Sunday, May 31, 2015
How's about this guy's little spring to relevance, eh?
Maybe it took the absence of Nick Markakis, but the youth movement in Baltimore has been surging this year, thanks to Manny Machado, Caleb Joseph and, of course, Jimmy Paredes, who had a spectacular May, springing into form and staying atop some charts for a while.
For a while I thought this would be an all-Adam-Jones season for the Orioles, but they're spreading the goodness around. Machado's playing beautifully, and a custom of him will be out very, very soon. And now Paredes is smoking the ball, which is relatively easy for him because he's been doing a lot of DHing.
I think the Orioles are a good team, but by the way the AL East is going, I have no idea if they're gonna become of everything. The Rays and Yankees are bobbing around to see who stays in first, and neither are, in my opinion, a first place team. If the O's get back there, they won't leave. They'll make a run that will rival the run they had last year. I really hope that happens, because they're a fun team.
Coming Tomorrow- The Pirates' star ace.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
(At least that's what I think they call him.)
I feel bad for the Nats, because they had a few of their main sources of momentum pulled out from under them. Today, Stephen Strasburg was thrown on the DL, and Bryce Harper was scratched.
Man, if only they had someone who was popular from before those two joined the team...OH WAIT. RYAN ZIMMERMAN'S STILL THERE!
And to be fair, so far he's doing pretty well this season, hitting homers and RBIs like it's 2009 again. And I'm really happy for him. Last year I was worried we'd seen the last of his bigger numbers, as he spent a lot of the season on the DL/in limbo.
To be fair, I don't think Harper is going to be gone long, but Jayson Werth is looking like he's going to be gone for a while, and Anthony Rendon is still not back (I think). So Zim is one of the few offensive threats they have left. And that's not bad, considering how well he's been doing so far.
So yeah, the Nats are in first, and I don't see why they'd be slipping out of that distinction anytime soon.
Coming Tomorrow- Continuing the Maryland theme, a guy for the Orioles who's suddenly become a huge deal for them.
Friday, May 29, 2015
You know...I thought a lot of things about this season, before it happened. I wouldn't have pinpointed the Jays ending the month of May in last.
Naw, I'd be reserving that for the Red Sox. And it works, because they're falling apart too.
No, but the Blue Jays. I don't see why a team with a vast amount of great hitters always gets the shaft in the standings And then I remembered they have half of a pitching staff of 35+ year olds, knucklers notwithstanding.
But still, there's a lot of nice hitters on that team, which makes it even more confusing that they're not accomplishing stuff. Josh Donaldson is hitting for distance, moreso than he did with Oakland. Edwin and Joey Bats are doing the same wild-card home run hitting stuff they usual do. Even Russell Martin, who must have just been allergic to pinstripes, is hitting really, really well.
I mean...I don't know. Maybe there are little cracks that are slowing them down that I don't know about. Maybe they're really flawed. Maybe they're just gonna come back and dominate in June like they do every damn year. I have no idea.
Coming Tomorrow- This guy has been the unofficial hero in Washington since 2006. He's held this team together. And now, in 2015, he returns from an off year to completely dominate again.
I kid that the Cardinals do a lot of staying in first place despite having really no business being there, but i think that this year, they do have a lot built up.
True, a lot is working against them, like the loss of their star pitcher, but at least they have Michael Wacha, and he's been doing really well this season. I remember when he came up, they touted him as this ultra-mega-prospect, and then they kept him in the bullpen for a little while. I thought, 'well, is this gonna happen or not?'
Thankfully, this season he's back in the rotation, throwing fire and impressing a lot of people. Plus, this is a season where the Cards' rotation has sort of been counted out. Other than Lance Lynn, there aren't a lot of definites. Now that Wacha's back, there's a lot less confusion in that area, and a lot more confusion as to why Jason Heyward still has the starting job.
I honestly have nothing against Wacha. If I'm gonna hate a Cardinal, it's gonna be Matt Carpenter. Wacha is fine, and he throws some nice games, so I've got no problems with him. Simple as that.
Coming Tonight: Last season he owned in Oakland. Now he's owning in Toronto.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
In 2013, Prince Fielder was one of the best hitters in baseball, getting a bunch of MVP votes and being a part of a semi-triumphant Tigers roster, making it far enough into the playoffs to remain relevant.
In 2014, he fell out of it. He got injured, stopped hitting, and was sort of a non-presence in the MLB. And it was very sad, because Fielder's a great player, he's had a ton of really nice home-run heavy seasons (no pun intended), and I really hate it when somebody like him has a down season.
