Ken Griffey Junior. About a week ago I was at a bar and I saw a program on FSN called “The Top 50 Collisions in Baseball History,” really an enjoyable program aside from one glaring, disgusting error. One of their greatest collisions was Ken Griffey Junior making Willie Mays look like Scotty Smalls catching a ball against the centerfield wall at the King Dome and breaking his wrist. I hadn’t yet had my first beer, but I went to the bathroom and vomited. I remember watching that live. That was the day that the best baseball player that ever lived shat upon his legacy.
The Junior Circuit is a place where a breakout player is a difficult thing to find. A majority of the good teams in the AL revamp rosters through their George Costanza size wallets rather than by calling on youth like the pop industry. Most of the studs on the Junior Circuit have more gray hair on their balls than the passengers of an Alaskan cruise. However there are young players in the AL that could make a huge mark this year, and could be on their way to stardom by the end of 2011. Last year Neftali Feliz, closer for the Rangers, won the Rookie of the Year, however we are choosing to avoid the rookie of the year status because we don’t want to do any research so we are trying to pick a breakout player. My crop involves a couple potential ROY’s and a couple guys who have been up, but may be in for a bigger year than in years past.
I don’t know if you are one of those people who sits around thinking of reasons why the National League is better than the American League, but if you are here is another one: pitching. The NL has the better pitchers by far. So picking a Cy Young winner is not going to be the easiest job in the world. I’d like to spend some time on each pitcher but there are just too many that are capable of giving Cy Young worthy performances so I’m going to have to just pick a couple. Its Friday so I am lacking in patience and motivation.
The AL Cy Young, or as I’m deeming it this season, the Bridesmaid award. I’m calling it the Bridesmaid Award because, let’s be honest, the best pitchers in the world are all in the NL right now. Of the active players with a Cy Young 7 are in the NL and 5 are in the AL. However the NL has 10 Cy Young Awards in the league and the AL has 5. Further, only 2 in the AL are owned by legitimate contenders, C.C. Sabathia and Felix Hernandez. The other 3 are owned by Bartolo Colon, Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb. Colon looked decent this spring, but hasn’t pitched in a while and didn’t make the Yankees rotation. Also he’s fat. Peavy is still a dangerous pitcher, and a great singer, however he has really struggled with injuries for a few years now and again has found himself on the DL to start the year. Finally the other Cy Young Award winner in the league is Brandon Webb who had major surgery on his pitching shoulder in 2009 and is just now starting to make his way back. I think of these three Webb may have the highest upside because his pitching relies little on power and more on precision and downward movement. However it still baffles me how a guy can lead the league in walks one year then shave 60 walks off that total by the next season.
Anyways, this is not to say there aren’t good pitchers in the AL, however I am saying that the most highly acclaimed pitchers are now in the NL. Oh yeah, and there’s something else about those Junior Circuit lineups, they’re not friendly. So who’s going to win the Bridesmaid Award this year as the MLB’s second best pitcher? Read more…