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2019 MLB thread

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1 hour ago, tx 3 putt said:

one night game opening day is very weak sauce 

also, no keuchel signing. surprising 

that's why they should make it a federal holiday.

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^ Scratch that, Urías will go down. 

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The youngest Padre to play a game since Roberto Alomar in 1988, Tatis will be flanked by one of the sport's most experienced infields. Machado will play third with Ian Kinsler at second and Eric Hosmer at first. That trio has combined for eight Gold Glove Awards.

A side effect of Tatis' presence with the Padres is that close friend and fellow top prospect Luis Urias is expected to begin the season at Triple-A, sources confirmed. Urias is the presumed second baseman of the future, but he was expected to open the year at short -- at least until Tatis' arrival.

 

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Posted (edited)

Here’s the footage of Souza’s injury. Supposedly Luvollo wanted all players to wear metal, but Souza may have still been wearing his plastic turfs. 

 

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Mike Hazen and Lovullo had just been talking about mandating all players use metal cleats earlier in the day. The timing of that conversation and then last night’s injury was something that stuck in Torey’s mind and he mentioned it in the post game presser.

Obviously, the turf had nothing to do with the play itself as it happened on dirt and on home plate. However there was some discussion on Twitter last night about whether he was wearing plastic cleats, because he prefers that on the artificial turf. But according to one source there are actually a lot of players playing on plastic cleats that play on grass turf too. In fact, Bryce Harper hurt his knee tripping on first base playing in plastic cleats.

Said Torey: 

I saw the tracks on home plate, I saw the tracks leaving home plate and he just slid across home plate. You know, these athletes are so amazing and strong, you put extra force on some cleats, and you just don’t know how it’s going to respond. We have practiced hitting home plate and the bases a hundred times. That's what so heartbreaking about this.

 

Edited by spystud13

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Posted (edited)

That's some quality video editing by Andersen.  Too many would have cut out Alfred Hitchcock walking back and forth at the start.

Edited by clapclapclap

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Stark:

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Numbers. They’re everywhere. They flash across our flat screens. They dance across our Twitter feeds. They come spilling out of the mouths of front-office geniuses and media knuckleheads like us.

But you know the best thing about the cool numbers of baseball? They tell stories. They should never be the story. But they can always shape the story, if you use them right and choose them right.

So just as we used numbers to sculpt the story of the 2018 season — before it actually happened — it’s that time again. The non-Japan portion of another tremendous baseball season will get rolling any minute now. So you know where it’s leading? We’re about to tell you — through these 10 Numbers That Define Baseball, 2019 Edition.

The magic number: 8,000

 What it means: Did you notice there’s a lot more swinging and missing than there used to be? Aha. Thought so! But by “used to be,” we’re not talking about when your grandpa was watching games in 1947. We mean like 10 years ago. Just over the last 10 seasons (2008-18), strikeouts are up by more than 8,000 (to be specific, 8,323). So one thing you can count on when you go to a ballgame in 2019 is — you guessed it — a steady breeze.

We talk all the time these days about the “Three True Outcomes” — home runs, walks and strikeouts — all of which are supposedly devouring the “action” in this sport. But to be perfectly honest, there is really only One True Outcome that you can always depend on: strikeouts. They just keep on coming.

The walks go up, and the walks go down. The homers go up, and the homers go down. But strikeouts? There’s no DOWN button on the Whiff Tower elevators. It’s just onward and upward. And then upward some more.

Major-league strikeouts have now increased in each of the last 13 seasons in a row. We’ve never seen anything like it in the history of baseball.

YEAR SO  INCREASE
2018 41,207 +1,103
2017 40,104  +1,122
2016 38,982 +1,446
2015 37,446 +5
2014 37,441 +731
2013 36,710 +284
2012 36,426 +1,978
2011 34,488 +182
2010  34,306 +715
2009 33,591 +707
2008 32,884 +695
2007 32,189 +534
2006  31,655 +1,011
2005 30,644 N/A

We asked our friends at Stats LLC to check on this. Home runs have never risen in more than four consecutive seasons. The most consecutive seasons in which walks per game have ever gone up is five. No other significant stat in the annals of this sport has ever had a 13-year streak of, well, anything. But not only is the K parade showing no signs of ending any time soon, we’ve now seen upticks of more than 1,000 three seasons in a row. So here’s the question:

In a world in which just about every pitcher alive throws 95 to 105 mph and brings more information to the mound than ever before, is there any hope at all that baseball can get this under control? Or are whiffs destined to go up forever, until all 54 outs a night are strikeouts?

“As soon as the league adjusts to hitting the high fastball the way they adjusted to hitting the low fastball, I think things can normalize,” said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. “But at some level, it has to be disincentivized to strike out. And to do that, you’ve got to pay guys (to not swing and miss). Obviously, contractual things come into play. We pay in the industry for power. We pay for extra-base hits. We pay for OPS. And unless that changes, that is always going to outweigh the need for simple contact.”

There were only two players last season — Andrelton Simmons and Victor Martinez — who struck out under 50 times and played enough to qualify for the batting title. As recently as 2007, there were 11. A quarter-century ago, there were 20. Tony Gwynn once had 12 seasons like that by himself. The only active players who have even done it more than once are Simmons and Yadi Molina.

So there’s a trend here. But it sure isn’t toward anything A.J. Hinch just described.

The magic number: 11,489

What it means: You know who used to be shift-proof? Those lucky right-handed-hitting citizens of our spectacular planet. But not anymore. There were over 11,000 more shifts deployed against right-handed hitters last season than they saw as recently as eight years ago. Yep, 11,000!

Once upon a time, shifts were for Barry Bonds or Ryan Howard or Adam Dunn — not for Albert Pujols or Nelson Cruz or Edwin Encarnación. Boy, it sure was a beautiful thing to bat right-handed. But here’s how much that has changed, just in this decade:

YEAR SHIFTS VS RH SHIFTS VS LH
2011 84 2,266
2018 11,573 23,098

So as recently as 2011, there were fewer than 100 shifts on balls in play against all right-handed hitters combined over the entire season. And by last year, there were more than 11,000! Check out the progression that shows how shifts against right-handed hitters have blown up, just since the last year of the shift-free Dark Ages (i.e., 2011).

SHIFTS ON BALLS IN PLAY VS RH

2011: 84
2012: 787
2013: 1,260
2014: 3,673
2015: 4,162
2016: 8,698
2017: 8,133
2018: 11,573

So you know what’s coming in 2019, barring unforeseen developments? Even more shifts against even more right-handed hitters. What else?

