The Crystal Ball of Hedgehogs

It’s 2015; it’s baseball season; it’s time for thousands of people to scientifically guess at who will win the World Series.  Ok no one really uses science, but we try and use math.  Last year, the majority called for the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox.  This year, the same majority, is calling for the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox.

NL WEST

Let’s start where our defending champs will look to defend their 2nd place finish.  The Giants made a few off-season moves, like losing 300 lbs at the hot corner, while their southern Cali neighbors reshuffled everything except their uniforms.

1. San Franciso Giants wpid-giants.jpg

Oh my goodness, the Giants will win the division.  Only because everyone else has giant craters at every major position.  Casey McGehee might not replicate the Panda, but Brandon Belt is going to become a star.  We also should finally get to see the deadly prospect tandem of Joe Panik and Gary Brown; 5 years after we started talking about them.  It’s not that the Giants are the best; they just have the highest probability of not going completely bust.

 

2. San Diego Padres  wpid-padres.jpg

What an offseason!  They still play in Petco, but this will be the ultimate test for an offense in San Diego.  If they can find gap doubles then maybe a wild card birth happens.   If not AJ Preller will be in the third season of True Detective.

3. LA Dodgers  wpid-dodge.jpg

Andrew Friedman has an unlimited budget.  He also has Puig and Pederson.  Replacing Matt Kemp’s 89 Runs Created isn’t as easy as placing Joc in the line up. Hip Hop fans are excited from Young Joc’s cup of coffee last year though.  Clayton and Zack are amazing, but neither one has ever had a major injury.  In this Dr. James world that is scary.  Bet on Carl Crawford becoming a superstar again, before you bet on Pederson bashing homeruns or Puig winning the MVP.

4. Colorado Rockies  wpid-rockies.jpg

If Tulo and Cargo stay healthy, 90 wins are possible.  It’s also possible that Larry Walker and Dante Bichette find Preston Wilson and go on a safari.

5. Arizona Diamondbacks  wpid-stewart.jpg

I feel bad for the Diamondbacks.  I also feel bad for the kids on the Sally Struthers infomercials.  The owner hired Kevin Towers, and the baseball Gods disapproved.  Enjoy purgatory for the next few years.

 

NL Central

The Cubs are the hottest thing since the cronut.  Does the cronut still exist?

1.  Pittsburgh Pirates wpid-pirates.jpg

No team can match the talent of the Pirates in the entire National league.  The Pirates are still confused that they have so much talent.  Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco become stars and the national media (ESPN) finally finds a way to visit PNC Park.

2.  Cincinatti Reds  wpid-reds.jpg

Last year, I called for the Reds to take a step back.  I was right…Aaron Boone wasn’t.  This year, Votto will show last year was an anomaly.  Cueto continues being the best pitcher not named Kershaw, and well the Reds find a way to surprise everyone but me.

3. St. Louis Cards wpid-cards.jpg

When was the Cards pitching their weakest link?  Maybe the 90’s when Tewksbury was an ace.  Wainwright is a stud that is aging.  Everyone else is a young arm one slider away from being a Medlan or a Beachy.  The Heyward trade was noteworthy, but it was last years signing of Jhonny P that will start being the difference between Wild Card and Hunting trips.

4. Chicago Cubs wpid-cubs.jpg

Joe Maddon has walked into a perfect situation, except he has to manage 24 rookies and Jon Lester.  Ok, that’s hyperbole, but for anyone to think that Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Javier Baez will all come out as ROY candidates is just silly.  I mean what is this BOSTON.  81 wins should be the goal for 2015.  Anything more than that is surprising.  A World Series appearance is suspect– like Wrestlemania suspect.

5.  Milwaukee Brewers wpid-melvin.jpg

IT’s TIME:  Rebuilding time. It’s been a blast, but the Brewers are just meant to be a bad team.  Their farm has locusts, and an aging Lohse & Garza pitching combo calls for trade deadline movement.  Anything less will be just Philly…er I mean Silly.

NL EAST

4 teams will fight for .500.  One team will try and win 100 games.  Jose Fernandez will be the difference between a World Series ring for Miami or another Washington choke job.

1.  Washington Nationals wpid-rizzo.jpg

The rest of the EAST is average at best.  Max K and Stras on paper is like Glover and Gibson. (A Lethal Weapon)  Jordan Zimmerman might actually be their best pitcher.  The offense will leave a lot to be desired, but Bryce might actually play 120 games.  If Bryce plays 130 games, World Series.  If Bryce plays less than 100 can someone throw out the bust word.

2. Miami Marlins wpid-loria.jpg

Jeffrey Loria is a douche.  Giancarlo is a beast.  Jose Fernandez is the new Doc Gooden.  This team is dependent on Dan Haren and Matt Latos.  In other words bet on 69 wins, but don’t be shocked if they win 89.

