Daily Dojo: Ichiro’s 4,000

Ichiro's 4000th hit (Photo Cred: Debby Wong/USA Today Sports)

Ichiro’s 4000th hit (Photo Cred: Debby Wong/USA Today Sports)

Congrats to Ichiro for reaching 4000 hits in his professional baseball career dating back to when he was 18 years old and playing in Japan. He did only bat .253 as an 18 year old, but he definitely was able to improve on that total as he moved on in his professional career. He ended up batting .353 in his Japanese career, and .320 in the majors, so far. This is really impressive for this era of baseball. Since 2001, the year Ichiro entered the MLB, he has had the 5th highest batting average of ALL major league players.

Obviously, he has had a really impressive MLB career and will most likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but definitely a Hall of Famer. So my question is, how close could Ichiro have gotten to being the Hit King in the MLB? Japanese baseball is widely consider “AAAA” baseball. It is not as good as the MLB, but it is better than playing in AAA. So, I would say that it is hard to translate his statistics to the majors. However, I will try. First, I am going to assume that his age 18-20 seasons would have been spent in the minors to be conservative, so those stats won’t count for my MLB translation. From his age 21 to age to 26 season, he had a .354 batting average and accumulated 1032 hits over that time. I would think that over the course of some of his best baseball years, his average wouldn’t dip too much. I am going to say that he would have batted .330 over those 6 seasons in the MLB. His MLB career average is .320, so I think it isn’t ridiculous to assume that he would have batted .330 in his pre-prime and early prime years. He also would have had more at bats because each year he would have about 20 or more games; the Nippon Baseball League plays between 130-140 games a year, while the MLB plays 162. If I say 115 extra games with 4 at bats a game (he batted leadoff so unless someone threw a perfect game, he would definitely had 4 at bats), that is an extra 460 at bats. Those extra at bats would have given him 3,374 at bats over those 6 seasons. If he batted .330 in those years, that comes out to 1,113 hits, or 1,038 if he batted.325. That is actually MORE hits than he accumulated over that time in Japan. Added to his actual MLB total, that would give him 3,835 hits over this whole hypothetical career. I do think that there is a chance he could have been called up in the middle of his age 20 season and that would probably have given him about 100-150 more hits or so. In this hypothetical Ichiro career, he would definitely hit 4,000 hits, and if he was able to play 2 more years after this, he would have a realistic shot to pass Pete Rose’s mark of 4,256 hits. I think Ichiro’s achievement is a big deal and he deserves a significant amount of recognition for this acheivement of 4,000 hits over his entire career. He is easily a first ballot Hall of Famer if I had a vote.

Oh Jason Heyward’s jaw breaking?  I just wrote that a hit to the face would at least cause a jaw fracture. It is actually fractured in 2 places. Obviously, Jonathon Niese did not mean for that to happen, but pitchers try to do this on purpose. Heyward is probably out for the year and if that happened on purpose, that is ridiculous. That is what needs to stop.

Greg Danchik

Daily Dojo: Miguel Cabrera and Denver Broncos

Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera getting hurt is not good for the Tigers. They are pretty safely locked into a playoff spot, but they need Cabrera to succeed in the playoffs. It is also not good for his Triple Crown chances either. If he can’t play for awhile, there is no way he will be able to tie or pass Chris Davis in the home run category. However, I think if he did not play another inning this season, he will win the MVP and it might be unanimous. His season has been THAT good. Putting up 40 homers and 120 RBIs while hitting .356 is a RIDICULOUS stat line. He is easily a Hall of Fame hitter, and we are lucky that we get to see him in his prime.

I also think that his injury might be a sign of things to come. He definitely is not the most fit baseball player. I am actually going to be in the minority when I evaluate him for next year. I probably will not have him as my number 1 pick in fantasy baseball. I do not think that he will be able to stay healthy for full seasons going forward unless Prince Fielder becomes the DH and Cabrera moves to 1st base. I also do not like that he does not contribute in the stolen base category. I think that a 5 category player is better than a 4 category player, even if they are as good as Cabrera. I don’t know for sure, but taking a guess, I think I will be picking Mike Trout if I have the number 1 pick in fantasy baseball this year.

