MLB Preview: AL Central

AL Central

I saved this division for last because it’s the division that I know and love. The AL Central has been more like the AL Comedy Central for the past couple of years. This year will be a little bit different, but this is not an elite division in any way. Almost all of the teams added some pieces to improve their teams and this division should be somewhat competitive this year.

1. Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have the best team in the AL Central and they have the best team in the American League. The Tigers only have one hole, closer. This hole will either be filled with a closer by committee or one of multiple candidates in Bruce Rondon, Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Al Alberquerque, Phil Coke or Bryan Villareal. If the Tigers can make a trade to get a closer or one of these step up into the role and flourishes, this team does not have a glaring flaw. This team has the past two MVP’s on its team in Cabrera and Verlander, and the best pitching staff in the AL. All of those names I listed above could be a potential closer for the Tigers so they have depth in the bullpen. Their lineup is strong batters 1-9. The defense of this team in the outfield is vastly improved with the addition of Torii Hunter to roam the canyon known at right field and right-center in Comerica Park. The pitching in this division is weak and the lineups won’t keep pitchers up at night. The Detroit Tigers have the best line up and the best rotation in this division by a pretty good margin. The Detroit Tigers should win this division and make a deep run into the postseason.

2. Chicago White Sox

I think the Chicago White Sox is the only team not to make a substantial change their lineup from last season. The only additions to the starting lineup are Jeff Keppinger and Tyler Flowers. Unless the White Sox have some injury troubles or the wheels completely fall off of some of their players, I think the White Sox will do the same thing that they did last year. The White Sox are a solid team. They have a balanced lineup and a solid pitching staff with a solid bullpen. The loss of Pierzynski to the Rangers hurts this team and will probably cost this team a game or two by the end of the season, but I expect the White Sox to end up in the same place that they did last year: 2nd in the AL Central and outside of the playoffs.

3. Cleveland Indians

The Tribe added some pieces this year which could make things a little bit interesting for the first 80 games or so for the AL Central. The Indians have come out in the first half of the year and set the world on fire for the past couple of years and then fallen off of a cliff in the second half. I see more of the same this year for Chief Wahoo’s tribe. The Indians made nice improvements in the managerial role with Francona, and then in their roster with Michael Bourn (one of the best offseason signings for any team in baseball), Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Ryan Raburn. (Okay, that last one may have had some sarcasm, and yes, it’s spelled Raburn, not Rayburn.) The Indians also have some nice pieces in Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Michael Brantley. This lineup will strike out a ton, but it will be explosive at times. The problem with the Indians is that they have no starting pitching. Ubaldo Jiminez’s arm is dead due to his time in Colorado. Justin Masterson has a career ERA over 4.00 and was at 4.93. Brett Myers and Carlos Carrasco are not good pitchers and I have never heard of Zach McAllister. This pitching staff will give up a boatload of runs this year. If the Indians can get a lead to Pestano and Perez late in the game for the Indians, they will win some games. The Indians have some pieces and may be players in July, but they fill fade down the stretch once again.

4. Kansas City Royals

I have no faith in the Kansas City Royals. A lot of people have jumped on the Royals’ bandwagon this offseason with the addition of “Big Game” James Shields and Wade Davis to the rotation and that bandwagon will be full when the Royals get out to a hot start like they normally do. The Tampa Bay Rays don’t just trade away quality talent and get nothing back for it. Tampa was the big winner in that trade. The Royals also added Ervin Santana to the rotation. It is going to be funny when Bruce Chen has the best year of anyone on this staff. Somehow, “Cy” Chen just pitches well. Besides Shields and Chen, the Royals have 3 #5 starters in Davis, Santana and Guthrie who won’t pull out another career revival miracle like he did last year in Baltimore. Now let’s look at the Royals’ lineup. A lot of people think that this is the year that all of the prospects develop and come into their own. I just don’t see it. Hosmer, Butler, and others will continue to develop, but I just don’t see the Royals coming out and winning the games needed to win this division. Someone give me a real reason with facts that shows me that the Royals will win this division. I don’t see anyone on this team that will step up enough to win this division and the Royals will not need just one player to step up like this, they will need a full team to step it up. I see the Royals ending up in the same place that they normally do in the AL Central, toward the bottom.

