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  1. I thought Nishioka was slated to start at second for the Twins with Casilla moving to short full-time?

    Comment by Everett — February 18, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  2. Last I heard, they are going to try Nishi at short and Casilla at second during the spring. None of this is set in stone obviously, because if Nishi can’t handle short, they will flip flop.

    Comment by Whiskey — February 18, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

  3. Ahh got it, good to know. Was mostly just curious for fantasy where Casilla’s eligible at both but it’d be great for Nishi’s value if he’s at short. Thanks for the update.

    Comment by Everett — February 18, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  4. Aviles didn’t get jerked around. On the surface of things it may appear that he was, but remember he had Tommy John surgery in July of 2009 and was well short of 100% for a good chunk of the season. It takes most guys a year to recover, after all. The Royals were trying to take it easy on him.

    Comment by glp — February 18, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  5. From what I gather (and I’m a Twins fan first), Nishioka likely don’t got the arm for SS. Now, Gardenhire gonna give him a shot, but the chances of Casilla ending up at SS are pretty good.

    Comment by OB — February 18, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  6. If Utley continues on a slow decline, where does he end up on a HoF debate?

    Last year sure feels like an off year due to injuries, not a huge warning sign. If he reverts back to a 6+ WAR player as he should (he’s really not that old), he should then settle into the tail end of his plateau phase and the beginning of his decline (averaging .5 Wins a year).

    So if the following happens:

    Age 32 2011: 6 Wins
    Age 33 2012: 5.5 Wins
    Age 34 2013: 5 Wins
    Age 35 2014: 4.5 Wins
    Age 36 2015: 4 Wins
    Total: 25 Wins + his current total of 44 Wins= 69 Wins (solid HOF consideration territory.

    Even if you assume a more rapid decline, say -0.75 Wins per year, he still goes

    6,00 Wins
    5.25 Wins
    4.50 Wins
    3.75 Wins
    3.00 Wins
    Total: 22.5 Wins + 44 Wins= 66.5 Wins.


    Comment by NEPP — February 18, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

  7. Given how unappreciated he is, and considering how unfavorably the better of the two projections above (69 WAR) compares to say… oh, I don’t know… LOU WHITAKER… I’d say Utley’s screwed.

    Comment by ToddM — February 18, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  8. It also compares to Roberto Alomar (68.2 WAR) and Craig Biggio (70.1 WAR)…both of whom will be HOF members by the time Utley is up for consideration.

    Comment by NEPP — February 18, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  9. Well, that means one of two things:

    1) My rant was more about Lou Whitaker.

    2) Biggio and Alomar were more appreciated during their careers, and it’ll be interesting to see which group Utley ends up in.

    Comment by ToddM — February 18, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  10. I agree on Whitaker. He got screwed. I think his biggest problem was never having that amazing peak but instead being consistently very good.

    Comment by NEPP — February 18, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

  11. The Phillies and Utley could help his case by winning another WS…sad as that may sound.

    Comment by NEPP — February 18, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  12. I think it’s a shame that his inferior infield mates received MVP’s while he didn’t and that it could very well keep him out of the HoF.

    Comment by Not David — February 18, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

  13. Utley didn’t help his case in 2007 by getting hurt and missing 30 games. He was the easy favorite to win before that.

    Here’s his line on the day he got hurt (July 26th)

    100 G, 462 PA, .336 AVG, .414 OBP, .996 OPS, 41 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 82 RBI, 79 R.

    There’s no way Rollins wins that year if Utley stays healthy.

    Comment by NEPP — February 18, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  14. They’ll figure it out in ST, but Casilla has a cannon. I’d much rather see him at SS.

    Comment by adam b — February 18, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  15. Rollins did have a 30/40/20 season that year. It’s hard to argue against him winning the MVP.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 18, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

  16. No, I’m pretty sure he got jerked around. He showed he could throw fine, yet Yuni and Getz were getting the playing time.

    Comment by Chris — February 19, 2011 @ 12:46 am

  17. I think Beckham is the best in the Central. Easy. Unless Aviles is starting at 2B.

    Comment by Chris — February 19, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  18. Pretty easily, actually. David Wright’s .325/.410/.546, 30 HR 34 SB season blows Rollins’ out of the water. Rollins being a loudmouth jackass got him the award.

    Comment by Anon — February 19, 2011 @ 1:26 am

  19. @ Anon,

    I’d say the Mets collapsing and being overrun by the Phillies got him the award over Wright. I’m not saying that it was deserved, but I’m sure it impacted the voting.

