Friday, July 17, 2015

Top Honors For MLB Players In 2015

MLB Awards 2015
This has certainly been an interesting season so far, hasn't it? All four of baseball's young teams- the Astros, the Twins, the Mets, and the Cubs, are all ahead a year or two ahead of schedule and have made the 2015 season surprisingly interesting. We also have a large group of young talent across all of baseball that is playing at a very high level, and that does nothing but good for the game. With that said, let's hand out some hardware for the 2015 season so far, beginning with the National League.

National League
Manager of the Year: Terry Collins/New York Mets- The Mets are a year or two ahead of schedule, and Collins has kept them afloat with no offense. The Mets enter the All-Star break just 2 games back of the first place Nationals. This is an easy one.

Rookie of the Year: Khris Bryant/3B/Chicago Cubs- Really, is there anyone else who deserves this award? Bryant started the year in Triple A, a move that was very criticized at the time, and was made so they could have another full year of team control. Still, he was called just two weeks into the season and since then, he has shown us why he has all the hype. Bryant is batting .269 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI's at the All-Star break, and has been nothing short of awesome.

Cy Young: Max Scherzer/SP/Washington Nationals- Once again, is there really anyone else you could make the case for? During the offseason, Scherzer signed a seven year, 210 million dollar contract with the Washington Nationals. So far, that contract has been a bargain. Scherzer has 10 wins at the All-Star Break, a 2.11 ERA, and 150 strikeouts. He would have started the All-Star game had he not pitched on Sunday.

MVP: Bryce Harper/OF/Washington Nationals- Yet again, is there anyone else who deserves mention? Harper is having a monster season. Harper takes a .339 average, 26 home runs, 61 RBI's, and an OPS of 1.168 into the break. All four of these awards have been easy.

American League
Manager of the Year: Paul Molitor/Minnesota Twins- Yes the Astros have been a surprise as well, but the Twins have been an even bigger surprise. Of the four young teams, the Twins were the farthest behind to start the season. They have caught up, quickly, thanks to Molitor and the young talent rising. Tom Kelly understood as well as anyone how to communicate with young players, and he taught that to Ron Gardenhire, who spent years under Kelly's tutelage before taking over in 2002. Gardenhire then taught Molitor the same thing, who, by the way, spent quite a while under Gardenhire before taking over this season. Molitor has put the Twins in contention, and deserves all of the recognition he is getting.

Rookie of the Year: Billy Burns/CF/Oakland Athletics- This one was a little harder to figure out. Burns has just played 63 games, but qualifies for the batting title and carries .303 batting average into the break for the Oakland Athletics, good for the 10th best average in the American League.

Cy Young: Dallas Kuechel/SP/Houston Astros- Well, it appears as if the ace of the rebuilt Houston Astros has emerged finally, lefty Dallas Kuechel. Dallas carries as 11-4 record with a 2.23 ERA into the All-Star Break.

MVP: Mike Trout/CF/Los Angeles Angels- This one is easy. Trout is the best player in the game, and carries a .312 batting average, 26 home runs, and 55 RBI's into the All-Star Break. At this pace, Trout is headed for another MVP award, his second of many. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cole Hamels Will Be Traded | MLB Trade Deadline Looms

Now that we are into July, the 2015 MLB trade deadline is really taking shape. Here is an updated list of who could be traded, and to where.

Cole Hamels - At some point this man is going to be traded and we can all move on with our lives. But until then, we'll have speculation, and more speculation. The Boston Red Sox, the original leaders in the clubhouse for Cole Hamels to begin this season, have had a miserable 2015 that has fallen short of expectations and are in no position to acquire the services of Mr. Hamels at this point in time. The Texas Rangers, who have been playing great baseball over the last month or so, have emerged as a serious candidate for Hamels' services. Don't forget about the Cubs either.

Johnny Cueto - Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto has emerged as a serious trade candidate. However his impending free agency makes it tricky. Cueto is the kind of player you back up the truck for in a trade, but with his pending free agency, teams will be hesitant to give up much. Maybe if a team could get Cueto to sign a long term contract extension upon being traded they would give up much more. Look for the Yankees to be the leaders of this one.

Troy Tulowitski - Carlos Gonzalez has played himself out of trade rumors with his poor 2015, but Tulo is still playing all-star baseball. Unlike Cueto, this man is under a long term contract. The question is, will a team pay the Rockies asking price, which is through the roof, but it should be? The Tigers are interested but they don't have enough. Neither does Texas.