5. Minnesota Twins

The Twins have some nice pieces in their system. I have a serious man crush on Joe Mauer and I’m not afraid to say it. He just hits and hits and hits and hits. If Josh Willingham can put up numbers even close to what he did last year, the Twins may have something going. I like Trevor Plouffe who has massive power if he can just keep making contact with the ball and stop the streaks where he can’t hit a beach ball. Justin Morneau has not been the same player since suffering a concussion a couple of years ago. The Twins normally put together some scrappy lineups and that is what they are going to have to do this year. The Twins will have trouble scoring runs if they do not get scrappiness from this lineup. Another problem for this team is the fact that Vance Worley is the ace of this staff. After that, the Twins don’t really have a pitching staff behind him. The Twins were known for developing pitchers who throw a lot of strikes and are usually successful. The past couple of seasons those pitchers have not been developed by the Twinkies. This team has a few good pieces, but they are not going to be a good team this year. 

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MLB Preview: AL East

AL East

This is the most wide open division in baseball. Each team in this division could finish first or last and I am going to surprise people by going against what a lot of the experts are saying. The Blue Jays did a lot this offseason to make them the favorites for a lot of people. I am not one of those people. I see the Blue Jays having the same chance to finish first and last as everybody else in this division. This division will come down to the health of the teams. Whichever team stays the healthiest over the season will win the division.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

I really like how Tampa looks this season. Joe Maddon will have Tampa play the way that they need to win a division. Evan Longoria was hurt last season which crushed Tampa’s playoff hopes. When he returned, Tampa made a late run at the postseason, but came up short. With Longoria healthy, Tampa flat out wins games. Looking at this lineup, it doesn’t knock your socks off, but the Rays are the best team in baseball at manufacturing runs. The Rays have Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi who they stole from the Royals in the minor leagues which could end up with the team this year. This team is also a very Tampa Bay like team because of their pitching. David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, and Jeff Neimann may post the lowest ERA in baseball this season. The Rays bullpen also is fantastic featuring Rodney, McGee, Farnsworth, and Peralta. I like the Rays this season to win the East and shock a lot of people around baseball. 

2. Boston Red Sox

Boston is a completely different team than they were last year. This team SHOULD have a completely different attitude. I put should in all caps there because some players think since they’re in Boston, wins will be given to them or they get mesmerized by Fenway Park. I am not sold on Ryan Dempster for the Red Sox, but I think that Lester, Buckholz, and Lackey will have bounce back seasons. This team overpaid for free agents this offseason with Dempster, Drew, Napoli, and Victorino and I think those guys will make some nice contributions to this team. This team will be improved a lot from last season and will surprise people in the AL East. The success of this team will start with pitching and then the mainstays in the Boston lineup of Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Ortiz will lead a charge that could end with a postseason berth for the Red Sox.

3. Baltimore Orioles

Buck Showalter’s magic may be over in Baltimore. Since he took over in Baltimore, the Orioles are 196-185 which is an improvement over past Baltimore teams. I do not think that Baltimore can repeat the magic that they had last year. The magic of the Orioles last year came from timely hitting and key pitching. The Orioles would need all of their players like Markakis, Robers, Davis, McClouth, Jones, Wieters, Machado, and Hardy to step up at key times. The strength of the Orioles last year was their bullpen. I doubt O’Day, Strop, and Jim Johnson will have the sparkling season that they did last year. Is it possible for the Orioles to repeat what they did last year? Yes there is a possibility. If they did it once, they can do it again, but I just don’t see the magic for these Orioles.

4. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays did a lot this offseason with the acquisitions of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Burlhe, Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes, and Emilio Bonifacio. This adds to a roster that already has Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus, Brett Lowrie, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero. This team looks like they are going to be really good. I just don’t have a good feeling about this team. My main problem with this team is that none of these players (outside of Burlhe) have ever won anything. These guys just don’t know how to win. If a super-team with Reyes, Johnson, Bonifacio, Burlhe, Giancarlo Stanton (the equivalent to Jose Bautista), and Hanley Ramirez did not work in Miami last season, why would it work in Toronto? I just feel that the Jays have all of the potential but it will lead to disappointment and another year out of the playoffs.

5. New York Yankees

The Yankees are not the same Bronx Bombers that they used to be. I think they will start out in hole that they can’t quite dig themselves out of. There are just too hurt to start out the season. Granderson, Teixeira, and Rodriguez will start the season on the DL and there is no guarantee that Jeter will not join that list. On top of starting the season on the DL, Granderson and Teixeira are notoriously slow starters which mean this team may not get on track until June. Robinson Cano will do what he can to help this team out and if the Yankees make the postseason by winning the division or the Wild Card, he will probably be the AL MVP. The Yankees do not have a pitching staff to write home about either. Sabbathia is a very good regular season pitcher, but may not get a chance to fall apart in the playoffs. Kuroda, Petitte, Nova, and Hughes are not pitchers that will dominate teams. There is no guarantee that Mariano Rivera will be the same pitcher that he was before the injury. The Yankees will need to score plenty of runs to be successful, and I just don’t see it with this lineup.

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MLB Preview: AL West

AL West

The AL West is a very interesting division. This division is not all that is hyped up to be. Looking at these rosters, this division does not blow me away. The records of these teams may be a little inflated because they can beat up on each other and pick up some cheap wins. The Angels, A’s and Rangers all have a legitimate shot at winning this division (sorry Mariners and Astros fans). The Houston Astros were added to this division which made a lot of people in the AL happy and upset a lot of people in the NL because Houston is one of the worst teams in baseball. This is a division of adjustments. Whoever makes the adjustments to fill the roles that they lost and the new players step up on their new teams will win this division.

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels may actually have the easiest road to the playoffs this season. Their lineup is too loaded not to score runs. I don’t think that Mike Trout will put up the same numbers that he did last year, probably not even close. Trout did things last year that seemed video game like and he probably won’t repeat it, but the Angels won’t need Mike Trout to put up the same numbers. Albert Pujols will have a very nice bounce back year now that he is settled into LA. Josh Hamilton is a wild card, but I think he will put up solid numbers. Aybar and Kendrick make up a very solid middle of the infield and Mark Trumbo may hurt people this year if a ball off of his bat hits someone. The shortcoming of the Angels will be their pitching. Weaver is a very good pitcher, but after that, I do not trust anybody on that staff. CJ Wilson is very hit or miss, Tommy Hanson has had problems in the past, Joe Blanton is hit or miss, and Justin Vargas gives up a pretty good amount of runs. This staff is made up of a very good pitcher and pitchers that can be very good, very bad, but mostly middle of the road. The bullpen for the Angels had its problems last year, and they did not do much to improve it. The Angels are the most complete team in the AL West, but this is because the West does not have a truly complete team. I think the Angels take the division, but they are not best team in baseball; they may not even be the best team in Los Angeles.

2. Oakland Athletics

Go ahead and call me a Moneyball slappie, because you’re right. The A’s are one of the biggest hit or miss teams in baseball. The A’s either win 90+ games or win 70. They don’t really play between those win totals and they normally in 90 when they’re projected to win 70 and 70 when they’re projected to win 90. The A’s do it with pitching, and pitching with people you have never heard of before they shut you out. The A’s will need to get production from a full team of Moneyball men if the A’s want to reach the playoffs again. Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Coco Crisp need to supply a lot of offense if the A’s want to make another run at an AL West Championship and into the postseason. I think the A’s take advantage of a down year in the AL West, but I don’t think they pull out a division crown again.

3. Texas Rangers

This is not the same Texas Rangers team that went to two straight World Series, not even close. The Rangers no longer have Josh Hamilton in that outfield and he was replaced by a combination of Daniel Murphy and Leonys Martin. The Rangers also let Michael Young go in a trade. The Rangers made a nice addition in Lance Berkman to step into the DH role and spotlight at first base, but there is no guarantee that Berkman plays to the same level as he did with the Cardinals before his injury. The Rangers have nice pieces in Beltre, Cruz, Kinsler, Andrus, and Pierzynski. They also have two of the best hitting prospects in the game in their system in Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar. The Rangers will score runs like they always do, but not enough to make up for their pitching shortcomings and not as many as they have in their playoff years. The Rangers just do not have the pitching to win this division. I cannot trust a team that that calls Derek Holland its ace. Yu Darvis is not going to have as nice of a season as he did last year as more players figure him out in his second year in the MLB. Alexi Ogando is the dark horse in this staff if he can stay healthy. The Rangers bullpen also took some hits as Mike Adams is now in Philadelphia. Joe Nathan is a quality closer, but how many games will he get to save if the rest of the pitching staff gives up a boatload of runs? I think the Rangers will be at home watching the playoffs this upcoming October.

