Posts tagged “brandon smith

American League MVP Race: Trout versus Cabrera


L.A. Angels outfielder Mike Trout (left) and Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera are clearly the two front runners to earn this year’s American League MVP. Trout photo by: Lauren Flickr — Cabrera Photo by: WEBN-TV / Flickr

BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Much has been bandied and ballyhooed about the AL MVP race lately. Will it be Mike Trout? Miguel Cabrera? Miguel Olivo? The race that some thought was over in August has revived a familiar narrative in September: The idea of September performance trumping everything else.

Cabrera in September has 1.261 OPS with 8 home runs through 17 games. Trout is merely hitting at a .726 OPS with 4 steals. Various fans and media members are pointing at these results and crafting this narrative that suddenly Cabrera is now the frontrunner, or about to pass Trout for the MVP.

Does this make sense?

Why does one hot week in September guarantee winning the MVP?

Oh wait, it doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t.

There’s no such thing as a benchmark for MVP, Mark McGwire finished second in the ’98 MVP voting to Sammy Sosa. If breaking the all-time home run record in a season (at the time) doesn’t automatically lock up the MVP, then I don’t know what does.

The proof here is in the narrative pudding, and it tastes terrible. Out of the blue it seemed like someone, somewhere needed to inject drama into this race, just so people could talk about again. Both the Angels and the Tigers teams are on the outside looking in regards to the playoff race, and it’s not as if Trout or Cabrera by themselves can overcome the flaws of the roster.

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Couch Side Podcast — Episode 15: Hamilton versus Kemp


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

This retro picture shows Couch Side baseball insider Brandon Smith interviewing former NAU swimmer Kimber Morelli. Smith joined Couch Side host Wade McMillin as the guest host of this week’s podcast.

Couch Side baseball insider Brandon J. Smith makes his debut on our podcast to discuss the NBA playoffs, Stan Van Gundy’s firing, I’ll Have Another’s chance at the triple crown and Dallas Clark signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith and Couch Side host Wade McMillin also have a great baseball debate about who is the better player — Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp. See who the pair picks as the MLB’s best by following the links below:

 

Click here to stream/download Couch Side Episode 12  via iTunes

Click here to stream Couch Side Episode 12: NFL Mock Draft via our host site, TalkShoe

Click here to download Couch Side Episode 12: NFL via our host site, TalkShoe


Is Shane Doan the most under-appreciated athlete in Arizona sports history?


BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com writer

Phoenix Coyotes veteran Shane Doan has been in the Arizona desert for his entire 15-year career, but is he appreciated by fan in the Grand Canyon State? Photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr

What are the odds of Shane Doan being recognized if he walked into any random supermarket around Phoenix at any point between 1996 and 2011? I’m not sure, he’s a big guy, but you could find plenty of 6-foot-2, 220-pound bros at your local gym.  If you lined him up with Luis Gonzalez, Steve Nash, and Larry Fitzgerald, who do you think an average Arizona sports fan would gravitate to first?

Maybe at this point his popularity has increased incrementally, but over the past 15 years, given the amount of coverage the Phoenix Coyotes have received, I doubt Arizona fans have given Doan his proper due.

He’s the longest tenured professional athlete in Arizona sports today, and a last remaining member of the original Winnipeg Jets when they moved to downtown Phoenix in 1996, but I’m wondering how much he’s really appreciated overall. To give his time here some perspective, there are no current Expos with the Washington Nationals, and it’s been around seven years since that franchise moved from Montreal. You seldom get players to stick around in the same city for an extended period of time, and Doan has done it with the least popular franchise in Arizona.

How overshadowed has Doan been? Let’s think about the other three sports teams in Phoenix.

