Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Brewes Prospects to Keep and Starters to Dump

Brewers to keep and to get rid ofFor Brewers baseball fans, January is pretty much the slowest time of the off-season. We are left to ponder things like "Who should the Brewers pick up, and who should they dump?" What better way to answer those questions with a new round of “Buy or Sell: Milwaukee Brewers Edition.”

Buy: The Brewers have a lot of good position player prospects- The organization has done a fantastic job the last two years of gathering a glob of good talented position prospects. They have lots of organizational depth at very position now. This also gives them roster flexibility as they are continuing to rebuild. If they don't like how one guy is playing, they can try someone else until they find something they like.

Sell: The Brewers have a superstar in there somewhere- Listen, I like a lot of these players, I really do, and some people may even point to Orlando Arcia. I really like Arcia, and I think he can be a star player. However, he is not a franchise superstar face. This team still needs to find their own Kris Bryant for the long haul.

Buy: The Brewers have a lot of good pitching prospects- David Stearns has done a tremendous job of gathering good solid long range pitching prospects. As we head into the future, their pitching staff will fill out nicely with names like Josh Hader, Luis Ortiz, Phil Bickford, Cody Ponce, Marcos Diplan, Kodi Medeiros, and Corbin Burnes.

Sell: Once of those guys is the future Brewers ace- Being good is one thing. Being an ace is another. None of those guys are a Major Ace. Very much like the position player situation, the Brewers future ace will come via a fast track college pitcher in the draft in the next couple of years.

Buy: The Brewers will be worse off without Ryan Braun in the short term- As the whole world knows, the Brewers want to move Ryan Braun and will at some point within the next year. At the moment he is their “best player” so to speak. So therefore, productivity will dropoff because of it.

Sell: The Brewers will be worse off in the long run without Ryan Braun? Moving Braun and his albatross of a contract will give them long term flexibility financially. This is not the New York Yankess. They can't just sit a 200 million dollar contract on the bench while they decide what to do with it. The Brewers need to get the most out of every penny they spend. Getting rid of Braun will allow them to extend some of these young talents long term early like many other teams do.

Buy: Wily Peralta will be good out of the bullpen- At the moment, Wily Peralta stands as the most talented arm this team has. He has had a very inconsistent, up and down career. Moving to the bullpen may actually be a good thing for him to be honest.

Sell: The Brewers need to move him top the bullpen right now- I'm going to tell it like it is. The Milwaukee Brewers are going nowhere in 2017 or anytime soon for that matter. Why not continue to let Peralta see if he can figure it out in the rotation. That is a super-talented arm.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MLB Breakout Players Coming Up in 2017

Top Prospects MLB
We have talked about the off-season to death so far, and right now, we have hit a dull point in the off-season. So let's take a quick look ahead to 2017 at some breakout candidates.

Miguel Sano/3B/Twins- The former mega-prospect's minor league career was both well-documented and watched. After a big rookie season in 2015, the future could not have looked any bigger or brighter for the young Miguel Sano. A disappointing 2016 changed all of that. The Twins made the head scratching decision to try Sano in the outfield due to the corner infield logjam and it was a disaster. Sano was moved back to third base mid-season and looked better, but suffered through some injury issues. The Twins released Trevor Plouffe at the end of the season, and Sano now has no road blocks, and hopefully no injuries, preventing him from having a BIG 2017.

Jose Berrios/SP/Twins- The second of three Twins on this list is starting pitcher Jose Berrios. After an up and down rookie season, Berrios will go to Spring Training with an opportunity to win a rotation spot right out of the gate. This guy is just too good not to. Berrios has a big 2017 written all over him.

Byron Buxton/CF/Twins- The third of three Twins on this list and I could have probably included more. This Twins team is so young, and so super-talented, the Twins 2016 season was one of the most inexplicable phenomenons in sports history. In terms of 25 man roster talent, good grief. The starting pitching was a little iffy, but talents Tyler Jay, Stephen Gonslaves, and Kohl Stewart are all expected to debut in 2017. Buxton is a former number one overall prospect who has had some injury issues the last couple of years. If he can put those injuries behind him, he is due for a big 2017 as well.

Orlando Arcia/SS/Brewers- The lone Brewer on this list, Arcia finished the season as the Brewers shortstop. He will be expected to be the opening day shortstop for the Brewers in 2017. Arcia is a mega-talent and it is only a matter of time before he explodes into an All-Star at the Major League level.

