Monday, April 05, 2010

MLB Preview

Rather than my original plan of a few separate posts, I think I'll put all my Opening Week thoughts in one post. This way, those who want to skip it can do so more easily. Why you would want to do that, I have no idea. What are you, a communist?

So, piece by piece:

1. First, let us worship Albert Pujols. Yesterday, he started the year with four hits, two home runs, four runs scored, three batted in. He's 30 years old, and he's putting together one of the all-time great baseball careers in front of our eyes. Let's take just the three hitting categories that are most familiar to everyone. His batting average, home runs, and RBIs per season beginning with his rookie year, when he was 21:
.329, 37, 130
.314, 34, 127
.359, 43, 124
.331, 46, 123
.330, 41, 117
.331, 49, 137
.327, 32, 103
.357, 37, 116
.327, 47, 135
His average output over nine years is .334, 42, 129.

2. Welcome to the future. Ben McGrath has a piece in this week's New Yorker about Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg. Heyward is a 20-year-old outfielder with the Braves who has been nicknamed "The J-Hey Kid" -- no pressure or anything. In his first Major League at bat yesterday, he hit a three-run homer off Carlos Zambrano. Strasburg is a pitcher starting the year in the minors, but he'll be up for the Washington Nationals before long, at which point he will become, however he fares, the most interesting thing to ever happen in a regular-season Nats game.

3. Remember your origins. Most of the explanations in this list of how Major League teams got their nicknames are pretty straightforward. But there are a few fun tidbits, like the fact that "Mets" was chosen by fans from among these 10 finalists: Avengers, Bees, Burros, Continentals, Jets, Mets, NYBS, Rebels, Skyliners, and Skyscrapers. The New York Burros. That would have been great.

4. Remember Carl. According to this article about veterans playing in the minors and hoping for another shot, Carl Everett, former star slugger and dinosaur denialist, is playing for the Newark Bears this year. How I haven't been to a game in Newark is beyond me. I will do my best to rectify that.

5. Don't hold me to this. Time for ill-advised predictions. Playoff teams first, then awards:

American League: Yankees, Twins, Mariners, Red Sox (wild card)
National League: Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies, Braves (wild card)
World Series: Yankees over Phillies (again)
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie: Brian Matusz
NL Rookie: Jason Heyward


Post a Comment

<< Home