This was a few nights ago, and he actually hit two of them. This one was measured at 470 feet. Stanton is currently tied for the MLB lead with 31 total on the season. This ball lands where no ball has business landing.
Jay Bruce will be a gold glove outfielder, they said. This is that guy.
Giancarlo Stanton sure has been hot lately. He didn’t get out of Cincinnati without wrecking some buildings like the Godzilla that he is, but in his bid to hit his second home run of the day and 30th of the season, Jay Bruce touches the sky and brings it back.
It all started a couple years back when ESPN held some stupid post about which outfielder had the best throwing arm. Christina Kahrl – the co-founder of Baseball Prospectus (a site I love) – ran off a list of guys who had decent throwing arms but were nowhere near as good of throwing outfielders as Jay Bruce.
I brought this to her attention on twitter, and instead of admitting that she possibly omitted a guy who should have at least made their little list; she spits back some meaningless, stupid stat I’ve never heard of like ‘his don’t run on me percentage is ninth among NL right-fielders’. I knew right then that we were dealing with someone who:
a) Simply only watches large-market teams and stars – completely alright if you miss Bruce on the list because you simply don’t see him play. Not a good excuse, but it’s at least a reasonable excuse.
b) Someone who watches baseball about like 99% of most women out there.
c) She was ‘statting’ players, not scouting or watching them. I think this was what she did.
No matter how many times I pointed out that despite runners not testing Jay Bruce at all; he still at that point led the NL in assists or appeared on the leaderboard every season. It wasn’t good enough for Christina.
Then today I stumble upon (days late) the hype-fest that is the ‘ESPN Francise Player Draft’. This started out fun a few years back, and it’s continued to get more ignorant with each passing year. It is interesting, nonetheless. Jim Bowden always reaches for the guy I really like.
Not shocking, with all the wonderful players in baseball you could build a franchise around; she reaches for Bryce Harper because; ‘she’s all about upside value’!
The Hell with taking a guy like Puig, who appears to be the best young player in the game left to select (Trout was off the board as he should have been at one), or Giancarlo Stanton, or a guy who could win three more MVP’s before Harper gets through a season without a sprained something. No! Christina wants Bryce Harper because he has upside and he’s going to be good in a couple of years. Fuck taking the guy who is good you know; now.
A clear superstar like Carlos Gomez comes off the board at 21 overall, and continues to rack up the WAR on a nightly basis while Bryce Harper is a twitter spokesperson for Apple Gatorade and some of the finer dining areas in Washington. I have news for our quasi-famous Christina: if you build your franchise around Bryce Harper it will go belly-up and you will be selling meat out of the back of a truck within a matter of years.
This is coming from an admitted Harper fanboy who is tantalized by his talents; but the guy is more of a celebrity than a baseball player and until that changes you leave him on the board for someone else and if you luck into selecting a player two overall in all of baseball to build around, pick someone who actually stays on the field and produces.
The stupidity of these experts – namely Christina Kahrl – is just astounding! I am pretty sure a few years back it was Michael Cuddyer who she tried to argue with me had a better throwing arm than Jay Bruce.
Since we’re fantasy baseball nerds, we’ll be running down as much of a commentary as we can prior to your March fantasy drafts. If you’re having a draft before then, you’re violating a major man-law. Don’t do it. You’ll inevitably draft some guy who breaks his nads installing a hardwood floor or something. Here are our top-20 Outfielders for fantasy baseball 2014. We’re running this down similar to the guys at Razzball, though we could never pretend to be of the legendary status they’ve achieved.
1. Mike Trout: Until the younger bull knocks the old bull off the hill (Trout is the old bull in his age 22 season, didn’t you know?) you have to keep putting this guy here and leaving him alone. We just hope you were one of the lucky bastards who snagged him late and were able to keep him after that lackluster cup of coffee in 2011. That was so, so long ago. We figure Trout finally wins that MVP award, hits 30 homers, drives in around his career-high 97 and steals close to 40 while hitting around .320 again. No regression in sight.
