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Tag:Matt Kemp
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:28 pm
 

Baseball reveals Gold Glove winners

Molina

By Evan Brunell


For the first time, the Gold Gloves were unveiled in a televised presentation on Tuesday night. Below, you can find the results of the awards. Winners are chosen by managers and coaches who vote for players in their leagues and can't pick players on their own teams.

Catcher
AL: Matt Wieters, Orioles -- Wieters became the first Orioles catcher to win the award. I predicted Wieters would win the award in late September saying that "Runners fear Wieters' arm -- he's only allowed 56 stolen bases all season, while the next-lowest total among catchers who qualify for the batting title is J.P. Arencibia's 77, achieved in 10 less starts. Oh, and Wieters has nabbed 32 runners for a caught-stealing rate of 36 percent, a high percentage for a catcher.

NL: Yadier Molina, Cardinals (pictured) -- Obviously. He wins the award for the fourth straight year, the first time since Charles Johnson from 1995-98.

First base
AL: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- Gonzalez wins his third Gold Glove and pairs with second baseman Dustin Pedroia to keep the right side of the infield to one team in the AL. The same goes for the NL.

NL: Joey Votto, Reds -- Votto takes home his first Gold Glove award to put on the mantel along with his MVP trophy from 2010.

Second base
AL: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- This is Pedroia's second Gold Glove and first since 2008. As one of the best second basemen in the league, this was a no-brainer. "It's fun playing alongside him," Gonzalez said of Pedroia on ESPN2, saying the communication is top-notch between the two players.

NL: Brandon Phillips, Reds -- The color red really dominated first and second, as the Reds in the NL take home the awards at each respective position. Same with the AL and Red Sox. Phillips wins his third Gold Glove.

Third base
AL: Adrian Beltre, Rangers -- What I said back in September: "Beltre somehow only has two Gold Gloves despite a career of success. That success continues in 2011 in Texas, as Beltre has tremendous range compared with soft hands. Evan Longoria is a fantastic defender as well, but in the AL there simply is no comparison to Beltre."

NL: Placido Polanco, Phillies -- Back in September, C. Trent Rosecrans picked Pablo Sandoval of the Giants. "There are players with better defensive reputations than the Kung Fu Panda, but nobody's had a better year," he wrote. Gold Glove voters disagreed, and Polanco gets his third Gold Glove -- first at third base. He becomes the second major leaguer to win a Gold Glove at two separate positions, following Darin Erstad nabbing one for first base and outfield.

Shortstop
AL: Erick Aybar, Angels -- It's Aybar's first Gold Glove, and he's as good a pick as any to dethrone Derek Jeter's undeserved Gold Glove last season.

NL: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies -- Trent may not have gotten Sandoval right, but he nailed Tulo. "The Rockies may know a little something about drafting defensive shortstops -- they picked two of the best in the league, Tulowitzki and the Astros' Clint Barmes. Finally healthy, Barmes was outstanding defensively for the Astros, while Tulowitzki seems like the second coming of Cal Ripken," he wrote.

Left field
AL: Alex Gordon, Royals -- Gordon racked up the assists this year, but how do you not give this to Brett Gardner?

NL: Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks -- Parra grabs his first Gold Glove. I haven't heard Parra as a name among the elite defenders, but there you go. He appears worthy.

Center field
AL: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Ellsbury's victory gives the Red Sox three Gold Glovers. It must be sweet music for the center fielder too, after being moved to left field to start 2010 amid reports of poor defense. Frankly, this is a stretch -- Ellsbury still takes poor routes to the ball. But he's fast, so that helps. It's the first time since 1979 Boston has three winners.

NL: Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Really? Kemp is a poor center fielder, and it's really difficult to imagine Kemp as a Gold Glove finalist, never mind a victor. But we all know that Gold Glove awards usually aren't worth much, and in this case...

Right field
AL: Nick Markakis, Orioles -- Markakis is not a very good defender. In fact, he made my list as the AL's worst defensive right fielder. I wouldn't go so far as to say that anymore, but a Gold Glove? Frankly, though, I have a hard time getting worked up about who wins the Gold Glove because it's such an irrelevant and inefficient award. For true honoring of defensive prowess, check out the Fielding Bible winners.