Jay Bruce - Another Cincinnati Red who could be traded is Jay Bruce. There may not be a more hot and cold player in the game than Bruce. He is either really bad or really good. When is bad, he barely bats above the Mendoza line. When he is on, there may not be a better hitter in the game. He could be easier, and will be easier to acquire than Tulo.

Mike Leake - Yet another Cincinnati Red who could be moved is starting pitcher Mike Leake. Unlike with Hamels or teammate Johnny Cueto, Leake is more appealing because he will cost less, both in terms of trade assets and free agency. Expect Leake to be the most likely name on this list moved.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Trading The Brewers Begins Now | Time To Make MLB Moves For The Future

Brewers Trade Deadline
We have reached the month of June, which means it is trade deadline season in Major League Baseball. The Brewers are at the center of many of these trade topics, involving the moving of many of their players. Before we really get into the meat of the trade deadline season, I thought it would be a good time to review many of these rumors and the players that could be moved.

Aramis Ramirez- The current third basemen of the Milwaukee Brewers has publicly stated he will be retiring following the season. Yes, this is not according to a report from some inside guy, Ramirez publicly stated that he will be retiring, so that means we can take it as he is retiring. The question is though, does he want to finish his career on a last place team, or would he like to get one last crack at the World Series with a contender? I believe he wants one last shot, and he will more than likely be moved at the trade deadline.

Carlos Gomez- The center fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers is one of their better trade assets at the moment, or one would think. Gomez has loads of talent, but he also comes with loads of attitude problems, and it is the latter that is causing teams to stay away from him at the moment because of Brewers demands for him. I believe Melvin or whoever the general manager is at the time will back off of the asking price, which will make him more trad worthy. I am thinking the Giants might be a destination.

Kyle Lohse- The fast-aging Kyle Lohse has been either really good or really bad this season. He still has value in a trade though, and could be placed into a young rotation down the stretch to provide innings and leadership. Houston might be a fit.

Matt Garza- Matt Garza is one of those pitchers who we think is supposed to be a lot better than he is. But still, he is a solid pitcher, although he has not been helping his cause with his poor performance this season. Garza currently sits at 3-7 on the season with a 5.52 ERA, and will need to improve those numbers if he wants to be traded.

Francisco Rodriguez- The Brewers closer has been very productive this season. He has nine saves and a 1.42 ERA to go along with it. Rodriguez could be traded to team like the Tigers, who are on their last chance and need bullpen help.

Jonathan Lucroy- This is the most interesting one of the bunch- Lucroy is the team's best player, and would bring back the most. The Brewers have said he is not available, although he should be. The problem is he has no value at the moment because he is just coming off a major injury. He will need to come back and get going quickly to create trade value, which I expect him to do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

American League Standings 2015 Week Six

AL Standings 2015
I have put together an update on my 2015 predictions for the American League standings. We are six weeks into the 2015 Major League season, so I thought I would take a look at my predictions and see how they are playing out so far.

AL East
1. Toronto Blue Jays
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. New York Yankees
5. Tampa Bay Rays

I predicted the Toronto Blue Jays to win this division, the American League Pennant, and the World Series as well. So far, not good. The Blue Jays are in last place at 18-23, and had lost five in a row until last night when they beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-6. The Red Sox rotation has not been good, but that was expected. However, I expected their lineup to carry them more than they have through the early part of the season, until they can make a move to improve their rotation. They are one of the front-runners for Cole Hamels, so stay tuned. The two teams I predicted to finish 4 and 5, the Yankees and Rays, are actually 1 and 2 right now. However, I do expect that to change. There is no way aging stars Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira keep up their early season performance and it is only a matter of time before the Rays fade.

AL Central
1. Kansas City Royals
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Minnesota Twins

Unlike the AL East, this division is going as planned, sort of, minus one team, the Minnesota Twins. After a 1-5 start, the Twins are now are now 21-17, and find themselves in third place, just three games back of the division leading Kansas City Royals. Much better overall production out of their rotation has led them to this point. Robin Ventura is over matched as a manager and it is safe to say that he might be on his last gasp in Chicago at this moment. What has happened to Corey Kluber? The 2014 American League Cy Young award winner is off to a 1-5 start this season. He better turn it around, or the Indians are headed for a last place finish at this rate.

AL West
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Texas Rangers
5. Houston Astros

This division is all upside down from how I predicted it. The Astros are out to a 25-13 start, and have a six-game lead in this division as of this moment. The Angels and Mariners, who both started slowly, are starting to improve and get better. The Rangers are right where I expected them to be, 4th place. I don't see anyway it gets better for the Rangers anytime soon so they need to pull the plug and rebuild. I didn't expect Oakland to be good, but I didn't expect them to be this bad either. The Athletics currently stand at 13-26. good for the worst record in Major League Baseball.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five Bold Predictions For 2015 Major League Baseball

five 2015 bold predictions
We have begun the 2015 Major League Baseball season. It is too early to fully analyze what has happened, so here are five potential surprising story lines for 2015.

