12 January 2005

ESPN Hot Stove Superlatives...

They already picked "best bunter"- it was Pierre

ESPN.com has put up a schedule of "Hot Stove Heaters," little superlatives that should kill some of the boredom between now and Armageddon (aka, April 3rd at Yankee Stadium- Johnson v. Schilling). They're kind of fun to speculate about, and without getting TOO in depth on all of them, I thought I'd pick mine and compare against what ESPN ultimately chooses in each (rather innocuous) category.

OK, so here goes. I'll stop for clarification where I see fit. I'm going to do one in each league...

  • Most patient hitter:
    Barry Bonds, SFG
    Manny Ramirez, BOS

  • Best hit-and-run guy: (tough one- I'll go with good bat control/ low K guys)
    Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
    Rafael Furcal, ATL

  • Best two-strike hitter
    Barry Bonds, SFG
    Manny Ramirez, BOS

  • Best baserunner
    Derek Jeter, NYY
    Scott Podsednik, MIL (now CWS)

  • Most exciting baserunner (huh?)
    Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
    I have no one else. This is a horseshit category.

  • Best basestealer
    Carl Crawford, TBR
    Scott Podsednik, MIL (now CWS)

  • Best at breaking up double play
    Orlando Cabrera, ANA
    Marcus Giles, ATL

  • Best control pitcher
    David Wells, BOS
    Greg Maddux, CHC

  • Most durable pitcher
    Roger Clemens/ Livan Hernandez, HOU/ MTL
    Mark Buehrle, CWS

  • Best slide-step pitcher
    I have NO idea.

  • Best pickoff move
    Andy Pettitte, HOU
    Kenny Rogers, TEX

  • Best pitcher at moving hitters off the plate (used to be Pedro, not anymore)
    Kerry Wood, CHC
    Randy Johnson, ARI (now NYY)

  • Best hitting pitcher (I'll do 2 NLers)
    Livan Hernandez, MTL
    Mike Hampton, ATL

  • Best outfield arm
    Vladimir Guerrero, ANA
    Richard Hidalgo, NYM (now TEX)

  • Most accurate outfield arm
    Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
    Andruw Jones, ATL

  • Best outfielder playing the wall
    Johnny Damon, BOS
    JD Drew, LAD

  • Best infield arm
    Scott Rolen, STL
    Alex Rodriguez, NYY

  • Best double-play combination
    Cesar Izturis/ Alex Cora or Alex Gonzalez/ Luis Castillo, LAD/ FLA
    Bobby Crosby/ Mark Ellis or Edgar Renteria/ Mark Bellhorn, OAK/ BOS

  • Best cutoff man
    Miguel Tejada, BAL
    Mark Loretta, SDP

  • Best first baseman around the bag
    Doug Mientkiewicz, BOS
    Derrek Lee, CHC

  • Best catcher at blocking the plate
    Brian Schneider, MTL
    Bengie Molina, ANA

  • Best catcher at calling a game
    Jason Varitek, BOS
    Mike Matheny, SFG

  • Best on-field manager
    Bobby Cox, ATL
    Lou Piniella, TBR

  • Best third base coach
    Again- I have no idea. It's not Dale Sveum, though.

  • Best prankster/ clubhouse clown
    Don't know the guys...

  • Best leader
    If I wanted to try and guess DEAD ON who will win this, I could, and his name rhymes with "Derek Jeter." But, I don't really know- I'm not on any of these teams.

  • The picks last through February 18th, so I may just bring back some of the more interesting ones as they come- they're adding them at a rate of about one a day. Should be fun stuff. I haven't really checked how they're selecting each category, but seeing as it's a fun discussion-creator, I don't see why it matters. In fact, feel free to publicly flog me for my (admittedly off-the-top-of-my head) picks in the form of some "comments."

    And just for the record- the Broseph is with me on this one I'm sure- if they don't pick Manny Ramirez as "Best Two Strike Hitter," I'm gonna be maaaaaaad.


    Good luck Derek.

    ______________________________ |


    PTH here...just commenting on a couple things

    For most patient hitter, you should put into consideration Brad Wilkerson and Bobby Abreu. Within the past two years, they have been in the top 3 for most pitches per plate appearance. And also in 04, they were 1 and 2 in number of total pitches.

    Most exciting baserunner--why not Dave Roberts if you need somebody to represent the NL? Yeah it's a BS category, but Roberts is fun ot watch on the basepaths.

