Voting for the 2009 MLB All Star game ended last night, but the results won’t be revealed until Sunday. I already looked at who deserved to start for the American League. Here is the NL:
Catcher: Brian McCann
McCann sports a .309 batting average with a .393 OBP and an .898 OPS. His 8 home runs and 33 RBI are both second among NL catchers and his 14 doubles are tied for first. His 5 errors are a lot at catcher, but he has also thrown out 26.7% of runners trying to steal against him. McCann’s statistics aren’t anything special, but the NL has zero superstar catchers so McCann gets the nod as the starter.
First Base: Albert Pujols
Was there any question here? Pujols leads all first basemen with a .335 average and leads all of baseball with 30 home runs, 77 RBI, and a 1.200 OPS. Those stats are by far the best in baseball. Prince Fielder, who may be the second best player in baseball, unfortunately plays the same position in baseball so even though he would start at any other position, he has to play second-fiddle to Prince Albert here.
Second Base: Chase Utley
Utley is the clear choice amongst NL second basemen as he leads all others with 17 home runs, 52 RBIs, 54 runs, a .436 OBP, and a .982 OPS. He’s third with a .300 average and also has seven stolen bases. His .984 fielding percentage is fifth best in the NL and makes him the clear choice to start for the National League. Continue reading “2009 NL All Star Starters”
Raul Ibanez is having a career year, having already hit 21 home runs and driven in 58 runs. Over his career, Ibanez has averaged 23 homers a year and yet this year he has almost hit that many in less than sixty games. Add to the fact that Ibanez is 37 years old, and something seems a little off here. This is what another blogger, JROD, looked in to in his article The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows.
JROD examined Ibanez’s year to the finest detail. He looked at the ballparks in which Ibanez homered in and examined their “HR Factors”. He looked at the dimensions of his new home ballpark since he signed this year with the Phillies in the offseason. He looked at the pitchers that Ibanez had homered off of, checking to see if Ibanez had just seen a lot of bad pitchers early on in the season. As he went through these stats though, nothing stuck out as that out of the ordinary. Certainly there was nothing that would explain the increase Ibanez’s home run rate from a homer every 23.9 plate appearances (2006-2008) to a homer every 12.1 plate appearances.
At the end of this specific, well-researched article, JROD threw out one possible explanation for Ibanez’s dramatic increase in home runs: Steroids. He did not claim that he had any first-hand knowledge that the Phillies’ outfielder was on the juice, but he just said that you cannot ignore that it is a possibility. Unfortunately, baseball has reached the point where great starts like this are not something to be in awe of, but something to be suspicious of. JROD never said that Ibanez used steroids, he just said, “it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that “other” performance enhancers could be part of the equation”. Continue reading “Raul Ibanez and JROD: What Baseball Needs”