Tag Archives: Christian Yelich

Rhys Hoskins developing into legit NL MVP candidate with Phillies

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Rhys Hoskins is anchoring the Phillies lineup as cleanup hitter


The Philadelphia Phillies (24-16) have slowly opened up a lead in the National League East Division standings as mid-May arrives. As opposed to last season, when the club was in first place with a 2.5 game lead in late July, this time around feels much different.
One of the primary reasons that the 2019 version of the Phillies seems capable of sustaining their lead is a much more experienced and talented every day lineup. That is thanks to the additions of J.T. RealmutoJean SeguraAndrew McCutchen and, of course, Bryce Harper.
The starting pitching rotation has also gotten tremendous work over the season’s first seven weeks from Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin. Add in mostly solid performances from veteran Jake Arrieta and the group has been able to weather a slow start from ace Aaron Nola and the loss to injury of Vince Velasquez.
The Phillies bullpen mix has been, well, mercurial might be the best word to describe their performance as a whole. Right-hander Hector Neris and lefty Adam Morgan have been strong most of the season. Based on his most recent performance, Seranthony Dominguez may be rounding into form. That would be a huge lift for manager Gabe Kapler late in ball games.
But of all the reasons that the Phillies are alone in first place and a legitimate playoff contender for the first time in eight years can be found at first base. Rhys Hoskins appears to be flourishing with his return to the more comfortable defensive position. In fact, his numbers say that the 26-year-old is entering his prime as a legitimate National League MVP candidate.
Hoskins is slashing .285/.411/.590 with 11 home runs, and 35 RBIs. His OPS mark of 1.002 is fifth in the league. He is tied for sixth in homers and third in RBIs.

Over the last 14 games as the Phillies opened up their lead, Hoskins has been even better with a .320/.433/.640 OPS. He has eight extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in that span, and the team has gone from two games over the .500 mark with a half-game lead to eight games over .500 and a four-game lead in the loss column.


Evan Macy at The Philly Voice pointed out another big reason why Hoskins is so valuable to the Phillies overall attack in a piece earlier this month when he wrote the following:
Hoskins sees the most pitches per plate appearance of anyone in all of baseball with 4.72 and has forced pitchers to throw the second most pitches in total of any batter…There are many reasons why the Phillies’ lineup has been ultimately one of the most successful in baseball (when healthy) and a big part of it stems from Hoskins anchoring thing…He really forces a pitcher to work — which trickles down into the opposing hurler making mistakes, or getting tired or frustrated.
Cody Bellinger got off to a white-hot start for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last year’s NL MVP, Christian Yelich, is off to another strong season with the Milwaukee Brewers. They are the clear leaders at the front of the conversation right now for National League Most Valuable Player.
But if Hoskins continues to rake as the Phillies cleanup hitter and the ball club remains on top of the division, he will remain one of the main candidates as that discussion really ramps up later in the summer.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Rhys Hoskins anchors Phillies lineup

You can count me out on Manny Machado signing with the Phillies in free agency

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Machado will get hundreds of millions in free agency – hopefully not from Phillies

Just yesterday at Phillies Nation, Editorial Director Tim Kelly wrote a piece on Manny Machado which centered around comments the player had made on his own perceived lack of hustle at times.

In that piece, Kelly reported on a handful of quotes attributed to Machado in an interview conducted by Ken Rosenthal at The Athleticwith the pending free agent shortstop.
One of those quotes stood out enough that Kelly highlighted it in his headline:

“…I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’…That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”

