In this blog, I will make up a question and then I will answer it. It all has to do wit hMLB, there will be various questions, you will see, but I invite a very important person to help me with this blog . . . my wife, Tia Williams! You know her as Detroit Steel, together we will answer all of the questions. Here we go.
Who has been the AL MVP in the first half of the season?
Dawgee Fresh: I would have to say Milton Bradley. Here's a guy who doesn't get much respect for what he has been doing this year, a somewhat underrated player. When you talk about the Texas Rangers, you think Josh Hamilton, but Bradley has been a big part of league's best offense. An AL leading slugging percentage, 19 home runs and a .440 OBP, this guy has been a beast.
Detroit Steel: I am going to go with one of my all-time favorite players, Josh Hamilton. What he has overcome is amazing, being a drug crazy a few years ago and now coming back to being one of the best players in the league. Hamilton remains a triple crown threat with his .310 average, his 21 home runs and his 95 runs batted in. With a strong second half, Hamilton could break the RBI record.
Dawgee Fresh: I can't say I agree with your pick. Hamilton is having a good season and all but he is a little bit overrated. Sure, it is great that he was able to overcome such a terrible expirience but not even Hamilton's 95 runs batted in can compare to Bradley's .440 OBP or his crazy good .610 slugging percentage.
Detroit Steel: Most Valuable Player we are talking about here. Bradley is having a great year, made the All-Star Game as a starter, that's good and all but there is no question who has really been leading the league's best offense and that has been Hamilton. Bradley is just basically riding on Hamilton's back as Josh is the leader of the team.
Dawgee Fresh: Hamilton has the flashy stats like RBIs and HRs but Bradley has done the dirty work. Despite their averages being very close, Bradley has a knack for getting on base and has done so about 0.7% more of the time than Hamilton. It may not seem like a lot but it is when we are speaking percentages. Plus, Bradley has over 100 less at-bats than Hamilton this season. With the help of those extra at-bats, Bradley would have more home runs and around 75-80 runs batted in.
Detroit Steel: Not much can compare with Hamilton's 95 runs batted in and that is a major accomplishment. Case closed, lets move onto the next question.
Who has been the NL MVP in the first half of the season?
Dawgee Fresh: I'll let you take it away this time, Tia.
Detroit Steel: Thank you. I think that Hanley Ramirez is the NL MVP in the first half. He has led a team that no one was thinking too high of before the season to the top of the division (or there abouts, anyways). Ramirez is on pace for 40 home runs and 40 steals this year and could join those few of the 40-40 club.
Dawgee Fresh: I was thinking about Hanley, a good young player, but Chase Utley has been the man this season. This is the guy who is on the team that is AHEAD of the Marlins in the standings and the guy who has 25 home runs already. He has also surprised people with his speed on the basepaths with his 10 steals and he is also hitting near .300.
Detroit Steel: Surprises don't get you MVP awards in baseball, stats and leadership do. Ramirez has led his team to a pretty good record thus far with a supporting cast that is only average. Utley is living in heaven though - Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell and Cole Hamels helping him win games. Ramirez doesn't have much, that is a reason why he shoudld be MVP. Plus, like I said, surprises mean nothing. Utley has 10 steals but Ramirez has 23. Only two home runs behind Utley as well with a better batting average.
Dawgee Fresh: In all fairness, Florida has a pretty good supporting cast to compliment Hanley Ramirez. They have fellow MVP contender Dam Uggla and other sweet swinging bats from Cody Ross and Jorge Cantu. Florida also has good pitching. Sounds like a great supporting cast. Utley's stats barely edge out Hanley's, Utley has just been plain ol' better.
Who has been the best hitter in the AL?
Dawee Fresh: Maybe not the first half MVP but still, Josh Hamilton has been the best hitter in the AL this year. It's proven and that Home run Derby thrill on Monday Night just put the icing on the cake.
Detroit Steel: Now your talking, agreed. I stand strong on Hamiltnon being MVP and I still stand strong on him being the best hitter in the AL. That home run derby with 28 home runs in the first round? Unbelievable. What else is there that needs to be said?
Who has been the best hitter in the NL?
Detroit Steel: I am kind of border-line on this one. It's a battle between Lance Berkman and Ryan Howard. But since I can only choose one . . . Lance Berkman.
Dawgee Fresh: Those are the same two that I was on the fence with but now that you narrowed it down, I guess I'm with Ryan Howard. I'm still stuck at home, trying to figure out how this guy didn't make the All-Star Game. 28 home runs . . .ridiculous. He is on pace for at leats 50. His 84 runs batted in rank only second to Josh Hamilton's league leading 95.
Detroit Steel: Do you want to know my one beef with Ryan Howard? Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway. His contact hitting is one of the worst I've ever seen from a player classified as a star. His .234 average is nothing to cheer about and his 129 strikeouts put him on pace to break hsi previous strikeout record. He is definitely on pace for 200. Berkman is just the opposite of all of this. His .347 average puts him amongst the league's best hitters and he has struck out less than half of the times Howard has.
