We’re back! And what better way to break back on to the scene than with a joyous barrage of 500-foot home runs? In case you missed our first Home Run Derby Draft last year, check out the teams here. We see a couple familiar names in there, including A.L. captain Robinson Cano. But how will the results turn out in 2013?
Just like last season, this is all based on points. Whoever hits the most home runs accumulates the most points for his team, and determines the winner of this Mapes vs. Jeremy challenge. The draftees are Cano, Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder, and Chris Davis on the A.L. side. The senior circuit rolls with captain David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Bryce Harper, and Pedro Alvarez (who recently replaced Carlos Gonzalez).
The scoring system is simple. For each home run by a player on our team, we get points. In the first round, it’s one point per home run. In the second round it’s two points, and the third round is three. The bonus for drafting the winning slugger is five points, and could make or break this battle.
So check out our draft, and vote in the polls below. Who is going to win the 2013 Home Run Derby, and which of our teams will be crowned 3U3D champions?
It’s May Day! Meaning the first month of the MLB season is in the books, also meaning it’s time for the monthly awards rankings. Last year, I finished by picking four of six awards correctly, missing out on NL Rookie of the Year (I still think Wade Miley should’ve won) and AL MVP (ditto Mike Trout). Here’s who I think is in line for some hardware after April.
American League Rookie of the Year
Silver Medal: Nick Tepesch, Texas Rangers
Normally, we do a top three with a bronze medal, but the American League rookie crop is so poor right now that you’re only getting two. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Aaron Hicks both had promise coming into the year and underwhelmed. Wil Myers or Dan Straily should hurry up and get called up and take the award you’re supposed to win. Tepesch has been solid for the Rangers going 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA and an inpressive 14:3 K:BB ratio.
Gold Medal: Justin Grimm, Texas Rangers
Unfortuately for Tepesch, his teammate has been slightly better for now. Grimm is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA and a 15:4 K:BB ratio that’s been impressive in place of Matt Harrison. There’s still plenty of time for someone to step up and become the frontrunner for this award.
In the Running: Stephen Pryor, Seattle Mariners
National League Rookie of the Year
Bronze Medal: Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers
Unlike the American League, there is a plethora of rookie candidates in the NL that had a great start to the season. Jim Henderson has wrestled away the closer’s role in Milwaukee from John Axford and isn’t giving it back. He’s six for six in save chances, with a sparkling 0.75 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Silver Medal: Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves
It’s clear that Gattis has been the best rookie hitter in the Majors leading all MLB rookies with six home runs and 16 RBI. He’s journey back to baseball has been nothing short of remarkable. Can he keep it up though is the main question. Especially with Brian McCann returning from injury, there might not be a daily spot in the Braves lineup for El Oso Blanco.
Gold Medal: Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals
If Tony Cingrani of the Reds had been called up for one more start this month, he might be in the top spot. For now, I’m giving the edge to Shelby Miller who’s been everything Cardinals fans hoped he would be in place of Chris Carpenter. Miller is 3-2 with a 2.05 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 30.2 IP this season.
In the Running: Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers, and A.J. Pollock, Arizona Diamondbacks
American League Cy Young
Bronze Medal: Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
My love for Hisashi Iwakuma has been strong from the preseason. Iwakuma is only 2-1, but has 1.67 ERA and leads MLB in WHIP at 0.69. He’s also become more in command of his pitches with a fantastic 7.4 K:BB ratio. The Mariners have a formidable 1-2 punch now with Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez. All due respect to Yu Darvish, who leads the American League in strikeouts, I have a feeling he’ll crack the top three at some point this season.
Silver Medal: Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
It’s a close call for the top spot and Matt Moore gets the short end of it for now. He’s given the Rays rotation a great boost as defending Cy Young winner David Price has been a little bit of a disappointment thus far. Moore leads the American League in wins, ERA, and hits/9 innings, but his inability to work deep into games keeps him in the silver spot.
Gold Medal: Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
It’s really splitting hairs between Buchholz and Moore, but I’m going to give the razor-thin edge to the Red Sox starter. Both pitchers are 5-0, Buchholz has slightly worse ERA and WHIP, but has gone deeper into games for Boston. Buchholz also has the advantage over Matt Moore in WAR and is tops in the AL in that stat.
In the Running: Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers, Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers, Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, and Hiroki Kuroda, New York Yankees
National League Cy Young
Bronze Medal: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw or Verlander? Who’s the best pitcher in all of MLB? That’s a debate for another day, but right now based on the stats, Kershaw has been 3rd best in the National League. The Dodgers ace finished the opening month with a 1.71 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and is tied for 2nd in the National League in strikeouts.
