Posted on: June 16, 2011 6:17 pm

NL All Star Team

So we are quickly approaching the All Star break and i have seen a lot of writers making up their lists of who should be on the teams. So I thought i would make my own list and see how many people make some sort of complaint that their favoriet player should make the cut. i will say that I am a big reader of Fangraphs.com and that my picks are very similar to Dave Cameron's on Fangraphs with the exception of a few players. I am not going by who is winning the votes, only by who I think should be playing. I will list the starters first then the reserves for the NL Rosters today.

Starting Lineup-

C- Brian McCann (ATL)
1B- Joey Votto (CIN)
2B- Rickie Weeks (MIL)
SS- Jose Reyes (NYM)
3B- Placido Polanco (PHI)
OF- Matt Kemp (LAD)
OF- Andrew McCutchen (PIT)
OF- Ryan Braun (MIL)
P- Roy Halladay (PHI)
This is one of the first times that i dont necesserily hate the voting results i have seen thus far. I have the same starters at Catcher, Third and some outfielders. Rickie Weeks is second behind Phillips right now and Votto is second behind Pujols (who i have ommitted from my all star team GASP!), and Reyes is second behind Tulowitzki as well. So most of my lineup is in the top 2 places in the voting so far. I really dont think any of my starter picks are that controversial, i considered starting Ryan Roberts at 3rd but statistically could not justify it. I think where readers may get upset with my picks is for the reserves and pitchers. 

Reserve Pitchers-

SP- Cole Hamels (PHI)
SP- Cliff Lee (PHI)
SP- Shaun Marcum (MIL)
SP- Daniel Hudson (ARI)
SP- Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
SP- Jamie Garcia (STL)
SP- Tim Lincecum (SFG)
RP- Jonny Venters (ATL)
RP- Craig Kimbrel (ATL)
RP- Joel Hanrahan (PIT)
RP- Fernando Salas (STL)

I almost didn't include Cliff Lee because i wanted to put Tommy Hanson on this list so bad. I know that's where me and Dave Cameron differed on this is that I went with Marcum over Hanson cause they were probably the last 2 starters in on my roster. Also i gave Marcum the edge since i decided to go with both Atlanta releivers Venters and Kimbrel. I almost put Sean Marshall but i did not think the Cubs deserved to have to players on this All Star team and I think there is one player that stands out as the Cubs best this season, also Marshall's past few games have been rough.

Reserve Position Players-

C- Miguel Montero (ARI)
C- Yadier Molina (STL)
1B- Prince Fielder (MIL)
1B- Gaby Sanchez (FLA)
2B- Danny Espinosa (WAS)
2B- Brandon Phillips (CIN)
SS- Troy Tulowitzki (COL)
SS- Stephen Drew (ARI)
SS- Starlin Castro (CHC)
3B- Ryan Roberts (ARI)
3B- Chase Headley (SDP)
OF- Lance Berkman (STL)
OF- Hunter Pence (HOU)
OF- Matt Holliday (STL)

I think the biggest argument people will have with this lineup is why has Albert Pujols been left off the list, and they would have a somewhat valid argument. The fact is that he has played below the level of the players above him at his position on this list and combined with the requirements of filling the roster i could not find a spot for him. That is not to say he is not an all star caliber player but there were other players i would rather see on this team than him. Like i said my roster is very similar to Dave Cameron's at Fangraphs.com with the exception of Starlin Castro, Shaun Marcum and Craig Kimbrell being on the team and the exclusion of Albert Pujols, Tommy Hanson and Sean Marshall. If you have any feedback i would love to hear it because these are just my opinions and i love to see the other sides of arguments as well.


Posted on: June 2, 2011 8:31 pm

Why we Suck (2011 Chicago Cubs)

If you have ever read my blogs or listened to my podcasts you should know that im a diehard Cubs fan. That's not to say that i only root for the Cubs, i like to consider myself a baseball fan first a Cubs fan second. But usually i tend to talk about the Cubs more than other teams, so at some point you had to assume i would talk about this horrendous Cubs season. I wont be surprised if they lose 100 games this year, the pitching staff has been garbage and the offense has been inconsistent to say the least. So the question is, how can a team with a payroll well over 100 million dollars be this bad? Thats what i wanted to take a look at today.