Von Miller (Photo Cred -John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Von Miller (Photo Cred -John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Onto football… The Denver Broncos, the almost unanimous favorite in the AFC, is getting picked apart in a variety of different ways. First, Elvis Dumervil moved to the Baltimore Ravens after he became a free agent from Fax Machine-Gate. Champ Bailey is in a boot for a foot sprain, and now, their best defensive player, Von Miller, is suspended for the first 6 games. I have said previously that if Von Miller got suspended, I think the Ravens will win their Week 1 tilt in Denver. Joe Flacco carved up Champ Bailey in the AFC Playoffs, so I think he will carry that confidence into the new year. Of course, I am a Ravens’ fan so I am probably a bit bias, but I am definitely not as bad as Gerdes who just rips Arsenal when the calls in their first EPL match were quite questionable, and thinks Chelsea is made up of perfectionists who will never lose a match because the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has returned. But I’m done ripping Gerdes for being a homer or, in the case of his Chelsea fandom, a front-runner.

The Ravens defense will be better than last year. The biggest problem will be if they can find a second receiver. They should have tried to make a trade for Jonathan Baldwin. Unfortunately, Jim Harbaugh was able to get him instead of John. We’ll see how this season goes, but I think their over-under of 8.5 is a bit low. We’ll see what happens because Vegas is a lot smarter than I am.

Greg Danchik

Chelsea v. Aston Villa preview

Chelsea and Aston Villa both came out winners by two goals on the BPL’s opening weekend; the former a routine two-nil win over Hull City Tigers and the latter a surprise 3-1 victory at the Emirates. (If you’re keeping track Arsenal have already conceded more penalties, two, than the number of new players, one, that they’ve purchased this transfer window) This Wednesday’s matchup (3 pm, NBC Sports) will see the winner top the table in the young season.

Chelsea

Frank Lampard (www.telegraph.co.uk- Getty Images)

Frank Lampard (www.telegraph.co.uk- Getty Images)

The Blues eased their way to a comfortable win, netting two early goals and then cruising in the second half in anticipation of the mid-week clash with Villa. Kevin De Bruyne, who returned from a season long loan with Werder Bremen, contributed with an assist on Oscar’s 11th minute goal. Frank Lampard scored a cracking free-kick on 25 minutes after having an early penalty attempted saved. The second half was a boring affair, with Jose Mourinho urging his team to slow down the pace to conserve energy; Chelsea begin the season by playing three games in 8 days. That stretch will culminate with a visit to Old Trafford on Monday, August 26th. It remains to be seen which squad Mourinho runs out on Wednesday. Does an older Frank Lampard get another start in midweek? Does the erratic Fernando Torres retain his place in the XI? Will Juan Mata return from injury?

Aston Villa

Christian Benteke (Photo Cred: Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Christian Benteke (Photo Cred: Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

The Villians got the first shock victory of the season by winning 3-1 at the Emirates over Arsenal. They fell behind early to an Olivier Giroud Goal, but were level at half-time through a Christian Benteke goal where he headed his saved penalty into the net. Benteke scored a second penalty after Laurent Koscielny made a clumsy tackle inside the penalty area. Koscielny’s day would only get worse after he was sent off for a second yellow-cardable offense. Villa would put the nail in the coffin thanks to a late counter-attacking goal from new signing Antonio Luna. American fans will recognize goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The former Chivas man has made a name for himself in England, routinely keeping a weak Villa side in many games. Aston Villa have a decent enough side, and it wouldn’t come as a shock to see them steal another point or three at Stamford Bridge.

What to watch for

Belgians, Belgians and more Belgians. This matchup could feature as many as four Belgian internationals on the field at once. Chelsea have Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, while Villa will surely run out Christian Benteke in the starting XI. Hazard, Lukaku, and Benteke combined for 45 goals and 19 assists in the premier league. De Bruyne had 10 goals and 9 assists in the Bundesliga for Werder Bremen. If Belguim qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, all four will surely be in the 23 man squad.

Projected Starting XI

Chelsea: Cech; Cole, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Ramires, Van Ginkel; Hazard, De Bruyne, Oscar; Torres
Aston Villa: Guzan; Baker, Vlaar, Luna, Lowtan; El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph; Weimann, Agbonlaho, Benteke

Prediction

Villa will make the game interesting, but Chelsea have too much experience in defense to make the same mistakes Arsenal made over the weekend. Aston Villa could, and probably will get on the score sheet through a pesky Christian Benteke, but Chelsea will cruise at home to a 3-1 victory.

