Tag Archive | "Triple Crown"

Bring on the Asterisk Era

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Bring on the Asterisk Era

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Got Melk?

Despite public outcry over well-established baseball “cheats”, MLB blatantly refuses to mark record book items with an asterisk or any other symbol to denote any form of cheating.  Technically, a player can receive a ban for PED use and still win a triple crown category, a World Series, or even All-Star game MVP.  The fact that most violators never go beyond a 50-game ban practically encourages some players to at least consider using a performance enhancer.  Why not?  Weigh the potential good against the bad – both in terms of ethics and practical factors.

The sport possesses no strict ethos against cheating, and some of the most glorified, hallowed names in the Hall of Fame cheated the sport in one way or another.  Doctoring the ball to improve pitch movement?  Definitely.  Spiking opposing players to break up a double play or help ensure a safe call on an attempted steal?  Sure.  Taking various flavors of amphetamines to make it through a game after a long bender the previous night?  That encompasses a whole decade or more of players.

But start making a run at the career home run record, and all of a sudden people get religion about PED use.  Miss about 60 games in your age 34 season and come back and hit .339/.535/.781/1.316 with 258 HR, 544 RBI, 872 BB, and a 241 OPS+ from your age 35-39 seasons, and the 4 consecutive MVP awards lose a bit of luster.  That will not stop you from being lauded and spoken of in glowing terms even as many, many casual observers and critics whisper not-so-quietly about your bobblehead self being a better player AFTER 15 years in the majors than you were for those first 15.

Of course, Barry Bonds has some elite company in the pantheon of known cheats and suspected cheats.  Mark McGwire was not in Washington to “talk about the past”.  Sammy Sosa had no idea he ever used a corked bat or anything else to give him an edge.  That 50 HR season for Brady Anderson just happened to be a cosmic alignment gone right.  Ignore the fact that he never hit more than 24 HR in any other of his 15 major league season.  He just had it going for 1 magical season, right?  Sure.  MVPee Ryan Braun narrowly escaped a 50-game suspension when Shyam Das was unable to properly interpret MLB’s wordy description of “chain of custody”, and now Melky Cabrera has upset the apple cart yet again.

When I first heard the news about Melky Cabrera’s positive test for synthetic testosterone, I immediately wanted to know whether or not he would qualify for the batting title.  My first reaction to hearing that he would not gave me a sense of relief, although I sincerely hoped that someone else like Andrew McCutchen would top Cabrera’s .346 average outright.  After giving all this some time to digest, I have changed my mind.  Would baseball be better off in the long run, if Cabrera actually did win a batting title the same year he tested positive for PED use?  I think the answer may be “yes”.

The unfortunate and unintended consequence would be that McCutchen likely deserves a batting title that he would not win.  That alone should get Pirates fans up in arms and rightfully so.  It would also have much of the MLB fan base outraged, and some greater good could be the end result.  If ever there was a time and place to introduce the ” * ” into the record books for PED use, then the proper time and place would be after a PED user wins an award in a triple crown category.  In a sense, such a thing flies in the face of all who have played the game even more so than a cheater winning a Gold Glove or an MVP award.  The triple crown categories are not decided by vote, a show of hands, or hanging chads in Florida.  No, the category winners are decided by raw numbers, and those rarely lie.

If Melky can go from a lifetime .275/.331/.398/.729 hitter to a .346/.390/.516/.906 masher, then maybe MLB can wake up and smell the testosterone finally.  The current system still favors the bold, or at least it favors the bold cheater.  As this pertains to the aforementioned concern regarding practical factors, consider for a moment the basic risk/reward scenario for an average player.  After taxes, agent fees, and all other sorts of business expenses, a player making as much as $1M a year may do quite well, but he certainly won’t be able to sustain wealth at that pace.  If he intends to cash in enough to be set for life, he needs to make at least twice that amount or multiple years.  Given that scenario, how tempting might a quick fix to overcome injury or improve physical stamina be?

Honestly, I’d do it in a heartbeat in that situation.  I’d sacrifice long term health for a huge payday without thinking twice.  The thought that my family would be financially secure outweighs any concerns I have about myself.  Does that make me a bad person?

Who cares?  I would not lose any sleep over such a thing, and I’m sure some athletes face that decision all the time.  Since MLB cannot change the player side of the equation, then it must change the baseball side.  If that means stricter rules, longer suspensions, and a symbolic addition to the player’s career numbers, then that needs to happen.  If players must submit to more random testing, then so be it.  The argument about personal freedoms and rights just rings hollow when your integrity gets challenged.  Man up and pee in the little cup.

