Tagged: Kevin Youkilis

Vote for Youkilis!

MLB is continuing the tradition of allowing the fans to choose between five players to take the All-Star team’s final roster spot.  The candidates for the American League this year are: Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, Kevin Youkilis, Delmon Young, and Mike Young.  In my last post, I introduced WAR, a new age statistic that takes all factors of a player’s game into account and spits out one number- the number of wins that player has been worth to his team over a replacement level player.  Now that all of my fantastic readers here at The 26th Man are armed with the most powerful weapon of all, knowledge, we can help make sure the best player wins this spot.  Let’s take a look at some more traditional stats, and then WAR for each of the candidates.
As a reminder: the three averages separated by slashes is referred to as a player’s “slash line” and is their batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage.

Paul Konerko:   .296/.384/.563, 80 Hits, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 0 Steals, 2.6 WAR
Nick Swisher:   .293/.373/.505, 84 Hits, 13 HR, 47 RBI, 1 Steal, 2.3 WAR
Kevin Youkilis:  .299/.416/.584, 82 Hits, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 2 Steals, 3.3 WAR
Delmon Young: .298/.332/.488, 77 Hits, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 3 Steals, 0.5 WAR
Mike Young:      .307/.352/..487, 104 Hits, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 3 Steals, 2.1 WAR
Delmon Young is the clear loser here when WAR is introduced.  This is because his defense and his baserunning are both below average.  He also receives a slight subtraction for playing left field, one of the easier positions to play.  A shortstop or third baseman is valued higher because those are difficult positions to play.  
Mike Young, Swisher, and Konerko have similar WARs, coming in at 2.1, 2.3, and 2.6, respectively.  Mike Young gets the votes from the fans who love a consistent contact hitter, Konerko gets the votes from fans who love power and home runs, and Swisher gets votes from ignorant Yankee fans.  That may be a little unfair, but Swisher is currently winning the vote, so I’m just venting a little bit.  Swisher is as deserving as these other two, but not as much so as Youkilis.
Youkilis is in a league of his own here in terms of WAR.  He is actually not getting a huge boost from his defense here as some might expect, although he is above average.  The key to Youkilis’ high WAR is in those first three numbers, his slash line.  Only Young has a higher average here, no one can sniff his On-base percentage, and after Konerko, who really isn’t that close, no one even approaches his slugging percentage either.  Youkilis is hands-down the best player of this group, and I’m counting on all you fans out there to reflect this in your Final Votes!
You can vote at MLB.com through Thursday, July 8th at 4 PM ET.  They will also ask you to vote for the National League, so without going into too much detail, here are the numbers for the National League candidates:
Heath Bell:             4-0, 1.72 ERA, 49 K, 23 Saves, 1.2 WAR
Carlos Gonzalez:   .295/.329/.493, 88 Hits, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 12 Steals, 1.4 WAR
Joey Votto:           .312/.412/.572, 89 Hits, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 7 Steals, 3.2 WAR
Billy Wagner:         5-0, 1.35 ERA, 52 K, 17 Saves, 1.4 WAR
Ryan Zimmerman: .286/.376/.504, 76 Hits, 14 HR, 44 RBI, 1 Steal, 2.2 WAR
You shouldn’t even need WAR for this one, but in case you do- Votto is the winner.  Vote for Votto!  Catchy.
Just for kicks, let’s see if WAR thinks Youkilis deserved the starting spot.  Youkilis finished 4th in the vote for the AL First baseman, behind winner Justin Morneau, Mark Teixeira, and Miguel Cabrera.  
Kevin Youkilis:  .299/.416/.584, 82 Hits, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 2 Steals, 3.3 WAR
Justin Morneau: .344/.437/.615, 99 Hits, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 0 Steals, 5.1 WAR
Mark Teixeira: .243/.353/.428, 76 Hits, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 0 Steals, 1.4 WAR
Miguel Cabrera: .339/.419/.630, 98 Hits, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 2 Steals, 3.3 WAR
Wow.  Pretty interesting that Youkilis and Cabrera end up with the same WAR when Cabrera clearly has the superior offensive peripherals.  And all I can do is tip my cap to Morneau, for deservedly winning the vote and for keeping Teixieira out of this contest.  Morneau has been worth over 10 Delmon Young’s.  Don’t forget to vote at MLB.com before July 8th at 4 PM!

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On a Roll

Everything seems to be clicking for this team right now.  The starting pitching has been exceptional of late, and quite simply, the team is doing what it needs to do to get the job done.  With Ortiz out for a few games and Manny in a semi-slump, Kevin Youkilis picks up the slack and takes his game to the next level.  That’s the sign of a good team and the sign of a team that’s going to win a serious amount of ball games this year. 