And what’s driving this trend? More precise data on where all hitters are likely to hit the ball, obviously. But that’s not all.

“The old way of thinking was that you couldn’t do that because there was too much ground for the first baseman to cover,” said one AL executive. “But now we have more athletic first basemen than we’ve ever had. So you’re not just seeing more shifts against right-handed hitters. You’re seeing more radical shifts. You’re seeing more first basemen playing where the second baseman normally plays — play him way off the bag and take your chances he can get back in time. As we get away from the old 1980s-style muscle-bound first baseman … it’s making a lot of things possible.”

The magic number: .243

What it means: So what happens when right-handed hitters face a shift nowadays? They head back to the dugout a lot. Surprise, surprise. According to Sports Info Solutions, right-handed hitters reached base less than 25 percent of the time last season when they pulled a ground ball or bunt into a shift. That .243 percentage was more than 30 points lower than when they faced no shift at all. And won’t they be delighted to hear that news?

If it’s any comfort for the right-handed hitters who might be reading this and pouring themselves a sorrow-drowning glass of Makers Mark, we can at least report that shifts against right-handers don’t work quite as well as shifts against left-handed hitters. On the other hand, ask any right-handed hitter how much fun they’re having when they look out and see those shifts. The frustration in their voice tells us as much as any stat.

“I think back on how many more hits I got my first five years in the big leagues as opposed to now,” said the Phillies’ Andrew McCutchen, a guy who faced 186 shifts from the right side last season, according to Sports Info Solutions. “I think about how many times you scorch a ball up the middle and somebody’s standing there. I was taught my whole life to hit it up the middle — stay inside the ball and hit it up the middle. That’s all I tried to do. And now they’ve got a guy there.”

Yeah, well, sorry about that. But there’s a reason that guy is standing there — to make McCutchen’s life miserable, naturally. And he’s there because shifts work. They might not be perfect. They might not be quite as stifling if you hit right-handed. But they work. Period.

Sports Info Solutions provided us with indisputable evidence that when a right-handed hitter pulls a ground ball or bunt to the left of second, he stands a much better shot at getting on base when there’s no shift than he does when any sort of shift is in place. Take a look.

YEAR VS. SHIFT VS. NO SHIFT
2013 .191 .273
2014 .244 .266
2015 .216 .280
2016 .236 .271
2017 .250 .278
2018 .243 .274

(Measured by Reached Base Rate — essentially the same as On Base Percentage, except it accounts for every possible way a hitter can get on base, including errors.)

One thing we should admit: At first, the year-by-year fluctuations by right-handed hitters against the shift confused us. So we asked a coach who directs shifting for his team to explain it. But all he saw in those numbers was evidence of the only thing that matters — that shifting results in more outs than not shifting.

“If it’s a one-point improvement … it’s still working,” he said.

Andrew McCutchen seconds that motion.

The magic number: 4

What it means: That’s the number of outfielders we’re betting you see in more funky shifts this season than ever before. Bryce Harper can tell you all about it. In fact, you’ll be hearing more from him shortly.

For a century in baseball, three men were asked to cover pretty much all the real estate between the infield dirt and the bleacher creatures. There were occasional, gimmicky moments when that changed — and some wily manager like Joe Maddon or Jim Riggleman might mess around with a four-man outfield against a David Ortiz, Ryan Howard or Mark McGwire. But as recently as 2016, according to Statcast data, the four-outfielder shift wasn’t used once all season.

Even in 2017, it happened just one time, according to MLB.com’s Mike Petriello — with Maddon trotting it out against Joey Votto (who still found a gap to double into, of course). Ah, but last year, that tide began to shift.

According to Statcast, eight different teams used a four-man outfield at least once in 2018 — the Twins, Astros, Rays, Rockies, Orioles, Cubs, Dodgers and Mariners. And seven hitters had it sprung on them in multiple games:

Lucas Duda: 7 games
Joey Gallo: 7 games
Justin Smoak: 6 games
Matt Olson: 5 games
Eric Thames: 3 games
Logan Morrison: 2 games
Kendrys Morales: 2 games

Well, how’d that work out? Heh-heh. How do all shifts work out? According to Statcast, hitters facing four-man outfields batted .186, with 17 strikeouts and just three homers. Duda hit two of those homers — and went 5 for 12 (.417) when he put a ball in play against that alignment. But everybody else went 5 for 25 (.200), with one homer, when they put a ball in play, according to Sports Info Solutions.

So this year, it appears, the number of teams unfurling the four-man outfield could grow much larger — at least into double figures, possibly to as many as half the teams in baseball. The Blue Jays and Reds,  who did it zero times last year, used that alignment repeatedly this spring against hitters with fly-ball-heavy spray charts.

One of those hitters was Harper, a guy who had never faced a four-man outfield in his career before seeing it in six games this spring. What’s up with that? A coach for one team that unleashed it explained the thinking this way:

“It’s all about taking away the extra-base hit,” the coach said. “We’re not going to give him anything to hit anyway. There’s probably a good chance we’ll walk him. So obviously, we don’t care if he gets on first base. The reason we play four guys out there is we don’t want him on second base. We don’t even care if he bunts.”

So we ran that past Harper, who looked at it this way: “It’s crazy. Like, I’ve never really seen it. But if teams want to do it, I guess that’s the new style of the game. I’m like, OK, well, if I hit a ball to the outfield in the air, I’m probably going to be out anyway. But if I hit it in any one of those gaps, I’ve got a chance. So whatever teams want to do, it’s (their) preference. If they want to do it, they want to do it. It’s not really a mind game for me because I know exactly what they’re going to do. OK, four guys in the outfield? Whatever.”

In other words, he’s not going to petition to play in the Atlantic League, which is trying out a ban on all shifts this season?

“No, I’m OK,” he said, with a $330 million chuckle. “I’m good here.”

The magic number: 2-and-1

 What it means: Remember when a hitter could see a 2-and-1 pitch coming and think of it as “a fastball count”? Hey, guess what? The “fastball count” is not even a real thing anymore in this game. Sorry!

We asked this simple question of one big-league pitching coach this spring: Is there any such thing as a fastball count anymore? His smile got wider than Vic Carapazza’s strike zone.

“No,” that coach said, instantly. “Absolutely not.

“With the information we have on the hitters,” he went on, “and the information we have on our (pitchers), we’re able to train pitchers in different ways and we’re able to attack hitters in different ways. So that probably eliminates the notion of there being a fastball count. I would imagine the 2-0 fastball has been reduced heavily.”

