The NL MVP race was a tough one, not just because of the debate about how much Clayton Kershaw deserves to be included as a pitcher. Andrew McCutchen, with the highest wRC+ and the most WAR and the only player with an OBP above .400 seemed like the best choice. I hated putting Freeman on this list. In a year with great pitching, I felt like it had to go to a hitter that succeeding against those odds.
In the AL I felt it was a little easier. Mike Trout is crazy good.
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in its Cy Young category Wednesday, with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw winning the group’s National League award, and Felix Hernandez, of the Seattle Mariners, being selected in the American League.
Clayton Kershaw was a no-brainer, and his unanimous selection means everyone else agreed. After the playoffs I do feel a little silly having left Madison Bumgarner off the ballot entirely, but there was a lot of good pitching.
Hernandez’s selection was more contested. I voted for Corey Kluber, who did receive more first-place votes but less total points. It was really a toss-up either way, as both guys were definitely deserving. I ultimately erred on the side of Kluber’s higher WAR and strikeout total.
The IBWAA, of which I am a member, is the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and released the results of their Rookie of the Year balloting today. I can’t speak to how it mirrors the official award, but I’m happy with the result.
Los Angeles – The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) announced the winners in the Rookie of the Year category Monday, with the Chicago White Sox’ Jose Abreu winning the group’s American League award, and Jacob deGrom, of the New York Mets, being selected in the National League.
Jacob deGrom received 105 first place votes and beat out Billy Hamilton by 130 points.
Jacob deGrom was a no-brainer for me, and though it may be tinged with a little home-town favoritism, it can’t be understated how good Travis d’Arnaud was after his demotion, and at a critical position.
Baseball is over. We are all sad. It’s been nearly a month since the Mets played though, and that regular routine of baseball has been weened from our schedule already. It feels like ages since they’ve played.
Are the Mets next? Will the Mets at least be in the conversation to be next? Time will tell. The season of half-baked rumors begins now.
I realize this is one of those debates that everyone is firmly entrenched on either side, but here it is cropping up again. Jenrry Mejia’s post-save celebrations have often been somewhat demonstrative and his most recent save over the Nationals tipped the scale enough to bring up the tired old ‘hey, that’s now how things are done!’ argument.
I can’t quite figure out why anyone cares. There are no style points in baseball and some players have always worn their hearts on their sleeves. There is no code of conduct and there’s no reason to try to force players to play by your set of standards. As Mejia said himself, if you don’t want to see him save a game…well, beat him.
It’s even more ridiculous for this to have spun a media cycle where crotchety beat writers, who hate when anything interesting happens after the 6th inning, whipped the story into enough of a frenzy that Terry Collins actually had to address it with Mejia.
There are the entertainers, we are the entertainees. Why get up in arms when they do just that? You don’t tell the magician to tone down his flourishes, don’t tell Brad Pitt how he should portray his character. Let’s stop trying to bland-down the game of baseball.
Let’s stop worrying about how much emotion the players show, and worry more about getting Mejia more opportunities to be celebrating a victory.
The second half of the season is often time for change at ballparks, and Citi Field is no different. There is now a new cider stand located on the field level in the right field corner. Cider is a popular drink, and a growing one in popularity too. I wrote about some of the best ones over at BeerGraphs last year.
Obviously, some of these are macro brews masquerading as well-crafted ciders. The two taps, Johnny Appleseed and Stella Artois Cidre, are not good beer/ciders and are both brewed by large breweries. So is Smith and Forge.
Original Sin is a New York brewery, though technically it’s contract brewed in Florida, and I’ve enjoyed their cider from time to time. Angry Orchard ciders, both the apple ginger and crisp apple, are pretty good, and they’re brewed/owned by Sam Adams.
The most interesting one there though is McKenzie’s Original. McKenzie’s Hard Cider was founded in 2011 in Buffalo so they’re the most authentic New York cider on the list. I’ve never had the original, but I tasted both their Seasonal Reserve (which has the best BAR rating of any cider on BeerGraphs) and their black cherry, both which were delicious. The Seasonal Reserve tastes like apple pie. Delicious apple pie.