3. Atlanta Braves  wpid-braves.jpg

I’m either a homer or a moron.  Even without Gattis, Justin, and Heyward the offense can not be worse than last year.  Seriously, they scored 573 runs.  As a Braves fan I would love to see them lose 100.  As a realist, they will fight for .500, save Fredi G’s job, and then go spend way too much money on Free Agents in 2016.

4.  New York Mets  wpid-mets.jpg

The Mets could win the division…if they didn’t have to bat.  When Curtis Granderson is your big free agent in 2014 and you follow that up with Michael Cudyer.  You’re management team is out of touch.  Then again, the Asst. to the GM did give Vernon Wells one of the worst contracts ever.  *Update* Zack Wheeler is having Tommy John, and the Mets season is already over! 

5.  Philadelphia Phillies wpid-rube.jpg

Old, old, old, really old.  Ruben Amaro doesn’t get it.  He has no idea what WAR is.  I even question if he knows what OBP is.  The only hope of the Phillies competing in the next 5 years would be if Chip Kelly replaces Ruben and makes personnel decisions.  Not that Chip Kelly knows much about baseball, but he would at least trade Ryan Howard and Dominic Brown.

AL EAST

What was once a 2 team race has become a roll of the dice.   The Yankees and Boston might spend 400 million each year, but Baltimore has been the best team over the last 3 years.

1.  Baltimore O’s wpid-os-2.jpg.jpeg

The defending East champs will repeat.  It seems impossible by every single baseball pundit.  Here are the facts Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Ubaldo Jiminez can’t be as bad as they were last year.  Losing Cruz and Markakis might hurt, but getting Bundy and Gausman for the stretch run gives Showalter his best pitching rotation since his Yankee days.

2. Toronto Blue Jays wpid-bjays.jpg

The Jays are the most talented offensive team in Baseball.  The pitching is questionable.  A wild card birth would save Anthopoulos job, but the potential of 3 under 26 starters is scary.  Don’t believe me…just research Shaun Marcum, Jesse Litsch, and Dustin McGowan.

*Update Marcus Stroman out for season….I told you so!

3. Boston Red Sox wpid-red-sox.jpg.jpeg

If Mookie Betts this; If Rusney Castillo that; if the Red Sox get Cole Hamels.  A lot of ifs, but here is the biggest if.  IF PAPI ORTIZ can hit 30 homers again.  Eventually, age will catch Big Papi.  If not; then the Red Sox may very well win 90 games.  “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts then we would all have a Merry Christmas”

4. New York Yankees wpid-yanks-.jpg.jpeg

The current Yankees would be a lock to win the World Series if this was 2006.  Instead it’s 2015 and the Yanks are really old.  Thank God for next years free agency.

5. Tampa Bay Rays wpid-rays.jpg

Bad things come in 3’s.  Losing Friedman, Maddon, and Zobrist is the realization that Tampa Bay just can’t compete with the big boys any more.  On the bright side, they have a lot of promising middle infielders in their farm.  You know for the Tigers, Yankees, and Angels to trade for soon.

AL CENTRAL

This will be Mike Vick’s favorite Pennant race:  It’s a dog fight…(Every blog needs a really tasteless joke)

1.  Detroit Tigers wpid-tigers.jpg

I really don’t want to pick the Tigers, but then again it’s impossible to pick against Miggy and David Price.  It’s now or next decade for the Tigers.

2.  Kansas City Royals wpid-dayton.jpg

Nobody thinks these guys can repeat.  Then again no one thought that the Atlanta Braves could repeat in 1992.  Dayton Moore has done it, and offensively Alex Rios and Kendry Morales is an upgrade over Aoki and Butler.  The scary thing is Moustakas and Hosmer might eventually learn how to hit–at the same time– over the course of 162 games.

3. Cleveland Indians   wpid-indians.jpg

This one is really tough.  I tend to think Superstars have great names.  Kluber is the worst name for a potential star ever.  Bauer on the other hand rolls of the tongue like a star.  Lindor now that screams SUPERSTAR.  Unfortunately Lindor isn’t a star yet.  Kluber isn’t a fluke, but he’s more Mark Buerhle than Greg Maddux, and well Moss and Swisher are the power hitters.

4.  Chicago White Sox wpid-whitesux.jpg

Next year, I will pick the White Sox.  This year, I can’t pick a team with Conor Gillaspie starting at 3rd.

5.  Minnesota Twins wpid-twins-.jpg.jpeg

The future is very bright for Minnesota.  Until then, it’s a bleak 2 or 3 more years.  Unless Buxton and Sano have another setback, and then it’s just ugly– kind of like network TV trying to create great TV Dramas.