NL: Andre Ethier, Dodgers -- It's just the second time in the 21st centery that outfield teammates have won a Gold Glove award. Ethier wins his first. Not quite deserved.

Pitcher
AL: Mark Buerhle, White Sox -- It's his third straight Gold Glove.

NL: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- It's the first award for Kershaw, who said on ESPN2 during the unveiling that he did not expect to win the award. Kershaw spoke about how pitchers fielding practice in spring training can get old, but it provides the basis for good defense. "Once you get out on the field, repetition helps it sink in," he said.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 24, 2011 7:39 pm
 

Jose Bautista, Matt Kemp win Hank Aaron Award



By C. Trent Rosecrans

While the MVP is awarded for a vague definition of value (and if you're one of the people who don't think a pitcher should receive votes, it also has a funny definition of player), the Hank Aaron Award is given every year to the "most outstanding offensive performers" in both leagues.

Of course, nobody really recognizes the award other than Major League Baseball, which gives out the award every year at the World Series. This year's winners are the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp. And, since nobody really remembers who won the awards last year, I'll let you in on a little secret -- Bautista is a repeat winner. Kemp is not. The Reds' Joey Votto won the National League version of the award in 2010.

The award's voting process has changed several times, adding to the confusion. The latest process is sort-of outlined in the press release: "Fans voted for the award on MLB.com, and for the second straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron joined fans in voting for the award. The Hall of Fame panel included two new members – personally selected by Hank Aaron – Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan. They joined panelists from last year, which included Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Willie McCovey, Billy Williams and Robin Yount, forming a group comprised of some of the greatest offensive players of all-time who combined for 23,536 hits, 11,445 RBI and exactly 2,800 home runs."

The winners, whoever ultimately chose them, were certainly deserving.

Bautista hit .302/.447/.608, leading the majors in slugging, OPS (1.056), OPS+ (181), home runs (43) and walks (132). 

Kemp challenged for the triple crown, finishing third in batting average (.324), while leading the league in home runs (39) and RBI (126). He led the National League in runs (115) and OPS+ (171) and total bases (353).

It will be interesting to see where Bautista and Kemp finish in the MVP voting because of the varying definitions of value, but it's tough to argue the two weren't the best offensive players in their leagues last season -- and the award that is given was handed out to the right players.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Players association announces award nominees

By C. Trent Rosecrans

For those who love to debate awards selections, the players association has announced its finalist for the Players Choice Awards, voted on by the players. The winners will be announced Nov. 3 on MLB Network.

So, because you can't wait, here are your nominees:

American League
Outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox), Curtis Granderson (Yankees)
Outstanding pitcher: James Shields (Rays), Justin Verlander (Tigers), Jered Weaver (Angels)
Outstanding rookie: Jeremy Hellickson (Rays), Eric Hosmer (Royals), Mark Trumbo (Angels)
Comeback player: Bartolo Colon (Yankees), Jacony Ellsbury (Red Sox), Casey Kotchman (Rays)

National League
Outstanding player: Ryan Braun (Brewers), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Justin Upton (Diamondbacks)
Outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks), Clayton Kershow (Dodgers)
Outstanding rookie: Freddie Freeman (Braves), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Vance Worley (Phillies)
Comeback player: Lance Berkman (Cardinals), Jose Reyes (Mets), Ryan Vogelsong (Giants)

Overall
Player of the Year: Gonzalez, Granderson, Verlander
Man of the Year: Paul Konerko (White Sox), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals), Michael Young (Rangers)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:53 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 82-79, third place in NL West, 11.5 games back
Manager: Don Mattingly
Best hitter: Matt Kemp -- .324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 115 R, 40 SB
Best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw -- 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 248 K, 233 1/3 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Dodgers were mediocre at best and pretty bad at times for most of the 2011 season, but all of a sudden, something seemed to click. After an August 21 loss, the Dodgers sat 57-69. The rest of the way, they went 25-10. Simply: For the last five weeks of the season, the Dodgers were one of the best teams in baseball. It's just that it was too late and not many noticed -- including Joe Buck, who said "a bad Dodgers team" during the ALCS telecast Saturday night.