4. Seattle Mariners

Phil Humber pitched a perfect game against the Mariners last year. I think that has everything you need to know about the Mariners lineup in a nutshell. This lineup is not as bad as it was last year, but it will have its struggles. I like some of the young pieces that the Mariners have in Smoak, Seager, Ackley, Ryan, and Montero and the addition of Morse should help this lineup out, but this is not a lineup that will drop a bunch of runs on a team. This pitching staff always seems to be solid with King Felix at the top of the rotation. Safeco field helps out this pitching staff, but this team just seems to produce pitching. If the Mariners can score some runs, this team could really compete and make things interesting.

5. Houston Astros

The Astros have the same chance of winning this division as Jose Altuve dunking a basketball on LeBron James. Yeah, that was a cheap shot. Where do you want to start? The pitching staff is aced by Bud Norris who is 28-37 in his career with a 4.42 ERA. This is a staff that also features Phil Humber, the man who threw a perfect game against the Mariners and then ended up in the bullpen after imploding for the White Sox. The best news for him is he gets to see Seattle more now that he is with an AL West team. This team has a bullpen of with pitchers that I cannot name without looking at a depth chart. Jose Altuve is the lone bright spot in this lineup with Carlos Pena and a bunch of players that could make up the cast of the movie Major League. The Astros aren’t going to recreate the magic of Major League and will end up trying not to have the most losses in the MLB this year. 

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MLB Preview: NL East

NL East

This is the most interesting division in the NL. There are three teams that have the potential to win this division in the Nationals, Phillies, and Braves. All three have very nice pitching staffs and lineups. Any of these three teams could make a deep run into the playoffs. This also may be the first division to send three teams to the playoffs because of the new playoff system with two Wild Card teams. All of these teams will in their fair share of games, it will be who can limit the losing streaks who will win this division. Finally there is health. The one thing that cannot be predicted over a season is the health of the teams. The team that will probably win this division will be the healthiest.

1. Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals showed last year that they were a quality young team. I do not feel like the Nationals will run away with a playoff spot like they did last year and win 98 games.  Some players had career years last year like Gio Gonzales, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond. Those players may not have as good of a year, but other players like Strasburg, both of the Zimmermans, Haren, Detwiler, Harper, and Werth could very well step up and match those numbers. The Nationals just have too many players that are just good and they will take care of business in the NL East.

2. Philadelphia Phillies

I have always had a soft spot for the Phillies because of 3 simple reasons: Halladay, Hamels, and Lee. It is tough to keep the Phillies on a losing streak because of these three. The Phillies are also healthier this year than they have been as Utley is getting healthy again. Ryan Howard has had more time to come from shattering an ankle. Jimmy Rollins has had a couple of down years after putting up MVP caliber numbers a few years ago. The addition of Michael Young who is will be around 200 hits per year which will put people on base for Utley and Howard. The Phillies have a very nice lineup, a quality rotation, and a strong bullpen. This Phillies team will be closer to the Phillies teams that made deep runs in the postseason if they can stay healthy. If they get hurt, they will end up on the at home this October. The Phillies just have a nice team and I think they will find themselves back in the postseason this year.

3. Atlanta Braves

The Braves did a lot this offseason of improve their lineup by acquiring both of the Upton brothers to put together one of the best outfields in the game with Jason Heyward. The thing is they lost Michael Bourn, Chipper Jones, Tommy Hanson, and Martin Prado. That is a lot to replace for the Braves. The Braves have one of the best catchers in the game in Brian McCann and one of the most underrated first basemen in the league in Freddie Freeman. The Braves also have a strong bullpen with Venters and Kimbrel on the back end. The weakness of this team is its pitching staff. I do not completely trust Hudson, Medlen, Malhom, Minor and Teheran. This team is going to score enough runs to win, but if this pitching staff does not step up, the Braves may be in a little bit of trouble this season.

