runs, just one behind Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. (Author’s Note: As I was writing the blog, Pierzynski tied Napoli and Saltalamacchia with his 11th HR of the year.)
Acceptable to Vote For: Joe Mauer, Twins, Mike Napoli, Rangers, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox
Please Stop Voting For: Russell Martin, Yankees
Mapes Pick: Paul Konerko, White Sox
I’d like to think my first All-Star injustices column helped propel Konerko past Mark Teixiera into the #2 spot at first base. Konerko leads the American League still in batting average and OBP. Plus, he leads A.L. 1st baseman in OPS and has more home runs than current leader Prince Fielder. Fielder does have the advantage in runs scored and batted in.
Acceptable to Vote For: Prince Fielder, Tigers
Please Stop Voting For: Mark Teixiera, Yankees, Mitch Moreland, Rangers, and Albert Pujols, Angels
Mapes Pick: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Ian Kinsler has six more runs scored than Cano. Cano just has four more home runs, the same RBI, a better batting average and OPS and is playing Gold Glove 2nd base compared to his Texas counterpart. Kinsler is having his typically solid year and I think should be picked by his skipper Ron Washington to head to Kansas City, but Cano should be getting the starting nod.
Why Jason Kipnis is in 5th is beyond me, he’s the only 2nd baseman with double digit steals and home runs. Kipnis is hitting .285, is tied for 2nd in the A.L. in runs scored (behind Kinsler), and is tied for the A.L. lead in stolen bases with someone we’ll get to later.
Acceptable to Vote For: Ian Kinsler, Rangers and Jason Kipnis, Indians
Please Stop Voting For: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox and Robert Andino, Orioles
Mapes Pick: Derek Jeter, Yankees
It’s closer than the near million votes that Jeter is leading the pack by. It’s Derek Jeter though, if he’s having a good season, then he should start the All-Star Game. Fans are getting this one right.
Acceptable to Vote For: Elvis Andrus, Rangers and Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Please Stop Voting For: Alcides Escobar, Royals
Mapes Pick: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Like his fellow teammate on the left side of the infield Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre should be coming off the bench for the All-Star team not starting it. Cabrera is one of is the not the most feared hitter in the American League. Cabrera is better than Beltre in every statistical category this season. If I was to choose one player currently not starting to track down his positions leader, it’s Cabrera first, then Konerko.
Please stop voting for Evan Longoria, I beg of you. You’re making all of us look bad. You’re better off trying to swing the vote for hometown player and underrated this season Mike Moustakas. It’s also pretty embarrassing that Angels Mark Trumbo isn’t in the top five at this position. I mean he’s only 4th in AVG, 2nd in OBP, 3rd in OPS, and 7th in HR’s in the entire league.
Acceptable to Vote For: Mark Trumbo, Angels, Adrian Beltre, Rangers, Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, and Mike Moustakas, Royals
Please Stop Voting For: Evan Longoria, Rays
Mapes Pick: David Ortiz, Red Sox
Hard to go against Adam Dunn who has bounced back from a horrific 2011 to have over 20 home runs already. The difference between Ortiz and Dunn is seven home runs, but I value Ortiz’s lead in average (massive), OBP, SLG, and OPS more. Fun Adam Dunn stat: he currently leads the American League in both walks AND strikeouts.
The underrated player in this position is Edwin Encarncacion who has been fantastic for the Blue Jays this year, but doesn’t make the top 5. Michael Young is one of my favorite players of the past decade, but doesn’t belong 2nd based on what he’s done. He’s just getting the Ranger fan bump.
Acceptable to Vote For: Adam Dunn, White Sox and Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Please Stop Voting For: Michael Young, Rangers and Raul Ibanez, Yankees
Mapes Picks: Josh Hamilton, Rangers, Adam Jones, Orioles, and Mike Trout, Angels
I’ve spent enough time this season talking about Hamilton, he’s the clear-cut A.L. MVP right now and should be the top vote-getter.
Adam Jones has done everything in his power to carry the Orioles. He’s the top reason that Baltimore is in contention right now in the A.L. East. In addition to Gold Glove defense he’s top five in the league in home runs, total bases, hits, and offensive WAR. Plus, Jones is adding a .300 batting average and nine stolen bases to the mix. The closest battle for a starting spot right now is for the 3rd A.L. outfielder. Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, and Jones are separated by a shade over 80,000 votes. Jones is the clear-cut choice of those three to me.
Curtis Granderson is 2nd in the voting and will be included in my “acceptable to vote for”, but who wouldn’t want to see Mike Trout in the outfield. Trout has turned the Angels fortunes around since getting called up. If Trout currently qualified, he would be 2nd in batting average, 4th in OBP, 9th in SLG, and 6th in OPS. For good measure he’s tied for the American League lead in stolen bases and he didn’t even play the first month! Trout has earned a spot. Only problem is you have to vote for him as a write-in candidate.
The true atrocity at this position is Josh Reddick and Josh Willingham not cracking the top 15 at the position. They are both having breakout seasons and will more than likely be their respective teams solo representatives (unless the A’s Ryan Cook is picked over Reddick). Willingham is 2nd in the league in on-base. How can you not be #WildForWillingham after watching this either?
Acceptable to Vote For: Curtis Granderson, Yankees, Josh Reddick, Athletics, and Josh Willingham, Twins
Please Stop Voting For: David Murphy, Rangers, Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox, Brett Gardner, Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners, and Nick Markakis, Orioles
Anything you think I’m completely crazy on? Want to defend a player that currently has a starting spot? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)