2. Andrew McCutchen: There’s just no reason to move an MVP much when he’s entering that magical age-27 season. He wasn’t as Heavenly as his 2012 last season, but he was still remarkable and helped owners win a lot of leagues. What is there to say that hasn’t been said (that’s what we hate about these rankings at the top, everyone has these guys up here). McCutchen is a Ferrari, get him in your garage if you can.
3. Carlos Gomez: This is the guy we’re pretty proud of. He was our major sleeper heading into 2013, and he finally put it all together. What we love about Gomez is he’s a guy who seems to want those stats for you. He steals bases when his team is up big, he challenges for the extra base, he isn’t happy settling with that three-hit night. He plays the game hard and we think the power could enjoy another slight up-tick in 2014. The only thing about Gomez that sucks is when he takes away home runs from your other fantasy players playing center field. He owes Jay Bruce several.
4. Giancarlo Stanton: Big Mike struggled last season hitting .249, but he’ll enter 2014 with major motivation: play so well he can escape Miami for greener pastures and a mega-deal soon following. This will be the year that he eclipses 40 home runs if anyone does in the National league. This will be a .900 OPS season. This will be the year he finally plays like a first rounder. As they say on eBay, bid with confidence.
5. Carlos Gonzalez: 2010 seems so long ago when he finished third in MVP voting. Since then he’s missed time each season but was still spectacular when he was on the field. The only question with Gonzalez is health, if you believe he can stay healthy he will be stellar and steady. He’s not going to go out there and hit .260 at Coors Field. It’s just not going to happen. A solid first-round guy if he can play in 140-150 games.
6. Adam Jones: He’s in a great lineup, he’s in a nice hitter’s park, he’ll be just 28, and he’s baseball’s closest present-day version to Eric Davis. What we like most about Jones is his games played the past three years: 151, 162, 160.
7. Bryce Harper: Someday soon the nagging injuries that drive fantasy owners like us nuts will end, and Bryce Harper will have the biggest numbers of his young career. It’s not too much to ask for a player like Harper to post an average in the .280-.290 range with upwards of 35+ home runs and over 100 RBI and runs scored. We don’t look for him to steal many more than 10 – he’s bulked up – but that power is coming in a big way. He hit .344 and 9 HR in April last season. If he can put that together over a full year like he’s going to try to do……
8. Jacoby Ellsbury: We don’t like that he’s turning 30. We don’t like that he misses monstrous amounts of time about every other season. We do like that he is in that hitter’s park in the Bronx and think he offers 20-50 potential. Solid bet to be very good in the near-term. I want no part of him in a year or two though.
9. Jay Bruce: The Reds are going to have an average year. Jay Bruce is going to have a career year. He’s entering his age-27 season. He’ll get as close to 40 home runs as he has yet and he’ll hit around .275, and with Bruce what you’re buying is the consistency. A lock for 30+ home runs and 150 games played. His slumps will make you want to drown kittens. His hot streaks are other-worldly.
10. Ryan Braun: He’s really not going to miss a beat when he returns from his little hiatus in 2013. He’ll be the same old Braun, which is video-game numbers. It won’t be his career year, but short of that you’re getting one of the top sluggers in baseball with some steals, albeit a few less steals and probably a few less homers. All things considered, a guy we would love to have; even with the cheating!
11. Justin Upton: So now the world knows that he’s not the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr., and that’s okay! What Upton is, is just a pretty good player. And he’s going to be more comfortable in his second season in Atlanta. Something about Upton worries us a little bit; but when we think about it it’s just the poor taste he left in our mouth in 2012. Even then, he was pretty solid. He’s deserving of this high ranking.
12. Shin-soo Choo: He’s going to score a lot of runs out in that Texas heat and don’t be surprised if his numbers improve across the board in a lineup full of threatening hitters.
13. Yasiel Puig: There will be no in between for Puig in 2014. He does not simply maintain; he either becomes full-fledged fantasy superstar or completely collapses in his sophomore campaign. We’re talking .240 or .315ish with power and steals again. Either way, it’s going to be VERY entertaining. Biggest risk factor of anyone in these rankings.
14. Jose Bautista: He may be quickly approaching his decline. He is at an age where it is reasonable for a lot of players to lose bat speed and miss time to injuries. But we believe enough in Joey Bats’ skills to say he will provide one more glorious summer in the sun for fantasy owners. A return to the 30′s in HR, 100 RBI, and an OPS in the .900s for those that believe.
