Cleat Geeks

AL All-Star Position Preview: Catcher

Baseball fans around the world have been waiting for this day, All-Star weekend. You get to see your favorite players compete against one another in a weekend filled with pageantry and excitement. The MLB allows fans to vote for the players they believe most deserving (sometimes giving popularity more value than in-season accomplishment) and when the voting is finished those players get chosen to compete.

Here at Cleat Geeks, however, there is no voting. I will be telling you who deserves to be in the All-Star game in a series of articles, looking at each position in the AL individually. I will list and discuss who deserves to be a starter, then give you two bench spots. This first article will be a dive into the top 3 catchers most deserving of All-Star honors. With that being said, let’s get to the catchers!

Current Fan Vote Results:

Gary Sanchez

Wilson Ramos

Brian McCann

Salvador Perez

Martin Maldonado

Starter: Wilson Ramos

Although the fans have Gary Sanchez slightly edging out Ramos in voting, I would take Ramos. With the most at-bats of the three (206), the highest batting average (.282), and highest OPS (.766) it was an easy decision to place him atop this list. Being on the Rays makes it difficult for him to edge out Sanchez (again, popularity contest) but Ramos should be the clear starter. Despite catching a multitude of pitchers while the Rays try a new rotation strategy, Ramos maintains a decent WAR (wins above replacement) of .9, falling in second on this list. Wilson is having a great season and is one of the main reasons why the Rays have managed to stay afloat this season, despite a very tough AL East.

Bench Spot 1: Salvador Perez:

Sorry Sal, you will most likely not extend your All-Star Game streak to five. The two other guys on this list are currently running away with the voting and unless Sal starts raking these next couple of weeks, he will, unfortunately, fall short of the All-Star Game. Posting an impressive 1.0 WAR, tying Ramos in RBIs (32), and a slash line of .230/.281/.449 would have earned him a trip to the All-Star Game in years past, but the young slugger Gary Sanchez has stolen fans hearts. The veteran catcher also suffers from being on an AL Central-worst Kansas City Royals team, which means fewer eyes are focused on him. Accompany that with the fact that he has about 20 less at bats than Sanchez and Ramos, and it is tough to make a case for him in the fans eyes. My eyes are not the fans eyes and I believe Sal deserves to be second in the voting.

Bench Spot 2: Gary Sanchez

Sanchez has had an extremely disappointing season thus far. He is currently having his worst season in BA, OBP, OPS, SLG, and WAR. He has fewer hits than both guys on this list. Yet what makes Sanchez so special is that he still leads both guys in both HR and RBI. He would fall further if there were more players who could even come close to his Abs, so his plate appearances certainly boost him up my list. I do not expect Gary to continue this poor streak, and the All-Star break will give him a much-needed break from the day-to-day grind of being the catcher for the New York Yankees. If you compare his stats to his almost Rookie of the Year winning 2016 season, he has 22 fewer hits but has only 7 fewer RBIs and 8 less HR’s. I fully expect a second-half resurgence.

Catcher may be a shallow competition in terms of All-Star voting, the other positions will have considerably more discrepancies *cough* outfield *cough*. Continue reading to find out who deserves to be a part of All-Star Weekend!

Stop Saying the Yankees Have a Pitching Problem

The Yankees entered this season with high expectations and are so far overachieving with prominent players not really providing what was expected of them and rookies getting called up faster than expected. Many people are pointing at the pitching staff as the main question mark on the team. However, if you take a look at the numbers, there really isn’t an issue with the 2018 Yankees’ pitching staff.Image result for new york yankees bullpen

Let’s start off with the most important statistic that is kept in sports: a team’s record. The Yankees are entered the Subway Series against the Mets at 40-18 and with the opening game win they now have a .690 winning percentage. With that win and the White Sox besting Sale and the Red Sox the Yankees now lead the division by 0.5 game but have also played five less games due to weather. They are leading the majors in winning percentage as well. It is very difficult to pinpoint an area of weakness in a team that wins almost 70 percent of their games, but fans feel the pitching needs to improve if this team wants to win their 28th World Series.