AL WEST

2 weeks ago, I was dead set the Rangers would bounce back and win the west.  Then YU had elbow complications. Yes, elbows aren’t just sensitive, but they mean the difference of 30 wins for a team.

1. LA Angels wpid-angels.jpg

The Angels suck.  Like seriously, this team is a joke, but Trout and Pujols are heads above the entire AL WEST.  Andrew Heaney is a legit ROY candidate and Jered Weaver is either a bounceback or weeks from retiring.  It’s hard to pick against a team that won 98 games last year.  Trust me, I tried.

2. Oakland A’s wpid-as.jpg.jpeg

Billy Beane is a genius, but lack of healthy pitching will keep Oakland on the outside of the playoff race.  Then again Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin both could come back from TJ and the A’s could steal 97 wins.

3. Seattle Mariners wpid-zman.jpg

Cano went from 27 home runs to 14 once joining Seattle.  Austin Jackson suffered his worst offensive season ever after being dealt to Seattle.  It’s very simple…Safeco hates hitting.  If you think 35 year old Nelson Cruz is going to replicate his power numbers from last year, and everything falls just right for Seattle then well you’re not paying attention.  Oh that’s right the M’s have 2 hot shot rookies in their rotation…so does Baltimore and not many are picking them to win the AL East.

4. Texas Rangers wpid-daniels.jpg

They only finish 4th because Houston is still in their division.  The Rangers have a ton of talent, but keeping them on the field together at the same time is becoming more art than science, and Jon Daniels is no artist.

5. Houston Astros wpid-astros.jpg

Trading for Evan Gattis and Jed Lowrie made absolutely ZERO sense.  You know what else makes ZERO sense…striking out 2000 times.  Houston is gunning for it.  Best Case:  Springer and Singleton learn to make contact.  Worst Case:  The Astros starting pitching implodes and Colby Rasmus leads the team in WAR(WARP for you BP Fans).

 

PLAYOFF TEAMS

National League: Washington, Pittsburgh, San Fransico, Miami and Reds fight off the rest for Wild Cards.

American League: Baltimore, Detroit, Angels, Royals and Indians grab the Wild Cards.

NLCS:  Nationals over Miami

ALCS: Royals over Angels

WORLD SERIES:  Nationals over Royals

This is painful to pick, but 6 potential All Star Starters and then a farm system that will allow them to plug holes during midseason.  How can anyone pick against Scott Boras favorite team?

scott-boras-2

 

 

 

 

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The Picks sure to beat Aaron Boone

The past 4 seasons I have posted my preseason picks on my FACEBOOK page.  I have done very well despite missing every World Series winner, but that puts me right in line with the 44 “EXPERTS” on ESPN.  To prove how good I am.  I decided to put my predictions in photos.  Of course these photos use my hat collection and my nifty little smart phone so here goes.

Your 2014 MOST ACCURATE MLB PRESEASON PICKS

I’m a homer, simply put, so let’s start in the NL EAST where of course I pick Atlanta.  It’s the easiest division in baseball.  I also pick the Nats to go to the Wild Card, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they lost 90 games.  Speaking of losing 90 games the Phillies need to start selling fast, and Sandy up in NY -your fan base is tired of losing; sure the team has improved offensively, but the starting pitching outside of Zack Wheeler is a mess.

NL East

Next up the lovely NL Central.  This will spur some debate and/or some anger.  Yes, I like the Pirates. I think they are building a consistent winner, and I feel that Gerrit Cole is about to make, that Matt Harvey leap– (without the TJ I hope).  The Reds will score runs, but also give up plenty.  I think, I’m the only human that isn’t sold on Homer Bailey.  I’m also not sold on Cueto’s health.  The Reds won’t be bad, but Ryan Braun will be looking to shut up his critics.  I’m not one of them, but I am critical of Rickie Weeks.  If Weeks can hit .230 the Brewers might make a wild card push.   The Cards are the class of the division, I  think of  them as baseball’s Tim Tebow.  They will win games–just not enough to win the division.  Poor Chicago–Theology hasn’t worked as planned, but your teams in Iowa, Tennessee, and Daytona are awesome.

NL central

The Lovely NL WEST -oh how easy it should be to pick this division except I loathe Los Angeles.  Ryu will be better than Grienke.  Haren might be better than Grienke this year too.  Kemp will rebound to Kemp status and the rest of the team will be introduced to “STAT GRAVITY.”  On the other hand Tim Hudson will not win more than 12 games, but the advice he will give Cain and Bumgarner will make the Giants the most dangerous rotation (I didn’t say best I said dangerous)  in baseball.  The rest of the division is in the rear view even though my last blog thinks we found a sleeper in Denver

NL West

The AL East will be a 5 team dog fight.  It really is New York’s to lose. And they will.  Boston was strong last year; they even had the luck of the Irish, but they aren’t that good.  Too many holes up the middle, the left, the right, and the rotation.  Boston fans will be upset, until December, when they over pay for Max Scherzer.

