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Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

Why Yadier Molina should be Your N.L. MVP

In Baseball, Long form on September 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Yadier Molina is putting up one of the quietest MVP-caliber seasons in recent memory.

If Yadier Molina had retired after the 2006 season, Cardinals fans would still remember him. Not because he hit .216 (and not because you only had to count to six to tally his home runs). They would remember him because  the last home run he hit that season sent the St. Louis Cardinals to the 2006 World Series. It was a career highlight in a career that appeared to be over before it had begun.

Since his Major League debut in 2004, Molina’s numbers had done nothing but decline. From a .267 B.A./.329 OBP/.356 SLG line in 2004, he slumped to .252/.295/.358 in 2005, then plummeted to .216/.274/.321 in 2006. He never hit more than 8 home runs, couldn’t knock in more than 50 RBI, doubled his strikeouts and dropped his OPS+ 25 points to a staggeringly bad 53.[1] He was one of the best defensive catchers in the game, and his arm caught nearly 50 percent of base stealers. Even so, the Molina-shaped offensive hole in the Cardinals’s lineup couldn’t be filled with Gold Gloves.

That was six seasons ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick update on Vogelsong

In Baseball on September 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Heckuva’ job, Vogie.

Because nothing is worse than watching Joe Flacco succeed, I switched off Monday Night Football for the Giants game last night to see if I’d been right in my post about Ryan Vogelsong last week. He once again struggled, giving up three doubles and a home run en route to a five inning, four earned run game.

His change-up, which he used sparingly, continued to creep closer to the velocity of his fastball (which I should say looked very good, reaching as high as 94 on Comcast’s radar at least once). This resulted in more curveballs, and he wasn’t getting a lot of movement on those as you can see from a FanGraph of last night’s game.

Pitch movement 9/10

So yeah, not good. Here’s what he had to say to The San Francisco Chronicle following the game:

“Vogelsong was not at a loss. He said he is not hitting spots, and mechanics are part of the problem. In one start, his left side is askew. In the next, it’s his right.”

Is This the End of Ryan Vogelsong?

In Baseball, Long form on September 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

He’s a 35-year-old fan favorite with an inferiority complex and a well-established history of performing in stomach-churning situations. He’s been the most consistent member of the San Francisco Giants’ starting rotation this year. He’s the best value on the team, and he’s saved an injury-plagued bullpen on dozens of occasions.

Don’t forget, though, he’s 35 years old.

Ryan Vogelsong is Jim Morris with an All-Star pedigree. After a lackluster start to his Major League career, he spent years toiling in Nippon Professional League obscurity before being reacquired by San Francisco in 2011. That season earned him a place on the National League All-Star team, and his first half numbers in 2012 placed him squarely among those snubbed from this year’s Midsummer Classic.

But even Cinderella stories come to an end; and Vogelsong’s latest series of outings suggest that his carriage may actually be a pumpkin. Read the rest of this entry »

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