Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 6th, 2012
Sunday May 6th, 2012
Jonathan Hacohen: Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!
Let’s get to your top questions of the week:
Q: Watching Jamie Moyer tonite wondering if he reaches 300 wins (2-3 more yrs of pitching). Will that make him HOF bound? Old Man Mack (via Twitter)
JH: OMM. We are starting of ATR with one of your questions…and of course, it is a Jamie Moyer one. This is the 3rd Moyer question that I recall receiving from you. He certainly is a great story in baseball and you are on top of this one! Moyer is turning 50 this November. His current records sits at 1-2, 4.01 ERA and 1.663 WHIP. He is 32 wins away from 300. How can I put this nicely…it ain’t happening! As much as all of us would love to see Moyer reach the magical 300 plateau, he would need to win 10+ games for the next 3 years. That would have him pitching until 52. A neat story, but the odds are certainly against that happening. In my estimation, Moyer will be done after this year. He came back, proved he could pitch until 50…and then ride off into the sunset. At his age, we are asking a ton from his body to be able to grind out 3 more years. Plus, he would also have to be effective at such an advanced age. Not impossible…but nearly. Moyer has a career 4.23 ERA and 1.319 WHIP. He was never a true #1 starter and the best among his peers. A good pitcher, but not a great pitcher. Cooperstown is supposed to be reserved for the elite, the best of the best. While Moyer’s story deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, his statistics do not. Even if Moyer reaches 300 wins- I don’t see a Cooperstown plaque in his future. Sorry my man- that’s just the way it goes! Thank you for the great question and your support of ATR and MLB reports. We very much appreciate it!
Q: They should fire Scioscia for how he handled Napoli. I seriously thought Napoli must have slept with Scioscia’s wife for a while. Mike (Via Twitter)
JH: Probably one of the funniest tweets I have received in some time. I agree with you that the Angels did not handle Mike Napoli well. I can’t speak on his relationship with Mike Scoscia…but certainly, it did seem strained. Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that I firmly believe that the Angels and Jays blew it by not hanging on to Napoli. The Great Napoli had a season for the ages in 2011. In only 113 games, Napoli hit .320 for the Rangers, with a .414 OBP, .631 SLG (1.046 OPS), 30 home runs, 75 RBIs, 72 runs, plus 58/85 walks/k’s. In other words, Napoli is a beast. This year, Napoli already has 7 home runs in 24 games, with a .241 AVG- but .330 OBP and .506 SLG. I called Napoli the “Next Bautista” when the Jays acquired him and when you look at his numbers since 2011 over a full season, it is pretty darn close. How great would Napoli’s bat look right now in a slumping Angels lineup? What about at first base for the Jays or catcher over Lind and/or Arencibia?
Now would you like to hear some irony? Here it is. The Angels dumped Napoli in the Vernon Wells trade, really moving his salary and writing him off. In the process the Angels kept Jeff Mathis. How did Mathis do in 2011? In 93 games, he hit a whopping .174 avg, .225 OBP, .259 SLG and 3 home runs all year. That’s how many Napoli hits in many weeks! Mathis had 15 extra base hits all year in fact. Now where is Mathis you ask? In Toronto, of course. The team that couldn’t find a spot for Napoli, now is following the Angels twisted plan of succession. Funny though- how Mathis has played well though in Toronto. In 8 games, Mathis has 2 home runs, .250 AVG, .400 OBP and .650 SLG. Looking at him at the plate, you think Mathis should be a slugger. But it never developed. When the trade was made to the Jays, I thought Mathis could hit 15-20 home runs…if the Jays were able to get him on track. Still could happen, but I see Mathis moving back closer to his career average of .195, .259 OBP and .306 SLG. Now for Mathis’ replacement in Anaheim? Chris Iannetta, a Mike Napoli-clone as I call him. In 23 games, Iannetta has popped 3 home runs, hitting .220 with a .324 OBP and .441 SLG. Good numbers, but certainly not great numbers. If that was the kind of production though Anaheim wanted, why not just hold onto Napoli and let him explode at the plate? That is certainly the question. So we will never know the truth behind Mike Scioscia’s thinking in wanting Mike Napoli off the Angels. But if Anaheim and Toronto could go back in time, I’m sure they would have done things differently. For the future, they may want to read up on MLB reports before making another blunder like that again!
Q: When it comes to MLB Expansion-why do you think Nashville is a strong candidate? That seems like a terrible decision to me. And do you think anywhere in Canada even has a chance? Robert (via E-mail)
JH: Robert and I have been corresponding for some time on e-mail about MLB Expansion. One of my favorite topics and certainly one of Robert’s as well. In the course of our discussions, I indicated that Montreal will never get a MLB expansion team and that while Vancouver is the most likely city to be considered, they will not succeed either. As far as the American market goes, Nashville is a prime contender. So in response to your questions Robert, firstly Nashville is a very highly considered baseball area. A great fan base and a market that is screaming for the MLB. Over the past year, we got countless e-mails from baseball fans advocating for the Tennessee area to be awarded an expansion franchise. There are many factors that will go into the decision, including ownership, local government support, stadium, population base, television rights etc. So while I’m not saying that Nashville will receive a MLB franchise, they have to be considered a strong contender for one.
