My 2013 CMA Awards Predictions

My vote would’ve gone to the selection of each category in bold.

Entertainer of the Year:
Blake Shelton
George Strait
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Taylor Swift

Single of the Year:
Cruise – Florida Georgia Line. Republic Nashville.
Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift & Keith Urban. Big Machine Records.
Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert. RCA Nashville.
Merry Go Round – Kacey Musgraves. Mercury Records.
Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker. Capital Records Nashville.

Album of the Year:
Based on a True Story – Blake Shelton. Warner Bros. Nashville.
Blown Away – Carrie Underwood. Artista Nashville.
Red – Taylor Swift. Big Machine Records.
Same Trailer Different Park – Kacey Musgraves. Mercury Records.
Tornado – Little Big Town. Capital Records Nashville.

Song of the Year:
I Drive Your Truck – Written by: Jesi Alexander, Connie Harrington & Jimmy Yeary. Performed by: Lee Brice.
Mama’s Broken Heart – Written by: Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves. Performed by: Miranda Lambert.
Merry Go Round – Written by: Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne. Performed by: Kacey Musgraves.
Pontoon – Written by: Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby & Luke Laird. Performed by: Little Big Town.
Wagon Wheel – Written by: Bob Dylan & Ketch Secor. Performed by: Darius Rucker.

Female Vocalist of the Year:
Carrie Underwood
Kacey Musgraves
Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Taylor Swift

Male Vocalist of the Year:
Blake Shelton
Eric Church
Jason Aldean
Keith Urban
Luke Bryan

Vocal Group of the Year:
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year:
Big & Rich
Florida Georgia Line
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

Musical Event of the Year:
Boys Round Here – Blake Shelton Feat. Pistol Annies
Cruise – Florida Georgia Line with Nelly
Don’t Rush – Kelly Clarkson Feat. Vince Gill
Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
The Only Way I Know – Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan and Eric Church

Musician of the Year:
Brent Mason – Guitar
Dann Huff – Guitar
Mac McAnally – Guitar
Paul Franklin – Steel Guitar
Sam Bush – Mandolin

Music Video of the Year:
Blown Away – Carrie Underwood. Directed by: Randee St. Nicholas.
Boys Round Here – Blake Shelton Feat. Pistol Annies. Directed by: Trey Fanjoy.
Downtown – Lady Antebellum. Directed by: Peter Zavadill.
Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift & Keith Urban. Directed by: Shane Drake.
Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert. Directed by: Trey Fanjoy.
Tornado – Little Big Town. Directed by: Shane Drake.

New Artist of the Year:
Brent Eldredge
Florida Georgia Line
Kacey Musgraves
Kip Moore
Lee Brice

Thoughts:
Entertainer of the Year selection came down to Blake Shelton vs. Luke Bryan. Ultimately I chose Shelton due to his role on The Voice.

Cruise for Single of the Year was one of the easiest decisions for me.  However if someone made an argument for Merry Go Round I would not fight it.

Same Trailer Different Park from Kacey Musgraves is an incredible album.  From top to bottom I gave it the edge of Blown Away.

Song of the Year was probably the toughest decision for me to make.  I Drive Your Truck, Merry Go Round and Wagon Wheel are all favorites of mine.  I Drive Your Truck is my dark horse that could win this category due to the great story it tells.

Female Vocalist of the Year was a tight race as well.  I ultimately decided I like what I’ve heard this year from Carrie Underwood the most.  I’ll admit a little celebrity crush bias might have played into this decision though….

Luke Bryan was my gut decision for Male Vocalist of the Year, but the more I think about it the more my mind starts trying to sway me to each of the other candidates.  So I’ll stop trying to sway myself and go with my which of the group sounded best right away.

Last year the Vocal Group of the Year category would have been much tougher, but when I think about what has happened in just the past year I liked The Band Perry here by a long shot.

