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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Baseball in the Dark: The Best Players Outside the Spotlight

How much does team success impact player reputation? Do we overrate players on famous teams, and overlook players on less successful clubs? Do players in large media markets get an unfair advantage when it comes to honors like the Hall of Fame?

While we might intuitively answer “yes” to these questions, author Brandon Isleib goes a step further in his new book, “Playing for a Winner.” Isleib seeks to quantify just how much team success – over the course of a single season and throughout a player’s career – influences how fans (and award voters) perceive player production. (READ THE FULL STORY ON PLATE COVERAGE.COM)

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 31, 2016

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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America

So 2016 is wrapping up. It was a strange year, but a memorable one for Cubs and Cleveland fans.

I look forward to 2017 and some new Sully Baseball features.

Crossing T’s and Dotting I’s on this Episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 30, 2016

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My son had a lot of questions for me and how I do the podcast. So he sat down to interview ME.

Enjoy this generational episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez Calls Out Joc Pederson (kind of)

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It seems like Los Angeles Dodgers veteran 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez is putting in work with no days off in the gym. He posted on Instagram a video of himself working out hard, and he tagged outfielder Joc Pederson and said…

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TORONTO BLUE JAYS RUMOR: SIGN A SP, FLIP A SP

 

A RECENT RUMOR HAS THE TORONTO BLUE JAYS LOOKING TO SIGN A FREE AGENT STARTER AND FLIP ONE OF THEIR CURRENT ONES

 

 

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If you’re like me, you’re caught somewhere between turkey coma and holiday celebration overload. One can hardly be expected to keep up with everything the Toronto Blue Jays are doing these days. Actually, it is an odd time of year where you can be distracted by family and friends and not really miss much. With that in mind, we wouldn’t blame you if you missed out on the following little gem.

 

Apparently, Jon Morosi took to the MLB Network to share what he’s been hearing while the rest of us eat and drink ourselves silly…There are two parts to this, really. The first part has the club looking to add a free agent starter…The key part of all of this is what piece they would be looking to flip to another team for (one presumes) outfield help.

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 29, 2016

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America

LeBron James supported the Indians during the World Series. That made me think about the contract players should have with the fan base they play for.

Get the spirit of rooting for the home team on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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SF Giants: New 3rd Base Coach Phil Nevin Picks Tim Flannery’s Brain About The Hot Corner

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I have some good news for San Francisco Giants fans… We all know that the Giants have parted ways with 3rd base coach Roberto Kelly. Kelly was often criticized by Giants fans for holding up way too many runners at 3rd base, and that’s because we were spoiled with Tim Flannery at the hot corner for 7-years. I do feel like Kelly wasn’t ever going to cut it, especially taking over after Flannery. No one would ever live up to the Flan-man after him sending us home safely to 3-World Series Championships!

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2017 WBC: What are the odds for team Kingdom of the Netherlands?

The Dutch Baseball Hangout

With the Spring Training well on its way, the best baseball players of the world will take on each other in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Team Kingdom of the Netherlands will be in group A together with host Korea, Chinese Taipei and Israel. What are the odds for the Dutch to reach the next round?

First Chinese Taipei or Taiwan if you want.

So far not much is known about the team. The team will contain mostly players from its own CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League). But many unknowns, it doesn’t mean that this team will be weak. On the contrary. Taiwanese ballplayers are skilled defenders Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Chinese Taipei WBC Capand know how to hit and to produce runs. They master the art of small ball and with this kind of baseball, the team managed to advance to round two in 2013. I expect Chinese Taipei to battle with the Kingdom of the Netherlands…

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 28, 2016

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Vanessa Ivy Rose, friend of the podcast and grand daughter of Negro League star and Hall of Famer Turkey Stearnes, returns to the podcast.

We talk about some tough issues about the world today, regard race and perceptions and they ways that sports can raise relevant questions.

Hard questions are not necessarily answered on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Follow Vanessa on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Listen to her previous appearance on the podcast by clicking HERE.

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New York Mets, Cleveland Indians Traveling Similar Paths in Search of a World Series Title

Like most professional sports, Major League Baseball is a copycat league.

When the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals displayed how crucial a dominant bullpen can be en route to winning championships, other teams tried to duplicate their strategy in hopes of finding similar success.

