Tag Archives: Troy Tulowitzki

Derek Jeter’s Legacy and his Future Replacement

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By: Jon

 

5 time champion, 4th member of the core four, 3 top 3 MVP seasons,  2 is his jersey number, and 1 legend.

 

On Wednesday February 12, 2014, Derek Jeter announced on his Facebook page that he would retire after the 2014 season. Jeter’s impact will be felt on and off the field when he leaves the team after the season. Jeter is the 11th captain of the New York Yankees and will be a future Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 6 years.

Jeter’s Legacy on the Field:

The Flip Play against Jeremy Giambi Courtesy of MLB.com
The Flip Play against Jeremy Giambi
Courtesy of MLB.com

This season, Jeter will play in his 20th season and this will be his 19th season as the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees. Jeter is part of the new breed of shortstops that are bigger and have more offensive skills than the shortstops that played before the 1970s. When Jeter entered the league, he was compared to Nomar Garciaparra, who retired a long time ago, and Alex Rodriguez, who switched positions when he came to the Yankees. While Jeter never had the power like Ripken or Rodriguez, he had the ability to score runs, get on base, and have a high batting average. Although Jeter will be remembered for his intangibles and leadership skills, he is arguably the best shortstop since Honus Wagner, who retired in 1917.

Derek has a career batting average of .312 and an on base percentage of .381, which are impressive numbers from a position that normally does not provide offensive output. During his career, Derek has batted over .300 twelve times, scored 100 runs thirteen times, accumulated over 200 hits eight times (including leading the league twice), and stole more than 20 bases eight times. In terms of offensive production, Jeter has the highest offensive WAR of any shortstop in the modern era, which includes Cal Ripken, who many believe is the best offensive shortstop. Although Jeter does not have great power like Ripken, he hit over 250 home runs and has slugged .446 during his 19 years. Derek has the 10th most hits in MLB history and the most among active players with 3,316 hits. If Jeter can collect 119 hits, he will move into 6th place. If he can garner 198, which will be difficult and probably unlikely, Jeter can pass Tris Speaker for 5th place on the all time list. Jeter is currently ranked 12th in runs scored, but has the chance to move into the 9th spot, if he can score 73 runs during the season.

After Jeter flew into the stands Courtesy of ESPN.com
After Jeter flew into the stands
Courtesy of ESPN.com

Although Jeter’s offense has made him one of the best shortstops in MLB history, many people have questioned his defensive ability. Throughout Jeter’s career, many scouts and people in baseball have criticized his range and true value on defense. The defensive metrics do not favor Jeter. His Defensive WAR, -9.2, is the reason why he does not rate well compared to other great shortstops in MLB history. Jeter has posted a positive dWAR only 3 times during his career. Although Jeter does not have great range, he is one of the most sure handed shortstops in the league. Many managers and executives have noted that they would not want any other player, but Derek Jeter to make a play with 2 outs in the ninth. Although Gold Gloves have lost their value because many feel the selections are a popularity contest, he has won 5 Gold Gloves during his illustrious career.

Mr. November Courtesy of Newsday
Mr. November
Courtesy of Newsday

While the regular season has made Derek Jeter one of the best players in history, his postseason career has made him a legend and an immortal. Jeter has played nearly an entire season, 158 games, in his postseason career. Remarkably, Jeter’s postseason stats are similar to his regular season stats, which is rare for a great player. Jeter has batted .308 with 20 home runs, 61 RBI, 18 stolen bases, 200 hits, 111 runs, and played in 16 of the last 18 playoffs with the Yankees. He has also played in the most playoff games, which has allowed him to record the most at-bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, triples, and singles. Jeter is additionally top five in walks, RBI, and home runs. Along with his great numbers, Jeter has had many great moments, the flip play, home run against the Diamondbacks, and home run against the Orioles. These moments validated his nickname as Mr. November and Captain Clutch. If the Yankees meet expectations, he could have a chance to improve his numbers and possibly reach his 6th championship before he retires from the game.