AL East

The AL Central has been the Tigers division.  It should continue to be, except Kansas City had a really good off-season.  Omar Infante plugs the gaping hole at 2nd, and the addition of Aoki, will have the Royals dancing into October.  Honestly the 1 and 2 can flip either/or, the three, four and five will all fight for .500.  I think Terry Francona is the second best manager in baseball, but the Indians are a year older and banking on Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar instead of Kazmir and Ubaldo this is Jordan Belfort level risk, and nope I am not buying em.  There is hope in Chicago and Minnesota though, one is 27 the other is 19.AL Central

The competitiveness of the AL WEST ends this year.  Oakland will dominate.  Seattle will improve thanks to Cano, and the young pitching.  The Angels are hoping they can sign Tony Danza to plug into the atrocious back three of their rotation.  Texas wishes they could have Tony Danza, Sam Malone, and the kid from Rookie-of-the-Year. Houston just wishes they could have all the kids from The Sandlot.

AL West

Well I really hope this year my World Series happens.

I am taking my favorite GM Billy Bean to finally get to the big game, play a 7 game duel with the Atlanta Braves and finally put on the ring.  (Hollywood sequel to Moneyball)

 

But we all know this is what will happen instead.

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2014 PREDICTIONS: BOLD and QUOTED

Baseball season is technically now upon us, THANKS BUD! This means I can finally put my baseball knowledge to use.  This year I have decided to actually chronicle my bold predictions (the ones that I feel will happen) and my quoted predictions (the ones I guarantee will happen).

 

BOLD PREDICITONS

The Dodgers will implode by July.      mlb_g_dodgers11_1920x1280

I know all the rich successful MLB pundits are calling the Dodgers the class of the National League West; that’s the best in the West then get the vultures ready.  The Dodgers do have a lot of talent, if you are building your team in 2009.  Let’s be honest, Either, Crawford, and AGon have seen their best days and the sun is setting on Grienke, Billingsley, and 99% of those “closers in wait.”  The ultimate test will be Mr Puig.  If you think the media loved this guy when he hit .400, just wait till he doesn’t hit .300- the media will be all over him like locusts in the Old Testament.

 

Yankees and Red Sox will not win the AL EAST

Jeter-Throw-Across

The Rays are the best team in this division.  Toronto and Baltimore aren’t bad either.  Yanks spend money on guys who are old.  The Red Sox have zero identity.  Sure Bogarts is a great potential young homegrown shortstop, but they already had one of those and well he works for Four-Letter network now. If you really only looked at the stats from the Yankees and Red Sox last year by position there is no way you would say that these two teams are potential champs. Simply put, Jeterstalgia will propel the Bronx Bums to at least have that one game wild card.

 

 

Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder will both hit 25 home runs or less.

The numbers suggest Hamilton wasn’t that bad last year.  The numbers for Prince suggest a slight decline is imminent.  Either way both guys are on the wrong side of the peak years and their power outage will not be pretty.

 

The Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates will win their divisions.

The snow in hell is getting outrageous.  Bud is calling Satan right now, and selling his soul to ensure that Gerrit Cole and Yordano blow out their UCLs. He’s also praying to the Lord of Darkness that Pedro Alvarez and Eric Hosmer stay as inconsistent as possible.  Oh well too late these 2 teams are going to damage the game of baseball.  Well only to the 4 letter network.

 

“QUOTED PREDICTIONS”

“Bryce Harper will not hit .300 or 30 Homeruns.”

Bryce is good.  He’s also 21 with some injury concerns.  Baseball fans love to parrot that Kurkjian guy.  Kurkjian is an idiot and so, too, is anyone who thinks Bryce is going to hit the triple-crown any time soon.  Keep dreaming kids. images

“The Colorado Rockies will barely miss the playoffs.”

Dan O’Dowd went from being in the Ruben Amarao class to being a visionary.  Ok not really, but Eddie Butler and Jonathan Gray are legit rookie-of-the-year candidates this season.  It’s a stretch, but this team’s offense is going to put up huge numbers and the Rockies actually have a solid young rotation that will keep the ball out of the cheap seats.  If, Tulo can stay healthy all year, this team could be a division champion.  Perhaps that idea is a little crazy, so just watch them scare everyone until late September.

 

 

“Kevin Towers and Ruben Amarao will do something stupid.”