Now, after seeing what it took for the Chicago Cubs to end their excruciating 108-year title drought, even their most bitter rivals are taking notes for the future.

Although they haven’t yet won a World Series, the Cleveland Indians and New York Mets have rebuilt their respective rosters in such a way that many opponents are likely jealous of. There aren’t many organizations around baseball with the type of top-flight and mostly homegrown starting pitching these two have.

That’s not where the similarities end, either.

In fact, Cleveland recently signing Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year deal on the eve of Christmas further strengthens the similarities between these two teams, and it’s much more than just reaching the Fall Classic one year apart.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 27, 2016

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SI: T. Tanuma –

I have often wondered which Negro League players and Cuban stars could have excelled in the big leagues. But what about Sadaharu Oh? What could HE have done in the major leagues?

That and more on today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Plate Coverage: Year-end Round Up

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Plate Coverage is ringing in the New Year by… taking a few days off.  But we’ll be back before you know it. In the meantime, check out some of our most popular stories and podcasts from the past year (well, five months – we’re still a new-born babe).

Visit Plate Coverage for More.

The Greatest Detroit Tiger By Position: Second Base

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As we continue exploring the greatest Detroit Tigers by position of all-time, we’ve already made a case for the Tigers best catcher and first baseman; we now focus in the middle of the diamond and second base.

Qualifying requires a minimum of 5-years in the old English D, with a majority of time played at this position.  As seen with Miguel Cabrera and others, we remove stats from other positions played and look solely at the position being evaluated.  With that, we have seven significant Tigers that qualify at second to consider.  They include: Ralph Young, Frank Bolling, Placido Polanco, Damion Easley, Dick McAuliffe, Charlie Gehringer, and Lou Whitaker.  I’ll remove Ralph Young (1915-1922) with his 1.4 WAR off the bat and Frank Bolling, Damion Easley, and Placido Polanco for their limited time in Detroit.

Alright, let’s look at the second sackers…

Continue reading at Sons of ’84

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 26, 2016

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Gerardo Mora/Getty Images North America

As the holidays pile up, I wish I could go to a ballgame. I will do the next best thing.

For my birthday, I went to a ballgame at AT&T Park with podcast superfan Marcel, aka @CU8SFAN (Cubs Fan with an 8.)

That podcast can be heard HERE.

Well, there was part of the recording I did NOT use and make it a new episode for you all. @cu8sfan and I talked about Cap Bingo and other things.

So take yourself out to the ballgame this December on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Follow Cubs Fan With an 8 on Twitter by clicking HERE.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 25, 2016

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Elsa/Getty Images North America

It is Christmas Day. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And it is also time for The Sunday Request.

 

In a vacuum, I would not make this signing for Encarnacion. But this deal was made for 2017 and 2018 alone, and one extra year isn’t so bad.

A nice present is under the tree for Cleveland fans on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Bold Predictions For The MLB In 2017

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Every year we do an article called “Bold Predictions”.  I love this concept as most of these ideas are so preposterous that none of them will actually happen.  I liken it to the “Riverboat Gambler Theory” where you can really get rich quick if it were to come to fruition.

There may not be too many secrets in the National League where the clubs seems to be either really good or really bad.  The American League has a lot more parity.

I suppose I could start off by saying that the NL would win the Interleague series versus the AL, but that it is probably not going to happen based on a 13 year losing streak.

Giancarlo Stanton will crack 50+ HRs

Jose Bautista will not be signed until after the June 2017 draft.

A Right Handed Pitcher will start a game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings: Early Predictions For 2017

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The week wasn’t really putting forth any big news until Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Indians a few days ago.  This changed the landscape of the favorite in the American League.

Other deals included the Phillies acquiring Clay Buchholz, the Pirates inking Ivan Nova to the a 3 Year Deal, the Angels bringing in Ben Revere, and the Tigers dotting the line with Alex Avila on a contract to be the backup Catcher in Motown.

I added a few wins to Cleveland’s win total, and added a few losses to the AL Central.

For the confidence I have in the Pirates making a new baseball deal for Major League ready talent in Andrew McCutchen, I also boosted the Bucs for a few more W’s on the season prediction, and tacked on a few more losses for the Reds, Cubs and Brewers. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 24, 2016

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On today’s episode, I am posting part 2 of my conversation with former Detroit Tigers outfielder Larry Herndon.

