Tuesday, October 1, 2013

For the Second Straight Year: Phillies fans having bad deja vu

For The Second Straight Year...

Closer for the Phillies, Johnathan Papelbon.
 ...the Philadelphia Phillies phailed to make the Playoffs or play well enough to post a record above .500.  In 2012, they finished right at the mark going 81-81. This year they finished with a 73-89 record, good for 7th worst in the majors.   Sunday September 29th, marked the last game for the Phillies, which they lost... sort of.  On the field they did lose the game, off the field the organization got a small victory that day for the team's poor play over the last week over the season.  That victory: drafting 7th overall in next year's draft.  That player will not be playing in the MLB next year, and maybe not even the year after that, but the future will improve.

Drafting 7th and What It Means for the Phillies

Clayton Kershaw receiving the 2011 Cy Young Award
      What finishing in the bottom 10 does do for the Phillies is allow them to spend on any free agent they wish to without having to give up their top 10 draft pick through draft pick compensation.  Teams have the choice to give their players due to hit free agency a "qualifying offer" or basically a one year deal worth a set amount of money.  Players can either accept or elect free agency, but those who have been given the offer will cost what ever team they sign with their first round pick in the next player draft.  Unless, of course, you are the Phillies and finish in the bottom 10 of the majors. Now it is up to the front office to make this off-season count so that the Phillies can contend in 2014, and beyond.

     Also, here is a list of players drafted 7th overall since 2002 (Thanks to The Good Phight from sbnation Players Taken 7th Overall):   2002 - Prince Fielder, 2003 - Nick Markakis, 2004 - Homer Bailey, 2005 - Troy Tulowitzki, 2006 - Clayton Kershaw, 2007- Matt LaPorta, 2008 - Yonder Alonso, 2009 - Mike Minor, 2010 - Matt Harvey, 2011 - Archie Bradley, 2012 - Max Fried, and finally in 2013 - Trey Ball.  The last three names have yet to reach the big leagues, but each is a highly touted prospect. 

Postseason Outlook, Ratings.

   This year's Postseason includes several teams making their first appearances in quite a few years.  Starting with the Cleveland Indians who went 21-6 in September to capture their first playoff spot since 2007, all be it a spot in the sudden death AL Wild Card.  In the NL Wild Card, one of three teams to make the Postseason from the NL Central, coming in at 94-68, with five World Series Titles, raise the jolly roger, the Pittsburgh Pirates!  After 20 long years, the Pittsburgh Pirates finally turned in a season with a winning record, and are headed to the Postseason.  Lastly the LA Dodgers haven't been to the Postseason since 2009.  A team that started the 2013 season miserably, but played tremendously once phenom Yasiel Puig was placed on the big league club.  Combined with his energy, Hanley Ramirez returning to form, and one of the most lethal 1-2 punches in the Majors with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grenkie the Dodgers finished with a 92-70 record, and 1st place in the NL West. After a lost season and a managerial change for the Boston Red Sox in 2012, they too returned to the Postseason under John Farrell.  Finishing with a 97-65 record, the Red Sox tied for best overall in the MLB with the St. Louis Cardinals. For the first time ever the MLB under its current playoff system (in only two years of existence), the Rangers took on the Rays in a one-game tie-breaker. The Rays beat the Rangers following a beautiful pitching performance from David Price, and will take on the Indians next.  To see the rest of the teams in the Postseason and the schedule click here.

       While the winner on the field is yet to be determined for the Wild Card Games, the real victor of these games is the MLB and their TV ratings.  Last year in the inaugural wild card play-in playoff game, TBS averaged around 4.6 million viewers for these sudden death Wild Card games.  In 2011, when there was no wild card game, TBS averaged only 4.2 million viewers for the entire Divisional Series Round of the playoffs.  Ratings on the first day of MLB Post Season play were up 61% in 2012 from 2011.  These wild card games are great for TV as it creates a Game 7 type atmosphere to kick off the Post-Season.  Not only are ratings up, the variety of markets has to be pleasing the MLB.  2012's Post-Season picture did not include Boston, Philadelphia, LA, or NY, yet markets such as Oakland, San Francisco, Baltimore, Atlanta, and others comprised a smaller and mid market Post-Season picture.  2013's Postseason picture is also quite diverse. Heavy weights Boston and LA are present, but after that Cleveland(First time since 2007), Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Oakland, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.  When the league has smaller markets putting up big TV ratings, it is a clear sign that these Wild Card games have captivated more than just the team's diehards, but also the casual fan who happens to live in the area... And puts on the team's championship gear because that is all he or she owns... It is OK to be a frontrunner just own it... Anyways one key game the League may have its eye on is the Tiebreaker game. The Tampa Bay Rays are a much smaller market than the Texas Rangers.  For ratings sake a Rangers win would be more beneficial to the league.   For the last two seasons Tampa is dead-last in attendance , while the Rangers are fifth in attendance for the 2013 season.  If the team cannot put butts in the seat, no one is going to watch the game either.  Poor attendance is something the Rays have struggled with consistently.  The year they went to the World Series they were just 26th of 30 in attendance. Please check out the handy bracket below for the Postseason schedule following the Tiebreaker game. Were the Rangers to advance for at least one more game the MLB would happily reap the benefits of a strong fan base's viewership.

 Quick Notes from Around the MLB:

 Mike Trout has become the first player ever where he was worth 10 or more fWAR (wins above replacement) in his rookie year and sophomore year. In 2012, as a rookie he recorded a 10.0 fWAR and in 2013 a 10.4.  In other words, Mike Trout is really good.  

Miguel Cabrera could not repeat his Triple Crown title, while he lead the league in batting average at .348 he lost in homers to Chris Davis first basemen of the Baltimore Orioles (53), and RBI (138).

Pittsburgh Pirates mascot.
 The Pittsburgh Pirates finally had a winning season after 20, yup 20, straight loosing seasons.  They also made it to the Postseason where they will play in one of the sudden death Wild Card games. 

Clayton Kershaw for the third straight year has been number one in the Majors in ERA, posting an outstanding 1.83 in 2013.  For the second time in his career he has also lead the NL in strikeouts with 232. 

 Every year has its stories, but for the past couple of years they have been heavily headlined by young players making huge impacts on their teams.  In 2012, people went crazy over Mike Trout (many including myself still are).  This season brought the emergence of a star at the age of 24, NY Mets dazzling pitcher Matt Harvey.  Looking in the same division, the Miami Marlins boasted their own phenom pitcher in Jose Fernandez who posted a 2.19 ERA, second only to Clayton Kersahw in the MLB. Fernandez turned just 21 on July 31st of this year.  Lets not forget about the LA Dodgers Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig, and all the drama the 22 year old has brought to this year's season.  His physical ability is off the charts, but his baseball IQ needs to improve before he can take the next step to being a complete player.  On his talent alone though he is worth watching.  Manny Machado at just 21 years of age lead the AL in doubles with 51 this year while playing stellar third base, even though he is a natural shortstop.  Cheers to an exciting season of baseball, one can only wonder what they will do, and who the next group of young studs will be to take the field in 2014.


headshot.jpgCole Miller, from Haddonfield, NJ, is currently a sophomore Sport Management major at Drexel. Over the summer, Cole volunteered for the 43rd SABR convention, a large convention with many speakers and other events for baseball fans who enjoy the new age statistics being brought to baseball such as WAR ( wins above replacement ).   Cole is a huge fan of baseball, specifically the Phillies.

You can connect on Cole on LinkedIn here.

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