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3 Up and 3 Down

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3 Up and 3 Down

Posted on 01 June 2012 by Gary Marchese

3 UP and 3 Down:

It is that time once again.  It is time for my weekly look at the 3 up and 3 down around major league baseball.  As always please feel free to contact me through twitter @gmarchesej, facebook, comment under the article or email me at gmarchesej@aol.com.  Thanks for the support and I welcome any feedback as long as it is kept civil.

DOWN - Matt Kemp

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Matt Kemp was having a great season for the Dodgers. Matt Kemp got injured and then tried to come back on Wednesday night. Matt Kemp left the game in the first inning after trying to run and he felt his hamstring getting tight. Kemp is back on the DL now, his injuries are threatening a very promising MVP, possible triple crown season.

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3 Up And 3 Down – May 16

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3 Up And 3 Down – May 16

Posted on 16 May 2012 by Gary Marchese

Here is the three up and three down column for the week.  We usually take a look at three players who are up and three players who are down.  I am going to look at a couple of teams as well though this week.  As always I can be reached on twitter @gmarchesej, on facebook and by email at gmarchesej@aol.com.  Please feel free to comment under the article as well.

Feel free to scroll through the gallery below to see the 3 Up and 3 Down picks for this week.

Up - Adam Dunn

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Adam Dunn is enjoying a comeback season thus far. He is batting 248 with 12 homeruns and 28 RBI. He had 11 homeruns and 42 RBI all of last season and batted 159.

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DOs And DONTs: Detroit Tigers

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DOs And DONTs: Detroit Tigers

Posted on 27 February 2012 by Jared Thatcher

This is a very hard article to write on the Detroit Tigers simply because there are so few DONTs on their Major League roster. This off-season they spent some big money signing Prince Fielder and have been in the discussion regarding some high profile international players. Let’s look at who you should draft and who you should let drift by.

Don’t expect anything less than an MVP season from staff ace Justin Verlander in 2012. He has all the makings of a future HOFer and is the reining AL MVP. Expect tons of strikeouts and over 20 wins this season for a powerful looking Tigers team. In most leagues he should not slip out of the first two rounds of your draft.

Do take Brennan Boesch as one of your everyday outfielders. He is young and really coming into his own with the bat. He has very big power potential as well as the ability to steal a few bases. Boesch should really come into his own this year and be an asset to your fantasy team.

Don’t take Austin Jackson before the 12th round of your draft. He might not be the lead-off man this year Detroit and but if your league offers points for steals, he may be a steal somewhere deep in the draft. The Tigers don’t really have any other choice in center field but be cautious how high you draft him.

Don’t forget to pick up Max Scherzer as your number 3 or 4 starter this year. He has a ridiculous 2-seam fastball and should strikeout a ton of batters this year. Control can sometimes be an issue but he should provide you with close to 200 innings and decent production. Scherzer’s win totals may jump up this year with a powerful offense behind him.

DO DO DO take Miguel Cabrera as your number 1 overall pick in 2012. He has third base eligibility and can flat out rake. With Prince Fielder hitting behind him he could contend for a triple crown sort of season this year. Don’t pass him up.

Don’t miss out on Prince Fielder in the first round of the draft. He should have lots of guys on base this year to drive in and the power will not be diminished in Detroit. Make him your number one target as a first baseman this year and enjoy the ride to the playoffs.

Do try to lay off the middle infielders for the Tigers this year. They won’t provide much production to your fantasy team.

Don’t forget about the Tigers young catcher, Alex Avila. He had a big year in 2011 and is looking to expand on that. He should be able to weather another long season at catcher and will provide your fantasy team with some nice offensive number for the catcher position.

Don’t take Victor Martinez in any of your leagues! In case you didn’t look at the headlines this past off season he is hurt and will not be back this season most likely. Instead try to talk the new guy into drafting him in the first round.

Don’t be afraid to get Jose Valverde as your closer. He closes out games and should have plenty of leads to protect this year.

Do pay attention to some of the young pitchers in the Tigers system. Rick Porcello is looking to have a solid, rebound year and should be fighting to stay in the lineup everyday. Jacob Turner might break camp with the Major League squad but he will probably be seasoned a bit more in the minors. Either way he should make an impact at the Major League level this year and he has lightning stuff.

Don’t forget about my favorite sleeper on the Tigers, Drew Smyly. In my opinion he is better than Jacob Turner and might even reach The Show before Turner. He has electric stuff but more importantly he has great control. He may be your very first waiver pickup if he breaks camp on the 25-man roster but if he doesn’t, put him on your watch list and wait for the call-up.