He talked about key moments of the 1984 and 1987 post season years in Detroit including the moment he caught the final out to clinch the World Series.

It is a Motor City Episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Listen to Larry Herndon talk about his days in St. Louis and San Francisco by clicking HERE.

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Houston Astros Top 25 Prospects

The first notable piece of the system is the success of its younger prospects. The Astros are not an organization whose top prospects are 23-25 years old and knocking on the door of the MLB. Instead, this system has found talented players and cultured them to success much earlier in their development cycle. Many of the athletes in the system look like players that can make an MLB impact by the age of 22, with many having a chance to contribute even earlier than that.

The system boasts many pitching prospects that I see as should be future big league starters, with a select five pitchers that be frontline starters when it’s all said and done: Francis Martes, David Paulino, Forrest Whitley, Franklin Perez, and Hector Perez. Far from top-heavy, they also have several other arms that profile as potential MLB rotation, though perhaps not frontline starters.

From a position player development point of view, the Astro’s system looks about the same as it always has. Houston’s system of position players looks to develop in the same way it always has. In the most challenging defensive positions, the Astros have developed and drafted quick and agile players with a good sense of the strike zone. Though they have some power scattered throughout them, the outfield, second base, and shortstop prospects are all hit-tool oriented, contact first prospects with top tier speed potential. In the corner infield, it is quite the opposite. Many 1B/3B prospects in the system (with the exception of Colin Moran) find their struggles primarily with the glove rather than with the bat. It is evident that the Astro’s have a clear, fully formed plan for their scouting, drafting, and development process that has come to fruition to provide in providing some of the best talent in baseball. This isn’t something commonplace across all clubs at the professional level. The majority of other organizations’ processes appear more sporadic and case-by-case, valuing athleticism or signability rather than targeting specific make-ups. The Houston’s specific, targeted process is what will likely keep the Astros them as one of the league’s best premiere organizations when it comes to developing top prospects.

That none of this is any different going into 2017, as their farm system is plenty deep and features enough youth to see a very productive future for many years to come.

Houston Astros Top Prospects 2017

Projected Top 5 Home Run Hitters In Major League Baseball For 2017

Having nothing to do with the ALL - Star Game, and a ton to prove after inviting himselfto the HR derby in San Diego, we placed a $125 bet on Stanton to win the event at +325 odds. He destroyed the field, This was the difference in us turning a small little profit for the year. ).

Having nothing to do with the ALL – Star Game, and a ton to prove after inviting himself to the HR derby in San Diego, we placed a $125 bet on Stanton to win the event at +325 odds – and he won the whole thing.  Now only if he could refrain from beingthe DL for 1 campaign.  It was another injury plagued season for the veteran in 2016, but I still claim he will lead the league in HRs one of these years and possibly challenge 50 HRs in the process.  He is our #1 pick to win the overall MLB HR crown in 2017.

With apologies to the pending Free Agents who cracked 40+ HRs in Mark Trumbo (47) and Chris Carter (41), I just don’t see them duplicating their 2016 campaigns. 

I also foresee a bunch of changes to the top 6 Home Run hitters in the American League in 2017. 

Newly signed Indians player Edwin Encarnacion is quite possibly the only returning top 5 guy that will be in there back to back seasons for the Junior Circuit.

Chris Carter. actually tied was the co-leader for the HR title with Nolan Arenado in 2016. and then was promptly non-tendered by the Brewers for his efforts. 

Mark Trumbo hasn’t been able to parlay his HR title into a Free Agent deal either.  I think this may play a huge factor in a 2017 regression of sorts.

Don’t get me wrong. i fully expect these gentlemen to eclipse 30+ HRs each still in 2017.

Since the top 5 overall Major League HR totals all resided in the AL in 2016 – I suspect this won’t be the case next year.

Ultimately, career years from Khris Davis and Brian Dozier will be hard to do again.

(RELATED – Top 5 Saves Leaders Projected For The MLB in 2017) Read the rest of this entry

The Player’s Spot

The Player’s Spot is a forum where anyone can go and ask pro baseball players anything.  They also can get video reviews from them.  Go join The Player’s Spot at theplayersspot.net to become a part of this premier community.  15027505_724643154350987_5037450010970159655_n

BLUE JAYS FANS HAVE ONE MAN TO BLAME FOR EDWIN’S ABSENCE

 

WHILE IT’S TEMPTING TO BLAME BLUE JAYS BRASS FOR EDWIN’S DEPARTURE, THERE IS ONLY ONE MAN TO DIRECT ALL RAGE TOWARDS.