On the field, this Dodgers season will be remembered for two reasons. More specifically, two players. Matt Kemp would have the NL MVP in the bag had his teammates played better all season. He may lose out to Ryan Braun, though, due to many voters believing the winner of the individual award has to come from a team that was in contention. Clayton Kershaw won the pitching triple crown (led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts -- note: He tied Ian Kennedy in wins, but that still counts). He's the likely Cy Young Award winner in the NL.

Off the field, this Dodgers season has been completely and utterly marred by owner Frank McCourt. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, he's still the owner. At least as of this writing.

2012 AUDIT

R.I.P. series
Despite the strong close, the Dodgers are still in a state of limbo. There are several holes and the ownership mess makes it unknown as to how they can proceed. Fortunately, the nucleus is young and rather strong. Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra make a strong back-end duo in the bullpen. Kershaw is an elite ace. Kemp is one of the best all-around players in baseball. Chad Billingsley is fickle, but he's still only 27. The youth movement showed promise for the future, too, with Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa (who had Tommy John surgery in August) showing they can be part of the solution in L.A. On the other hand, decisions need to be made with James Loney, Andre Ethier, catcher, second base and third base.

The franchise is not set up to be a slam-dunk contender, nor is it set up for futility in the near future. If the ownership situation would get settled very soon and the Dodgers could be a major player in free agency, they'd have a great shot at winning the NL West in 2012. It's just that we don't know how long the ownership situation will linger. Even if McCourt lost the team today, however, the approval process wouldn't be complete until it was too late to make several major plays at the likes of Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson.

FREE AGENTS

Rod Barajas, C
Jamey Carroll, 2B
Aaron Miles, 2B
Casey Blake, 3B (option declined)
Juan Rivera, OF
Jon Garland, SP (option declined)
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
Jonathan Broxton, RP
Mike MacDougal, RP
Vicente Padilla, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, they can't act like a large-market team as long as the McCourt financial stuff continues. And that won't be resolved this offseason. Still, there is significant payroll coming off the books. The general direction of the franchise should be to try and compete with the younger players while letting the aging veterans walk, but a few exceptions can be made -- because it's very realistic that the Dodgers can compete in the NL West in 2012.
  • They can probably make a run at Jose Reyes. His zealous personality would fit perfectly in Hollywood, just as his bat would atop the order. Gordon could be moved to second base and hit second. So the lineup would start: Reyes, Gordon, Kemp, Ethier (well, maybe, we'll get to that ... ).
  • Play Juan Uribe full time at third base. He's not too old to bounce back from an injury-plagued campaign.
  • Dangle Ethier as a trade candidate. Even when he's at his best, he's not an elite player -- yet many seem to view him as one. He's a free agent at the end of 2012 and has had several episodes of complaining about the team and then backing off the comments. I wouldn't necessarily come out and say he's gone, but instead quietly shop him. If he can be dealt for prospects, Sands and Tony Gwynn Jr. are enough to fill out the outfield for the time being, while L.A. just treads water waiting for the ownership situation to be sorted out.
  • Give Loney one last chance. The 27 year old was one of the best hitters in the league in the last five weeks. If it was a fluke, the Dodgers can address first base next season. If the McCourt situation was different, a run at Fielder or Albert Pujols while selling high Loney would make a lot of sense, but I just don't think they could pull that off financially at this point.
  • Bring Kuroda back for one more year. He wants to stay in L.A. anyway, and with De La Rosa on the shelf recovering from surgery, there's a need for a stop-gap in the rotation. 
  • If there's any possible way to do so financially, Kemp needs a huge contract extension. He's only 27 and can anchor the franchise for a long time. He's also wildly popular, so this would at least send a message to the fans that the Dodgers are still very relevant.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 2:04 am
 

Verlander, Kershaw win pitching triple crowns

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, now that we've got that pesky playoff thing all figured out, we can get to the important stuff, like batting titles and the such, right?

