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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘RBI’

By The Numbers

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

While we’re counting the Omer we’ll also be counting Alex Rodriguez’s homers. When the Yankees third baseman hits his 17th home run this season, it will be the 600th of his career. A-Rod, who’ll be 35 in July, is a good bet to hit 800 career home runs – a number never yet reached by anyone – before he retires.

 

Albert Pujols was 34 homers shy of reaching number 400 when the season started. The Cardinals first baseman is 30 and may top A-Rod’s career homers before he’s through.

 

In the pitching department, Milwaukee reliever Trevor Hoffman, 42, started the season nine saves shy of 600. That’s a mark that may never be reached by any other pitcher. Mariano Rivera, for example, started 2010 at 526 career saves. The Yankees closer is 40 and has a good shot at 600 saves but Hoffman is still adding to the numbers that could cement his spot as baseball’s all-time saves leader.

 

Speaking of aging pitchers and consistency, Phillies lefthander Jamie Moyer is the big story. He’s 47 years old. That’s right, 47. Moyer is in his 24th big league season; his numbers are 258-195 with a 4.22 ERA. Certainly not Hall of Fame caliber, but good enough to have kept Moyer in the majors for two and a half decades.

 

How good will Roy Halladay be with the Phillies? While with Toronto in the American League he faced the Yankees, Red Sox, Tampa Bay and several other solid hitting teams. With the Phils in the National League, Halladay will face weaker hitting as the NL doesn’t have the designated hitter rule and the pitcher bats for himself (unless, of course, the manager inserts a pinch hitter resulting in that pitcher’s removal from the game).

 

The fact that the National and American leagues operate with different rules is ridiculous, but that’s for another column. Aging hitters add on a couple of years to their career as designated hitters, but I like the strategy and the additional decisions managers have to make in the NL.

 

Speaking of hitters, can Ryan Braun (.320, 32 homers, 114 RBI last year) and Prince Fielder (.299, 46, 141) equal or better their numbers this year? Can Mark Reynolds do it again? He’s the biggest star most people don’t know about. The third baseman of the Arizona Diamondbacks was the only big-league player last year to top 40 homers (44), 100 RBI (102), and 20 stolen bases (24).

 

While Houston is expected to finish close to the bottom of the NL Central, I’ll be following the Astros’ interesting outfield. Center fielder Michael Bourn led the league with 61 stolen bases while batting .285 in ’09, and the defensive whiz won a Gold Glove.

 

Braun hit only three home runs but power comes from the outfield corners. Right fielder Hunter Pence hit 25 home runs while batting .282 last year and veteran left fielder Carlos Lee had his usual steady year (.300, 26,102). In his three years with the Astros, Lee has slugged 86 homers and knocked in 321 runs while batting .305.

 

Derek Jeter has hit over .300 for five consecutive seasons and carried a .317 lifetime average when the season – his 16th with the Yankees – began. In all probability, he’ll reach 3,000 career hits next season. Jorge Posada will be 39 in August, pretty old for a catcher. Posada put up good numbers last year in only 313 at bats (.285, 22, 81). While it would be difficult for a team to come up with a catcher to match Posada, the Yanks have some good catching prospects you’ll be hearing about in Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.

 

While Jeter is in a class by himself, Troy Tulowitzki should outdo him over the next 10 years. Only 25, the all-star shortstop of the Colorado Rockies is superb in all departments. The defensive whiz batted .297, blasted 32 homers and swiped 20 bases last year. Another member of the Rockies who performs under the radar is Todd Helton. The left-handed batting 36-year-old first baseman hit .325 in ’09, has a .328 career average and will continue adding to his 2,000-plus hits and 300-plus homers as he quietly puts together a Hall of Fame career.

 

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward has been billed as a combination Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. Heyward hits for average and power and it will be interesting to follow the rookie who turns 21 in August. Veteran Chipper Jones hit only 18 home runs for the Braves last season. It was the first time Jones, 38, dipped under 20 in a season and his .264 average was 43 points under his career mark.