Legacy off the Field:

The 11th Captain of the Yankees Courtesy of the NineRoute
The 11th Captain of the Yankees
Courtesy of the NineRoute

Although Jeter has been at the center of attention since he won the Rookie of the Year and led the Yankees to their first title in 18 years in 1996, he has always said the right things and has never made a major mistake like others in the past. In today’s world with constant media involvement, it is likely we will never see another superstar succeed as much on the field while maintaing a perfect image off the field. As many have noted, Jeter is the perfect captain for the Yankees because he has the ability to absorb all the pressure while maintaining a stoic complexion. Many players look up to Jeter during difficult situation because they know he will not allow his nerves to overcome himself and affect his play on the field. Unlike Alex Rodriguez, who is a superior player and has more talent, Derek has the rare ability to slow down the speed of the game and perform at the highest and most pressure filled situations. Derek has been able to keep his personal life away from the media, which limits the amount of distractions on the team and him. This talent helps explain his crazy .321 average and .384 on base percentage in World Series play. Jeter has a great work ethic which has made him a better player and has inspired his fellow teammates to improve and exceed their expectations. It is interesting that Derek announced his big news on Facebook because many people didn’t even know he had a Facebook page since he rarely posts on Facebook. Although Derek will always be remembered for his skills and talent, he will mostly be remembered as a great person and teammate that helped his teammates win and succeed.

Awards:

2000 WS MVP Courtesy of Sportingnews
2000 WS MVP
Courtesy of Sportingnews

During Jeter’s great career, he has won numerous individual and team accolades, which adds to his legend. Derek Jeter broke out in his first full season when he hit .314 with 104 runs, 183 hits and won the Rookie of the Year in 1996. Although Jeter will likely never win an MVP, he has finished in the top-3 3 times and top-10 8 times. Derek has competed in 13 All-Star Games and was the first Yankee to win the All-Star Game MVP in 2000. He became the first player ever to win the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP in the same season in 2000. During his career, Jeter has won 5 Silver Slugger Awards at shortstop and won 2 Hank Aaron Awards in 2006 and 2009.

Future:

Will Troy Tulowitzki be the next star shortstop for the Yankees? Courtesy of ESPN
Will Troy Tulowitzki be the next star shortstop for the Yankees?
Courtesy of ESPN

Although the future for Jeter looks bright outside of baseball because he is well known and beloved by many, the Yankees may have a difficult time finding his replacement. Currently, the Yankees do not have any viable options on their current roster or in the minor leagues. Eduardo Nunez and Branden Ryan are no full time shortstops and cannot be the shortstop to replace the great Derek Jeter. In the minors, the Yankees tried to replace Derek by drafting CJ Henry and Cito Culver, but neither have shown the ability to make the Yankees’ roster in the future. The Yankees will need to find Jeter’s replacement outside the organization, if they want to continue winning and competing for Division Titles and World Series Championships.

If the Yankees want to continue spending money and draft picks this year, they could sign Stephen Drew to a long term deal. Drew is a competent shortstop who batted .253 with 12 home runs and 67 RBI. If Drew can return to his 2008 form when he hit .291 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI, the Yankees would hit a home run with him. However, Drew’s market is remarkably down and I do not think that the Yankees should sign Stephen Drew because he is not a very good statistical performer and will face a lot of pressure in New York. After this season, the Yankees can sign a shortstop because the class is pretty deep with talent. Currently, there are three shortstops that could play for the Yankees and provide quality production, JJ Hardy, Jed Lowrie, and Asdrubal Cabrera. JJ Hardy will turn 32 during the 2015 season and has been an All-Star twice during his career. Last year, Hardy had a very good season when he hit .263 with 25 home runs and 76 RBI, while winning the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award. Last year, Hardy posted a WAR of over 4, which is great. Hardy may cost about $30-$36 million over about 3 years because of his recent success. Another option is Jed Lowrie, who will be 31 during the 2015 season. Lowrie has been improving over the last few years since he has been given more playing time. Last year, Lowrie hit .290 with 15 home runs, 75 RBI, and a WAR of 2.8, but a OWAR of 4.3. Although Lowrie does not have a great glove, he can hit for a good average and should be considered by the Yankees next year. Lowrie will probably demand a contract for about 3 years and $21-25 million.  Last of these three is Asdrubal Cabrera, who will be only 29 during the 2015 season. After 2 consecutive quality seasons in 2011 and 2012, when he made the All-Star team and compiled a WAR of over 4, Cabrera had a horrible season last year. Cabrera hit only .242 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI. The Yankees should consider Cabrera next offseason because he will be cheaper than the other alternatives, unless he has a big year, and has more overall potential and talent. If Cabrera can return to his 2011-2012 form, the Yankees would have a shortstop that could bat .275 with 20+ home runs and 75 RBI while playing above average defense at shortstop. Cabrera is also at least 2 years younger than the other shortstops, which means the Yankees will be receiving him during the last of his peak years, unlike the other players. If Cabrera has another poor season, the Yankees may be able to sign him for a deal similar to Lowrie, which could be a steal.