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By now, everyone is already aware that the forever-hanging Sword of Damocles has finally fallen and severed Edwin Encarnacion‘s ties with the Toronto Blue Jays. On Thursday night, Jon Heyman broke the news that the proprietor of the parrot was packed up and parading off to…Cleveland.

 

After hearing this, Blue Jays fans went through the five stages of grief rather quickly. From denial to anger to bargaining to depression to acceptance, the reaction was consistent. The 6ix, and all around it, were sad to see Edwin go, but could see it coming from a mile away. Still, the direction the blame was aimed depended on which group a person found themselves in. Some blamed Edwin for being greedy…

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

Odds To Win The 2017 MLB World Series

Edwin Enarnacion would be just what the doctor ordered for the Rangers lineup. A guy that can mash big Homers, drive in plenty of runs. and also not strikeout that much compared to a roster that already does just that. With only Cole Hamels and Choo being on the books beyond 2018, Texas could find the financial wherewithal to dole out a 4 or 5 year pact in the $20 - $23 MIL AAV range.

Edwin Encarnacion would be just what the doctor ordered for the Indians lineup. A guy that can mash big Homers, drive in plenty of runs. This contract is so awesome for the timing of it all as the team could absorb the $20 MIL guaranteed AAV for the next 3 years.  EE will turn 34 on Jan 07, 2017, and is coming off a year where he slashed .263/.357/.529 – with 42 HRs and a league leading 127 RBI.He is a significant upgrade over the departed Mike Napoli.  His power will elevate the Cleveland lineup for the next 3 seasons at least.

The Indians were our 4th best bet of the week last Friday at +1000 to win the Fall Classic in 2017.  Now with the Edwin Encarnacion contract signing, the club has jumped to +700.  We have just stated in a recent article today that they should not be below the Red Sox for odds to win the title next year.

Handicappers at the top of their profession always use the Strength of Schedule in their opinions, and with good reason.  One could go either way in dealing with the rosters of the Red Sox and Indians, but the biggest difference are the 76 Divisional games the Tribe plays against the Royals, Tigers, Twins and White Sox, where Boston must play the Jays, yankees,O’s and Raus 76 times.

It is also the biggest reason the Nationals will likely stay as our favorite value on the board all off season. The Mets are about the only real competition in the NL East that may provide a hindrance for the Washington franchise to reel in their 2nd straight NL East title.  Then it is – do you really think the Cubs should be a 3/1 odd favorite against the Nats in a NLCS matchup – no way.

We also love the Cardinals continuing to be a thorn in Chicago’s side for the 2017 year.  St. Louis was a 100 win club in 2015, and fought many nagging injuries in 2016.  Now they have a lot more healthy coming back in 2017, and a full year of Alex Reyes.  The Red Birds also signed Dexter Fowler away from the Cubs. +2000 is about a 6/1 odd from the oddsmakers for the Cards to win the NL Central. Read the rest of this entry

The Cleveland Indians Should Be The Favorite In The AL For 2017 With Encarnacion Signing

Cleveland was one innning away from winning the World Series in 2017, knocked out the Boston Red Sox (who are the odds favorite in the AL currently) and have now added slugger Edwin Encarnacion to their lineup for 2017. Cleveland will also see AL MVP candidate Michael Brantley back to the roster for a full healthy year = after playing the majority of 2016 without his services. A great Pitching Staff, all around defense, combined with a well adjusted lineup, and cupcake Division to play in - and the Tribe should be the favorite to win the AL Pennant next campaign and not the Red Sox.

Cleveland was one inning away from winning the World Series in 2017, knocked out the Boston Red Sox (who are the odds favorite in the AL currently) and have now added slugger Edwin Encarnacion to their lineup for 2017. Cleveland will also see AL MVP candidate Michael Brantley back to the roster for a full healthy year = after playing the majority of 2016 without his services. A great Pitching Staff, all around defense, combined with a well adjusted lineup, and cupcake Division to play in – and the Tribe should be the favorite to win the AL Pennant next campaign and not the Red Sox.