Well, thankfully he's back to leading the league in some categories, hitting for high average and high RBIs, and hitting a ton of home runs. I don't know how he did it. Maybe he just needed to wait for people to lose hope, and then come back and gain it all back. But either way, it's exciting, and it's really nice to see Fielder back to hitting again.
Coming Tomorrow- Well, the Cardinals are still doing well, so I still have to make customs of them. So here's the pitcher that's making their fans not as outraged about Wainright being out for the season.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Safe to say, I don't think the sports world was ready for Clayton Kershaw to have a down season.
I mean, anybody else has a down season, they just have a down season. But when Kershaw has a down season, people shout in the streets and complain that he'll never have another good season again, and wonder if his arm's dead, when in reality, he's just having a down season. People have those.
I think people, especially Dodger fans, would be even more worried if they didn't have Zack Greinke to root for, because the dude is throwing fire.
I mean, the last few seasons for him have been pretty nice, as he's been a definite success as Kershaw's second-in-command, but this is the first season where Greinke's going in there and completely dominating the pitching staff. It's helping a bit that Ryu and McCarthy are just getting injured around now, making the decision to trade Dan Haren an even worse one. But still, Kershaw's got some nice numbers going, is throwing some great games and racking up a nice amount of wins.
Greinke hasn't especially dominated a roster since he won the Cy Young in 2009. And he's had some excellent seasons since then, but none where he was the true defining factor behind a team, or a rotation's success. This season may end up being that chance for Greinke again, and I really hope he keeps posting excellent numbers. He's a fun pitcher, one I love when he's 100% on.
Coming Tomorrow- I was worried for a second about this guy, after his subpar 2014 season. But, lo and behold, he's back to completely dominating the batting numbers. His father would be proud.
I think last year I said that Miguel Cabrera was the best player in baseball. And this was in the midst of the very rare Miguel Cabrera Down Season. Only happens every once in a while. But I think it was just so I could figure out that Miggy couldn't be the Very Best for much longer.
Besides, Mike Trout is dominating the game, and has been ever since 2012.
I'm not here to protest the ruling. I'm just here to confirm it. Mike Trout has been playing consistently excellent baseball, hitting homers and playing some awesome defense. This is the guy that took the spotlight, in 2012, away from one of the biggest players in baseball, who had just joined his squad, Albert Pujols. Mike Trout made Albert Pujols look small. And he's been doing that for a while, too.
I'm convinced that Trout of capable of even bigger things, and I don't want to be proved wrong. I don't want his numbers to dive off a cliff, because he's too good for that. I hope this guy's career is as good as the last three years were for him.
Coming Tonight- Keeping with our 'LA' theme, a pitcher who's been absolutely killing it on the Chavez Ravine part of LA, and delighting fans in the statistical absence of the usual star pitcher.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
In two weeks I'm gonna be landing in Chicago.
Yeah, yeah. I know. About freaking time, right?
I mean, every once in a while, my folks and I will take a couple days and go see some baseball somewhere in the country. A couple years ago we went to California and saw the Giants and the Dodgers. Then the next year we saw the Nationals, Pirates and Indians parks.
This year, as evident by the Lester custom, we're hitting Chi-Town, and we're seeing the Cubs and the White Sox play on consecutive nights. I know, it makes a lot of sense, but it's infuriating both fan bases that we're seeing the other. Besides, my dad hasn't been to the Sox stadium in a little while, and neither of us have been to Wrigley.
Besides, Wrigley's a rite of passage. I'm going on a tour there, too. So I'm probably gonna take some pictures for the blog. As you do.
I think it's a nice time to go to Wrigley, because the Cubs are doing pretty nice for themselves, mainly due to Rizzo and Bryant, but also because of the consistently awesome performances by Jon Lester. The guy's been in the league for ten seasons, and he's still pitching like a pro, even if he's gone from one semi-cursed roster to another.
So yeah, hopefully when I'm in Chicago, the Cubs will give me a warm welcome and have a nice game.
Coming Tomorrow- Mr. Baseball. The undisputed star of the MLB right now. And don't you forget it.
Monday, May 25, 2015
it's a little bit sad.
This season, a lot of the sportswriters, leading up to the opening, picked the Indians to do relatively well, citing their promising pitching staff, and slowly building roster.
I mean...they're okay. They've won some games, lost some games, etc. But they're not accomplishing huge things. with the exception of maybe Kluber and, of course, Michael Brantley, who's finally coming into his own, and mashing the hell out of the ball on a consistent basis.
I'm not sure if they can pick it back up, but I can only hope.
(not a lot for tonight. kind of tired.)
Coming Tomorrow- The other huge NL pitching signing. This one's in Chicago.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
When the postseason began, and people began to get gobbled up, people started posting their opinions on the inter webs about who was a good deal, and who was not worth a damn thing. And I saw, a bunch of times, articles on ESPN or SI or whatever, saying DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER SIGN JAMES SHIELDS.
Which was news to me.
I mean it, they had articles saying 'if you're thinking that these people will get signed quickly, think again, because given a high contract, they could be trouble.' And James Shields kept showing up on these lists. And that was...surprising, because Shields had a wonderful season in Kansas City last year, and has been one of the more reliable pitchers out there for the last couple seasons. So I was like, 'people don't WANT this guy? Hmm."
And sure enough, months went by, and he was still on the table. Him and Scherzer. And I'm like "you can't seriously expect me to believe that people don't WANT THESE GUYS. Max Scherzer's one of the best pitcher in baseball, and James Shields was a huge part of why that Royals team got to the World Series. WHAT GIVES?" And I was worried that he wouldn't get signed, which is the kind of thing you'd worry about over a 38 year-old.
But, lo and behold, San Diego came through and snatched him, because I think San Diego's GM said "what, we don't have HIM yet?? We've got everybody else." And so they grabbed him, threw him on the rotation, realized they had a Shields-Ross-Cashner-Kennedy combo, and cheered.
So far, James Shields has been pretty great for the Padres, throwing some nice games, nabbing some wins, and being the dominant, strikeout-throwing presence he was in the AL. So I don't think people should be too worried. If he starts becoming Roy Oswalt and stops being competent halfway through the contract, THEN I'd get worried.
But yeah, Shields is playing pretty well. So, to all those guys who said 'DON'T SIGN HIM!', well...nyeehhhh!
Coming Tomorrow- The Indians are a non-factor this season, but slowly, and surely, their top hitter is definitely becoming a factor.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
I'm not sure that the Astros are still the hot issue in the MLB, but I still think it's fantastic that a team made up of farm system call-ups, and maybe one or two minor contracts, is doing THIS WELL in the standings. Like, even the Angels, who are made up of almost entirely contracts, are behind them in the standings.
Luis Valbuena, as of a couple days ago at least, was high up in the charts, with 10 home runs, and a nice sized BA. This is great for him, as the last few seasons haven't especially been eventful for him, as he was with the Cubs, and he was...serviceable, but not really a major player. Now, he's hitting well, and becoming a very nice piece of the offensive in Houston. Him, Altuve, Gattis and Springer are all leading this charge of batters.
And again, I really want this to keep going, but I don't know if it will. The Angels are definitely a strong force, and if Freese and Trout keep hitting, they could be dangerous down the road. So as much as I'd like the Astros to waltz to the end, I'm not 100% sure if they will. But...it'd be kind of nice if they did, I guess.
Coming Tomorrow- One of the two HUGE PITCHER SIGNINGS this year (that I haven't made a custom of yet, so sorry Scherzer fans). This one's the one that landed in San Diego.
The really crappy part about the Phillies being successful for a nice chunk of time from 2008 to 2012 was that, because we gobbled up stars like cashews, our farm system...was not great. We gave people like Michael Bourn, Jon Singleton, Carlos Carrasco, J.A. Happ, Jonathan Villar and Jarred Cosart away to various teams (mostly the Astros), in exchange for people that didn't do all that much for us (Cliff Lee being the exception).
So now that the Phillies are sucking, they now have a chance to hang onto their prospect, and also gain ones from people trading for THEIR bigger contracts. Which means Odubel Herrera has his chance to shine, steal bases and be a fun player...in a Phillies uniform.
I'm gonna say it right now: I really, really like Odubel Herrera. I saw it in Spring Training, I said 'this guy will be good for us this year', and lo and behold, he's stealing bases and hitting and doing so well, even when the Phils don't (which is quite often this season). I think he's the burst of fun that this roster needed, because Utley and Howard are getting old (at least Howard's hitting), and Ben Revere cannot hit. Herrera is young, he's powerful, and he's a lot of fun to watch.
I would love to see this guy become like a Bobby Abreu-like presence in Philly, staying for a ton of seasons and gaining a huge load of fans. I know it's a lot to ask of a guy who just started this year, but it'd be kind of nice.
Coming Tonight- Hey, did I mention the Astros are doing really well? Here's a guy who left a subpar Cubs team and is hitting up a storm in Houston.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Boy, haven't heard THAT one since the late 2000's.
That's right, folks. Now that Josh Donaldson, Derek Norris and Brandon Moss have all flown the coop, and Coco Crisp is basically out the door, the A's are back to what they were at the top of the decade- a decaying, depleted, desperate-to-rebuild kind of team.