Silver Medal: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Wainwright looks fully back from Tommy John surgery and better than ever. His streak of not walking a batter to start the season reached epic proportions and leads the league in K:BB, wins, and innings pitched. He sports a beautiful 2.03 ERA and 0.99 WHIP and hasn’t given up a home run yet this season. Let me repeat, HE LEADS THE LEAGUE IN BATTERS FACED AND HASN’T GIVEN UP A HOME RUN TO ANY OF THEM. Amazing.
Gold Medal: Matt Harvey, New York Mets
Who would’ve thought that when the Mets traded 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, they would have another Cy Young contender this year? Harvey has been a revelation for the Metropolitans going 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA and a league-leading 0.81 WHIP. It’s a shame that he’s not eligible for Rookie of the Year, because he’d be leading that race as well.
In the Running: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler, Washington Nationals, Mat Latos, Cincinnati Reds, Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals, and Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves
American League MVP
Bronze Medal: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
The defending AL MVP picked right up where he left off in 2012. The Triple Crown winner is hitting .363 and is tied for the lead in runs batted in with a player we’ll get to soon. Could there be back-to-back Triple Crowns in the works?
Silver Medal: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
Probably the best player this season you haven’t heard anything about. Santana leads the American League in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and offensive WAR. He’s blossomed into the AL’s Buster Posey so far this season, we’ll see if he can keep it up. If the Indians can make the playoffs with Santana performing at this level, he’ll be the MVP.
Gold Medal: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
He’s cooled slightly since his blistering start to the season, but “Crush” Davis leads the AL in home runs, runs batted in, total bases, and slugging. He’s even hitting .348 with a great .448 OBP. He’s one of the reasons the Orioles are proving 2012 wasn’t just a fluke. Let’s not forget his clutchness too!
In the Running: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees, Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics, Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers, Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox, and Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
National League MVP
Bronze Medal: Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds
I may have made a mistake having Carlos Gonzalez over Choo on my preliminary All-Star Game ballot last week. Choo has been a fantastic pick-up for the Reds. He’s hitting .337 with a league-leading .477 OBP, that has paced the Cincinnati lineup. He’s also 4th in the NL in runs scored, OPS, and total bases. That was a great trade for the Reds so far.
Silver Medal: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
It’s entirely possible that Harper is about to repeat Mike Trout’s twenty year-old season (minus the stolen bases). He’s 3rd in the NL in offensive WAR and leads the league in OPS and OPS+. Harper also is hitting .344 and getting on base at a .430 clip, both top five in the league. It’s going to be beat into the ground that he’s doing this before he can legally drink, so get used to it.
Gold Medal: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
It’s pretty safe to say that Justin Upton enjoys playing with his brother B.J. The younger Upton has almost carried the Braves lineup leading the National League in home runs, slugging, runs scored, total bases, and offensive WAR, while hitting .298. If Upton can start to hit better with runners in scoring position, he could have one of the greatest seasons in Atlanta Braves history.
Who would win your awards after April? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
The 2013 MLB All-Star Game is 83 days away, but never fear you can start voting for your favorite players today here. You get 25 votes that gets bumped up to 35 if you log in with your MLB.com account. Of course there are still paper ballots that can be found at every stadium and the MLB Fan Cave for you to fill out. While I don’t fill out mine until I get a better grasp of who deserves it (like that ends up mattering) here’s what my ballot would look like on April 24th.
American League: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles Davis is off to a hot start for Baltimore. He’s hitting .382 with an AL-leading 7 home runs coming into the games on the 24th. Mike Napoli and Prince Fielder have cases and Napoli would be my pick if he was on the ballot at catcher, not first base. (Runner-up: Prince Fielder, Tigers)
National League: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds The power numbers aren’t there, but Votto-matic is automatic at getting on base leading the league with 26 walks so far and a crazy .485 OBP. The next highest walk total is 16 by David Wright. (Runner-up Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers)
American League: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees I can make a case that Robinson Cano is the MVP of the American League right now. Then you can make the case that it’s April 24th and that’s stupid. (Runner-up Ian Kinsler, Rangers)
National League: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds It must be nice for Phillips to just get to drive in OBP-machines Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo getting on base ahead of him all the time. He leads NL second baseman in RBI and is tied for the lead in home runs. Plus, he’s the best defender at the position in the league. (Runner-up Daniel Murphy, Mets)
American League: Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics Lowrie has been quite a coup for Billy Beane’s boys. Lowrie leads AL shortstops in runs, RBI, and batting average. (Runner-up: Jose Reyes, Blue Jays, I’m not joking either)
National League: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies Why have the Rockies been surprising in 2013? A healthy and hitting Troy Tulowitzki is a big part of it. He leads NL shortstops in home runs, RBI, and runs, while hitting .292. (Runner-up: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers)
American League: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers The defending AL MVP is off to a quiet start, but is still among the league leaders in hits and is best among AL third sackers in batting average. (Runner-up: Evan Longoria, Rays)
National League: David Wright, New York Mets I really wanted to have NL batting leader Chris Johnson here, but Wright has had the overall better start to the season, especially on the basepaths. There’s a lot of depth here right now with Todd Frazier, Pablo Sandoval, and Martin Prado off to solid starts. (Runner-up: Chris Johnson)
American League: J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays Napoli not being on the ballot at catcher is Arencibia’s gain for now. He leads the American League in home runs with eight after another one on Wednesday. He’s my least likely from here to be on my actual ballot in a couple months. (Runner-up: Carlos Santana, Indians)
National League: John Buck, New York Mets Let’s just sum up Buck’s start with this meme. (Runner-up: Evan Gattis, Braves, wait he’s not on the ballot?!?)
