Sorry for being away for so long. I was writing for another blog, gradingonthecurve.com previewing the Arizona Fall League players for the ten Western Division teams. The playoffs are in full swing and we are already down to the final four teams. Here are some of my observations of what we have seen so far.
For his career, Beltran was the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year with the Royals. He is an eight-time All Star with only one top five finish in the MVP race (2006 with the Mets). 100 RBI seasons are usually a good indicator of production; Beltran has eight of them, the last coming in 2008 although he drove in 97 in 2012. His career numbers after 16 seasons read like this: 358 HR’s, 1,327 RBI’s, 308 stolen bases and a line of .283/.359/.496.
Personally, I think Beltran deserves to get in. He has had eight dominant seasons even if the results didn’t show up in the MVP race. Although his career was cut short due to an injury, the reason why Kirby Puckett is in the Hall of Fame is because he has two World series rings and was the best player on those teams. Beltran has better overall numbers with no title. If Beltran gets to the Fall Classic, he knocks on the door; if the Cardinals win, the door swings open.
-Since Billy Beane became the general manager in 1998, the Oakland A’s have made six playoff appearances (five division titles and one wild card) and have gotten to the ALCS only once. Some may consider this a knock on his record. I do not. Getting to the playoffs in baseball is the hardest road to travel in any professional sport. They should be celebrated for their tremendous success over 162 games not maligned for a failure to advance after five games. What has made the last two seasons hurt is having the Tigers win the decisive Game 5 in both years at Oakland. They can thank Justin Verlander for shutting them out two straight seasons in the clinchers.
-Speaking of Verlander and the Tigers, there was no way I would have taken him out after eight innings with a 3-0 lead. He had allowed only two hits and one walk with ten strikeouts on 111 pitches. That is domination and to me, you allow your star pitcher to finish the game. It worked out for Jim Leyland but one could only imagine if the A’s rallied. I am a firm believer of letting your best starting pitcher close out a tight series, like the Cards did with Adam Wainwright in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Pirates.
-I really don’t have too much of a rooting interest but if I had to pick a team, it would be the Dodgers. Don Mattingly was my favorite player and I want to see him do well after being almost fired earlier this season. It is hard to root for them given how I write a blog about the Diamondbacks. However, I can put personal feelings aside in the hopes that Donnie Baseball, who just missed out on a title as player with the Yankees, can get one as a manager.
-Had Torii Hunter made this catch, he would have become a legend.