Category: Javier Vazquez

The MLB’s Latino Decade Team: The 2000’s


pujols.jpgThe 2000’s are heading into history.

As in all sports, fans love to know the opinion of who were the best players of the decade.

As Barry Bonds was the man in the 1990’s, this decade was all property of Albert Pujols.

“El Hombre” from the St. Louis Cardinals his offensive numbers made all the talking hitting every year for at least a .300 average, 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in.

He was as good as a hitter, defensively as a first baseman and as a ball player off-the-field that it was a no brainer was MLB’s Player of the Decade.

Both The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated agreed with the latter.

Pujols was the king of the diamonds but there were other bunch of player that excels to their best through the decade.

Only Latino great names from the best of the best of the decade of the 1990’s around major league baseball are Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and Omar Vizquel. Very possibly the duo will be future shoo-ins into the Hall of Fame.

Long gone are those great from the 90’s as Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Bernie Williams.

There is a great possibility Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martinez will be getting next January their enshrinement into Cooperstown.

As we are approaching the 2010’s this is a good time to select the All-Decade Latino Team for the 2000’s.

Our MLB’s Latino Decade Team 2000-2009:
C-Jorge Posada
1B-Albert Pujols
2B-Placido Polanco
3B-Alex Rodríguez
SS-Miguel Tejada
OF-Carlos Beltrán
OF-Vladimir Guerrero
OF-Manny Ramírez
SP: Bartolo Colón, Liván Hernández, Pedro Martínez, Johan Santana, Javier Vázquez
RP: Mariano Rivera

 

Who’s Next 300-Win in the Majors ?


Days ago Randy Johnson was the happiest man wondering around in the Giants clubhouse in Miami. The ‘Big Unit’ have a good reason why. A week ago he became the 24th pitcher to reach one of baseball’s most revered milestones. Join the 300-win club.

“It’s been a long road,”Johnson said. “I guess the one word that would sum it all up is that I’ve persevered”.

Johnson (5-5) became the sixth left-hander to win 300 games, and the first to do it on his first try against the Washington Nationals since Tom Seaver in 1985.

The towering 6’10” hurler now is in the history books but now the immediate question is who’s next? Whom can we forecast is able to be ready for another long road and in time be number 25.

The closest active pitchers at this moment are Phillies’ Jamie Moyer (250 wins) and Yankees’ Andy Pettite (220 wins). Both will not. Moyer is 46 year-old and Pettite have express in numerous occasions this is his last season in the Majors.

Could be a latino? It could be but remember Johnson’s words “is a long road”. And not easy. Dennis Martínez in 23 seasons won 245 games. Hall of Famer Juan Marichal in 16 seasons won 243. Luis Tiant in 19 seasons won 229. The recently retired Pedro Martínez won 214.

Bartolo Colón, 36, and Liván Hernández, 34, both at this moment with 153 career wins are down hill in their careers. Local Javier Vázquez,33, have 131 career wins but have never had a 20-win season.

Most possible. Maybe. Johan Santana and Carlos Zambrano. Both are 30 years-old and with over 100 career wins. Both are young and if healthy can go at least 10 more seasons. However, at least they have to average 18 wins a season. And after that stay healthy enough to try to complete the mission.

Does Johnson was the last of the 300-win plateau club? It’s no easy task but only time will tell.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary

Boricuas As Cold As Ice in the Majors


beltran 2.jpg

Two months of the 2009 Major League Baseball season are in the books and the first phrase that comes to my mind is the much famous local enquiry que pasa boricua ?

Over 50 games have been played and it is very difficult to find much names of our local stars in the top of the hitting and pitching statistics charts. By now it is well known that golden years of such past as future hall of famers Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martínez and others such as Bernie Williams, Juan González, Rubén Sierra, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Javier López and many others are all gone however we ponder sometimes what’s happening with the current crop.

It is very feasible we are concern with the health of Carlos Delgado and when he will come back to play with the New York Mets or as many are following very closely Ivan Rodriguez probable last ride in the Majors with the Houston Astros.  It is very genuine they have a huge army of baseball fans watching them day to day but we much need as a pueblo a little more than nostalgia. We also want to see our ballplayers be hot.

If we were going to call this date this season Puerto Rico’s MVP in the Majors it should be Carlos Beltrán. The New York Met outfielder  is top among the best hitters in the National League and among the best in other three offensive categories. His over .340 average constant pace have kept him at the top among the first five batters in the old circuit with fellow latino Albert Pujols and Miguel Tejada in his tail.

If the Manati native continues his hitting stride there is a good chance it can be seen the first Puerto Rican to win a batting title in the Majors since 1998. That year Yankees’ Bernie Williams hit .339 to win the American League batting crown. Before him was Edgar Martinez with the Seattle Mariners who won the batting champion crowns in 1992 and 1995. The last boricua to win it in the National League was the late Roberto Clemente with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967. His last of four batting titles.

In the National League other only fellow natives that truly are standing out at this moment of time are D’ Backs second baseman Felipe Lopez and brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina of the Giants and Cardinals respectively.

In the American League no boricua is among the top ten in any offensive category however the leader of the pack exceeding many of the expectations that were written for him this season is Mike Lowell. Many in Boston were not completely sure if he was going to be fully recover from his medical procedure from last season. Lowell missed post-season action and underwent arthroscopic surgery last October 20 to repair his right hip which was said  at the time to be a complete success.

At this moment, the Red Sox third baseman is hitting so well for average and power and playing again as a gold glover that he is a strong candidate for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Other islander that is starting to wake up offensively lately is Blue Jays’ Alexis Rios.

Among hurlers, best news so far among leaders in the National League are Javier Vazquez (Atlanta Braves), Kiko Calero (Florida Marlins) and Pedro Feliciano (New York Mets). Let’s keep a watch on Joel Piñeiro that if he continues his course could be a strong candidate for National League Comeback Player of the Year.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary