Monday, May 4, 2015

Custom Card of the Morning: Iglesias Edition

It's not the most surprising thing that the Tigers are off to an excellent start this year. It IS, however, very surprising that despite this excellent start, they're still 2nd in the AL Central. This doesn't usually happen to the Tigers.

However, thanks to the momentum of last year's World Series, the Royals have been unstoppable this season, battering down all their enemies, literally and figuratively (hey, you knew I was going there). So, for the first time in a while, the Tigers are going to have to fight to stay relevant.

Thankfully, they have a rejuvenated squad, thanks to the revival of Jose Iglesias, a guy they picked up from Boston only for him to miss all of the 2014 season. Now he's back, and he's off to a very nice start, sporting a high average, and playing some great defense. Also helping the charge is another guy the Tigers got from Boston, Yoenis Cespedes, who has been hitting pretty well so far, and will hopefully go for a three-peat at the home run derby. Even Joakim Soria, a guy a lot of people counted out, is pitching beautifully, saving games in place of a basically-done Joe Nathan.

The bottom line is the charge is still there. The Tigers still have a lot of power, and are definitely capable of winning a lot of games. The challenge here will be catching the Royals, which, if the Royals are for real this year, may be pretty difficult. Still, the Tigers are a great team, and can definitely handle it.

Coming Tonight: The Pirates are off to a decent start as well, and a lot can be attributed to this newly minted star.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Custom Card of the Day: Murphy Edition

Last week there was this big festival at my college, with bands, carnival attractions, and more drinking than you could possibly imagine. A friend of mine brought a guy who'd already graduated, and we were talking for a while about sports. This guy was a huge Mets fan, and he's the kind of Mets fan who will not take 'the Yankees are better right now' for an answer.

There was one alarming statistic he kept bringing up. This season, the Mets had started with an 11 game streak, in April. The only other times the team has had such a streak in April, they would either go to the World Series or get relatively close to it. Which means this happened in 1969, 1973 and 1986. It also happened in the early 90's for some reason.

And that was the kind of stat that got a 'yeah, right' from me. Stats can't tell the future. Stats are just predictions, and predictions can be wrong. People only listen to statistics when they're right...which isn't very often. So I hear a stat like that, and I'm like, whatever, it's not gonna matter in the long run, you can't confirm that that kind of shit's gonna work.

However...this is the kind of Mets team that could theoretically make something like that work this year. People like Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda are all playing pretty well right now. Hell, even Kevin Plawecki, the guy they brought up to replace Travis D'Arnaud, is off to a really nice start. And the pitching is definitely impression, especially guys like Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom.

Also, Bartolo Colon is pitching really well...but this is mostly thanks to his supernatural miracle cream he uses on his arm that makes it ten years younger. So it's not too shocking.

Look, we're dealing with a Mets team that is outdoing both the Nationals AND the Marlins for the top of the division. These are two teams that have some well-built structures going on, and they're being bested by the Mets.

So...I know it's a crazy little stat that my friend brought up, but it may end up being more accurate. Of course, it may not. But it's baseball. You can never call it.

Coming Tomorrow- The shortstop for a powerful AL central team.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Custom Card of the Night: Scherzer Edition

I never would have expected a huge come-up like Max Scherzer's 2013 season. He was unstoppable, posting an unbelievable record, and even outdoing Justin Verlander, who was still at the top of his game. But he did it, and additionally had a nice 2014 outing as well. This combined power made him one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason.

Which means the Nationals are so lucky that they snagged him, in order to complete their mega-rotation of Strasburg-Scherzer-Fister-Gonzalez-Zimmermann-Roark. Which is pretty great, especially if you consider that Tanner Roark is currently a bullpen player.

Scherzer has gotten off to a pretty nice start in DC, even if the Nationals...haven't necessarily (they seem to operate on the same even-odd season timetable that San Francisco does). He's got a few nice starts behind him, and is close to the stuff he was throwing back in 2013.

I'm not sure if he's still as huge a name in the MLB as he was then, but he's in the middle of his career, and he's probably in for a nice time in Washington.

Coming Tomorrow- The team that IS in the lead in the NL East, their second baseman is making a strong case to be the backup David Wright.

Custom Card of the Day: Ramirez Edition

(FYI- this is probably one of the best customs I've made in years)

Right now the Red Sox are doing modestly. They're hitting well, and their youth movement is working, but they're burning through catchers like potato chips, and their older stars (Victorino, Napoli, Sandoval) aren't playing as well as they used to.

