Home Run Derby prediction and other ASG Monday odds and ends

If home-field advantage for this year’s World Series was determined by the winner of tonight’s Home Run Derby, then I’d have to say the National League should be feeling good.

Because I’d like for you to read more than two sentences of this entry, I’m not ready to pick my individual winner for tonight’s event.  But if you were simply looking at it from an NL vs. AL perspective, this would be a mismatch.

In fact, I’d probably take Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder against most any other Major League foursome.  Thrown up against Carlos Pena, Brandon Inge, Joe Mauer and Nelson Cruz and it’s apparent why the NL should plan to at least carry bragging rights into tomorrow night’s game.

My prediction is that Pujols, Fielder, Howard and Pena will advance to the semifinals.  Pujols will edge a fatigued Fielder in the finals.

If you haven’t caught today’s story about Brian McCann, check out some of the praise the Braves catcher got from other NL All-Stars.

Here are some interesting quotes from today’s media session:

Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino on last week’s  Jeff Francoeur-for-Ryan Church swap between the Braves and Mets:

“It kind of caught me by surprise. I’m not saying that I hadn’t heard that the Braves might be trying to move Francoeur.  But to do it between the Braves and the Mets just caught me off guard. But you know what, I think they’re both good players and sometimes a change of scenery can help a guy.  It happened last year with us, with (Brad) Lidge.  A change of scenery and one year later he’s perfect.  So I think sometimes things like that happen for a reason.”

Mets third baseman on how Francoeur might fare in New York:

He came up and played so well that the expectations were placed so
high.  He’ll help us immediately defensively with as much ground as he
can cover and with his throwing arm.  With that spacious outfield,
that’s going to help us immediately. If he can back to that form from a
few years ago, you’re talking about an All-Star-caliber player year in
and year out.

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira about how the New York scene might affect Francoeur:

I don’t know exactly what’s inside his head, but hopefully this is kind
of a new beginning for him and he can just let his talent play through.

If you’re losing and you’re playing bad, it doesn’t matter where you
are. Whether you’re in the American League, National League, New York
or wherever, you’re not going to be happy.  But if you’re playing well
and your team is winning, there’s no better place in the world to play
than New York.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, when asked if his skipper was pretty excited about having the chance to direct the NL team tommorow:

He’s played it pretty low-key so far.  He hasn’t danced yet.  He hasn’t stripped naked yet.  I’m hoping he doesn’t do that.


Where was Nelson Cruz on your list Mark?

Good thing we’re trading for both him and Gonzalez.

hahaha. unfortunately the centerpiece for that deal was Frenchy. I guess we’re gonna have to now trade KJ straight up for Gonzalez and maybe Church for Cruz + prospects.

Great article on Mac by the way. Mauer is having a great season but to be honest he has no business being in the Home Run Derby. He even said it himself. Brandon Inge has the numbers but someone else should have stepped up. It’s a shame that players no longer want to participate in such a great tradition.

Amazing that the Rangers were ready and willing to deal Cruz at this time last year.

When I asked about him and was told “he’s a 4-A player”, I guess I didn’t realize that was code for “he has fourth-deck power.”

Joe Morgan is so hard to listen to. He knows everyone and did everything…..sure he did…

Joe Morgan is a really nice guy but I agree he is a little annoying. I’m not a big fan of the announcers ESPN uses in general. Mark, I heard a few weeks ago someone say Jair Jurrjens was a 4-A player. You would think a professional would look at some statistics before making that kind of statement.

That eruption following Albert’s homer took me back to the days when Ray King and Trey Hodges were pitching to Bonds.

Or was that his “alleged” fifth homer?

There were some numbers, including age that supported that 4-A evaluation for Cruz last year. But that is absolutely ridiculous that anybody would even attempt to make that claim about Jurrjens with a straight face.

That one went far enough for both of them.

Moneyball you need to upgrade who you hang and talk baseball with. There aren’t a lot of 4A guys in their 3rd MLB season at 22 years old.

That’s the first one that Albert really seemed to tag. Takes me back to that day, or was it days that he was facing Reyes, or was it Morton?

Let’s see Albert has 32, the Braves top 4 guys have 30 combined. Yeah, I’m a little jealous….