Team ERA is a big stat that many people care about. Honestly, I do not care for ERA because if a man gets on base, the job is to not let him score even if he reached on an error. At the time of this writing, the Yankees post a 3.64 ERA, which is 11th in the majors and fourth in the American League. My first thought after looking at the number is the Yankees have played a lot of good hitting teams, including 20 games against the other AL teams to reach the playoffs last season.

Batting average against is another big stat that I care more about than ERA since you are finding out how many batters get a hit, of course this is flawed since getting a hit in Yankee Stadium with the short porch is different than getting a hit in Seattle, but it is more reliable. The Yankees are fourth in baseball with .219 and only behind the Houston Astros in the AL.

Image result for new york yankees bullpen

Those numbers include the bullpen so let’s look at quality starts (how many times a starting pitcher throws a minimum of six innings with a maximum of three earned runs allowed in a game). The Yankees have thrown 32 in 58 games, 55.2 percent of the time. Tell me that isn’t good when the team is without Jordan Montgomery for the rest of 2018 and possibly 2019.

Could the starters improve? Of course, the Yankees have 327 innings thrown by their starters (the number includes Domingo German’s starts, not any innings accumulated from the bullpen) and could look for more length. If you are a fan of the team, you would know our AAA team is stacked with major league-ready talent like Brandon Drury, Clint Fraizer, and Ronald Torreyes and GM Brian Cashman could pull the trigger on a trade involving one or more of these guys in order to get a starting pitcher since there is a bevy of everyday player talent in their farm system that a rebuilding team would love to get their hands on. Could they get a pitcher the caliber of Tampa’s Chris Archer? Probably not without giving up a major piece of their farm system but they could be in the market for veterans on struggling teams like a Cole Hamels or James Shields, pitchers who have pitched in big games and understand what they need to do in order to succeed in the Bronx.

Image result for new york yankees bullpenI do believe the Yankees will go after a starting pitcher before the trade deadline, especially with the news of Montgomery needing Tommy John surgery instead of coming back before the All-Star Game like previously reported. I also think Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman understand they do not need the starting pitchers to throw seven-plus innings a game in order to win. The team has the most explosive bullpen in the majors and would be a waste not to use their strength, Joe Girardi had it right with how he used the bullpen for a majority of the season last year, have a quick hook if need be and manage the pitchers you have. Boone has been amazing so far with how he has elected to use his bullpen.

I have been hearing all sorts of trade proposals to bring a pitcher to the Bronx but unless they get another Sonny Gray trade, they will settle with a Jamie Garcia-esque move. An improved Sonny Gray might be the move they need as they will have Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia lined up in the playoffs. If Gray gets right, as he looked like he is in his last start in Toronto, that is arguably the second-best playoff rotation in the AL and also having a huge bullpen to follow.

Feel free to tell me your opinion in the comments below and tweet me @VinPensabene if you want to keep up with me and my work.

The New York Yankees vs ESPN

Let me be clear starting out here, I do not care for the New York Yankees nor do I have an affection for the supposed world wide leader in sports ESPN. So, when I read about these two mighty powers fighting, I had to know more and write about it. Therefore, lets look at and make an argument for both sides in this big power struggle in MLB.Image result for espn logo

As most of you know ESPN has paid for the rights to both Sunday and Monday Night Baseball. Part of the agreement with paying for those rights is that ESPN can basically name the game they want with reasonable advance warning. For the Sunday night game on July 8th ESPN was requesting that the Yankees move their scheduled time of the Toronto Blue Jays at the New York Yankees from the original start time of 1:07 EDT to 8:07 EDT so they could then broadcast that game on their Sunday Night format. I would think the Yankees would consider that an honor, especially knowing that the Blue Jays have had the largest reduction in home game attendance in baseball so far this season. ESPN believes the Yankees are that big of a draw that they will equal a large viewing audience despite the obvious decline in the Toronto product shown by their fans.