American League: Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics, Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox, and Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles These three have been the best all-around outfielders in the American League this season. It’s not my fault that they’re all center fielders. (Runners-up: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Alex Rios, White Sox)
National League: Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves, Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies, and Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals There is a ton of depth at National League outfield right now. You could take the next four on my list and make a case they deserve it on to the squad. Justin Upton has been hands-down the best hitter in the game so far this season, it’s ridiculous that he’s still on pace for 90+ home runs. (Runners-up: Shin-Soo Choo, Reds, Dexter Fowler, Rockies, Ryan Braun, Brewers, and Andrew McCutchen, Pirates)
American League: Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians Reynolds has been a great find for Cleveland with seven home runs and 18 RBI, both are top ten in MLB right now. (Runner-up: Travis Hafner, New York Yankees)
Who would you have on your All-Star ballot on release day? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
We like to mix it up a bit here at Three Up, Three Down. And we figured having a traditional power ranking every week wasn’t enough. We wanted to give you a source for finding the most powerful teams each week as well.
So here, in all its glory, is our first weekly installation of the “literal” power rankings. Which team has bashed the most home runs so far in the 2013 regular season?
The list might surprise you:
1. Colorado Rockies (21) — Leader: Dexter Fowler (6)
This is no surprise. The ball really carries in Denver. I heard Todd Helton once hit a wiffle ball into the upper deck at Coors Field.
2. Atlanta Braves (20) — Leader: Justin Upton (7)
For some reason, Upton decided to take out all of his aggression from his Arizona days in the first week and a half of 2013. Wrensanity, anyone?
3. Oakland A’s (19) — Leader: Coco Crisp (4)
That is the most “A’s” thing ever. Your home run leader is a speedy lead-off hitter who’s already on the shelf and forever on the trading block.
4. New York Yankees (18) — Leaders: Robinson Cano (3), Travis Hafner (3), Vernon Wells (3)
Now, Cano I can understand. But newly-signed Hafner and Wells pitching in a trey each? That short porch in right field must be really short.
5. Washington Nationals (17) — Leader: Bryce Harper (5)
Things are going to get a little awkward for all the Harper haters when he drops 40 this year. The defending NL Rookie of the Year is on fire to start the season.
6. Chicago White Sox (16) — Leader: Alex Rios (4)
So…you mean…Rios IS for real? That’s great for White Sox fans, but I’m sure Adam Dunn will be leading the pack here when all is said and done.
6. Cincinnati Reds (16) — Leader: Brandon Phillips (4)
A hot start to the season for Phillips could mean big things for Cincy. Except that they are under .500. Where is the rest of the pop?
6. Seattle Mariners (16) — Leader: Michael Morse (6)
This is the section where Jeremy gets to gloat. “Morse won’t do anything,” they said. “He’s overrated,” they said. Told. You. So.
9. Baltimore Orioles (15) — Leader: Chris Davis (6)
It’s weird — my cell phone keeps auto-correcting “Davis” to “Ruth” when I try to text or tweet about him. Maybe his .366 average and 19 RBI have something to do with it.
9. Cleveland Indians (15) — Leader: Mark Reynolds (5)
Naturally. If he wasn’t leading this category, Reynolds would be completely worthless. Believe it or not, though, Reynolds has only K’d 10 times in 10 games so far.
9. New York Mets (15) — Leader: John Buck (6)
That name atop the team’s leader board is preposterous, but this is baseball. Anything can happen. Buck is hitting over .300 with 19 RBI and is sure to reach his quota soon.
