Friday, November 16, 2012

11/16: MLB Awards, etc.

Greetings all! My apologies for the missed day yesterday, as I spent my writing time publishing the Hawks/Warriors recap after a late night/West Coast game. Let's go!
  • The MLB MVP awards were handed out on Thursday. Miguel Cabrera took the AL award despite every possible advanced metric pointing to Mike Trout. Cabrera is better at exactly one thing than Trout (hitting for power), but we'll ignore his terrible defense (and Trout's subsequent elite defense), and bad base-running (ditto for Trout's excellence) in favor of the "Detroit made the playoffs!!" and "Triple Crown!!" narratives. For reference, LA had more wins than Detroit despite not "making the playoffs" and the triple crown includes RBI's, which are a fairly meaningless stat. Cheers! In the NL, Buster Posey won a wide-open race. I have no issue with Posey winning the award at all. I would've gone with Ryan Braun (as my awards post in October suggests) because he had better numbers and the "good team!" narrative kills me at this point. That said, Posey was very deserving and anytime you can produce elite offensive numbers at catcher, it's like stealing.
  • Speaking of MLB awards, Cy Youngs were given out on Wednesday, and not without controversy. R.A. Dickey won a perceived wide-open NL race after receiving 27 of the possible 32 first-place votes. This turned into a landslide, and I'm surprised by that. There's no denying Dickey's value (27 quality starts, 230 K's, 233 innings, 2.73 ERA), but he trailed Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez (among others) in WAR, and certainly wasn't a dominant winner. At any rate, I have no issue with it despite the fact that I would've gone with Kershaw, who had better numbers. In the AL, there was a real surprise as David Price edged Justin Verlander by 1 first-place vote and only 4 points overall. I thought that Verlander was the clear winner as he led the league in both WAR versions, strikeouts, and innings, but Price got the nod. He had a very, very good season, finishing with the league's best ERA (2.56), throwing 200+ innings, and counting 200+ strikeouts. The issue is that this was clearly a case where wins (Price's 20 vs. Verlander's 17) had to come into play. In case you're unfamiliar, wins account for virtually nothing when measuring an individual pitcher's performance, and it would be a travesty if that's the reason Verlander was edged. Alas, here we are. 
  • The Braves hosted BJ Upton on a free-agent visit yesterday. I'm all in favor of signing Upton as long as it is a reasonable deal. For a shorter deal (i.e. 3 years), I'd give him up to 40-45 million, but if he gets 5 years as he reportedly desires, I'd be hesitant to go above 60 million. He's certainly not a lead-off hitter, but he provides big-time power from a premium position, has great speed, and can play center-field effectively. The leadoff hitter conundrum is overblown (Prado could do the job) and shouldn't hold back ATL in the pursuit of Upton. Interested to see where this goes. 
  • An NBA roster move? in November?! It's a small one, but the Minnesota T-Wolves have signed former Mavs star forward Josh Howard to a 1-year deal. Minnesota lost Chase Budinger to injury this week, adding onto an already-depleted team playing without Love, Rubio, and Brandon Roy. Howard has been pretty bad in recent years, but it's a decent flyer to take on a guy with a career scoring average over 15. I like the low-risk move. 
  • NBA Round-up - Brooklyn won their 4th straight game with a 102-97 decision over Boston at the Barclays Center last night. Boston was playing without Rondo and I'm frankly surprised the game was this close. Brook Lopez and Deron Williams had 24 each for the Nets. The Knicks remain undefeated at 6-0 after getting a wildly impressive road win at San Antonio last night. Ray Felton is back from the dead this year and had 25 points and 7 dimes to lead the way for NYK, but the most impressive part of the win was that Carmelo Anthony had 9 points. Single. Digits. JR Smith continues to produce well (against all odds) and actually is showing some of the promise that his talent indicates. For the Spurs, they had 6 guys in double figures led by a 19/12/6 from Tony Parker but it wasn't enough. And finally, Miami won in Denver by a 98-93 tally. Lebron posted another ludicrous 27/12/7 with 3 blocks and the Heat got 6 threes from Shane Battier. These things helped Miami overcome a crazy 48-29 rebounding disparity in getting a road win (which seems impossible). Ty Lawson went scoreless for Denver in 36 minutes. Yikes. 
What to watch for on Friday...
  • 7:00 - Jazz @ Sixers - ESPN - Philly is an offensive disaster without Andrew Bynum, and Utah has one of the best frontcourts in the league. Mismatch!
  • 9:30 - Knicks @ Grizzlies - ESPN - Two of the league's hottest teams squaring off. Memphis has a ton of size, but Tyson Chandler helps to negate that, and I think Mike Conley has his way with the Knicks PG rotation.
  • 10:00 - Hawks @ Kings - SportSouth - I'm so glad that Cousins is back for this game. It's a battle of terrible demeanors. Cousins! Smith! It's the NBA on SportSouth! 
  • 11:00 - #11 North Carolina @ Long Beach State - This is such a weird game. UNC is making the trip to LBSU (on the way to Hawaii) and this has to be the smallest place they'll play this season. At any rate, Casper Ware has finally moved on for the 49ers, but they're still the defending Big West champs. 
There you have it.

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