Dawgee Fresh: Howard may have a poor average but his OBP is about .100 points higher than his average - pretty good, not a total disgrace at contact hitting. Berkman has hit just 73 runs batted in and 22 home runs. These are good umbers, don't get me wrong, but not good enough. He will be lucky to get 40 home runs or 130 runs batted in - Howard is practically a lock to get all of those numbers, probably way more. But since we are talking about the first half . . . Howard is still better. He has been much more clutch.
Detroit Steel: Howard has more runs batted in but once again, I will have to point to Philadelphia's wonderful offense batting both in front of him and behind him. Also, Berkman, like Howard, has an OBP about .100 points higher than his regular average. It doesn't seem like your are too high on averages but it is a big deal. Berkman also outnumbers Howard in runs scored by a lot - 17 more runs to be exact.
Dawgee Fresh: And all Berkman has had helping him run the offense has been Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, Michael Bourn and Kaz Matsui, what a disadvantage. The runs scored differiencal between the Astros and the Phillies isn't as big as it may seem. I don't know why we are arguing teams though, it is overrall hitting. Fine, Berkman beats Howard in average and runs but not much else.
Detroit Steel: Not much else is an under statement. Berkman beats Howard in OBP and average boith by over .100 points. Not that is amazing. Berkman also clobbers Howard in runs scored as well. Houston has less runs scored than the Phillies and Berkman has scored close to 25% of the team's total runs.
Dawgee Fresh: Not much else meaning nothing else other than average and runs scored. Howard clobbers Berkman in runs batted in and six home runs is a pretty big difference considering that we are only about half-way through the season. Best NL hitter would have to go to Howard.
Who has been the best rookie in the AL?
Dawgee Fresh: Not a hot year with the rooks in the American League so I'm not going on any limb here to say Evan Longoria. He has made the Home Run Derny and the All-Star Game, hit 16 home runs, 53 runs batted in and a .348 OBP with very smooth defense. Considering he wasn't even on Tampa Bay's Opening Day Roster . . .
Detroit Steel: Don't quote me on this . . . I'll have to say Jacoby Ellsbury and this is only for the sake of talking about this. Ellsbury has stolen 32 bases in about 320 at-bats - that is like a stolen base very ten at-bats, excellent. Ellsbury has seen minimal at-bats but has still put up good offensive numbers, a .269 average with five home runs, 27 runs batted in, four triples and 60 runs.
Dawgee Fresh: I was thinking that you would choose somebody like Nick Blackburn or David Murphy, Longoria is much better than Ellsbury. Longoria has tons of more power and better contact hitting this year. He also has a better OBP, OPS, and Slugging percentage. Ellsbury has Longoria in speed stats like runs, triples and stolen bases but who has been the better hitter? Without a doubt in my mind or mostly anyone's mind, Longoria is the better rookie. Although I understand you are just saying Ellsbury because you didn't get a chance to pick Longoria.
Detroit Steel: Since when is scoring runs a speed stat? You have to run around the bases but these are proffesional athletes, they all have the capability to run around the bases. Longoria has striked out quite a bit this season, 82 times, more than any other AL rookie. That isn't a leading stat you would like to have.
Dawgee Fresh: Has Ellsbury made any All-Star Games? No, not even vwith his coach, Terry Francona, being the AL All-Star manager. Longoria has had a better hitting season, despite getting off to a slow start considering he was in the minor leagues at the beginning of the season.
Detroit Steel: Longoria is the one who has the most at-bats out of the two. If Ellsbury had as many at-bats as Longoira, Ellsbury would probably have around 30-35 runs batted in, pretty respectable for a guy who has 32 stolen bases. Longoria is having a better rookie season but Ellsbury isn't far behind.
Who has been the best rookie in the NL?
Detroit Steel: I'm going have to go with an All-Star rookie of my own this time around, Geovany Soto, not the japanease rookie, but the better one. He's hitting .288 with 15 home runs and 56 runs batted in - those are impressive stats for a catcher and considering he only hs around 315 at-bats, those are great stats.
Dawgee Fresh: Although this blog was mostly supposed to be about hitting, a pitcher can be a rookie of the year so I am going to go with Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves for this question. I loved this guy from the firs time he made his start with the Detroit Tigers last year and I love him now, even though he is 9-4 with a 3.00 ERA on a different team.
Detroit Steel: It may be hard to compare a pitcher and a catcher but taking in Soto's offensive stats and considering that he is a catcher where players aren't known to have a lot of offense, that makes his already amazing rookie season even more amazing. It is common to see good rookie pitchers, nothing out of the ordinary.
Dawgee Fresh: When you have 81 strikeouts in 111 innings pitched plus a very good 3.00 ERA with a winning record, this guy isn't just an ordinary rookie pitcher. Soto is having a good rookie season, don't get me wrong, but his stats aren;t great, not even for a catcher.
Thanks for reading and be prepared for other kinds of blogs like this, only covering different topics like pitching and teams.