4. New York Mets

The two biggest stories for the Mets this offseason and spring were trading R.A. Dickey to the Jays for catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, and Jordany Valdespin getting hit in the groin by Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander. The Mets are not going to compete for this division this year. At best, the Mets are a year away from the playoffs if their prospects really perk up this year. This division is too tough for the Mets to compete for a division crown. The best thing that may happen this year for the Mets is David Wright hitting a ball off of the big apple that the Mets have out past the wall at Citi Field.

5.  Miami Marlins

I don’t think there is a worse organization in the league than the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are such a bad organization that they want to sue their own season ticket holders for wanting to change seats ( Outside of Giancarlo Stanton who may be the best pure power hitter in the league, Placido Polanco who is getting older, and Logan Morrison, this team is an absolute dumpster fire. They do not have a pitching staff, much of a bullpen, management, a front office, or fans. The Marlins will compete with the Astros this year for the most losses in baseball. 

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MLB Preview: NL Central

NL Central

 I have flip-flopped among three teams in this division: the Cardinals, the Reds, and the Pirates. All three teams have both a nice upside which could lead to a division title and a flaw which could lead to a big collapse.

 1. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have something to prove after being swept last year by the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. They have a very nice rotation and a loaded lineup. If Joey Votto can stay healthy, he will win the MVP because he is the best left handed hitter in the NL especially with a jet-stream straight out to right field in the Great American Ballpark. Jay Bruce has improved every year since he has been in the big leagues. Frazier, Phillips, Cozart, Ludwick and Choo all have tremendous upside, and that’s just the lineup. Their pitching staff is led by Cueto who is one of my favorite pitchers in the NL, and probably the most underrated pitcher in the NL. The rest of the pitchers include Matt Latos, Arroyo, Bailey and a mystery. Aroldis Chapman may be put into a starting role or he may stay in the bullpen. Chapman was being transformed from a closer to a starter which was his role before last season. Chapman came out this past week and said he does not want to be a starter; he wants to go back to the closer’s role. This role was filled this offseason in free agency by Jonathon Broxton. If Chapman makes a big deal out of starting and does not work out, the Reds may be in a little bit of trouble on the field and in the clubhouse if sides are taken in an argument. If Chapman is going to be put in the bullpen like some people are reporting, the Reds will have to fill that fifth starter spot. A fifth starter will not make or break a team’s playoff chances. The Reds have all of the potential in the world and I think they are going to win this division because of a very solid lineup from top to bottom and a pitching staff and bullpen that can compete with any team.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals are a lot like the Giants. They may not have what looks like the best lineup from top to bottom on paper, but they just win games. I think this is the year that they have a setback. I doubt Beltran and Molina will put up even close to the same numbers that they did last year. Pete Kozma is a player to watch this year and the Cards may play as well as Kozma does. Holiday, Craig, and Freese are all very solid players, but I just don’t see the Cardinals as a team that will score as many runs as they did last year. The pitching staff without Kyle Losche is not the same. I am not overly impressed by Garcia, Lynn, Westbrook, and Wainwright. I like Wainwright if he can stay healthy for a full season. Lynn faded in the second half of the year and Garcia and Westbrook are not the scariest of pitchers. The Cardinals can put together a run to find themselves in the playoffs, but I feel that the Reds have a stronger team this season.

3. Milwaukee Brewers

The Brew Crew may have a very long year this year. Ryan Bruan is an incredible player. Outside of him, there Aramis Ramirez and Ricky Weeks are the only two starters I can name without looking at the ESPN depth chart. This pitching staff has Gallardo at the helm which is nice, but the rest of the staff is not much to write home about. This was until the Brewers went out and signed Kyle Losche. Losche knows the NL Central pretty well because he pitched for the Cardinals. He adds a little extra punch for the rotation. The Brewers still need pieces to step up big time in their roster if they want to make a playoff push. Losche helps this team, but it does not put them over the top into the postseason. The three best things this team has going for them is Ryan Braun, John Axford’s moustache, and the mascot that slides down the slide when the Brewers hit a home run. More teams could use a mascot like him.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have come out of the gates for the first 100 games for the past two seasons and then they have fallen off of a cliff. I see the same thing happening again this season. McCutchen is one of the best outfielders in the game. If Alvarez can provide a consistent source of power, this team could provide an exciting summer for the city of Pittsburgh. This team has upside which they have shown the past two seasons, they have also shown the bad and the ugly. This pitching staff is headlined by A.J. Burnett. Yes Burnett had a great year last year, but this is still the Burnett that bombed in New York. I know New York has an effect on some people (Melky Cabrera), but I think that last year was an aberration for Burnett. Outside of Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez is the only pitcher with a reputation. This team has the potential to win this division, but I see another free fall at some point in the season that the Pirates won’t recover from.

