October 30, 2012

Playoff Predictions Contest Recap

Before the playoffs started, I ran a predictions contest.  The winner receives his or her choice of a sports keychain from wholesalekeychain.com.  These are nice, I have a couple and really like them.  Below are all the entries, showing the winning (green) and losing (red) picks and scores tabulated.

Click to enlarge

Congratulations to Pat S. for winning. He not only had the most total points, but was the only entrant to correctly pick the Giants as the World Series champion.  A few interesting observations on the entries:

October 12, 2012

2012 American League Awards Recap

Over the past week, I have announced my picks for the American League half of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance awards.  The BBA will announce the member's collective choices next week.  Below is a summary of my ballots:  (Click on links for full post with explanations)

Connie Mack Award (Top Manager)
#1: Bob Melvin, Oakland
#2: Buck Showalter, Baltimore
#3: Robin Ventura, Chigaco

Willie Mays Awards (Top Rookie)
#1: Mike Trout
#2: Yoenis Cespedes
#3: Will Middlebrooks

Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher)
#1: Justin Verlander
#2: Felix Hernandez
#3: David Price
#4: Jered Weaver
#5: Chris Sale

Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever)
#1: Fernando Rodney
#2: Jake McGee
#3: Greg Holland

Stan Musial Award (Top Player)
#1: Mike Trout
#2: Robinson Cano
#3: Miguel Cabrera
#4: Adrian Beltre
#5: Justin Verlander
#6: Ben Zobrist
#7: Felix Hernandez
#8: Alex Gordon
#9: Adam Jones
#10: Joe Mauer

2012 AL Stan Musial Award

All week I have been selecting my AL award winners that will go in my ballot for the Baseball Blogger's Alliance year end awards.  They will announce their winners next week on their site.

I have saved the most anticipated and controversial award for last.  This is the Stan Musial Award for Player of the Year.   This ultimately comes down to two guys. Miguel Cabrera who won the Triple Crown and led the Tigers to the playoffs, and Mike Trout who had an unbelievably good season, for a rookie or otherwise. 

October 11, 2012

2012 AL Goose Gossage Award

The penultimate award I get to vote on for the Baseball Blogger's Alliance year end awards is the American League Goose Gossage award for top reliever.   Once again, a lot of good closers with some eye-popping numbers.  Baltimore's Jim Johnson led the majors in saves with 51. Rafael Soriano got 42 saves after Rivera went on the DL.  Tampa's Fernando Rodney had an ERA of 0.60(!).

There was a time when we thought the closers with the most saves were the best relievers.  This was in the dark ages of baseball statistical enlightenment. Or as it was called at the time, the 1980s (or 1990s).   But I like to look a little deeper.

October 10, 2012

2012 AL Walter Johnson Award

Yesterday I announced Mike Trout as my pick for winner of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance Willie Mays award for Rookie of the Year in the American League.  That was an extremely easy pick.  Today I tackle the Walter Johnson award for top pitcher.  This one required some more thinking.  There were several deserving candidates, and no clear cut choice.

Among the front runners there was David Price who tied for the league lead in wins with a sparkling 20-5 record and also led with a 2.56 ERA, and Jered Weaver who had the same record with a 2.81 ERA and led the majors in WHIP at 1.02.  And let's not forget Felix Hernandez who only won 13 games due partially to an anemic offense, but had 5 shutouts, an ERA of 3.06 and 223 strikeouts.  Chris Sale and Yu Darvish (just realized I forgot to mention him in my Rookie of the Year post - wouldn't matter he wouldn't beat Trout anyways) had excellent campaigns as well, and I don't want to neglect CC Sabathia who had an average season for him... aka a great season for any other pitcher.  And there were also some relievers with out of this world numbers. Baltimore's Jim Johnson saved 51 games and meanwhile Tampa's Francisco Rodney didn't give up any runs all season.  Ok, he must have given up a couple while I blinked because he has a non-zero ERA, but just barely at an incredible 0.60.

With so many deserving candidates, whose name is this blog going to put for the 2012 American League Walter Johnson Award?

October 09, 2012

Red Sox keychains review from Wholesalekeychain.com

I just received a pair of keychains from WholesaleKeychain.com and wanted to share my thoughts with my readers.   The first keychain is the bottle opener one pictured on the left.  This keychain is awesome.  It is light, yet sturdy enough to hold all my keys. It is also extremely convenient.  How many times do you grab a bottle out of a cooler at a party and it's not a twist off?  You have to find the host... interrupt them... have them track down a bottle opener... by the time you get back that cute girl you were talking with is now talking to some other guy - probably a Yankees fan. Sigh.  Well, with this in your pocket you won't have to worry about that ever again.  And when you pull it out of your pocket, everyone will know you're a diehard fan and not afraid to show off your allegiance.