1 The Minnesota Twins trade Joe Mauer - On March 21, 2010, the Twins signed Joe Mauer to an eight year, 184 million dollar contract. The Twins thought they were getting a perennial MVP candidate. Instead, they have gotten a player of whom injuries have forced him to first base, a player who hits for contact, a player provides no power and RBI potential. We know that if Twins general manager Terry Ryan can find a taker for Joe Mauer's ridiculous contract, he will gladly take it and run. Don't be surprised if he finally finds that in 2015.

2. Cole Hamels gets traded to the Tigers - The Cole Hamels trade saga has been one of the most entertaining player transaction story lines ever. The Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox are all involved in this saga. This is like three great poker players in a stare down for the ages across the table from each other. Look for a dark horse team to come in late at the trade deadline and grab Hamels while the Cubs and Red Sox refuse to budge. 2015 is the Detroit Tigers last chance, and don't be surprised if they push the rest of their chips into the table for Hamels.

3. The Houston Astros win 80 games - The Houston Astros rebuilding project has been well publicized and in fact, there have been several feature articles written on it, including myself. The Astros are a young team on the rise, and it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Don't be stunned if the Astros make a huge jump in 2015.

4. Wily Peralta wins the Cy Young - I have been the conductor of the Wily Peralta train since before most Brewers fans knew who he was. Peralta has an ace's arm, and took a big step forward in 2014. Don't be stunned if Peralta takes another big jump, and wins the Cy Young.

5. The Miami Marlins win the World Series - Right now, the Washington Nationals are the heavy favorites to win the National League East, and many are predicting them to win the World Series. Don't be surprised if this young, hungry, and super talented Marlins squad stuns the world, wins the National League East, and then wins the World Series.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

MLB 2015 Preview Team By Team

Well, we have reached that time of year again. Baseball season is just days away so that means it is time for me to give you my 2015 MLB baseball preview. Let's begin with the American League.

1. Toronto Blue Jays- The Blue Jays have been pushing hard the last couple of years to make something happen. Baltimore is taking a step back and I am not sold on the Red Sox rotation so their time is now.

2. Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox spent a lot of money this off season. However, as stated above, I am not sold on the rotation. That could change though, as the Red Sox are one of the leaders in the clubhouse right now for Cole Hamels.

3. Baltimore Orioles- Baltimore is going to take a step back this season. Still, a third place finish is not out of the question.

4. New York Yankees- The first season without Derek Jeter will end in a 4th place finish.

5. Tampa Bay Rays- This team once owned this division. But their time is no more. Expect a last place finish, and possibly the worst record in the league. They will also be trading Evan Longoria at some point.

1. Detroit Tigers- Currently the Tigers have five players under contract for 2016. I expect that to change during the season, but still, this is an old team. 2015 will be the last stand of the Detroit Tigers.

2. Kansas City Royals- I don't expect this team to fall as far as everyone thinks. Still, a second place finish seems about right.

3. Chicago White Sox- The White Sox made a lot of moves in the off season. But I am not sold on this team as a playoff contender right now.

4. Cleveland Indians- Another year, another 4th place finish for Cleveland.

5. Minnesota Twins- This team is getting better. But they will still finish last. Won't be long though before they are really, REALLY, good.

1. Los Angeles Angels- This is still the best team in this division. However this division is not as strong as it has been the last few years.

2. Seattle Mariners- The Mariners have been opening up the checkbook recently. I think it finally results in a playoff appearance for this team as a Wild Card.

3. Oakland Athletics- The Athletics time at the top of this division has come to an end, again. They will be rebuilding.

4. Texas Rangers- The Rangers were the most injured team in the league a year ago. I don't expect them to be that injured again. Still, the reality is this is an old team that needs to be rebuilt.

5. Houston Texans- Same situation as the Twins. Getting better, and won't be long until they are good.

Cy Young - Felix Hernandez/Seattle Mariners- King Felix will have his best season to date in 2015, a year in which Seattle will make the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

AL Champion - Toronto Blue Jays
AL Rookie of the Year: Alex Meyer/SP/Minnesota Twins- Meyer is the future ace of this team. The future begins now.

AL MVP: Mike Trout/CF/Los Angeles Angels- Trout has finally gotten the purists on his side. Expect 2014 to be the beginning of a long stretch of MVP awards for him.