Yep. Good call. Until the last few years, fastballs were thrown in about three-fourths of all 2-and-0 counts. But take a look at how the percentage of fastballs thrown on 2-and-0 has dropped since 2015:

2015: 74%
2016: 72%
2017: 71%
2018: 69%

(Source: Sports Info Solutions)

Not surprisingly, we’re seeing the same trend in other one-time “fastball counts.” Take a look:

2-AND-1 FASTBALL PERCENTAGE

2015: 62%
2016: 60%
2017: 58%
2018: 58%

3-AND-1 FASTBALL PERCENTAGE

2008: 83%
2014:  80%
2018: 77%

Hitting has always been the hardest thing to do in sports. Guess what? It’s harder now than ever.

The magic number: 55.0

What it means: Speaking of fastballs … only 55.0 percent of all pitches thrown in the major leagues last year were any form of a “fastball,” according to FanGraphs. That’s the lowest fastball usage in any season since pitch data first became publicly available — and almost certainly the lowest in the history of baseball.

Here is the world hitters find themselves living in in 2019:

  • Pitchers throw harder now than at any point in recorded history. (The average fastball velocity travels 93 mph — up 4 mph since the beginning of this century.)
  • On the other hand, pitchers throw that fastball less than at any time in recorded history. (As recently as 2003, 64 percent of all pitches thrown were fastballs, according to FanGraphs. That percentage has now plummeted, with no end to that drop in sight.)

“There are no free fastballs in the league anymore,” Hinch said. “It’s very rare. I have two of the premier fastball pitchers in the league, in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. And they are equally comfortable in throwing to a different part of the strike zone with a different pitch as they are with their fastball. And that’s simply not the way it was in the early 2000s, or the mid-’90s when I broke in. Your power pitchers used their power. Now your power pitchers use their power to set up their secondary weapons, or vice-versa.”

Fifteen years ago, sliders and cutters represented just 14.6 percent of all pitches thrown. By last year, they were up to a remarkable 22.6 percent of all pitches thrown. Check out the jump in slider usage just over the last five seasons:

2014: 13.7%
2015: 14.8%
2016: 15.2%
2017: 16.3%
2018: 16.9%
(Source: FanGraphs)

“We’re living in an age of more creative pitching-calling and more creative pitcher repertories than ever,” said an executive of one data-driven team. “Our game is just viewed very differently now. We’ve gotten way outside that box where every pitcher looks the same.”

The magic number: 7,460 

What it means: That’s how many times left-handed hitters were forced by the proper authorities to bat against left-handed relievers last year. And if that seems like a big number, that’s because it’s a whopper of a number. In fact, it’s 1,407 more times than this happened in 2010, according to Stats LLC — an increase of 23 percent just over the last eight seasons. So why does that matter? Because it’s about to change. And the most significant impact isn’t what you think.

Let’s ruminate about left-handed sluggers through the years:

Ted Williams — Faced the starting pitcher four times a game, then went fishing.
Willie Stargell — Faced the starting pitcher three times, then saw a set-up man or closer, then danced to Sister Sledge.
Bryce Harper — Faces the starting pitcher two times, sees nothing but left-handed specialists, fire-breathers and closers from the fifth inning on, then wishes he’d played with Ted Williams.

Have we mentioned it’s never been harder to hit than it is right now — especially if you’re left-handed? Here’s another way to look at the life and times of Williams, Stargell and Harper:

PCT OF CAREER PA VS LHP
Williams: 19.4%
Stargell: 27.3%
Harper: 29.9%
(Source: baseball-reference.com)

See where is this heading? Baseball sees exactly where. So a year from now, MLB has announced it will implement a rule requiring that all relief pitchers have to face at least three hitters, unless the inning ends first. The reaction to that has mostly been: Oh, no. This is going to put Jerry Blevins and Oliver Pérez out of work. Or else: Oh, no. They’re trying to take all the strategy out of the game.

But there’s a side to this that almost nobody has talked about. This isn’t a rule solely designed to lessen incessant pitching-change dead time — or even to wipe Jerry Blevins off the face of the baseball earth. It’s also designed to produce more action! And inject more offense! What a concept.

And why would that happen? Because left-handed bullpen monsters have been overmatching left-handed hitters for a long time now.

Take a look at these numbers, provided by Stats LLC. They show us how left-handed hitters have fared against left-handed and right-handed relievers over the last 10 seasons:

Left-Handed Batters vs. Relievers — Last 10 Seasons

PIT_SIDE PA AVG OBP SLG HR_PCT BB_PCT K_PCT
vs RHP 148118 .252 .339 .406 2.6 11.0 20.7
vs LHP 69429 .230 .303 .345 1.9 8.3 24.2

Now here’s the breakdown just for last season:

PIT_SIDE PA AVG OBP SLG HR_PCT BB_PCT K_PCT
vs RHP 16122 .250 .337 .424 3.2 10.9 22.1
vs LHP 7460 .230 .308 .354 2.2 8.8 25.4

 And what do those numbers tell us? They tell us that left-handed hitters had an OPS that was nearly 100 points lower against left-handed relievers than against right-handed relievers last year … And that left-handed relievers turn all left-handed hitters into guys who slug like Dee Gordon … And that when he faces left-handed relievers, your average left-handed hitter is more likely to strike out than get a hit. Is that good? Any of that?

So ask yourself this: If you were running a major sport and you were interested in making that sport a better entertainment product — would you just sit back and say, “Oh, well. Even the greatest players in my sport have next to no shot in the most important innings every night — but hey, that’s baseball”? Or would you say, “Maybe there’s some way to fix that and actually make our sport more entertaining”?

That hasn’t been the reaction to this rule so far. But is it crazy to try this? In the name of more action, more offense, less dead time and more entertainment? Not in the universe some of us are dreaming of visiting someday. Sorry about that, Jerry and Ollie!

The magic number: 12 

What it means: That’s how many teams have busted through the Traditional Thinking Zone and will enter this season without officially naming anyone on their staff as The Closer. Somewhere, Goose Gossage’s mustache just burst into flames. But welcome to baseball in the year 2019.

You know, it was never mandated by Abner Doubleday, Bud Selig or even Tony La Russa that every team had to have “A Closer.” It just kind of happened. And that turned out to be a very cool development in the lives of Rollie Fingers, Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera.

But something kind of amazing is transpiring this year. A dozen teams — two-thirds of which figure to be actual contenders — are going to try this a different way, at least for now. Somebody on those teams will pitch the ninth inning of every game they win. It just might not be the same guy. Or even what some folks might think is The Best Guy.

The team that just won the World Series (the Red Sox) won’t start the season with “A Closer,” although it’s logical to think Matt Barnes will do most of the closing. … The Cardinals and Phillies — who signed Andrew Miller and David Robertson this winter for “closer money” — still won’t have “A Closer,” although they wouldn’t mind grooming Jordan Hicks and Seranthony Dominguez, respectively, for that gig. … Heck, even Ned Yost won’t have “A Closer” in Kansas City, even though the Royals just signed a guy (Brad Boxberger) who saved 32 games last year, and even though he’s Ned Yost!

“Just common sense to me,” said Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, “is where are the outs? Where are the best matchups? My job is to put guys in the situation where they can have the most effective matchups.”

Hey, good idea. Logically, in fact, teams have long known that was the best theoretical idea – for like the last two decades. But the magnitude of This Is The Way We’ve Always Done It is such a powerful force in baseball, they named “A Closer” anyway. In recent years, though, we’ve seen that thinking start to shift. Over the last three seasons, a total of 35 teams have had multiple pitchers with 10-plus saves:

TEAMS WITH MULTIPLE CLOSERS*
2018: 12
2017: 10
2016: 13
2015: 4
(*Two or more pitchers saved at least 10 games) 

Before 2016, you had to go all the way back to 1987 to find any season in which at least 10 teams had more than one reliever with double-digit saves. That was the year La Russa installed Dennis Eckersley as his official three-out closer in Oakland, incidentally. Coincidence? Who the heck knows? But why do we think we’re never going back to the days when every team anoints its closer — and then sticks to that no matter what? Because we heard the same message repeatedly this spring.

“I think it all is based on personnel now,” Hinch said. “When we take a broad brush and look at the closer position, we demand that all 30 teams name a closer for our comfort, because that’s how it has always been, because of the famous closers — Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, the elite of the elite, Hall of Famers. But now all of a sudden, if your personnel doesn’t fit the roles, then why should we name a closer? Why do we have to have someone who gets the ninth inning if he’s not someone that we think, as a team, is the best way to use our players?”

Number crunchers and front offices have asked that question for a decade. Who knew we would ever get to a place where managers were bold enough to ask it, too? The world is spinning fast, folks. Don’t unfasten that seat belt.

The magic number: 42

What it means: Remember the days when players actually had what used to be known as “a position”? Yep, that’s changing, too. Last year, 42 different players played at least five different positions! That’s an excellent development for the glove companies. But what does it tell us about baseball in the year 2019?

The word is “versatility.” If your friendly neighborhood manager or GM doesn’t utter it today, it must be because he forgot. Versatility has never been more trendy in this sport. And it shows, in the number of players who are now playing five, six or even seven positions in a season.

Look at the uptick in players playing at least five positions (not counting pitcher or DH), according to Stats LLC:

SEASON PLAYERS
2018 42
2017 44
2016 39
2015 31
2014 25

(Minimum: One game at each position.)

Now check out the number of guys who show up in the box scores playing at least seven positions over the course of a season:

SEASON PLAYERS
2018 7
2017 4
2016 4
2015 2
2014 1

Stats tracked these trends all the way back to 1980. They found nothing like this, because of course they didn’t. When teams actually had benches with more than three position players sitting on it, they didn’t need to encourage this level of (repeat after us) “versatility.” But with the explosion of eight-man bullpens and 13-man pitching staffs, everything changed.

The question is: Has this level of versatility always been an underused skill set that players had? Or is this just about short benches, bullpen fever and making do?

“That’s a really good question,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash, who used seven different players in both the infield and outfield last season. “I think it’s a little bit of both. I think teams are recognizing that you can maximize your roster, and part of that is the pitching staff. But saying that … the versatility, I think, is such an important thing for us. We feel that we can keep guys in theory healthier, rested at times, and also not take away from the production of our lineup.”

Cash also thinks shifting has played a role in creating newfound versatility — because it forces all of a team’s infielders to play out of their traditional territories and comfort zones. So the next thing they know, they’ve shifted a player from second base over to the other side of the bag … and learned that “wait a minute. Joey Wendle can go over there and play short, and he’s fine,” Cash said.

But is it possible versatility is about to become an endangered talent? Could be, because next season, rosters are supposed to expand from 25 to 26 – and a cap on pitchers would create an extra bench spot. But we can worry about that next year. This is just the 2019 edition of “10 Numbers That Define Baseball.” It’s not the Psychic Hotline.

The magic number: 100

What it means: That’s 100, as in 100 wins. It’s a bar those Houston Astros have cleared two years in a row. So what happens if they win 100 again this year, as some of the projection machines expect? We’ll tell you what.

The Astros won 103 games last year. They won 101 — and the World Series — the year before that. We’ve seen them projected this season to win anywhere between 97 games (FanGraphs) and 108 (Joe Sheehan). Which tells you they have a chance, in a top-heavy division, to do something that has almost never been done.

The last team to win 100-plus games three years in a row? That would be Mike Mussina’s 2002-03-04 Yankees. The last team not named the Yankees to do it? That would be John Smoltz’s 1997-98-99 Braves. The last American League team not named the Yankees to pull that off? How about Jim Palmer’s 1969-70-71 Orioles.

Ah, but you know what none of those teams did that the Astros have a shot to do? Win 100-plus three years in a row — and win two World Series. That’s what.

The last team to do that? Mort Cooper’s 1942-43-44 Cardinals. That’s a mere 75 years ago if you’re subtracting along at home.

But guess what else? This feat has been achieved by just one American League team in history — and it’s not the Yankees. It was done by only Lefty Grove’s 1929-30-31 Philadelphia A’s, who won the first of their two World Series exactly 90 years ago. That’s 90!

So now that far-from-unfathomable possibility is dangling there in Houston, in front of a team built to win — both the April-to-September marathon and the dominant-pitching tournament of October. So store this fun little factoid in the memory vault in your brain. It’s not impossible. And remember, the Yankees have never done this.

“I’m not surprised you know that history,” Hinch said, after we informed him of our exhaustive research. “But I’d really like to be the answer the next time you have to say that to somebody.”

 

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So somebody tell me again how Craig Kimbrel hasn’t found a landing spot yet?

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2 minutes ago, C-Man said:

So somebody tell me again how Craig Kimbrel hasn’t found a landing spot yet?

GMs have figured out that closers are overvalued and Kimbrel's agent hasn't. 

I'm more shocked that Keuchel is still out there.  Actually, I'm more shocked that the Indians haven't  signed someone like Denard Span, and are instead going to trot complete dogshit out to the OF positions on opening day. 

