Friday, August 29, 2008

Visit to my personal Mecca

Here's a picture of me and the Rev taking in the game.

This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Anaheim on business, and luckily stay in a hotel 2 miles away from Angel Stadium. I got to see two Angel games.

The first was a complete game win by John Lackey. I went up to the box office about 45 minutes before gametime and asked what the best seats available were. They told me for $110 I could sit right behind the dugouts. I rephrased my question to "what are the best seats I can get for $50?" and wound up sitting in the 109 section, about 20 rows up from the field, and just behind the infield. I was happy and still had food, beer, and monkey money. The game was an example of a great pitcher at the top of his game. Lackey gave up a few hard hit balls early and was fortunate to get a 1 pitch DP grounder from the second batter. Torii Hunter made a few fine catches. Once the Angels scored, Lackey really started to dominate. He finally gave up a solo homer in the 9th but overall pitched a great game.

For the second game, I was sitting in the CF seats as a guest of the Reverend Halofan himself. I've been in the Halosphere fantasy league the last two years with him, but had never met him in person before. The Rev is a great guy and we had a blast talking baseball for the night, even though the Angels could not overcome an early 6 run deficit after Joe Saunders got knocked around. The Angels closed the gap to 6-5, and had numerous chances to take the lead, but all the monkey videos played in the stadium could not help them get the extra run. The game ended when Juan Rivera hit into a double play off Oakland's groundball magnet, Brad Zeigler.

The game featured injuries to both Howie Kendrick, who is now on the disabled list, and Erick Aybar. Because of these, we heard words that may never be heard again: "Juan Rivera, second base". Here's hoping both players rest up and are 100% in time for the playoffs. As for the division, the Angels could play me at second and the Rev at short for the next month and we'd still probably just hold on to the division. It's nice having a 16 game lead.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Best Players

Using park adjusted linear weights above replacement level, position adjustments, and defensive runs saved based on RZR (find it on Hardball Times)

National League
1. Jones 71
2. Pujols 70
3. Utley 66
4. Berkman 66
5. Beltran 50
6. Wright 49
7. Holliday 49
8. McCann 47
9. H Ramirez 43
10. Braun/Teixiera/Ludwick 40

Utley gets credit for an insane 27 defensive runs, but all the top guys have good gloves. I'll pick Pujols as the MVP as he's more likely than Jones to keep throwing up the numbers the rest of the way. Beltran isn't getting the love he deserves. He's not having his best season, but is the best CF in the league and still a solid hitter.

American League

1. Sizemore 51
2. A-Rod 41
3. Markakis 38
4. Mauer 38
5. Roberts 38
6. Longoria 38
7. Hamilton 37
8. Drew 36
9. Bradley 34
10. Damon/Beltre/Upton 33
13. Hunter 31

The best in the AL aren't having nearly as dominant years as their counterparts in the NL, but that may be a case of superior competition leading to decreased variance. Sizemore has probably been the best player in the league but unlikely to win the award with the Indians playing so poorly. A-Rod can probably win it if his play is the difference that knocks the Red Sox out of the playoffs.

I wonder if a Torii Hunter bandwagon can start here. The numbers say he's a good CF, +2, but the perception of his defense is more like that of a +10 to +15 guy. If the Yankees fail to make the playoffs, and A-Rod doesn't get support, I could see people start to consider the player having the best all-around year on baseball's best team.