The Notebook’s season-ending All-Star ballot rolls on with a look at third base. Thus far, we’ve covered first base (anointing Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto) and second base (Robinson Cano & Brandon Phillips). Third base resulted in two decisions that I would not have anticipated making when I sat down to review the numbers.
I don’t like to vote for players who’ve missed a substantial amount of time due to an injury, yet the American League puts one in a tough spot. Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre have all spent a good chunk of time on the DL, and A-Rod is still in and out of the Yankee lineup. With only 341 at-bats, the New York third baseman isn’t even a qualifier for the batting title. Youkilis has a solid .375 on-base percentage, but has also missed too much time. Longoria’s problem isn’t a lack of playing time, but that it took too long for his bat to awaken. His OBP is a pedestrian .342, thanks to a weak batting average. Beltre has the best power of any AL third baseman with 24 home runs and a .526 slugging percentage and while his OBP is much lower than I would like for an All-Star (.326) it’s enough to make him the best of the big-name injury-prone third baseman.
With so many injuries at this spot, Beltre is actually fourth in at-bats. The only third baseman in the AL who’ve come to the plate more frequently are Danny Valencia, Mark Reynolds and Edwin Encarcion, and the latter spent much of the year as a DH. Valencia may have played the most of any one at the position, but he not only did nothing resembling an All-Star, he did very little that resembles a major league starter. Reynolds hit 32 home runs, most among his peers, but a .216 batting average dragged his overall slugging percentage down. Therefore, all things considered, I’m giving Beltre the nod.
The National League had similar issues with injuries, although at the very least Chicago’s Aramis Ramirez set a good pace among those who were healthy. With a .357 on-base percentage and a solid overall power performance, highlighted by 25 home runs, the Cub third baseman is a deserving All-Star. Philadelphia’s Placido Polanco is out of the picture, not so much for his DL stint, but because his bat hasn’t done much after a hot first couple months. The best two challengers are Chipper Jones in Atlanta and San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval. But here too you have a case of a lot of missed time on the disabled list and both players have over 100 fewer at-bats than Ramirez. If you take the numbers at face value without regard to playing time, Sandoval is probably the best, due to a much stronger grade in the defensive metrics than either Ramirez or Jones. But the Cubbie deserves the vote.
BILLS & SKINS LOOK TO BUILD OFF WEEK 1
The year was 1991 and Buffalo and Washington were the class of the National Football League. Each dominated their respective conferences all year and met in the Super Bowl, where Washington won. Those days are long gone and both franchises are in a funk that at times seems irreversible. At least as a ‘Skins fan it often seems so to me and I’m sure the folks in Buffalo feel the same way. That’s why both teams had to be heartened by their performances in Week 1, while also being wary of letting hopes get too high.
Buffalo absolutely dominated Kansas City in a 41-7 win, and has a winnable home game against Oakland ahead on Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick has to be the most underappreciated quarterback in the NFL and he showed why in KC. He spread the ball around well, getting receivers other than Steve Johnson involved in the offense and showed that this skill position corps can survive the preseason trade of Lee Evans to Baltimore. Whether the strong play of the defense can continue is a bigger question. Kansas City’s offense has been a mess throughout August and Buffalo’s track record on defense deserves skepticism until they match up well against a decent opponent. After Oakland, the Bills play another home game with New England, and then go to Cincinnati, followed by NFC East games at home against Philadelphia and on the road versus the Giants. That brings them to the bye week. If Buffalo is for real, the objective should be to win this week and again in Cincy, while finding a way to steal one win in the other three games, getting them to 4-2 at the bye.
I watched Washington’s 28-14 win over the Giants and it seemed that they controlled the game to a much greater degree than revealed in the box score. In that situation I tend to defer to the box score, because our perceptions while watching on TV can be skewed by whatever the emotion of the moment is (or more mundane factors like what you miss when you take the trash out or run the dishwasher). But sometimes if you dig deeper into that same boxscore and it can explain the discrepancies. The Redskins shut down Eli Manning on third down and got off the field. While Rex Grossman missed some opportunities down the field, he got better as the game went along, and the ‘Skins controlled the second half. Washington absolutely must win this Sunday at home against Arizona and then split a two-game road trip in Dallas and St. Louis before they get their bye week.
The most powerful & flexible WordPress theme created by Themify, making it easy to create any site quickly and beautifully (and responsive, of course). Take full control of your theme design from header to footer. Loaded with many layout options and features, it is by far the most versatile theme by Themify.
Drag & Drop Builder
Build unlimited responsive layouts using Themify’s popular drag & drop Builder.
Smart Layout Options
Ultra gives you full control from header to footer, either site-wide or on a per-page basis. This means that you can make your entire site share the same look and feel or create a unique look for every page.
15 Header/Page Styles
Select a header/page design from 15 styles (the no header option is perfect for making landing pages where you don’t want to have header navigation). And yes, there is a sticky header option and this design list is growing!
6 Header Background Options
Header background allows you to: upload a background image, pick a solid color, insert a slider, upload a video, set animating colors, or have it transparent if you want.
6 Footer Layouts
6 footer layout choices with options to toggle visibility of footer logo, menu, widget, and credit text.
5 Single Post Layouts
In term of single post layout, there is a default layout plus 4 unique layouts.
6 Archive Layouts
For the archive layouts, we have 6 different styles that you can choose from: slider, fullwidth, masonry, grids, polaroid, and overlay. You may also toggle the visibility of the post elements such as post title, featured image, meta, content, etc.
Section Scrolling (*New)
Inspired by our Fullpane theme, full section scrolling feature allows viewers to scroll through your page design one row at a time like a presentation slideshow.