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If the Yankees want to make a splash and spend a lot of money through a free agent signing or a trade, they should go after Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, or Troy Tulowitzki. After this season, Hanley Ramirez will be a free agent. In 2015, Hanley will be 31 years old, but is coming off of a great season with the Dodgers. Although he played only 86 games, he showed that he still has the talent that made him one of the best players in the game with the Marlins. During his 86 games, Ramirez hit .345 with 20 home runs, 57 RBI, and 62 RBI while finishing 8th in the MVP voting. If Hanley repeats his performance this season, he will easily make over $100 million in his next contract. Ramirez will be a perfect fit for the Yankees because he would be an improvement at the position and could fit into the middle of the order. Hanley would be able to man the position for a few years before converting to 3rd base. Hanley is a great player and the Yankees should go after him hard next offseason if he makes it to free agency. If the Yankees do not want to sign a shortstop next offseason, they should consider making a trade for one. Jose Reyes is currently on the Toronto Blue Jays, but may become available if the team fails to meet expectations during the season. Like Ramirez, Reyes was limited to only 93 games, but was effective during his time on the field. Reyes, a four time All-Star, batted .296 with 10 home runs, 57 runs, 15 stolen bases, and 37 RBI.  Reyes’ injured hamstring from  last season inhibited his explosiveness and stopped him from stealing many bases. However, when healthy, Reyes has the ability to steal 40+ bases, collect 65 extra base hits, and bat around .300 at the top of the order. However, Reyes is due a lot of money over the next 4 years of his contract. If the Yankees trade for him during the middle of the season or at the end of the year, they will owe him at least $70 – $76 million dollars over 3 – 3.5 years. Since his contract is an albatross, the Yankees may be able to include lesser prospects in the deal.

If the Yankees want to go for the home run, besides Ramirez, they should attempt to trade for Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockies shortstop. Like the other stars, Tulo has been hampered by injuries over the past two season, which has limited him to only 173 games. However, Tulo has shown that he is an MVP candidate and the best shortstop in the game, when healthy. In 126 games last year, Tulo hit .312/.391/.540 with 25 home runs, 82 RBI, and 72 runs scored.  Although some of his stats may be inflated because of Coors Field, he has the potential to hit above .300 with 25+ home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs, and slug .540. Like Reyes, Tulo has a ginormous contract. If the Yankees trade for him at the deadline, they will owe him at least $126 million over 6.5 years, plus they can exercise a team option which would push the deal to $136 million. If the Yankees are willing to eat the whole contract, they may be able to facilitate the deal, although their farm system is depleted. If they were to make a deal, they probably would have to part ways with Gary Sanchez, a pitcher, Nova or Pineda, and maybe another prospect.

 

Pics and Stats from ESPN.com and BaseballReference.com

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Rating Every NL All-Star Selection

By: Jon

Catchers

Starter:

Yadier Molina

Yadier Molina
Yadier Molina

Good or Bad: Good

If Yasiel Puig does not continue to his torrid start, Molina has a good chance of winning the MVP. Along with being the best defensive catcher in the league by far, Yadier is a good hitter, leading the NL in average, .346, and doubles, 26. Molina is great because of how he can stop a running game and lead a pitching staff. He is the best catcher and deserves the right to start the All-Star game.

Reserve:

Buster Posey

Buster Posey
Buster Posey

Good or Bad: Good

Posey is easily the second best catcher in NL because of his hitting ability and defensive skill. Posey is top two in AVG, HR, RBI, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Although Posey is a better offensive player, Posey is not leading his team nor pitching staff like Molina, which leads to a lesser WAR.

