Why you Should Watch…Oakland A’s

As the dawn of a new season approaches I’m filled with the annual excitement and exuberance that can only be squashed by major league ball players taking the field for the first time in early April.  I’ve also been a fan long enough to know that once the dog days of summer roll around (say around game 110 of 162) it can become a chore to get geared up to watch the revamped penny-pinching Mets take on the Astros.  Assuming my reader’s have the same struggles mustering the energy to watch such a contest, I’ve taken the challenge to make the next Mets v.s. Astros contest as exciting as possible.  Impossible you say?  Well here at BaseballBooksandBeats I plan to provide you with a few reasons to entice you to watch each of the thirty MLB squads.   As the 2012 season opens up in Tokyo on March 28 it appears we have our work cut out for us, but I accept the challenge.  My goal is to make you want to watch the Seattle Mariners v.s Oakland Athletics live from Tokyo Japan.  Up next 2 reasons why you should watch the Oakland A’s.

Arrival of the Demigod

The term Demigod is typically reserved for mythological figures whose one parent was a God and the other human, not baseball players.  That being the case it appears we may have our first demigod appearance in Major League Baseball and he plays for the (drum roll please)…..Oakland A’s!  Before you flood the comment box with corrections, I’m aware that both of Yoennis Cespedes’ parents are human.  I’m  just having some fun at the expense of the A’s incumbent center fielder Coco Crisp.  You see, soon after Oakland signed the 2011 star of the Cuban League, center fielder Yoennis Cespedes, Coco Crisp immediately laid claim to his spot in the outfield.  “I’m going to make all the plays.  If someone feels there’s someone better than me, its hard for me to believe.  Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field.”  Come down from the heavens Cespedes did not but he should be given every opportunity to unseat the incumbent this year in center field.  Historically center field has been a defensive position yet 2011 was Coco Crisp’s worst defensive season in the outfield since his rookie year.  Entering 2012, Crisp’s age – 32 season, and coming off of a below average 2011 one could justly assume that Coco is not the A’s center fielder of the future.  Cespedes on the other hand is entering his age – 26 season and could very well be the A’s center fielder of the future.  While I have no idea how his success in the Cuban League will transfer to the Major Leagues, baseball men much smarter than me project him to carry about a .275 batting average with plus power.  This would be a vast improvement over Crisp’s all glove no bat reputation.  Cespedes’ bat and age make him the demigod Crisp feared  and I will be watching to see how well this half god plays center field in 2012 and beyond.

Manny Being Manny

While his physical skills have eroded and he is no longer the greatest right hand hitter in the game, how can you not be looking forward to the return of Manny being Manny.

If we can get one more Manny moment out of his stint with Oakland, it will be well worth the 50 game suspension for PED use we had to suffer through to get there.


Why Would You Watch…Seattle Mariners

As the dawn of a new season approaches I’m filled with the annual excitement and exuberance that can only be squashed by major league ball players taking the field for the first time in early April.  I’ve also been a fan long enough to know that once the dog days of summer roll around (say around game 110 of 162) it can become a chore to get geared up to watch the revamped penny-pinching Mets take on the Astros.  Assuming my reader’s have the same struggles mustering the energy to watch such a contest, I’ve taken the challenge to make the next Mets v.s. Astros contest as exciting as possible.  Impossible you say?  Well here at BaseballBooksandBeats I plan to provide you with a few reasons to entice you to watch each of the thirty MLB squads.   As the 2012 season opens up in Tokyo on March 28 it appears we have our work cut out for us, but I accept the challenge.  My goal is to make you want to watch the Seattle Mariners v.s Oakland Athletics live from Tokyo Japan.  Up first 3 reasons why you should watch the Seattle Mariners.

Jesus Montero – Catcher or DH?