With the news that Edwin Encarnacion signing a 3 Year Deal Worth $55 MIL< and a Team Option for a 4th season that is $25 MIL – or a $5 MIL Buyout, the Indians have put themselves back into the lead as the favorite in the Junior Circuit.

So far, the oddsmakers don’t agree with that last statement, as the Red Sox are currently +475 to win the World Series – while Cleveland is listed at +700 to win the Fall Classic, but lets look at what Cleveland has going for it.

Michael Brantley is coming back (potentially fully healthy, and was a legitimate AL MVP candidate in 2014 and 2015.  Now to have him as a 3/4 tandem with EE, you are talking about a great heart of the lineup.

Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor are full value to kickstart the offense. Both guys are capable of playing all world ALL – Star campaigns upcoming.

Carlos Santana had a career year for HRs (34) RBI (87) OPS (.865) and will still bring in his 100 Walks a year.

Jose Ramirez can hit 6th for me any time.  Tyler Naquin held an .886 OPS in half a years worth AB en route to finishing 3rd in Rookie Of The Year Voting.

The club can fend enough offense in RF a Catcher to hit 8th and 9th. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast -December 23, 2016

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Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

While waiting for a plane at the Bob Hope Airport, or whatever it is called now, I wondered about expansion and relocation. I saw how LA football reflected Tampa Bay baseball and perhaps another team could work in New England.

Check your boarding pass on this Episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 22, 2016

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Chalberg Collection of Prints and Negatives

It might be time for baseball to think about expansion again. But while the usual suspects of cities are still in contention for a new team, an article by J. P Morosi brought up an interesting location: Austin.

It is an all new territory episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 21, 2016

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Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America

Jimmy Rollins will continue his wonderful career as a member of the 2017 San Francisco Giants. Has he had a Hall of Fame career? Would have been a Hall of Famer had be played earlier in time?

The narrative meets the numbers on this episode of  The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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The Clay Buchholz Head-Scratcher: Didn’t the Phillies Have Better Options?

The Philadelphia Phillies just traded for the right to pay Clay Buchholz $13.5 Million in 2017. The deal is a bit of a head stratcher as it was unclear why the Boston Red Sox decided to pick up that salary in the first place when they had the option not to. You see, Buchholz is no longer the pitcher he once was. He’s battled injuries pretty much his entire career, and hasn’t been the most effective guy out there even when healthy. I’m frankly very surprised that two organizations went through the processes associated with guaranteeing Buchholz $13.5 Million for what is sure to be a sub-200 IP 2017.

Anyway, the Phillies have Buchholz now and the Red Sox, for their troubles, picked up Josh Tobias, a 24-year old second baseman with two first names who just crushed high-A minor league ball.

In the process of breaking this down, I couldn’t help but feel like the Phillies must have had other options. What was their motivation to make this move? Sure I recently advocated that they be aggressive in adding pieces to their roster because they aren’t too far from contention, but this is not what I had in mind.

To continue reading about the Philadelphia Phillies puzzling trade for Clay Buchholz, please click on over to offthebenchbaseball.com.

Todd Frazier, Chris Carter and the Most “Average” 40-Homer Seasons Since 2002

An MLB hitter posting a season with at least 40 home runs is never not impressive, but is there a time when it’s not as impressive as it should be?

The answer to that question is yes.

Upon seeing players at the top of home run leaderboards for any given year, there could be a tendency to automatically think they’re some of baseball’s best. With regard to 2016, only eight sluggers surpassed 40 homers, but there are four that stand out: Mark Trumbo, Khris Davis, Chris Carter and Todd Frazier.

Despite mashing taters with the best of them this past season, their overall numbers – we’re talking about fWAR, in particular – don’t follow suit. Davis’ 2.5 fWAR is the highest, which just barely squeaks into the top-75 in 2016.

Obviously, this metric brings defense into the equation, but it intrigued me enough to investigate how their homer-rich performances rank against others in recent memory.

Using FanGraphs’ new splits leaderboard, I went all the way back to 2002 to see how the 40-homer seasons from these four stacked up, and it didn’t paint a pretty picture for a couple of sluggers.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 20, 2016

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Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Clay Buchholz is no longer a member of the Red Sox, and thus ends a complicated tenure that should be at least saluted.

There is more good than bad on this episode of  The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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