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Hamilton, Votto Win Stan Musial Awards

29 Oct

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Press Release

Contact: Daniel Shoptaw                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3 P.M. EDT, October 28, 2010


The Baseball Bloggers Alliance concluded their award season today by naming the best player in each league for 2010.  When all the votes were tallied, two men were comfortably ahead.

Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton, who hit 32 home runs and fashioned an OPS of 1.044 while leading the Rangers into the playoffs, won the award in the American League.  Hamilton received sixteen first place votes and 261 points overall, which put him ahead of his nearest competitor, Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, by roughly 70 points.

In the National League, helping Cincinnati to an unexpected divisional title paid off for first baseman Joey Votto.  After a season where he cracked 37 home runs and posted a 1.024 OPS, Votto also received sixteen first-place votes toward his total of 252 points.  He also denied St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols the chance to win back-to-back BBA awards.  Pujols was selected as MVP by the BBA in 2009, but placed second with 197 points in this year’s voting.

Winners of other Alliance awards also received votes in the Musial balloting.  In the American League, Walter Johnson winner Felix Hernandez received 21 points, while Goose Gossage selection Rafael Soriano had a single mention.  On the senior circuit, Walter Johnson winner Roy Halladay placed fourth in the voting with 101 points.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Josh Hamilton, Texas (16) 261
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (4) 188
Robinson Cano, New York 158
Jose Bautista, Toronto (1) 146
Adrian Beltre, Boston 107
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay (1) 102
Paul Konerko, Chicago 65
Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay 56
Joe Mauer, Minnesota 50
Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland 44
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 21
Vladimir Guerrero, Texas 13
Justin Morneau, Minnesota 12
Delmon Young, Minnesota 10
Cliff Lee, Seattle/Texas 8
CC Sabathia, New York 8
Alex Rodriguez, New York 7
Clay Buchholz, Boston 4
Mark Teixeria, New York 3
Jon Lester, Boston 2
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle 2
Nick Swisher, New York 2
Jim Thome, Minnesota 2
Kevin Youkilis, Boston 2
Brett Gardner, New York 1
David Ortiz, Boston 1
Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay 1

National League
Joey Votto, Cincinnati (16) 252
Albert Pujols, St. Louis (3) 197
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (1) 118
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia (1) 101
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego 98
Troy Tulowitski, Colorado 98
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington 93
Matt Holliday, St. Louis 84
Aubrey Huff, San Francisco 32
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 17
Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado 16
Josh Johnson, Florida 16
Dan Uggla, Florida 16
Jayson Werth, Philadelphia 16
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee 13
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 10
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia 9
Martin Prado, Atlanta 7
Jason Heyward, Atlanta 6
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee 5
David Wright, New York 5
Adam Dunn, Washington 4
Kelly Johnson, Arizona 4
Andres Torres, San Francisco 1
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 233 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot.  Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through tenth place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis.  Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League
Camden Crazies (Baltimore)*
The Bottom Line (Boston)*
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Motor City Bengals (Detroit)
Switch Hitting Pitchers (Detroit)
One Royal Way (Kansas City)*
Twinkie Talk (Minnesota)
Seth Speaks (Minnesota)
Bronx Baseball Daily (New York)*
Contract Year (Oakland)
Rise of the Rays (Tampa Bay)
Infield Fly (Toronto)
The Blue Jay Hunter (Toronto)
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*

National League
Blog Red Machine (Cincinnati)
Marlin Maniac (Florida)
Marlins Diehards (Florida)
Feeling Dodger Blue (Los Angeles)
The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*
Dugger’s Corner (Philadelphia)
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)*
The Outfield Ivy (St. Louis)
Pitchers Hit Eighth (St. Louis)
Friar Forecast (San Diego)*
22gigantes (San Francisco)*
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*
Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*
Misc. Baseball (History)*
Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf (Miscellaneous)*
Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*

Prior Winners:  2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis

The official website of the BBA is located at  The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at

Any thoughts, please feel free to Comment Here.

Advertisements Stan Musial Award Ballot (AL MVP)

26 Oct

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The Baseball Bloggers Alliance has now named its first awards of the season, and just one is yet to be announced. First, the Connie Mack Awards for top manager went to Ron Washington and Bud Black. Then Neftali Feliz and Buster Posey won the Willie Mays Awards for each league’s top rookies. The Goose Gossage Awards for top relievers went to Rafael Soriano and Brian Wilson. Yesterday, the Walter Johnson Awards, given to each league’s top pitcher, were handed out to Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay.

