Category:MLB
Posted on: July 15, 2009 2:22 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2009 2:41 pm
 

Mid-Season Awards ---> Rest of 2009 predictions

Well, a disappointing 2009 for me as a Cubs fan so far.  I'm hoping to see the Cubs turn it around, get a few games above .500 and win the division.  Anyway, my point wasn't to gripe about how poorly the Cubs are playing, this is the mid-season edition, looking at who's doing well, and who's not...  Without further ado, let's start with the MVP awards:

AL MVP
Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
.305 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI, .380 OBP, .938 OPS
Surprise surprise, I decide to go with my favorite non-Cub player.  Here's why Torii deserves this award though, for the first half at least.  He's hitting for power, he's driving runners in.  What the Angels need him to do, he's done it.  And guess what?  The Angels are in first place in the AL West, in what was supposed to be a down year for this team (some thinking (including myself) it was the A's year).  The pitching has helped a little, but Torii Hunter is making a huge impact for this team.
Others Considered: Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners

Can Torii keep it up after returning from injury?


NL MVP
Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
.332 BA, 32 HR, 87 RBI, .456 OBP, 1.179 OPS
Honestly, was there really any other choice?  So what, he didn't win the home run derby.  He's the reason, the only reason, the Cardinals are in first place.  Pujols is just unstoppable.  A ridiculous OPS of 1.179, .456 OBP, pitchers so scared of him that they're thinking about giving him the Barry Bonds treatment.  Hint pitchers: It's still not working.  If it were up to me, I'd be as cautious as ever with this guy, probably still allowing him to hit 20 more home runs.  This was the biggest no-brainer since, well, the NBA Draft and choosing Blake Griffin as the #1 pick.
Others Considered (sort of): Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins, Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies, Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies

A Real No-Brainer.

AL Cy Young
Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
10-5, 2.12 ERA, 129 SO, 21 BB, 1.08 WHIP, .245 BAA, 127.1 IP
This kid, as you may know, got off to one of the best starts for a starting pitcher.  He's not been terrible since then, maintaining an ERA in the low 2's and still having a nice K/BB ratio.  Only Justin Verlander and Jon Lester has more K's in the American League right now and Kevin Millwood, James Shields, and CC Sabathia are the only other pitchers to have pitched more innings than Greinke.  Also, Greinke hasn't missed a start (Halladay) and hasn't really been plagued by inconsistencies (Hernandez).  The Royals may be well out of contention, but this kid is about the only bright spot on the team and he's keeping the Royals shining, um, dimly..
Others Considered: Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays, Felix Hernadez - Seattle Mariners, Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers, Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels, Nick Blackburn - Minnesota Twins

Greinke continues pitching well.

NL Cy Young
Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
9-5, 2.01 ERA, 129 SO, 16 BB, .81 WHIP, .189 BAA, 130 IP
The D-Backs ace says "HI" to NL manager Charlie Manuel.  I'm not implying anything, but something says to me that Tim Lincecum shouldn't have been starting the All-Star game for the NL (though he's pitched admirably).  The only thing plaguing Haren is well, the lack of run support and the lack of a good team around him in Arizona.  Haren is like the random oasis in a desert.  OK, bad analogy, but, no matter what you say, Haren is second in IP to Adam Wainwright, third in K's to Tim Lincecum and Javier Vazquez, and has had a couple of unfair losses because of the lack of run support.  I know, if he were playing for the Cubs, it wouldn't be much better, but if he were playing for, I don't know, maybe the Brewers or the Dodgers, well, let's just say he could very well have 1 or 2 losses.  Weird, I picked two Cy Youngs from two losing teams.  Oh well.
Others Considered: Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants, Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins, Javier Vazquez - Atlanta Braves

Whether it be in Oakland or Arizona, Haren seems to go unnoticed.


AL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Ricky Romero - Toronto Blue Jays
7-3, 3.00 ERA, 69 SO, 30 BB, 1.26 WHIP, .252 BAA, 87 IP
So, who is this guy?  Well, despite an injury around April (sneezing while listening to rap (blech)), Romero has been an outstanding pitcher.  Yeah, you have Bailey for the A's, and Bergesen for the O's, but the "J's" (I just had to) have a guy who's stepped up when the injured birds had fallen.  Not only is he winning, but he's pitching well, not giving up many runs, not walk a WHOLE BUNCH, and keeping nice control.  Plus, he's helped my fantasy baseball team in the Omnipotent League a whole lot.
Others Considered: Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics, Brad Bergesen - Baltimore Orioles, Scott Richmond - Toronto Blue Jays, Jeff Niemann - Tampa Bay Rays

Romero has had a great rookie year so far.


NL Rookie of the Year (er, Mid-year)
Randy Wells - Chicago Cubs
4-4, 2.72 ERA, 53 SO, 17 BB, 1.12 WHIP, .243 BAA, 76 IP
I apologize for the random act of biasness, but Pablo Sandoval doesn't qualify as a rookie (how sad for Kung Fu Panda).  Really, it came down to two rival players, Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals and Wells for the Cubs and I went true to my heart, yes I went there.  OK, if the Cubs had half the offense they did last year, I guarantee Wells would be 8-1 or 9-1 in his first 12 starts instead of the horrendous 4-4 he really is.  He's got great control, not walking a whole lot of hitters, and he also trusts his defense.  He's kept his ERA low, he's progressively pitching more innings for each start he takes.  Besides Ted Lilly, Wells has been the most valuable to this Cubs team (jury still out on Am-Ram).
Others Considered: Colby Rasmus - St. Louis Cardinals, Casey McGehee - Milwaukee Brewers, Ramon Troncoso - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Hanson - Atlanta Braves

Wells has gotten little help from the Cubs' offense.


AL Manager of the Year
Don Wakamatsu - Seattle Mariners
46-42, 4 GB in AL West
What a job Wakamatsu has done with this Mariners team.  It helps that he has Ichiro hitting all over the place, but this is a team many expected to finish dead last in the AL West and possibly be the worst team in the AL.  Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Jarrod Washburn has helped prevent that, but Wakamatsu has stepped up as the Mariners manager.  Look at what Russell Branyan has done, how Felix Hernandez has turned his season around, and how Ichiro came back from injury.  Watch out for the M's.
Other(s) Considered: Ron Washington - Texas Rangers

NL Manager of the Year
Jim Tracy - Colorado Rockies
47-41, 9 GB in NL West
Yes I went there.  It may be a little unfair to use the entire season's record for Jim Tracy, since Clint Hurdle kinda messed it up at the beginning of the year, but honestly, it's the Rockies, who cares?  I'm just messing with you all, but seriously, Tracy has turned around a team heading into the cellar of that the NL West.  Tracy is 29-13 since taking over for Hurdle, has helped turn around Aaron Cook and has helped make Ubaldo Jimenez a consistent pitcher.  Will "Rocktober" return?
Other(s) Considered: Joe Torre - Los Angeles Dodgers, Tony La Russa - St. Louis Cardinals

AL Silver Slugger Awards
C   Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays
3B Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
SS Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
OF Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox
DH Adam Lind - Toronto Blue Jays
Wild Card: Ben Zobrist - Tampa Bay Rays (Didn't know where to honestly put him)
Others Considered: Victor Martinez - Cleveland Indians, Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers, Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox, Robinson Cano - New York Yankees, Scott Rolen - Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Young - Texas Rangers, Derek Jeter - New York Yankees, Juan Rivera - Los Angeles Angels, Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles, Shin-Soo Choo - Cleveland Indians, Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays, Bobby Abreu - Los Angeles Angels, Jason Kubel - Minnesota Twins