Andrew Gerdes contributes to the Dojo’s BPL coverage, and is the Dojo’s resident Major League Soccer expert. Gerdes can now use “we” when referring to a team, thanks to his employment with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

 

EPL Weekly Review – Week 1

Liverpool started the 2013/14 EPL season with a win over Stoke City. The score line wasn’t reflective of Liverpool’s dominance but showed Liverpool’s lack of finishing ability without Luis Suarez. Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic had the strongest showing of the game and kept the away side competitive. The opening week was rather scripted and without surprises save for the Arsenal game. Arsenal opened their season against Aston Villa at home where they were favorites to win. Arsene Wenger’s side fell victim to Murphy’s Law. Questionable referring calls and injuries battled back Arsenal’s early lead. Christian Benteke scored on two penalties before Laurent Koscielney was booked for his second yellow. The Gunners are faced with an alarming lack of depth at defense. Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna left the field with injures while Vermaelan and Monreal are still sidelined. With Koscielny’s red card suspension, Arsenal could struggle to start the season towards the top of the table. These injuries have brought Wenger’s managerial capabilities back into question. A loss to Fenerbahce would be disastrous for Wenger and the morale of the team. Tottenham started their season with 3 points against newly promoted Crystal Palace. The Spurs earned their first penalty kick of the season, after not receiving a single call last year, which summer signing Soldado put away. Tottenham managed a mere 3 shots on goal without their superstar Gareth Bale, who is still out on injury. Chelsea began their season with a convincing win over Cardiff City. Frank Lampard scored a mesmerizing free kick after missing an earlier PK. Yesterday Manchester City opened their campaign with a 4-0 win over Newcastle United at the Etihad. Aguero re-entered the Premier League with a stunning finish. Goals and plays of the week:

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FC Lorient vs. FC Nantes

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Lampard goal vs Hull City

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Aguero goal vs Newcastle

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Yaya Toure free kick vs Newcastle

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Ryan Colclough goal vs Tranmere Rovers

Daniel Dicce is widely considered among the most brilliant minds currently inhabiting 1522 n15th Street apartment 3 EFGH. It is with this tremendous mental zeal that Dicce survives on a mere 11 hours of sleep a night.

 

Daily Dojo: A-Rod and the PED fix

Alex Rodriguez hit by Ryan Dempster (Photo cred: Jim Davis, Boston Globe)

Alex Rodriguez hit by Ryan Dempster (Photo cred: Jim Davis, Boston Globe)

By letting Alex Rodriguez play and not invoking a clause that is seldom used that would have prevented him from playing, Bud Selig has turned Alex Rodriguez, and the Yankees, into a sympathetic figure. Last night, Ryan Dempster went right after Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod and the Yankees did nothing wrong, but Joe Girardi gets tossed because of something a Red Sox pitcher did? This is one of the things that needs to be fixed in baseball. I am of the opinion that the ejection system for throwing at batters and the retaliation needs to be changed, and that, right now, it is a much bigger issue for the game of baseball than PED’s. That whole Red Sox v. Yankees game with A-Rod had a lot of interesting parts. Here are some of my favorite tweets from the night.

 

 

 

 

PED’s can’t really hurt anyone except for the users long-term health and their reputations. Throwing at batters, on the other hand, can get dangerous. Imagine a 98 mph fastball hitting a batter in the head. The helmets are not perfect by any means. Think of it this way… It took Justin Morneau 2 years to get back to normal after sustaining a concussion that was caused by him sliding into someones knee at second base. A 98 mph could be much worse, and if the fastball misses the helmet, but catches the face, a fractured jaw would not be out of the question. That’s just my feeling on the throwing at batters issue in baseball.

Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron

Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron

Back to PED’s. No one likes talking about them, but I think it is time to accept them. Now that they are known about, players will never stop using them. I think the only way they would stop is if there was a really strict penalty. Something like one failed test and you are gone for life, and you must pay back all the money you have made as a major leaguer considering it is fraud, I don’t think that this is a radical punishment. I know that this will never happen because of the MLBPA, but I think it should. Since this won’t happen, I think they should just give up and divide the record books in half. You say that anyone who began playing in 1985 (the year Jose Canseco made it to the MLB) or later is a part of the Steroid Era. This would make Barry Bonds the Home Run King of the Steroid Era with 762, and Hank Aaron would be the Home Run King of the Non-Steroid Era with 755. Also, Roger Maris would still have his record for the single season home run record, and Bonds would have his. I know this isn’t perfect, because there were other ways the game wasn’t fair in the Non-Steroid Era. I mean Babe Ruth didn’t have to play against anyone in the Negro Leagues. It cuts the player pool significantly, and there is less talent in the MLB so it was easier for Ruth to dominate. That’s just my opinion. The other thing that isn’t perfect about this is if anyone passes Roger Maris’s Non-Steroid Era single season home run record, it doesn’t matter. Even if the player has never been even remotely accused of using steroids. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s better than some people considering Roger Maris’s 60 home runs as the single season home run record (Chris Davis, among others) even though Bonds obliterated that mark with his 73. It’s my okay solution for a pretty controversial issue in baseball.

Greg Danchik