Freddie Freeman can look back on 2016 with a strong sense of pride. As far as things go individually it was the best season of his career and according to Fangraphs WAR, Freeman was the best first baseman in all of baseball by nearly one full point of WAR. As such, the Sporting News recognized Freeman’s efforts by naming him as the NL’s 1st baseman on their 2016 All-Star team.
Another player who received some well-deserved recognition for his work in 2016 was Ender Inciarte. Although it may have taken a while for his bat to wake up, one thing that was never in question throughout the season was his glove. Inciarte was able to make the routine plays look simple and the exciting plays look routine, and he’s been nominated as a Gold Glove finalist in Center Field. You have to imagine that he’s the favorite to win it.
Meanwhile, the folks at Rawlings threw everybody a curveball when they announced that there was another Braves player who would be in the running for a Gold Glove. The player in question was Nick Markakis, who is a finalist for the Gold Glove in Right Field. While Inciarte passed both the eye test and the sabermetric test, Markakis definitely failed the latter and barely passed the former. He’ll be a longshot to win this award, but the Gold Gloves have given us twists before so we’ll see what happens this year.
The biggest story of the World Series so far has been Kyle Schwarber’s exploits as a Designated Hitter for the Cubs. He proved that he could at least hit what Cleveland had to offer in the first game, and then he picked up 2 RBIs in the second game as he led the Cubs to tying the series up at one. Naturally, there were rumors that he’d be medically cleared to play in the outfield. However, the Cubs made the smart move and decided not to risk it, so Schwarber won’t be playing in the outfield during the World Series.
I completely agree with this. It seemed much too risky for Kyle Schwarber, who originally was ruled out until next year’s spring training after he tore an ACL and LCL last April 7, to play left field at Wrigley Field in baseball’s biggest event.
Beyond the fact that he’s not really that good an outfielder to begin with, there’s a brick wall at Wrigley that you wouldn’t want him running into. Further, there’s a weather forecast of gusty winds for Friday’s game that will make playing the outfield tricky for even the most experienced outfielder.
Finally, by MLB rules, if Schwarber aggravated the knee injury in any way, he could not be replaced on the World Series roster.
The free agent market got a little bit more interesting yesterday after Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported that Yoenis Cespedes would be opting out of his contract with the Mets. Apparently there’s still a good chance that Cespedes will be staying with the Mets, but anything is possible now that he’s decided to test the free agent waters.