Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kim Ng to Interview for Angels GM Position

Buster Olney reported this morning that Kim Ng is going to be interviewed for the Angels open GM position (which resulted in me thinking "OMG! Kim Ng!" and subsequently tuning out my professor for the remainder of the class I was in).

For those familiar with me and my blog, you probably know by now that I have a bit of an obsession with Ng and her quest to become the first female general manager. I wrote about her way back in March when she left her position as the Dodgers Assistant GM to become a Sr. VP of Baseball Operations in the Commissioner's office. And I wrote about her more recently when her name was floated among the candidates for the Cubs GM position. Basically any time her name pops up on my news feed I feel compelled to write about her.

Now let me be clear: my fascination with Ng is not merely because she could be the first female to break into the  boys club that has thus far characterized the MLB GM position. No, my fascination with Ng comes from the fact that she has already had an outstanding career in baseball operations, and Ng becoming the first female GM seems to be all but inevitable. 

Ng became assistant GM of the New York Yankees in 1998, and following the 2001 season made the lateral transfer to become assistant GM of the Dodgers, where she served until this March before leaving to work as a Senior VP of Baseball Operations for the Commissioner’s Office. In total, Ng has served as an assistant GM at the major league level for 13 full seasons. During her time with the Dodgers Ng handled all of the arbitration cases, many of the minor league free-agent signings, and maintained the club’s compliance with MLB’s rules for roster management and player eligibility.

So yeah, she knows her stuff and is amazing at her job. Ng maintains that her ultimate goal is be an MLB GM, and based on her résumé I believe she has earned it. Will it be with the Angels? Who knows. But this is Ng's 5th time interviewing for a GM position, and she shows no signs of giving up on her goal. One of these days Ng will shatter the glass ceiling and become the first female GM. And until then I'll continue to scan the front office rumors and follow her progress.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Best of John & Suzyn - Postseason Edition

With the expiration of the WCBS radio contract, the status of John and Suzyn as Yankees announcers is up in the air for next season. But I won’t get into that because it makes me pretty sad. Instead, I’ll be optimistic that John and Suzyn will be back in the booth next season, and until then here is the final batch of John and Suzyn quotes for 2011:

“Game 1 will start back up at 1-1, which is almost like 0-0.” – Sterling, 10/1 v. Tigers

“Who’s the leadoff hitter? Why it’s Brett Gardner, batting 9th! That’s kind of a running joke…” – Sterling, 10/2 v. Tigers

“Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I must confess it is raining.” – Sterling, 10/2 v. Tigers

“Well Inge is known to have some power but San Diego… er… Santiago is usually a gap hitter at best.” – Waldman, 10/3 @ Tigers

John: “Did you give a temperature tonight?”
Suzyn: “Yes I did. Would you like to know what it is? It’s 61 - it says right on the scoreboard.” 10/4 @ Tigers

“AJ… with a bravissimo performance!” – Sterling, 10/4 @ Tigers

“I’ll give you a stat. Actually we could give you 8 billion stats because that’s how many they produce, and most of them mean nothing. But I’ll give you one that really means nothing in a minute.” – Sterling, 10/6 v. Tigers

“Now here’s Kelly who is 4 for 8 in the series, and I never got my dumb point out.” – Sterling, 10/6 v. Tigers

“When Hughes is right this is what he looks like. His fastball is a stream of milk.” – Sterling, 10/6 v. Tigers

Thursday, October 6, 2011

End of Year Awards - Top Players

And last but not least and the Year End Awards series, I give you my 10 choices for AL Player of the Year!