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I think some of the Cincy throwback stuff shown in that article is neat.  I just wish all the cool caps these days didn't have to have the New Era log on the side of them.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/26/2019 at 3:27 PM, tx 3 putt said:

one night game opening day is very weak sauce 

It's really weak.  One east coast game that starts at 6 central.  How is there not at least one west coast night game?

Edited by WBT

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Gammons:

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A couple of days at the Dodgers’ spring training camp defined how seasons roll on into others, the light of the past clashing with the clouds of the future.

There was unnerving doubt on the face of Clayton Kershaw, a Hall of Fame pitcher and person. There was the remarkable physical transition of shortstop Corey Seager, stirring hope that he might be better than imagined; innings by Walker Buehler and Julio Urías that made one think they might start the Dodgers’ first two playoff games; and an outing by 22-year-old pitcher Tony Gonsolin that offered a daydream of him becoming this fall’s Buehler.

What happened between the Red Sox and Dodgers in Los Angeles to close out the 2018 season doesn’t really matter when the 2019 version begins today. New Englanders awaken worried about their bullpen, Angelenos about the great Kershaw, Yankees fans about Luis Severino and Dellin Betances. This is all nothing new, but just a reminder why no team in the 21st century has won consecutive world championships.

After a fraught winter of collusion whispers — now an annual tradition — in the end, Manny Machado ended up in what is likely the best place for him, San Diego. Bryce Harper signed for 13 years with no opt-out clause in Philadelphia, putting him in a park that gives him a chance to hit 50 homers every season.

Then Nolan Arenado — whose deal was considered by general managers the best of the original three $200+ million contracts — got what he asked for from his agent Joel Wolfe, namely keeping him in Colorado. That’s what Mike Trout got, too; his agent, Craig Landis, never threatened, he simply got more than $400 million to allow Trout to be an Angel for life. Chris Sale, who, like Arenado, could have been a free agent next November, got a five-year extension to remain in Boston. Alex Bregman got more than $100 million. Paul Goldschmidt spent three weeks in the Cardinals camp, knew it’s where he wants to stay, and will.

As the 2019 season nears first light and Craig Kimbrel, a potential HOFer, and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel remained unsigned, two things seem clear: First, players who prioritize staying with their present teams have an advantage in getting close to what they want in salary. And, second, the dichotomy between the $100-$400 million deals and those considered fungible by teams is having a profound impact on baseball’s middle and lower classes.

Harper and J.T. Realmuto make the Phillies co-favorites with the Nationals in the NL East. Machado gives the Padres an infield with Eric Hosmer, Luis Urías and phenom Fernando Tatís Jr. for the next six years, at least. Arenado anchors the Rockies and gives them stability and leadership. Trout becomes to the Angels what Stan Musial was to the Cardinals. Sale could be Fenway Park’s Randy Johnson.

There is a large fan base that obsesses about prospect lists. But in the words of prophets Jed Hoyer and Casey Stern, prospects are great, parades are better. The Red Sox may have the best outfield in baseball, all their draft picks, and have self-developed starters at third, short, second and catcher, but they wouldn’t have won a World Series without $65 million worth of investments in three starting pitchers and a monster deadline trade for Nate Eovaldi. When the Astros won the seventh game of the 2017 World Series, their entire starting infield and alpha dog leader George Springer were all signed and developed by the organization, but winning pitcher Charlie Morton was an astute free agent signing.

For all the concerns about tanking, we may start Thursday with 17 of the 30 teams having legitimate hopes of playing in October. (Remember, less than 20 years ago, Bud Selig was concerned that only 10 teams opened spring training with any such hope.) Several National League general managers this spring opined that aside from the Marlins, Reds, and Giants, every team in the National League on Labor Day can concoct a scenario where it is at worst in the rearview mirror of the final wild-card team.

I can make a case that the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros could each win it all, and scenarios where none of them make it to the ALCS. I can make a similarly positive case for the Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers and Rockies.

MLB has yet to ensure that small-market teams have better access to amateur and international talent necessary to compete on a reasonably consistent basis; none of them can dream on J.D. Martinez or Mookie Betts the next two winters. It has yet to create a system where small and mid-market revenue teams are rewarded for winning rather than tanking.

Still, what Oakland, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and Cleveland did last season to win 97, 96, 90 and 91 games, respectively, is remarkable, a testament to creativity and reading the ever-changing trendlines. This year, it would be no surprise if the Twins (who played in Yankee Stadium in October two years ago), Angels and Pirates were in the September scrum.

Looking out at the season that takes us from “Quick Pitch” to “MLB Tonight” five days a week from March to November, we have six divisions, a gaggle of predictions and significant storylines on our immediate radar.


American League East

If you live anywhere from  Tucumcari to Tuscaloosa, you probably have spent your baseball life watching Yankees-Red Sox: Bucky Dent and Mike Torres, Pedro Martínez and Mariano Rivera, Jason Varitek and A-Rod, ad infinitum. And they’re back again. They could each — or both — win 100 games. Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge either have already or could this season win an MVP award. Their revenues dwarf the GNP of a small nation. Boston’s four starting pitchers and the Yankees’ outfielders combined salaries each are greater than those of ten whole teams.

The Red Sox and Indians may have the best rotations in the league. Boston’s positional players — with Rafael Devers a good bet as a breakout star at age 22 — are in their primes. How far the Red Sox go depends on the health of their starters and their creativity in constructing their bullpen, which was an ongoing process while winning 122 games in 2018. And the health of Dustin Pedroia will be monitored daily.

The Yankees have to stay healthy — at short, in the outfield, in their rotation — but they have what should be a truly dominant bullpen, especially if and when Betances becomes Betances again, and they may hit 300 homers if they get another hot summer. Their pitching depth provides safety nets and trade options in Jonathan Loaisiga, Luis Cessa, Domingo German and Mike King.

The Rays are ever creative. They have Blake Snell, Charlie Morton and breakout candidate Tyler Glasnow as starters, they might get Brent Honeywell back for August, they have José Alvarado and a bunch of big arms for their open-to-close games. They have underrated gems like Joey Wendle, fascinating talents like Willy Adames, Yandy Díaz and multi-positional regular Brandon Lowe.

They make for a low-budget contrast to the Delta Shuttle multi-nationals, but the Rays most days play as if it’s October 22. Kevin Cash v. Alex Cora v. Aaron Boone will make for a lot of WPA second-guessing all season.

The Blue Jays will be fun because of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the re-emergence of their development system and their enthusiasm, but their hope is to keep accelerating what they knew would be a four-year project.