You can also find 16oz cans of McKenzie’s Original at the Empire State Beer stands and also Ommegang’s Cooperstown Ale, an American Blonde, that’s new as well.
You’ll notice the Shock Top HoneyCrisp Apple Wheat beer logo on the Cider Stand, but I didn’t actually see that one anywhere so I won’t comment on it.
Really. The best thing the 8-2 homestand did for us was save us from obscurity and create a chance, however slight, that the Mets could compete in the second half. While the Wild Card always remains an option, it’s the division you have to focus on, at least until September.
I’m not suggesting we start a magic number count or anything, but it’s okay to imagine the Mets running off a couple more 8-2 stretches over the next couple of months and thinking about how it could get them back into things. Especially if those winning stretches coincide with the 12 games left against the Nationals and the six games left with the Braves.
Right now the Mets are still chasing a number. They have to get above .500, and then they have to set a pace that gets them as many wins as will likely win the division. That number is currently very variable, and if perhaps the Nationals or Braves are flawed, struggle, or face injuries in the second half it’s an attainable one for the Mets.
The Nationals currently are on an 89 win pace on top of the division. The Mets would have to go 44-23 to reach that. That’s a .657 winning percentage, which would be 106 games over a 162 game schedule. That’s pretty high, although not impossible. Last year the Dodgers were 47-47 and went 45-23 (.662) to win 92 games. In 2012 Oakland finished 48-24 to win 93. Baltimore went 47-25 (.653) to win 93. Every year there is a team or two that plays ridiculously well over the last 60 or 70 games, and sometimes they’re teams that were wallowing around .500 at the All-Star break that no one though were that good. So why not the 2014 Mets?
The math changes if the top NL East team doesn’t win 89, and the Mets have the ability to change that themselves. Let’s say the Mets beat the Nationals in nine of their 13 meetings. Now even if they continue the rate of winning they’ve displayed so far this year in the rest of the non-Mets games, they’ll only win 86. Now the Mets would only need to go 32-22 (.593) in the other games to get to 86 wins. They have less games left against the Braves, but I believe the Nationals are the better team and that Atlanta is more likely to slip to a mid-80s, or lower, win total already.
I personally believe the Nationals and Braves aren’t great, and that it’s possible a mid-80s win total could win the division. There is also always the wild card of injuries, or more injuries than to the Mets, to the teams on top lowering their record.
Obviously good things need to happen for the Mets to play even the 36-31 ball that would get them to .500 and their first non-losing season in what feels like ages. Luckily there are plenty of good things you could see happening. David Wright could play more like he’s played of late and less like the powerless guy he was early on. Travis d’Arnaud really could have turned that corner and continue to hit like a major leaguer. Ruben Tejada needs to continue to get on base. Juan Lagares needs to hit more like he did early on this year, and/or the Mets could find another bat to play left field. The pitching is key, because the Mets seem to have plenty of talented pitchers already and plenty of depth available to them. They’ve got talented young arms they’re using in the bullpen and as a result the bullpen has been very good. If they can continue to pitch as well as they have, it’ll lessen the burden on the weaker offense and allow them to win more games with fewer runs.
Unlike previous years, this Mets team is poised to take a step forward in the second half of the season. It’s still unlikely that the improvement is big enough to step over the Braves and Nationals into October, but it’s not out of the question either.
There are always interesting scheduling quirks throughout the season, and the Mets are coming into a nice one starting this Thursday when they have an off day to return home.
After that they go three weeks never playing farther away than a weekend trip to Washington. First they play the Phillies at home followed by the home and home with the Yankees. After the trip to Washington they have a day off and another long homestand with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Pirates.
Even after that they have a five game series in nearby Philadelphia before they head to Cincinnati and San Francisco.
Baseball players are used to odd hours and lots of travel, but the daily grind of travel and weird schedules can still take its toll. The Mets have a rather relaxing couple of weeks of no red-eye flights and no day games after night games in a different city. It would be nice to see them capitalize on that comfort, especially since they only have eight home games in June.