Awards are beginning to be announced, so sometime this weekend, there will be an awards-themed blog. Don't worry about the lack of attention award winners get in this blog.
All Speedster Team
This team is comprised of the fastest, most feared players on the base paths. Even pitchers are included on this one. Pre-1898 stolen bases are not included, because stolen bases were handed out when a player took an extra base on a hit. Career stats are given in parentheses. R stands for runs scored. SBC stands for Stolen Base Crowns, or when he led his league in stolen bases.
C: Jason Kendall (.288 AVG, 189 SB, 35 3B, 1030 R, 0 SBC)
1B: George Sisler (.340 AVG, 375 SB, 164 3B, 1282 R, 4 SBC)
2B: Eddie Collins (.333 AVG, 745 SB, 187 3B, 1821 R, 4 SBC)
SS: Honus Wagner (.329 AVG, 703 SB, 252 3B, 1736 R, 5 SBC)
3B: Chone Figgins (.277 AVG, 337 SB, 58 3B, 700 R, 1 SBC)
LF: Ricky Henderson (.279 AVG, 1406 SB, 66 3B, 2295 R, 12 SBC)
CF: Ty Cobb (.366 AVG, 892 SB, 297 3B, 2246 R, 6 SBC)
RF: Lou Brock (.293 AVG, 938 SB, 141 3B, 1610 R, 8 SBC)
SP: Bill Donovan (.193 AVG, 36 SB, 11 3B, 142 R, 0 SBC)
SP: Doc White (.217 AVG, 32 SB, 147 R, 0 SBC)
SP: Ray Caldwell (.248 AVG, 23 SB, 8 3B, 138 R, 0 SBC)
RHR: Hal Jeffcoat (.248 AVG, 49 SB, 18 3B, 249 R, 0 SBC)
LHR: Johnny Lush (.254 AVG, 28 SB, 11 3B, 107 R, 0 SBC)
Honorable Mentions: Joe Morgan (2B), Ozzie Smith (SS), Tim Raines (LF), Max Carey (CF), Sam Crawford (CF), Billy Hamilton (Old one, CF)
Jason Kendall starts off the team from behind the plate. Though catchers are notoriously slow, Jason Kendall broke the stereotype by posting three consecutive 20 stolen base seasons from 1998-2000. In 1998, he set a career high with 26 steals, placing him third among single season catchers since 1900. He stole more than ten bases eight times, and twice placed in the American League top 20. At first base is George Sisler, who was known as a notorious hitter. What many people don't know is that despite playing first base, he stole more than 40 bases three times and even stole 51 in 1922. He was also a triples machine, posting seven straight seasons of at least 10 triples. In 1922, the year he stole 51 bases, he also tripled 18 times. Eddie Collins barely beat out Joe Morgan, but he deserved the second base position. The 5'9" Hall of Famer, who played from the age of 19 to past his 43rd birthday, was unstoppable on the base paths, and even stole 81 bases in 1910. He even managed to steal 42 bases in 1924, at the age of 37. Honus Wagner, who is the best shortstop at just about everything, takes the nod at short. He posted five straight seasons of more than 50 stolen bases, and legged out 252 triples, which is third all time to only Sam Crawford (309) and Ty Cobb (297). Chone Figgins, the lone active player on the list, is at third, mainly because there is a lack of speedy third basemen. Chone routinely steals 30-40 bases a season, and topped out at 62 in 2005. He also stole 52 in 2006. Ricky Henderson is the left fielder with zero competition, having stolen 1,406 bases over a legendary 25-year career. He thrice stole 100 bases in a season, and led the AL in that category 12 times, including 11 in a 12-year span from 1980-1991. In 1998, at the age of 40, he managed to steal 66 bases and lead the AL. Even in 2001, at 43 years old, he stole 25 and placed ninth in the NL. Ty Cobb is my center fielder because he is the flat-out most feared man ever to run the bases. Infielders would literally jump out of his way. By the time he finished up a 24-year career, he had tallied 892 stolen bases, which remained an American League record until Ricky Henderson smashed his mark. He also has the second most triples of all time, behind only his teammate Sam Crawford. Lou Brock is the last hitter on the list, and he was also unstoppable on the bases. He holds the NL single season record at 118 in 1974, as well as the NL record at 938, an incredible 156 ahead of second place Billy Hamilton (the old one).
The pitching was an interesting challenge, because so many pitchers in the 1800s were hitters as well and could rack up the stolen bases. The best speedster on the pitching staff, Bill Donovan, pitched from 1898-1918, and was a steady threat on the bases. Though this may not sound intimidating, he stole seven bases in 1902, then eight in 1905. By 1908, he had accumulated 35 stolen bases in 11 years. Doc White was an outstanding White Sox pitcher in the early 1900's, but he was a force to be reckoned with on the base paths. He stole 32 bases from 1901-1911, including seven in 1909. The last starting pitcher is Ray Caldwell, who aside from being a great Yankees pitcher, stole 23 bases in just an eight year span from 1911-1918. Hal Jeffcoat, the right handed reliever, is the most recent pitcher on the team, having pitched from 1954-1959. He was an outfielder beforehand, and stole 49 bases from 1948-1954. Though he didn't steal any more for the rest of his career, he showed just how fast pitchers could be on the base paths. Lastly, Johnny Lush only pitched from 1904-1910, but the Williamsport, PA (think Little League WS) native stole 28 bases in that span. He did spend most of 1904 as a 1B/OF, but after that, he was mainly just a pitcher. After stealing 12 bases in 1904, he stole six in 1906 and five in 1907. The last starting pitcher is Ray Caldwell, who aside from being a great Yankees pitcher, stole 23 bases in just an eight year span from 1911-1918.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout (30 HR, 83 RBI, .326 AVG, 49 SB) unanimously won the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (22 HR, 59 RBI, .270 AVG, 18 SB) won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson won the NL Manager of the Year Award.
