We are yet again unveiling a new feature here at StanGraphs, and it isn’t merely a weekly column devoted to how much we love saying “here at StanGraphs.” (Granted, that seems like a real prize of an idea.) Beginning with this very entry, we will be chronicling the downright bizarre things we witness during the Cardinals’ Fox Sports Midwest broadcasts each week during the season. Did Al spew off a sentence that wound up contradicting itself before its end? Did Dan accidentally learn how to pronounce the letter ‘r’ when saying ‘quarterback?’ Did Fredbird take a big, white bird dump all over the on-deck circle? If so, we’re going to let you know from here on out.
It seems like a good time to provide a little background on this idea. When I was a wee lad learning the ways of baseball in the southwest Missouri home I grew up in, I watched plenty of baseball broadcasts. Even at age seven I remember being dumbfounded by how inadequate the broadcasts of my beloved Cardinals were compared to national broadcasts or even the sort of thing that could be found on TBS in honor of the Braves. I simply didn’t understand. My dad had made it clear to me that the Cardinals were a very proud and storied franchise, one with more World Series titles than any team but the vaunted Yankees. One day, I decided my dad must be full of shit. As we sat down to watch a Cardinal game that summer, I asked him point blank if the Cardinals were even really a major league team. I mean, were they seriously the same thing as the Yankees or the other teams that were always getting national coverage? He assured me that the Redbirds were most certainly competing at the highest level, and that maybe they just needed to work on their telecasts. Years later, the Cardinal broadcasts on FSM remain astoundingly inept and frequently hilarious. The fact that the generally embarrassing broadcasts of my favorite team actually managed to lead me to believe they weren’t even cut from the same cloth as other major league squads is what sparked the creation of this very feature 20 years into the future. (more…)
Hey, you! Read today’s StanGraphs live blog unless you want me to strike you out.
6:31 PM: The Giants, as usual, are being a little annoying about this whole thing. Brandon Belt‘s first hit of the year, Nick Noonan‘s first hit of ever, and a single from Guillermo Quiroz led to another San Francisco run off poor Joe Kelly. Fortunately the final out was just recorded, so that’s a 14-3 rout. Tomorrow means the home opener for the Cardinals, as Jaime “Kingslayer” Garcia squares off against Mat “Tattoos” Latos. Baseball!
6:19 PM: …and we have a Jon Jay two-run triple which in effect serves as the icing on the cake! It’s 14-2, and I can just feel the run differential ballooning.
Was Yu Darvish’s competition really much worse than that of previous perfect game tossers?
On Tuesday night, Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish nearly became the 24th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game, pitching 8 2/3 innings before allowing a slow creeper up the middle for his first hit. Since that night, Darvish has been recognized for his amazing outing to kick off the 2013 campaign, and now the baseball pundits believe he is showing the stuff that made the Rangers invest so much money into him in the first place.
But in the minds of the experts, The Whirling Darvish’s performance comes with one caveat: that game, after all, was against the Houston Astros. (more…)
I’ve become overly charmed with Yu Darvish’s deadly repertoire and good-natured approach.
With the ink barely dry on an Elvis Andrus contract extension, the Rangers found themselves immediately back in the spotlight when pitcher Yu Darvish flirted as closely with perfection as one can without achieving it. Darvish may have been facing the patchwork Astros, but that shouldn’t detract from exactly how dominant he was in his first start of the season. Darvish fanned 14 batters and allowed just one flimsy single by Marwin Gonzalez with two outs in the bottom of the ninth innings. Darvish fired 111 nasty pitches to the plate and only failed to induce a strikeout twice when reaching a two-strike count.
In many ways, the night felt like Darvish’s inauguration parade. The Rangers have long been an organization known for its ability to develop intriguing talent, but there was no shortage of skepticism when the club posted $51.7 million to even negotiate with Darvish and then another $56 million to ink him to a six-year deal. The complaints were all the same. How did the Rangers know what they were getting? Wouldn’t Darvish fade under the increased competition of the American game like so many Japanese hurlers before him? (more…)
It was rumored for months that Elvis Andrus may be the odd man out for the Texas Rangers, a team with the enviable problem of having too many excellent middle infield options. Those suspicions were laid to rest Monday when the Rangers inked their 24-year-old shortstop to an eight-year extension worth $120 million. The deal begins after the 2014 season since Andrus was already under team control up to that point. A vesting option exists that could extend the deal to nine additional years, while Andrus will also have a chance to opt out after four seasons in search of more money on the open market.
We’ve seen a number of lengthy contract extensions hit the newswires over the past week, and among them are huge deals for stars like Buster Posey, Adam Wainwright, and Justin Verlander. The Andrus extension is likely to create a larger divide than the other deals, as his skills are not those typically highly valued by fans or even organizations when it comes to doling out massive sums of sweet, buttery cash. Andrus is a career .274/.342/.352 hitter who has shown consistent improvement and posted a career-best .322 wOBA a year ago. More importantly, he has been wildly successful as a defensive shortstop and base runner according to any metric or scout you’d ever feel the need to consult. (more…)
These colors don’t bleed, but one more word about WAR and you will!