That leaves just one more award to give, the Stan Musial Award which is akin to the Most Valuable Player Awards. I have one of two Twins Blogger ballots for this award. The other was from “Fetch” at Twinkie Talk, which you can see here. And here is my vote:


This was a really difficult vote. Before doing the research, I jotted down who I thought would be my Top 5, and to be honest, after doing the research, the top four were pretty easy choices, but it was difficult to determine what order they should be in. From four through ten, it was more difficult.

But first, my thoughts on the MVP award. It seems that everybody has a different definition of “value” and what an MVP should be. And that’s why it’s great, because it creates a ton of discussion. And that’s why it’s frustrating, because it can be difficult to determine the differences in value between two or more players. I do not believe that an MVP has to be from a playoff team. I do believe that an MVP should be from a team that was competitive through most of the season. In other words, that means that guys like Luke Scott, Billy Butler and Shin-Soo Choo tend to be overlooked despite some very strong seasons. I believe that a pitcher can get votes, but in order to finish in the top ten, a pitcher needs to be beyond dominant. I believe that no one statistic is the right measure for an MVP. I also believe that you need to look at a multitude of stats to really make a decision. I think those stats should be a combination of counting stats and rate stats along with some of the advanced metrics. I believe that there were a lot of very good players in 2010 in the American League, and just because a player does not finish in the Top 10 does not mean they didn’t have a good year or somehow was disappointing. I also believe that salary and expectations should play no factor in the vote.  I also believe there is room for intangibles in the vote and yet, that should be used in a tie-breaking type of situation. I mean, if someone like Derek Jeter and Milton Bradley put identical numbers up, I have no problem with giving the edge to the “leadership” of Jeter. But I can’t reiterate enough that ‘intangibles’ are not a big percentage at all in any MVP discussion.

So what numbers did I look at? As you know, some of the MVP candidates missed some time, and I do believe that has to be noted. So I looked at games played and plate appearances. I took a glance at extra base hits and home runs. I know RBI are a product of having runners on in front of them, but someone has to drive in runs. I looked at the triple slash numbers (BA/OBP/SLG) and OPS. I also looked at Runs Created, and RC27. I looked a wOBA. I wanted to look at positional variation, so I reviewed WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). I looked at Win Probability Added to determine “clutchness” throughout the season. I also looked a little bit at defense by looking at UZR. Like I said, I don’t want any formula based on these things, but wanted to be able to compare and contrast.

Finally, I contacted a few bloggers from some of the teams of players that I had some questions about, and all of that put together helped me to come up with my Stan Musial Ballot. We were asked to vote for the top ten (which is the same thing that the Baseball Writers do when they vote for MVP). Here is my ballot:

#10 – Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – .327/.402/.469

Yes, the home run numbers dropped from his 2009 MVP season, but contrary to popular belief, Mauer had another very good 2010 season. His VORP was at 50.5 which is in the top eight in the league. He creates runs. He is clutch with a WPA of 2.45 which is top ten in the league. He also does a very good job behind the plate. Was it a down year from a remarkable 2009 season? Sure. Does that mean it was a bad year? Not at all.

#9 – Nick Swisher – New York Yankees – .288/.359/.511

People wondered what the personality of Swisher would do in New York. He struggled some in 2009, but in 2010, he put together his best season. It was also his most consistent season. That was important to the Yankees since Derek Jeter had a down year, and A-Rod and Mark Teixeira each had struggles and injuries throughout the season.

#8 – Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays – .294/.372/.507

The Rays were the top team in the league and they were really carried by two players on offense. Longoria provided the power with 46 doubles and 22 home run. He created a lot of runs. He was clutch, and he played a terrific 3B defensively. Despite his youth, Longoria turned into a real leader on the 2010 Rays roster.

#7 – Adrian Beltre – Boston Red Sox – .321/.365/.553

Beltre was a free agent last offseason and signed a make-good deal with the Red Sox. Beltre made good, to be sure. First, he remained one of baseball’s best defensive 3B. However, he also led the league with 49 doubles while added 28 home runs.

#6 – Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox – .312/.393/.584

I know, he plays for the White Sox, but he seems like a good guy. And he had a tremendous 2010 season, arguably the best of his career. Konerko hit 39 home runs and drove in 111 runs. He was in the top five in the league in WPA, and despite playing the hitter-friendly 1B, he had a VORP of 64.2. If he played another position, he would rank higher with these numbers. Of course, he’s not a great first baseman defensively, with a -13.4 UZR. But the end of the day, Konerko was again the best hitter and the leader of the White Sox.

#5 – Robinson Cano – New York Yankees – .319/.381/.534

Of course, the Yankees were only one game behind the Rays as the best team in the league, and Cano was clearly the best player on the Yankees roster. The second baseman hit 41 doubles, hit 29 home runs and drove in 109 runs. He was clutch, and he was consistent. His defense improved, although his UZR was still slightly below 0 (-0.6).

#4 – Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays – .260/.378/.617

I think we were all assuming that Bautista’s dream season would eventually end with him waking up and reality setting in, but it never did. 35 doubles and 54 home runs later, he ended the season as the Blue Jays all-time single season home run leader. He was third in the league in OPS. He was second in the league in runs created. He was in the top three in Win Probability added. Now, his defense in right field and at 3B were both slightly sub-par, but when you’re providing this kind of offense, adequate defense is way more than adequate! The softball-swinging Jays may have finished fourth in the AL East, but they had a record above .500 and must of the credit for that is Bautista.

#3 – Carl Crawford – Tampa Bay Rays – .307/.356/.495

Crawford is just a solid all-around player, and he put together a great season for the Rays. He hit 30 doubles, 13 triples and 19 home runs. He drove in 90 runs. He stole 47 bases. He was very clutch. And defensively, his 18.5 UZR is far and away the best of anyone who could even be considered an MVP candidate. Since the Rays were the best team in the league, the “Best Player on the Best Team” argument would push us to Crawford.

#2 – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – .328/.420/.622

If the Detroit Tigers had been in contention into September, Cabrera would probably be considered a front runner, but like our #1, Cabrera’s season ended a little early too. But Cabrera put together another incredible season of offensive numbers. He had 45 doubles, 38 homers and led the league with 126 RBI. He led the league in Runs Created at 133.3. His 6.93 WPA was second in the league as was his .429 wOBA and 79 VORP. After a disappointing end to his 2009 season, Cabrera came back with another great season, even if his 1B defense is pretty bad.

#1 – Josh Hamilton – Texas Rangers – .359/.411/.633

I thought missing much of September would hurt Hamilton’s case in my head, but a review of all of the things I mentioned told me that he was still, far-and-away the league’s top player and most valuable player. Despite the missed time, Hamilton’s 40 doubles, 32 home runs and 100 RBI were still among league leaders. He led the league in batting average (.359), slugging percentage (.633), OPS (1.044), RC27 (9.59), wOBA (.447), WAR (8.0), WPA (9.31) and VORP (80.5). And he plays a very good defense with a 7.9 UZR. The Rangers were a semi-surprise team in 2010 in that the Angels had really dominated the AL West in recent years. Hamilton led the Rangers to an easy win in the division.

Feel free to Discuss and Comment here.

The Stretch Keys

2 Sep

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It was either going to be Rich Harden or Jeff Manship starting for the Twins last night. After no deal was made on Monday to bring in the Cubs veteran righty, it was Manship making his first big league start. Although I’m certain he was nervous, he pitched a very solid game. He went five innings and gave up just one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out two. I would call that a very respectable debut, especially considering it came in September in the heat of a pennant race. Jesse Crain appears to be back (I said Appears!). He threw two perfect innings in relief. Thanks to two Michael Cuddyer home runs, the Twins held a 3-1 lead.Then the 8th inning guys came in and it didn’t go so well. Jose Mijares came in and walked the lone batter he faced. Matt Guerrier came in and gave up a game-tying home run to Gordon Beckham. But, the Twins did go get Jon Rauch to be their new vulture. He pitched a scoreless top of the 9th. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, recently promoted Jose Morales was called upon to pinch hit. He came through with a game-winning single that scored Nick Punto and gave the Twins their win.

All year long, I, and many others, have said that the AL Central division could be won by the team that puts together the best winning streak. The Twins are on a role right now having won 12 of their last 15 games. The question is, with 30 games to go, can they keep it up? Are they peaking at just the right time… or is it too little too late?