Well, let me tell what else that is not. That is not going to sell in Philly.
Kelly compared Machado somewhat to former Phillies star shortstop Jimmy Rollins, a franchise icon, the all-time Phillies leader in career hits, and a future Wall of Famer.
Yes, there were times that Rollins did not hustle during his career. In fact, Kelly referenced in his piece the incident well-known to Phillies fans from 2012 in which then-manager Charlie Manuel benched ‘JRoll’ for failing to run out a fly ball.
However, whatever Rollins’ occasional lapses, Phillies fans knew him intimately. They had watched his entire career. They got to see him speed around the bases, sliding head-first into third base for a triple. They got to see him dive into the hole for balls and come up firing the runner out at first base.
Phillies fans watched Rollins proclaim theirs as “the team to beat in 2007, and then deliver an MVP season to back up it up as the club won the National League East Division crown for the first time in 15 years.
They saw him help lead the club to their first World Series championship in 28 years the following season. They roared as Rollins drilled a game-winning and possibly series-saving two-run double in Game Four of the 2009 NLCS against the Dodgers.
The point here is that Rollins was one of our own. We watched him grow from his mid-September debut at Veteran’s Stadium in 2000 through to his final appearance in red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park in September of 2014.
We forgave him the occasional lapse in hustle or concentration because we saw first-hand the leadership, determination, and toughness over the long haul.
If the Phillies sign Machado this off-season as a free agent, something that up to this point nearly every Phillies fan has been hoping for months if not years, there could be a big problem.
Back in April, Dan Szymborski for ESPN estimated that it would take something along the lines of an eight-year, $300 million contract to land Machado as a shortstop, which is presumably where the Phillies would want him to play.
Now if you, like me, grew up in Philadelphia as a fan of this town’s sports teams, knowing the sports media in place and how involved those fans are with the teams and that media, what do you think? Do you think that a player who is being guaranteed $300 million and who is not hustling all the time is going to go over well here?
A cynic, and we have plenty of those, might say that if Machado is hitting .280-.290 with 40 bombs and 100+ RBI every year while fielding a decent shortstop, then the fans will forgive the occasional lack of hustle. I’m not so sure.
Machado is not home-grown. You pay him that much, you are going to expect that he will come in here and provide more than just his fantasy baseball numbers. Over the first 96 games of this past season, Machado was having a tremendous year. Meanwhile, his Orioles team was baseball’s worst.
Lack of hustle is not the only heavy baggage that Machado would carry with him off the plane at Philadelphia International Airport. There is also a very real “dirty player” label that the now 26-year-old carries along with him.
In last night’s Game Four of the National League Championship Series, that dirty play was on display in front of a national audience. While running through first base on a ground out in the 10th inning, Machado clearly kicked Brewers’ first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
“A dirty play by a dirty player” is how the incident was described by NL MVP favorite Christian Yelich of the Brewers per Gabe Lacques at USA Today. “It absolutely is. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, but you can’t respect someone who plays the game like that.
In the immediate aftermath of the play, former MLB star and current analyst Eric Byrnes put out a tweet that has since been deleted. It was seen, however, by yours truly and reported on by Larry Brown at Yardbarker.

“This dude is the biggest piece of (bleep) I’ve ever seen play the game… He is an absolute embarrassment & represents everything that’s WRONG with baseball. Hopefully future generations can watch & learn how NOT to play the game.” ~ Eric Byrnes

That was the message from Mark Mulder, who pitched for nine years in Major League Baseball and won 103 games in the 2000’s. Mulder is saying a whole lot in a few words with “people think what they do” regarding Machado.
During the NLCS Game Three on Monday, Machado had been involved in a pair of similarly controversial plays. During the postgame show on Fox Sports, former star player Alex Rodriguez, no stranger to controversy himself, was quoted on those incidents and their potential effect on Machado’s potential upcoming huge payday.
“You have 30 owners all want you right now. The whole world is watching baseball. You don’t want four, five owners to sit around and say, ‘Hey, did you see what Manny did? Did you see that? Oh, yeah, yeah, we’re out. We like him, but now we’re out.’ You’re losing tens of millions of dollars by the second if that becomes the narrative.”
I can guarantee you that there are a large number of Phillies fans right now who are hoping and praying that owner John Middleton is among the owners who are out. We may be seeing the Phillies offer to Bryce Harper rising by the day as the postseason moves along, and the Machado antics continue on full display.
As for myself, I don’t need to watch and listen to this kind of garbage for most of the next decade. Machado put up great numbers for the Orioles for most of seven seasons. They got one division title and three playoff appearances with those numbers, advancing past the LDS just one time.
A dirty player who admittedly doesn’t always hustle but may want $300 million? I’m out.

MLB awards: my 2018 IBWAA ballot

IBWAA 2018 MLB awards ballot time
Back in 2009 the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) was originally, and perhaps fittingly, founded on Independence Day “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)” per the organization home site.
At the end of each regular season, each member in good standing receives an awards ballot and is tasked with voting for a top 10 for Most Valuable Player of the National and American Leagues.
We are also tasked with voting in each league for a top five in the Cy Young Award, as well as a top three in each of three further categories: top manager, top reliever, and Rookie of the Year.
This will be the fourth year that I’ve had a vote in the IBWAA annual awards balloting. As with each of the last three years, I’m now publicly releasing my ballot. As always, I’m sure that you would choose differently. I would love to hear your choices for each of the awards. Please feel free to leave a comment below this piece with your own selections.
The IBWAA is scheduled to begin announcing the winners of its awards in mid-November. Our editorial director here at Phillies Nation, Tim Kelly, released his own ballot just yesterday which included some of the reasoning behind his selections.
I’m not going to defend my choices, just simply presenting my ballot for your edification. However, I will let you in on this: I don’t vote for pitchers for Most Valuable Player. I’ve heard, appreciate, and respect all arguments to the contrary. I respectfully disagree with them all.
For me, a player who takes the field every single day to hit and field his position is always going to be more valuable than one who plays every five days. Also, there is a stand-alone award for the best pitcher that is not available to position players.
Also, my MVP votes are always going to be prejudiced towards players whose teams actually win something. Win your division, or at the very least capture a Wildcard playoff berth.
I don’t care if you hit 70 home runs for a last place team. They could have finished in last without your contribution. This is Most “Valuable”, not Most “Outstanding” Player. MLB gives out the Hank Aaron Award to the top hitter in each league. The MVP needs something more to win it on my ballot, and one thing they need is to have helped their team win.
So now it’s time to reveal my own ballot. I’ll first show my top choice to actually win the award, and then the entire ballot for each category.