As far as Canada goes, we will never see another MLB franchise there during our lifetime in my estimation. If the people of Montreal wanted to keep their Expos, they should have supported the team strong to work towards a new stadium. By having a team that averaged 5,000 fans on many nights, the kiss of death was there. People can scream to the heavens about how unfair the situation is. But the bottom line is that it will be difficult to find an ownership group that will spend billions to put a team in Montreal and finance a new stadium. Local government will not put one dollar into such a project, which further complicates the matter. Most MLB players would not want to play in Quebec. With so many potential American cities to take on an MLB franchise, Montreal will not be in the running. While Vancouver is a cool city and a fun idea, the city couldn’t even keep its NBA franchise (other sports do notice). Whatever the reason that Vancouver lost its NBA franchise, I again don’t see an owner putting up billions for a team and building the city a new stadium. Hockey is the only major sport putting up new Canadian franchises for a reason. The country loves its hockey first and foremost, with all other sports being secondary. Major League Baseball needs to be played where it is a top priority and will be treated by its fans as a top sport. That is why you will not see another Canadian entry into baseball. Thanks for the questions!
Q: Anyone know what the 2013 U.S. roster is (for the World Baseball Classic)? Young Man (via comment- website)
JH: Not a day goes by that I don’t get a WBC question. With the qualifying tournament starting in September, you won’t hear anything about the 2013 rosters until the offseason. The U.S. is one of the 12 countries with a bye into the actual 2013 tournament (3rd edition). I expect by December/January we should be talking preliminary rosters. Too many factors, like the current MLB season and injuries to think of. Players are already being invited by teams, but nothing formal will be announced anytime soon. Keep an eye out for all the WBC news by clicking on http://wbcreports.com (our sister page posted on MLB reports).
Q: They (Nationals) might have a shot at the playoffs this year with the Phillies down, but I think next year is when they should be looked at as legitimate contenders. KH (via comment- website)
JH: As of today, the Nationals are 18-9. They have a 1.5 game lead in the standings over the Braves, 4 games over the Mets, 5 games over the Marlins and 5.5 games over the Phillies. Come September, we know that the standings will change. But at the very least, the Nationals are starting to turn heads and make more skeptics believers every day. With a rotation including Strasburg, Zimmerman, Gonzalez and Jackson, the Nationals are no longer the laughing stocks of the NL East. I agree that the Nationals have a shot this year, but realistically are not ready yet. Once Harper has a full season of the bigs under his belt, he should be ready to lead this squad to the next level. The playoffs are coming soon, with my prediction of the Nationals and Royals in the 2015 World Series. The Nationals time is coming soon, no doubt about it. I am prepared to put them down as legitimate contenders already this year, as they have shown by their strong play to-date. The playoffs will be here very soon, likely by next year. The extra Wild Card certainly helps. The years of cultivating prospects is finally starting to pay off. The Nationals combination of veterans and rookies is clearly a dangerous one. I still think the Phillies will win the NL East this year. But as their window closes, the Nationals’ frame is opening.
Q: Harper is quite the phenom when thinking that he really should be just a freshman in college! Michael (via comment- website)
JH: Great point Michael. Bryce is only turning 20 in October! Most prospects are only 24-25 when they truly get their shot in the big leagues. Bryce can’t even drink yet! At 6’3″ and 215 lbs, Bryce is a physical specimen. After watching his intro to the big leagues, I will tell you that he is going nowhere but up. In 7 games he has a .261 AVG, .379 OBP and .435 SLG. He has walked 5 times and only struck out 4 times. And this has all come from the 7th spot in the lineup. The Nationals center fielder of the future is here today. The power will develop, but he has shown that his hitting consistency and defensive abilities are already major league ready. Impressive for any kind of rookie. But considered he should just be starting college right now, it is clear that Bryce Harper is playing at a level beyond any young MLB player. Bryce Harper is the real deal that will only get better. Savor him folks. He is a once-in-a-lifetime that is worth the price of admission alone. He plays the game hard and has tools that are off the charts. Once he settles in and truly learns his craft, we are looking at a future MVP and perennial All-Star. Bryce has his skeptics that are taking a wait-and-see attitude. I prefer to drink the Kool-Aid and label him “the next big thing”. No matter what you think of Bryce Harper- we are talking about him. That says it all in my book.
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Posted on May 6, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged anaheim angels, ask the reports, atr, baseball, baseball questions, bryce harper, cooperstown, hall of fame, jamie moyer, mike napoli, mike scioscia, mlb, mlb expansion, NL east, philadelphia phillies, washington nationals, world baseball classic. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.