    Also for Best 2-strike hitter, nothing at all against Manny or Bonds, but I think the only hitter to hit over .300 with 2 strikes on them in 04 was the one and only Shea Hillenbrand. Just worth nothing.

    For control pitcher, I'd also consider either Brad Radke or Jon Lieber. Both seem to be very good with their control. I don't exactly argue the choices of Maddux or Wells either, both are good picks too.

    Carlos Lee is good for an outfield arm position. He didn't make any errors and led LF with 14 assists. I'd say the accuracy one could fit.

    Varitek would be an alright choice for blocking the plate, you could ask Eric Byrnes about that one.

    Worst 3B Coach Awards should go to Wendell Kim(is he sitll gonna be their 3B coach?) and Sveum

    For Prankster/Clubhouse Clown....you can't go wrong w/ Millar...you just can't. Though I'm sure there's a few other good ones out there too.

    And Renteria/Bellhorn DP combo? That's an interesting choice, but given Peter Gammons' comments on Bellhorn's quick hands and great ability to turn the DP, I can see your logic.

    Everything else I agree with you and definitely don't have any arguments with you....

    *I looked up stats for the patient hitters, btw, via ESPN.com*


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/12/2005 11:24 PM  

    PTH- you rule. I particularly appreciate the Abreu/ Wilkerson info... I LOVE Bobby Abreu, and even have a real long post on him here somewhere with cobwebs on it...

    As for two strike hitter, I went with Manny and Bonds' abilities to hit offspeed/ breaking balls so well, pitches they'll see more often behind in the count- according to the 2004 Bill James Handbook, Manny lead the AL in OPS on curveballs, with a 1.294. Admittedly not a definitive study, but I went with anecdotal this time around. Looking back at ESPN splits- he's actually not much of a 2-strike hitter. Ah well.

    Keep em coming all...

    By Blogger BS Memorial, at 1/13/2005 12:27 AM  

    Barry Bonds ends up getting Most Patient Hitter, which isn't exactly a bad thing, but Wilkerson and Abreu have been more patient than him....despite lesser walks. But also keep in mind that A good chunk of Bonds' walks were intentional.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/13/2005 4:44 PM  

    Very true- I liked how, in the article, they were careful to mention that there ARE interpretations of "patient."

    By Blogger BS Memorial, at 1/13/2005 5:40 PM  

    Pettitte balks every time.

    By Blogger Jere, at 1/13/2005 10:14 PM  

    Jere, could you tell me the rules on the balk exactly, I have never understood them.

    By Blogger Mike Rogan, at 1/13/2005 11:51 PM  

    PTH here...one more thing I thought about....for hit and run guy, Bill Mueller would be a nice candidate...he's a good contact hitter, and it seems like he does fine in a hit and run situation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/14/2005 12:34 AM  

    Good call on Mueller- seems he'd be the perfect type actually- not too fast, low K, good bat control, slap hitter. I really was grasping when I picked the ones I did...

    By Blogger BS Memorial, at 1/14/2005 2:00 AM  

    Not a good moment seeing one of my favorite Red Sox players of all time in a Dodgers uni. Best a luck to him tho. BMS, I liked your assesment of his sinker and their infield being a good match.
    Site looks great.

    By Blogger nagor, at 1/15/2005 3:48 PM  

    Sure, The Broseph. There are many ways for a pitcher to balk, all of which involve some kind of deception, which, unless you're on the yankees, is illegal. The specific one that Andy Pettitte does is on his pickoff attempts to first base. For lefties, after you raise your right leg from the set position, in order to throw over to first, your foot can't come down on the home plate side of an imaginary line running from the rubber to first base. In other words, your foot can't go toward the plate on a throw to first, that would be deception. Pettitte has basically inched that foot farther and farther toward the plate on throws to first over the years, essentially making the umps change their definition of what a balk is. Kind of like palming the ball in basketball. It's just kind of evolved to the point where everyone in basketball is now breaking the original rule.

    Pettitte's move is pretty damn good, despite my opinion that it's illegal. A much more fun balk is the kind where a pitcher starts to pitch and then trips and falls on his face. This is a much rarer form of our friend, the balk.

    For more on balking, contact your local library.

    By Blogger Jere, at 1/17/2005 6:10 PM  

    Mark Loretta--best hit and run guy. Can't argue the call.

    Tomorrow will be Best 2 Strike Hitter. If it's not Hillenbrand or Manny...I'll be pissed.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/18/2005 12:40 AM  

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