The Twins have again given their fans a team that will play some very exciting games in September and October. It should be a very fun time to watch how this last month of the season unfolds. Here are my keys to the Twins success:

1.)    Starting Pitching – But that is always the case. Scott Baker has been very good in the second half. Carl Pavano has done what was expected of him when the team acquired him at the July trade deadline. Nick Blackburn had a tremendous first half and then was, well, pretty bad to start the second half. But if he can pitch like he did against the White Sox on Monday night, that will be huge for the Twins. And then there are the two rookies. Right now, the Twins are going with Brian Duensing and Jeff Manship in their starting rotation. Think about that for just a moment. Neither of them started the season in the Twins AAA starting rotation. Manship was in AA, and Duensing was pitching in the Twins bullpen. We (OK, I) question why he was even put back into the Red Wings rotation when he was demoted. I thought he should be put into the bullpen down there because that was the role he would serve for the Twins. Well, long term, it still may be. But in September, he will hold one of five starting spots for the Twins during the pennant race!

2.)    The Bullpen – Again, no surprise here, but it does have to be mentioned. The additions of Jon Rauch and Ron Mahay provides a more veteran bullpen. Jesse Crain has been much better of late and may be the key to it. But right now, I feel pretty good about a bullpen of Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares, Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay and Jesse Crain.

3.)    Justin Morneau – his September swoons the last couple of years have been well documented. This year, his August was quite sub-par. Hopefully he has found a way to stay strong and focused through the final month. Another thing I have observed, and is my opinion, is that he just needs to relax and stop trying to do too much, like hitting six run homers, or hitting 600 foot shots!

4.)    Joe Mauer – Again, no surprise here, and when it comes to staying cool, there is no one better than Mr. Mauer. But he needs to not read newspapers, the internet, or even blogs. He will likely read about missed opportunities, or times when he maybe should have gone outside the strike zone and hit rather than draw a walk. The key for Mauer is just to do what he does. That should be enough for an AL MVP award, and it should be enough for any Twins fan!

5.)    Gomez/Casilla/Cabrera – I think we can all agree that none of these three can be counted on for offense. We also know that Cabrera can’t really be counted on for good defense. That is where Gomez comes in. He is likely to play a lot in September strictly due to his defensive prowess. Casilla has seemingly overtaken Nick Punto in the lineup, which is a great thing, and just needs to maintain that role. I also just think that at least one of these guys needs to have a big month. The good teams always get crucial performances from unexpected heroes down the stretch. Who will that be for the Twins?

6.)    The Bench – Last night’s game-winning single notwithstanding, the Twins don’t have much of a bench. Jose Morales is the only actual hitter on the bench. Mike Redmond at this point should be only an emergency catcher. Nick Punto should only be a late inning defensive replacement at 3B or SS. Matt Tolbert should pinch run when he is there. Brian Buscher should be a good cheerleader. The extra outfielder on any given day will also be an important option off of the bench. Delmon Young has also been hitting well, so hopefully that can remain through the final month. Maybe this shouldn’t be The Bench. Maybe it should be The Starting 9’s health! If they need to go to the bench, that would not be good.

What are the other keys to the final month, in your opinion? Please feel free to leave your comments on the Twins, or anything. (I posted my thoughts on the loss of Kevin Mulvey later yesterday in an update, so be sure to scroll down to see that.)

Prospect Watch: The Vote

16 Mar

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Earlier today, I asked you to tell me what shows you watch on TV when there isn’t baseball available to watch. Thanks for the responses Now I am going to ask for your help again. However, this is something that you have helped me with before. For those of you who have been around for awhile, you know of The Prospect Watch. Each year, I like to highlight the performances and statistics of some of the Twins top prospects. The last couple of years, I have asked you to help me determine who we will follow. So again, I would like you to vote for up to six Twins prospects that you most want to see included in the Twins Prospect Watch. The six players with the most votes will start the season in the Prospect Watch.


So pull out your Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook, check out my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, check out Aaron Gleeman’s top Twins Prospect review, or Josh Johnson’s Top 50 Twins prospects. The only criteria is that the player no longer have Rookie eligibility.


Pretty simple really… I will take your votes through Friday at 6:00 p.m. central, and over the weekend I will post the results. Just e-mail me your picks (again, up to Twins prospects).

More AL MVP Talk

21 Sep

As I posted earlier, the next week will be, or at least could be, incredibly intriguing because of the three Twins/White Sox games and the scenarios that could happen because of whatever happens in those games. But there is also something else for Twins fans to watch through the season’s final week, and that is the American League MVP race.