It’s a no brainer; these two guys are the worst general managers in all of sports.  Jerry Jones would have to give Tony Romo a 20-year deal to have this level of incompetence and lack of foresight.  Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels should be traded in July; instead, Rubex will probably buy a pitcher to chase the Braves.  Towers, on the other hand, will trade promising young arms for more fringe outfielders and relievers.  This is their M.O. and a tiger can never  change it’s stripes.

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“ESPN Pundits will miss the WORLD SERIES WINNER AGAIN.”

Last year, no one working for ESPN picked the Red Sox to win.  This year, most of them are picking the Yanks, Dodgers, Nats, Tigers, and Red Sox.  Quite simply none of those 4 teams will be playing in the World Series.  I wish I could get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to always be dead wrong.

Lipstick on a Puig

I admit the title isn’t the nicest thing I could post but after the past 2 weeks of being told that Major League Baseball has found the next Roberto Clemente I have decided I can’t take anymore.  Yasiel Puig, is a talented prospect but truth be told he is still a prospect, as of today he has played in 36 MAJOR LEAGUE games and had 156 at bats and well I welcome baseball fans to the new superstar hype.

I am a huge fan of prospects and young players in baseball, I look at how the Nationals,the Rays, the Pirates, the Reds, and Orioles have completely rebuilt their hopes and dreams on young player after young player becoming stars, but at the same time the obsession from fans and media alike has become a bit to much to bear especially now with Mr. Puig.  3 months ago Jurickson Profar was about to be the greatest shortstop ever, now he might be moving to the OF and seemingly nobody outside of Fantasy gurus, Baseball America, and Jon Daniels really cares.  This is how selective baseball fans have become with their obsession with minor leaguers and well it reminds me of a similar obsession with rap stars.

How can a baseball player be like a rapper well it’s a lot more simple than you think?  Mike Trout and Bryce Harper could be compared to Mac Miller and Macklemore well 2 years ago is it safe to say that Buster Posey was Yelawolf.  I think it’s an interesting comparison and if you follow rap and baseball then you totally get where I am coming from, if you don’t let me elaborate.  Yelawolf signed to Shady he was poised to be the next great white rapper; Buster Posey is poised to be the next great catcher he plays for a Giant among baseball but yet for some reason Buster Posey much like Yelawolf doesn’t register much with casual fans, but that Macklemore and Mac Miller are almost all over radio right now. ‘Hi Ariana Grande’

Again how does this have anything to do with Yasiel Puig because simply put Yasiel Puig is baseball’s Trinidad James.  He’s hitting singles, getting you sweating.  He’s making noise and the crowd is loving him but sadly stating Yaisel Puig is on his way to a record setting rookie campaign in about as realistic as saying Trinidad James will be have Jay Z’s career.  Puig is a one hit wonder and once his numbers regress the baseball smart fans will have moved on to the next baseball phenom.  (Byron Buxton anyone) And Espn will be trying to prove that Jacoby Ellsbury really is a power threat.

This is baseball, we do this every 32-36 games and then we sit back and go what happened just ask Brennan Boesch, Mike Olt, Jesus Monterero and Danny Epsinosa they all know too well.

THE WHEELER’S TOP 100 Prospects for 2013

I much like many of you have seen the Baseball America Top 100.  I have also seen the Minor League Baseball Analyst Top 100, the MLB.com and various other top 100s and I have decided to create my own.  KEY PHRASE this is my top 100 using my criteria and well to be included in the Top 25 I must see SUPERSTAR Potential.  The rest of the Top 100 25 will be good players some might be All Stars but to me the TOP 25 has to be Cornerstone type talent.  Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa are everyone’s Top 15 on my list they are in the 30s simply because they only have a half season of Pro Ball.  Next year both of these guys could jump in my top 10 easily.  I know I contradict myself with Jorge Soler but let me state my case.  Soler is number 20 had Soler went through the MLB DRAFT like Buxton and Correa he would have easily been the top choice.  Also Homerism might have put Julio Tehran in my top 20 or the fact that looking at his numbers he did face some Strand Rate regression and some babip issues.  It’s hard for me to believe a top 10 pitcher in 2012 is now a top 45 pitcher in 2013, but hey that’s what the National guys did.  Feel free to comment share and most of all enjoy my version of the Top 100 Prospects of 2013