15. Jason Heyward: We don’t really plan to target him – which is why he’ll inevitably break out. If that’s not a good enough reason, keep in mind he’s playing for a monster contract. If you believe what the scouts originally said about Heyward back entering 2010, that huge year is coming this year or next.
16. Allen Craig: The guy with two first names always wrecks shit when he’s in the lineup. He’s a .300 hitting machine in a baseball town where everything seems to line up nicely for that organization. He’ll probably have a DL stint included, but if you can weather that storm you’ll get a .300 average, 20+ homers, near 100 RBI, and peace of mind rotating him between OF and 1B.
17. Matt Kemp: Another guy we don’t want to own, in part because his risk is not worth the overpay it will take to land him on draft day. If for some reason the bargain exists in the middle rounds – take a flier on the guy. The decline might only be a season or two away, but for now Kemp has something to prove and will be taking the field for a team with World Series expectations. It should be a nice year for the back of his baseball card.
18. Starling Marte: A lot of people out there will shy away from putting Marte in their top-20 because it’s too out on a limb. His power numbers should improve and he’ll be a realistic possibility for a 20-40 season. His average should not dip much further than .280 because speed like his doesn’t slump. An .800 OPS player who will be 25. The soon to be Pirates outfield of Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco could be a lot of fun.
19. Yoenis Cespedes: Why do I feel like the guy is probably older than his listed age of 28? He’s probably like 34, but these damn Cubans are ageless wonders with their chicken blood voodoo cocktails. If you want a projection on him an average of his first two seasons is fair to expect: 25ish HR, .265-.270, 81 RBI, 12 steals, 70 runs.
20. Domonic Brown: The bottom line is power comes at a premium these days in baseball. Gone are the days where any number of middle infielders slug 27 home runs for you and drive in 80-plus. For that, you’ll need to pick up a guy like Brown who should continue to hit home runs in bunches. If it wasn’t for an injury he would have easily entered the 30-homer club. He’ll be inducted in 2014.
Tonight on The Baseball Show, M.J. Lloyd and I talked about the trade deadline. It wasn’t much of a deadline, but we still found some quality discussion (and dick jokes). Topics covered in the podcast include:
-The Pittsburgh Pirates making a push for Giancarlo Stanton
-The smaller deals that went down (Callaspo to the Athletics)
-The Jake Peavy trade
-What the Hell are the Phillies doing?
-Our favorite trade deadline memories
-A Mike Trout mention
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love our show if you love the game!
Be honest, when you heard that Bryce Harper was playing with the flu, didn’t you kind of have a notion that he would do something like this? It just adds to the legend and makes the storybook so much better. This is what the great ones do.
Everyone knows about Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game” that will live on forever in NBA lore. After a four-hit performance in Miami, Harper has his own short chapter on playing through what ails him.
Harper didn’t just simply get four hits – he worked over the Marlins through the course of nine frames. A single up the middle. A slashing line drive to left field. A smoke show double that went to the wall in right. And of course, an infield hustle-single that plated an insurance run with two down in the ninth.
Coincidentally, Giancarlo Stanton did what you would expect from a player whose make-up is the exact opposite of Harper. Don’t get me wrong, Stanton is a phenomenal player. But at some point it comes down to more than just being flashy and talented. The great ones have grit. They want to play at all costs, including cutting off a limb to get in the lineup. Stars like Stanton and Jose Bautista are constantly missing time for minor injuries and their teams fail year after year to be a winner.
Harper was clearly struggling through tonight. He could have asked out of the game after six or seven innings when the game was in hand. That’s just not how he’s molded. That was one of the gutsiest performances I’ve seen in a long time, especially in a sport where there are 162 games and guys can take nights off without too many even noticing it.
UPDATE: Harper was barfing between innings last night. He’s purely John Wayne at this point.
Started the day off by watching the Nationals take on the Marlins with the Pirates game on the radio. Should have been on my way to Cincinnati for the game but some things fell through. Not a bad way to take in the day with some MLB.tv, though. Here’s some bullet points from this one:
- Bryce Harper, need I say more? Guy is absolutely unbelievable with two swings to start the season, two tape-measure type blasts off Ricky Nolasco.
