Mark was kind enough to answer ten questions about the Yankees, stats, and more for us!
BC: A.J. Burnett, do you think there is any chance that he improves, or will he continue to decline?
MS: I think he's going to have a better year in 2012. The advanced stats seem to indicate that he pitched a little better than his final numbers showed and was hurt by a high rate of fly balls that became home runs.
How about a 4.30 ERA and 15 really good starts (there will still be a few bad ones)? Could you live with that?
BC: Who do you think should have won the main MLB Awards this season?
MS: In my mock ballot, I voted Ellsbury and Kemp for MVP, but I had Verlander third and Braun second (and I switched late from Braun to Kemp), so I wasn't terribly bothered by it. Kemp's season was statistically ridiculous, barely-precedented (the next-best thing to unprecedented)
I was a match for what the writers voted for the other awards (Cy, Rookie), though I think the best AL rookies for the long term will probably be Brett Lawrie and Dustin Ackley.
BC: Who do you think is the greatest MLB player of all-time is?
MS: I'm going to say Willie Mays, since he's the five-tool standard setter (and my dad's all-time favorite player, so I'm biased). I'll put Babe Ruth second and Hank Aaron third, but I have no issue with anyone who flips the three of them in whatever order they wish.
I just went to Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs to look at the best players by WAR spanning my lifetime (I was born in 1975)...my gut would have said something like Bonds, Pujols, A-Rod, Griffey Jr...was very surprised that Griffey's career WAR is a match for Bagwell. I think Pujols will end up being the best of my lifetime.
Thanks again to Mark Simon for the answers!