A's manager Bob Melvin won the AL Manager of the Year Award.
Marlins and Blue Jays REPORTEDLY made a massive trade.
Marlins to Blue Jays: Jose Reyes (11 HR, 57 RBI, .287 AVG, 40 SB, 2013 age: 30), Josh Johnson (8-14, 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2013 age: 29), Mark Buehrle (13-13, 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2013 age: 34), Emilio Bonifacio (1 HR, 11 RBI, .258 AVG, 30 SB, 2013 age: 28), and John Buck (12 HR, 41 RBI, .192 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 32-33).
Blue Jays to Marlins: Yunel Escobar (9 HR, 51 RBI, .253 AVG, 5 SB, 2013 age: 30), Adeiny Hechavarria (2 HR, 15 RBI, .254 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 24), Henderson Alvarez (9-14, 4.85 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 2013 age: 23), Jeff Mathis (8 HR, 27 RBI, .218 AVG, 1 SB, 2013 age: 30) and minor leaguers, Jake Marisnick (8 HR, 50 RBI, .249 AVG, 24 SB at High Class A and AA, 2013 age: 22), Justin Nicolino (10-4, 2.46 ERA, .241 BAA at Class A, 2013 age: 21), and Anthony DeSclafani (11-3, 3.37 ERA, .307 BAA at Class A, 2013 age: 23).
From a deal that involved 12 players, a combined ten All Star appearances, and numerous awards, it is impossible to tell who won this deal. It is almost equally difficult to even break it apart. We know that the Marlins unloaded over $160 million in contract obligations, and they got a slew of prospects in return. But then they gave up Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck. Reyes was supposed to be the Marlins shortstop going forward, but after the team underperformed, it was time to let the three-time All Star go. He brings to the Blue Jays something they have been missing: a bona fide leadoff man. Toronto also added Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle to their rotation, finally filling the gaping hole that was left by Roy Halladay when he was traded to the Phillies. Johnson, who was un-hittable from 2009-2011 despite numerous issues with health, was finally healthy in 2012. However, he did not perform up to par, and finished with an 8-14 record and a career worst 3.81 ERA. The Blue Jays are hoping JJ can put together health and dominance in the same season. Mark Buehrle, who still has three years left on his contract, joins Toronto after posting his fourth consecutive season of exactly 13 wins and his twelfth straight of at least 30 starts and 200 innings. There is no question that the Blue Jays get a workhorse and a leader in Buehrle, who also won his fourth straight Gold Glove in 2012. Finally, the Blue Jays get power hitting catcher John Buck and speedy outfielder Emilio Bonifacio. Bonifacio stole thirty bases in 64 games despite being caught just three times.
In terms of major league experience, Yunel Escobar is the main return to the Marlins. The native of Cuba has played six years in the majors and has consistently been a solid bat in the Braves and Blue Jays lineups. He batted .326 as a rookie in 2007, and hit 14 home runs in 2009 with the Braves. Henderson Alvarez, who doesn't turn 23 until after the 2013 season starts, joins a Marlins rotation that is getting younger and younger. As a 22-year-old in 2012, he won nine games and made 31 starts. Over 41 career starts, he owns a 4.52 ERA. Florida native Jeff Mathis is the last established major leaguer joining Miami, and will share catching duties with Rob Brantly. Despite being light-hitting, he is solid behind the plate. Adeiny Hechavarria is a highly regarded Blue Jays prospect who got 41 games of action for the big club in 2012. The Cuban shortstop batted .254 with two home runs and 15 RBI in his stint, and won't be 24 until after the 2013 season starts. He is a career .272 minor league hitter with 41 stolen bases. Miami also gets three minors players, headed by Jake Marisnick. The outfielder batted just .249 for High Class A Dunedin and AA New Hampshire, but he stole 24 bases and had 47 extra base hits, including ten triples. For the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, he is batting .314 with a home run and five stolen bases over 19 games. Two Class A starters are shipped over in Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafini. Nicolino, who is an Orlando native, was 10-4 with a 2.46 ERA over 28 games (22 starts) for Class A Lansing. DeSclafani was 11-3 with a 3.37 ERA over 28 games (21 starts) in his first professional season.
Free Agent Signings
Cubs signed Scott Baker (Missed 2012 season, 63-48 career record, 4.15 ERA, 2013 age: 31) to a one year, $5.5 million deal.
Rangers signed Aaron Cunningham (1 HR, 7 RBI, .175 AVG, 0 SB, 2013 age: 27) to a minor league deal.
Brewers signed Jairo Asencio (1-1, 4.91 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 2013 age: 29) to a minor league deal.
Indians signed Luis Hernandez (0-2 in 2 at bats, 2013 age: 29) to a minor league deal.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. WHIP: walks/hits per innings pitched. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage