I just happened to notice that a wealth of brilliant GIF’s were produced over the last week or so of baseball. I’d like to take a few minutes of yours to ask: Which one is the best?
Use whichever parameters you see fit–hilarity, overall awesomeness, quality of GIF-making abilities–to judge the best GIF among the five I present below. Then make sure to vote in the poll. Thanks for playing, and keep tuning in for more baseball fun this season:
1. Yu Darvish “throws” all his pitches to Albert Pujols
2. An ump gets unwanted cup check
3. Michael Morse hits a no-doubter, pitcher says bad things
4. A.J. Burnett doesn’t understand baseball
5. John Buck is a mean pie-thrower. Really mean.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
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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We’ve got columnists writing columns about his “slump”; we’ve got Tweeters a-Twittering over the lack of #Beastmode; we’ve got reporters reporting and annoying Don Mattingly to no end with inane questions about Kemp’s sudden “inability” to hit.
Let me first remind you that Kemp is a very good hitter in April, historically. Let me then remind you that over his last 1,000 at-bats or so as a Dodger, Kemp is hitting .315 with over 60 home runs and just under 200 RBI. Let me also remind you that he had major shoulder surgery in the off-season and couldn’t even swing a bat until about a month ago.
And then let me tell you why Kemp’s 0-for-everything start is not a big deal:
1. He’s swinging it well
Yes, he’s taken a couple bad third strikes and rolled over on a couple of very fat pitches (you think he doesn’t realize this?). Also, he’s been basically worthless with runners in scoring position, failing to accumulate a single RBI despite four opportunities with men on base in last night’s game against the Giants. But what is lost amid the flurry of anarchy is that he stroked a deep fly ball right to Angel Pagan in his first at-bat against Tim Lincecum, and then hit a hard line drive right to Pagan again in his second at-bat. Similarly, he put a couple good swings on the ball against Madison Bumgarner the night before that went right at someone. You can stare at the .000 batting average as long as you want, but it won’t tell you the whole story.
2. He’s Matt Kemp
Aside from his rough 2010 season (he still accumulated nearly 30 homers and 90 RBI), in which he hit a paltry .249, Kemp has been stellar and consistent throughout his tenure as a Dodger. He’s never hit below .290 or had an on-base percentage below .340 in any other season in the big leagues. The man is a good hitter, who like all other good hitters, will have his streaks and his slumps. But Dodgers fans know better than anyone that an 0-for-10 quickly turns into a 10-30, which quickly balloons to a 20-50. The hits will fall, people. Please have patience.
3. He’s not alone
I can’t believe I have to resort to this, but it seems only fair given the general psychosis surrounding Kemp’s slow start. Just to appease the masses, I’ve compiled a quick list of other notable sluggers who have struggled in their first three or four games of the year (you know, out of only 50 times that many over the course of the season…). Note: Chris Davis will NOT be appearing on this list.
In no particular order: Paul Konerko (1-for-12), Jason Kipnis (0-for-9), Albert Pujols (1-for-11), Josh Reddick (2-for-13), Jose Reyes (1-for-8), Alfonso Soriano (1-for-12), Joey Votto (1-for-10), Giancarlo Stanton (1-for-9), Allen Craig/Matt Holliday combination (6-for-31), Jayson Werth/Adam LaRoche/Danny Espinosa combination (2-for-32)
Do you feel better now? Do you really think any of the men listed above are going to fall into a spinning whirlpool of doom? Please return to your normally scheduled lives now, and find a real topic to complain about. Writers, maybe you can jump on Carl Crawford’s fast start or Michael Morse’s 162-homer pace instead? Not news? Okay.
Don’t forget to vote in this poll below, which I had absolutely no influence over…
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
You have to give Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduirneckenckeicnckine (upon further review, it’s actually “Zdurineck,” but who’s counting?) credit for recognizing a weakness and aggressively pursuing a solution.
It’s no secret that the Mariners have needed offensive punch for a long time, but this off-season they finally did something about it. In December, they traded starting pitcher Jason Vargas to the Angels for slugger Kendrys Morales. And this week, they put together a three-team trade to snag Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals.
This lineup hasn’t had two middle-of-the-order power threats in it since Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson — and we all know how that turned out.
Add in the fact that Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero will presumably improve on their 2012 seasons, as well as a handful of top prospects on the verge of promotion (shortstop Nick Franklin and catcher Mike Zunino for example), and this Seattle team might be very, very real.
Let’s break it down:
OF/1B Michael Morse
SP A.J. Cole (AAA)
SP Blake Treinen (Class A+)
Player to be Named Later
C John Jaso
To me, the clear winners are the Mariners. That being said, all three teams do improve in one way or another. The Nationals can afford to trade away a power bat for prospects with the re-signing of Adam LaRoche recently and the addition of Denard Span to the outfield (which will push Bryce Harper to left field, most likely).
Washington actually traded Cole, a top pitching prospect, to Oakland originally for Gio Gonzalez. Getting him back may be a coup, even though they have solid pitching depth already. If the player to be named later is of any consequence, the Nationals could potentially win this trade. And while Treinen isn’t an uber-prospect, the 24-year-old has some upside (92 to 23 K to BB ratio last season).
Fear not, A’s fans — your team did good, too. Oakland was forced to designate George Kottaras for assignment to make room for Jaso, but they landed the good bat behind the plate that Billy Beane has been pursuing for years. In 2012, Jaso hit .276 with 10 homers and 50 RBI in just under 300 at-bats.
But as Beane always does, he scored a hitter who gets on base at a ridiculous clip (.394 last season). Jaso will battle it out with Derek Norris for the starting job, but it should be a very good platoon for the A’s lineup in 2013.
But back to the man of the hour, Morse. This may be a one-year experiment for the Mariners, who sorely need the offense, because Morse will be a free agent after the season. But it might be well worth it.
In 2012, Morse hit 18 homers and 62 RBI in just 102 games. Since getting regular playing time in Washington (Morse had his first four seasons in Seattle, but didn’t see much time), he has become a legit power threat.
In just over 350 career games as a National, Morse hit about 70 home runs (he’s good for just under 30 in a full season, essentially). But the real gem is what this does for the Mariners’ lineup.
It’s this writer’s opinion that the Mariners are an under-the-radar club who may be next year’s Oakland A’s. Why? Last season they were buried in the best division in baseball, so people might not remember they won 75 games. With two legitimate bats bolstering the lineup, plus the aforementioned prospects, the M’s could be very scary in 2013.
And lest we forget Felix Hernandez anchoring an above-average rotation with three star pitching prospects just waiting for a shot at the big leagues. Even if one of the prospects pans out, the rotation more than replaces Vargas.
Assume Morse and Morales stay healthy, and I think the Mariners are good for a .500 season in a very worst-case scenario. In a division where it will take 90 wins to sniff the playoffs, they would have to get incredible production from other members of the lineup too, but we saw it happen in Oakland last season.
Either way, the Mariners are going for it and I respect that. Seattle has improved, as is the goal with any trade. Therefore, they win this trade for me.
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)