With nothing left to prove in Triple A, prized catching prospect Jesus Montero is finally going to break camp as a Major League ballplayer.  In 2011 Montero gave Yankee fans a small preview of his hitting prowess with a stat line of .328/.406/.590 in 18 major league games.  Small sample size you say?  Well his two seasons in Triple A produced a similar stat line .289/.351./.493.  Needles to say, the kid can flat-out hit.  In 2012 Montero will be taking his talents to Seattle.  By trading pitching phenom Michael Pineda to the Yankess the anemic offense of the Seattle Mariners was able to add some much-needed punch to their lineup with the addition of Montero.  Barring injury his bat will be in the starting lineup Opening Day, and the only remaining question is will he be taking his glove with him.  Jesus Montero is listed as the starting DH on the Seattle Mariners website yet he spent his two years in Triple A as a defensively challenged catcher.  In order to maximize their asset Montero needs to be behind the plate for the Mariners in 2012 and beyond.  As a DH (a purely offensive position) Montero’s bat is on par with the many other DH’s.  The DH position as a whole in 2011 had a stat line of .268/.342./.431, not far from Montero’s Triple A numbers.  The catching position on the other hand has historically been heavy on defense and light at the plate.  The stat line for all catchers in 2011 was .245/ .314/.390.  For Montero to replicate his Triple A number’s as a big league catcher he easily becomes one of the top 3 backstops in the game.  So why isn’t Montero penciled in as the Mariners Opening Day catcher?  Scouts are concerned with his defensive ability as a catcher and have questioned his ability to throw out would be base stealers.  They had the same questions about Mike Piazza and Jorge Posada.  I say maximize your asset as there are very few teams with a power hitting catcher behind the plate.  A slugging DH is a much easier position to fill in an everyday lineup.

Emergence of Dustin Ackley

The second pick of the 2009 draft made a huge splash in 2011, his first season with the Mariners.  Playing 90 games, the Mariners second baseman posted a OPS+117 (OPS+=OBP+SLG adjusted for park effect & era).  Comparing Ackely’s first year with those of the top second baseman in the game today make Ackley must see t.v.  Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano posted an OPS+112 and 106 respectively their first full year in the majors.  As a rookie, Ackley led the Mariners with a .348 OBP% and his .417 SLG% was good enough for second on the offensively challenged team.  Look for Ackley to continue his assent into the upper echelon of two baggers as he is still years away from his prime.

The Fall of Ichiro?

Prior to 2011 Ichiro Suzuki was the model for consistency.  In each of his 10 MLB seasons Ichiro amassed over 200 hits, a plus .300 batting average, and at least a .350 OBP%.  If hardware is what you prefer Ichiro has that too: 10 straight All-Star game appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, a Rookie of the Year and an MVP award.  And if you’re ever asked the trivia question: who holds the record for most hits in an MLB season you can probably guess the answer is Ichiro Suzuki (262 hits).  For some reason Ichiro the Great stumbled in 2011.  With a stat line of .272/.310/.335 this was his first season with 200 hits, no All-Star game appearance, and no Gold Glove.  Heading into 2012, Ichiro’s age 38 season, many are citing his age as the cause of his eminent downfall.  Hell even his manager is questioning what his “fading star” has left, having already announced that Ichiro will be removed from the lead off spot in the batting order for the first time in his Mariners career.  I’m a little more reluctant to throw dirt on Mr. Consistency’s casket.  As one of the purest hitters of my time I don’t know if father time has caught up with Ichiro but in 2012 I will be watching.


Why Would You Watch….

Ah yes, today is the day.  Pitchers and catchers have begun to report which means one thing to millions of baseball fans….Opening Day is just around the corner.  As the dawn of a new season approaches I’m filled with the annual excitement and exuberance that can only be squashed by major league ball players taking the field for the first time in early April.  I’ve also been a fan long enough to know that once the dog days of summer roll around (say around game 110 of 162) it can become a chore to get geared up to watch the revamped penny pinching Mets take on the Astros.  Assuming my reader’s have the same struggles mustering the energy to watch such a contest, I’ve taken the challenge to make the next Mets v.s. Astros contest as exciting as possible.  Impossible you say?  Well here at BaseballBooksandBeats we plan to provide you with a few reasons to entice you to watch each of the thirty MLB squads.   As the 2012 season opens up in Tokyo on March 28 it appears we have our work cut out for us, but we accept the challenge.  We will make you want to watch the Seattle Mariners v.s Oakland Athletics live from Tokyo Japan.