 

Matt Holliday was hitting .286 for Oakland last July 24 when he was traded to St. Louis and went on to bat .353 in 63 games for the Cardinals. While Holliday and Pujols put up big numbers, Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumaker is becoming quite a player. The 25-year-old left-handed batter topped .300 the past two seasons. Another player still under the radar is Brandon Phillips of the Reds. Last season he batted a steady .276 for Cincinnati with 30 doubles, 20 homers, 98 RBI and 25 stolen bases.

 

While we know that 27-year-old Twins catcher Joe Mauer is ticketed for the Hall of Fame, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is quickly establishing himself. Wieters hit .303 in 39 games for Triple-A Norfolk last year before being promoted and batting .288 for Baltimore in 96 games. He started slow with the Orioles but got better as the season wore on, hitting .350 in his final 27 games in ’09.

 

George Will, the all-around maven on everything from politics to baseball and a long-suffering Cubs fan, joked on a Detroit radio station that “the Cubs are three Cardinals injuries away from winning the division. Of course, the injuries have to be to the Cardinals’ top two pitchers and Albert Pujols.”

 

Will, while of course not hoping for any Cardinals injuries, would love to see the Cubs win a World Series in his lifetime. The last time the Cubbies did so was 102 years ago, in 1908, when they beat the Tigers of Ty Cobb.

 

The Cubs have a new owner this year and when manager Lou Piniella is replaced down the road, look for former Cubs star Ryne Sandberg to take over. The former second baseman knows the young talent in the system; he managed in Double-A last year and is skippering the Triple-A Iowa Cubs this season.

 

 

Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring as a department head in a major league front office. Cohen, whose column appears the second week of each month, is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul and may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

A Look Back At ’08

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The year is passing quickly. The balls and bats, the lulavim and esrogim, the Phillies World Series memorabilia – all have been put away, and it’s time to look back on the 2008 baseball season.

The biggest surprise to many baseball people, even more than the worst-to-first Tampa Bay Rays, was the collapse of the Detroit Tigers. Picked to win the World Series by many publications and pundits, the Tigers, with baseball’s second highest payroll (behind the Yankees), finished last in the American League Central with a dismal 74-88 record.

While I didn’t predict the Tigers to win the World Series, I did pick them to be in it and lose to the Mets. And, as you know, the Mets skidded at the end of the season to finish at 89-73, three games behind the pennant-winning Phillies.

The Yankees also finished at 89-73, six games behind Boston and eight behind Tampa Bay. One thing’s for sure: both New York teams and Detroit will be bidding for top free agent pitchers this off-season.

The New York teams have a big advantage by playing in new stadiums next year; curiosity seekers will show up in big numbers willing to pay big ticket prices. The Tigers drew over 3.2 million in ’08, but an ailing economy will contribute to much smaller numbers paying to watch an overpaid and underperforming Tiger team.

I can’t recall a team with so many players having off years at the same time as the ’08 Tigers. What’s worse, the front office blundered with poor trades and rewarded undeserving players with megabuck contracts.

Dontrelle Willis was a perfect example. Willis had a 10-15 record with a high 5.17 ERA for the Marlins in 2007. After being traded to the Tigers, Willis had a terrible spring training beset by wildness and was sent to the minors. He ended up ended up not winning a single game in the majors or minors. The Tigers are also stuck with the final year of Gary Sheffield’s $14 million contract next season. Until the Tigers add two good starting and relief pitchers, they won’t be able to compete in the AL Central.

Help, however, may be on the way from within the organization. There are a couple of top pitchers in the low minors who starred in college ball, so look for the Tigers to growl again in 2010, if not next year.

The Angels won 100 games in ’08 season while the Cubs won 97 and both wrapped up playoff spots early. But both were eliminated early in postseason play as they made too many errors. Even top pitchers can’t be expected to get four and five outs in some innings without giving up runs.

It’s not that the Angels and Cubs are bad defensively, they just happened to get sloppy at crucial times in the playoffs. That was the beauty of last season — it wasn’t predictable.

The preseason predictions had the Tampa Bay Rays either at the bottom or close to it. The 2007 version of the Rays actually had 57 more hits, 27 more doubles and seven more home runs than the 2008 club. So how did the ’08 Rays win 97 games while only winning 66 the year before? The answer: pitching. The Rays staff allowed 300 fewer hits and 273 fewer runs and lowered the team ERA from 5.53 in 2007 to 3.62 in ’08.

The Yankees have $86 million dollars freeing up with the expiration of big contract to several veteran players. Of course, the Yanks may elect to re-sign a couple, but will probably opt to get younger replacements.

Jason Giambi (38 in January), who earned $21 million last season (.247, 32 homers, 96 RBI) won’t be getting that much from any team next year. Neither will Bobby Abreu, who’ll be 35 in March. Abreu had a pretty good year by batting .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBI, but won’t command the $16 million the Yanks paid him.

Manny Ramirez will be known as Money Ramirez after he signs his big contract. Coming off terrific numbers with the Dodgers after being traded by the Red Sox in July, Ramirez will be 37 next May and at that age it makes sense only for an American League team to pay him all those dollars on a long term contract as he’ll be best suited for a designated hitter role within two years. The Dodgers are willing to pay him over $20 million per year to retain his services but have to be careful with how many years they give him, especially as he has a habit of wearing out his welcome.

Baseball people couldn’t believe how reckless the Dodgers were with the contract they gave to Andruw Jones. Jones batted .222 for the Atlanta Braves in 2007 and entered free agency and jumped at the Dodgers offer of $36.2 million for two years. Jones proved to be baseball’s worst and most overpaid player in 2008 by batting .158 with only three home runs in an injury shortened season.

Speaking of statistics, only two players hit over 40 home runs in 2008. Ryan Howard of the Phillies led the majors with 48 while Adam Dunn of Arizona hit 40. Carlos Delgado (Mets) hit 38 and four players the 37 mark. Looks like we’re finally out of the steroid era. We’re back to normal statistics as most of the aging stars look washed up instead of beefed up.

I must admit I was rooting for the Red Sox over the Rays to represent the American League in the World Series. I was actually rooting for Fenway Park over Tropicana Field, the ugly domed stadium located in St. Petersburg that the Rays call home. Rays’ ownership spiffed up the dome, but you can put on all the lipstick you want, it’s still not an attractive venue for baseball.

The Rays have plans for an architecturally pleasing open-air ballpark on St. Pete’s waterfront. The project may pick up steam now that Tampa fans jumped on the baseball bandwagon.

How about the year Kevin Youkilis had for the Red Sox?  He batted .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI while moving back and forth at the infield corner spots. A great defensive first baseman, Yuke played well at third base while filling in for Mike Lowell. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (.326, 17 homers, 83 RBI) was the choice for American League Most Valuable Player according to most scribes, but I’d have given it to Youkilis.

One thing’s for sure: Youkilis is the American League’s MVJP (Most Valuable Jewish Player).

Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His “Baseball Insider” column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

A Look Back At ’08

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The year is passing quickly. The balls and bats, the lulavim and esrogim, the Phillies World Series memorabilia – all have been put away, and it’s time to look back on the 2008 baseball season.


The biggest surprise to many baseball people, even more than the worst-to-first Tampa Bay Rays, was the collapse of the Detroit Tigers. Picked to win the World Series by many publications and pundits, the Tigers, with baseball’s second highest payroll (behind the Yankees), finished last in the American League Central with a dismal 74-88 record.


While I didn’t predict the Tigers to win the World Series, I did pick them to be in it and lose to the Mets. And, as you know, the Mets skidded at the end of the season to finish at 89-73, three games behind the pennant-winning Phillies.


The Yankees also finished at 89-73, six games behind Boston and eight behind Tampa Bay. One thing’s for sure: both New York teams and Detroit will be bidding for top free agent pitchers this off-season.


The New York teams have a big advantage by playing in new stadiums next year; curiosity seekers will show up in big numbers willing to pay big ticket prices. The Tigers drew over 3.2 million in ’08, but an ailing economy will contribute to much smaller numbers paying to watch an overpaid and underperforming Tiger team.


I can’t recall a team with so many players having off years at the same time as the ’08 Tigers. What’s worse, the front office blundered with poor trades and rewarded undeserving players with megabuck contracts.


Dontrelle Willis was a perfect example. Willis had a 10-15 record with a high 5.17 ERA for the Marlins in 2007. After being traded to the Tigers, Willis had a terrible spring training beset by wildness and was sent to the minors. He ended up ended up not winning a single game in the majors or minors. The Tigers are also stuck with the final year of Gary Sheffield’s $14 million contract next season. Until the Tigers add two good starting and relief pitchers, they won’t be able to compete in the AL Central.


Help, however, may be on the way from within the organization. There are a couple of top pitchers in the low minors who starred in college ball, so look for the Tigers to growl again in 2010, if not next year.


The Angels won 100 games in ’08 season while the Cubs won 97 and both wrapped up playoff spots early. But both were eliminated early in postseason play as they made too many errors. Even top pitchers can’t be expected to get four and five outs in some innings without giving up runs.


It’s not that the Angels and Cubs are bad defensively, they just happened to get sloppy at crucial times in the playoffs. That was the beauty of last season — it wasn’t predictable.


The preseason predictions had the Tampa Bay Rays either at the bottom or close to it. The 2007 version of the Rays actually had 57 more hits, 27 more doubles and seven more home runs than the 2008 club. So how did the ’08 Rays win 97 games while only winning 66 the year before? The answer: pitching. The Rays staff allowed 300 fewer hits and 273 fewer runs and lowered the team ERA from 5.53 in 2007 to 3.62 in ’08.


The Yankees have $86 million dollars freeing up with the expiration of big contract to several veteran players. Of course, the Yanks may elect to re-sign a couple, but will probably opt to get younger replacements.


Jason Giambi (38 in January), who earned $21 million last season (.247, 32 homers, 96 RBI) won’t be getting that much from any team next year. Neither will Bobby Abreu, who’ll be 35 in March. Abreu had a pretty good year by batting .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBI, but won’t command the $16 million the Yanks paid him.


Manny Ramirez will be known as Money Ramirez after he signs his big contract. Coming off terrific numbers with the Dodgers after being traded by the Red Sox in July, Ramirez will be 37 next May and at that age it makes sense only for an American League team to pay him all those dollars on a long term contract as he’ll be best suited for a designated hitter role within two years. The Dodgers are willing to pay him over $20 million per year to retain his services but have to be careful with how many years they give him, especially as he has a habit of wearing out his welcome.


Baseball people couldn’t believe how reckless the Dodgers were with the contract they gave to Andruw Jones. Jones batted .222 for the Atlanta Braves in 2007 and entered free agency and jumped at the Dodgers offer of $36.2 million for two years. Jones proved to be baseball’s worst and most overpaid player in 2008 by batting .158 with only three home runs in an injury shortened season.


Speaking of statistics, only two players hit over 40 home runs in 2008. Ryan Howard of the Phillies led the majors with 48 while Adam Dunn of Arizona hit 40. Carlos Delgado (Mets) hit 38 and four players the 37 mark. Looks like we’re finally out of the steroid era. We’re back to normal statistics as most of the aging stars look washed up instead of beefed up.


I must admit I was rooting for the Red Sox over the Rays to represent the American League in the World Series. I was actually rooting for Fenway Park over Tropicana Field, the ugly domed stadium located in St. Petersburg that the Rays call home. Rays’ ownership spiffed up the dome, but you can put on all the lipstick you want, it’s still not an attractive venue for baseball.


The Rays have plans for an architecturally pleasing open-air ballpark on St. Pete’s waterfront. The project may pick up steam now that Tampa fans jumped on the baseball bandwagon.


How about the year Kevin Youkilis had for the Red Sox?  He batted .312 with 29 homers and 115 RBI while moving back and forth at the infield corner spots. A great defensive first baseman, Yuke played well at third base while filling in for Mike Lowell. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (.326, 17 homers, 83 RBI) was the choice for American League Most Valuable Player according to most scribes, but I’d have given it to Youkilis.


One thing’s for sure: Youkilis is the American League’s MVJP (Most Valuable Jewish Player).


Irwin Cohen, the author of seven books, headed a national baseball publication for five years before earning a World Series ring working as a department head in a major league front office. His “Baseball Insider” column appears the second week of each month in The Jewish Press. Cohen, who is president of the Detroit area’s Agudah shul, may be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/a-look-back-at-08/2008/11/12/

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