First Base

Starter:

Joey Votto

Joey Votto
Joey Votto

Good or Bad: Votto should not be a starter, but should be an All-Star

Similar to the catching position, first base only has two great players that are worthy of becoming an All-Star. Votto is a great offensive player because he can reach base very easily. Votto on base percentage is .430, which is great for a player, who can hit home runs. Although Votto is not having a great year, he is batting .320, 15 HR, 40 RBI, and 61 Runs.

Reserve:

Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt

Good or Bad: Should be starting

Paul is having a breakout season for the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks. Paul is leading the NL in WAR, OPS, SLG, SB, HR, and RBI. He is having a great season and should be starting for the NL. Paul is only 25 and will be one of the best players in the league for years to come.

Allen Craig

Allen Craig
Allen Craig

Good or Bad: Good

Although Craig did not have a good start to the season, he has picked it up as of late. Craig is leading the NL in batting among first basemen. Craig is top three in a lot of offensive categories such as Runs, RBI, AVG, SLG, OPS, and hits. Craig is the leading RBI man the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Second Baseman

Starter:

Brandon Phillips

Brandon Phillips
Brandon Phillips

Good or Bad: Should be a reserve

Phillips is one of the most consistent and dangerous second baseman in the league. Phillips is second in the NL in homers among second baseman, 12, and first in RBI by 25, 64. Brandon is the best defensive second baseman in the National League. Phillips is deserving of an All-Star candidate.

Reserve:

Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter
Matt Carpenter

Good or Bad: Should be the starter

Carpenter is having a breakout season and should be the starting second baseman. Carpenter has been a catalyst for the Cardinal offense, which is one of the best in baseball. It is amusing that he was not given the starting nod. He is first in almost every offensive category, runs, triples, doubles, hits, average, on base, slugging, on base plus slugging, and WAR.

Marco Scutaro

Marco Scutaro
Marco Scutaro

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Starling Marte

Starling Marte
Starling Marte

Besides for a solid batting average, .313, he does not add much to an offense. He has hit 2 homers, 19 RBI, and 36 Runs. Marco is not a good defensive player, a negative defensive WAR. Marte is much more deserving of the All-Star bid. After his torrid start, Marte has slowed down, but still has great stats. Marte is fourth among outfielders in WAR, third in Runs, first in steals, and second in triples. Marte is a great defensive fielder, a 1.3 defensive WAR. Marte is a young star, who will make a lot of All-Star teams in the future.

Shortstop

Starter:

Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki

Good or Bad: Good

Although Tulo has not played as many games as other players, Troy is one of the most dynamic players and deserved the starting nod. He will probably not play so he will not be taking a spot from another healthy player. Tulowitzki is leading shortstops in HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Troy has been a great player and may be a Hall of Famer, if he does not hurt himself. Troy is also a great defensive player, fourth highest among shortstops in defensive WAR.

Reserve:

Jean Segura

Jean Segura
Jean Segura

Good or Bad: Good

Jean Segura, the prospect from the Zach Greinke trade, is having a great first half of the season. Jean has been one of the lone bright spots on the Milwaukee Brewers. Segura is top two among NL shortstops in Hits, Runs, 3B, SB, AVG, and WAR. He will do great in his first All-Star game and may even start if Tulo is hurt. Unlike other players, who are the only All-Stars for their respective team, Segura is a deserving All-Star.

Everth Cabrera

Everth Cabrera
Everth Cabrera

Good or Bad: Had to be on the team

Cabrera is the lone San Diego Padres representative. Although Cabrera should not be an All-Star, he is having the best season on the Padres. Everth could be used as a pitch-runner for the National League. He is one of the fast players in baseball, 31 steals, most in NL. Cabrera has a solid average, .291, and a defensive WAR, 0.4. Overall, he is fourth in the NL among shortstops, 2.7.

Third Base

Starter:

David Wright

David Wright
David Wright

Good or Bad: Good

Wright is the best third basemen in the National League. Wright’s WAR, 4.9, is more than twice the next closest competitor, 2.2. Wright is the leader of the Mets, so he had to be starting the game. Wright is leading NL third baseman in AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, WAR, SB, doubles, and triples. Wright is the most deserving candidate for the job.