Tyler Glasnow/SP/Pirates- Glasnow was called up in 2016 and pitched briefly, going 0-2. That means very little. Standing 6'8”, 220 pounds, Glasnow has Major League ace written all over his face, and it is only a matter of time before he becomes one.

Alex Reyes/SP/Cardinals- The best Cardinals prospect, Reyes went 4-1 with a 1.57 late in 2016 in a call up for the Cardinals. With an aging Adam Wainwright, it is only a matter of time before the young Reyes makes his way to the top of the rotation in St. Louis.

Yoan Moncada/2B/White Sox- The return centerpiece in the big off-season trade that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox, Moncada was considered to the best prospect in the game in 2016. He played briefly for the Red Sox at the end of the season, and will be expected to be the White Sox opening day second basemen in 2017. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Big Time Players on MLB Trading Block

Last week, I did a post on free agents. Here is a list of potential position player trade candidates. The trade market this off season should be far more interesting than the free agent market.

Mike Trout/CF/Angels- It's hard to believe the Angels would ever make Mike Trout available. He is the best player in the game, but it shows the situation the Angels are in. Their farm is depleted, their major league roster is dysfunctional, and they are in a financial mess. Trout could leave at the end of his contract, and they would get nothing for him. Better to sell now, since his stock is through the roof.

Andrew McCutchen/CF/Pirates- We knew this day was coming. Technically the Pirates don't have to move McCutchen until July of 2018, but they do have to move him. There is no way they will be able to afford his big payday with should be north of 300 million at the end of the 2018 season.

Ian Kinsler/2B/Tigers- Kinsler is getting up there in years. Still, he could be an effective second basemen who could provide a young contending team with his big game experience.

Miguel Cabrera/1B/DH/Tigers- Cabrera was once the best hitter in the game, but has teetered off a little. Still he would bring a significant return, and it is time for the Tigers to throw up the white flag.

Justin Upton/OF/Tigers- Upton was just signed last offseason, and he is still a productive enough player that he could bring a return and the team taking him would take his full salary.

Victor Martinez/DH/Tigers- A very good hitter, Martinez can't catch anymore but he can still play some first base. He could be on the move to a team such as the Rangers, Mariners, or Red Sox.

J.D. Martinez/DH/OF/Tigers- The 5th and final Tiger on this list, Martinez has a good bat, and if an AL team wants a DH, he could be had without giving up a lot in return. Same list as Victor Martinez. All of these moves by the Tigers, are dependent on who has control of the franchise right now, the Tigers aging owner Mike Ilitch who thinks he can buy a championship before he dies even though he is the only one who thinks that, or his son Christopher, who has the long term interests of this franchise in mind.

Ryan Braun/OF/Brewers- The final piece the Brewers have yet to move is highly polarized outfielder Ryan Braun. His stock is about as high as it is going to get, and it would be wise for the Brewers to find someone to take that ridiculous contract. The trade currently being discussed involves Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

Yasiel Puig/OF/Dodgers- Speaking of Puig, he has worn out his welcome in Los Angeles. Unlike Braun, his range of potential landing spots is a lot more because his contract isn't as daunting as Braun's.

Paul Goldschmidt/1B/Diamondbacks- Many believe this man is the best first basemen in the game. They might be right. He would net a big time return if he was traded.

Evan Longoria/3B/Rays- It is past time for the Rays to move on from their long time franchise player. Longoria is baseball's current ironman, and an elite two-way player. Because of that, he would net a return similar to that of Trout or McCutchen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2016 MLB Awards According to Me

I am not one to wait too long to hand out my season awards. So while we are in the midst of the MLB postseason, waiting for the League Championship Series for both leagues to end, I will hand out some hardware, beginning with the National League.

Manager of the year: Dave Roberts/Los Angeles Dodgers- Clayton Kershaw missed half the season and the rest of the rotation missed time as well. Yet here the Dodgers are, 2016 National League West champions, in the NLCS, and in control of the mighty, supposedly unbeatable, Chicago Cubs.

Rookie of the year: Corey Seager/SS/Los Angeles Dodgers- Another easy choice. Seager had a magnificent rookie campaign, and did it at baseball's second most demanding position. He is also an MVP candidate.