But the Yankees refused to accommodate the ESPN request. That Sunday afternoon game is the final of a three game series between the Blue Jays and the Yankees. Then, because of a rain out on May 31st of the scheduled match-up between the Orioles and the Yankees, the Yankees are now scheduled to play a double-header in Baltimore with the start time for the first game being at 4:05 EDT and the second game to follow soon after the conclusion of the first game in a traditional double-header. The Yankees did not like the idea of playing basically 3 games in a 24 hour time span, in two different cities and told ESPN they were going to fight them on the time change.

I guess I understand the Yankees’ point of view. But MLB now allows both teams involved in a double-header to add a 26th player for that day only, and Baltimore is a short plane ride from Yankee Stadium. However, ESPN paid for the right to be able to move any game on the schedule to their primetime spot and broadcast the game on their Sunday Night format. ESPN is not breaking any contract rules, or anything, so I also see their point as well.

Image result for new york yankees espnThe Yankees had even threatened to boycott ESPN reporters if they were forced to play three games in two cities over a 24-hour span. The team also reached out to the Players Association and the Commissioner’s Office for assistance in settling the dispute. Honestly, I don’t see the big issue with the time change. Especially when you factor in the schedule for most of the players. The Yankees play those 4 games in 3 days in Baltimore, then they make another short flight to Cleveland for the final four games of the first half of the season. Most of the Yankee players will get 4 straight days for the All-Star Game beginning on the following Friday. And again, that is a short trip to Washington D.C.

The Yankees won this dispute as ESPN has decided to have the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels be featured as the national Sunday Night Baseball telecast. Personally, I don’t think it was an outlandish request of ESPN. I think the Yankees should take it as an honor to be asked to move to primetime and most importantly, ESPN pays for the rights to these games on these days and should granted the request of moving the time to fit their schedule and audience.

I am curious to know our fan’s thoughts on this matter. Who do you think should have won this dispute; the Yankees or ESPN? Leave your comments in the section below.

SABERmetrics Sunday: Neil Walker’s Value

The New York Yankees had agreed to a one-year deal with switch-hitting second baseman Neil Walker. A veteran who has played in the majors with the Pirates, Mets and Brewers, Walker (32) is an underrated player that can bring some solid value to the Yankees. He has always been a decently productive guy who flies under the radar going back to his days in Pittsburgh.

Most of his value comes from his bat, he does not really light the world on fire with his defense. He has power capability solid on-base abilities. Lets look at what Walker did last year and some career batting numbers.

Image result for neil walker

Photo by; AOL.com

2017 (Mets/Brewers):

.362 OBP (career-high) / .439 SLG / .801 OPS / 17.2% K / 12.3% BB (career-high) / 14 HR / 0.8 UBR / 114 wRC+ / 2.1 fWAR in 111 games 

Career:

.341 OBP / .437 SLG / .778 OPS / 17.4% K / 8.7% BB / 130 HR (14 HR average per-season) / 10.8 UBR / 115 wRC+ / 21.1 fWAR (2.3 average per season)

Image result for neil walker pittsburgh pirates

Photo by; CBS Pittsburgh

Walker is a solid player overall. His best season arguably was 2016 with the Mets when he posted a 3.7 fWAR and career-high 9.3 Ultimate Zone Rating defensively. He averages 14 home runs a year, but he has hit 20+ twice in 2014 and 2016. Last year’s career-high on base was greatly attributed to his career-high walk rate. The .341 career on-base is not incredible, but above average.

Neil Walker is the perfect bridge for Gleyber Torres, who will start in the minors this season. Walker can not only fill a gap, but be an offensive force on the team. With him playing at Yankee Stadium, surrounded by the lineup he has around him, it would not be surprising to see him put up some more career-best numbers with the bat. Walker tends to finish a season with a 40%-44% pull-percentage on batted balls, and the short porches can help him increase the home run numbers.

Watch out for the Yankees, they will be scary this year.

The Pinstripe Post: The Grapefruit League Leaders

Who really cares about spring training games? It’s just a tune-up for the regular season where players prep and play meaningless games, right?