The other keychain I got is the white round leather one shown to the right.  This one is a bit smaller but was still able to hold all my keys (and memory stick, and frequent shopper key tags - quite a mass of stuff I carry on it).  It seems sturdy and very well made.  As well I had it personalized on the back.  On the left is a picture of the finished product.  I apologize for the quality of the photograph, but it says

Red Sox

I think it looks quite sharp!  You can get most of their keychains engraved for a small additional fee.

I just wish I had that bottle opener one while the Red Sox were still playing. Bobby V drove me to drink more times than I care to admit.   And remember the winners of the playoff prediction contest will get to choose a sports keychain of their choice from WholesaleKeychain.com.

Disclaimer: The thoughts above are entirely my own. I was given these sample keychains in return for writing a review, but this is my honest opinion and no other compensaion was received for this post.

2012 AL Willie Mays Award

Awards week continues.  After naming Oakland's Bob Melvin the winner of BBA's Connie Mack Award, today I get the honour of selecting the American League Willie Mays Award winner for best rookie.

There was a great crop of rookies in the AL this season.  Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes was a big part of the reason the A's surprised the baseball world by winning the AL West.  Chris Carter was another big part.  He only got called up in late June and hit 16 home runs in 67 games.  Boston's Will Middlebrooks got called up in May and was such a hot hitter he forced the Red Sox to trade away perennial all-star Kevin Youkilis. Baltimore called up prospect Manny Machado when they were fighting neck and neck with Tampa for the last wildcard spot. With him in the lineup they pulled away and almost caught the Yankees for the division.  In other seasons any of these players might have been good candidates to win the Rookie of the Year. But who to give it to this year?

October 08, 2012

2012 AL Connie Mack Award

As a member of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance, I have the privilege of voting for all the end-of-season awards.   The first one I am announcing this year is the Connie Mack for the Manager of the Year.

There were a lot of good candidates this year:
- Buck Showalter took a team that should have been barely .500 based on their runs scored differential, and won 93 games, and had a shot at the AL East division right up to the last day of the season.

- Bob Melvin took an Oakland team that traded away some of their best players in the offseason, and shocked the Rangers to win the AL West division.

-Robin Ventura took over the White Sox from Ozzie Guillen who failed to get them to .500, and had them atop the AL Central until the last week of the season

October 07, 2012

BBA Awards

As we settle in to watch the playoffs, it's also time to start thinking of the year end awards.  Over the next few days I will  post on this blog my ballot for each of the main awards.  As part of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance, I will be voting on the following awards for the American League:

Connie Mack Award (Best Manager)
Willie Mays Award  (Top Rookie)
Goose Gossage Award (Best Reliever)
Walter Johnson Award (Best Pitcher)
Stan Musial Award (Best Player)

There won't be a lot of suspense for some of these but I expect that there will be some that will generate some discussion and/or controversy.  I will do my best to explain why I made the choices I did in each post.
I will be disclosing one winner each day this week.  Stay tuned.

October 04, 2012

MLB Playoff predictions

Now that all the playoff matchups have been set, it is time for me to make postseason predictions.  But in keeping true to the spirit of this site, these will be based on the amount of Canadian (and bonuses for Albertan) content of the playoff rosters, as well as links to Red Sox players.

Let’s start with the American League:  The wildcard match features the Texas Rangers who will host the surprising Baltimore Orioles.  The O’s don’t have any Canadians or any former Red Sox players.  Texas has BC native Ryan Dempster as an available arm, as well as former Red Sox Adrian Beltre and David Murphy in the lineup.
This is an easy pick – Texas will advance to the LDS.

October 02, 2012

Revisiting the new playoff structure

Here we are in the first year of the new playoff structure.  Let’s see how it’s improved over the previous imperfect format.  First of all, what are the similarities?  Well, in the NL all 3 division winners, Nationals, Reds and Giants would be in the playoffs, and getting their rotations set for the LDS regardless of which system was in use.  And in the AL, the Red Sox would have been eliminated a long time ago.  This is where the similarities end. 

October 01, 2012

Playoff Prediction Contest

RSN Alberta is pleased to announce that we are  running a contest to predict who will win each of the playoff series. Like most of these types of contests, you will need to predict the winners of all the Series before the first one starts.  So an early upset might ruin your entire ballot.  Conversely, if you pick an under dog to win it all, and they do, there is a good chance you will be the grand prize winner.  Here’s a hint – Don’t pick the Red Sox.  No really.  I know they have the best team on paper, and only injuries prevented them from winning 100 games again (like they have the past 3 seasons - on paper), but this year MLB has decided to actually play the games on the field, and only the real wins and losses are being counted, so Boston will not have a team in the playoffs. I know – I also think it’s highly unfair, since we are obviously one of the top teams in the majors, but Mr. Selig has made his decision, and it doesn’t sound like we can change his mind. 

The contest is free and easy to enter.
Here are the rules: