Wednesday, March 8, 2017

MLB Preseason Awards for 2016

We are working our way through Spring Training and it is time to take a look at preseason awards candidates. Here is my list of American League preseason candidates for MVP.

Jackie Bradley- Let me break it down for you in simple terms. Elite, two-way, 5-plus WAR center fielders don't grow on a trees. Think Andrew McCutchen here. 2017 has monster season written all over it for Jackie Bradley Jr.

Josh Donaldson- The trade of Brett Lawrie to the Oakland Athletics for Josh Donaldson is turning out to be one of the most lopsided trades in recent memory. Lawrie isn't even in Oakland anymore and Donaldson has climbed to the top of the MVP heap in the American League. He is all set for another MVP season in 2017.

Mark Trumbo- That was a great trade last off season, bringing Trumbo to Baltimore from Seattle. Trumbo had the best season of his career, and should have been the American League MVP. 2017 has another big year written all of it for Trumbo.

Adam Jones- One of these years, one of these years, one of these years. One of these years Jones is going to have the season we are all waiting for, and is going to win his first MVP award. He is too good not to.

Eric Hosmer- This is a very good first basemen for the Kansas City Royals. Anytime now, anytime, he is going to have his big season. 2017 could very well be that season.

Francisco Lindor- Shortstops with great bats are hard to find. Shortstops with elite bats that are worthy of MVP consideration are almost impossible to find. Yet here we have two of them in the American League right now, and this is the first one on this list.

Carlos Correa- The second of those two shortstops I mentioned above. Correa is GOING to win an MVP award. Not if, when. 2017 might be when.

Mike Trout- Of course, all American League MVP lists need to include Mike Trout these days. But, the Angels might be so bad this season that he won't get consideration.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

National League Contenders in 2017 | Will the Cubs Repeat?

NL Contenders
Unlike with the American League, in the National League it is much easier to separate the contenders from the pretenders, as the gap is just that big. Let's take a look. Will the Cubs repeat in 2017?

Washington Nationals: The Nationals had a position of need this off season, and made a massive overpay for an above-average solution in center field with Adam Eaton. The rest of the team is great, and these guys could get the Cubs this year if Bryce Harper can put 2016 behind him. However, at the end of the season, it's time to pay the credit card bill, and make some tough decisions for all of these big free agent signings and trades they have made.

New York Mets: Remember how we called the up and coming Mets rotation the greatest thing since sliced bread two years ago? Yeah that didn't happen. Injuries to most of the rotation have pretty much derailed that. Still, they can be very good if they can stay healthy, and they aren't as horrible on offense as they were two years ago at this time. Yoenis Cespedes is back in New York and for the long haul this time. He fits perfectly in the Big Apple.

Chicago Cubs: The Defending World Series champions enter 2017 with the best roster in baseball. However, it won't be as easy as it was in 2016, and they are back to their big gaping hole they had a year ago- the bullpen is bad, and they are running out of prospects to trade to fix it. It's time to rely on the likes of Mike Montgomery and Bruce Rondon to see if they can help fix the issues in the bullpen.

St. Louis Cardinals: Baseball's eternal contenders, the St. Louis Cardinals, have done a tremendous job of making one great move after another over the last decade. This off season, they went out and got Dexter Fowler off the free agent market. He will bring nothing but positive vibes back to that clubhouse, and fills their big gaping hole, center field.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates are running out of chances to get the job done. In fact, 2017 might be it, because after this, it's time to start trading the likes of Andrew McCutchen and others. Speaking of Mr. McCutchen, he moves to right field this season after spending his whole career in center.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Some Dodgers fans may be upset, but it appears as if Andrew Friedman is determined to get the Dodgers into a budget, and that is a good thing. The new CBA rules punish teams even more for going over the luxury tax threshold, so almost every team now is treating it like a salary cap. Instead, he opted for cheap options rather than overpay for the likes of Brian Dozier in the trade market, which is actually a good thing based on what they needed to fix, which wasn't much.

San Francisco Giants: The Giants, kind of like that old reliable friend. They are always there whenever you need them, but sometimes you forget about them. The story for the Giants this season is the same story it's been for the last 8 years- power pitching rotation, elite bullpen, great defense, timely hitting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Brewers Starters for 2017 Opening Day at Miller Park

Brewers roster 2017
Spring Training is upon us in less than a week, and much like last year, the Brewers have a glut of players competing for roster spots. I will do my best right now to predict their 25-man roster.

Catcher: Andrew Susac- This is going to be back and forth the first part of the season between Susac and Jeff Bandy.

First Base: Eric Thames- The Brewers signed Thames to an unusual contract with a lot of money up front this off season. If he produces, the Brewers will have a steal.

Second Base: Scooter Gennett- Expect fan favorite Scooter Gennett to be moved before the trade deadline.

Shortstop: Orlando Arcia- The Brewers best prospect made his debut unexpectedly last season. Expect him to be the everyday shortstop this season since they decided to call him up that early. Everybody thought he wouldn't see the Major Leagues until sometime this season.

Third Base: Jonathan Villar- The former Astros mega prospect played very well last season in Milwaukee.

Left Field: Domingo Santana- He's not going to be as good as some unreasonable people thought, but he is going to be a solid player for the Brewers in time.

Center Field: Keon Broxton- Broxton got his chance last season, and might be turning himself into a valuable big league player right now.

Bench: Michael Reed, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jeff Bandy, Hernan Perez, Jesus Aguilar- Nothing really to look at here. Not exactly a great bench, but teams like the Brewers don't need them right now.

Rotation: Wily Peralta. Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann, Tommy Milone, Zach Davies- This is maybe the easiest part of this team to predict this season. Nelson and Jungmann look like solid 3/4's on most teams and this is Peralta's last chance in the rotation.

Bullpen: Chase Anderson, Michael Blazek, Neftali Feliz, Corey Knebel, Junior Guerra, Matt Garza, Jhan Martinez- I honestly have no clue how this bullpen is going to set up. This is my best guess. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Top Ten Pitchers in MLB 2017

Here is my list of what I think are the top 10 pitchers right now.

10. David Price- The former number one overall draft choice out of Vanderbilt has been great his entire career. Even when he is supposed off his game he is still good.

9. Corey Kluber- Kind of the unknown on this list, part of which is due to him playing in Cleveland. Still, those who follow baseball enough know that this guy is really, REALLY good.

8.  Zack Grienke- For as great as he is, he's not known as one of the best clubhouse guys and he doesn;t get his way, there are going to be issues.

7. Jake Arrieta- The rise of these Cubs pitchers has been something to behold, and Arrieta is the best of the bunch. He is going to get a big payday when he hits the open market next year.

6. Chris Sale- I am putting a disclaimer on this list beginning with this guy. The top six on this list, can all be moved up and down from number one to number 6. Sale is great, but my one concern are his mechanics, which are a little goofy, and if he will hold up long term.

5. Felix Hernandez- Ooooo, I wish I didn't have to. Felix, if you are reading this, I would trade for you in a heartbeat, and I think you are great. But I had to pick someone. Please don't take it personally.

4. Clayton Kershaw- Five million Dodgers fans probably want to throw me in a river right now, but, for as awesome as his regular season numbers are, he crumbles in the postseason.

3. Max Scherzer- The 250 million dollar BARGAIN. That's it.

2. Johnny Cueto- People might argue this, but this guy brings it when it matters. In the 2015 World Series, with the Kansas City Royals season on the line, Cueto gave us one of the best pitching performances in baseball history with a two-hit complete game shutout.

1. Madison Bumgarner- He is great in the regular season, possibly the best playoff pitcher of this generation, and he's only 27.

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.