Tagged: Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano is the American League MVP

You come to this blog not just because you know me but also because I have some interesting things to say.  I sometimes dabble in topics that provide a different take on the game of baseball or sometimes go off the reservation when making a prediction, such as me picking the Seattle Mariners to win the American League West this season.  Regardless, one of my goals is to give the reader something new to think about, something that he or she may not have considered and having them come around to it see from my point of view.  Well, here goes another one of those topics.

Robinson Cano should be the 2013 AL MVP.  Image:  espn.com

Robinson Cano should be the 2013 AL MVP. Image: espn.com

Robinson Cano deserves to be the American League MVP.

Before you decide if this the right or wrong choice, stop for a moment.  Turn away from this page, grab yourself a drink (alcoholic or not) have a cookie and take a deep breath.  I promise I will still be here. There are five guys who I think would belong in this discussion:  Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, Chris Davis and Mike Trout (only because people want a Cabrera-Trout rematch). Yes, numbers are important and Cano would not be listed here if his were weak.  The key word here is “valuable”; we have to put that word back into MVP.

Of the five gentlemen listed, think about where their respective teams would be if they were injured or underperforming.  For all of his greatness, the Angels minus Trout this year would be more than the four games under .500 they currently are.  It is very hard for someone to win the award whose team has been out of playoff contention since May.  I know you shouldn’t compare teams from year to year when determining an individual award.  However, the Orioles were better in 2012 when Davis’s numbers were not nearly as impressive as 2013’s output.  Donaldson has enjoyed a breakout season for the A’s but his numbers are little down as compared to Cano’s.  Finally, Cabrera has been slowed by injury for the past month which while not taking away from another dominating season, the Tigers have been comfortably ahead in the AL Central all season long.  Now, think about where the Yankees would be without Cano.  Although they may ultimately come up short of the playoffs, there is no chance they are even close without his production.  This leads me to the other part of my reasoning.

Think about each candidates supporting cast.  Although Albert Pujols has been hurt and Josh Hamilton has had a rough season, Trout still has Mark Trumbo who is on pace for 35 home runs and over 100 RBI’s in addition to C.J. Wilson who could win 18 games for the Halos.  Davis has Adam Jones (32 HR’s, 103 RBI’s) and Manny Machado (51 doubles) to help him drive the Orioles offense.  Donaldson has three other teammates that have over 20 homers plus a staff that ranks second in the AL with a 3.61 ERA.  Cabrera is surrounded by Torii Hunter (17 HR’s, 78 RBI’s, .295) and Prince Fielder (24 HR’s, 103 RBI’s, .283) in the lineup.  Cano’s biggest help in the run producing department is Alfonso Soriano, who didn’t come to the team until the end of July and Brett Gardner whose numbers (8 HR’s, 52 RBI’s, 24 steals) do not measure up to any of the players I listed earlier.

I do not want to diminish anyone’s reliance on statistics such as WAR or other metrics that help determine year-end awards.  All serve a purpose and should be considered when making a selection.  However, I think we do overanalyze when some simple thinking can be applied.  This is the case for the AL MVP discussion.  Just ask yourself this question:  which team would be most hurt if their star player was absent?  When you realize the answer, hands down, is Robinson Cano, then you will have identified the 2013 AL MVP.

Josh Reddick: The Best Player You Are Not Following

It sure has been a long time since I have been on here.  And boy does it feel good to be back.  I did take a nice long vacation but came back last Sunday.  From there, I contended with a stomach bug, my wife’s birthday, a Big Time Rush concert and 100 miles of driving on both Saturday and Sunday.  It began to feel as though this blog was being overlooked.

Sort of like Josh Reddick is on the national scene. 

Yes, he is a nightly fixture on MLB Network because of his spectacular plays in the field and at bat.  But did you realize has belted 25 home runs, the same number as Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano?  Probably not.  Now I understand he plays in a loaded division with the two-time defending AL champion Rangers and the Angels who count Pujols and story of the year candidate Mike Trout.  Heck, more people attribute the suprise of Reddick’s team, the A’s, to its great pitching.  All of this is true.  However, people need to realize that Reddick is a special player.  The average is a not-so-hot .253 but then again, he doesn’t have a stacked lineup like the Rangers, Angels and Yankees.   Plus, he plays his hoem games in the Oakland Coliseum, which is a pitcher’s paradise.    In the field, Reddick’s defense is nothing short of electric.  He has made numerous catches and throws that shoudl enable him to win a Gold Glove this season.  In fact, let us check out one of those plays right now.  The victim?  Trout himself.

If Oakland is to make its first playoff appearance since 2006,  Josh Reddick will have to be the offensive catalyst.  Although he will not win the league MVP,  there is no doubt that he is the A’s team MVP right now.  Maybe if Oakland does sneak in as a Wild Card, the nation will appreciate the talents of its future All-Star Right Fielder.

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at www.venomstrikes.com

Yankees Can Survive the Regular Season Without Mariano Rivera

Image: elespectador.com

Yes it is true.  It will be quite strange not seeing Mariano Rivera close games for the Yankees in 2012.   His time as the New York relief ace has spanned three Presidents, four Summer Olympics and countless technological innovations.  So instead of reflecting back on his career like so many have today, let us concentrate on the present and what this means for the Bronx Bombers this season.

While his injury is severe, the impact on the Yankees, at least in the regular season will not be as great as people think.   Plenty of teams have lost their closers before the season has started or early on and still enjoyed a taste of the playoffs.   There were the 2010 Minnesota Twins who did not have Joe Nathan at all yet still won 94 games and the AL Central title.  Last year’s Cardinals watched Ryan Franklin, who notched 66 saves between 2009 and 2010, lose his effectiveness in April.  All they did was win the World Series.  This season, the Rays have not had Kyle Farnsworth this season yet that has not prevented them from having a fast start.   No, the Yankees will miss Rivera if they make the postseason.  The security of knowing a guy has done it for 15 years, through every playoff series is gone.  No longer will Yankee fans feel safe after 7 or 8 innings.  It doesn’t matter if David Robertson and Rafael Soriano give up 0 runs each the rest of the year, neither of them are the great Rivera. 

Losing Rivera is not the biggest problem for the Yankees.  Manager Joe Girardi continuing to bat Robinson Cano behind Mark Teixeria and Alex Rodriguez will become the biggest headache for New York fans.  Cano is clearly the best hitter on the team; he needs to bat third every single game.  Thursday’s game against the Royals epitomized this.  In the top of the 9th with the Yanks down a run, they had runners on first and second with no one out.  Texeria proceeds to ground into a double play and Rodriguez taps out to end the game.  Cano was left standing in the on deck circle.  Unacceptable.

I am not going to close the curtain on Mariano Rivera’s career yet.   That is for another time and place.  Now is not the time to do it.  Wait until Mo decides its time.  Of all the players in sports, shouldn’t he be the one  to decide when it’s over?

Follow me on Twitter @ltj41 and covering the Arizona Diamondbacks at www.venomstrikes.com