Saturday, November 15, 2014

Introducing the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team!!!


The MLB managers have spoken, and today, Topps has announced the players named to the 55th All-Star Rookie Team!!! (If the player's name is in bold, it means I predicted that they would make the team earlier this month).
  • 1B: Jose Abreu, CWS (145 G, 0.317, 36 HR, 107 RBI, 0.964 OPS, 3 SB)
  • 2B: Kolten Wong, STL (113 G, 0.249, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 0.68 OPS, 20 SB)
  • 3B: Nick Castellanos, DET (148 G, 0.259, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 0.7 OPS, 2 SB)
  • SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS (144 G, 0.240, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 0.66 OPS, 2 SB)
  • OF: Billy Hamilton, CIN (152 G, 0.250, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 0.648 OPS, 56 SB)
  • OF: Danny Santana, MIN (101 G, 0.319, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 0.824 OPS, 20 SB)
  • OF: George Springer, HOU (78 G, 0.231, 20 HR, 51 RBI, 0.804 OPS, 5 SB)
  • C: Travis d'Arnaud, NYM (108 G, 0.242, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 0.718 OPS, 1 SB)
  • RHSP: Masahiro Tanaka, NYY (20 GS, 13-5, 2.77 ERA, 141 SO, 1.056 WHIP)
  • LHSP: Roenis Elias, SEA (29 GS, 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 143 SO, 1.314 WHIP)
  • RP: Dellin Betances, NYY (70 G, 5-0, 1.40 ERA, 135 SO, 0.778 WHIP, 1 SV)
So I guessed 9 out of now 11 spots correctly. I guessed Kevin Kiermaier as one of my outfielders and Matt Shoemaker as my right-handed starting pitcher. Last year, I was almost close to perfect (getting 10 of the 11 spots correct).

Now my comments. At least now Topps is showing some consistency with naming three pitchers to the team (two starters, 1 reliever). Good thing that I asked those entering the All-Star Rookie Team contest to name four pitchers (two right-handers, two-left handers) just in case.

Figures that Tanaka gets the RHSP spot, and many have taken to social media to make their displeasure known (Matt Shoemaker and Jacob deGrom were two of the names more people thought should have been named instead of the Yankees' hurler (figures...should have known).

So congratulations to all. Each player will now get the illustrious rookie cup trophy added to their 2015 Topps cards. I will be going over the results shortly and will announce the winners if any soon.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Friday, November 14, 2014

Introducing Your 2014 MLB Most Valuable Players - West Coast Winners


In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Once again, however, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them. But yesterday, we learned who was named the Most Valuable Players in both the National and American Leagues.

Congratulations to both Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers for being named the American League and National League Most Valuable Players for 2014. Incredible seasons by both players, one a runner up to the MVP for two seasons prior, the other, this year's Cy Young Award winner.

After playing second fiddle to Miguel Cabrera for two consecutive seasons, Mike Trout finally wins his first MVP award. One of the game's best players, the Angels' outfielder hit .287 with 36 home runs, 111 rbi's, stole 16 bases, had an OPS of .939, and for you sabermetric people, a 7.9 WAR. Trout also claimed all 30 first place votes, good for 420 points in the overall ballot. In second place was the Tigers' Victor Martinez (229 points, 16 second place votes), Michael Brantley of the Indians (191, 8), AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu of the White Sox (145, 1), Robinson Cano of the Mariners (124, 1), Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays (122, 1), Nelson Cruz of the Orioles (102), Josh Donaldson of the Athletics (96, 1), two-time MVP Cabrera of the Tigers (82, 1), Felix Hernandez of the Mariners (48, 2), AL Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber of the Indians (45), Alex Gordon of the Royals (44), Jose Altuve of the Astros (41), Adam Jones of the Orioles (34), Adrian Beltre of the Rangers (22), Greg Holland of the Royals (13), Albert Pujols of the Angels (5), Howie Kendrick of the Angels (3), James Shields of the Royals (3), and Kyle Seager of the Mariners (1).

Kershaw becomes the tenth pitcher (fourth in the NL) to win both the Cy Young and MVP award in the same season. He earned 18 of the 30 MVP votes, good for 355 voter points. Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton finished second in the voting (298, 8 first place votes), follwed by last year's NL MVP Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates (271, 4), Jonathan Lucroy of the Brewers (167), Anthony Rendon of the Nationals (155), Buster Posey of the Giants (152), Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers (57), Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals (53), Josh Harrison of the Pirates (52), Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs (37), Hunter Pence of the Giants (34), Johnny Cueto of the Reds (22), Russell Martin of the Pirates (21), Matt Holliday of the Cardinals (17), Jhonny Peralta of the Cardinals (17), Carlos Gomez of the Brewers (13), Justin Upton of the braves (10), Jayson Werth of the Nationals (9), Denard Span of the Nationals (8), Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers (8), Devin Mesoraco of the Reds (5), Lucas Duda of the Mets (3), Freddie Freeman of the Braves (2), Justin Morneau of the Rockies (2), Dee Gordon of the Dodgers (1), and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies (1).