Not this year in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field and opposition venues. The New York Yankees are 8-2,leading the Grapefruit League by a half game over the second place Astros who post a 8-3 record.

Who cares. It’s only spring ball.

If you’re a fanatical fan of the NY Yankees, you do. This has been such a fun spring training to witness. To walk off wins, consecutive homers off first pitches, to a Super Bowl champion quarterback in the batter’s box. And we’re only 9 games in. What will we see next?

Image result for george m steinbrenner field

Rookie manager Aaron Boone hasn’t even loaded the line-up. We’re seeing this magic mostly from players who are competing for spots on the regular season line-up. If this is what we see now, what’s to come?

The feeling as you watch these men practice (the first BP of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton was televised by MLB Network) is that there is something very special brewing.

The players competing for starting positions are giving it their all and overachieving. The offense has been absolutely unbelievable with walk offs and homers flying out of the park in what it seems like relative ease.

As it is very early, pitching has been a mix of veterans and younger arms. CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka have been the headliners with Chance Adams and others spotlighted. The corps have been impressive as well as evidenced by the Yankees record.

If this is spring training, imagine what the regular season will bring. And we’re only briefly seeing this team and the potential they bring. Records could be shattered. A new level of baseball seen.

Spring training boring? Not with the 2018 Yankees. No matter where the players end up. I’m watching. And rooting for every player on what will become a very special team indeed.

I suggest you tune in whenever possible.

Pinstripe Post; Is The Evil Empire Back?


We have all seen the magic that Brian Cashman has worked for the 2018 Yankees so far. We have sacrificed the likes of Starlin Castro, a couple prospects and… WE GOT 30 MILLION BACK…

Ummmmm in return the NL MVP will be on the Yankees roster. That would be Giancarlo Stanton if you didn’t know already. Being a Derek Jeter fan, I don’t really care what transpired behind the scenes. Derek is being touted as a Yankees conspirator among things.

If you bought a business, which was failing to the tune of being in debt $400 million what would you do? The obvious relief would be to dump payroll. Cut expenses. Logical. And that dump being to the benefit of the Yankees?

Derek Jeter may be many things but conspirator isn’t one. He paid out $25 million of his own money to be involved in the Marlins acquisition. His interest now is in his team, the Marlins. Sorry Yankee fans and Jeter worshippers. He doesn’t care about the team he played 20 years for in the Bronx.

Image result for Derek Jeter marlinsI’d dump salary too. $400 million in debt. And Stanton would be number one on the list. The fact that Jeter was outplayed by the experience of Brian Cashman. The desperation and inexperience of Jeter screams in this deal. Not collusion.

So what happens now?

The Yankees have landed the NL MVP however they did. Now the team has a plethora of outfielders. We add to the mix the AL ROY in Aaron Judge and Hicks who has been proclaimed the starter according to Cashman. Brett Gardner has been the starter in left field.

As much as I love Cashman now, the Yankees have obvious concerns. Who will start at second and third now that Castro and Headley are gone? Can we rely on rookies to do a man’s job? Have Brian and his scouts made the right decision? It was reported yesterday that Cashman is content with Andujar and Torres going forward.

Because of that decision, and the fact that Todd Frazier doesn’t seem to be sold on coming back on a one year deal, we may see some growing pains on the hot corner and at second base. But I remind you of a certain shortstop who had a very rocky beginning at his position.

Brian Cashman has built up this team. By adding a MVP and/or cutting salary to get to the goal. They have a reported $16-21 million remaining under the luxury tax threshold. The Yankees have one of the best farm systems that will no doubt be drawn on in the future.

Much has been made of the thought of Manny Machado. Sorry again, Yankees fans. No way will he be seen in pinstripes in 2018. Maybe never. No way will the Orioles deal him to the team north of them that they despise.

WHEN Machado becomes a Free Agent, would he be worth the king’s ransom he’ll demand? How many players, and their salaries would the Yankees have to sacrifice to remain under the threshold to support the monster contract he’ll undoubtedly get? Would it be worth it?

