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

Finding Surprises, Busts In The Second Half Of The MLB Season

Now that the MLB All-Star game has come and gone, the focus for fantasy baseball owners shifts back to the games that matter. Less than half of the regular season is remaining, which means that owners will be looking for any type of edge to solidify a spot in their league’s playoffs. Here are three players poised for big second halves along with three players who could very well cool off.

Surprises

Chase Headley

A terrible first half of the season for Chase Headley has everyone turning sour on him. However, he has too much of a solid track record to simply think he can’t turn things around. The Padres aren’t going anywhere in 2013, but Headley is still a lot better than a .229/.330/.359 hitter with seven home runs and 31 RBI. Get him for cheap now if you can trade for him.

Tim Lincecum

Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum celebrating Lincecum's no hitter

Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum celebrating Lincecum’s no hitter

Now that The Freak has a new no-hitter to brag about, fantasy baseball owners might be reluctant to trade him away. With that being said, Lincecum has shown signs in his recent outings that he might be finally getting back to his old self. His 3.83 ERA with over a strikeout per inning in his last seven starts is really encouraging. He could help any rotation down the stretch in fantasy.

Billy Butler

Ever since he arrived in the big leagues, Billy Butler has been a truly professional hitter. Despite a below average first half, all of his other statistics seem to look solid. He is still tough to strike out, and he is still making solid contact. Expect his luck to turn around a bit, although his power numbers might never get back to the 29 home runs he hit last year.

Busts

Pedro Alvarez

Pedro Alvarez

Pedro Alvarez

After a lot of hype coming out of Vanderbilt and being drafted #2 overall, Pedro Alvarez put it all together in the first half of the season to make his first All-Star game. However, if you take a closer look at his numbers, his most glaring weakness is still there. He still strikes out way, way too much, and that has a tendency to catch up. His numbers across the board will most likely dip, meaning now would be a good time to sell.

Carlos Beltran

The outfielder has been great throughout his career, but now that he is 36 years old, he just can’t be trusted as an everyday player in fantasy leagues. He has already battled injuries this season, and if 2012 was an indication (.236 hitter after the break), he could be cooling off quickly.

Bartolo Colon

What Bartolo Colon has done this season is pretty remarkable up to this point. His 12-3 record with a 2.70 ERA might be one of the biggest surprises of the first half. However, Colon is 40 years old now, and this is not 2005. Yes, that’s right, Colon hasn’t thrown over 200 innings since 2005, and it seems unlikely that something won’t go wrong during the stretch run.

Guest contribution from Fanduel.com. I highly suggest using their site if you are interested in daily fantasy sports.

All Star Game Notes

Here are my takeaways from the All Star game and I think that they are in chronological order:

    • When Mike Trout doubled in the top of the first, I wasn’t sure what to think of what it meant about the players. When Matt Harvey ended up getting Miguel Cabrera out and striking out Chris Davis and Jose Bautista, it showed how special Trout is. The ONLY person to get a hit off Harvey, NL Starter (best pitcher in the NL’s first half), in the All Star game was Mike Trout. Dude is special, but everyone already knows that. Great player.
    • When Cano got hit, I was pissed. I need him to keep pace in my fantasy league with Joe and Chris, and an All Star game injury would just be a killer for me and the Yankees, but I couldn’t care less about the Yankees, as a whole.
    • Chris Sale made Carlos Gonzalez look like a middle schooler with his unbelievable slider. Straight up embarrassed him and that pitch alone could have made him the MVP, if it wasn’t Mo’s last All Star Game.

    • Patrick Corbin wasn’t able to fool any of these All Star hitters and he took the loss for the NL. He was also the first pitcher to give up a run to the American League in 17 innings of ASG baseball. He is my number 1 bust for the second half. He has an ERA of 2.35, but a FIP of 3.18 and an xFIP of 3.52. It is safe to say he has been lucky in the first half and look for him to get roughed up a couple outings in the second half.
    • Brandon Phillips is a ridiculous defender. I have no other words.

    • Jose Fernandez has some serious gas. He can deal with the best of them. I think that Fernandez will be in the long line of Marlins stars that get traded. I also believe he will have a better career than the ASG starter, Matt Harvey. This assumes neither have a significant injury.
    • Aroldis Chapman has some serious GAS! But I am just being Captain Obvious here
    • Manny Machado is a star. The defensive play was insane against a player that is not slow in Paul Goldschmidt. He should be mentioned in the likes of Harper and Trout. Period.

    • Craig Kimbral has an odd pitching routine. It was different, cool and funny at the same time.
    • Jean Segura has some excellent defense to go along with his amazing bat. His quick hands on the double play in the 7th inning were incredible.
    • Dom Brown’s poor defense was on display for the Jason Kipnis double. My that was bad; he literally showed no effort. At the time, I thought it was going to give Rivera the chance to pitch in the 9th inning.

    • The Mariano Rivera moment before the 8th inning was a classic. I understand the reasoning for putting him out there in the 8th, but I would have put him in the 9th. Glen Perkins, Steve Delabar, and Joe Nathan are perfectly capable of getting 3 outs before giving up 4 runs in the 8th.

    • Segura did not run out his groundout in the 8th inning against Rivera. I think he would have been safe had he sprinted, but it helped Rivera get a 1-2-3 inning.
    • Prince Fielder LOL

  • I was told that the NL’s pitching would be too good for the AL to win the game. Turns out, the AL’s pitching was too good for the National League bats. AL wins the All Star Game and home field advantage for the first time in 3 years.

I called an AL win, the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game starters. Two of the guys I picked to homer had doubles. I think I did a pretty good job for my All Star Break predictions.

ESPYS are tonight.I hope they are good because there is no other sporting event on television besides the MLS, but I have my doubts about Jon Hamm. We’ll see.

Greg Danchik