Trout becomes the third Angels player, and the fifth player to win the MVP unanimously. Kershaw becomes the eleventh Dodgers player to be named NL MVP. With both winners from the Los Angeles area teams, it is also the 11th time in MLB history that two players from the city or area take home the MVP awards. As with the last two sets of awards, here for your viewing pleasure are the 2014 Topps cards of your MVP's. Too bad they didn't make cards for the managers (congratulations to both Buck Showalter of the Orioles and Matt Williams of the Nationals by the way).

With everything all said and done, did your guy win?

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Introducing Your 2014 MLB Cy Young Award Winners - Unanimous in the NL, No Longer Anonymous in the AL


In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Once again, however, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them. But yesterday, we learned who was named the Cy Young award winners in both the National and American Leagues.

Congratulations to both Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers for winning the American League and National League Cy Young Awards. While there was no doubt in the NL, the AL margin between first and second place was a mere 10 votes.

On Monday, a Stetson Hatter alum was named the NL Rookie of the Year. Yesterday, another Hatter took home the AL Cy Young award. Kluber, a second-year starter with the Indians, had a very dominant run in 2014. With a record of 18-9, an ERA of 2.44, 269 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.095 in 235.2 innngs of work, 17 of the 30 voters picked Corey as their first place choice (for a grand total of 169 points). The Mariners' Felix Hernandez claimed the other 13 first place votes, good for 159 points. Following Kluber and the King were Chris Sale of the White Sox (78 points), Jon Lester of the Athletics (46), last year's Cy Young winner Max Scherzer of the Tigers (32), David Price of the Tigers (16), Phil Hughes of the Twins (6), and Royals relievers Wade Davis (3) and Greg Holland (1).

Kershaw takes home his third Cy Young Award in four years after leading the NL for the third straight year in ERA (a ridiculous 1.77) to go along with a 239 strikeouts, a 16-9 record, a WHIP of 0.915, 3 complete games, and two shutouts. Claiming all 30 first place votes (210 points) Kershaw outpaced the rest of the field of contenders, including finalists Johnny Cueto of the Reds (112 points), Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals  (97), Madison Bumgarner of the Giants (28), Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals (25), Cole Hamels of the Phillies (17), Zack Greinke of the Dodgers (6), Doug Fister of the Nationals (5), Jake Arrieta of the Cubs (3), Craig Kimbrel of the Braves (3), Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals (3), and Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins (1).

The fun concludes on Thursday when the Most Valuable Players in both leagues are announced. Let the debates continue. Did your guy win???

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

To The Men and Women Who Serve in the United States Armed Forces 11-11-14

This was written four years ago, but the sentiments remain the same.


November 11, 1919: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.

On June 1, 1954, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day. (from The History of Veterans Day)

To the Men and Women who serve in the US Armed Forces:

I will not pretend I know the infinite different reasons why you made the decision to join the US Military.

I can only imagine what your basic training was like (I'm not even sure the movies do any justice).

I will not pretend to know the feeling of being away from family, friends and all of the comforts of home, having been assigned to a foreign land, serving the interests of our country.

I will not say that I necessarily agree with ALL of the reasons why our country has gone to war.

I will not pretend to know what it is like out in the battlefields, not knowing if I was going to live to see another day.

But I will say this.

Thank you.

Thank you all for your service to our country.

Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that we can continue to live with the freedoms that we enjoy.

Your courage is nothing if not inspiring. Your stories become tales of legend that deserve to be told again and again.

For these, and countless other reasons, I give you my respect.

And I give you thanks.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Introducing Your 2014 MLB Rookies of the Year - Little to No Doubt Who Was Going to Win


In recent years, Topps has reserved six cards within Series 1 for the AL and NL award winners that are being announced this week. Once again, however, this year's preliminary checklist doesn't specify what numbers are being held for the them.  But yesterday, we learned who was named the Rookies of the Year in both the National and American Leagues.

Congratulations to both Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox for winning the National League and American League Rookies of the Year Awards. This year, MLB decided to announce the top three finalists for each of the awards. While there certainly more players in the running, announcing the top three made for interesting debate.