However, their one saving grace is Hanley Ramirez. Because he's hitting up a storm right now.

The guy had decent numbers in his two and a half seasons with the Dodgers, but the injuries kept hitting and limiting his playing time. The Sox thought the best move would be to move him to the outfield, to keep him out of the stress that comes with playing shortstop. So, they moved him back, benched Rusney Castillo for a bit, and it's been working pretty well. Han-Ram has had a great start, hitting the 2nd-most home runs in the AL (behind that rascal Nelson Cruz), and making a definite case as a huge star (yet again)

I love how Hanley has grown from a young, ROY-winning speedy shortstop, to a powerful hitter in one of the most hitter-friendly divisions in baseball. I like how even when he was having a few DL stints, people still thought of him as one of the best players on that Dodgers team. I love the fact that he's back to hitting well. People counted him out, but I think he has a bunch of great seasons left in him.

Coming Tonight (?)- Probably the best Jewish player in the leagues right now. Off to a nice start in DC.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Custom Card of the Day: Gordon Edition

Last Season, Dee Gordon came back from a couple of down seasons and made a name for himself in the NL West not only as a base-stealer, but as a formidable hitter, the kind you'd want on your roster, the kind that would take you to the postseason.

So the Marlins figured it'd be a nice idea to trade for Gordon, as well as Dan Haren, and made a deal. So they got an elite second baseman for the next few years, and a guy who's been doing pretty well for himself over the past few weeks.

I mean, the Marlins are a bit underwhelming so far, as the Mets and Braves are sort of ruling the roost, and the Marlins are sitting in third, taking their time. I think people are expecting a mid-season boost, which I could definitely see happening (Stanton and Yelich are gonna catch fire, I imagine), and the fact that it's not happening NOOOOWWWW is a little disheartening.

Bottom line- this division is insane. The guys who were inches from a league title last year are currently in fourth. The Braves are in second. The only sane thing going on in the NL East right now is the Phillies are in last place, where they're supposed to be.

I think if the Marlins can pick up enough momentum in May or June, they could be a first place team for a while, and they could potentially make a playoff run. They do have the talent, their outfield is pretty nice, and thanks to Dee Gordon their infield has improved. They have what it takes. I dunno if it'll happen this year or whenever, but it's going to.

Coming Tonight (?)- He spent last year on the DL. Now he's back, part of a surging Tigers squad.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Custom Card of the Night: Travis Edition

I read in the magazines that of all the Toronto rookies, Dalton Pompey was the one that people thought would do some serious damage, perhaps even getting the ROY.

None of these magazines must have known about Devon Travis. Because, with the start he's had, he could take a ton of awards this season.

I don't know how it happened. He started the season not even on the bench, but as a starter. For a rookie, and not even a 'played-some-of-last-season', an actual, never-played-in-a-game-before rookie, that is a nice way to start- getting an Opening Day start as your rookie debut.

The guy's becoming one of the best things about the Blue Jays right now, because J-Bats isn't hitting, and D-Hutch isn't off to the greatest start. Travis is just hitting really well, and becoming the talk of the majors.

I don't know if Travis-mania is gonna last the whole season, but I hope he has a nice season, and I hope he has enough power to solidify himself not just in 2015, but potentially longer.

Coming Tomorrow- The Marlins aren't performing as well as a lot of people thought, but this guy is making a lot of progress, especially after his awesome season last year in LA.

Custom Card of the Day: AAAAAADDDRIIIAAANNNN Edition

If every month could have an MVP, then this guy would have nabbed this one for the NL weeks ago.

I've always known how damn good Adrian Gonzalez can be. Last few seasons in LA, he's been wonderful, hitting up a storm and playing some consistent first base. But he hadn't really gotten any of the huge numbers he'd achieved in Boston or San Diego...that is, until now. He started off the season on a hitting spree, knocking home runs and getting a high average.

Adrian has had a number of really nice seasons in a row, and his consistency is going a bit under the radar. He's got power, and he's got some decent defensive ability, and he is exceedingly reliable. I'd like to see him get a starting All Star nod this year, but the competition will be fierce.

Adrian is just a fun player, and I like it when really nice things happen to him.

Coming Tonight: The unknown that has been taking the AL East by storm.