Cy Young- Max Scherzer/SP/Washington Nationals- In a very strong year for National League starting pitcher, Scherzer rose to the top of the list. This was the hardest award in either league to hand out because of all of the good choices, but at this moment, Scherzer is looking like a 200 million dollar bargain for the Nationals.

MVP: Kris Bryant/3B/Chicago Cubs- Man, if there was ever a guy before the draft you could look at and say, man, this guy has superstar written all over his face, it was Kris Bryant. Why the Houston Astros took Mark Appel we will never know. In his rookie season, Bryant won the rookie of the year award. In his second season, he wins the MVP. What will he do in year three?

Manager of the year: Terry Francona/Cleveland Indians- The Indians were predicted to finish fourth in the American League Central. They won the division, and now find themselves one win away from the promised land. Before the postseason even started, they were labeled as the team most suited to take out the Cubs, and they still are.

Rookie of the year: Michael Fullmer/SP/Detroit Tigers- This was a weak season for AL rookies. Fuller had a decent season, going 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA.

Cy Young: J.A. Happ- This was really a two horse race all season. Happ beats out Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox, but not by much. Happ went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA and did so pitching in Toronto. This was by far Happ's best season to date.

MVP: Brian Dozier/2B/Minnesota Twins- For all of the playoff teams, and playoff contenders, this was a very weak season for individual efforts. So, therefore, when a player joins a club only occupied by Rogers Hornsby and Ryne Sandberg, he wins the MVP award. Dozier finishes the season with 42 home  runs and 99 RBI's.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Brewers 2016 Awards

Brewers awards 2016
The Milwaukee Brewers finished their 2016 season today defeating the Colorado Rockies 6-4 in ten innings following a two-run home run by Andrew Susac in the top of the tenth. For Susac, it was his first career home run, and might very well be his only as I do not expect him to make the roster next year. So hats off to him. The Brewers finished the first full season of this long rebuilding project they are on with a record of 73-89. The Brewers will draft eighth overall, next June as a result. For now, let's hand out some 2016 season awards for the team.

Best Rookie: Zach Davies/SP- The Brewers played a lot of rookies this season so there was much to choose from. Davies stood out the best out of all of them. Davies finished the season with 28 starts, including 15 quality starts, and led the Brewers with 11 wins.

Most Improved Player: Hernan Perez/Utility Infielder- Wow. Just “wow.” Basically thought of as a utility player at best, Perez proved he can be a very valuable asset to any roster if asked to play more than just sparingly. Perez played in 123 games, batting .272 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI's. They have a player they can plug anywhere now in the infield who can play a lot if asked to.

Best Pitcher: Zach Davies - Not only was Davies the best rookie, he is also the best pitcher for the Brewers in 2016. His final full numbers for the season go as follows- 11-7 with a 3.97 ERA and 135 strikeouts.

Team MVP- Ryan Braun/OF- Ryan Braun recovered from some nightmarish public relations in recent years, as well as some serious injuries. He went from “career threatening” troubles to come back and have a very good 2016 campaign. Braun finished the season with a .305 batting average, 30 home runs, and 91 RBI's. In the process, he made himself great trade bait this offseason. So expect that to happen. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Who Will Make the MLB 2016 Playoffs?

We are approaching the end of August. As for Major League Baseball, it's time to separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Toronto Blue Jays - The Blue Jays had a magical run a year ago, and have brought some of that magic into 2016 a little unexpectedly. They are getting a lights out pitching season from the most unlikely of places- J.A. Happ, who is 17-3 with a 3.05 on the season. Status- Contenders

Boston Red Sox- The Red Sox are a mild surprise right now, tied with the Blue Jays for first place out east. The Red Sox offense has been carrying them all season, but that pitching staff scares me in a bad way. Status- Pretenders

Baltimore Orioles- The Orioles, much like the Red Sox, have been getting it done all season with the offense. What's the difference? The Orioles pitching was doing just fine, but now Cy Young candidate Chris Tillman is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Status- Pretenders

Cleveland Indians- The Indians are the surprise of 2016. Expected to finish fourth, the Indians have barnstormed their way to the top of the American League with a record of 72-52, good for home field advantage. The Indians have been getting it done with lights out pitching and just enough offense. This is a team built for October and these Indians are for real. Status: Contenders.

Detroit Tigers- The Tigers have had an up and down season. At times they have been great, but at times, they have been bad. It's typical of an old team. Status: Pretenders.

Kansas City Royals- These Royals are playing their best baseball of the season, and are not going quietly. Still, I wonder if they are too banged up to do it this time. Status: Pretenders.

Texas Rangers- These aren't your grandfather's Texas Rangers. This is a balanced team getting it done in all facets of the game. The loss of Prince Fielder for the rest of the season and for his career will sting both short term and in the pocketbook long term, but still, this is a great team. Status-Contenders

Seattle Mariners- The Mariners have always had the pitching staff. It's their offense that has been the question mark. That has changed this season. Robinson Cano is back to MVP form, and Nelson Cruz is an MVP candidate. Status- Contenders

Houston Astros- I've been on the Astros bandwagon since day one, but even I have to admit at this point it's not going to happen. Status: Pretenders.

Washington Nationals- Unlike a year ago, the Nationals are running away with the National League East and have gotten rid of clubhouse cancer Jonathan Papelbon. This looks like the Cubs biggest threat at this point. Status: Contenders.

Miami Marlins- The Marlins seemed destined to crash the party. They currently sit at 65-60, and even though the division seems unlikely, they are in prime position for a wild card. However the Giancarlo Stanton injury will sting, and that may cost these Marlins a postseason spot. Status: Pretenders.

New York Mets- These Mets are a wreck. Not happening. Status: Pretenders.

Chicago Cubs- Speaking of those Cubs, 2016 has been like Caesar's march to Rome for the Cubs. The Cubs have been taking no prisoners all season, and have baseball's best record at 80-45. We are running out of superlatives to describe these Cubs. Status: Contenders.

St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals have been banged up, their pitching has been spotty, they have gotten almost nothing out of Yadier Moline and Matt Holliday all season, and here they are, sitting in the second wild card spot. This is a dangerous team. Status: Contenders.

Pittsburgh Pirates- I once thought of these Pirates as baseball's best team just a year or so ago. They are going backwards at the wrong time. Status: Pretenders.

Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers refuse to go down without a fight without super ace Clayton Kershaw. They currently lead the NL West, but are they for real? No. Status: Pretenders.

San Francisco Giants- The Giants are playing their worst baseball of the season, but still are just two games back of the Dodgers for first place. This is far from over out west, and it's only a matter of time before someone goes barking up the wrong tree and reminds the Giants of who they are. Status: Contenders.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cubs Come Back Around While Astros Fall Back To Earth

Another two weeks have come and gone in the 2016 Major League Baseball regular season. Normally, these are two-week reviews, but this review will essentially cover the time since the All-Star break though. Let's dive in.

The Chicago Cubs, after floundering around for most of June and early July, made several game changing moves at the trade deadline, acquiring closer Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees. The Cubs are now the hottest team in baseball, and are 10-1 in their last 11 games. Chapman has been a huge difference maker for this team, giving them the closer they so desperately needed. After these moves, the Cubs are now the runaway favorites to win the World Series. The second hottest team in baseball at the moment are the Detroit Tigers, who are right behind the first place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central, just two games back. The Tigers are doing it with a mixture of offense, and Francisco Rodriguez, who has found the fountain of youth in 2016. Rodriguez has a 3.07 ERA and 32 saves on the 2016 season. The third hottest team in baseball at the moment is also in the American League Central, and this one is a surprise. The team I am referring to is the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are playing their best baseball of the season since the All-Star break, and Max Kepler has emerged as the AL rookie of the year front runner in a weak American League. Kepler is batting .259 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI's, and he has only played about ¾ of the whole season. Miguel Sano has also looked comfortable again since moving back to third base. Now it is way too little and way too late to mean anything, but it is nice for this team to play as good as they are supposed to be playing for a change.

One the flip side, the coldest team in baseball are the Houston Astros. The Astros stood silent at the trade deadline, and that decision may cost them their postseason spot. Houston is reeling, and is just 2-8 in their last 10 games. Fortunately, the real deadline general managers are concerned with is the August 31st waiver wire deadline, as that is when postseason rosters are set, so the Astros have time to correct their mistakes. They could use a starting pitcher and another bat. The other cold team right now is the Arizona Diamondbacks. 2016 has been nothing short of a nightmare for these Diamondbacks, who lost All-Star outfielder A.J. Pollock towards the end of the Spring Training. The Diamondbacks currently sit at 45-66, and are 18 out of first place.