Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013 Hall of Fame "Ballot", Part I

This year's Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot is the most crowded in over 65 years, when 95 players received votes in 1945.

Before we get to this year's fun, here's a glimps at the 1945 ballot:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Exciting Times for the Mets and Blue Jays

It sounds more and more likely that this Travis d'Arnaud for R.A. Dickey trade is going to happen.

d'Arnaud: power and a strong arm
Travis d'Arnaud is a top quality prospect, and the Mets fans should be pleased to land him, provided they don't have to give up much more than Dickey to get him.

Before tearing his posterior cruciate ligament this past June, Travis d'Arnaud batted .333 with a .380 on base percentage and beastly .595 slugging. There are some great Major League seasons associated with a .595 Slugging Percentage.

It's roughly what Ryan Braun slugged this past season.

Edgar Martinez did it in 1996, when he had 80 extra-base hits.

Ernie Banks slugged .595 in 1955, with 44 home runs.

Carlos Beltran: Unappreciated Met
Right now, a .595 slugging percentage in the Major Leagues would rank in the top 350 of all time.

The current season ranked 350th, as Mets fans can appreciate, belongs to Carlos Beltran in 2006, his best season in Queens, and he slugged .594. That year, Beltran hit 80 extra-base hits, including 41 home runs.

Those are some good memories, but let's not overrate what d'Arnaud is ready to do right now. He spent last season in a notoriously hitter's friendly Pacific Coast League.

Travis d'Arnaud needs to improve. His Minor League Equivalency stats say that he is not ready for prime time. Calculating his 2012 stats with the Las Vegas 51s, to project what he would have done with the same opportunity on the Mets, yields a dreadful .300 on base percentage and lots of strike outs.

Injuries are of some concern with Travis d'Arnaud. Looking at his player page, it seems he's lost big chunks of time in even years of his career: 2008, 2010 and 2012. His Double-A numbers in 2011 were impressive, and scouts agree that he can hit and has a strong arm. d'Arnaud will turn 24 in february. With six years of team control left, if he can stay somewhat healthy during his 20's, he should deliver elusive, over-market value at a premium position.

He's never faced Major League pitching. Like all players, he'll have to adapt to the adjustments Major League teams make with each new time they face him.

The Mets are better equipped to take on a player learning on the job, than a team like Toronto that is trying to compete in 2013.

Yesterday, my intuition was telling me the Mets would regret dealing with Anthoupoulous.

Roy Halladay was awesome for
Toronto and Philadelphia.
After taking over for J.P. Ricciardi on October 3, 2009 AA's first trade took place about 10 weeks later, when he traded Roy Halladay and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor, whom he swapped for Brett Wallace.

Since then, AA has had a handful of other significant deals that for the most part look defensible, if not advantageous on the Blue Jays' part.

For example, one of the trades that may not have worked out was trading Alex Gonzalez, Tyler Pastornicky, and Tim Collins to the Braves for Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes in July 2010.

After increasing his value with a solid 2010 on the Las Vegas 51s, Brett Wallace was traded for Anthony Gose. Until this afternoon (Saturday), Gose was rumored to be included in the trade for R.A. Dickey.

Similar to the MLE's for d'Arnaud, in 189 plate appearances for the Blue Jays last season, Anthony Gose had a .303 OBP with lots of strike outs (31.2% K rate).

Anthopolous had a handful of low-cost moves that panned out in small ways, picking up players like Rajai Davis and Carlos Villanueva for players to be named later.

What Brett Lawrie lacks in makeup,
he makes up for in production.
The Blue Jays spectacularly won the Shaun Marcum for Brett Lawrie trade with Milwaukee.

The Colby Rasmus trade looks alright.

The miracle move of the last few years was getting the Angels to take Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. It was such a great move that we forgive him for swapping Mike Napoli, a few days later, for less than he was worth.

The only other really big trade on AA's resume was his yard sale raiding of the Miami Marlins.

Anthopolous couldn't control the fact that what may be his career-defining trade, Halladay, would be the first trade of his career. The jury is still out on the move. Kyle Drabek could suddenly figure it all out. Gose could improve, or be traded for someone more useful. Travis d'Arnoud is in the balance. If he becomes a star player for the Blue Jays, then it could be seen as a good trade for them. If he is traded for a Starting Pitcher that helps them to a World Series Championship, then the Halladay trade will be viewed as a success.

Syndergaard sweetens the pot.
The Dickey/d'Arnoud deal could be a great trade for both teams. The latest rumor from Mike Puma of the NY Post, is that one of the players going to the Mets is 20-year old pitching prospect, Noah Syndergaard. Last season, at 19, the 6'5" right-hander threw just over 100 innings striking out 122 batters, while walking just 31, good for an impressive 4-to-1 SO/BB ratio. Equally impressive was how he limited opponents to just 81 hits and 3 home runs.

It was fun while it lasted, R.A.
The Mets picked up R.A. Dickey for next-to-nothing, back when Omar Minaya was the General Manager. Sandy Alderson flipping 1 year of R.A. Dickey for 6 years of d'Arnaud and 6 years of a young pitching prospect, like Noah Syndergaard, would be a fabulous haul.

At the same time, the Blue Jays will be a force in the AL East with a rotation of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero. This move would presumably allow fringy left-handed starter J.A. Happ to work on his J.P. Howell impersonation in the bullpen, preparing to replace Darren Oliver as the primary lefty, whenever the 42-year old decides to hang them up.

R.A. Dickey is 38-years old, but he's a medical marvel - pitching without a UCL in his right arm. The knuckleball is not a highly-taxing pitch, and he is as good a bet as a 28-year old, maybe even better, to stay healthy over the next 2-3 years.

The question, still, is how much more will either team have to give up? Besides d'Arnoud and Dickey, who will all the other players be? Stay tuned to or their Twitter feed to not miss a thing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012