What do you get when you throw together three the most popular country music male talents for one song.  The Only Way I Know getting my vote for Musical Event of the Year.

The music video for Blown Away I felt like was superior to the others in the Music Video of the Year category.

Just like all the other categories, New Artist of the Year had a lot of worthy candidates.  Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves are two new favorites of mine, but it is hard to argue with Florida Georgia Line’s success this year.

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Very Veryyy Early Interesting MLB Pitching Statistics Dump

Met RHP Matt Harvey and Red Sox Clay Buchholz are tied for the MLB lead with 4 wins each.  Astros RHP Philip Humber leads the MLB in losses with 4.  Giants RHP Sergio Romo has the MLB lead with 8 saves.

Buchholz has pitched 30 innings to lead the MLB.  He pitched 7 innings in each of his first two starts.  Then he pitched 8 innings in each of his third and fourth starts.

Tigers RHP Max Scherzer leads all innings qualified pitchers with at a 14.21 strikeouts per nine innings rate.  Twins RHP Kevin Correia, 3.38 K/9, is the lowest.  Correia’s has a 2.95 earned run average.  Scherzer has a 2.84 ERA.

Giants RHP Tim Lincecum so far has walked 5.56 batters per nine innings, the highest rate in the MLB.  Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (29ip) and Athletics RHP Bartolo Colon (19ip) each have not walked a batter in 2013.

Twins RHP Vance Worley has allowed the worst batting average on balls in play, .403, among innings qualified pitchers.  He has a career .316 BABIP allowed.  Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma has allowed a MLB low .119 BABIP, so far in 2013.

Athletics LHP Brett Anderson has generated the highest ground ball rate, 65.5 percent, among innings qualified pitchers.  Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen, 29.7 percent, has the lowest rate.

Clay Buchholz and Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler each have a 0.90 ERA, tied for the lowest among innings qualified pitchers.  Padres RHP Edinson Volquez’s 8.84 ERA is the highest.

Adam Wainwright has the highest wins above replacement, 1.5, for a pitcher so far in 2013.

In 18.2 innings in 2013 Rays RHP Roberto Hernandez (Formerly Fausto Carmona)  has intentionally walked 3 hitters to lead the MLB.  He only intentionally walked 3 hitters in 659.1 innings pitched, 114 games, between 2008 and 2012.

Edinson Volquez has leads the MLB with 5 wild pitches.

Tigers RHP Justin Verlander has thrown 439 pitches, the most so far in 2013.

Ross Detwiler has thrown a fastball 92.5 percent of the time so far in 2013, to lead innings qualified pitchers.  Outside of Blue Jays knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey, Rangers RHP Yu Darvish has thrown the fewest percentage of fastballs, 30.6 percent.

Among innings qualified pitchers Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg has averaged the fastest fastball, 95.7 miles per hour. When you include relievers, basically anyone who’s pitched in 2013, Cardinals RHP Trevor Rosenthal has the highest average fastball velocity at 97.7mph.

Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman’s average fastball has dipped year of his career so far and the trend has continued into 2013.

  • 2010:  99.6 mph. 15 games.
  • 2011:  98.1 mph. 54 games.
  • 2012:  98.0 mph. 68 games.
  • 2013:  97.1 mph. 10 games.

The two lowest average fastball velocities in the MLB among innings qualified pitchers, are both on the Blue Jays.  R.A. Dickey’s fastball has averaged 82.2 mph and LHP Mark Buehrle’s has averaged 84.7 mph.

Batters have swung at 39.3 percent of Adam Wainwright’s pitches outside the zone so far in 2013, to lead all innings qualified pitchers. Also among innings qualified pitchers, hitters have been most patient hitting off of Diamondbacks RHP Trevor Cahill, swinging at only 37.1 percent of his total pitches.

Hitters have only made contact on 61.7 percent of Red Sox RHP Ryan Dempster’s pitches so far in 2013, the lowest rate among innings qualified pitchers.

