Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.
This week we look at the awards given out by the BBWAA last week, discuss qualifying offer acceptances, and take a look at the impending fate of dozens of minor league affiliates.
News & Notes
2 - Players accepted a qualifying offer. Of the ten players offered a QO, only Chicago White Sox’ first baseman José Abreu and Twins’ starter Jake Odorizzi accepted the $17.8 million one-year deal.
12 - Years as Pirates General Manager for Neal Huntington, who the Pirates fired and replaced with former Red Sox executive Ben Cherington. Cherington was at the helm when Boston won the World Series in 2013, but resigned after Boston hired Dave Dombrowski above him in the front office.
2017 - The year in which the Houston Astros are accused of using sophisticated (and unsophisticated) methods of stealing signs. While a man on second base would often do his best to relay what pitches were coming, the Astros appear to have used technology and training techniques to gain an edge.
The way that MLB decides to adjudicate punishment for any wrongdoing may have a lasting impact across baseball, as both managers of the Red Sox and Mets, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, have also been implicated since Cora was a bench coach and Beltran was an active player with that championship team.
3 - Year deal former Giants reliever Will Smith signed with the Atlanta Braves. It was a deal struck early in the offseason, after Smith rejected a qualifying offer from San Francisco. Smith was one of the bigger relief pitcher names on the free agent board, coming off a year in which he saved 34 games and posted a 96:21 strikeout to walk rate across 65 ⅓ innings. The three-year deal is worth $39 million, meaning he took a lower annual average value for multi-year stability after rejecting the QO.
42 - Minor league affiliate teams that MLB proposed eliminating as part of a major shakeup and redefining of MiLB. It’s bad news for minor league players, and worse news for supporting communities. The radical change would have lasting impact on the game, and one has to wonder what it means with regards to bringing more fans to the game-at-large. Local affiliates often establish a rapport with communities outside of MLB’s geographic reach, and engages fans in a different, fun, and more accessible way.
3 - Times that Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout has won the American League Most Valuable Player Award after winning the honors last week. He probably should have more hardware than that based on numbers alone, but Trout is the 11th player in MLB history to win three awards. Barry Bonds has the record with seven.
9 - Baseball-Reference WAR for Cody Bellinger who won the National League Most Valuable Player Award last week. Bellinger followed up on his 2017 rookie of the year campaign with his best season yet. He slashed a robust .305/.406/.629 and mashed 47 home runs.
1 - Time in American League history that teammates finished one-and-two in Cy Young voting. Justin Verlander just edged out fellow Astro Gerrit Cole to take home the hardware. Verlander struck out 300 batters in 223 innings, and threw the third no hitter of his career.
29 - Of the thirty first-place votes for National League Cy Young were awarded to Mets ace Jacob deGrom. deGrom won the award in 2018 as well.
53 - Home runs by Pete Alonso launched the Mets’ star into a clear Rookie of the Year winner. Like deGrom, Alonso also earned 29-of-30 first place votes, and was the clear rookie standout in the National League last year.
22 - Year old Yodan Alvarez unanimously won the American League Rookie of the Year honors. After making his debut on June 9th, Alvarez posted a .313/.412/.655 slash line with 27 home runs. Though his bat was quiet through much of the playoffs, he did get some facetime throughout the Astros pennant-winning run.
2 - First-year manager won Manager of the Year awards. Mike Shildt took over for a fired Mike Matheny in 2018, but in his first year at the helm from pole-to-pole, he joined Twins rookie manager Rocco Baldelli in earning MoY honors.
.500 - Managerial record Gabe Kapler posted with the Twins. The Giants hired Kapler to be their manager following his departure from Philadelphia. His tenure in Philly was rife with drama (often self-induced) and stagnation in the standings. Kapler had a previous working relationship with Giants front office executive Farhan Zaidi since both were employed by the Dodgers.
129 - Days until Opening Day.
Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano