May 21, 2013
Now that we’ve made it a quarter of the way through the MLB season we know a few things we thought at the start of the season are right (Texas is good, Houston is not) and a few are wrong (Boston is good, the Dodgers are not). So it’s time for the first power ranking post of the season.
1. Texas Rangers (29-16): It sure looks like they picked the right time to lets Josh Hamilton leave town.
3. Boston Red Sox (27-18): Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are a combined 12-1 so far.
4. St. Louis Cardinals (28-16): The Cards lead the majors in ERA.
5. Cincinnati Reds (27-18): The Reds are 16-6 at home, the best record in the majors.
6. Cleveland Indians (26-17): Five straight wins and 8-2 in the last 10 makes the Tribe the hottest team in baseball.
7. New York Yankees (28-16): Who would have thought they would be in first place without all of their injured stars?
8. Detroit Tigers (23-19): The Tigers have scored 20 more runs than their opponents this month but are just 8-9 to show for it.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates (26-18): Forget about finishing over .500…the Pirates are on pace to finish close to .600.
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (26-19): I don’t think anyone expected the Diamondbacks to be leading the NL West at this point.
11. Colorado Rockies (24-21): The Rockies are leading the majors in runs scored with 222.
13. San Francisco Giants (25-20): The defending champs are known for their pitching but their batting average ranks second in baseball.
15. Oakland A’s (24-22): The A’s are 24th in batting average, but 9th in getting on base. Why? They lead the majors in walks with 187.
17. Kansas City Royals (20-21): After a hot April (14-10) the Royals have cooled off.
18. San Diego Padres (21-23): San Diego has recovered from a 2-10 start. Can they keep it up?
21. Chicago Cubs (18-25): Matt Garza is finally back….and the Cubs need him to be great.
23. Minnesota Twins (18-23): After losing eight of the last ten, the Twins are in the AL Central cellar.
24. LA Angels (17-27): Here is the first of three teams battling it out for most disappointing team of the season.
25. New York Mets (17-25): Where would this team be without Matt Harvey?
26. Milwaukee Brewers (17-26): With the Astros moved to the American League, the Brewers are in danger of being the worst team in the NL Central.
27. Toronto Blue Jays (18-26): Toronto tried to fight fire with fire by signing big name free agents but so far they are getting burned.
28. LA Dodgers (18-25): The Dodgers by far the most disappointing team in the National League and maybe in all of baseball.
29. Miami Marlins (13-32): The Marlins have scored just 122 runs and are last in the majors. They are also last in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.
30. Houston Astros (13-32): The Astros have allowed a whopping 266 runs this season and are last in the majors. They are also last in ERA, quality starts and WHIP.
May 14, 2013
Don’t look now but the MLB regular season is already a quarter of the way over. Several superstars have yet to take the field (most reside in New York) and some teams have played themselves out of playoff contention already (I’m talking to you Houston and Miami). We’ve also got a few teams playing surprisingly well (speaking of New York) and some players off to red-hot starts (can John Buck keep this up?) Here are a few more observations on the season so far.
The A.L. East is upside down. Wasn’t this supposed to be the year that the division was open for the taking because the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t very good? And wasn’t Toronto going to be a strong contender with all the big names that went to Canada? So far New York and Boston are well over .500 and the Blue Jays are one of the worst teams in baseball.
The Angels and Dodgers also went all-in and signed some high-profile players but are underachieving big time so far. And not even switching leagues can help the lowly Astros. They are on pace for just 40 wins!
Is there a chance Miguel Cabrera could win back-to-back triple crowns? He’s leading in RBI, second in batting average and currently four home runs off the pace in the American League.
If the playoffs began today, the qualifiers in the American League would be the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox. Looks like all the usual suspects here. In the National League it would be the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals. No surprises here either. But with about 120 games to go only two teams are more than 10 games off the wild card pace so anything can happen.
Unless of course we’re talking about the Cubs. Anybody think they will break the curse this season? Me either. But one streak that should be coming to an end is in Pittsburgh. They may or may not get to the playoffs but the Pirates should be able to finish over .500 for the first time since 1992.
It’s no surprise that Miguel Cabrera is the best player in fantasy baseball so far but I didn’t even know who Matt Harvey or Jean Segura are before this year and they are the second and third best in fantasy.
Speaking of fantasy baseball, if any of you know B.J. Upton or David Price please let them know I could use some production for my team. Thanks.
April 12, 2013
Fame can be fleeting in baseball. MLB players who at one time enjoyed star status can suddenly find themselves yesterday’s news in a heartbeat.
For various reasons—age, injuries that take their toll and inexplicable performance drop-offs among them—players can quickly become bench players who have been passed by.
Here are five MLB players who could see their stars fizzle in the 2013 season.
1. David Ortiz: Boston Red Sox
At 37 years of age, Ortiz will attempt to bounce back from last year’s injury and again be a main contributor for the Red Sox as they attempt to recover from a miserable season. Whether or not Ortiz can fully recover remains to be seen, but with his advancing age it’s entirely possible that the 2013 season could be the year that his star finally begins to fizzle.
2. Paul Konerko: Chicago White Sox
Konerko will again be expected to deliver in the middle of the batting order for the White Sox in 2013. Whether or not he can continue to provide solid and consistent production at the age of 37 is in question. With numbers in decline over the past two seasons, that regression could continue.
3. Alfonso Soriano: Chicago Cubs
Now 37 years of age, Soriano will again be relied upon to supply power from the right side of the plate. As with the two players already displayed on this list, it’s entirely possible Soriano may have maxed out his performance last season.
4. Derek Jeter: New York Yankees
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has apparently fully recovered from the broken ankle suffered in Game 1 of last year’s ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. Jeter now ranks 11th all-time in MLB with 3,304 total hits and is preparing himself to continue his climb up the leaderboard.
The big question at this point is whether or not Jeter can reclaim his offensive mojo after a devastating injury late in his career. Considering the body of work he’s put forth up to this point, it would be foolhardy to bet against him. But it certainly remains a possibility.
5. Tommy Hanson: Los Angeles Angels
In some ways, 26-year-old Tommy Hanson is getting a fresh start with the Los Angeles Angels. The Atlanta Braves traded Hanson to the Angels over the offseason after he suffered through a sub-par 2012 campaign with reduced velocity.
Hanson will look to recover the jump on his fastball in Anaheim and rediscover the talent that led to him becoming a top pitching prospect for the Braves. It could be just a one-year audition for Hanson, and the Angels won’t hesitate to move on without him if he can’t deliver in 2013.
This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now, particularly Chicago sports. She works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class wooden bats for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Ally loves writing on different sports topics and is very grateful to be able to contribute here.
March 13, 2013
MLB’s Opening day is just a couple weeks away which means it’s time for my yearly ritual of predicting the six division winners and ensuring that those teams don’t have the season they are hoping for. What can I say? It’s a gift. So let’s get on with it.
It’s gotta be now or never for the Blue Jays right? The Red Sox aren’t going to make a 25-win improvement over last season and the Yankees have been ravaged with injuries. The division door is wide open and Toronto has added several star players. Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, R.A. Dickey and Melky Cabrera should be able to help the Blue Jays to the top in the A.L. East.
It almost feels like cheating to pick the team that won it last year. Almost. The Tigers ought to be a hungry bunch after losing in the World Series last year. They may have the best hitter and pitcher in baseball in triple-crown winner Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. And I don’t see anyone else in the Central making a run at 90 wins.
In 2012, the Oakland A’s surprised everyone and stole the title from the Rangers. Now it’s the Angels that everyone thinks will take the title after they recruited one of the biggest stars in Texas, Josh Hamilton. Adding Hamilton to a lineup with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols makes the Angels scary, but I’m going with another surprise in the West and taking the Rangers.
Everyone in Washington is left wondering “what if” after the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg at the end of the season and then collapsed in the playoffs. They’ll have a chance to redeem themselves this October after taking the N.L. East crown. Atlanta will fight them to the end and the Phillies won’t go quietly, but the Nats are the best overall team right now.
With all the injuries in St. Louis, this looks like the Reds’ division to lose. They won 97 games in 2012 and added a dynamic player in Shin-Soo Choo. Plus…The Astros are gone. The Cubs are the Cubs. The Pirates are still trying to find a way to finish above. 500. So I guess that leaves Milwaukee. Can the Brewers make a run at Cincinnati? It will depend on what they can get from the starting rotation.
This will be the most interesting race I believe. There is a young up-and-coming team in Arizona; the defending world champs in San Francisco and the new Yankees in Los Angeles. The Diamondbacks are probably another year away and the Giants appear to be out-manned by the All-Stars the Dodgers brought in to win last year. A full season with guys like Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez and the addition of Zack Greinke make L.A. the pick.
October 18, 2012
At the beginning of each MLB season, prognosticators and experts alike make their picks as to the teams that are expected to compete for the postseason. Division winners are selected along with possible World Series contenders.
In 2012, several teams that were thought to be worthy of playoff contention have fallen far short of the mark. Here is a look at five of those teams.
1. Boston Red Sox
After an epic collapse last September that saw them miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season, the Boston Red Sox were expected to bounce back and be in the playoff mix and in the hunt for an AL East Division title.
However, nothing gelled for the Red Sox, and they now find themselves looking at their first losing season since 1997. GM Ben Cherington has already hit the reset button, trading Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for James Loney and a package of prospects.
2. Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels are on the outside looking in at the playoffs. For a team that spent $317.5 million with the signings of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels weren’t just expected to compete, they were largely expected to win and win big.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies had captured five straight NL East titles heading into the 2012 season—that rein of success will come to an end.
The Phillies jettisoned several players (Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Hunter Pence) as GM Ruben Amaro looks to restructure his team for the future. Injuries took a toll as well, with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz all missing significant time.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
After being the surprise team of the National League and capturing the NL West title last season, many expected the Arizona Diamondbacks to be dominant once again in 2012.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Injuries to pitcher Dan Hudson and shortstop Stephen Drew, along with a pitching staff that largely underperformed, didn’t help the Diamondbacks’ case this season.
5. Miami Marlins
A new team logo, new uniforms, new stadium, new manager and several new players led to tremendous excitement in South Florida for the Miami Marlins as they entered the 2012 season.
However, despite the additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, the Marlins never quite got on track. The Marlins have alreadybegun moving pieces (Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Randy Choate, Anibal Sanchez) as they lick their wounds and ponder their future.
This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now, particularly Chicago sports. She works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class custom wood bats for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Ally loves writing on different sports topics and is very grateful to be able to contribute here.