    Comment by hk — February 19, 2011 @ 8:11 am

  20. speaking of underrated 2b, whatever happened to marcus giles? homeboy popped off and then just disappeared. he’s another one of those multiple concussion guys (2/18 post), but i don’t think that had anything to do with his departure from the game. anyone got any insight?

    Comment by david — February 19, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  21. I know Mets’ fans are suffering from a severe case of inferiority–and are still particularly upset that the 2007 Phillies were a better baseball team and that Rollins had the audacity to correctly predict they would win the division (I assume Carlos Beltran is also a loudmouth jackass for his incorrect prediction a year later)–but the only players that should have been in the 2007 MVP race were Rollins, Utley, and Matt Holliday. Any player associated with a historic collapse need not apply.

    Any short stop that hits 30 HR, steals 40 bases, and hits 20 triples while playing above average defense on a division winning team is going to be on the shortlist for MVP.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 19, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  22. Utley will make it, as long as he stays healthy.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 19, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  23. “Any short stop that hits 30 HR, steals 40 bases, and hits 20 triples while playing above average defense on a division winning team is going to be on the shortlist for MVP.”

    That’s probably true, but it doesn’t mean that should be. Rollins had a nice year, but Wright was clearly the better player. Punishing him for his team’s choke makes no sense, although of course it happens all the time.

    Rollins led the league in outs made, and not just because he had a bunch of PAs. His OBP was a very unimpressive .344.

    Comment by Menthol — February 19, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  24. His brother’s stash ran out?

    Comment by Not David — February 19, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  25. “Rollins had a nice year, but Wright was clearly the better player. Punishing him for his team’s choke makes no sense, although of course it happens all the time.”

    A nice year? Even just going by WAR, Rollins was the 7th best player in the NL. Wright did lead the league in WAR, but the MVP isn’t an award for leading in WAR. The Mets didn’t collapse around Wright, he contributed to it.

    Leading the league in outs doesn’t mean anything. He lead the league in PAs. Rollins’ OBP may have been ‘unimpressive’ but his wOBA of .378 was.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — February 19, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

  26. Wright was barely a .370 (.372 actually) hitter during the final 2 months in 2007. Total meltdown on his part.

    Rollins had a fantastic year and was a worthy winner regardless though.

    Comment by NEPP — February 19, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  27. He had a minor-league invite with the Phillies back in 2009 and he simply had nothing left in spring training. He disappeared after that.

    Comment by NEPP — February 19, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  28. espinosa will hit more than 20 homers as a secondbaseman this season for the Nats

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — February 20, 2011 @ 1:37 am

  29. Not only that but position players come back from Tommy John surgery much quicker than pitchers as the strain on their arm isn’t in the same ballpark.

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 20, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  30. Utley got a late start on his career with only 439 PA before becoming a full timer when he was 26y 5m old. Most HoF caliber player begin their career at 23-24 y/o so really his career projection would be somewhere around 80+ WAR if he had a big league job a little earlier. As such, barring a complete meltdown or career threatening injury, I think his peak is so impressive that he’ll glide into the Hall, even if he tops out at about 60-65 WAR.

    I’m not a Phillies fan but in my short research for this post I found that Utley’s minor league numbers at age 23-25 are pretty stout. Was there someone in Philly blocking his path to MLB? Why did the Phillies delay his call up? He projected to be an offensive force and given his outstanding defense I’d figure he wouldn’t need to be a 100% polished hitter anyway before breaking through. Thoughts?

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 20, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  31. The above debate about Lou Whitaker made me look up his stats and see that his career was better than I remember it being. Replacement level must not have been very good in the 80’s.

    Comment by OzzieGuillen — February 20, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  32. I was in his way.

    Comment by Placido Polanco — February 20, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  33. Well, yeah. A much larger percentage of middle infielders hit like complete crap in the 80’s.

    Whitaker played very good (but mostly unrecognized) defense, he walked quite a bit, he hit for some power, didn’t ground into DPs, and kept it up right through to the end.

    He’s no all-time great, but he’s better than at least half of the HOF second sackers.

    Comment by ToddM — February 20, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  34. As was I…and Chase couldn’t handle 3B when they tried to convert him anyway.

    Comment by David Bell — February 21, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  35. Chase was considered a below average defender as a prospect. His defense improved rapidly over his first couple MLB seasons. As late as 2004, Baseball Prospectus described him as a possible utility guy due to his weak defense.

    Comment by NEPP — February 21, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  36. Aviles himself has said he didn’t feel 100% until September. I’m aware that position players come back quicker, but when a player has made it clear how he was feeling I tend to go with that.

    Comment by glp — February 22, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  37. Gah this page bogs down Firefox, it crashed three times today. What’s going on?

    Comment by Newport Beach Houses — February 26, 2011 @ 7:05 am

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