Battles of the Best

Congrats again to Wezz over at Major League Baseball: Through the Eyes of a UK Red Sox Fan for getting the answer right to yesterday’s trivia. The question was, “Who is credited with being the first fielder to wear sunglasses at his position.” This is Wezz’s second time in a row to getting the trivia right. I would also like to congrats and thank everyone. Wezz posted my 500th comment ever! Thanks to every one I could not have done it without all of you guys.

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All right there are some major position battles right now going on. I am sure at least one of you want to draft someone who is in a battle for the starting spot. So I thought I would look at five major battles.

Jed Lowrie versus Julio Lugo

In 2008 Lowrie played 81 games and Lugo played 82 so it is fair to compare their stats. Lugo hit .268 with one home run, 22 RBI’s, and twelve stolen bases. Lowrie hit .258 with two home runs, 46 RBI’s, and one stolen base. Lowrie became the starting shortstop after Lugo went to the disabled list. Lowrie is the better shortstop but has two big I guess you could say disadvantages. I first one is Lowrie can play third, second, shortstop, and if needed first. Lowrie is the perfect infield utility man. Second is the fact that Julio Lugo gets paid a ton of wasted money. It is likely that the Red Sox will not waste money and start Lugo. If this was the Yankees managing then they would start Lowrie because he is the better player but thankfully this is not the Yankees. I am not saying that I want Lugo to start at all. I hope Lowrie wins the battle but I just do not think he will since Boston left their old utility man, Alex Cora, go. Letting Cora go kind of shows that they want Lowrie as the utility man. Lugo does have a little bit of an injury history so that could put Lowrie right back where he started from. Lowrie’s Odds- 7-1 Lugo’s Odds- 4-1. The facts just point towards Lugo. What else can I say.

Carlos Marmol versus Kevin Gregg 

In 2008 Marmol pitched in 82 games. Gregg pitched in 72 games. Marmol had a 2.68 ERA with a two and four record, seven saves, and 114 strikeouts. Gregg who was the closer for the Florida Marlins at the time went seven and eight with a 3.14 ERA, 29 saves, and 58 strikeouts. The two pitchers will replace Kerry Wood who signed with the Indians this offseason. Marmol has one advantage over Gregg. Marmol is a strikeout pitcher with a great fastball. Marmol pitched 87.1 innings and had 114 strikeouts! That is over one strikeout an inning. Gregg is not a strikeout pitcher and relies more on his defense behind him. The Cubs have a decent defense led by Golden Glover, Derek Lee at first base. At the hot corner they have Aramis Ramirez. Up the middle they have Aaron Miles at second and Ryan Theroit at shortstop. They do not have they best fielding outfield with Kosuke Fukudome in center, Alfonso Soriano in left, and Milton Bradley in right who is mostly a D.H. but there are no D.H.’s in the National League. At catcher they have Geovany Sotto. Marmol’s Odds- 4-1 Gregg’s Odds 8-1 Gregg would be the closer on most teams just not this one.

Huston Street versus Manuel Corpas 

Huston Street 2005 - Pitching Action Photo Enlargement

This is just one of the Rockies problems. They need to figure out who will be the fifth starter and who will be the catcher. In 2008 while with the Oakland A’s Huston Street pitched 70 innings. Manuel Corpas pitched in 79.2 innings. Street had an ERA of 3.73 with a seven and five record, eighteen saves, and 69 strikeouts. Corpas had an ERA of 4.52 with a three and four record, four saves, and 50 strikeouts. This offseason Street was brought over from Oakland in the Matt Holiday deal. This job may sound wide open but it is not. Street is clearly better the Manuel Corpas and will be the closer in Denver. I mean why would they have traded for him if they wanted to use Corpas as the closer. Corpas’ only chance to be the closer would be if Clint Hurdle did a “Joe Torre” and had two closers like Torre did late last year with Takashi Saito and Jonathan Broxton. Street lost the job as Oakland’s closer after Brad Ziegler was called up last year and this is his chance to say I should have been closer. Street has one disadvantage. Pitching in Denver. Corpas has done it before and I am not sure but Street might have to make an adjustment. Still though Street will win the job. Street’s Odds- 2-1 Corpas’ Odds- 9-1 Corpas is just not a “true” closer just yet.

Victor Martinez versus Travis Hafner

Victor Martinez celebrates after catching the final out in a 5-4-3 triple play in the seventh inning. Martinez also helped Cleveland's offensive cause by cracking his 20th homer in the third.[img]

In 2007 Victor Martinez had 25 home runs. In 2008 he had two. While Martinez is a catcher it looks like Kelly Shoppach has that one. Last season Martinez had a .278 batting average, 35 RBI’s, two home runs, and 74 hits in 73 games. That is hit a game and then some. Okay all that means is he got 1.01369863 . . . hits per game but still. Hafner had a .197 batting average with five home runs, 24 RBI’s, and 39 hits in 57 games. Just a few years ago in 2006 he hit 42 home runs. This battle is really the best of the getting worst if that make since. This is really shocking. It was not long ago that my friend, an Indians fan, had posters of these two guys in his room. A few years ago people thought these guys were the next David Ortiz and Ivan Rodriguez. Now they look like the next Trot Nixon and Andruw Jones but those posters still hang on his wall. Know I do not think this will be settled in Spring Training. This could go on the whole season. I think though that they could just switch off. Hafner though will probably win the job in the end making Martinez the backup D.H. and catcher. Martinez’s Odds 6-1 Hafner’s Odds 4-1 I hope both guys have a comeback season like I hope Andruw Jones and Trot Nixon do.

Garret Anderson versus Matt Diaz

garret-anderson.jpg

I really do not think this is a battle but the guys at MLB Network insisted it was so here it is. Last year with the Angels Anderson played in 145 games where he hit .293 with fifteen home runs, 84 RBI’s, and seven stolen bases. In 43 games with the Braves Diaz  hit .244 with two home runs, fourteen RBI’s, and four stolen bases.Diaz’s only chance to get the starting spot would be if Anderson got hurt and guess what he did. On March sixth Anderson strained his right calf in warmups. Anderson said it would be a few days till he finds out how many days he will be out if any. This really is not a big deal but maybe something else happened like he torn something. I do not know. I just do not get why MLB Network thinks this is a battle. I mean how can it be a battle because the Braves signed Anderson this offseason. Know this would never have been a battle if Atlanta signed Ken Griffey Jr. Anderson’s Odds- 3-1 Diaz’s Odds 12-1 I am sorry Matt Diaz but you will never outplay Garret Anderson. You will be a strong fourth outfielder.

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All right today’s trivia is going to be hard for you guys yet I have know the answer my whole life. Who pitched the first no-hitter in baseball history under lights. By baseball history I mean the whole history of baseball. Any country, league, anything.

Hint- This player does not have a wikipedia page

Photo Credits

1- hackswithhaggs.com

2- larevistadigital.net

3- search.espn.go.com

4- allposters.com

5- usatoday.com

6- usatoday.com

7- reds.enquirer.com

8- zimbo.com

9- wikipedia.com

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7 comments

  1. Lissi

    Martinez and Hafner were both really hurt last year. Hafner is the DH unless he is hurt again or not all the way better or something. Martinez and Shoppach will share time behind the plate and Martinez will play more first base than usual. Martinez is having an awesome spring too so I am not worried about him at all. Hafner has played two innings so far so it’s a little early to tell. If both of them are healthy, our lineup is sick.
    Melissa
    http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

  2. Jane Heller

    Interesting post about the battles. I was aware of Lowry-Lugo but not the others. On the Yankees, we’ve got Nady vs. Swisher for the right field job and Cabrera vs. Gardner for CF. I think competition is good, but I wish the Yanks had a clear frontrunner for CF, as in the Bernie Williams era.

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  3. crazy19canuck

    I still like Lowrie better…it would be hard to keep Lugo on the bench at that price, but then how many games do you want thim to blow for you? Lugo seems to be “good” or “awful”. There is never awesome or hardly ever really good.
    Street will get the job. He’s a great closer. Hope he enjoys it over there.
    Canuck

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