Dylan Bundy BAL P
Jurickson Profar TEX SS
Oscar Taveras STL OF
Gerrit Cole PIT P
Tijuan Walker SEA P
Wil Myers TB OF
Jose Fernandez MIA P
Miguel Sano MIN 3B
Shelby Miller STL P
Trevor Bauer CLE P
Zack Wheeler NYM P
Julio Tehran ATL P
Francisco Lindor CLE SS
Christian Yelich MIA OF
Javier Baez CUBS SS
Jonathan Singleton HOU 1B
Mike Zunino SEA C
Billy Hamilton CIN SS/OF
Xander Bogarts BOS SS
Jameson Tailon PIT P
Jorge Soler CUBS OF
Tyler Skaggs AZ P
Mason Williams NYY OF
Nick Castellanos DET 3B/OF
Carlos Correa HOU SS
Byron Buxton MIN OF
Jackie Bradley BOS OF
Noah Syndergaard NYM P
Danny Hultzen SEA P
Nolan Arenado COL 3B
Travis d’Arnaud NYM C
Bubba Starling KC OF
George Springer HOU OF
Chris Archer TB P
Courtney Hawkins CSOX OF
David Dahl COL OF
Robert Stephenson CIN P
Albert Almora CUBS OF
Matt Barnes BOS P
Archie Bradley AZ P
Mike Olt TEX 3B
Jake Odorizzi TB P
Kyle Zimmer KC P
Trevor Story COL SS
Addison Russel OAK SS
Carlos Martinez STL P
Martin Perez TX P
Gary Sanchez NYY C
Lance McCullers Jr HOU P
Max Fried SD P
Taylor Guerrieri TB P
Brian Goodwin WAS OF
Jedd Gyorko SD 3B
Michael Choice OAK OF
Gregory Polanco PIT OF
Aaron Sanchez TOR P
Jarod Cosart HOU P
Justin Nicolino MIA P
Kolten Wong STL 2B
Austin Hedges C SD
James Paxton SEA P
Richie Shaffer TB 1B/3B
Alex Myer MIN P
Bruce Rondon DET P
Carter Capps SEA P
Alen Hanson PIT SS
Yaisel Puig LAD OF
Lucas Giolito WAS P
Tony Cingrani CIN P
Kevin Gausman BAL P
Miles Head OAK 1B/3B
Tyler Austin NYY OF
Slade Heathcott NYY OF
Dorssys Paulino CLE SS/2B
Allen Webster BOS P
Kaleb Cowart LAA 3B
Nick Franklin SEA 2B/SS
Cody Buckel TEX P
Daniel Corcino CIN P
Didi Gregorius AZ SS
Kyle Crick SF P
Rymer Liriano SD OF
Josh Bell PIT OF
Hak-Ju Lee TB SS
Oswaldo Arcia MIN OF
Casey Kelly SD P
Luis Heredia PIT P
Trevor Rosenthal STL P
Henry Owens BOS P
Wily Peralta MIL P
Delino Deshields Jr HOU 2B
Michael Wacha STL P
Yordano Ventura KC P
Jessie Biddle PHI P
Kyle Gibson MIN P
Adalberto Mondesi KC SS
Andrew Heaney MIA P
Matt Adams STL 1B
Jose Campos NYY P
Stryker Trahan AZ C

This. Bud is For You

I am quick to admit when I am wrong, and today on August 3rd I am wrong.   When I first heard that the MLB was adding another Wild Card spot.  I freaked out.  I knew this was just Bud and his boys’ way to protect the larger market New York, LA, and Boston to getting a playoff spot.  I am still partially correct, but I also harped on too many playoff teams is bad for pro sports as it will allow mediocre teams the chance to play in the postseason.  Well dumb old me forgot that this isn’t the NFL or NBA when a losing record can slide into a first round match up.  This is still the God of American pro sports and the baseball Gods have smiled on us one more time. 
Last year the last day of the 2011 season had the most amazing 4 hours ever and as we hit the last 2 months of the season the 2012 year could have the most amazing last month ever.  Yes Bud Selig and his cronies were right.  The 2 Wild Card spots have invigorated Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Oakland.  The mighty Red Sox despite all of their issues are still relatively alive, but they would need some major melt downs to get in.  Tampa Bay and the Angels are preseason favorites are still in the thick of it, and yes the Washington Nationals are in first place in August.   Here is the amazing thing of it all the Kansas City Royals are 12 games back from a playoff spot, if they can continue playing as good as they have the last week over the month of August it is feasible they could be 9 games out or less come September.  Last year the St Louis Cardinals were 9 games out in Sept. 
No I am not saying the Royals are going to win the World Series but what I am saying is this Baseball is about to have a pennant race for the ages, and well it appears adding the wild card team is the main catalyst for this.  Now if cities like Tampa, Oakland, and Atlanta would support their playoff hopefuls like Philly and Boston support their cellar dwellers then I might just call Bud a great commissioner, which in today’s world of pro sports is such an anomaly.
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@FTHEWHEELER