- Ryan Zimmerman made a run-saving diving stop in the top of the first inning.
- Stephen Strasburg cruised through 7-innings, never really got into any trouble. His command was on point. He had a relaxing, quick afternoon that made the game fly by. Only three strikeouts, but no walks.
- Everyone will talk about Bryce Harper’s bat in this one, but he also made a throw to home plate that was a piss rope holding up Giancarlo Stanton (who doubled) at third base and allowing the Nationals to preserve the shutout.
- Light rain throughout the game.
- The Marlins lineup is pretty barren.
- The Nationals played Take on Me after the seventh-inning stretch. Pretty awesome, wasn’t sure what they would do with this since it was Mike Morse’s song and he was traded to Seattle. In the back of my mind I had a feeling they would keep it since it’s one of baseball’s best (new) traditions. I could faintly hear it before the bottom of the 7th inning was played and it sounded like the Nationals were into it.
- Rafael Soriano locked it down with his first career Nationals save in his first career Nationals appearance. Two strikeouts including a freeze of Stanton to end it.
Here’s some running total stats from today’s game, and from my couch:
Home Runs: 2 (Bryce Harper 1, 2)
Stolen bases: zero
Official time watching baseball: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 2
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): Zero
STATS during the 2000-Inning Quest:
Home Runs: 3
Bryce Harper home runs: 2
Stolen bases: zero
Official time watching baseball: Five hours, ten minutes
Times taking the dog out to pee: 4
Chores my wife asked me to do during (unofficial): Zero
Innings left to go: 1,982
The Marlins enter the upcoming 2013 season with one real reason to watch: Giancarlo Stanton. This is akin to what the Marlins did after they won their World Series titles, especially in 1997. They purged and got rid of every name you’ve heard of. Out of all the young guys that get playing time this season, only a select few will dot the roster when this team is competitive again. As a baseball fan you have to hope Stanton is one of those guys.
The Marlins honestly could have been decent this season and be in the middle of building a nice team around Stanton if they had only stayed the course. Instead, the Marlins are baseball’s version of the Major League Indians (“This guy’s DEAD!”)
Even with all the depression going on down in Miami, you wake up every day with the sun shining. You can wake up and have a grapefruit on your porch and just enjoy your morning. And you get to watch Giancarlo Stanton vandalize that ballpark all season long like he did the night he faced poor old Jamie Moyer last season. That’s what you have to love about Stanton. I always admire the architecture of ballparks, looking at little intricacies and nooks that a baseball will never reach. With Stanton, you throw that out the window. He’s one of about two or three guys in the sport that is capable of reaching almost any spot in a park with a ball driven off his bat. And that’s worth buying a damn ticket for nightly.
Here are the moves that made the Marlins a candidate for the worst franchise in baseball:
Major Off-Season Moves
- Hired Manager Mike Redmond
- Traded for Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, and Jeff Mathis
- Signed Placido Polanco
- Signed Juan Pierre
So all these teams around baseball are out making huge off season moves, and you sign Juan Pierre (The Bat Boy), and Placido Polanco. Let me remind you it was one winter ago when the Marlins were in on Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes at the same time, and there were whispers that they wanted Pujols and Prince Fielder. Now ownership is just trying to save face with the fan base by telling you they won’t trade Stanton and signing guys like Polanco and Pierre. Entering the season with these guys as your marquee moves is like going into a gunfight with a butter knife. Well done Jeffrey Loria, you blue-haired dipshit.
Last night on The Baseball Show Podcast, co-hosts Mike Rosenbaum and M.J. Lloyd and I discussed the following topics:
-The Marlins/Blue Jays blockbuster trade
-The Toronto Blue Jays chances in the AL East
-Why it sucks to be a Marlins fan
-Giancarlo Stanton’s future in Miami
-What is it like to be a Marlins fan right now?
-The prospects on the way to Toronto via trade
-Torii Hunter leaves Anaheim for Detroit
-Thoughts on all season awards
And as always much more in between!