And yes, Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and Brandon Hyde know the Orioles could well lose 100 games; don’t remind them of their failures, they’ve not forgotten them, and the trading deadline is four months from Sunday.

American League Central

It seems as if being an Indians fan means remembering 1948 not for Dewey defeating Truman, but for the last Indians championship. They were 11-43 in ’54, Dusty Rhodes. They were on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s preview in ’77. They were in the series in ’95, and again, Édgar Rentería, in ’97, up 3-1 in the ’07 ALCS and in Game 7, 2016.

What John Hart then Mark Shapiro now Chris Antonetti and now Mike Chernoff is one of the most difficult tasks in this business — build a consistently competitive team in a city of 385,000 people and one Fortune 500 company. They could have won any of the last three years with their pitching, with Terry Francona, with stars they developed like Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez.

Despite averaging more than 95 wins a season over the last three years, the Indians haven’t drawn 2.1 million fans since the George W. Bush administration. We can understand some of the reasons, from the weather to the Cavs and Browns to the lack of serious competition in the A.L. Central, but still: This team has Lindor. Corey Kluber has won two Cy Youngs. Andrew Miller was as good as it gets for two years.

Perhaps if the Twins are indeed are a rising competitor — run by another bright young Indians-grown leader in Derek Falvey — there will be a legitimate race. Maybe the White Sox will fit together the pieces of their toolsy system. Maybe the Royals fixation on pitching will accelerate their restoration. Maybe things will start to come out of the ashes of the Tigers’ price to try to win it all for all those years.

The bullpen wore down after three great years in 2018, and starters like Kluber and Trevor Bauer had to go deep into games. This season Kluber is Kluber, Bauer is on his ascending mission, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger are superb starters and Shane Bieber is a machine.

They need Lindor to get back into the field when the wind chill factor reaches 40. They need another big season from Ramírez. They need Bradley Zimmer back by May 1, for Leonys Martin to remain healthy, Carlos Santana to produce in the middle, for some kid like spring sensation Oscar Mercado to come back from the minors and spark a fire.

They have great pitching, and the knowledge that ownership will loosen the payroll if they are in it come the All-Star break — which we shall all be spending in Cleveland, the way we did in ’97 when The Jake was jammed and Jim Thome was king.

I am all in on the Twins, but we all know that underestimating the Cleveland pitching and/or Francona is a sizeable mistake. Still: If Buxton is as healthy as he appears, remember that he hit .300 the second half of the ’17 season, and he, Max Kepler (still the only MLB player to have attended the Steffi Graf Academy, and Eddie Rosario comprise one of the best outfields in the game, with Alex Kirilloff still on the horizon. Minnesota made important offseason acquisitions in Nelson Cruz, Marwin González and Jonathan Schoop, and they got Jorge Polanco and Kepler signed long-term. Now if Trevor May can close behind big arms like Taylor Rogers, Fernando Romero, Blake Parker and Trevor Hildenberger, and if Michael Pineda comes back with José Berríos, Kyle Gibson, Martín Pérez, Jake Odorizzi et al.,  they have enough pitching to stay in the hunt.

Yes, they need Miguel Sanó to get healthy. Yes, they need consistent starting pitching. But they proved something last year in an injury-torn season under Paul Molitor, and now the managerial responsibilities belong to Rocco Baldelli, an uncommon person who never fails to understand those with whom he speaks.

American League West

When the sun rises Thursday morning, the Astros will be in the American League’s Power Three for the third straight season. They have already kept Justin Verlander through 2021, which is good for everyone, especially the next generation of pitchers they have coming; and, anyway, Justin thinks he can pitch until he’s 45, and some of us know him well enough to believe whatever he says. Maybe they’ll sign Gerrit Cole and keep him off the market, two. Whatever happens, the Astros arrive at the park Thursday with two pitchers who should be in the hunt for the Cy Young, and one of the best positional teams in the game made better by the addition of Michael Brantley’s uncanny hit tool.

Three-quarters of their infield—José Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman — have been or could eventually be MVPs. George Springer is reminiscent of prime Adam Jones. They have depth up and down, even without Marwin González. They have parts like Yuli Guirriel, Josh Reddick, Tony Kemp, Jake Marisnick and Kyle Tucker that fit championship teams (while some of us wish Derek Fisher could go find a home in Oakland, Baltimore or San Francisco where he could prove himself before it’s too late).

It’s true that beyond Verlander and Cole, there are issues to be resolved with the pitching staff. Can Josh James start? Can Collin McHugh’s stuff play as well in the rotation as it did in the bullpen? How well does Wade Miley play here?

A.J. Hinch brought their best young pitchers into major league camp to evaluate where they are in their development, and what their roles eventually may be. The feeling is that Framber Valdéz will eventually get a shot. It seems certain Forrest Whitley will be in the rotation by the All-Star break, if not sooner. Corbin Martin may move into the running. Some feel J.B. Bukauskas will eventually close.

Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane have proven willing to use prospects and/or money for what they need, and by the heat of the summer they may need either a starter or a reliever.

One good reason for that need is that the Angels are a major sleeper. When Shohei Ohtani is back, probably sometime in the first third of the season, they will have, with Mike Trout, what their pitchers call “the two freaks.” GM Billy Eppler compares the pair to what David Ortiz and Manny Ramírez were to the Red Sox in their 2003-2007 run together: Monsters. Justin Upton in astounding shape and Kole Calhoun seems to be over the changes in his approach that may have played a part in his rough start. Two kids in Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh who could find outfield roles for their talent come August. Defense? Start with arguably the best infielder in the league in Andrelton Simmons. Add Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate.

Mike Scioscia is probably enjoying his time off after going through 34 pitchers, half of whom started at one point during the season. In the reboot for Ausmus, Matt Harvey has thrown well this spring and looks to be healthy and in good shape, knowing another star-crossed season might mean a spring training invitation next February. Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs, when not dealing with injuries, are 130-170 inning starters. The Angels like Felix Peña, and they have two kids named Jose Suarez and Griffin Canning who could end up in the rotation.

They signed Cody Allen to impose some order at the end of games, then have a lineup of big arms like Luke Bard, Cam Bedrosian, Justin Anderson, Ty Buttrey, Luis Garcia and Hansel Robles who will be in competition most of the first half.

This team left me with a good feeling this spring. May 16 is the 53d anniversary of the release of the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.” The Angels have an off day. Maybe Eppler, Ausmus and pitching coach Doug White can do what they like to do together in their spare time — surf — and drive down the waves with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” blaring out of a Woodie.

