Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Who Has the Best Heart (of the Order)?

In my last post I discussed which teams will likely have the best starters on the mound in 2013. Now I'm going to look at which teams have the most pop in the middle of their batting order.

For the sake of simplicity I'll use 2012 home runs, RBIs, and batting average. These are my picks for most pop. I shall begin with the senior circuit.

The Braves
Justin Upton  17, 67, .280
B.J. Upton  28, 78, .246
Jason Heyward  27, 82, .269
Freddie Freeman   23, 94, .259
Dan Uggla  19. 78, .220
Brian McCann  20, 67, .230

The Dodgers
Carl Crawford  11, 56, .255   (2011 numbers – he hardly played for Boston last year)
Matt Kemp  23, 69, .303  
Adrian Gonzales  15, 86, .300  (2011 numbers – he hardly played for Boston last year)
Hanley Ramirez  10, 44, .271
Andre Ethier  20, 89, .284

The Brewers
Rickie Weeks  21, 63, .230
Ryan Braun  41, 112, .319
Aramis Ramirez  27, 105, .300
Hunter Morris  28, 113, .303 (in Double A)
Carlos Gomez   19, 51, .260

The Cardinals
Allen Craig  22, 92, .307
Matt Holiday  27, 102, .295
Carlos Beltran  32, 97, .269
David Freese  20, 79, .293
Yadier Molina  22, 76, .315

A few comments on the above. In adding two Uptons the Braves have moved up in the world in power. Jason Heyward had just 32 home runs (combined) in his first two seasons. Last year was the first time since he was a rookie than Dan Uggla did not hit 30 home runs. (He hit 27 as a rookie.)

Last year was actually more normal for Matt Kemp than his great 2011 numbers – 39, 126, .324 had been. In Braun and Ramirez the Brewers had the best and fourth best sluggers in the NL. Allen Craig was fifth in Slugging. I was thinking that Carlos Beltran's .269 was way below average for him, but he only hit over .300 three times – in 2001, 2009 and 2011.

And now the American League’s best – in my opinion.

The Tigers
Austin Jackson  16, 66, .300
Torii Hunter  16, 92, .313
Miguel Cabrera  44, 139, .330
Prince Fielder  30, 108, .313
Victor Martinez  12, 103, .330 (his 2011 numbers)

The Angels
Mike Trout  30, 83, .326
Josh Hamilton  43, 128, .285
Albert Pujols  30, 105, .285
Mark Trumbo  32, 95, .268

The Yankees
Derek Jeter   15. 58, .316
Robinson Cano  33, 94, .313
Mark Teixeira  24, 84, .251
Curtis Granderson  43, 106, .232
Kevin Youkilis  15, 46, .236

The Blue Jays
Melky Cabrera  11, 60, .346
Jose Bautista  27, 65, .241
Colby Rasmus  23, 75, .223
Edwin Encarnacion  42, 110, .280
Brett Laurie  11, 48, .263
Adam Lind  11, 45, .255
J.P. Arencibia  18, 56, .233

A few comments to add to the AL stats. The Tigers should be able to maul even more opponents after adding Torri Hunter  and getting back Victor Martinez, who missed all of last year due to knee surgery. The hitting coach says he looks “unbelievable” at the plate in Florida.

Mike Trout led the league in steals with 49 and was third in Slugging. How rare is that! Edwin Encarnacion was fifth in Slugging.  I was thinking that Josh Hamilton didn't play all that many games last year, but he was above average – for him. Here are his career totals ... 90, 156, 89, 133, 121, 148. The Yankees say Curtis Granderson will be out 10 weeks. They hope (?) ARod will be back around the All-Star Break. He's the kind of player who brightens a clubhouse just by leaving it.

In addition to their much heralded improvement in pitching, the Jays could be pretty scary at the plate too, especially if Melky Cabrera can hit without juice, Jose Bautista stays healthy, and Brett Laurie hits like he's been expected to.

Let the games begin.

2 comments:

JohnZ said...

Good breakdown,,,i think the Angels will be the best with solid bashers in their "heart". I see the scoring huge amounts of runs this year.
Yanks will be punch & judy hitters but with Gardner, Ichiro & Jeter setting table they may still score runs if Cano & Tex have good years..and what about YOOOK..but too many "ifs" for my Yankees this year...will be fun to watch the Blue Jays..

Rick Blechta said...

There are some very solid-hitting teams this year, and I certainly can't wait for the bell to sound on April 1st. The addition of Hamilton to the Angels lineup is huge, but the real dark horse, as I see it is Victor Martinez with the Tigers. If there other two boppers have good years and he continues with the way he played in 2011, with the addition of Hunter and with their great pitching, the Tigers could well be the class of the league, to my mind.