NL Silver Slugger Awards
C   Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
1B Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
3B Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
OF Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Brad Hawpe - Colorado Rockies
P   Micah Owings - Cincinnati Reds
Others Considered: Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers, Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies, Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds, Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals, Mark Reynolds - Arizona Diamondbacks, Miguel Tejada - Houston Astros, Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals, Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks, Hunter Pence - Houston Astros, Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Ross - Florida Marlins, Yovani Gallardo - Milwaukee Brewers, Carlos Zambrano - Chicago Cubs

Rest of 2009 Predictions (not including records)
AL East
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

AL Central
Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals

AL West
Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics

AL Wild Card
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Minnesota Twins

NL East
Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Houston Astros
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card
San Francisco Giants
Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies
New York Mets

Playoffs
ALDS
Red Sox over Tigers in 4
Angels over Yankees in 4

ALCS
Red Sox over Angels in 6

NLDS
Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
Giants over Phillies in 5

NLCS
Dodgers over Giants in 7

World Series
Dodgers over Red Sox in 7

I hope you enjoyed reading this.  Any disagreements you may comment on, but no "BLAH BLAH BLAH I HAVE A LOUD COMPLAINING VOICE," OK?  I have rights to be homer and will be at any cost.  :)  Have a good rest of the season, good luck to your team, and enjoy baseball fans.


Category: MLB
Posted on: June 21, 2009 10:40 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2009 2:03 am
 

My All-Stars ---> as of June 21st (ish), 2008

Since the All-Star Voting isn't all that it is cut out to be, here is my list of All-Stars, those players who are most deserving and should be playing on the national stage (I'm basing the positions off of what the All-Star ballot lists those players as):

American League

Position Players

Starters
1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
SS Derek Jeter - New York Yankees
3B Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays
Victor Martinez - Cleveland Indians
OF Jason Bay - Boston Red Sox
OF Torii Hunter - Los Angeles Angels
OF Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles

Analysis: What is probably most glaring to you all is the fact that Victor Martinez is the starting catcher rather than Joe Mauer.  The only reason holding me back from starting Mauer is the fact that he missed the first few weeks due to injury.  I think it'd be a little more fair to have the player who has consistently been good, not getting injured.  That aspect also kept me from starting Jason Bartlett over Derek Jeter.  The outfield and second base positions were also difficult, that third outfielder coming down to Jones, Ichiro (who missed time), Crawford, Cruz, among others.  Second base really came down to Cano and Aaron Hill of Toronto, so some difficult decisions, but we still have a few weeks until the All-Star game, so a lot can change.

Reserves
C  Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
1B Mark Teixeira - New York Yankees
1B Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
2B Aaron Hill - Toronto Blue Jays
SS Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay Rays
3B Mark DeRosa - Cleveland Indians
3B Brandon Inge - Detroit Tigers
OF Ichiro Suzuki - Seattle Mariners
OF Nelson Cruz - Texas Rangers
OF Carl Crawford - Tampa Bay Rays
OF Jacoby Ellsbury - Boston Red Sox
OF Johnny Damon - New York Yankees
OF Shin-Soo Choo - Cleveland Indians

Analysis: A lot of what made this tough was the outfield.  I don't know if Shin-Soo Choo is quite an All-Star, but it seems he's doing just better than others to get that spot.  A lot of what locked it in for me was the way he is able to get on base and power factor he has.  Joe Mauer and Jason Bartlett, as stated before, both are reserves due to an injury keeping them out for a lengthy period of time.  Brandon Inge has been quite a surprise for the Tigers.

Pitchers

SP Zack Greinke - Kansas City Royals
SP Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays
SP Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners
SP Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels
SP Edwin Jackson - Detroit Tigers
RP Jonathan Papelbon - Boston Red Sox
RP Joe Nathan - Minnesota Twins
RP Andrew Bailey - Oakland Athletics
RP David Aardsma - Seattle Mariners
RP J.P. Howell - Tampa Bay Rays
RP Ramon Ramirez - Boston Red Sox

Analysis: The pitching is always tough to figure.  Edwin Jackson is having a very surprising year for the Tigers, though it was difficult for me to choose him over other very talented pitchers at this point.  I know ERA isn't everything, but 6-4 w/ a 2.39 ERA and a WHIP of 1.04 ain't too shabby.  Plus, hitters are only .217 against him, definitely a career first half for Jackson.  Zack Greinke is my AL starter at this point, but it's possible that that could change.  A lot of the entire team can change really, but for now, that's what this will be.

National League

Position Players

Starters
1B Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
3B David Wright - New York Mets
Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
OF Raul Ibanez - Philadelphia Phillies
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Carlos Beltran - New York Mets

Analysis: I gotta tell ya, I'm going to try to say this the best I can without sounding like a hypocrite.  The reason I have Brian McCann starting is because of the fact that he's been one of the only consistent catchers in the national league, over guys like both Molinas.  Joe Mauer I don't have starting (yet) because of how well Victor Martinez has been playing and being able to play as much as possible.  The other really tough position for me was third base, choosing David Wright over guys like Sandoval, Zimmerman, Jones and Blake.  Also second base, but Chase Utley's ability to get on base and his ops really did it in for me, putting him over O-dog.

Reserves
Bengie Molina - San Francisco Giants
1B Adrian Gonzalez - San Diego Padres
1B Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers
2B Orlando Hudson - Los Angeles Dodgers
2B Brandon Phillips - Cincinnati Reds
SS Miguel Tejada - Houston Astros
3B Pablo Sandoval - San Francisco Giants
3B Chipper Jones - Atlanta Braves
3B Ryan Zimmerman - Washington Nationals
OF Brad Hawpe - Colorado Rockies
OF Hunter Pence - Houston Astros
OF Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks
OF Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals

Analysis: What was really hard was choosing those last couple of spots, with Matt Kemp doing so well, but not really slugging and Adam Dunn being the player he is.  I decided to go with Dunn, and also Chipper Jones over Matt Kemp. A couple of other noteworthy players, Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard being left off the All-Star list as of now.  Both are slugging, but neither are really hitting that well otherwise.  Dunn has less strikeouts than both of them and also more walks, and also among other factors, I'm sticking with Dunn.

Pitchers

SP Dan Haren - Arizona Diamondbacks
SP Matt Cain - San Francisco Giants
SP Josh Johnson - Florida Marlins
SP Ted Lilly - Chicago Cubs
SP Zach Duke - Pittsburgh Pirates
SP Johnny Cueto - Cincinnati Reds
RP Heath Bell - San Diego Padres
RP Francisco Rodriguez - New York Mets
RP Ryan Franklin - St. Louis Cardinals
RP Jonathan Broxton - Los Angeles Dodgers
RP Trevor Hoffman - Milwaukee Brewers

Analysis: OK, so you might be wondering a couple of things.  Where in the world is Johan Santana?  Well, his last few starts have not been kind to his All-Star chances.  Also, with the Pirates and Cubs yet to have a representative, I had to put in Ted Lilly (who is putting All-Star numbers up) and Zach Duke (it was either him or Freddy Sanchez).  I was hesitant on Matt Cain due to a high WHIP, but put him in anyway.  Tim Lincecum has been impressive which made it difficult for me to choose Cueto over him, but there are some very very close numbers that factored into that decision.


Where are Reynolds and Howard you might ask?


Well, that is all for my All-Star selection for now.  I'll probably have a mid-season update once the All-Star break rolls around.  Enjoy and leave your complaints in the comment box..

