Here are several go-to links to make the first day of the off-season a bit more bearable:
- Al Yellon of SB Nation explains why the Tigers have been overwhelmed.
- Great minds think alike, according to this Tweet from the morning after Pablo Sandoval’s gigante performance.
- Speaking of Game 1, David Golebiewski of Baseball Analytics explores what went awry for Justin Verlander. Among them:
He also caught too much of the plate. Verlander threw 29 of his 98 pitches (29.6%) to the horizontal middle of the strike zone, well north of his 19.9% average during the regular season.
- As for Game 2, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan analyzes Madison Baumgarner’s good-but-not-great performance.
- The Fielding Bible Awards are out! Here are this year’s winners:
FIRST BASE—MARK TEIXEIRA, NEW YORK YANKEES (95 POINTS)
Mark Teixeira finally broke through to win his first Fielding Bible Award. He supplanted Albert Pujols, who won the award in five of the previous six seasons. In his first year in the American League, Pujols fell to third place with 72 points with Adrian Gonzalez in second place with 84 points.
SECOND BASE—DARWIN BARNEY, CHICAGO CUBS (96 POINTS)
Darwin Barney led all second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved with 28. Closest to him were Robinson Cano and Alexi Casilla with 15. Barney secured 96 points, only 4 points short of a unanimous win. The 2011 Fielding Bible Award winner, Dustin Pedroia, was runner up in 2012 with 82 points.
THIRD BASE—ADRIAN BELTRE, TEXAS RANGERS (90 POINTS)
Adrian Beltre had some competition from a couple of new kids on the block with the defensive emergence of Mike Moustakas and Brett Lawrie at third base. Beltre edged Moustakas and Lawrie by four and seven points, respectively. Beltre has been tremendous defensively his entire career and is now the proud owner of four Fielding Bible Awards at third base.
SHORTSTOP—BRENDAN RYAN, SEATTLE MARINERS (99 POINTS)
Brendan Ryan fell one point shy of the maximum score. He has been a defensive standout for several seasons now, and with injuries limiting three-time winner Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan was finally rewarded for his excellent play. Ryan led all shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved by a significant margin with 27. His closest competitor was Atlanta rookie Andrelton Simmons with 19.
LEFT FIELD—ALEX GORDON, KANSAS CITY ROYALS (100 POINTS)
Alex Gordon was a unanimous winner finishing first on the ballot of all 10 Fielding Bible Award panelists, earning him a perfect score of 100 points. He has been tremendous defensively since the first day he walked out to left field after playing third base earlier in his career, but he did get some help this year due to injuries to other key players. Brett Gardner and Carl Crawford won five of the six previous awards in left field, but neither was consistently on the field in 2012.
CENTER FIELD—MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS (96 POINTS)
In the only race that featured two candidates that received 90 or more points, Mike Trout earned what could easily be the first of many Fielding Bible Awards in his standout rookie season. Falling just short with 90 points was Michael Bourn, who won the award in 2010.
RIGHT FIELD—JASON HEYWARD, ATLANTA BRAVES (96 POINTS)
The youth movement continued in right field with first-time winner Jason Heyward. Heyward secured 96 points to top Josh Reddick, who had 84. Reddick actually saved more runs defensively for his team than did Heyward, 22 runs saved to 20, but Heyward’s excellent range and his third straight season of great defensive play earned him a well-deserved award.
CATCHER—YADIER MOLINA, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (100 POINTS)
Less surprising than Yadier Molina’s perfect score of 100 points was his loss a year ago. For whatever reason, Molina had a down year in 2011. He bounced back strong in 2012 throwing out baserunners at a 46 percent rate after his poor showing—by his own standards, anyway—of 25 percent in 2011. He had 16 Defensive Runs Saved overall, to lead all catchers. Last year’s winner, Matt Wieters, came in second with 81 points.
PITCHER—MARK BUEHRLE, MIAMI MARLINS (100 POINTS)
For Mark Buehrle, it was a new league but the same story. He was our third unanimous winner of 2012 en route to his fourth-consecutive Fielding Bible Award. Jake Westbrook had 75 points and was the closest player to him. Buehrle was solid in all aspects of his defensive play, and, as always, especially so in holding runners. He allowed only five stolen bases in eight attempts and picked off two other baserunners.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times offers thoughts on Ryan, defensive metrics, and the voting process.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle became the first woman to take charge of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
- Congratulations to Sergio Romo, World Series MVP Kung Fu Panda, and the rest of the San Francisco Giants on the franchise’s seventh world championship!
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!