Cardinals rookie RHP Shelby Miller has thrown a first pitch strike 73.2 percent of the time, to lead the MLB.  Batters have a .768 On-base plus slugging after Miller starts a plate appearance with a ball so far in 2013.  When he starts the count with a first pitch strike batters only have a .404 OPS.  Padres RHP Jason Marquis has started with a first pitch strike only 46.3 percent of the time, the lowest percentage in the MLB.

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Source:  Fangraphs & Baseball-Reference.  Stats as of Sun. April 21, 2013 4:18 AM ET

Very Veryyy Early Interesting MLB Hitting Statistics Dump

Two Tigers outfielders, Tori Hunter and Austin Jackson lead the MLB with 24 hits each.

Braves OF, Justin Upton leads the MLB with 8 home runs. He didn’t hit his first home run of the season in 2012, until April 23.  It took him 365 plate appearances and until July 20, to hit his eighth home run in 2012.  He currently sits at 57 PA for the 2013 season.

Mets catcher, John Buck is doing his best to try to keep prospect Travis d’Arnaud in the minors.  Buck is tied for MLB lead with 19 runs batted in.  He had 18 RBI last season through June 26.  So in terms of batting runners home he is about 41 games ahead of his 2012 pace in Miami.  Buck also already has 6 home runs, a plateau he did not reach until June 24 last season.

Reds 1B, Joey Votto has walked in 1/3 of his 63 plate appearances in 2013.  Votto did not qualify for the batting title in 2012 due to injuries, but among players with at least 450 PA in 2012 Joey Votto led the MLB with a 19.3 percent walk rate.

Starlin Castro has had 58 plate appearances in 2013 and walked ZERO times.

Braves 3B, Chris Johnson leads the MLB with a .500 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play).  Braves OF, Jason Heyward has the second worst BABIP among qualified players sitting at .091.

Two players in the MLB currently have a .500 On-base percentage, or better.  They are Joey Voto with a .556 OBP and Lance Berkman with a .500 OBP.

The best fielder in the MLB thus far has been Matt Dominguez according to the fielding leaderboard on Fangraphs.  For what it’s worth, I will say that defensive sabermetrics are something I do not completely buy into.  However it is hard to argue against the fact that the same leader board rates Ryan Zimmerman and Shin-Soo Choo as the worst two fielders in the majors thus far in 2013.

Speaking of Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, he has been hit by seven pitches already in 2013.  No team, other than Choo’s team the Reds, has been hit more than seven times as a whole.

Royals 2B Chris Getz, has seen the highest percentage of pitches being fastballs, 76.1 percent, in the MLB.  Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez, has seen the lowest percentage of pitches being fastballs, 39.9 percent, in the MLB.

Reds 1B Joey Votto, has swung the bat on pitches outside of the zone 13 percent of the time, the lowest rate in the MLB.  Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval, has swung at 46.9 percent of pitches outside the zone, the highest rate in the MLB.  Overall Sandoval is swinging the bat at 60.6 percent of the pitches he has seen, also the highest rate in the MLB.  Mets OF Lucas Duda, beats Voto here, in terms of swinging at the least percentage of pitches seen – 29.9 percent.

Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Brewers OF Carlos Gomez each have been in a 0-1 count at the highest rate in the MLB, each seeing a first pitch strike 76.1 percent of the time.

Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez has a 19.7 percent swinging strike percentage to lead the MLB.  And maybe the statistic that sticks out to me most in this whole post is the fact that in 51 plate appearances in 2013 Marlins 3B, Placido Polanco, has a swinging strike percentage of 0.0 percent, according to Fangraphs.  This is just phenomenal bat control, and even though it really sticks out to me I am going to trust Fangraphs is right, like usual.  I mean that is just crazy to think about, he has seen 176 pitches in 2013 against some of the best pitchers on the planet and he has not swung and missed at any of those pitches.

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Source:  Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference. Stats through April 17, 2013 games.