About Daisuke so far this year- you can’t really complain about a guy with no losses, especially when the team seems to win every single time he goes out there.  But there are some things you can’t ignore even in light of his success.  27 walks at this point in the season is a lot, and to have 8 come in one game?  Over 5 innings?  And it was a game that he was otherwise dominant in, only allowing 2 hits, so you can’t say it was a bad night.  His high strikeout total (33) masks the number of walks somewhat, but if he doesn’t figure out what is wrong with his control soon, he will have problems in the future.  And if he does… then the rest of the American League better watch out because he will have solidified himself as one of the most talented pitchers in baseball.

The ties are going strong- strong enough to overcome what I thought could be a fatal error when I accidentally put on an extra swipe of deodorant Sunday morning.  In fact, I was able to go to the game on Sunday after completing the 20 mile walk for hunger.  It was a great game to be at; the rain held off just long enough to get the game in.  Kazmir made his first start of the season and got roughed up a bit, and Youk had a monster game as I touched on before. 

In Detroit again tonight.  What’s wrong with this team?  They looked so dominant entering the season and yet we have walked all over them thus far.  We’ll see if Wakefield can keep the momentum going.

One more thing- I found this story and thought it was hilarious.  Just thought I would pass it along…
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=Auh5dDzfI6TIHC4e_zDljUARvLYF?slug=ap-yankees-rodriguez&prov=ap&type=lgns

Sox Drop Another

What a frustrating loss today.  Elite prospect Justin Masterson is rushed up from AA to make an emergency start and goes above and beyond expectations.  6 innings of 2 hit ball – you can’t ask for more than that.  He leaves the game with the lead and then just like that the bullpen gives it all back.  Neither Lopez nor Delcarmen could record an out, each allowing 2 earned runs.  Maybe Delcarmen hadn’t fully recovered from the flu. 

In any event, there were some bright spots.  Ortiz’s average continues to rise as he is now at .189 after hitting his 4th HR and picking up RBI number 19 and 20.  Crisp had a great game, going 2-4 with 2 doubles, a run scored, 2 RBI, and 2 stolen bases, although he did make his first error of the year.  It was good to see Youkilis back, but Varitek was still missing and Ellsbury got the start in right over Drew.  Word is Lowell will be back tomorrow, which is great news for the club but could mean a demotion for Jed Lowrie, who has been outstanding so far while playing second, third, and shortstop. 

From a superstitious stand point, there wasn’t too much I could do about this one.  I was starting a new streak and therefore a new tie, I simply picked the wrong one.  Also, I was in school during the game so I couldn’t even watch it.  I’ll try a different one tomorrow and hopefully we can get back on track in Tampa. 

6 Game Win Streak Snapped

Alright, on the heels of the 6-4 loss to the Angels I’m sure you’re all turning to me for an explanation.  Never fear, I have one.  

I mentioned the ties in my first post, and sadly they are the culprit tonight.  Here is the background information on the ties: my school’s dress code requires that I wear a tie each day.  If the Sox are on a winning streak, I wear the same tie as I did the day before.  Simple, right?  Why haven’t we won every weekday game then?  Well, believe it or not, there has been a valid explanation for every exception.  I won’t detail all of them here but just so you know I’m not pulling your leg… take a look at the week of March 30th.  We won Tuesday and Wednesday per the tie rule, off day Thursday, and then oh wait!  The rule has been disproven right?  Wrong.  We were out of dress code on Friday and since I didn’t wear a tie, we lost the game 6-3.  Another fact worthy of mentioning: we lost all weekend long and did not win again until the next Tuesday,  which was the next gameday when I could wear a tie.

Back to tonight.  This tie was on a roll.  6 games in a row.  But they don’t count because they were over the weekend right?  No, this tie, with the help of another superstition that I can’t mention right now, powered through the weekend until I could continue wearing it on Monday.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  The reason may sound a little farfetched, in fact I would be surprised if many out there believed me.  But I’m not going to worry about that, all I can do is promise you that at all times on this blog I am telling the truth.  So, during school today, my friends and I discovered a kite stuck in a tree on our campus and we decided to spend the period trying to get it down.  Sure, it started off by innocently throwing tennis balls at the kite, but it eventually became an obsession and we had to turn to more drastic measures.  So we all tied our ties together to make a string about, well, 3 ties long.  We tied a lemonade bottle to the end of the string (which was my tie, THE tie) and tried to loop it around a tree branch so we could pull it down and retrieve the kite.  To make a long story short, which I am doing a horrendous job of, by the time I got my tie down from the tree about 40 minutes later it was not in good shape.  It had some pretty tight knots tied in it and it got a little beat up from rubbing against tree bark.  We didn’t get the kite and I knew I had compromised the luckiness of the tie in the process.  So consider this an apology to Red Sox Nation, I promise not to fool around with the lucky ties anymore.

P.S.- Get well soon Curt Schilling, Mike Lowell, Alex Cora, Josh Beckett, Jason Varitek, Manny Delcarmen, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kevin Youkilis, and Coco Crisp.  Did I miss anyone?