Reserve:

Pedro Alvarez

Pedro Alvarez
Pedro Alvarez

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Zimmerman

Although Pedro may have the most power in the National League, he is not a good all-around baseball player. Pedro has 22 HR, but is batting .247 and has a OBP of .310. Zimmerman is a better baseball player. Zimmerman has a higher AVG, Runs, OPS, double, BB, and WAR. Zimmerman does not strikeout as much as Alvarez, 68 versus 104. Zimmerman has a better WAR, which shows that he is more of a complete ballplayer.

Outfield

Starters:

Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran

Good or Bad: Should be a reserve

Replacement: Carlos Gomez

The eight year All-Star is having another good season for the St.Louis Cardinals. Although he should not be a starter, Beltran has accumulated good stats during the first half. Beltran is batting .307 with 52 RBI, 19 HR, 47 R, and 1.8 WAR. Beltran’s stats and veteran leadership for the Cardinals make him definitely worthy of an All-Star nomination.

Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos Gonzalez

Good or Bad: Good

Gonzalez is a great offensive and defensive player for the Colorado Rockies. Besides for supporting the second best WAR among the NL OF, Gonzalez ranks top five in Runs(1st), Hits(2nd), Doubles(5th), Triples(4th), Home Runs(1st), RBI(2nd), AVG(4th), OBP(5th), SLG(1st), and OPS(1st), As one can tell from the stats, Gonzalez is a great offensive player and is deserving of the starting nod.

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Andrew McCutchen(starter) and Jay Bruce(reserve)

Although Harper is a great player, he has missed too many games to enter the All-Star game. Although people are complaining about Yasiel Puig, Bryce has only taken 50 AB more than Puig, which is 150 less than most All-Stars. When Harper plays on the field, he is a great and dynamic player. In 53 games, he hit 13 HR/ 29RBI/ 30Runs. Bryce Harper should not have been an All-Star, let alone a starter.

Reserve:

Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez
Carlos Gomez

Good or Bad: Should be starter

Gomez is having the best season of his career. Before this season, Gomez was remembered for robbing Yadier Molina in the 2007 NLCS. Gomez is leading the league in WAR by a full point, 5.5 verse 4.5, among outfielders. Gomez is having a complete year, .308 AVG/13 HR/41 RBI/49 R/20 SB/9 3B.  After his stellar first half, Gomez should be starting, instead of Beltran.

Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen

Good or Bad: Should be starter

Andrew could be the NL MVP, if the Pirates maintain their success and he continues to be great. McCutchen is a great hitter and fielder. McCutchen is second in WAR because of his .302 AVG, 9 HR, 46 RBI, 53 R, 18 SB, and 25 Doubles. Andrew is a great defensive player because of his speed and instincts, which leads to his 1.1 DWAR. McCutchen is the only superstar on the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. He should be rewarded by gaining the All-Star start.

Domonic Brown

Domonic Brown
Domonic Brown

Good or Bad: Good

Dominic Brown is having a coming party for the Philadelphia Phillies. Although the Phillies are not having a great season, Brown has been great. Brown showed his great power and ability to accumulate RBI. Brown is first in the league in runs batted in and second in home runs. Unlike most power hitters, Brown has a decent batting average, .282. This will be the first of many All-Star appearances for the Phillies switching hitting outfielder.

Michael Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer
Michael Cuddyer

Good or Bad: Good

During the middle of the season, Cuddyer had a 27 game hitting streak, which propelled his reputation and average. Cuddyer is leading the whole National League in average. Along with his great average, Cuddyer has accounted for 15 home runs, 52 RBI, 43 Runs, and 6 stolen bases. Although I do not expect Cuddyer to maintain his great first half, Cuddyer is deserving of his second All-Star nod.