This isn’t a bad year to get a wild card spot, because while the injury-cursed Athletics, Rangers and Mariners could end up surprising a lot of prognosticators, it seems that every time Oakland thinks they’re close, some pitcher needs an operation. Still, stay tuned. And never underestimate their credibility.

 


National League East

So Bryce Harper is going to get booed. In New York. In Washington, of course. Maybe Atlanta.

(If a player gets booed in Miami and no one notices, is it a boo?)

These are the facts:

1. Few baseball players have ever had to live up to expectations like Harper, who has been intensely scrutinized since he was a teen. And there were times over the last three years where it appeared as if he felt like no matter what he did — excluding winning the Home Run Derby — it was never enough to make the game fun in the way it was when he was 15. He will have no problems dealing with the sounds of anger for the first quarter of his 13-year life in Philly; hey, they booed Mike Schmidt.

And 2. While the National League East is now at the point where the Phillies, Nationals, Mets and Braves are really good and really fun to watch and have a red carpet full of stars, young and old, Harper brings what Reggie Jackson brought to the American League East when he arrived in The Stadium: he’s prepared to be the straw that stirs the drink.

Look, there was a calm around the Nationals this spring that may, in part, be due to Harper no longer being the focal point of the team’s existence. But while Bryce had the $400 million sandwich board attached to his chest all these years, that wasn’t his doing. He played hard — there was a lot of Alex Ovechkin in him — and while Nationals fans may resent where he went, and the Phillies fans who will now storm their park, he helped create an identity. Yet he will be reminded that despite the fact he was a part of creating the Nationals’ identity, he never won a playoff series. Before Memorial Day, he will be reminded that Pat Gillick took over the Mariners, traded Junior Griffey, let Alex Rodriguez walk to the Rangers, and built a team that won 116 games.

There’s a lot to love about this Nationals team. Juan Soto is on his way to being a full-fledged star by age 20. Soto, Victor Robles and Adam Eaton comprise a dynamic outfield, Anthony Rendon is a star for whom the lights have not yet risen, Trea Turner is an ubertalent. They have the best pitcher in the league in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg (in his prime at 30), Patrick Corbin and pitching depth from Aníbal Sánchez to Sean Doolittle and Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough in-between.

The Mets hired Brodie Van Wagenen as general manager and he stoked the winter fire that was seemingly drained from Citi Field. Instead of getting into a Harper/Machado wager war, Van Wagenen traded for Robinson Canó, a brilliant closer in Edwin Díaz, Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie to allow Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil to further grow without expectations.

Now, if Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz remain healthy, with the depth they have between the rotation and Diaz, they have every reason to be right in the race.

The Braves seem to be leaders of the pack midway through last season, but other than the signing of free agent Josh Donaldson, general manager Alex Anthopoulos was constrained in what big moves he could make because of ownership’s cautioned payroll. Because of the ban on international signings, they had to be careful on trading too many young players. They have star quality in Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies. They have some really good young pitchers, like Touki Toussant, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Max Fried and Sean Newcomb, but physical issues this spring to Mike Foltynewicz, Mike Soroka and Kevin Gausman raise the issue of whether or not they need to expend the talent or capital to get a Craig Kimbrel or another veteran starter to stay with the big three in their division.

Indeed, the Phillies had a bad September. They were arguably the worst defensive team in the league and Gabe Kapler drew criticism. As for the latter, there are so many expectations for the big four teams in this division that there will be heat on all their managers, not just Kapler. Getting Rhys Hoskins into first place, trading for J.T. Realmuto, acquiring Jean Segura and putting Andrew McCutchen in left field greatly improves the defense, as well as the lineup in front of or around Harper and Hoskins.

Aaron Nola has a Cy Young in his future, and Nick Pivetta may have had a 4.77 earned run average, but his stuff and 188 strikeouts in 164 innings are a lot for Realmuto and the staff to work with. David Robertson is stability for their young bullpen arms.

In time, what the Phillies, Nationals and Mets do between Opening Day and July 31 may turn this race. When your owner is John Middleton, do not doubt that the Phillies will try to find a veteran starter or another bullpen piece. 

National League Central

The Reds spent, they tried, but as the season opened, after watching Nick Senzel destroy himself power-shagging in the outfield and working all over the infield and looking like a franchise guy, they shipped him out for service time. They’re going to be better — David Bell was a great hire and Yasiel Puig is going to provide power, fun and unpredictability — but they are going to have a difficult time breaking .500 in what should prove to be a deep, competitive division.

Do not write off the Pirates, not with their 1-12 pitching staff with Felipe Vázquez at the end and Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon capable of being a premier 1-2 top of the rotation.

The Brewers have something special. Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and Mike Moustakas trained together in California. Lorenzo Cain, Travis Shaw and Jesus Agúilar have magic to them. They have really useful kids like Keston Hiura, Mauricio Dubon and Corey Ray who could contribute and add depth.

But the physical issues of Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress this spring create questions for the bullpen around Josh Hader — a bullpen that got them to within a game of the World Series. Most likely, they will find a way to sign a Kimbrel or a Dallas Keuchel. They have to get a lot out of Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes as starters, which is possible. They have to hope that Jimmy Nelson gets healthy.

Beating the Cubs in October was no small step for a well-run team from one of the nation’s best baseball towns. Today, this is a contending team whose pitching is TBD.

We are back to the days when the Cubs and Cardinals were the Yankees-Red Sox, Dodgers-Giants of the heartland. Unfortunately, the time had come for Mike Matheny and all the respect he has earned to move on, and Mike Shildt seems the perfect man at the perfect place in time. They went out and traded for Paul Goldschmidt, elite heart-of-the-order bat and revered teammate. They signed Andrew Miller, whose knee seems healed.

If Carlos Martínez is healthy, their rotation of Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, a rejuvenated Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson, Michael Wacha and maybe, in time, Alex Reyes, is solid. Miller is a marvelous, willing contrast with Jordan Hicks.

Shildt can have Marcell Ozuna healthy, Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler (if he rediscovers his natural joy), José Martínez and Tyler O’Neil in the outfield. He will have Kolten Wong and Chris Carpenter around Paul DeJong.

This should be a far better Cardinals team. But it also should be far better Cubs team than the one that seemingly froze down the stretch, which everyone seems to understand. The bloom that escaped Joe Maddon can be restored, especially with tweaks on the coaching staff like the addition of Tommy Hottovy to oversee the pitching. Kris Bryant is healthy. Willson Contreras is not a .249, 10-home run hitter. Kyle Schwarber looks fantastic. Javier Báez is on the fringe of stardom.

