Sunday, July 7, 2019

MLB Update

OK, so here's what's been happening in MLB of late:

1.  In 2017, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League Pennant for the first time since 1988.  Despite a valiant effort in the World Series, they were defeated by the Houston Astros four games to three.

2.  In 2018, the Los Angeles Dodgers repeated as National League champions -- the first team to do so since the Phillies went back to back in 2008 and 2009.  This time, the Dodgers were overwhelmed in the World Series by the Boston Red Sox, four games to one.

3.  After the 2018 season, Bryce Harper left the Washington Nationals, and signed a long-term contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

That's pretty much everything you need to know about the last two seasons.

4.  Here's where everyone is right now in the 2019 season, which has reached the All-Star Break.  As you can see, the Dodgers are in a strong position to become the first team since 1944 to win three NL pennants in a row:

New York   57-31  --
Houston      57-33  1
Minnesota   56-33  1 1/2
Tampa Bay  52-39  6 1/2
Cleveland    50-38  7
Oakland       50-41  8 1/2
Boston         49-41  9
Texas           48-42  10
Los Angeles 45-46  13 1/2
Chicago        42-44  14
Seattle           39-55  21
Toronto         34-57  24 1/2
Detroit          28-57  27 1/2
Kansas City  30-61  28 1/2
Baltimore      27-62  30 1/2

Los Angeles   60-32   --
Atlanta            54-37  5 1/2
Washington     47-42  11 1/2
Chicago           47-43  12
Philadelphia    47-43  12
Milwaukee      47-44  12 1/2
Arizona           46-45  13 1/2
San Diego       45-45   14
St. Louis         44-44    14
Colorado         44-45    14 1/2
Pittsburgh       44-45    14 1/2
Cincinnati       41-46    16 1/2
San Francisco  41-48   17 1/2
New York         40-50   19
Miami               33-55   25

A few observations:

1.  I don't think Tampa Bay gets enough credit for being such a good team over the last ten years or so, given that they have virtually no fan support.

2.  The Reds haven't won a playoff series since 1995, haven't won the pennant since 1990, and haven't had a winning record since 2013.  They have basically become one of the worst franchises in baseball.  It seems like that should be a bigger deal.

3.  I don't know what the Cardinals hoped to accomplish when they fired Mike Matheny as their manager last July.  But the Cards were 47-46 when he was let go last year, and they are 44-44 now.  That doesn't seem like progress to me.

4.  The Reds fired Dusty Baker as their manager at the end of the 2013 season, and they haven't had a winning record since.  The Nats fired Baker after he led them to the NL East crown in 2016 and 2017, and promptly missed the playoffs in 2018.  The Nats are playing better lately, but they are still six games behind the Braves.  I'm guessing that Dusty was not the problem.

5. The 2014 ALCS featured the Royals and the Orioles.  Now they are the two worst teams in the American League.

6.  After the 2016 season, I thought the Cubs would dominate baseball for several years.  It's not clear to me why that hasn't happened.

7.  If the Yankees don't win the AL pennant this year, they will have gone a full calendar decade since their last pennant in 2009.  The Yankees haven't failed to win a pennant in any decade since the 1910's.

8.  Baseball Reference does a Similarity Score for every player in the major, showing which player was most like them at each age in their career.  The player most similar to Mike Trout at Trout's current age is Frank Robinson.  The player most similar to Bryce Harper at Harper's current age is Andruw Jones.  That's should give you a good sense of how Harper compares to Trout.

9.  The player most similar to Freddie Freeman at Freeman's current age is Eddie Murray.  Freeman is 29 years old, and he has already hit 212 home runs, with a lifetime batting average of .294.  He is a really great player, who just crushes everything in the NL East, and who will probably lead the Braves to another division title.  And yet my guess is that most folks know much less about him than they do about Harper.

1 comment:

  1. It is fantastic to see this post.

    I'm not writing about the 2019 A's at the HP because of 2014, but I will say here that it has been a pretty satisfying season so far. I am writing about the 1973 A's at the HP, and I have a pretty good feeling about that.

    The decline of the Reds is a pretty big concern among the Kentucky newspaper writers that the HP follows on Twitter.