 


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 25, 2009 2:29 am
Edited on: March 26, 2009 2:54 am
 

GBR203's MLB Standings and Other Stuff for 2009

All right...  So, Spring Training is about to start and people have been wondering who will be in the '09 playoffs.  Well, I just couldn't wait for Manny Ramirez to get signed, so I just decided what the heck and I'll fix them whenever Manny gets signed.  I apologize, I don't have the team logos, it keeps making them large, I have no idea why I can't fix it...  I've decided to add playoff projections and projected lineups and starters (don't have the bullpen) (as according to CBS (all stats are from 2008 season)).  I just have AL East so far, I'll do the rest later..

AL East
New York Yankees - The addition of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, though both have had injuries in their past help the New York rotation while Mark Teixeira (I can never spell his name right) will provide some extra power.

Projected Lineup
LF Johnny Damon (.303 AVG 17 HR 71 RBI)
SS Derek Jeter (.300 AVG 11 HR 69 RBI)
1B Mark Teixeira (.308 AVG 33 HR 121 RBI)
DH Hideki Matsui (.294 AVG 9 HR 45 RBI)
Jorge Posada (.268 AVG 3 HR 22 RBI)
RF Xavier Nady (.305 AVG 25 HR 97 RBI combined stats)
2B Robinson Cano (.271 AVG 14 HR 72 RBI)
3B Cody Ransom (.255 AVG 22 HR 71 RBI in 116 AAA games)
CF Melky Cabrera (.249 AVG 8 HR 37 RBI)

Mark Teixeira's presence definitely adds some more power to this Yankees lineup.  There are some aging players with Posada, Rodriguez, Jeter, Matsui, Damon, but they are still solid.  This lineup has a good balance of lefties and righties.  I actually would switch Matsui and Posada in terms of order, but they both still provide solid enough protection for A-Rod and Teixeira.  I'm almost certain that Nick Swisher will be able to do enough to get the majority of the at-bats in center field, despite CBS having Cabrera as the starting CF (which is interesting).  It's possible that Cody Ransom will have to step in for A-Rod's injury.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
LH CC Sabathia (17-10 2.70 ERA combined stats)
RH A.J. Burnett (18-10 4.07 ERA)
RH Chien-Ming Wang (8-2 4.07 ERA)
LH Andy Petitte (14-14 4.54 ERA)
RH Joba Chamberlain (4-3 2.60 ERA)
CP Mariano Rivera (6-5 1.40 ERA 39 of 40 save opportunities)

I think the key to this rotation is definitely health.  A.J. Burnett is a major concern while Sabathia and Wang have a little bit of injury history.  Chamberlain and Petitte are along the same lines, but isn't too much of a concern.  Chamberlain, I feel, will have his sort of breakout year as the starter.  I think he has learned enough about what it'll be like to start in the majors and I hope not to see him in the bullpen again (though he does excel).



Tampa Bay Rays - This young and spunky group is ready to make a return to the playoffs in a reloaded American League East.  I liked the addition of Pat Burrell to help this team hit against left-handed pitching, something they struggled with a little last year.

Projected Lineup
2B Akinori Iwamura (.274 AVG 6 HR 48 RBI)
LF Carl Crawford (.273 AVG 8 HR 57 RBI)
CF B.J. Upton (.273 AVG 9 HR 67 RBI)
3B Evan Longoria (.272 AVG 27 HR 85 RBI)
1B Carlos Pena (.247 AVG 31 HR 102 RBI)
DH Pat Burrell (.250 AVG 33 HR 86 RBI)
C   Dioner Navarro (.295 AVG 7 HR 54 RBI)
RF Gabe Gross (.238 AVG 13 HR 40 RBI)
SS Jason Bartlett (.286 AVG 1 HR 37 RBI)

Very nice top of the order with a very powerful middle of the order, especially w/ the presence of Carlos Pena, who has quietly become one of the better first basemen in the league.  There may be some more young talent incoming for the Rays with Reid Brignac and Tim Beckham (though Beckham is probably a couple of years away).  Also watch for Fernando Perez and Gabe Kapler get a few spot starts.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH James Shields (14-8 3.56 ERA)
LH Scott Kazmir (12-8 3.49 ERA)
RH Matt Garza (11-9 3.70 ERA)
RH Andy Sonnanstine (13-9 4.38 ERA)
RH Jason Hammel (4-4 4.60 ERA)
CP Troy Percival (2-1 4.53 ERA 28 of 32 save opportunites)

This young rotation is looking very good for the Rays, especially knowing how much they still have left in them.  Shields has emerged as the leader of this rotation with Kazmir and Garza not far behind.  Sonnanstine is a solid 4 starter while David Price will look to continue from where he left off in last year's playoffs.

Boston Red Sox - The Red Sox did the least, in my opinion, to improve their team.  They added Brad Penny, who's coming off an injury, John Smoltz who was injured and will be out until at least June, and are without Manny Ramirez, who had a bigger impact than Jason Bay in my opinion.

Projected Lineup
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.280 AVG 9 HR 47 RBI)
2B Dustin Pedroia (.326 AVG 17 HR 83 RBI)
DH David Ortiz (.264 AVG 23 HR 89 RBI)
1B Kevin Youkilis (.312 AVG 29 HR 115 RBI)
LF Jason Bay (.286 AVG 31 HR 101 RBI)
RF J.D. Drew (.280 AVG 19 HR 64 RBI)
3B Mike Lowell (.274 AVG 17 HR 73 RBI)
SS Jed Lowrie (.258 AVG 2 HR 46 RBI)
C   Jason Varitek (.220 AVG 13 HR 43 RBI)

The lineup isn't changed much from the end of last year except for the fact that you don't see Julio Lugo starting at shortstop.  Lowrie has the potential to be a good shortstop for this Red Sox team.  Youkilis will definitely have to continue the success he's been having when batting and providing protection for David Ortiz.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH Josh Beckett (12-10 4.03 ERA)
LH Jon Lester (16-6 3.21 ERA)
RH Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-3 2.90 ERA)
RH Brad Penny (6-9 6.27 ERA)
RH Tim Wakefield (10-11 4.13 ERA)
CP Jonathan Papelbon (5-4 2.34 ERA 41 of 46 save opportunities)

I don't think this Sox rotation is much improved from last year.  Penny is coming off an injury and Wakefield is really fading.  John Smoltz should be around mid-season, so he might be able to provide an improvement over Wakefield.  Still a decent rotation, just I don't feel it is better than last year's.



Toronto Blue Jays
- The Blue Jays stayed fairly quiet during the off-season.  They are without Dustin McGowan for much of the year and Shaun Marcum for all of it.  Roy Halladay will be anchoring this rotation once again as the Jays look like they won't have enough once again to compete for a playoff spot.

Projected Lineup
SS Marco Scutaro (.267 AVG 7 HR 60 RBI)
2B Aaron Hill (.263 AVG 2 HR 20 RBI)
RF Alex Rios (.291 AVG 15 HR 79 RBI)
CF Vernon Wells (.300 AVG 20 HR 78 RBI)
DH Adam Lind (.282 AVG 9 HR 40 RBI)
3B Scott Rolen (.262 AVG 11 HR 50 RBI)
1B Lyle Overbay (.270 AVG 15 HR 69 RBI)
C   Rod Barajas (.249 AVG 11 HR 49 RBI)
LF Travis Snider (.301 AVG 2 HR 13 RBI)

The lineup is a bit weak for the Blue Jays this year.  Scutaro at leadoff?  Rios and Wells are solid hitters in the 3-4 spots, but otherwise, not much that is notable.  Travis Snider's progression will be interesting to watch this year as he gets his first chance at a full time job.  Adam Lind also needs to become a presence in the 5 spot, protected Wells and Rios.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH Roy Halladay (20-11 2.78 ERA)
RH Jesse Litsch (13-9 3.58 ERA)
LH David Purcey (3-6 5.54 ERA)
RH Casey Janssen (2-3 2.35 ERA)
RH Scott Richmond (1-3 4.00 ERA)
CP B.J. Ryan (2-4 2.95 ERA 32 of 36 save opportunities)

I admit I don't know too much about this rotation other than Roy Halladay and upstart Jesse Litsch.  Purcey and Janssen are names I heard of but Richmond doesn't really ring a bell to me.  Any Blue Jays fans that can help me out, please do so.  B.J. Ryan's a solid closer and should be once again for 2009.  Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan will surely be missed as Marcum is out for the year and McGowan won't return until at least May and could be as late as August.



Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles maintain much of their position players from last year as they each gain a year of experience, though the pitching is different.  Jeremy Guthrie will once again be impressive as the Baltimore ace anchoring a weak rotation.  We may get to see the much anticipated debut of Matt Wieters.

Projected Lineup
2B Brian Roberts (.296 AVG 9 HR 57 RBI)
3B Melvin Mora (.285 AVG 23 HR 104 RBI)
RF Nick Markakis (.306 AVG 20 HR 87 RBI)
1B Aubrey Huff (.304 AVG 32 HR 108 RBI)
CF Adam Jones (.270 AVG 9 HR 57 RBI)
DH Luke Scott (.257 AVG 23 HR 65 RBI)
C   Gregg Zaun (.237 AVG 6 HR 30 RBI)
SS Cesar Izturis (.263 AVG 1 HR 24 RBI)
LF Felix Pie (.241 AVG 1 HR 10 RBI)

The top of the lineup is fairly decent w/ Aubrey Huff coming off a great second half of last year.  The bottom of the linup seems pretty weak, but there's still a little potential w/ Felix Pie.  Roberts will continue to be a spark plug, getting on base and providing speed for Markakis and Huff.  Adam Jones looks like has plenty of potential, having a fairly decent year last year.

Starting Rotation w/ Closer
RH Jeremy Guthrie (10-12 3.63 ERA)
RH Koji Uehara (6-5 3.81 for Yomiuri Giants)
LH Rich Hill (1-0 4.12 ERA)
LH Mark Hendrickson (7-8 5.45 ERA)
RH Radhames Liz (6-6 6.72 ERA)
CP George Sherrill (3-5 4.73 ERA 31 of 37 save opportunities)

The rotation isn't very good.  When you have walk-o-matic Rich Hill in the 3 spot, you know you have some pitching troubles and are just reaching.  Guthrie is really the only bright spot of this rotation with UeHara in his rookie year and a chance to impress.  Sherrill turned out to be a decent closing option and will be the closer despite the return of Chris Ray.

AL Central
Minnesota Twins - The Twins added an offensive third basemen which may help them win the AL Central crown as Joe Crede joins a young bunch who play the fundamentals well.  The young Twins rotation looks to improve as they gain a year of experience in the league.

Projected Lineup
LF Denard Span (.294 AVG 6 HR 47 RBI)
2B Alexi Casilla (.281 AVG 7 HR 50 RBI)
Joe Mauer (.328 AVG 9 HR 85 RBI)
1B Justin Morneau (.300 AVG 23 HR 129 RBI)
RF Michael Cuddyer (.249 AVG 3 HR 36 RBI)
DH Jason Kubel (.272 AVG 20 HR 78 RBI)
3B Joe Crede (.248 AVG 17 HR 55 RBI)
SS Nick Punto (.284 AVG 2 HR 28 RBI)
CF Carlos Gomez (.258 AVG 7 HR 59 RBI)

A decent enough lineup mixing speed and power.  Gardenhire's small ball strategy definitely works out for this type of lineup, giving many RBI opportunities to guys like Morneau and Mauer.  This lineup has an almost perennial MVP candidate in Justin Morneau (who should have had his 2nd MVP last year).  The Twins will be looking for Michael Cuddyer to return back to his 2007 form.

Pitching Rotation
RH Scott Baker (11-4 3.45 ERA)
LH Francisco Liriano (6-4 3.91 ERA)
RH Kevin Slowey (12-11 3.99 ERA)
LH Glen Perkins (12-4 4.41 ERA)
RH Nick Blackburn (11-11 4.05 ERA)
CP Joe Nathan (1-2 1.33 ERA 39 of 45 in save opportunities)

A nice, young rotation who are very likely to get the job done once again in Minnesota.  Not one of these pitchers is completely dominant, though Liriano has the potential to be in the very near future as he continues to recover from his arm injury.  Joe Nathan is considered one of the best closers in the league right now.

Cleveland Indians - The Indians made plenty of moves in the off-season, one of them gaining versatile Mark DeRosa and also the signing of Kerry WoodShin-Soo Choo made nice strides late in the year last year.  The rotation is still a little questionable with Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona heading it, but the pitchers behind them may not be as reliable.

Projected Lineup
CF Grady Sizemore (.268 AVG 33 HR 90 RBI)
3B Mark DeRosa (.285 AVG 25 HR 87 RBI)
Victor Martinez (.278 AVG 2 HR 35 RBI)
DH Travis Hafner (.197 AVG 5 HR 24 RBI)
SS Jhonny Peralta (.276 AVG 23 HR 89 RBI)
RF Shin-Soo Choo (.309 AVG 14 HR 66 RBI)
1B Ryan Garko (.273 AVG 14 HR 90 RBI)
LF Ben Francisco (.266 AVG 15 HR 54 RBI)
2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.259 AVG 6 HR 47 RBI)

Sizemore's role in this lineup reminds me a little of Soriano's role in the Cubs' lineup.  Sizemore has the speed, hits for nice 30 HR power, but may not get on base as much as you would like for the hitters behind him, Martinez and Hafner in this case.  Though it might not matter if Hafner continues to struggle as much as he has.  Choo will look to continue his success from last year.

Pitching Rotation
LH Cliff Lee (22-3 2.54 ERA)
RH Fausto Carmona (8-7 5.44 ERA)
RH Carl Pavano (4-2 5.77 ERA)
RH Anthony Reyes (4-2 2.76 ERA in 16 appearances)
LH Aaron Laffey (5-7 4.23 ERA)
CP Kerry Wood (5-4 3.26 ERA 34 of 40 save opportunities)

The addition of Kerry Wood was huge for the Indians as they've sorely needed a consistent closer.  This rotation doesn't look that great stat wise, but the talent is there.  Cleveland will largely need to bank on Pavano not getting injured again and for Lee to get at least close to the success of last year, though the exact same performance isn't a reasonable expectation.

Detroit Tigers - I don't see Detroit being as bad as they were last year, but they won't be the best in the AL Central.  The emergence of Armando Galarraga was a nice surprise as he and Justin Verlander will head the rotation.  Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya need to stay healthy in the bullpen.

Projected Lineup
CF Curtis Granderson (.280 AVG 22 HR 66 RBI)
2B Placido Polanco (.307 AVG 8 HR 58 RBI)
RF Magglio Ordonez (.317 AVG 21 HR 103 RBI)
1B Miguel Cabrera (.292 AVG 37 HR 127 RBI)
LF Carlos Guillen (.286 AVG 10 HR 54 RBI)
DH Gary Sheffield (.225 AVG 19 HR 57 RBI)
C   Gerald Laird (.276 AVG 6 HR 41 RBI)
3B Brandon Inge (.205 AVG 11 HR 51 RBI)
SS Adam Everett (.213 AVG 2 HR 20 RBI)

This is still a good lineup, despite the fact Sheffield is aging and Everett is mainly starting because of defense.  Ordonez and Cabrera have decent power and are big time RBI men, which is great because Granderson and Polanco both have the ability to get on base.  The always versatile Carlos Guillen is a valuable commodity in this Tigers lineup.