OK, while eight teams still have something to play for, 22 other teams are done, and so are the regular-season individual titles. So what were the best marks in the biggest individual categories? Here you go:

American League
Batting average: .344 -- Miguel Cabrera
Home runs: 43 -- Jose Bautista
RBIs: 119 -- Curtis Granderson
Stolen bases: 49 -- Coco Crisp, Brett Gardner
Wins: 24 -- Justin Verlander
ERA: 2.40 -- Justin Verlander
Strikeouts: 250 -- Justin Verlander
Saves: 49 -- Jose Valverde

National League
Batting average: .337 -- Jose Reyes
Home runs: 39 -- Matt Kemp
RBIs: 126 -- Matt Kemp
Stolen bases: 61 -- Michael Bourn
Wins: 21 -- Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kennedy
ERA: 2.28 -- Clayton Kershaw
Strikeouts: 248 -- Clayton Kershaw
Saves: 46 -- John Axford, Craig Kimbrel

If you want to know who led in other stats, you can check out our stats page.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 27, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 1:01 am
 

Kemp Watch: Batting title race

By Matt Snyder

As my colleague Evan Brunell pointed out earlier Tuesday, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp has a shot -- albeit a small one -- to win the hitting triple crown. That means leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI. It hasn't been done in the majors since Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox pulled it off in 1967. There hasn't been a triple crown winner in the NL since Joe "Ducky" Medwick did it in 1937 for the Cardinals. Both players won the MVP.

Kemp entered Tuesday night needing to make up some ground on both Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Jose Reyes of the Mets. We'll follow the race by each player here, updating after every plate appearance. If Kemp doesn't make up some serious ground -- meaning a 4-for-4 night or something like that -- he's not going to win the batting title. He even needs help (and so far isn't getting it) from the other two.

Reyes, vs. Cincinnati
Plate appearance 1: Grounded out
Plate appearance 2: Home run (.335)
Plate appearance 3: Home run (.336 ... and wow)
Plate appearance 4: Flied out (.335)
Plate appearance 5: Single (.336)
Plate appearance 6: Flied out (.336)

Braun, vs. Pittsburgh
Plate appearance 1: Single (.335)
Plate appearance 2: Grounded out (.335)
Plate appearance 3: Walk (.335)
Plate appearance 4: Walk (.335)

Kemp, at Arizona
Plate appearance 1: Flied out (.323)
Plate appearance 2: Double (.324)
Plate appearance 3: Flied out (.324)
Plate appearance 4: Grounded out (.323 ... and it's safe to say he isn't winning the batting title)
Plate appearance 5: Single (.324)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Can Matt Kemp win Triple Crown?

Kemp

By Evan Brunell

What are the odds of Matt Kemp winning the Triple Crown?

Low.

That may not be what one wants to hear, but there's a reason why the last Triple Crown was accomplished way back in 1967 by Carl Yastrzemski -- it's really hard to pull off. And apparently it's harder in the NL, as the senior circuit is looking for its first Triple Crown since Joe Medwick in 1937.

Kemp came into Monday night with a solid chance at the Triple Crown with  37 home runs, tied with Albert Pujols for the league lead. He had Prince Fielder beaten in RBI by five, and Kemp cranked a three-run homer on Monday to take the homer lead and extend his RBI lead. So far, so good.

But batting average is a different story, with Jose Reyes at .331 and Kemp at .324 entering play Monday. That's a sizable gap to make up, and the gap widened after Monday's games as Kemp went 1-for-4 to remain at .324. Reyes, however, rapped out three hits in four trips to the plate to spike his batting average to .334. With two games left, Kemp would have to go on an absolute tear to get to Reyes. If he raps 10 hits in his next 10 at-bats -- and he may not even be able to cram 10 more at-bats into the season -- he will have a batting average of .335. Even nine hits won't help his cause, as he would be at .333 at that point. Of course, Reyes could slip under .333 across the next two games, but regardless, Kemp will have to show up and play even if Reyes goes 0-for-10 the rest of the way as that would only slip the Met to .327.

Not one player this year has put up nine or 10 hits in 10 at-bats this season. Heck, only five people the entire year has registered two consecutive games with at least four hits, and eve they didn't produce to the clip Kemp needs to get to .333 or higher. Carl Crawford came the closest to accomplishing what Kemp needs to, garnering eight hits in nine at-bats between games of May 25-26. But even that would only get Kemp to .332. The only time a player registered at least nine hits in 10 or less at-bats since the turn of the millennium was Marcus Giles of the Braves in 2003 when he rapped out exactly nine hits in 10 trips to the plate from July 28-29.