I say go forward, accept the fact that the kids are our future, knowing there may be a price to pay as they learn their craft at the major league level. The line-up that manager Aaron Boone has available should more than compensate for any miscues.

Thanks Derek. I have no doubt that your intentions are good. Thanks Brian. You’ve done an amazing job. It was nice being the good guys of MLB last season. Frankly, I’m enjoying being hated again. Hate away, the rest of baseball. The #evilempirereturns!

What Athlete Would You Invite “2” Christmas Dinner?

 

When the editor of this site asked me to write about having Christmas dinner with one athlete of my choosing…it took my all of 1.12 seconds to choose.

Being a Yankees fan who would you choose? Ummm DEREK JETER!!! What would you ask Derek if he was seated at your Christmas dinner table, set with your best china, crystal and silver?

I have been a fanatical Yankees fan since 1995. Sorry that I could be said by as some as “buying” my championships. But it happened as it did.

First… The reports that Derek cried to his parents when he was away from home prior to his debut in 1995. He wanted to give it all up and go home. If he was at my home I’d ask him about the down times. How he overcame them. His perspective when he was struggling. How he was able to right the ship after having a very rocky beginning at shortstop. What advice he’d give the kids that the Yankees are looking at starting now. How a prospect can rise to his level. Or any really because we all know that there was only one Derek Jeter.

Next… His rise to rookie of the year in 1995…we all saw it. How did it not get into his head as a rookie from Michigan on the biggest stage in MLB? I want to cook Nebraska beef (what else would a Nebraskan cook?) with the Christmas music playing softly in the background as I ask about this. 1995…the prelude to possibly the greatest run ever. I want details. I’ll pour the wine to make him stay.

The flip. My favorite Jeter play ever. WHY WAS HE ON THE FIRST BASELINE KNOWING HE’D BE A CUT OFF MAN? WHAT WAS A SHORTSTOP DOING THERE? That was my question all those years ago and what I’d ask him. If Giambi scored that run, things may have been very different for the Yankees.

https://goo.gl/images/2qMxkW

The dive. How much did it hurt to make that play? I remember Derek being battered and bruised as he rose up from among the stunned fans in the left field seats. But in true Jeterian style, he kept on playing.

The unbelievable playoff run. Derek Jeter played in almost as many post season games as a major league Season contains. My question to him would be… which one he cherished the most. Were any more special? The 1998 team with 125 wins was possibly the greatest team of the modern era. Did it feel different? What distinguished it from the other championship teams? Have another glass of wine, please, Derek.

Personally the most special was his 3000th hit. My daughters and I had just returned from laying to rest my husband and their father out of state. Lymphoma. 21 years of marriage. We needed something to be happy about at that time. As soon as we walked into the house, put down our bags, and congregated in front of the television to watch the first Yankee game we’d seen in weeks, Derek hit #3000. Of course in true Jeter style, a home run. My girls and I jumped and rejoiced. He brought happiness to our lives after such gloom and despair. I’d say thank you for that, Derek.

Thank you also for being a true team player and staying in pinstripes for your entire 20 year MLB career.

I wrote this after researching like the good writer I try to be. Now my heart shows through. Too many stats, too little time. How can you sum up what he did in a 500 word article? The only thing that really needs to be said is FIVE RINGS. TWENTY YEARS.

Another one of my favorite memories was the 2000 ticker rape parade which my husband had I attended. I’ll never forget seeing Jeter and his teammates on that float, taking in the moment and reveling in the success that was the New York Yankees. Having fun and celebrating the hard work that brought them to that moment.

And Jeter is staying for dessert to tell me about 2009. How was it different? How was it the same?

Then lastly I need to hear about Mother’s Day of 2017 which he chose to celebrate mothers everywhere in addition to a little ceremony in the Bronx. What was it like to return to New York and the hallowed ground where he had so many cherished memories, walk out in front of the fans that adore him, see his previous teammates, coaches, media and have his number 2 retired, a plaque placed in Monument Park and number hung up among the other Yankee immortals? Can words express how that felt? But I’d ask him to explain.