Pitching Rotation
RH Justin Verlander (11-17 4.84 ERA)
RH Armando Galarraga (13-7 3.73 ERA)
RH Jeremy Bonderman (3-4 4.29 ERA)
RH Edwin Jackson (14-11 4.42 ERA)
LH Dontrelle Willis (0-2 9.38 ERA in Majors, 3-1 4.45 ERA in AAA)
CP Brandon Lyon (3-5 4.70 ERA 26 of 31 save opportunities)

The addition of Edwin Jackson doesn't help this ailing rotation too much, though he did have his best year last year w/ Tampa Bay.  Verlander and Willis need to return to their once great and dominant forms while Armando Galarraga needs to continue and build off the success from last year.  Brandon Lyon has a tough role to fill w/ Todd Jones now gone.

Chicago White Sox - Last year's victors of the AL Central look to be facing some tough times in 2009.  John Danks and Gavin Floyd were nice surprises, but can they keep it up?  Jermaine Dye also as he gets older.  The center field and third base positions look uneasy as the South Siders need someone to step up at each position.

Projected Lineup
CF Dewayne Wise (.248 AVG 6 HR 14 RBI)
C   A.J. Pierzynski (.281 AVG 13 HR 60 RBI)
LF Carlos Quentin (.288 AVG 36 HR 100 RBI)
DH Jim Thome (.245 AVG 34 HR 90 RBI)
RF Jermaine Dye (.292 AVG 34 HR 96 RBI)
1B Paul Konerko (.240 AVG 22 HR 62 RBI)
SS Alexei Ramirez (.290 AVG 21 HR 77 RBI)
3B Josh D. Fields (.156 AVG 0 HR 2 RBI in 14 MLB games, .246 AVG 10 HR 35 RBI in 75 AAA games)
2B Chris Getz (.302 AVG 11 HR 52 RBI in 111 AAA games)

A power filled lineup that may take a step back as Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye continue to age.  The young players at the bottom of the order really need to step up as Joe Crede and Juan Uribe are both gone.  Alexei Ramirez had a good year last year and will look to continue that same success.

Pitching Rotation
LH Mark Buehrle (15-12 3.79 ERA)
RH Gavin Floyd (17-8 3.84 ERA)
LH John Danks (12-9 3.32 ERA)
RH Bartolo Colon (4-2 3.92 ERA)
LH Clayton Richard (2-5 6.04 in 13 MLB appearances, 6-6 2.47 ERA in 13 AA starts)
CP Bobby Jenks (3-1 2.63 ERA 30 of 34 save opportunities)

This rotation needs to continue the success they had last year.  Clayton Richard also needs to step up and try to forget his 2008 MLB season.  Gavin Floyd and John Danks were nice surprises last year and will be hoping to do the same as they did last year.  Buehrle has been a consistent pitcher for the Sox.

Kansas City Royals - Alex Gordon and Billy Butler need to become the players they were projected as when they came into the league.  Much of the question marks are within the pitching though as after Zack Greinke and Gil Meche, it doesn't look good.  Brian Bannister or Luke Hochevar really need to step up.

Projected Lineup
CF Coco Crisp (.283 AVG 7 HR 41 RBI)
SS Mike Aviles (.325 AVG 10 HR 51 RBI)
LF David DeJesus (.307 AVG 12 HR 73 RBI)
RF Jose Guillen (.264 AVG 20 HR 97 RBI)
1B Mike Jacobs (.247 AVG 32 HR 93 RBI)
DH Billy Butler (.275 AVG 11 HR 55 RBI)
3B Alex Gordon (.260 AVG 16 HR 59 RBI)
C   Miguel Olivo (.255 AVG 12 HR 51 RBI)
2B Alberto Callaspo (.305 AVG 0 HR 16 RBI)

This lineup definitely has some power potential in Mike Jacobs, Billy Butler, and Alex Gordon, but all 3 will have to step up w/ Jacobs hopefully continuing the power success he had last year.  Mike Aviles was a pleasant surprise for the Royals as they try and continue to fit pieces into a young puzzle.

Pitching Rotation
RH Gil Meche (14-11 3.98 ERA)
RH Zack Greinke (13-10 3.47 ERA)
RH Kyle Davies (9-7 4.06 ERA)
LH Horacio Ramirez (1-4 4.34 ERA)
RH Brian Bannister (9-16 5.76 ERA)
CP Joakim Soria (2-3 1.60 ERA 42 of 45 save opportunities)

Gil Meche and Zack Greinke are great pitchers w/ Meche proving he is worth his contract.  Bannister is a young pitcher hoping to gain some success after starting out well last year and ending terribly.  Joakim Soria is probably the best young closer in the league and quietly had 42 saves last year.

AL West
Los Angeles Angels - The Angels lost a big part of their offense in Mark Teixeira, but still have Vladamir Guerrero and have added Bobby AbreuFrancisco Rodriguez is gone, but Brian Fuentes is replacing him and Scott Shields will continue to dominate the setup role.  The rotation is missing Jon Garland as Dustin Moseley will try to fill his shoes.

Oakland Athletics - The addition of Matt Holliday was key this off-season for the A's as they'll definitely close the gap w/ the Angels.  The starting rotation may be what will hold Oakland back though w/ Justin Duchscherer leading a group of young arms ready to prove themselves.

Texas Rangers - Much like last year, this team will be all offense and basically no pitching.  The young players in the rotation and also on the field will need to step up to make the Rangers a contender.  Guys like Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Scott Feldman, Brandon McCarthy.

Seattle Mariners - The M's are in a rebuilding year, just look at their lineup.  The rotation looks dynamic with Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, and Brandon Morrow at the top of it.  It'll be interesting to see how some of the young players will respond as they'll get an opportunity to prove their worth.

AL Wild Card
Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Oakland Athletics

NL East
New York Mets - You got to believe that this time around, the Mets won't be blowing big leads with J.J. Putz and K-Rod added to the bullpen.  The lineup will be very similar to last year's as well as the rotation.  Mike Pelfrey may have finally realized his full potential.

Philadelphia Phillies - The defending World Series champs may be looking up to the Mets this year.  There's no denying they have an explosive offense w/ Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley in the middle of it all.  The rotation is the slight weakness on this team with Cole Hamels as the ace (and rightfully so).

Atlanta Braves - This Braves team has the potential to be dangerous.  Fairly young as some rookies will get their chances like Josh Anderson and maybe Tommy Hanson later on in the season?  I applaud the additions of Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez to bolster their rotation.  Watch out, Atlanta may sneak ahead of Philly or New York.

Washington Nationals - Oh no I didn't, actually, yes I did.  I really didn't like the Marlins' off-season moves and I liked much of the Nationals'.  Adding Josh Willingham will be more beneficial than some may think as well as Scott Olsen and Adam DunnJohn Lannan is coming off a terrific first full year for Washington to head a semi-weak rotation.  This is just a surprise pick, not much behind it.

Florida Marlins - This team has plenty of potential, but a lot of players will really have to step up this year including Gaby Sanchez and Cameron Maybin.  The rotation is fairly talented and young, but Andrew Miller will need to improve and Chris Volstad will need to pitch much like he did last year.

NL Central
Chicago Cubs - Coming off another disappointing exit in the playoffs last year, Jim Hendry made some off-season moves, eventually signing Milton Bradley while losing Jason Marquis and Mark DeRosa.  The Cubs will look to have more regular season success and translate it to the playoffs.

St. Louis Cardinals - I didn't really like the Cardinals' off-season either, but there's no denying Tony LaRussa gets the job done.  Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse will need to continue overachieving while Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter need to stay healthy.