First-year skipper Snitker guided the Braves to their first NL East crown in five years. (Photo: Bbqsauce13)
NL Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
  1. Snitker
  2. Bud Black
  3. Craig Counsell
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
  1. Melvin
  2. Kevin Cash
  3. Joey Cora
NL Top Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Hader
  2. Wade Davis
  3. Kenley Jansen

Diaz (R) was baseball’s top reliever by a wide margin in the 2018 season. (Photo: Keith Allison)
AL Top Relief Pitcher: Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners
  1. Diaz
  2. Blake Treinen
  3. Craig Kimbrel
NL Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves
  1. Acuna
  2. Juan Soto
  3. Jack Flaherty
AL Rookie of the Year: Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
  1. Andujar
  2. Joey Wendle
  3. Shohei Ohtani

Nola is a worthy NL Cy Young Award candidate and received this vote.
NL Cy Young Award: Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
  1. Nola
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Max Scherzer
  4. Kyle Freeland
  5. Jameson Taillon
AL Cy Young Award: Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
  1. Snell
  2. Chris Sale
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Justin Verlander
  5. Trevor Bauer

Bregman broke out to help the champion Astros remain a top contender. (Photo: Udeezy)
NL Most Valuable Player: Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Yelich
  2. Javier Baez
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Matt Carpenter
  5. Lorenzo Cain
  6. Nolan Arenado
  7. Justin Turner
  8. Paul Goldschmidt
  9. Trevor Story
  10. Anthony Rendon
AL Most Valuable Player: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
  1. Bregman
  2. Francisco Lindor
  3. Mookie Betts
  4. Matt Chapman
  5. Jose Ramirez
  6. J.D. Martinez
  7. Aaron Judge
  8. Mike Trout
  9. Whit Merrifield
  10. Didi Gregorius
Originally published by Phillies Nation as “Matt Veasey’s 2018 IBWAA awards ballot

Marlins 2016 POY: Christian Yelich

It was so, so tempting to name the late Jose Fernandez as the Miami Marlins 2016 Player of the Year. Statistically, the argument would be an easy one to make.
Fernandez went 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.119 WHIP. Still at just age 23, the righty allowed just 149 hits in 182.1 innings over 29 starts with a 253/55 K:BB ratio.
An NL All-Star for the second time in his brief career, Fernandez finished seventh in the NL Cy Young Award voting. There is little doubt that he was just scratching the surface of what was sure to be a great career to come.
But in the end, I simply didn’t want to get into the habit with any player of making this about sentiment. Had Fernandez life not ended in such sudden, tragic circumstances, he would have finished as the runner-up for this year’s Miami POY award. I decided to stick with that.
There were others who had strong seasons in Miami, and one who in my estimation deserves to have their season appropriately honored.
The Marlins were in contention for much of this summer. The club spent almost the entirety of July and August in second place in the NL East Division. As late as July 27th, they were nine games over the .500 mark, controlling a Wildcard berth, and still just four games out in the division.
From that point on, however, the Marlins struggled home to a 24-36 finish over the season’s final two months. They ultimately finished in third place, a distant 15.5 behind the division-winning Washington Nationals and 7.5 off the NL Wildcard pace.


No pitcher aside from Fernandez was able to fashion a double-digit victories total. But 26-year old Adam Conley did go 8-6 with a 3.85 ERA, allowing 125 hits over 133.1 innings while striking out 124 batters. He lost much of the last two months to injury after making 25 starts.
A.J. Ramos registered 40 Saves and was a first time NL All-Star this year. He allowed 52 hits in 64 innings over 67 games with a 73/35 K:BB ratio.
26-year old Kyle Barraclough emerged as a bullpen force. Over a staff-high 75 games he yielded just 45 hits in 72.2 innings with a 113/44 K:BB ratio.
David Phelps appeared in 64 games, including making five starts. He allowed just 61 hits over 86.2 innings with a 114/38 K:BB ratio.


Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton did not make the NL All-Star team this year, but he was at the festivities in San Diego. The slugger took over the MLB Home Run Derby, crushing balls all over Petco Park to win the contest.
Stanton hit 27 homers with 74 RBI this season over 470 plate appearances. But again, he missed time with injury. This time it was a week at the end of May, and then the entire second half of August as the Marlins faded out of the race.
Center fielder Marcell Ozuna did make the NL All-Star team, a career first for the 25-year old. He hit 23 homers, drove in 76 runs, and scored 75 times. 25-year old catcher J.T. Realmuto hit .303 with a dozen steals.
The real speed in the Fish lineup came from second baseman Dee Gordon, who swiped 30 bags in just 346 plate appearances. He missed all of July and most of August, and his absence certainly contributed to the team’s fold.
Veteran Ichiro Suzuki received much more playing time than anticipated, partially due to Stanton’s injury. But Ichiro also was productive as he drove towards his 3,000th career MLB hit. He reached the mark with a triple on August 7 at Coors Field in Denver.
The 42-year old future Hall of Famer hit for a .291 average over 365 plate appearances while legging out five triples and stealing 10 bases.


The top overall player this season in Miami was left fielder Christian Yelich. The 24-year old was already in his fourth season, and he is clearly one of the game’s best and most underrated performers.
Yelich hit for a .298/.376/.483 slash line with 21 home runs, 38 doubles, 98 RBI and 78 runs scored. His 5.3 WAR mark led the team, and he won his first career NL Silver Slugger Award.
“The power ticked up a little bit this year,” Yelich said per Clark Spencer at the Miami Herald“And working with Barry Bonds and Frank Menechino and talking to Don Mattingly a little bit, and just the combination of talking to those guys really helped a lot.”
Not only is Yelich an excellent hitter, but he is just as strong a defender. The 2014 Gold Glove Award winner was once again a finalist for the honors this year. He spent much of the final part of the year covering center field when Ozuna was out with injury.
“I think everyone just tries to get better ever year as far as consistency,” he said. “You just want to improve as a player every season and build off what you did. That will probably be the goal going into spring training.”
Improving every year through his early career, Christian Yelich is not only the Miami Marlins 2016 Player of the Year, but a key part of the team as it tries to build a consistent contender moving forward.

Marlins All-Time 25-Man Roster

The origins of the now Miami Marlins can be traced back to a man who built a financial empire on the VCR home entertainment boom of the 1980s.

Everyone remembers “Blockbuster”, the video rental giant from those days? Well it was the CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment who finally brought Major League Baseball permanently to the Sunshine State.
Wayne Huizenga, that Blockbuster CEO, had become involved in ownership of both the Miami Dolphins of the NFL as well as the team’s home at Joe Robbie Stadium during the early 1990s.
Huizenga was subsequently awarded both an MLB expansion team, which he named the Florida Marlins, as well as an NHL team, the Florida Panthers, for the 1993 season.

The Marlins Become Champions – Twice

The Marlins were big losers in their expansion season, but soon built up their roster of talent to the point of becoming a near-.500 level team over each of the next three seasons.
In 1997, the club splurged in the free agent market, made some astute deals at the MLB trade deadline, and reached the postseason for the first time as the National League Wild Card team.
Getting hot at the right time, those Marlins would win the World Series in just the fifth year of the franchise’s existence. In that 1997 Fall Classic, the Fish defeated a powerful Cleveland Indians team with a dramatic walk-off in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7.
Huizenga was roundly criticized when, instead of using the title as a chance to build a consistent winner, he subsequently sold off most of the veteran talent which had made it possible.
The year after winning that World Series he sold the team to John Henry, now owner of the Boston Red Sox, who would in turn sell to current owner Jeffrey Loria in 2002.
Just six years after that first World Series crown, five after being totally dismantled, the Marlins stunned many in the baseball world by winning it all once again. Astute offseason signings and in-season deals once again added to a few talented homegrown stars, and the Fish won a second World Series championship in the fall of 2003, defeating a dynastic New York Yankees squad in six games.
Despite winning those two World Series crowns within the first decade of their existence, the Marlins, who play out of the National League East Division, are one of only two MLB clubs to never win a division championship.
In November of 2011, the team officially changed names to the Miami Marlins in an agreement with the city which was largely funding construction of the retractable-domed Marlins Park, which then opened for the 2012 season.
While a number of great players made just a pit stop in Miami, my choices for the Marlins all-time 25-man roster reflect players who spent at least a few years with the club. As I put together these all-time 25-man roster pieces, I like to include at least a couple of relievers. The choice of the second reliever was my most difficult here.
I am quite sure, as always, that you might have a few players who you believe should be included. For instance, I simply couldn’t justify adding 1997 World Series MVP Livan Hernandez. I would love to hear your own selections.
After reading through mine, add yours, or any additions and subtractions you would make, in a comment at the end of the piece.