As Derek Jeter turned to leave I’d have one word as he parts that to me describes his career as a New York YANKEE. R E 2 P E C T. That’s all that would need to be said as he drove off into the night.

SABERmetrics Sunday: Judge and Stanton, a DEADLY combo

So the New York Yankees have added another slugger. In a trade with the Miami Marlins, the Bronx Bombers have acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. It has been reported that New York intends to eat most of Stanton’s massive salary, which is what the Marlins had hoped for. This means that last year’s young and exciting Yankees team just got even more exciting. For opponents trying to take down the Yankees, this is scary.

Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in New York pinstripes. This will be a heck of a duo.

Baseball fans both casual and die-hard do not need to do extensive research to know how good these two are. Both are able to crush the ball at will and be among the most productive hitters in baseball. But stats are fun right? And these are stat-based articles after all! So lets take a look at all sorts of numbers between Stanton and Judge and what they can bring together in years to come on the Yankees.


Giancarlo Stanton (28)

Image result for giancarlo stanton aaron judge

.376 OBP / .631 SLG / 1.007 OPS / 59 home runs (led majors) / 12.3% BB / 23.6% K / 81.5% zone contact / 156 wRC+ / 47.8 Fangraphs Offensive Rating / 6.9 fWAR

93.0 average exit velocity (7th best in majors) / Hardest hit ball in majors last year (122.2 mph)

Image result for giancarlo stanton aaron judge

Aaron Judge (25) 

.422 OBP / .627 SLG / 1.049 OPS / 52 home runs (rookie record) / 18.7% BB / 30.7% K / 80.6% zone contact / 45.5% hard contact / 173 wRC+ / 60.8 Fangraphs Offensive Rating / 8.2 fWAR

95.3 average exit velocity (best in the majors) / Second-hardest hit ball in the majors last year (121.1 mph)

NOTE: The top-seven hardest hit balls in all of baseball last year were hit by either Stanton or Judge.


These two right now might be the very best power hitters in baseball. While Judge strikes out a lot more, he is still young and can improve his K rate while improving his production. Isn’t that a scary thought for a pitcher!? They will both get on base at a very good to excellent rate and their overall WAR value is top notch.

Combined 111 home runs in the regular season last year, just imagine if Judge keeps it up and Stanton is able to use his power at Yankee Stadium. It is very possible that Stanton will hit or pass the 60 home run mark next year. Heck, even Judge can do the same. With two guys that can easily have a .900+ OPS, 50+ home run power, wRC+ over 150 and a 6.0+ WAR, this will make pitchers facing the Yankees quite nervous, and the Yankees themselves are in for a treat.

The Pinstripe Post; The New Yankees Skipper

The biggest move of the off-season for the New York Yankees would be to name the new skipper. Who would guide this team past the seventh game of the ALCS?

SOOOOO MUCH speculation. SOOOOO many rumors. It was all fun and games until there was an announcement by the management of the team that reached Game Seven of the ALCS in a “rebuilding” year. Who would take them to the next level?


Much has been made about his background. Three generations in major league baseball in one capacity or another. That’s great! How does that compute to it being bottom of the ninth with runners on base, your closer struggling and you have to make a decision? How about every day line-ups? Who is the DH? Who makes a difference?

I’m not disrespectful of Aaron Boone or the decision Brian Cashman made. Obviously Boone distinguished himself from the rest of the field so much so that his lack of experience made no difference. “Aaron Boone’s impeccable interview, working through difficult on the field and clubhouse scenarios and his exposure to baseball through family and his own career is what made his lack of managerial experience a non-issue to the organization.” Brian Cashman said in the press conference held on Monday. The lack of experience?

The press conference yesterday showed a breath of fresh air. Boone was answering every question, laughing, joking. Very articulate. However how would you be if you just landed the biggest job in major league baseball?

You won’t be so happy being in the Bronx answering to the NY media. Especially if you’re losing. Get ready.