2011 Stan Musial Award (Top Player)
  • This was a terribly tough choice. Any of the first five guys on this list could receive first place MVP votes, but ultimately I went with Miguel Cabrera as my top choice. Miggy just simply had a more well-balanced season than everyone else, in my opinion. He played in 161 games, hit .344/.448/.568 with 111 runs, 48 doubles, 30 home runs, 105 RBI, and drew 108 walks. Not only did he hit with power in timely situations, but he also hit for average and was willing to work the count to get on base.
  • Jose Bautista will likely end up winning the AL MVP – the first place votes are likely to be very divisive, but Bautista will be high enough on everyone’s ballot that an accumulation of 2nd and 3rd place votes will put him over the top. This season the slugger hit .302/.447/.608 while scoring 105 runs, hitting 24 doubles, 2 triples, 43 home runs, and knocking in 103 RBI. He also drew 132 walks.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury only played 18 games in 2010, but he came back with a vengeance this season. He racked up 212 hits with a line of .321/.376/.552, 46 of which were doubles, 5 of which were triples, and 32 of which were home runs. He also scored 119 runs and stole 39 bases while driving in 105. Just how great was Ellsbury’s season? He set new career highs in runs scored, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, and RBI. At just 28-years old Ellsbury’s name could be at the top of MVP ballots for many years to come.
  • Ok, maybe I’m biased because as a Yankees fan I see Curtis Granderson play every day. But his season has been much more impressive than his .262 batting average would indicate. Indeed, his .364 OBP and .552 slugging percentage are much better indicators. Curtis scored 136 runs and racked up 153 hits this season including 26 doubles and 10 triples. He also drove in 119 RBI and walloped an impressive 41 home runs. And all this from a guy who doesn’t consider himself a home run hitter.  
  • Adrian Gonzalez is the second MVP candidate from a Red Sox team that was full of them this year. He signed a huge contract last offseason and didn’t disappoint. He hit .338/.410/.548 with 108 runs scored, 45 doubles, 27 home runs, and 117 RBI. It’s no surprise that the Red Sox offense was such a powerhouse with the trio of Ellsbury, Gonzalez, and Pedroia.
  • Justin Verlander is undeniably going to be the AL Cy Young winner (likely on a unanimous vote), and the baseball world is buzzing with discussion of whether he will also garner serious votes for AL MVP. At 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 250 strikeouts in 251 innings pitched, he has certainly made a strong case for himself.
  • Robinson Cano had a quietly great season while his teammate Curtis Granderson absorbed most of the MVP chatter. Cano’s slash line was .302/.349/.533 with 104 runs scored, 188 hits, an incredible 46 doubles, 7 triples, 28 home runs, and 118 RBI. On a Yankees team full of sluggers Cano is probably the most consistently productive hitter year in and year out.
  • Dustin Pedroia is the third and final Red Sox on my list. While he didn’t put up the astronomical numbers of Ellsbury and Gonzalez, he nonetheless had a great season. Pedroia posted a line of .307/.387/.474 with 102 runs scored, 195 hits, 37 doubles, 21 home runs, and 91 RBI.
  • Josh Hamilton is a incredible story of redemption, and it is great to see him have another strong season. Hamilton hit .298/.346/.536 with 31 doubles, 25 home runs, and 94 RBI. Unfortunately Hamilton was sidelined for about 7 weeks with a broken arm, hurting his overall season numbers.
  • Challenging Verlander for the AL’s best ERA was Angels’ righty Jered Weaver. Weaver finished the season with a solid 18-8 record, a 2.41 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 198 strikeouts in 235.2 innings pitched.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

End of Year Awards - Top Reliever

Following up on yesterday's "Best Pitcher" post, today’s blog post continues with the top AL Relievers…

2011 Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)
  • My vote for best AL reliever goes to the Yankees’ David Robertson. Sure, it is a sexy choice to give these awards to closers (and closers are usually closers because they are amazing relievers), but this year Robertson was better than any AL closer. Affectionately known as “Houdini,” Robertson allowed only 9 runs while striking out an even 100 in 66.2 innings. He needs to work on his WHIP (giving up 40 hits and walking 35), but if he is able to get that under control his is my choice as Mariano Rivera’s heir as closer.
  • Speaking of Mariano Rivera, he is number 2 on my Top Relievers list. You may have heard of the guy – he’s been pretty good for quite a few years now. So good, in fact, that he is now officially the greatest closer in the history of the game after setting the all-time saves record this season (with 603). This season Mo continued to be Mo, racking up 44 saves, 60 strikeouts, and allowing just 13 runs in 61.1 innings.
  • Rounding out my list is Tigers’ closer Jose Valverde. He was perfect in save attempts this season, going 49-for-49, and you can’t argue with results. His ERA (2.24) and WHIP (1.19) are a bit higher than you’d like from your closer, but Valverde consistently got the job done when he needed to.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

End of Year Awards - Top Pitcher

Today’s blog post continues with the End of Year Awards, this time with 5 choices!

2011 Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher)
  • My top pick for best AL pitcher goes to one Justin Verlander. He is undeniably going to be the AL Cy Young winner (likely on a unanimous vote), and the baseball world is buzzing with discussion of whether he will also garner serious votes for AL MVP. At 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 250 strikeouts in 251 innings pitched, he has certainly made a strong case for himself.
  • Challenging Verlander for the AL’s best ERA was Angels’ righty Jered Weaver. Weaver finished the season with a solid 18-8 record, a 2.41 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 198 strikeouts in 235.2 innings pitched.
  • Rays’ righty James Shields is my third pick for best AL pitcher. He turned in a 2.82 ERA, threw 11 complete games (4 of which were shutouts), and struck out 225 batters in 249.1 innings. No small feat when you consider Shields pitched many of his games against the Rays’ power-hitting AL East rivals.
  • CC Sabathia gets my 4th place vote. CC is always great, but this year the caliber of pitching in the AL was incredible. CC finished the season 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 237.1 innings pitched. The only real hitch in his season came against the rival Boston Red Sox, against whom he went 1-4 with a 6.39 ERA in 31 innings spread over 5 starts.
  • My final vote for best AL pitcher goes to the Yankees’ David Robertson. Affectionately known as “Houdini,” Robertson allowed only 9 runs while striking out an even 100 in 66.2 innings. He needs to work on his WHIP (giving up 40 hits and walking 35), but if he is able to get that under control his is my choice as Mariano Rivera’s heir as closer.