5. Chicago Cubs

The Cubbies!!! Yeah, that’s all I’ve got. Rizzo, Castro and Barney are solid on the infield, but the corpse of Alfonso Soriano, longtime Royal David Dejesus, Nate Schierholtz, Ian Stewart, and Wellington Castillo aren’t going to keep pitchers up at night. The Cubs have a couple of nice pitchers in Jeff Samardijza and Edwin Jackson, but this team does not have much more. The closer’s role is occupied by gas can Carlos Marmol, which could blow any lead in the 9th that the Cubs manage to attain. I may be going out on a limb here, but I think the years without a World Series will be extended to 105 years, sorry North Siders.

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March 22, 2013 · 2:09 pm

MLB 2013 Predictions: Preview and NL West



Over this next week or so, I will be posting my predictions for the upcoming 2013 MLB season which include division winners, Wild Card winners, and award winners. I am not going to be posting wins and losses because those numbers would be complete guesses, and anyone who actually puts a win total next to a team is just guessing. Most divisions are pretty wide open this year in my opinion which should lead to a very exciting season. Every division has at least two teams which could easily win the division and there is not a division in which a team will run away with the division by July. I know a team will run away with it in July just to make me eat those words. You will see me make predictions that favor pitching over hitting, but not ridiculously. If you can’t score runs at all, you can’t win, but if there is a good pitching team against a good hitting team, good pitching beats good hitting.


NL West


This division is very tough to call. This looks like it is going to be a two team race between the Dodgers and the Giants. This division is going to come down to health which is unpredictable and the adjustment that the new Dodgers make. At the end of the day, I think that both of these teams could win the division, win the Wild Card, and make a very deep run in the playoffs which could lead to a World Series like the Giants last year. I think the Giants win this division if they can stay healthy.


1. San Francisco Giants


The Giants just win games. They aren’t the fanciest team, but they are a very solid team that wins ballgames. On a year to year basis, they pitch very well, field well, and get timely hitting. The Giants are reigning World Series Champions for a reason. Buster Posey is the best catcher in the league right now hitting the ball and he does a very good job at handling a pitching staff which provides plenty of quality starts. The Giants have a great pitching staff that is led by Cain which seems to shut down teams game in and game out. If this team stays healthy and plays baseball like they are designed to, they will barely beat out the Dodgers for the division title because good teams win ballgames, great teams win championships. The Giants have established themselves as a great team.


 2. Los Angeles Dodgers


This was a very tough decision. I believe the Dodgers are a very good team with stars like Kemp, Gonzales, Crawford, and Ramirez in the field and a pitching staff highlighted by one of the best pitchers in the game in Clayton Kershaw (my NL Cy Young Winner this year). I think the Dodgers will hit some rough patches this season, especially because of all of the attention that they are getting this year in the NL (see the other LA team last year). This team has all of the players to go out and win a World Series, but something just does not feel right. If all of these players were so good, why didn’t they make their teams great in Boston, Miami, and on the other side of LA? I feel like the Dodgers will make the playoffs if they can stay healthy and build team chemistry with all of the stars that they have acquired. LA announced today Hanley Ramirez will miss the first 8 weeks of  the season with a thumb injury. This only delays the chemistry building for this team. If LA hits some rough patches, they may hit them a little bit harder than teams with their skill level due to all of the star power (and possibly divas).


3. Arizona Diamondbacks


The Diamondbacks are not the same team without Justin Upton. The Diamondbacks have some really good pieces. Prado should help out that infield and their pitching staff looks very good with a solid bullpen. The problem is they will have to play a lot of games against the Dodgers and Giants. If the Diamondbacks could add a nice bat to the lineup, they could really make a push for a Wild Card spot, but playoffs this year are unlikely because they won’t be able to score enough runs. Kennedy, Miley, McCarthy, and Cahill make up a very good rotation, but a lineup where Cody Ross and Paul Goldschmidt are the biggest bats in the lineup, this team will not score enough runs to win.


4. Colorado Rockies


The Rockies and Padres were a tossup to me of who would finish last in this division and the Rockies just have a couple more pieces in my opinion. This team will play well from time to time if Troy Tulowitzki is healthy and if Carlos Gonzales plays to his potential. Outside of Tulo, there are only a few players that are more than AAAA players in Cuddyer, Helton, and Fowler. This team will go on a lot of losing streaks, but enough winning streaks not to finish last in this division. 


5. San Diego Padres


To put this kindly, the Padres are not that good. The only good player on this team is Chase Headley and he is hurt for the first few weeks of the season, and there is no guarantee that he comes back playing at the same caliber that he did last year. Houston Street is a good closer, but how many games will get to Street in the 9th if Street stays healthy? This is not a good team and they won’t even sniff .500 no less the playoffs this year.

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Baseball Hall of Fame Pitches a Shutout


For the first time since 1996, the writers of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) have not elected anyone into the baseball hall of fame in a class that may have been looked at as the best class of the hall of fame since the first inductees were inducted in 1939. To be elected, a player must have 75% of the vote from the BBWAA. The leading candidates this year in the vote were Craig Biggio at 68.2% in his first season and former Detroit Tigers’ Pitcher Jack Morris with 67.7% of the vote. This class could have included all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, one of the best pitchers of all time in Roger Clemens, a man with a 70 home run season in Mark McGwire, multiple men with 3000 hits in Rafael Palmeiro and Craig Biggio, and more. This could have been a class of legends. This would have been the class with an asterisk because of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED). Instead, this is an empty class.

There are arguments for and against the players of the PED Era. Some people will not vote for some of these players who are on the ballot for the first time because it “puts the players in the same category as Ruth and Mays.” The person who is free of any accusation in this class that was new to the ballot is Craig Biggio. I think that Biggio will get into the hall of fame, but since it was his first year on the ballot, certain voters did not vote for him for the reason that I just stated. This man is free of any charges of PED’s and has 3000 hits, but he was not voted into the hall. There are only two other people who have 3000 hits who have not been voted into the hall of fame: Pete Rose and Rafael Palmeiro.

Personally, I think that the Pete Rose argument can be made as one of the leading reason that the men of the PED Era should not be in the hall of fame. Pete Rose is the all-time hit leader in MLB history at 4,256 hits. He is not allowed in the hall of fame because while he was a manager, he was caught gambling on his team so he is not allowed into the hall of fame at all. He did not cheat on the field, he was one of the hardest playing players of all time, but since he was someone who was a gambler while he managed, he is not allowed in the hall at all. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro cheated on the field as players. They juiced up and inflated their numbers in a way that they may not have been able to attain on their own. What should you do about those numbers? Should you add home runs and hits to people already into the hall of fame who did not do steroids? Should they take away numbers of these people who juiced up? There is a part of the BBWAA’s criteria for the hall of fame that deals with character. Cheating is not good character. Lying in front of Congress about your cheating after you have been caught is not good character. What would it say about baseball if you elected cheaters into your shrine of your greatest players ever?

There is also a convincing argument that can be made that these players should be in the hall of fame. A ton of players used PED’s in this era. It was not just these players; it was a lot of players so the playing ground was even. Look at the numbers. Barry Bonds hit 762 home runs in his career. You still have to hit a round ball with a round bat which is the hardest thing to do in any sport. These players were still great. If you don’t like the fact that they used PED’s where were you in the 1990’s? You were right in the stands cheering for the home runs. The home run race in the 1990’s between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire was amazing, PED’s or not. If it bothers you so much that these players juiced up, look at the era that other players who are in the hall of fame played in. Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb played in the game before it was integrated. Does that mean that they should not be in the hall of fame? Other players may have used steroids in eras prior to this, but there is not test that can prove it or disprove it. Hank Aaron may have used steroids, there are no tests that can prove or disprove that he did or did not use these PED’s. I am not saying that Aaron did in the least, all I am saying is that players in the time before this one may have used these steroids and they it cannot come to light.

There are arguments for both sides and firm supporters of both sides. This is something that was decided by the BBWAA this past year and will be decided in years to come. Do these players belong? That is for you to decide, but this is a debate that will rage on until and after these players are elected or until their names are off the ballot.

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