However if you are a puppet, firmly controlled by management and the fact that you are new to the game, it might not be so bad. Your puppet strings are controlled from far above you with the excuse for failure that has been provided if it happens. You sink or swim. Could we be looking at a control issue which why Boone was chosen?

The press conference stirred some great feelings. “It’s not what you want” wasn’t a consideration. Boone was awesome looking into the future. However, this team is already destined for great things. Are those great things going to be a reality because AARON BOONE guided them, or the strings that control him from much higher above?

Aaron Judge, 2 First Place Votes For AL MVP… I Declare A Mistrial

Congratulations to Jose Altuve, who last night won the AL MVP crown, capturing 27/30 first place votes. Who can deny that Altuve had a remarkable season, with his league-leading batting average of .346, and being instrumental in the Astros capturing their first World Series championship? The 5’6″ second baseman, who was signed by the Astros for a mere $15,000 after being told he was too small has shown that size doesn’t matter.


The lead up to the announcement last night sparked many debates regarding the what seemed to be head to head competition between Altuve and Judge. Twitter feeds blew up with discussion. Facebook threads did as well. The issue being first the comparison of stats between both players.

A head to head comparison showed Altuve leading Judge in only 4 categories, (with the b WAR and f WAR being negligible in difference) those being batting average, hits, stolen bases and less strike outs, illustrated by the accompanying graphic. Judge went into his slump following the All Star Break which contributed to his league leading K total of 208. However, he also had a total of 127 walks which contributed to his OBP of .422 compared to Altuve at .410. Judge also led in OPS, RBI’s, and runs scored on the offensive side.

This award is for MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. So certainly it’s not about just the bat. The glove must be considered as well. Judge had 9 defensive runs saved to Altuve’s 3. UZR (a complete defensive stat) also was in Judge’s favor. The argument can be made that outfield isn’t as athletic of a position as infield but there is quite a bit of disparity between the two.

Another point is what makes a player VALUABLE? Since MVP voting only takes the regular season into consideration, the fact that the Astros and Altuve won the Series is moot. Look at Stanton, on a sub .500 team capturing the NL MVP. The mistrial enters here. Why did Aaron Judge only score 2 first place votes? The Astros probably would have been in the post-season even without Altuve. The Yankees, probably not. Judge’s slump exactly correlated with his team’s. In April and September when Judge was on fire, their record was 35-16. Conversely, the Yankees went 28-27 in July and August when Aaron was struggling. This obviously was not noted by the voters. Value? Definitely. Mistrial? Appeal?

Also a player’s ability to adjust to adversity and excel again should be considered. Judge looked lost at the plate in July and August, whiffing at pitches way out of the strike zone, mostly high and outside. He struck out in a record 37 straight games. Baseball is certainly a game of failures and slumps, but also adjustments. Judge was able to do exactly that and in September was again on fire. He hit 15 homers in 27 games during the month, including 2 in the game against the Royals, number 49 and 50 to tie and break Mark McGwire’s 30 year old rookie record. Was Judge given credit for his comeback or penalized for the slump? Value? Mistrial? Everything considered, Judge’s performance warranted more than 2 first place votes.

Judge had a historical ROOKIE year which begs for more discussion. He is 25 years old, in his first year in the bigs. Halfway through spring training, battling Hicks for a starting position in the Bronx, he was behind the eight ball. He was told the position wasn’t his. He battled through and after posting a .985 OPS was awarded the starting job on March 30. Judge has accomplished everything when he wasn’t even assured a starting position in the spring at the age of 25 and playing on the biggest MLB stage in the world. Another attribute which demanded more than 2 first place votes. Value? Mistrial!

 

Jose Altuve won the AL MVP and deservedly so. But Judge certainly deserved more than a mere 2 first place votes. Possibly the voters didn’t consider all of the evidence presented by both sides. There are many more years ahead in Aaron’s bright career. Many more chances for the attorneys to present their cases. He will be on the bench for the New York Yankees. ALL RISE!!!

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