A Brave Path for 2012

The Atlanta Braves 2011 should be remembered as the greatest meltdown since the WWF career of Adam Bomb, but instead its overshadowed by the joyus Beer and Chickenfest in Beantown, well that and the Atlanta sports media is so enamored with Matt, Mike, and Mark that they couldn’t truly examine what happened in September,  but what is more depressing is that is just the beginning of a long 2012 in the city of Medicore, Mundane, and Morons.
I am a Braves Die Hard I live, eat, and sleep baseball its my 2nd most obnoxious passion to only Pro Wrestling (which is dead) so for me to watch what transpired this past season I saw the writing on the wall back in July.  The Braves offense wasn’t a joke but it wasn’t very good.  Its pitching was splendid and honestly a little too splendid.  Jair was a  Cy Young candidate despite his FIP (suck that smart marks) and Tommy Hanson was looking like a breakout in his 3rd pro season.  Tim Hudson bounced back, D-Lowe was consistent and inconsistent all at the same time and Freddi kept picking up the AT&T Call to the Bullpen.  It was July that I said this bullpen is good but man is he using them a little too often.  Honestly it was like this “a guy consistently uses the I forgot my wallet can you cover dinner the girl says of course well eventually the girl he is with also has no money and then well its time to skip on the tab and don’t worry you weren’t getting laid either way.  Freddi was using his bullpen so much Bobby Cox was getting tired of watching Eric O and Johnny V.  Plus the slump of Jason Heyward was downright frighting.  So this was the good the bad and the ugly.  Now is the Reality

2012 the Atlanta Braves will finish 4th if the Mets are as bad as they look on paper.

I know many Atlanta fans can’t believe a Braves fan thinks this team will be worse than Washington or Florida er I mean MIAMI, but yes I am serious.  The team hasn’t upgraded a single position and there is still a giant blister on the hot corner that just keeps popping up year after year.  If only Chipper and Huddy could get caught with some cheap Southern Whiskey and some fried catfish so Buster Olney might scream about the melt down.  This team is expecting too many bouncebacks from too many hitters that are at the age of not much left.  Dan Uggla is a 240 hitter with 30-32 Hrs that is what he did last year.  Brian McCann is an over worked catcher who had lasik surgery and sadly his decline is coming around the mountain.  Martin Prado is a 290-300 hitter he will improve over last year.  Michael Bourne gets a full year and guess what Freddi doesn’t call steals or hit and runs so don’t expect more than 35 swipes.  Pastornicky could be the greatest slap hitting rookie shortstop since Pat Listach or he could be Rafi Belliard either way don’t expect too much.  Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the 2 that will carry but sadly the man that buries the team is the 40 year old DEER HUNTER.  Chipper is a liability, and until someone says its time to go he will keep Favre’ing it just to show us he still got it.

The Braves are rebuilding the fans don’t realize it because Atlanta doesn’t care.  This won’t be a 100 loss team but it will struggle to 500 ball as the Phils, the Fish, and the Nats have upgraded in every way possible while the Braves stayed the course and that is a path of least resistance, and not exactly a positive from a team that blew the Wild Card lead of 8 games in 30 days.  Damn’t it someone get Freddi a bottle Evan Williams in the Clubhouse.  Sorry Atlanta but Kenny Powers said it best

YOU’RE FUCKING OUT

Fantasy GMs The Art of Sounding Stupid

It all started in the winter of 2009, a comment on a Fangraphs page that was so insanely stupid I realized Smart baseball fans were only smart in their knowledge of Sabrmetrics.

“The Atlanta Braves should trade Jair Jurrjens to LA Dodgers for James Loney, because Braves needed a First Baseman and then the Braves should sign Ben Sheets.”

Should I even quantify the following 2010 numbers to back up the absurdity of this idea or should I just let it marinate on your brain.  Jair Jurrjens is the quiet unassuming 3 to 3.90 ERA but yet JAIR strikes no one out and in the world of a Fantasy GM JAIR is just a 4th starter, but then something amazing happens every season the kid defies STAT logic and he pitches like a #2 and at times better than that.  The past 2 years Jair has had some lower body issues but still manages to start 20 games and still manages to post ERA’s that baffle the stat minded FANTASY GM.  He has to regress they say but time and again he does not.  His Fastball is losing Velocity they shout, but somehow it sinks more and his ground balls find gloves.  Which in itself is baffling considering the BRAVES porous defense with Chipper and Uggla managing the Hot Corner and the Keystone, and lets be honest Alex Gonzales isn’t something to write home about, and now in 2011 as the Winter Meetings approach Jair is having his name tossed again by FANTASY GMs.