Jay Bruce

Jay Bruce
Jay Bruce

Currently not on the roster

Bruce should be the reserve right fielder for the NL All-Star squad. After a disappointing first quarter of the season, Bruce has significantly rebounded. Bruce is a RBI and power hitting machine for the Reds. Bruce is fourth in HR and third in RBI among NL outfielders. Although his average is not great, .261, his ability to hit the ball out of the ball park and produce runs makes him an All-Star. Bruce is a steady defensive ball player, 0.4 DWAR and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Pitchers

Starters:

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner

Good or Bad: Good

The first time All-Star is turning into the ace of the San Francisco Giants. Madison is 9-5 and supports a solid ERA and WHIP. Although Madison does not have a great ERA, 3.05, he has the fourth best WHIP in the National League, 0.97. Bumgarner is a good strikeout pitcher as well, averaging nine strikeouts per nine innings. Bumgarner will appear in many All-Stars because of his devastating strikeout and curveball.

Patrick Corbin

Patrick Corbin
Patrick Corbin

Good or Bad: Good

Corbin is having a great rookie season for the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks. Corbin is currently 10-1. Corbin’s stats, 2.40 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, have shown his dominance for the Diamondbacks. Although Patrick has not struck out many batters, he is mature for his age and knows how to pitch. Since opponents have been unable to solve Corbin, Corbin should improve during the second half of the season.

Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez
Jose Fernandez

Good or Bad: Good

Fernandez is another rookie sensation, who has a bright future. Jose is the only player on the Marlins, who had an All-Star worthy first half. Jose had only five wins, even though he had a 2.83 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Jose’s dominant stuff allows him to strikeout more than 9 batters per 9 innings. Along with Jacob Turner, the Marlins will have a good 1-2 punch for years to come.

Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey
Matt Harvey

Good or Bad: Good

The crown jewel of the young starters had a great first half of the season. Some believe that Harvey is the best in the majors. Harvey has three excellent pitches, which allows him to dominate hitters. Harvey maintained a 2.35 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, during his first half. Harvey has the most strikeouts in the National League. He would be a great selection to start the All-Star game at his home park.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw

Good or Bad: Good

In my opinion, Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and should be starting the All-Star game. Kershaw has the lowest WHIP, 0.90, and ERA, 1.89, in the league, while having the highest WAR, 5.3. Kershaw ranks second in innings pitched and strikeouts. Kershaw should have a lot more than 8 wins. Kershaw is a future Hall of Famer and should be the starter and Cy Young Award winner for the National League.

Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee

Good or Bad: Good

Cliff has been one of the most consistent and dominant pitchers over the last 5 years. After a down year, Lee has 10 wins while pitching to a 2.73 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 4.4 WAR. Although Lee does not have great strikeout totals, 119 K, he can locate all his pitches, which makes batters look silly. Lee is best during the playoffs, 2.52 ERA. Lee is one of the most mature and mentally tough pitchers in MLB.

Jeff Locke

Jeff Locke
Jeff Locke

Good or Bad: Good

Locke is an underrated pitcher, who had a great first half of the season. The 25 year-old lefty has the second lowest ERA in the majors, 2.15 ERA. Jeff Locke is ranked top 15 among NL starters in WHIP, 1.13, and 2.7 WAR. Locke has been the leader of the Pirates pitching staff, which has been incredible this season. Although Locke will not continue his 2.15 ERA, he should be given the All-Star nomination.

Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright

Good or Bad: Good

Wainwright is a great pitcher because of his ability to control all of his pitches. Wainwright does not walk batters. Adam strikes out 9 batters for every batter he walks, which is highest since 2010, Cliff Lee’s 10.28 SO/BB. Along with his stellar 0.99 WHIP and 2.30 ERA, Wainwright is leading the league in innings, shutouts, and complete games. Wainwright is one of the best pitchers in the game and should be in this All-Star game.

Travis Wood

Travis Wood
Travis Wood

Good or Bad: Good

Wood is the Cubs lone All-Star. Wood is ranked top ten in ERA, 2.69, WHIP, 0.97, and WAR, 3.3. Even though Wood has a great ERA, Wood has only 6 wins for the disgraceful Chicago Cubs. Wood, similar Locke, does not have great strikeout number and will not continue his 2.69 ERA, but he should be pitching in New York for the Mid-Summer Classic.

Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan Zimmermann

Good or Bad: Good

Although the Nationals have Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann has been their best starter. Zimmermann is ranked top seven in ERA, WHIP, Innings, and WAR. Zimmermann had been extremely underrated for the Washington Nationals, but he is finally gaining popularity and respect. Zimmermann will go to many future All-Star games because of his great stuff and control. Zimmermann has only walked 18 men this season.

Relievers

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman

Good or Bad: Bad

Replacement: Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica
Edward Mujica

The hardest throwing closer in MLB is having another great season for the Cincinnati Reds. However, Edward Mujica should be have given the nod instead of the Cuban Missile. Besides for strikeouts, Mujica has a better ERA, WHIP, Saves, Innings, less Blown Saves, less BB, and less runs allowed. Although Chapman’s strikeout totals are impressive, Mujica has been a more effective and steady than Aroldis during the first half of the season.

Jason Grilli

Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli

Good or Bad: Good

Grilli has been great for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. Without Grilli, the Pirates would not be first in the NL Central. Grilli leads closers in WHIP, Saves, Strikeouts, and Save Conversion Percentage. Grilli’s overpowering fastball has made Pirates’ fans forget about All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan. Grilli’s success has given confidence and allowed their other relievers to become comfortable and impressive.

Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel
Craig Kimbrel

Good or Bad: Good

Kimbrel is one of the most dynamic relief pitchers in baseball. Although he does not have the same strikeout numbers as last year, Kimbrel has been as effective. Kimbrel has the lowest ERA, 1.62, only allowing 6 runs this whole season. Kimbrel has the chance to be a lesser version of Mariano Rivera and may even challenge his all-time save number. Although he will never be as good as Rivera, Kimbrel is a great closer and is only 25 years-old.

Stats and pic from espn.com

Top Shortstops and Future Star

By: Jon

Shortstop is one of the weakest positions in baseball. The top players, Tulo and Reyes, are constantly hurt while Derek Jeter is growing old and losing a step.

1. Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki

When “Tulo” is healthy, he is by far the best all-around shortstop in the league because of his ability to hit and play defense. Tulowitzki value is so high because he has a third baseman’s bat while playing shortstop. Tulowitzki has hit over 25 HR three times in the last four years and is on pace to over 25 again. This year, he is hitting over 5o points higher than his career average, .347 verses .296. Troy is a great a defensive shortstop, who has won two Gold Gloves in the last three years. Tulo is one of the few shortstops that has the ability to drive in over 90 RBI, which is evident by the fact that he has drove in 90 RBI or more in 4 of his last 6 seasons.

2. Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes is one of the fastest players in the league. After a disappointing first season with the Marlins, Reyes traded to the Blue Jays and has thrived when he has been on the field. Before being sideline for 2 months with a torn hamstring, Reyes was batting .357. Reyes is one of the best base stealers in the league. Although he does not run like when he was with the Metropolitans, he is still a dynamic baserunner, who stole 40 bags last season. At the height of his career two years ago, Reyes batted .337 with 16 triples and 40 steals. As he career progresses, Reyes will likely fall in the rankings because his legs will not be as threatening.

3. Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez

Along with Reyes and Tulowitzki, Ramirez is one of the most talented players in the league, but has experienced constant injuries. Ramirez was once thought of as having the best talent in the sport, but has since struggled because of injuries and being out of weight. The Dodgers are hoping that Hanley returns to his 2009 form, when he hit .342, 24 HR, 106 RBI, 101 Runs, and 27 steals. The past few years Hanley has not hit over over .300. This year, Ramirez has rebounded by hitting .375, 5 HR, and 14 RBI in only 22 games. Although Ramirez will never steal 30+ bags again, he can still be an above average shortstop, who can hit .300 and 20+ HR. Unlike Reyes and Tulo, Ramirez is not a great defensive ball player.

Future Star: Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
Starlin Castro

The Cubs young shortstop is the first player in MLB who was born during the 1990s. The two-time All Star has a career .287 average, although he is struggling this season. Starlin Castro is a hit machine, averaging 188 hits in his first four seasons. Many people believe that the 23 year old shortstop will be the Cubs franchise player and a future star in the league. However, Castro must focus more on defense as he consistently makes bone head plays, which angers his manager. Along with first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the Chicago Cubs have a solid nucleus that they can build upon in the future.

Stats from Baseball Reference