There are a lot of hitters hitting very well this year in the league, but none that are head and shoulders above the rest. I think there are ten guys whose names should be in the discussion, to some degree. In my mind, there are really only five guys that really should be in the discussion. Interestingly, those five players come from just three teams. Both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau from the Twins should be in the discussion. The Red Sox have Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youklis who warrant strong consideration this year. The other is Carlos Quentin of the White Sox who, despite missing the last three or four weeks of the season, still has to be in the discussion. Others that have been solid enough statistically to have their numbers mentioned include Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, Aubrey Huff of the Orioles, Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Grady Sizemore from Cleveland.

In my mind, the choice is easy. Even without my obviously homer-ish tendencies, I think that Justin Morneau is the choice for AL MVP. Both Phil Miller of the Pioneer Press and LaVelle E. Neal of the Star-Tribune penned articles on Justin Morneau’s MVP Candidacy over the weekend.  

Let’s start by looking at the more typical statistics to compare the favorites:






XB Hits



Justin Morneau








Dustin Pedroia








Carlos Quentin








Kevin Youklis








Joe Mauer








Alex Rodriguez








Aubrey Huff








Josh Hamilton








Miguel Cabrera








Grady Sizemore








If you look at these more basic statistics, you have to wonder how the two Twins are in the discussion. Morneau leads the league in RBI, a statistic many voters put a lot of value upon. Valuable hitters drive in runs, particularly in big spots. I think it is important to look at more than just home runs, so I put extra base hits in the conversation. If you go by that, you understand why Aubrey Huff is mentioned, and again have to wonder why Joe Mauer is included. If OPS is your favorite statistic to show value (getting on base and total bases are important), then Alex Rodriguez is the clear winner. Again, if you just look at these numbers, you can lump all ten of them together and it would be impossible to really pick a winner. So, we have to look a little deeper, at some more advanced statistical analysis.







Justin Morneau






Dustin Pedroia






Carlos Quentin






Kevin Youklis






Joe Mauer






Alex Rodriguez






Aubrey Huff






Josh Hamilton






Miguel Cabrera






Grady Sizemore






Alright, here are some other statistics, four at The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus and Fan Graphs.

·         Runs Created shows Justin Morneau at the top of the list, one point ahead of Grady Sizemore, and significantly ahead of the rest of the pack.

·         Clutch is obviously something that shows value, and again, Justin Morneau is at the top of the list, with Kevin Youklis the only one even close.

·         Justin Morneau is also at the top of the Win Shares list, which does factor in defense.

·         Win Probability Added obviously shows which hitters consistently come up big in important situations. Morneau comes in second in that category. Two whom? Teammate Joe Mauer has a big lead in that category.

·         Some will say that Value Over Replacement Player is important to the league MVP discussion. I do think that it has to be considered, but at the same time, the league MVP award is not a position ranking, it’s a league award. That said, this statistic again shows me that Grady Sizemore has been very good on a team that has played quite well down the stretch, although too late. Really, each of the players is doing well in this category. Of course, at 1B, there are more players who do well, so to still have a VORP that high is very impressive.


Again, I wanted to look at as many names as I could to make sure that my belief that Justin Morneau should be the 2008 American League Most Valuable Player. Everyone has their favorite statistics, so I wanted to look at several that people can use to try to get a feel for each. I don’t want to let any one statistic be the reason to pick a player. However, in my mind, an MVP should:

·         Play most of his team’s games. (I think that all of the above names fit this category, you could argue that Joe Mauer and Carlos Quentin could be deducted a little bit based on games played.)

·         Be a hitter unless something absolutely crazy happens (I don’t care how great Cliff Lee was, he only pitched in about one-fifth of Cleveland’s games. I don’t care how many Saves Francisco Rodriguez racked up this season, he pitched in less than half of his team’s games, and if you want to get into it, he wasn’t even one of the game’s best closers).

·         Be from a contending team, or at least a very good team. I don’t subscribe to the thought that an MVP has to be from a playoff team or a division winner, only that his team be in contention most of the season. (That really eliminates the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Aubrey Huff, Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera and Grady Sizemore.)

My Vote (with a week to go in the season)

1.)    Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins

2.)    Kevin Youklis, Boston Red Sox

3.)    Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox

4.)    Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins

5.)    Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland Indians

6.)    Carlos Quentin, OF, Chicago White Sox

7.)    Aubrey Huff, OF, Baltimore Orioles

8.)    Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas Rangers

9.)    Cliff Lee, SP, Cleveland Indians

10.)                        Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees


What do you think? Any thoughts?


With that, please feel free to e-mail me at,