Jose Abreu, the White Sox' first baseman of the future, had a breakout rookie season that could only be described as dominant. He was among the top 5 players in the AL in batting average (0.317), home runs (36), and rbi's (107), was named to the All-Star Team, and won the Silver Slugger Award for first basemen. He was everything the Southsiders were hoping for and more. Abreu also received all 30 first place votes in the AL ROY balloting, thus earning the maximum 150 points possible. The rest of the field included Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker (40 points, 12 second place votes), Yankees reliever Dellin Betances (27, 7), Collin McHugh of the Astros (21, 6), Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees (16, 3), Yordano Ventura of the Royals (9, 1), Danny Santana of the Twins (3, 1), Nick Castellanos of the Tigers (1), Brock Holt of the Red Sox (1), Jake Odorozzi of the Rays (1), and George Springer of the Astros (1).

For Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, the numbers may be a bit misleading, but it does not mean he is not more than deserving of the honor. He earned a 9-6 record, a 2.69 ERA, struck out 144 batters, and a WHIP of 1.140 in 22 starts and 140.1 innings of work. Taking 26 of the 30 1st place votes (142 total points), deGrom earned more points than runners-up Billy Hamilton of the Reds (92 points, 4 first place votes), Kolten Wong of the Cardinals (14 points), Ken Giles of the Phillies (8), Ender Inciarte of the Diamondbacks (4), Joe Panik of the Giants (3), Travis d'Arnaud of the Mets (2), Jeurys Familia of the Mets (2), Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs (2), and Chase Anderson of the Diamonbacks (1).

Abreu becomes the fourth Cuban-born player, the sixth White Sox player, and the ninth player to be named Rookie of the Year. deGrom is now the fifth Mets player and the first starting pitcher with less than 10 wins to earn the award.

So begins a wild week were debates will come fast and furious. Did your guy win???

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama


Friday, November 7, 2014

Who Will Be Named to Topps 2014 All-Star Rookie Team?

The contest deadline has past and I am no longer taking any entries for the big All-Star Rookie Team contest. I thank everyone who took time to participate. There were a lot of interesting choices amongst the field of participants, so I am wishing myself the best. This could get mighty expensive if I make enough mistakes.

By now, the Topps Company has already sent the 30 MLB managers a ballot that will determine who will get voted into the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, and will get that lovely gold trophy added to their 2015 Topps baseball cards. So without further ado, here are my picks for the 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie team. If you out-guessed me, participants who have already sent their entries to my e-mail address (and those who may have inadvertently left their picks in the comments) could win a complete 150-card set of 2005 Topps Rookie Cup (contest rules here):
  • 1B: Jose Abreu, CWS (145 G, 0.317, 36 HR, 107 RBI, 0.964 OPS, 3 SB)
  • 2B: Kolten Wong, STL (113 G, 0.249, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 0.68 OPS, 20 SB)
  • 3B: Nick Castellanos, DET (148 G, 0.259, 11 HR, 66 RBI, 0.7 OPS, 2 SB)
  • SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS (144 G, 0.240, 12 HR, 46 RBI, 0.66 OPS, 2 SB)
  • OF: Billy Hamilton, CIN (152 G, 0.250, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 0.648 OPS, 56 SB)
  • OF: Kevin Kiermaier, TB (108 G, 0.263, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 0.765 OPS, 5 SB)
  • OF: George Springer, HOU (78 G, 0.231, 20 HR, 51 RBI, 0.804 OPS, 5 SB)
  • C: Travis d'Arnaud, NYM (108 G, 0.242, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 0.718 OPS, 1 SB)
  • RHSP: Matt Shoemaker, LAA (20 GS, 16-4, 3.04 ERA, 124 SO, 1.074 WHIP)
  • LHSP: Roenis Elias, SEA (29 GS, 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 143 SO, 1.314 WHIP)
  • RHRP: Dellin Betances, NYY (70 G, 5-0, 1.40 ERA, 135 SO, 0.778 WHIP, 1 SV)
For sure there will be players like Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals, Yangervis Solarte of the Padres, Brock Holt of the Red Sox, Gregory Polanco of the Pirates, and Jonathan Schoop of Orioles who will warrant consideration, as well as Jacob deGrom of the Mets, and Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees, and others will have their votes (from either the MLB managers, or you the readers). I made these picks shortly before any e-mails were sent (scheduling it for today soon after the post announcing the contest).

Let the debates begin!!! And good luck to everybody. Now...we wait.

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama

Sunday, November 2, 2014

As Today is November 2, 2014

November 2 is traditionally All Souls Day. It is the day where we celebrate the lives of family and friends who have passed away. Many will go to cemeteries and pray, some may even picnic on the grounds. It is not really a day of mourning, but a day of reflection. Remembering those who we strongly miss.

Personally, I would like to honor my grandparents, Felix Anama, Leonor Filoteo Anama, Gloria Y. Nichols, Ruben S. Menguito, Sgt. Clinton H. Nichols. As well as countless great aunts and uncles too numerous to list.