And with my mulligan selection, I’m going to go say that a well-conditioned Fielder will now beat Cruz in the finals.

How many hitters can make it to the finals? I haven’t watched the HR derby or the ASG in years.

The person that said Jurrjens was a 4-A player was on ESPN. I would hit someone if they told that to me in person.

ESPN…that explains a lot….

You probably should have just punched your TV…Two contestants with the top combined totals from the first two rounds advance to the finals

I think it was when the Braves played the Cubs and it was on ESPN. It was a little odd seeing the game before he allowed 1 hit. I think the crew was Buck, Morgan, and Phillips.

What if 2 hitters are tied for the second spot? Do they both go?
Oh and yeah, Jurjjens a 4A player? I thought it was a pretty unanimous opinion that the Braves getting JJ and Gorkys for Renteria was the biggest steal of the offseason that year. But yeah you know.. I guess a 23 year old kid with a 3.50 ERA and a winning record out of 57 games isn’t very impressive at all, is it?

Whoever it was, I’d have to say they must have been smoking some of that Wrigley ivy…next prediction is that Cruz will hit one of those MasterCard Hit It Here signs.

If I remember correctly it was Morgan that said it. He said something like his pitches were just average. Last time I checked he could hit 95 with his fastball and had a devastating changeup.

haha.. Mark, did you write that before or after he missed one of those signs by 15 ft?

He meant to say Joba Chamberlain. There is no way he could have meant Jair Jurrjens. He saw the J and just misspoke. He shoulda been ROY and was basically our ace last year… and he will be 200+ winner. If not 250. I won’t say 300, just because I see him more as a 12-16 game winner every year rather than a 20 game winner…

Seriously, that’s a retarded statement. He’s in our top five players…

Hey Mark, how about an injury update. How far away is an Infante return? I need a heads up for my fantasy team. Thanks.

Joe Morgan + Chris Berman = watching derby on “mute”. I can’t stand either of them. The only thing that could have been worse was if Tim McCarver was the third announcer. I can stomach Steve Phillips… barely. Whenever I need a good laugh, I youtube Deion Sanders pouring all over McCarver in the early 90’s. He was so pissed!
Watching all that power last night made me jealous! I started thinking… (which can be dangerous)… that Texas has all of this power and offense… yet they rank 20th in the majors in ERA and BAA. Surely they could spare a power bat for some solid pitching. What about Ian Kinsler? We need a second baseman and the dude’s on pace to hit 40 homers. Texas owes us for stealing Neftali Perez / Elvis Andrus / and Salty for Texiera. Kinsler comes with a contract of 3.2 million. This year is a power surge for him because he averages about 18 homers… but it looks like he is just getting more comfortable in the majors. He hit .320 last year. Surely we have some excess pitching to help them out. Just a thought. What do you guys think?

I know what you mean neverwhere. The Baseball Tonight crew they use for games can be ridiculous. Morgan is nice but he goes overboard sometimes with favoritism. John Kruk is an obvious Philly fan all the way as well as Carl Ravech just picking the favorite.

Bravo- Living in Fort Worth, I know there is NO chance Kinsler gets traded. He is the heart of the team, and being groomed to fill Michael Young’s shoes. A more realistic major league caliber bat from the Rangers would be Byrd, and if you want to stretch a little bit, they might be willing to part with Blalock.

Mark Bowman,
Since all we seem to be talking about on these blogs is anticipated trades, is there any feeling that there will be any moves for the Braves? It’s probably hard to tell right now with the ASG. If there’s no big bat, Moylan’s arm is going to fall off by the end of the year.

Mark, do you feel Church was picked up to so he could be packaged with someone else for a power bat? What about Church and Anderson to an American team that uses the DH? I thought a good trade for a power bat would have been Gonzalez and Church until Gonzo developed the sore elbow. How bad is it and do you have any thoughts on this?

bosfreshman – Thanks for the info. I had no idea Kinsler was the heart of the Rangers. I just don’t pay enough attention to AL West teams. They’ve got so many bats and they’re right in the thick of things. I wonder what they would give for some of our pitching? I also wonder if Frank Wren is planning on making any moves at all. He may be content with where we’re at right now. I hope he tries to get another bat. We sure do need it!

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