Monday, June 26, 2006

My June 26 All-Star Ballot

American League

1B Justin Morneau (Minnesota Twins)
(Previous vote: Paul Konerko)

Morneau's incredible June has lifted him to the upper echelon of AL first basemen. Keeping in mind that David Ortiz, Travis Hafner, and Jason Giambi are all designated hitters and not really first basemen, the choice comes down to Morneau or Konerko. Konerko has the edge in batting average, they each have 19 homeruns, and Morneau has a small edge in RBI.

2B Jose Lopez (Seattle Mariners)
(Previous vote: Lopez)

Strong consideration given to Robinson Cano and Tadahito Iguchi, but Lopez keeps driving in runs.

SS Miguel Tejada (Baltimore Orioles)
(Previous vote: Tejada)

Nothing has changed here.

3B Joe Crede (Chicago White Sox)
(Previous vote: Eric Chavez)

I would like to be able to still justify my Chavez vote from last time, but he has slumped to a .255 batting average, while Crede is up to .307. They are tied in homeruns, Crede has a dozen more RBI, and I can't even play the defense card with Chavez because Crede may put a stop to Chavez's Gold Glove streak this year.

C Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
(Previous vote: Mauer)

Vote Joe!

OF Carl Crawford (Tampa Bay Devil Rays), Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners), Vernon Wells (Toronto Blue Jays)
(Previous vote: Vladimir Guerrero, Alex Rios, Wells)

Stuck in Tampa, Crawford has quietly started to put up a superstar season (.310 average, 10 homeruns, 26 stolen bases). Ichiro is now within 10 points of Joe Mauer in the batting race. Wells is still the best outfielder in the AL, having the best season of all the outfielders in the AL.

National League

1B Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
(Previous vote: Pujols)

His batting average, homerun and RBI numbers are now virtually interchangeable with Ryan Howard and Lance Berkman. The difference is that Howard and Berkman didn't miss three weeks with an injury.

2B Dan Uggla (Florida Marlins)
(Previous vote: Chase Utley)

Uggla has to be the feel good story of the year in the big leagues! The Marlins rookie is now in a dead heat with Utley in homers and ribbies, and has a 25 point edge in batting average.

SS Jose Reyes (New York Mets)
(Previous vote: Hanley Ramirez)

Two weeks ago, on my last ballot, I wrote "I'm tempted to vote for Jose Reyes, but not until he gets his average over .250." Since then, he has been the hottest hitter in baseball, recording at least four four-hit games, raising his average to .302, and has continued to lead the majors in stolen bases. Reyes may very well be the most exciting player in all of baseball.

3B David Wright (New York Mets)
(Previous vote: Wright)

Best third baseman in baseball.

C Johnny Estrada (Arizona Diamondbacks)
(Previous vote: Brad Ausmus)

Still the weakest field on the ballot, but Estrada has started to distance himself with his average and RBI numbers and, the D-backs recent slide notwithstanding, has been excellent behind the plate.

OF Jason Bay (Pittsburgh Pirates), Carlos Beltran (New York Mets), Matt Holliday (Colorado Rockies)
(Previous vote: Bay, Holliday, Alfonso Soriano)

Beltran takes over for Soriano. His numbers are catching up and he's simply a better player.

Monday, June 12, 2006

People Are Strange

(Hey, hey! It's the first non-baseball post!)

I watched a heavily intoxicated woman, in her forties or early fifties, march from the CC Club to the front door at Treehouse. After smoking half a cigarette, she walked inside. This took place around 6:00 PM. This is our exchange.

"Where's Jim?"


"I know you have Jim Morrison in here!"

"No, he's not physically here! We probably have a few of his records."

"What about posters?"

"Well, let's see... there's that one right up there." (I point toward a small 12" x 12" image of Mr. Lizard King on the upper-right corner of our south wall.)

"Oooh! How much?"

"Oh, our posters aren't for sale, sorry."

"Oh, I get it... you won't sell his poster, you're just here to make money off him!"


"I bet you don't even know who he is!"

"No, I think I have a pretty good idea."

"How old are you? Seventeen?"

"No, I'm not seventeen."

"How old are you then?"

"I'm twenty-eight."

"You are not."

"Yeah, I am."

"No you're not. You're somewhere between 17 and 28, maybe, but you're not 28!"

"I can show you my driver's license."

"No, I don't care that much."

"Could've fooled me."




"Uh... what are you on?"

"Nothing. I'm not on nothing, I'm just having a really bad day and sometimes I drink too much."



"Nothing, that's fine."

"Where are the Beatles?! I gotta go!"

Friday, June 09, 2006

My June 9 All Star ballot

American League

1B Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox)
(Previous vote: Konerko)

Nothing here has changed. The only other choice on the ballot at this position with comparable all-around numbers is Travis Hafner, but as I pointed out before, he is not a first baseman. Hafner is a strict designated hitter.

2B Jose Lopez (Seattle Mariners)
(Previous vote: Luis Castillo)

Lopez leads all AL second basemen in homers and RBI. In fact, his 47 RBI are nearly double the total of the any other second baseman in the AL!

SS Miguel Tejada (Baltimore Orioles)
(Previous vote: Tejada)

The numbers speak.

3B Eric Chavez (Oakland Athletics)
(Previous vote: Hank Blalock)

Chavez is an extraordinary third baseman and one of the most underrated players in the league. Despite posting perennial All Star numbers and racking up the Gold Gloves, the notoriously slow starter has never appeared in an All Star game. That changes this year.

C Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
(Previous vote: A.J. Pierzynski)

The easiest way to vault yourself onto in All Star ballot is to produce, and over the past 17 games (approximately the time since my last All Star ballot) Mauer has hit .509 to raise his average to a Gwynn-like .379 - easily the Major League leader.

OF Vladimir Guerrero (Los Angeles Angels), Vernon Wells (Toronto Blue Jays), Alex Rios (Toronto Blue Jays - WRITE IN)
(Previous vote: Wells, Rios, Casey Blake)

Casey Blake has had a fine season, but he's finally coming back to earth. He's a great first half story, but he's not an All Star starter. Vlad Guerrero is an All Star starter. Meanwhile, Toronto's outstanding outfielders haven't slowed a bit!

National League

1B Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)
(Previous vote: Pujols)

Injury and all, he's still the clear choice.

2B Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies)
(Previous vote: Utley)

A very interstesting category and a tough choice. I'm starting to think that Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips (not on the ballot) and Florida's Dan Uggla are for real, and their underdog stories (especially Uggla's) make them nice sentimental choices, but Utley is still the best second baseman in the NL, having the best season.

SS Hanley Ramirez (Florida Marlins)
(Previous vote: Ramirez)

The rookie of the year favorite has cooled down over the last few weeks, and I'm tempted to vote for Jose Reyes, but not until he gets his average over .250.

3B David Wright (New York Mets)
(Previous vote: Wright)

Is there a quieter .340 hitter in baseball this year than Scott Rolen? Seriously, when did that happen? Still, Wright is the choice.

C Brad Ausmus (Houston Astros)
(Previous vote: Brian McCann)

NL catcher boasts the least impressive list of candidates of any position in either league. McCann's injury is costing him my vote here. In a most unspectacular field, I'll go with Ausmus. He is widely regarded as one of the top field generals in the game and he's hitting close to .300.

OF Jason Bay (Pittsburgh Pirates), Matt Holliday (Colorado Rockies), Alfonso Soriano (Washington Nationals)
(Previous vote: Holliday, Andruw Jones, Soriano)

Bay has been on a tear lately. Here's his reward: a Dan Cote All Star vote!