Before i make any big conclusions about this team i first want to just examine this years team based on production. The Cubs number one enemy has been injuries, starting with the pitching staff. At the outset of the season the rotation looked promising, Ryan Dempster had been a model of consistency, Carlos Zambrano had looked promising at the end of last season and the addition of Matt Garza formed a formidable top 3. The back end of the rotation consisted of Randy Wells who had been dissapointing in 2010 but still servicable and promising young righthander Andrew Cashner. After the first week of the season Wells and Cashner were both on the disabled list and the Cubs were searching desperatly for starting piching help. They decided to get help from the farm using intriguing lefthander James Russell and Casey Coleman who had seen some time at the major league level in 2010. Both players struggled mightly although Coleman did show some flashes. While the back end of the rotation was in shambles Ryan Dempster decided to become one of the worst pitchers in baseball. So the Cubs were only getting production out of Garza and Zambrano. The rotation has started to come together somewhat now as Wells has returned from injury, Dempster has improved and Doug Davis may be the answer as the 5th starter but now Garza has been hurt. If the Cubs can get all of their pitchers healthy we could see the staff at least become servicable.

The offense has been much better than the rotation but still somewhat inconsistent. The top of the order has been a bit of a surprise, Fukudome and Castro have both led off and i like Castro better at the leadoff spot but both have been quite effective. The big surprise has been Darwin Barney who has managed to maintain a .300+ batting average in the 2 hole. While he may not provide much in power he is a nice contact hitter who has far surpased expectations. The 3 hole had been Marlon Byrd's main slot but with his injury Castro has been plugged in there. Castro seems to be struggling a bit in the 3 hole so i think a change needs to be made. Aramis Ramirez has been hitting 4th but has only produced 2 HR and was injured hit in the face by a grounder so he could miss some time. Carlos Pena has hit 5th and after a tough start he has started to produce as expected. The 6th spot has been one of the more productive spots as Alfonso Soriano has been having a very good season although he injured his quade this past week and could be out for a while. We will likely see Blake DeWitt hit here for a while. Now that Geovany Soto is back from the DL we will see him hit in the 7 hole. While he has not hit much yet he should pick it up soon. In the 8 hole we will likely see a combination of Tyler Colvin and Tony Campana playing here. Colvin has done absolutely nothing thus far and Campana is not much of a hitter but has game changing speed. The offense had been hitting pretty well until a recent rash of injuries that are taking hold just as the rotation is starting to come together.

The bullpen seems to have been the strength thus far. Until Carlos Marmols 6 run blown save the other day, he had been one of the better closers in baseball. The duo of Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood in the 7th and 8th innings has been very good, possibly one of the better dous in baseball but like Marmol that have not had a ton of leads to work with. Jeff Samardzija has been a servicable middle reliever this year that has surprised me somewhat. Outside of that the middle releif has been mediocre at best.

The worst aspect of this team next to the rotation has been the defense. The Cubs are second to last in all of baseball in fielding percentage behind only the Astros. Its not that the make errors every night but that when they make one error they tend to make 2 or 3 and sometimes 4 all in one game. The blame gets put a lot on Starlin Castro as he is a very young shortstop and is still prone to mental lapses. It also seems like that the errors will all occur in one play and are questionable calls sometimes. That being said they need to improve in this area greatly and that should get better as the season goes on.

This off-season may be one of the more important ones in the Cubs history. I may be one of the few Cubs fans saying this but we need to avoid going in on Albert Pujols. While he may be one of the greatest hitters of all time, giving him a lot of money on the downside of his career could be a move that could destroy our chances of being competitive for a decade. Of the options available i would rather have a 28 year old Prince Fielder or avoid a big sigining and instead focus on lowering payroll and building a better farm system. Hopefully the Ricketts family will make the right move and remove Jim Hendry and install a much smarter GM who values scouting and player development more and will incorporate statistical analysis much more. If not it could be another 100 years before we win a world series.

So to sum it up like many of the previous seasons, Injuries have destroyed the Cubs chances but this team was not going to win the divison to begin with. The only good thing about being bad is we get a chance to see the farm system in action. Then again the Cubs have a fairly average farm system. If the Cubs finish with 90 or more loses Jim Hendry will likely be done as the Cubs GM. The Cubs need to focus on rebuilding and developing a deep farm system rather than trying to be competitive on a year to year basis. There are promising young players at both the major league level and at the lower levels of the farm system. If they commit to rebuilding by the time the guys at the lower levels of their farm system come up they could be a perenial playoff team. But it will not be an easy task and they really need to get a good general manager. All of their issues aside they did make the right choice in bringing in Mike Quade as manager. He has created a stable clubhouse that when a good team is in place should be able to go deeper into the playoffs. Its going to be a rough season and probably couple of seasons for us Cubs fans but if the organization makes the right moves they could be in much better shape 3-4 years from now.

Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:38 pm

Where We Stand (June 1st MLB Update)

It's been a while since i have written on cbssports. After an attempt to start an independent blog with a buddy of mine that included weekly podcasts, fell apart after a few months, i thought i would return to my roots. Cbssports has been my home for some time so i am making a comeback on here. So lets dive into what i love most in life, baseball!

 There have been many surprises already this season, but this is not uncommon. We can never truly predict what is going to happen but i can safely assume that even with the assumption that surprising things happen, none of us could have guessed the Indians hot start. Now the jury is still out on wether or not they can maintain this hot start but lets take a deeper look at this Indians team. Offensivley they had a couple of weapons that we knew about, Shin-Soo Choo has been a perenial 20-20 threat, Carlos Santana was expected to become a stud catcher and Asdrubal Cabrera had been a solid Shortstop. But there were way too many questions to think that their offense could be effective, would Grady Sizemore be able to return from injury, would Matt LaPorta become the player they traded for and who else would emerge as an offensive force? Well Sizemore has returned from Injury and been a pretty good offensive force, but has still faced injuries. The other questions really have not been answered, LaPorta has shown some flashes of talent but im not sure he will ever become the player he was expected to be and the Indians have weakspots all over the diamond. Pitching wise they have been carried by Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin while they have suffered a dissapointing season from Fausta Carmona. The bullpen may be one of the strengths of this Cleveland team but across the board i still cant figure out how they are over .500 let alone boasting one of the best records in baseball. If they are still in the race at the deadline i would not be surprised to see them make some deals to stay in it.

The Indians are not the only headlines from this 2011 season, we have seen the Red Sox struggle mightly then make a complete turn around, the Cardinals somehow scrap together a division lead, Jose Bautista prove that he is not a one hit wonder and the Arizona Diamondbacks take a page out of the Indians book. This has been an exciting baseball season, and while my team (Chicago Cubs) have stunk it up thus far I have payed close attention because im not only a Cubs fan im a baseball fan as well. This is only a brief blog post because i dont have a lot of time tonight, but i will be writing a lot more on here now that i have given up on my other blog.

Chris "Da Franchize"

Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:34 am

MLB Power Rankings #14-11

I have posted my #14-11 Power Rankings. Pretty soon I will post my top 10 teams.

Posted on: February 13, 2011 9:08 pm

MLB Power Rankings #19 to #15

I have been working on my power rankings for a while and have finally released the number 19 to 15 teams on my blog. Come check it out and give us some feedback.


Posted on: February 1, 2011 1:04 pm

Sports Talk With Chris and Kevin 2-1-11

I havent reallly written that much on cbssports in a while and that is mostly due to another blog that i have been working on with a buddy of mine. We have done a couple of podcasts as well and are really begining to ramp things up. So i thought i would send you a link were you can read my on going MLB Preseason Power Rankings post where i am up to the #20 team. Also our latest Podcast we discussed the Super Bowl, recapped the NFL Playoffs, discussed the Rays moves and why they are a succesfull franchise, the ups and downs of the Spurs, Heat and Bulls and how Tiger Woods has fallen to the #3 golfer in the world. If any of these topics interest you or you are just a big sports fan you should check out our site. And if you have an opinion about something we discuss please share it with us and we would love to talk about it on our podcasts.

Here is the link to our site, enjoy!!


Posted on: January 12, 2011 9:54 pm

More MLB Pre-season Power rankings

I have continued to work on my MLB Pre-season Power Rankings and have posted up to the #23 team. If you want to see the first 7 teams then check out the link below. Also please give feedback on what you think, i love to hear your ideas and of course your criticism. And if you like the stuff you read please conitnue to visit the site as we try to keep it updated every day!


Posted on: January 5, 2011 6:36 pm

MLB Preseason Power Rankings

I have been working on my mlb pre-season power rankings for a while now and will be releasing them team by team from bottom to top. I have already begun to to do this on my other blog http://sportstalkwithchrisandkevin.

so if you are interested check it out!
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com