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2012 Major League Baseball season preview


BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow,com writer

Predictions are a great waste of time. They provide opportunities for petty arguments that will last from now until the end of time, now that the season is on our doorstep, it’s time to prophesize the 2012 winners and losers.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain is a big reason why Couch Side blogger Brandon J. Smith predicted the Giants to reach the World Series in 2012. Photo by: Art Siegel / Flickr

NL West

• Standings: 1. San Francisco Giants; 2. Arizona Diamondbacks; 3. Colorado Rockies; 4. Los Angeles Dodgers; 5. San Diego Padres

• Reasoning: The slightly biased Dbacks fan in me is fearful of a regression by the Snakes. After a modest overachieving season in 2011, whereas the Giants lost all semblance of offense in the stretch run, San Francisco is expecting a full season of superstar Buster Posey, along with the best starting staff west of the Mississippi. A normalized progression of events along with an improved Rockies bunch will make this west particularly wild.

NL Central

• Standings: 1. St. Louis Cardinals; 2. Cincinnati Reds; 3. Milwaukee Brewers; 4. Pittsburgh Pirates; 5.Chicago Cubs; 6. Houston Astros

• Reasoning: In all honesty, you can interchange the top three teams in the central, and you’d have a legit chance of making bank in Vegas. The Cardinals lost first baseman Albert Pujols, but they come into the season with a strong team, and ace Adam Wainwright as he returns from Tommy John surgery. The Reds had a busy offseason where they traded for the solid Padre Mat Latos, while signing closer Ryan Madson who is now out for the season. To sure up the back end of the pen, they acquired underrated lefty Sean Marshall, who will see plenty of end game action. And not to forget, they just resigned the premier first basemen in the NL in Joey Votto, who will be in Cincy for years to come. What’s wrong with the Brewers? Not much, I’m having a hard time pegging their success; they are returning the same roster minus Prince Fielder and adding Aramis Ramirez. Aside from that, the pitching staff is still very good, but for some reason, the Cardinals still feel like the team to beat in this division to me. Oh, and let’s not forget they are the reigning World Series champions. (more…)


Couch Side’s 2012 MLB preview/player rankings


BY Couchsideshow.com staff

With the Major League Baseball season just days away, Couchsideshow.com has complied all 13 of its player ranking blogs, putting them in one convenient post for an overall look at the best players in baseball. This is a great post for fantasy rankings and a great way to simply see our prediction of who will be the best of the best in 2012. Just think, you can even come back here maybe midway through the year and comment about how wrong we were. So without any further hold up, here’s the list of links to past blogs about the top players by position in the MLB:

• Catchers by Wade McMillin

• First basemen by Stayson Isobe

• Second basemen by Brett Murdock

• Shortstops by Brett Murdock

• Third basemen by Stayson Isobe

• Left fielders by Wade McMillin

• Center fielders by Brandon Smith

• Right fielders by Wade McMillin

• Designated hitters by Brandon Smith

• Starting pitchers by Trevor Gould

• Setup men by Chuck Constantino

• Closers by Chuck Constantino

 


Arizona Diamondbacks 2012 team preview


BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com writer

Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton may just be an early-season MVP candidate this year. He led the N.L. West champion Diamondbacks in home runs and RBI last season. Photo by: Paul Martinez / Flickr

The 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks were one of my favorite individual teams ever to track and follow throughout the season; they provided everything you wanted out of an upstart, surprise team. There was an equal share of surprise pitching performances (Ian Kennedy), an emerging star coming into his own (Justin Upton), a fan favorite with a unique perk (“Tatman” Ryan Roberts) and a bullpen that saw significant improvement from the previous year. Their torrid streak starting somewhere in mid-May, along with some lucky breaks in the division (Rockies giving up on Ubaldo, Buster Posey breaking his ankle, and the Dodgers being financially incompetent) allowed for one hell of a ride. Of course, as many remember, it all came to an end in game 5 of the NLDS in Milwaukee as Njyer Morgan lined a J.J. Putz fastball up the middle, and thus a run at the World Series title was over.

Offseason review

This offseason, general manager Kevin Towers decided not to rest on his laurels and continue to improve an already good team in an attempt to make them great. Did he succeed in this? Let’s examine his most significant moves. (more…)