Milwaukee Brewers - Despite losing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, the Brewers are still a very talented team w/ an explosive offense.  Yovani Gallardo will look to lead the Milwaukee rotation after a "freak injury" (I'll take your word for it Brew Crew fans) ended his year early last year.

Cincinnati Reds - We're still waiting for the youngsters on this team to emerge.  Jay Bruce was impressive during his first few weeks in the league, but slowed down after awhile.  Edinson Volquez is a great pitcher as this rotation looks fairly impressive, Aaron Harang coming back from injury w/ Bronsen Arroyo, Micah Owings, and Johnny Cueto rounding it out.

Houston Astros - Teams 2-5 could be flip-flopped in many ways, with Houston being the silent hunters.  They were impressive to finish the year last year, showing much of their resilliency.  The rotation may be a trouble spot, but that didn't really stop them last year.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Quite possibly the worst team in the majors right now, the Pirates did next to nothing during the off-season.  The rotation is fair as youth is still prevelant.  There are bright spots, but don't look for much improvement if any at all for Pittsburgh.

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers - Even without Manny, the Dodgers are probably the best team in the NL West at this point in time.  Jonathan Broxton is ready to close games as the rotation looks fair coming into the season.  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and James Loney made some nice strides, especially during the playoffs.

San Francisco Giants - The Giants may have a chance to contend with the Dodgers, that is if they can get some hitting.  Bengie Molina, Fred Lewis as potential cleanup hitters?  Yikes.  The rotation, though, is very good, w/ Cy Young Award winner last year Tim Lincecum being the ace.

Colorado Rockies - They lost Matt Holliday, but the Rockies will still have the Coors hitting advantage.  Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe will continue to hit well in the mountain air.  Troy Tulowitzki will be back.  The rotation might be nasty.  After Ubaldo Jimenez, who really came along at the end of 2008, it's Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa, and Greg Smith.  They have talent and youth, let's just wait and see.

Arizona Diamondbacks - This team just fell apart after a great 2008 start and really didn't do much in the off-season.  Brandon Webb is still there along with Dan Haren, but not too much more after that.  There is plenty of youth with Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, and Justin Upton, so they may come along soon.

San Diego Padres - It might be an ugly year for the Padres.  The Jake Peavy sweepstakes may be at a standstill for now, but he'll probably be gone by the trade deadline.  This would be a great time for the young guys to step up like Chase HeadleyAdrian Gonzalez may be the most underrated player in the league at this point in time.

NL Wild Card
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals
Milwaukee Brewers

Awards
AL MVP - Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
NL MVP - Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
AL Cy Young - Scott Kazmir - Tampa Bay Rays (may be a stretch, we'll see)
NL Cy Young - Cole Hamels - Philadelphia Phillies
AL Rookie of the Year - Matt Wieters - Baltimore Orioles
NL Rookie of the Year - Chris Dickerson - Cincinnati Reds
AL Manager of the Year - Ron Gardenhire - Minnesota Twins
NL Manager of the Year - Bruce Bochy - San Francisco Giants

Playoffs
ALDS : New York Yankees over Los Angeles Angels in 4
Minnesota Twins over Tampa Bay Rays in 5

ALCS: New York Yankees over Minnesota Twins in 6

NLDS: Chicago Cubs over Philadelphia Phillies in 5
New York Mets over Los Angeles Dodgers in 5

NLCS: Chicago Cubs over New York Mets in 6

World Series : Chicago Cubs over New York Yankees in 7
Yeah..I'm a homer Laughing .  This was put together quickly...  I might change it if I think about it..

There ya go.  Maybe some ridiculous predictions, maybe some safe.  Either way, it'll be another fun year in baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 19, 2009 12:22 am
 

MLB Predictions for 2009

For the two people that do happen to follow my blog at all for any of the predictions I do (which are usually beginning of the season), I've been thinking about posting them, but Manny Ramirez has yet to be signed.  Seeing as that will heavily influence my decisions, especially for the NL West (seeing as a lot of the action is there), I'm holding off on my predictions until he gets signed.  I know Ben Sheets remains a free agent among a couple other big names (Ken Griffey Jr. was just signed by the way), Manny's signing will indicate the timing of my predictions.  Last year was an OK year for my predictions...though I can't remember them all that much...  Anyway..that is all..

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2008 1:36 am
Edited on: September 29, 2008 4:20 pm
 

The Cubs' 2008 Year in Review

A memorable season that was, is, and is to come.  You got Ron Santo going crazy again, Len Kasper making those memorable calls that all Cubs fans love to hear.  The crowd singing "Go Cubs Go" to the tune of 55 home wins.  42-38 on the road isn't all that shabby either.  That's 2nd best in the national league only behind the Philadelphia Phillies.  Lou Piniella making the move to switch Kerry Wood out of the starting rotation and bringing Ryan Dempster into it.  Reed Johnson (March 25th), Jim Edmonds (May 15th), and Rich Harden (July  9th along w/ Chad Gaudin; E-Pat, Matt Murton, and a catching prospect sent to the Athletics) becoming Cubs players during the season.  Some statistical things to review:

Chicago Cubs --- NL Central Division champs --- 97-64, 7.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers
AVG leader: Ryan Theriot
HR leader: Alfonso Soriano
RBI leader: Aramis Ramirez
W, ERA, and K leader: Ryan Dempster

Now for some more fun stuff -- (lots of credit to donbedouin, thanks for helping w/ the Cubs moments)

March 31st, 2008 --- That's right, opening day at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs played the Milwaukee Brewers in a game that I hope many Cubs fans won't forget.  Kosuke Fukudome's debut at Wrigley Field turned out to be a great one.  He went 3-for-3, but no hit more important than the hit against Eric Gagne.  Though the Cubs lost, it was satisfying.
---Kosuke's 3-run blast---

April 9th, 2008 --- This would just be the beginning of a lot of close games and come from behind victories the Cubs would get.  Aramis Ramirez was able to finish this game off w/ a home run in the 14th inning, continuing the dominance against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
---Am-Ram 2-run homer---

April 23rd, 2008 --- This wasn't one of those shocking victories that Cubs were able to pull out, but it was the Cubs' 10,000th win in franchise history.  Big congrats as they became the second franchise to reach that milestone.
---The Final Out---

April 25th, 2008 --- Just 2 days later, Reed Johnson would come up with one of the most amazing catches that I have ever seen.
---Reed Johnson's catch---

May 19th, 2008 --- Geovany Soto has had an amazing season in his first full year as the Chicago Cubs' catcher.  This will probably be one of his favorite/least favorite moments (depending on if he likes running) as he would hustle all the way for an inside-the-park home run.
---Soto inside-the-parker---

May 30th, 2008 --- Chicago Cubs facing the Colorado Rockies.  The Cubs would go down 8 runs after the Rockies pounded in run after run after run.  But the Cubs were feeling the magic, coming all the way back to win the game 10 to 9.  This game includes Jim Edmond's first Cub home run and a huge six run inning.  Take it away Len.
---Edmonds' first Cub home run---
---Huge inning to rally---

June 11th, 2008 --- A complete game by Ryan Dempster is overshadowed by the fact the Cubs lost Alfonso Soriano for a good amount of time.  The Cubs did do well without him, but if Soriano was gone any longer, I don't know how much trouble this team could've been in.
---Soriano's hand injury---

June 12th, 2008 --- How do the Cubs respond?  Well, Jim Edmonds would love to tell ya.  Len, take it away.
---Edmonds' tying home run---