Their rotation will again be the foundation, which was second in the league in staff earned run average, and will be better if Yu Darvish is, as he maintains, healthy. The bullpen has raised questions because of Pedro Strop’s hamstring and Brandon Morrow not being available for two months. But With Carl Edwards Jr. and Steve Cishek, they can survive early, and with Tyler Chatwood looking like a different person out of the ‘pen and Dillon Maples, Tony Barnette, Brad Brach, Dakota Mekkes, Allen Webster and others, the depth and stuff in this bullpen could get them through the season.

Every six years, Jon Lester wins a ring. 2007. 2013. It’s 2019, and the Cubs believe this is their time, once again — something no one at the Cubby Bear Lounge would have muttered when Lester was pitching in that 2013 World Series.

National League West

Start with this remembrance: the Rockies have played in October two consecutive years. The Diamondbacks reached the ALDS in 2017, and were in first place on Sept. 1, 2018.

Then move on to the growing reality that the Padres are well on their way, and that the Giants hired the right person in Farhan Zaidi to bring them back to their former self — the kind of team that wins three World Series in five years.

But the conversation surrounding the National League West is all about one thing.

How good are the Dodgers?

And when Clayton Kershaw shut it down in the last two weeks and would not start on Opening Day, and then Rich Hill had a knee problem, whispers became screams. But the Dodgers do not seem concerned. They maintain Kershaw feels good, he thinks the rest will do him good, he’ll be fine. So will Hill’s knee.

“Let’s face it,” says Hill, “165 innings is the new 200 innings. That’s baseball reality.”

Exactly what the Dodgers believe, especially in their new, more tranquil post-Puig era. They can open the season with Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda (who had a good spring) and Ross Stripling in the rotation. Julio Urías was really impressive this spring, Walker Buehler is on the A-train, and both will eventually be in the rotation, to about 165 innings. Don’t be surprised if Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Mitchell White get starts along the way.

Somehow Joe Kelly, Scott Alexander, Pedro Báez, Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro, Tony Cingrani and even fireballing Yadier Álvarez will end up in roles in front of Kenley Jansen. Andrew Friedman builds his pitching staff to relay-run the length of Route 66, not sprint to May Day in first place.

What they hope is that with Robert Van Scoyoc taking over the hitting, they will drift away from the long driving contest approaches that Boston’s pitching carved up in the World Series. A.J. Pollock fits that approach, is a needed right-handed bat, and can play 125 games with comfort. Cody Bellinger will benefit and could have a make-up season. Justin Turner, Max Muncy, David Freese and Alex Verdugo will have significant roles.

Most important, post elbow and hip surgeries, Corey Seager has trained to lose the bulk that some felt might turn him into a third baseman. His speed, feet and quickness are better, with the same exchange and internal clock that somehow gets every baserunner by a step. Seager, like three other teammates, this winter went on a dairy-free diet that he says has changed his energy, health and body, while retaining the strength that made him such an offensive threat. There will be no milk commercials on Dodger telecasts. Kale Juice, maybe.

All spring, coaches promised that this is Kiké Hernandez’s time. Playing with Utley, he learned the discipline and dedication that made Utley a potential Hall of Famer, and from Chase’s sense of team that was so respected, has committed himself to being Utley II.

“Kiké could be a Gold Glover at several positions and he has really found what baseball leadership requires,” says one coach. In the last three seasons, Kiké’s OBP has gone .283/.308/.336, his OPS .607/.729/.806, his OPS+ 64/91/117, home runs 7/11/21.

How Bud Black brought the Rockies’ homegrown rotation along was remarkable. Kyle Freeland and German Márquez became top pitchers, and the rotation stayed so healthy they needed only 13 starts from anyone outside the core five.

They lost Adam Ottavino, but Scott Oberg has become an elite reliever with a 2.45 earned run average and breaking balls he can break to either side of the plate. Black will have to find some more links in the chain to Wade Davis, which he began deliberating long before anyone else.

The Rockies should score runs, with Arenado, Trevor Story, Daniel Murphy, Brendan Rodgers, Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl seemingly on the brink of impact.

One never knows how the long season works on the bodies and the minds of players at Coors Field, how they recover, how they adjust going from home onto the road. They can’t worry about the Dodgers. They can be in the playoffs for the third straight year.

Arizona is retooling, and, best of all, their group of below-the-radar young players made distinct impressions this spring. Their pitching is good enough to at least touch .500, especially if Taijuan Walker comes back in the second half.

The Giants know what has to be done, and in his last season before preparing his HOF speech, Bruce Bochy will be the headmaster manager.

Come August, a nice evening with a meal in the Gaslight District followed by watching Machado and Tatís in the most underrated ballpark in America will boost the Pads’ attendance over 2.5M.

While walking the dog at 6:30 a.m. every January with the winds whipping off Buzzard’s Bay, I ask her, “why is it we don’t live in San Diego?”

In the next two years, we will be asking why we aren’t going to more games in the National League West, from the San Fransisco Bay to the Rockies to Camelback Mountain.

 

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Posted (edited)

Cle is a pretty good team. Check out this fucking lineup. 

Quote

CF L. Martin L
3B Jose Ramirez B
RF Tyler Naquin L
1B C. Santana B
DH H. Ramirez R
LF Jake Bauers L
C R. Perez R
2B Brad Miller L
SS Eric Stamets R

 

Edited by spystud13

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Just now, spystud13 said:

Cle is a pretty good team. Check out this fuckng lineup. 

 

With a damn good manager. 

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Just now, spystud13 said:

Cle is a pretty good team. Check out this fuckng lineup. 

 

Yeah, but their starting pitching will carry them in that division.

 

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Well yeah, fucking tallest midget with those other 4 scrubs. 

Maybe Minn, but they’ll fuck up. 

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This is a professional baseball team:
 
This makes me feel a little better about the Rangers... Kind of ..

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A few years ago I was driving when for some reason there was a Baltimore game on the radio and they were talking about how it was Rickard's MLB debut. I decided that day that I'd watch his career and see how he does...it hasn't been very exciting.

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Luke Voit will have a better year than Paul goldschmidt. Change my mind.

I fucking love this guy. This is the year he’ll emerge as one of the game’s premier 1B.

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Just now, Helobious said:

Luke Voit will have a better year than Paul goldschmidt. Change my mind.

I fucking love this guy. This is the year he’ll emerge as one of the game’s premier 1B.

New year yet still the same shitty Yankee takes from your dumb ass

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