I’m so sick of all this talk about how we should be reading and studying and understanding why baseball players are good. If I think a player is good, he’s good! I have AOL, and when I use it I can totally go to ESPN and see how many RBIs a player has. What more does a fan need? One of my friends told me I should check out FanGraphs and I took a dump in the trendy, hipster salad he was eating. All I see on that web site is a bunch of lines and numbers, and then my eyes just go white. I mean for God’s sake, would it kill them to post one picture ever? Plus AOL doesn’t load the page very quickly, not even when I use Ask Jeeves to find it.
I don’t even understand what WAR means. Wins Above Replacement? What does replacement mean? Does it have something to do with that time baseball went on strike and there were replacement players? Because if it does, Rick Reed was a replacement player and he turned out just fine. Here’s all you need to know about WAR: Mike Trout had more of it than Miguel Cabrera did last year and these glasses-wearing nerdbags started ranting and raving about how that kid should win the MVP award because of it. (more…)
Don’t worry about Adam. He’s got this.
It’s opening day, which pretty much means it’s the best day that there is. It’s all I can do to pull myself away from the TV to do much of anything, and that’s a dangerous proposition considering it’s the first of the month and I suppose I need to pay rent or whatever. Never mind obligations, though–this is what we have all been waiting for. No more listening to incessant frothing at the mouth in regards to the NFL, and no more painful days during which no one hits a baseball with a bat.
As we did in our first season of existence, we’re expanding our previews to include a more conclusive look at the team we primarily cover, the St. Louis Cardinals. Since our wonderful bird team has a west coast tilt against the Diamondbacks that doesn’t begin until late tonight, we figured we would give you something to read in the meantime. We’ll preview both the position players and the pitchers, two groups that look as well-rounded and promising as they ever have. Balance! So pull out that abundance of leftover Easter ham, grab a respectable beverage (it had better not be water or Dr. Thunder), and read about your favorite baseball team. (more…)
Carl Crawford’s stock is at an all-time low, and that could be a good thing for you.
With our pitching sleepers out of the way, it’s time to detail a few batsmen who might be worth your time and attention if you haven’t drafted for your fantasy league yet. And if you have, some of these guys may still be available as free agents or via trade. While bargains seem to be more easily found in the hurling department, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of worthy hitters out there who could surprise in 2013.
As is customary around these parts (StanGraphs, I mean; we’re all in different regions and this isn’t a John Wayne movie–yet), I’d better include my usual disclaimer. Not every guy on the list below is a breakout candidate buried under waves of more famous players. Many of them may be deep sleepers, but there are also names on this list who we feel qualify as sleepers simply because they are bound to be undervalued in drafts this season. Even if a player is well-known, he can be a sleeper simply based on the fact that he is likely to fall further in the draft order or in auction price than he probably should when all factors are considered. So buckle up if you’re in your car (quit reading about baseball while you drive!) and get ready for some hot, sticky fantasy baseball action! (more…)
We have Yoenis’s back, so don’t try to pull any funny business.
Most Valuable Player Award: Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics
Yoenis the Menace! We’re wasting no time jumping on the Oakland outfielder’s bandwagon after his strong rookie campaign. Cespedes just turned 27, and he spent his first summer as a major leaguer hitting a robust .292/.356/.505 with 23 homers and 16 steals in just 540 PA thanks to a hand injury. Once his hittin’ hand was all better, Cespedes put everything together and the plate and surged to a .311/.376/.533 finish in the second half. We think Cespedes has what it takes to post a .900 OPS in a full season, go 30/30 in the process, and make voters take notice. He even likes hitting in his massive home park, so you know his power is going to play anywhere. Obvious candidates Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano were options, as was the unbelievable Mike Trout, but ultimately we decided we needed to shake it up. Other close calls in our distorted and sometimes disgusting minds were Cleveland catcher/first baseman Carlos Santana (he mashed in the second half and draws every walk there is) and Austin Jackson (he was actually seventh in the AL in WAR for position players last season). (more…)
Ryan Braun is worried about Bryan’s predictions.
A prediction is, by definition, an educated guess of an event one believes will take place in the foreseeable future. Similarly, a bold prediction believes said event will be unexpected and surprising.
But a fearless prediction? That’s the kind of prediction that nobody would even think to make, but can somehow be validated using logic and reasoning. And that’s the basis for my ten fearless predictions for the 2013 baseball season.
Feel free to follow me on the Twitter. I’m @losstangeles. That way, I can gloat when these things happen. But seriously, follow me on Twitter; I only have four followers, and three of them are StanGraphs-related. I’m talking to nobody out there! (more…)