June 18th, 2008 --- Another devastating (well, maybe not the right word) injury for the Cubs as Carlos Zambrano would go down w/ an injury.  The Cubs responded well again, as you'll see, 2 days later.
---Big Z's injury---

June 20th, 2008 --- You know it was coming, Aramis Ramirez.  Mr. Clutch.  Whatever you want to call him, Am-Ram, whatever, he is amazing.  Len, I'll let you take this one too.
---Walk-off against White Sox---

July 12th, 2008 --- It was my mom's birthday.  But that's not why it's here.  Reed Johnson, the guy we acquired from the Blue Jays, strikes again.  A very close call at the plate and the Cubs get another walk-off victory.  Len Kasper, the crack in his voice is just so funny.
---Reed Johnson walk-off single---

July 29th - August 1st, 2008 --- The Cubs would face the Brewers in an important series that would ultimately give them the division lead for good.  A huge series sweep at Miller Park would keep the Brewers down and the Cubs up.
---Part of that series sweep---

August 3rd, 2008 --- Reed Johnson comes through once again.  Len, just take it away.
---Johnson go ahead homer---

August 8th, 2008 --- Hey hey!  Another Cubs walk-off!
---Hank White provides the heroics---

August 15th, 2008 --- Daryle Ward was really struggling up to this point.  The game is in Miami, Florida where the Cubs are facing the Florida Marlins.  D-Ward up at the plate in the ninth with a chance to at least make it a one run game.  Oh heck, let's take the lead.  No Len this time though..
---D-Ward comes through---

September 14th, 2008 --- Carlos Zambrano returns from 12 days of rest.  Hurricane Ike is striking upon Houston, Texas and moves this game to Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I do feel sorry for the situation in Houston and wish everyone down there the best as they continue to clean up.  Anyway, to the game, Zambrano throws his first career no-hitter.  Len Kasper with yet another great call.  I'm sorry, I don't have it. (edit: Thanks to donbedouin for finding the link)
---Zambrano no-hits Astros---
---Len's call---

September 15th, 2008 --- The Cubs gave up only one hit to the Astros in the 2 games at Miller Park.  The 3rd game will never be played, but it was still a great series for the Cubs.
---Lilly gives up one hit---

September 18th, 2008 --- Another series between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Cubs and Brewers split the first two games.  In game 3, the Cubs were down 4 runs, but Geovany Soto solidifies the reasons that he should be the NL ROY.
---Game-tying 3 run blast---
---Lee finishes it off---

September 20th, 2008 --- The Chicago Cubs would clinch the NL Central by beating arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals 5 to 4.  A Ted Lilly suicide squeeze play would end up being the key play.  Here's their clincher (sorry, FOX TV had the game).
---Cubs Clinch!---

September 24th, 2008 --- Another Cubs comeback to top it all off.
---Lee's double---

And you know what?  The Cubs' season isn't finished yet.  We have 11 more wins to get, just 11 more.  I'm so excited for the postseason start.  Hope you enjoyed the year in review.  Another great year to store in Cubs fans' memory banks.
Category: MLB
Tags: Chicago, Cubs, Review, Year
 
Posted on: July 12, 2008 9:48 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2008 10:30 pm
 

MLB midseason awards & 2nd half predictions

AL MVP:
Josh Hamilton : Texas Rangers
Stats: .312 BA 21 HR 93 RBI .368 OBP .558 SLG .926 OPS 6 for 6 on Stolen Bases

While Hamilton plays for a team that isn't necessarily great, he has been a big part of why the Texas Rangers are above .500 right now. 4 games above .500 to be exact. Still in striking distance, the Rangers have relied heavily on the bat of Josh Hamilton. He, and Milton Bradley, have been two of the better offensive players in the entire league. While Hamilton does strike out a little more than some people may want, he hits for great power and he drives runners in. If he continues to play like this, we could very well see him get 170 RBIs this year.

Hamilton has been a great addition for the Rangers.

NL MVP:
Chase Utley : Philadelphia Phillies
Stats: .292 BA 25 HR 69 RBI .373 OBP .586 SLG .960 OPS 10 for 10 on SB

The Phillies have been hanging tough this year, especially without Jimmy Rollins for a little while early in the year. Now, they are ahead of the fighting Florida Marlins and New York Mets. Another MVP title may be coming to Philly as well. Chase Utley has been a huge reason why the "Phiting Phils" have been so good. He stepped in while the reigning MVP from last year, Rollins, was out. Utley has slowed a little bit, but has remained patient and still has been hitting for great power. While he hasn't driven as many runs as people like Hamilton, he still has 69 RBIs and is well on pace to be around 125 for the season's end.

Chase Utley has helped the Phils get into first place in the NL East

AL Cy Young:
Justin Duchscherer : Oakland Athletics
Stats: 10-5 1.78 ERA 63 Ks 21 BBs .86 WHIP .186 BAA

While Cliff Lee exploded onto the scene early in the year for the Indians, Cleveland has fallen well out of the race and have determined that their time is up. With C.C. Sabathia being traded, Cleveland looks out of it. In the meantime, Justin Duchscherer of the Oakland A's has quietly turned himself into a formidable starter in Oakland's rotation. He has done it all in his career. He's been a middle reliever, setup man, even has 14 career saves, and now is doing it as a starter. While Duchscherer doesn't K as much as the next guy, he still has good stuff and doesn't allow too many base runners. With Oakland still well in it (despite the Rich Harden trade), Duchscherer may become a centerpiece that the A's can build around for the upcoming years.

Duchscherer has become Oakland's ace.

NL Cy Young:
Ben Sheets : Milwaukee Brewers
Stats: 10-3 2.85 ERA 108 Ks 28 BBs 1.11 WHIP .235 BAA

While there have been more dominant pitchers in the National League (Edinson Volquez and Tim Lincecum namely), neither pitches with more pressure than Sheets. With the Brew Crew trying to bring this team to the playoffs for the first time in a quarter century, Sheets has been the dominant ace that he's always been. There's something different though...he's staying very healthy AND he's playing on a winning team. His most complete seasons have come when the Brewers weren't all that great and his other seasons have been injury filled and many DL trips. Sheets, and newly acquired Sabathia, have a great chance of bringing this team to the playoffs this year, ending their drought.

Can Sheets lead the Brew Crew to the playoffs?

AL Rookie of the Year:
Evan Longoria : Tampa Bay Rays
Stats: .280 BA 16 HR 53 RBI .352 OBP .523 SLG .875 OPS 6 for 6 on SB

Ever since being called up to be the Rays' third baseman, Evan Longoria has stepped up and helped turn this once sad state of a team to a bright, young, possible World Series contender. Even though he wasn't with Tampa Bay for the first 10 or so games of the year, Longoria has done enough to be a front runner for the AL ROY and has made his first All-Star team. Can he lead the Rays to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history?

Longoria has a bright future ahead of him.

NL Rookie of the Year:
Geovany Soto : Chicago Cubs
Stats: .286 BA 16 HR 55 RBI .367 OBP .521 SLG .888 OPS

Another rookie who made the All-Star team in his first complete year, Geovany Soto has raised many eyebrows with his power. While having an explosive start to the season, Soto has balanced out a little and is still hitting .286. Soto is the first rookie catcher to start for the NL All-Star team and many more All-Star games may be ahead of him. This kid has been impressive and is quite possibly the Cubs' catcher of the future.

Can Soto keep up his great 1st half?

AL Manager of the Year:
Ron Gardenhire : Minnesota Twins
Twins in 2nd place in AL Central 53-41 1 GB of Chicago White Sox

Especially after the trade of Johan Santana, not very many people expected the Twins to play the way they have. Their key? Young pitching and fundamental baseball. Watch out for this team and a late season push led by pitchers like Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, and Nick Blackburn.