Bottom line, the only way Matt Kemp wins the Triple Crown is if he goes bananas at a historic pace and Reyes completely collapses. Impossible? No. Improbable? Very.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 23, 2011 8:41 pm
 

How do we really define 'value?'



By Matt Snyder


As the end of the 2011 baseball season is now less than a week away, it's becoming more and more clear that the MVP debates are going to include a healthy amount of "value" discussion -- much more than in previous seasons. Throw out the stats because how you define who should be allowed to be MVP tells you who to vote for this season. The best position player in each respective league is playing for a team that hasn't been in contention for the playoffs for a majority of the season. If you believe pitchers are eligible to win the award, well, you have your AL vote, too. If you believe the MVP has to be a position player from a team in contention, again, the field is rather limited (well, I guess you'd have to pick between two teammates in the NL).

So with so many others giving us their definition of value, I figured I'd outline mine.

If I had an MVP vote in the American League, I'd vote for Jose Bautista. His Blue Jays entered Friday night 16 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and nine behind the Red Sox in the wild card. At 79-77, they're most certainly not a bad team, but they've been out of contention for the entire second half.

If I had an MVP vote in the National League, I'd vote for Matt Kemp. His Dodgers are 11 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West. They're 9 1/2 games behind the Braves in the wild card. At 78-77, they're most certainly not a bad team, but they've been out of contention for the entire second half.

Now, this is where the dissenters start calling me every name in the book -- because heaven forbid we ever actually respectfully disagree with someone's opinion. The argument will include fallacies like the Blue Jays and Dodgers suck (no, they really don't) and that it's easier to play in meaningless games (no, it's really not). We'll also hear about how "if you removed (Bautista or Kemp) from the (Blue Jays or Dodgers), they'd still not be a playoff team. Just like they aren't a playoff team now."

But you know what I'm going to counter with? Bautista and Kemp are actually more valuable than players like Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Braun because the supporting cast is bad. For example, the Red Sox were 89-73 last season and Ellsbury only played in 18 games. This season, they'll probably be a small handful of games better, but they also added Adrian Gonzalez. There are far more moving parts because every season is full of complexities, but this a simple way of saying the lineup is loaded and that losing only one guy doesn't handcuff that team. But what if the Blue Jays didn't have Jose Bautista? Would they be even close to .500? Nope. What about the Dodgers without Kemp? They'd be left trying to win every fifth day (when Clayton Kershaw pitches) and otherwise getting their teeth kicked in.

If you're really going to argue that Kemp and Bautista are more "most outstanding player" types than MVP types, you're going to have to tell everyone why a player absolutely carrying an otherwise mediocre offense isn't valuable. If you're going to argue it's easier to put up the kind of numbers these guys have because they aren't in playoff contention, you better argue that if you put Bautista in right field for the Yankees or Kemp in center for the Brewers, they'd somehow be worse players because now they're having to face pressure (nevermind the better protection in the lineup and extra RBI opportunities they'd have).

Also, the argument that it's easier to play in games for a team not in the race is farcical. You know what this argument is? An invented one by fans of teams that are headed to the playoffs. Sorry, guys, it is much easier to show up to the ballpark in a good mindset and play a game when the game actually matters. In a mental game like baseball, that matters. Playing meaningless games makes it more difficult to stay as focused as necessary for each at-bat. Think about the three Monday-Wednesday games next week for players on the Twins, for example. They've got to be ready to close the book on 2011, but still will be professionals and play games.

It's going to be interesting to see how the MVP voting falls in each league, as it's more about defining criteria than picking a player. Tigers' ace Justin Verlander deserves consideration, as does Ellsbury, alongside Bautista in the AL. Like I said, the only debate is what valuable means to you. Kemp has some company, as the Brewers' Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols of the Cardinals and the Reds' Joey Votto could all figure into the mix. Still, it feels like the first-place vote is defined by definition of value. Kemp gets the vote if you don't care about the team being in contention, and if you do, it probably is between Braun and Fielder.

The beauty of this vote is we don't have to agree (hey, I'll be happy if Braun wins, because that's who I predicted would win back in March). It's a subjective award and the criteria of "value" is pretty vague. I respect those who think the MVP has to come from a team in contention, but I just wanted to lay out something I've been thinking about ... that great players surrounded by bad supporting casts are actually more valuable. Just be open-minded and think about it.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com