Karpin’s Korner: Weak American League Skewed Win Totals

The American League was not as a good as advertised in 2019.

Four teams won more than 100 games in the Major Leagues this season and three of them came from the American League.

The Astros and Yankees won over 100 games for a second straight season, and were pegged as “super teams,” while the Twins won 101 games, but were those totals legit. (Dodgers were also considered a “super team”)

There were some real bad teams in the American League this past season and that may have helped “skew” the win totals.

Take the Twins for example. With all due respect, the Twins were a pretty good team, but not a great one and not one that you could consider a legitimate 100-win team.

Minnesota won the AL Central, which was the worst division in the sport. The White Sox, Royals and Tigers were a combined 128 games under .500. 41 of Minnesota’s wins came against those three teams. They were 22-4 against the Orioles, Texas, the Angels and Seattle. Those three teams finished a combined 104 games under .500.

Against teams that finished.500 or better, the Twins were 32-37. That included a 6-10 mark against the NL East, a division that had four teams finish .500 or better. The other six wins for Minnesota came against the Blue Jays (4) and the Brewers (2).

So Met fans are in an uproar after the Phillies swooped in and signed former Yankee Mgr. Joe Girardi to be their new skipper.

Girardi, who won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009 and has a very good reputation for running a bullpen, is a good manager but not a great one.

One of Girardi’s flaws was that his teams were not fundamentally sound. I can’t count how many base running mistakes the Yankees made during his Yankee tenure.

The former Yankee Manager is a solid hire but it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Girardi and the Philadelphia media (a notoriously tough one) develops.

The Yankees held their season ending press conference yesterday and it featured an interesting exchange between WFAN’s Sweeny Murti and GM Brian Cashman.

Sweeny asked Cashman why he “passed” on obtaining star pitchers like Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Cashman said he didn’t “pass” on those players and indicated that they didn’t push for Verlander because of budget concerns. He said they made an offer for Cole but the Pirates liked Houston’s package better (even though the Yankees reportedly never tried to enhance their offer) and then Cashman brought up Patrick Corbin, who signed a six year deal with the Nationals.

The lefthander signed a six year, $140 million dollar deal to play in Washington. According to Cashman, they didn’t know what the Nats offer was. The Yankees reportedly made a five year offer and would not go to six. The question now becomes, did Corbin’s reps ever get back to Cashman after they received that six year offer and if they did, why would the Yankees balk at one more year if they were so interested in signing this player?

If the Yankees have any intention of signing free agent to be Gerrit Cole, they’re going to have to go back to their ways of not letting money be an option.

Angels’ owner Arte Moreno made some comments that would indicate that they will make a big time run at Cole, who is from Southern California. Moreno already spent to land Joe Maddon as his new Manager and he won’t be stopping there. Moreno was quoted by Bill Shaikin of the LA Times as saying, “Payroll will go up next year.”

There are other options out there like Madison Bumgarner and maybe Stephen Strasburg, who has an opt out clause in his contract, but they could find themselves in a bidding war with the Angels for Cole.

The Yankees already have a problem going into next season with the announcement that Aaron Hicks needs Tommy John surgery. Hicks is expected to be sidelined until mid-season next year and the Yankees will need a center fielder until he returns.

Speaking of opt outs, if Aroldis Chapman decides to exercise the one in his contract, I would not pay big money to bring him back.

D.J. LeMahieu was the only local player who was nominated for Gold Glove. That’s pretty remarkable in itself because LeMahieu played three positions during the season but he was nominated at second base.

BTW: LeMahieu is a free agent after next season. Yanks would be wise to begin working to lock him up and not let him hit the free agent market.

The Nationals have opened some eyes with their two wins in Houston and the production from their left handed hitters has a lot to do with it.

As they elected to do so in the ALCS, Houston did not carry a left handed pitcher on their roster, preferring to go with an all right handed staff. It worked against the Yankees but it hasn’t worked vs. Washington so far.

Juan Soto, Adam Eaton and Asdrubal Cabrera (switch-hitter) are the Nats’ left handed bats and they have feasted on Houston’s righthanders, including the vaunted 1-2 punch of their starting rotation, Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander.

Soto is a superstar so he can hit a righty or a lefty, but Eaton’s numbers are vastly superior against the righties than they are vs. the lefthanders. Cabrera is much better from the left side than the right side.

That combination has produced at a .458 clip (11 for 24) with 2 HRS, 9 runs batted in and 6 runs scored.

The Nationals have won two games and Anthony Rendon is only 1 for 8, which could spell more trouble for the Astros if he gets going.

If Houston is to get back in this World Series, it starts with neutralizing their left handed bats a little better than they’ve done in the first two games.

Of course, they’ll need to get the clutch hits that have evaded them so far.

A good sign for the Astros is it looks like their young slugger, Yordan Alvarez, has started to come around. The Nats would be doing themselves a favor if they don’t allow the young left handed hitter to come up with men on base, where he could really do some damage.

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