Today I want to remember the seven souls who died on January 8, 1993, at the Brown's Chicken in Palatine, Illinois: Michael C. Castro, Rico Solis, Thomas Mennes, Marcus Nellsen, Guadalupe Maldonado, Richard Ehlenfeldt, and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

I would like to remember the people I've met over the years who left us too soon: Lynn Swoboda, Shannon McNamara, Linda Beyer, Gail Leff, Lois Winesburgh, Mary Jo Scanlan, Nancy Huber, Joseph Nasca, Antoinette Nasca, Dan Doles, Chris Stufflestreet, Thomas Scanlon.

As I recently attended my High School Reunion, it was humbling to know that a number of my classmates had passed away. Some tragically, some due to health reasons. So thoughts go out to PHS '94 Alum Darrin Steffey.

On behalf of my wife, I would like to honor her grandparents, uncles, and especially, her mother (since I have not asked for my wife's permission to do so, I am not adding their names here).

Finally, I would like to take a moment to remember the families, the loved ones who were left behind.

Now that the personal side of the blog has been taken care of, I would also like to take time to remember 86 more people. Between 11/02/2013 and 11/01/2014, 86 people who can lay claim to playing major league baseball, 4 of whom had the honor of being a manager of a major league franchise (even for one game), passed away. Many lived long productive lives, even after their careers ended. Others, tragically, either passed away before their potential could be fully reached or before they could enjoy the fruits of their retirement.

Today, I take time out of my humble little baseball card blog to remember:

Russ Sullivan
11/2/2013
Ace Parker
11/6/2013
Rod Miller
11/8/2013
Zeke Bella
11/17/2013
Babe Birrer
11/19/2013
George Werley
11/21/2013
Mike Palagyi
11/21/2013
Charlie Bicknell
11/24/2013
Lou Brissie
11/25/2013
Don Lund
12/10/2013
Pete Naton
12/10/2013
Jim Burton
12/12/2013
Bill Tremel
12/22/2013
Ed Herrmann
12/22/2013
Mike Hegan
12/25/2013
Paul Blair
12/26/2013
Larry Arndt
1/3/2014
Gabe Gabler
1/4/2014
Jerry Coleman, MGR
1/5/2014
Jophery Brown
1/11/2014
Vern Benson, MGR
1/20/2014
Tim Hosley
1/21/2014
Charlie Osgood
1/23/2014
Bruce Barmes
1/25/2014
Ralph Kiner
2/6/2014
Drew Denson
2/13/2014
Jim Fregosi, MGR
2/14/2014
Al Greene
2/18/2014
Hector Maestri
2/21/2014
Eddie O'Brien
2/21/2014
Les Layton
3/1/2014
Chuck Kress
3/4/2014
Bud Bulling
3/8/2014
Art Kenney
3/12/2014
Sonny Ruberto
3/25/2014
George Lerchen
3/26/2014
Al Cihocki
3/27/2014
Bill Henry
4/11/2014
Hal Smith
4/12/2014
Connie Marrero
4/23/2014
Bob Powell
4/26/2014
Mel Clark
5/1/2014
Billy Harrell
5/6/2014
Dick Welteroth
5/7/2014
Leo Marentette
5/8/2014
Guy Morton
5/11/2014
Johnny Gray
5/21/2014
Mike Gordon
5/26/2014
Roberto Vargas
5/27/2014
Jack Dittmer
5/31/2014
Don Zimmer, MGR
6/4/2014
Billy McCool
6/8/2014
Bob Welch
6/9/2014
Joe Pittman
6/12/2014
Mark Ballinger
6/13/2014
Tony Gwynn
6/16/2014
Bill Renna
6/19/2014
Jim Brosnan
6/28/2014
Bobby Castillo
6/30/2014
Earl Robinson
7/4/2014
John Hoover
7/8/2014
Tom Veryzer
7/8/2014
Don Lenhardt
7/9/2014
Bill Koski
7/12/2014
Art Schult
7/25/2014
George Freese
7/27/2014
Dave Bakenhaster
7/30/2014
Red Wilson
8/8/2014
Bob Wiesler
8/10/2014
Jim Command
8/10/2014
Gordon Mackenzie
8/12/2014
Jerry Lumpe
8/16/2014
Dick Teed
8/17/2014
Rogers McKee
9/1/2014
George Zuverink
9/8/2014
Grant Dunlap
9/10/2014
George Spencer
9/10/2014
Frank Torre
9/13/2014
Earl Smith
9/27/2014
George Shuba
9/29/2014
Jose Martinez
10/1/2014
Lou Lucier
10/18/2014
Ed Keegan
10/19/2014
Pat McGlothin
10/24/2014
Oscar Taveras
10/26/2014
Jeff Robinson
10/26/2014

Sincerely,

JayBee Anama