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DOs And DONTs: Los Angeles Dodgers

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DOs And DONTs: Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted on 15 February 2012 by Gary Marchese

Editor’s Note: The 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers might be a franchise in the middle of being sold, near bankruptcy and struggling for an identity.  That does not, however, mean that they cannot help you this year in your fantasy league.  Here is a look at do’s and don’ts for the Dodgers.

Do look at the Dodgers outfield.  They have quite an outfield with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and Jerry Sands.  Matt Kemp was a triple crown candidate last season, Ethier is a good young player and Sands is up and coming.  Rivera is a solid veteran, you have plenty of outfield choices just on the Dodgers alone.  Ethier was at 292, 11, 62 last year with a 368 on base percentage.  Kemp was 324, 39, 126 with a 399 on base and 40 stolen bases.  Sands was at 253, 4, 26 last year in 61 games.  The Dodgers have high hopes for him though and he flashed some of that potential.  Rivera was 258, 11,74 with a 319 on base percentage.  I would put Ethier and Kemp high on my list, Sands good if your in a keeper league and Rivera as a good backup/bench player.

Don’t even look at the Dodgers catchers.  They really don’t have any catchers worth looking at.  They had Russell Martin and gave him away, I wonder what they think of that now.  Matt Trainor may be their starter now and he hit 214 last season with three homeruns and 22 RBI.  A.J. Ellis is a young player who played in 31 games last year hit 271 with two homeruns and 11 RBI.  Who knows what Ellis is, I would stay away from the Dodgers catchers.

Do consider James Loney a legitimate option at first base.  He hit 288 with 12 homeruns and 65 RBI last season.  He would like to improve on his power numbers but his on base was also at 339.  He hit’s a lot of doubles.

Don’t think Juan Uribe is a starter any longer.  He is a veteran but he is getting older and last year may be more of the norm for him.  He batted 204 last year with four homeruns and 28 RBI.  I would like to believe he will improve on that but how much so??  I wouldn’t think he would jump up to like 250 or so with 20 homeruns and 60 RBI.  I wouldn’t waste a pick on him.  He did only play 77 games last year and the two prior years hit 248 and 289 with 24 and 16 in homeruns.  I wouldn’t bet on him getting back to that level again though.

Do believe in the hype and potential of Dee Gordon.  He has been talked about as a future star and he has a good bloodline with his father being Tom “Flash” Gordon.  He hit 304 with 11 RBI in 56 games last season.  His on base percentage was 325 and he also had 24 stolen bases.  I would especially take him in a keeper league.  He is only 23 years old, will turn 24 in April and has his whole career ahead of him.

Don’t take too much time looking at the Dodgers relievers.  Todd Coffey, Blake Hawksworth and Kenley Janson are the names you know.  Coffey had a decent year but still not dominating and usually you want dominating relievers for fantasy teams.  You need the strikeout numbers, wins and the ERA.

On the flip side I would say I Do to their starting pitching.  They have Ted Lilly, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.  Kershaw is one of the best in baseball, Billingsley had a disappointing year last year but is still a young pitcher with potential, Lilly to me is one of the most underrated players in baseball, Harang is solid and Capuano can be a decent back of the rotation guy or reserve pitcher on your fantasy team.  Kershaws numbers:21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, five complete games and two shutouts.  He had 248 strikeouts and a .98 WHIP.  Billingsley:11-11 with a 4.21 ERA, one complete game, 152 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP.  Lilly was 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA, 158 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP.  Harang 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA, 124 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP.  Capuano who could be their fifth starter was 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA, one complete game and one shutout.  He had 168 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP.  Capuano would be the least likely to draft but could be an emergency signing or a backup pitcher.  He may not be that great but he also isn’t that bad.

Don’t be fooled by the name of Tony Gwynn.  He isn’t like his father at all.  He hit 256 with two homeruns and 22 RBI last season.  He did play 136 games and had a 308 on base percentage.  He did have 22 stolen bases.

Do take Jerry Hairston as a very capable backup outfielder or utility guy.  He hit 270 last year with five homeruns and 31 RBI.  He isn’t a big power guy and won’t drive in a ton of runs but he is a solid backup.  He could also steal some bases although last season he only had three.

I know I did less overall Dos and Don’ts in this article but I felt I covered more players.  I grouped a lot more into one paragraph such as the relievers, starters and catchers.  If you feel I missed anyone or would like to add to anything I said please feel free to comment here on the site.  If you have a twitter account feel free to follow me and interact with me there @gmarchesej, the site is also on face book, please like Full Spectrum baseball and comment and like the articles there.  Thank you for visiting and reading not just my articles but our whole team of talented writers.  I hope you look forward to these articles as I have a lot of fun looking at all the different teams, I will continue to do so throughout the entire season and we will have all your baseball especially fantasy baseball needs covered.

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