12. Chicago Cubs (14) — Leader: Anthony Rizzo (3)
Unfortunately for Cubs fans (really, what sentence about them hasn’t started that way since about 1908?), Rizzo’s three homers account for almost half of his hits (7).
12. Toronto Blue Jays (14) — Leaders: J.P. Arencibia (3), Jose Bautista (3), Colby Rasmus (3)
It’s a low number for the Canadian Yankees so far, but by the end of the year this team will be near the top of these rankings and Rogers Centre will be battered and bruised.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (13) — Leaders: Paul Goldschmidt (2), Aaron Hill (2), Jason Kubel (2), A.J. Pollock (2), Martin Prado (2)
Really? You’re going to make me type out five names, D’Backs? That’s cute to share and all, but how about someone take the initiative here?
15. Boston Red Sox (12) — Leader: Will Middlebrooks (4)
Hey, I would have four home runs too if I jacked three in one game. Or something. Good for you, kid. Let’s just move on.
15. Houston Astros (12) — Leader: Chris Carter (4)
This is why they traded for Carter. He has unreal strength and could touch 30 jacks this year if he stays healthy. Oh, he has 19 strikeouts, too. But who doesn’t on the Astros?
15. Texas Rangers (12) — Leader: Ian Kinsler (4)
Not buying that Kinsler’s career isn’t dead. Jurickson Profar is hitting in a Kinsler costume.
18. Los Angeles Angels (11) — Leaders: Josh Hamilton (2), Chris Iannetta (2), Albert Pujols (2)
Ah, yes. Just the three names I expected to see leading this team in home runs!
18. Philadelphia Phillies (11) — Leaders: Dominic Brown (2), Laynce Nix (2), Chase Utley (2)
Ryan Howard conspicuously missing from this list. I will pat myself on the back for drafting Brown and Utley in my fantasy league. Brown’s hitting .244? Nevermind.
18. St. Louis Cardinals (11) — Leader: Matt Adams (3)
I don’t know how long Mike Matheny can keep Adams out of the lineup. Everything he touches turns to gold.
21. Detroit Tigers (10) — Leader: Prince Fielder (4)
Obviously. The big boy has been on a tear to start the year, and won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
22. Los Angeles Dodgers (9) — Leaders: Adrian Gonzalez (2), Juan Uribe (2)
Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw have combined to hit as many homers as Uribe. Ethier has one and Kemp has zero. You do the math.
23. Milwaukee Brewers (7) — Leader: Ryan Braun (2)
At least it’s the right guy leading the way for the Brewers. But every homer he hits is nullified by a blown save, methinks.
23. Minnesota Twins (7) — Leader: Josh Willingham (2)
One of the Killer J’s is doing his job, but why don’t I see Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau on this list?
23. San Francisco Giants (7) — Leader: Hunter Pence (4)
I called this, unfortunately. The Giants have a really underrated power presence in their lineup for a full year now. It might be their only power presence though.
26. Pittsburgh Pirates (6) — Leaders: Andrew McCutchen (2), Michael McKenry (2)
McKenry heard we were putting this list together today and really wanted to be on it. So he hit two yesterday.
26. San Diego Padres (6) — Leaders: Yonder Alonso (2), Will Venable (2)
Carlos Quentin almost cracks this list with one home run and one mound charge. Doesn’t that count for something?
28. Kansas City Royals (4) — Leader: Billy Butler (2)
Surprisingly, the Royals are in second place because of their pitching so far! Who woulda thunk it? (Raises hand)
28. Tampa Bay Rays (4) — Leaders: Shelley Duncan (1), Kelly Johnson (1), Matt Joyce (1), Ben Zobrist (1)
Zobrist is the best player on this list, but Joyce has the best home run so far (a walk-off against the Orioles on April 3rd).
30. Miami Marlins (2) — Leaders: Greg Dobbs (1), Justin Ruggiano (1)
Oh, Stanton where art thou? This is probably for the best, as nobody should be subjected to seeing the god-awful home run structure at Marlins Park light up.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Coming fresh into a new season the Three Up, Three Down crew jumps right into the opening series with a lot to talk about. A few extensions were handed out to players such as Elvis Andrus, Justin Verlander, and Paul Goldschmidt and who could forget watching Clayton Kershaw slicing and dicing the San Francisco Giants while taking one deep? Was that better than Yu Darvish’s almost perfect performance against the Houston Astros? Not only are the pitchers doing well, two hitters have made a statement this early in the season as Chris Davis and Michael Morse are smashing the ball, but who would you rather have the rest of the season on your fantasy team? Take a listen and choose wisely!
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