Will the Twins make the playoffs?

NL Manager of the Year:
Tony LaRussa : St. Louis Cardinals
Cardinals in 2nd place in NL Central 52-42 5 GB of Chicago Cubs

Through all of the injuries the Cardinals have endured ( Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols), LaRussa has managed to turn this team into a team of contenders. With the help of pitching coach Dave Duncan, LaRussa has turned Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer into formidable starters. While I don't believe St. Louis will keep it up, this scrappy team surely won't give up. Tony LaRussa is definitely manager of the year if he can lead St. Louis to the playoffs through the likes of Milwaukee and Chicago, both of which added an ace each to their respective rotations.

Cardinals' never give up attitude is what has made LaRussa look so good.

Final MLB Standings predictions:
AL East                                                       W-L        GB
Boston Red Sox                      96-66         _
Tampa Bay Rays                    94-68          2
New York Yankees                 88-74          8
Toronto Blue Jays                  80-82         16
Baltimore Orioles                   77-85         19

AL Central                                                 W-L         GB
Chicago White Sox                 89-73         _
Detroit Tigers                           87-75         2
Minnesota Twins                    82-80          7
Cleveland Indians                  75-87         14
Kansas City Royals                70-92         19

AL West                                                       W-L         GB
Los Angeles Angels                 95-67         _
Oakland Athletics                      85-77        10
Texas Rangers                         79-83         16
Seattle Mariners                       60-102       35

AL Wild Card                                               W-L         GB
Tampa Bay Rays                       94-68          _
New York Yankees                    88-74          6
Detroit Tigers                             86-76           8
Oakland Athletics                      85-77          9


NL East                                                          W-L         GB
New York Mets                            92-70         _
Philadelphia Phillies                 88-74         4
Atlanta Braves                             81-81        11
Florida Marlins                            80-82         12
Washington Nationals              59-103       33

NL Central                                                      W-L         GB
Chicago Cubs                              99-63           _
Milwaukee Brewers                     92-70           7
St. Louis Cardinals                     87-75           12
Pittsburgh Pirates                       76-86           23
Houston Astros                            73-89           26
Cincinnati Reds                           70-92           29

NL West                                                         W-L           GB
Los Angeles Dodgers               82-80            _
Arizona Diamondbacks             80-82            2
Colorado Rockies                      76-86             6
San Francisco Giants                73-89             9
San Diego Padres                     64-98            18

NL Wild Card                                                 W-L             GB
Milwaukee Brewers                     92-70             _
Philadelphia Phillies                   88-74             4
St. Louis Cardinals                      87-75             5
Atlanta Braves                               81-81            11

I apologize for the unevenness.

Posted on: July 9, 2008 1:20 am
 

Who got the better deal?

Well, the question is, who got the better deal between the Cubs getting Rich Harden (and Chad Gaudin) from the Athletics and the Brewers getting C.C. Sabathia (and no one else) from the Indians.  Well, if you want to be technical, we don't know who got the better deal.  Maybe I should rephrase the question to say, who will have the better deal.  I'll make a couple of predictions and scenarios here.

Now, I believe that the Brewers will have the better deal getting Sabathia to come play for them.  He is a proven winner (defending AL Cy Young Award winner), he played on a winning team (see '07 Indians), and he is a gamer.  Take a look at CC's stats, he went 19-7 last year w/ an ERA of 3.21.  He struck out 209 and walked 37.  He's already 2 over that walk total, but no need to worry.  This year (if you combine his start w/ the Brewers), he is 7-8 with an ERA of 3.79.  He has struck out 128 and walked 39.  Sabathia's 2006 was a great year also.  This guy is for real.  The Brewers have definitely the best 1-2 punch in the NL w/ Sheets and Sabathia. (I have changed my mind)


CC - Have the Brewers struck gold?

As for Rich Harden, his most complete year was his 2nd year w/ Oakland, where he went 11-7 w/ a 3.99 ERA.  He struck out 167 and walked 81.  Yikes.  A great deal?  Sean Gallagher gone?  I don't know, we'll see.  His last two years have been injury filled.  They have been great years when not injured.  So far this year, he is 5-1 w/ an ERA of 2.34, he has struck out 92 and walked 31 (already, with 6 fewer starts).  This is a wait and see thing, but I wouldn't get too excited w/ the Mark Prior of the AL in Rich Harden.


Will the Cubs get all they want out of Harden?
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 1, 2008 3:58 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2008 5:03 pm
 

My All-Star Selections through 6/30/08

All right..here it goes..not in any particular batting order and I'll add on pitchers also later in the post. (the way it should be by the way, I realize Carlos Quentin isn't on the ballot...)

Lineups
American League

1B Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
2B Ian Kinsler - Texas Rangers
SS Michael Young - Texas Rangers
3B Alex Rodriguez - New York Yankees
C Joe Mauer - Minnesota Twins
OF Josh Hamilton - Texas Rangers
OF Carlos Quentin (why isn't he on the ballot?) - Chicago White Sox
OF Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox
DH Aubrey Huff - Baltimore Orioles

A little change up from last time. I realized that A-Rod is having a much better year than most third basemen in the league despite his injury, plus Joe Crede has dropped off a little bit. Aubrey Huff qualifies as the DH, so I got him there. Carlos Quentin should be on the ballot, but if he isn't in the starting lineup, he definitely has a spot reserved for him as a reserve. No Red Sox in the lineup, but a couple will show up for the game.


Kinsler, Hamilton, and Young are having great years for Texas.

National League

1B Lance Berkman - Houston Astros
2B Chase Utley - Philadelphia Phillies
SS Hanley Ramirez - Florida Marlins
3B Chipper Jones - Atlanta Braves
C Brian McCann - Atlanta Braves
OF Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
OF Ryan Ludwick - St. Louis Cardinals
OF Carlos Lee - Houston Astros
DH Nate McLouth - Pittsburgh Pirates

Well, the homer in me is saying Geovany Soto should start at catcher, but I'll go with McCann for the time being. Soto has slowed up a little bit since his great start to the year, same with Nate McLouth. Albert Pujols should probably be the DH, but since McClouth is still maintaining his stats a little bit, I'll go w/ him for the time being. Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman are having great years for a bad Astros team.


Ramirez and Utley have been taking the NL East by storm this year.

Pitching
American League
SP Cliff Lee - Cleveland Indians (will start the game)
SP Justin Duchscherer - Oakland Athletics
SP Joe Saunders - Los Angeles Angels
SP Roy Halladay - Toronto Blue Jays
SP Ervin Santana - Los Angeles Angels
RP Francisco Rodriguez - Los Angeles Angels
RP Joe Nathan - Minnesota Twins
RP Mariano Rivera - New York Yankees
RP Joakim Soria - Kansas City Royals
RP Jonathan Papelbon - Boston Red Sox


Lee and Duchscherer have been pleasant surprises for their respective teams.

National League
SP Brandon Webb - Arizona Diamondbacks
SP Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants
SP Edinson Volquez - Cincinnati Reds (will start)
SP Ben Sheets - Milwaukee Brewers
SP Johan Santana - New York Mets
RP Brad Lidge - Philadelphia Phillies
RP Billy Wagner - New York Mets
RP Kerry Wood - Chicago Cubs
RP Joe Beimel - Los Angeles Dodgers
RP Jose Valverde - Houston Astros

I admit, I didn't put as much thought as probably necessary into the pitchers. If you have any nominees, go ahead and give a shout out for them and I'll see what I think. Here it is for now.


Young fireballers Volquez and Lincecum have been bright stars for dim teams.

Note: Reserves aren't included in this post.
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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