I could go on and on about Jair, but this isn’t to condemn stat geeks for not liking Jair when its obvious they throw out numbers, and scouting terms like a wrestling smart mark likes to say KAYFABE, but its to show that FANTASY GMs are just that FANS.  They watch the game just like you and I.  They play Fantasy Baseball just like you and I.  They keep up with Stats just like you and I, but some how they deem themselves the smartest guys in the room.  They check up MLBTradeRumors.com they discuss the day to day operations, and they comment about how they know why someone is good and why someone isn’t and they can back it up with their WAR stat.  Everything that is usually uttered from the mouths of a FANTASY GM is nothing but hyperbole and hope.  A wing and a prayer and usually makes no sense.  A Fantasy GM takes into no account the market value of a player, they do not understand payroll, and they speak as if they only understand baseball as if the real game itself was played with ROTO RULES.

Last night it became apparent to me that Fantasy GMs the Baseball smart marks were becoming nothing more than NERDS when I was directed to a comment thatit would take 2 of the Braves top 4 pitching prospects, Johnny Venters, and Martin Prado to land MIKE TROUT Angels CF Prospect.  On Paper that trade is almost as lopsided as the trade that gave the Braves Mark Teixara and sadly TEX was a proven commodity where Mike Trout could be Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, Mickey Mantle, Dale Murphy, or JEREMY REED.  Jeremy Reed is in caps to prove a point.  Many baseball smart marks remember him as the can’t miss OF prospect of the Chicago White Sox.  He was the 4th rated Prospect in 2004 right behind Joe Mauer, BJ Upton, and Rickie Weeks.  That midseason Reed was the main haul in a Freddy Garcia trade with 2 other prospects Miguel Olivo and Mike Morse, sadly Jeremy Reed missed and so to could Mike Trout, and thats what prospects are.  Prospects are fun to watch, and to think man this kid could be great, but sadly its like raising chickens, out of an incubator.

Fantasy GMs don’t see it like that they attach to a guy they love that guy that keep him on their fantasy roster until the next young prospect comes along and they toss him aside.  I remember 4 years ago when Jair was the Braves ACE you were not getting James Loney for him, and now these fantasy GMs don’t even think the kid is worth James Loney.  So keep it at Fantasy GMs you keep me laughing when nothing else does perhaps the Braves should trade Prado and Venters for Danny Hultzen right.

 

 

OMAR coming (better run)

As I sit here using free wifi at McDonalds after purchasing a double cheeseburger and a small soda with some penny rolls.  I log onto Craigslist to continue in vain a job hunt that is leaving me one step closer to the bottle, and one self inflicted gun shot wound from meeting Chris Benoit.  Unemployment will cause a crazy man to go absolutely insane and that is what is happening to me, but then again being a GM will also make you go Insane except for the case of Omar Minaya who might have already been insane before the Montreal Expos ever gave this man his first GM job.

I am in no means trying to make Omar look like a bad guy but his eye for talent is about as good as Brittney Spears ear for music, its very questionable.  And just like Ms Spears she keeps receiving opportunity after opportunity.  Recently Omar has been rumored to be heading North of the Border to Toronto to work with the Scouting department.  This rumor seems like an oxymoron to me the guy who gave Oliver Perez 12 million dollars to remain a New York Met is being asked to evaluate talent.  This has to be an April’s Fools joke, whats next Lackey, Lester, and Beckett check into Alcoholics Anonymous and are sponsored by Jake the Snake Roberts.  Omar Minaya ironically enough is similar to the OMAR character in the Wire (yes another Wire Reference) Omar doesn’t rob from those not in the Game of baseball nope he walks right up to an owner or Gm with his sawed off shotgun and demands a job, then he goes out and blows money on Above Average talent as if they are superstars.  I mean the list is endless Bartolo, Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez, Carlos Delgado, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, Johan Santana, an aging overpaid Pedro Martinez, and I think he signed Paul LoDuca twice and now he his possibly about to get another job in baseball.

In the real work force an employee as incompetent as Omar is left out to dry, possibly having to endure career changes like maybe mismanaging a McDonald’s franchise, but in Baseball its nothing for owners and other GMs to look out for their own make sure their buddies keep comfy jobs while actual potential entry level applicants such as myself are left to surf the web and take personality quizzes in an effort to gain midlevel 20thousand dollar a year jobs.  Omar congrats you have made a career off ruining franchises, depleting farm systems, and overpaying marginal talent.  I only wish instead of playing fantasy baseball, and typing a blog I could have the chance to do the same thing that you seem to do oh so well leach off Major League Baseball like you actually know what you are doing, perhaps Britney Spears said it best in her smash hit Toxic

Baby, can’t you see
I’m calling
A guy like you
Should wear a warning
It’s dangerous
I’m fallin’

There’s no escape
I can’t wait
I need a hit
Baby, give me it
You’re dangerous
I’m lovin’ it