Josh Reddick, along with Sonny Gray and Stephen Vogt, is among the few sources of power that the A's have left. Reddick has been back to his old tricks, hitting for average and for distance, all while erasing memories of his torrid 2014. Only problem is he's just one guy, and the rest of the team isn't doing very well.
It doesn't help that their division is very tough, filled with a lot of pitcher-bashing offenses, and a lot of pitchers that specialize in mowing down shitty offenses. If you had to face Felix Hernandez multiple times in a season, you'd be hurting too.
I don't know if the Athletics will get out of their current rut, but it's between them and the Rangers, and thanks to Prince Fielder, the Rangers might be staying out of last for a little while.
Coming Tomorrow- A reminder that the Phillies can indeed win games, and that their farm system is flourishing now that they're in last.
Well, we were worried for a while, but Bryce Harper is FINALLY becoming the powerhouse that we all thought he would be when he came up in 2012. I mean, the last two seasons were mighty uneventful on the Harper front, as he was either injured or cold, but now, in May 2015, Bryce Harper is hitting up a goddamned storm.
He didn't have the greatest April, just FYI. He hit a few homers, did some stuff, and basically made some room for the Mets and Braves to take the lead. But once May started? Phenomenal. He's currently topping the NL Home run list, and is powering his team into the leading circle of the NL East. This is the Bryce Harper that the Nats needed to base their team around.
I don't know how far Harper will go. I dunno if he'll keep hitting throughout the season or snag an MVP or anything, but this is very promising. The guy is giving the fans something to cheer about, and living up to the hype.
Coming Tonight: In 2013, this guy was the talk of the bay area. In 2014, he went cold like no one else. Now...he's back, especially when his team desperately needs some hits.
Adrian Beltre hit his 400th home run last week. This is a guy who's had a string of really nice seasons, and flown under the radar for a while until finally breaking it big. I swear, this is the guy that saved these Rangers teams from going completely under after Young, Hamilton and Kinsler all left. Beltre would keep hitting home runs and making All Star teams, lifting the team on his back.
I don't know 100% if Adrian Beltre's a hall of famer or not. He has some nice numbers, for sure, but he was never really a household name. He's been very good for quite a while, and is setting a standard, but for a lot of people, he's not a Hall of Famer. Maybe the case will be better in a few years, or if he hits some more home runs or something, but as it stands, he'll stay on the ballot for a while but I doubt anything will come of it.
Coming Today (or tonight): The man whose bat has caught fire this month, the exact time his team needs it.
Monday, May 18, 2015
I didn't think it was possible for Andrew McCutchen to have a down season. I didn't think he was capable of it. But, here we are.
So far this season, Cutch has had a subpar average, and has been playing...not like Andrew McCutchen. A lot of people are attributing this to his bad leg, and it's not entirely healed. I am siding with a lot of those guys, because I've seen him run and hit in the past, and this, for the most part, is not the same guy. Which is a shame, because he's one of my favorite players.
I really hope people still vote for him to at least be a reserve for the All Star game, because he's still great player, and the fact that he's not off to the greatest start so far in 2015 should not define him. He hopefully will have more really nice seasons, because the Pirates need him to be the moral core of the team, to power them through their current place in the standings. Cutch needs to be there, and hopefully his numbers will improve as the season goes on.
By the way, my horizontal to vertical ratio for McCutchen is 4 to 3. Imagine that.
Coming Tomorrow- There's a lot of discussion about this next guy's qualifications for Cooperstown. Well, he just hit his 400th home run, and is the anchor of a declining western roster.
I love the fact that I get to say this next sentence: How About them Royals?
I swear, I loved how they played last season, especially under the circumstances that there was a team in their division that was a ton better than them (that they still outdid in the playoffs). And I adore the fact that they're one of the best teams in baseball right now. And I think Kendrys Morales is one of the reasons.
For a guy that wasn't on a major league roster until halfway through the season last year, Morales is playing beautifully, hitting for numbers not reached since his days on the Angels. He's getting high numbers in the Average and RBIs category, and he's helping lift the team's morale. I think him and Hosmer are the standards for everybody on the team, and it's helping lift the morale. Besides, with a few exceptions, this is basically the same team as last year, and they're getting to places they never got in 2014.
I hope Morales keeps hitting really well, because his a success story the AL needs, mainly because unlike Nelson Cruz, I don't think it was fueled by HGHs.
Coming Tonight (?)- Who cares if he's not doing so great so far in 2015. He's still one of the most fun players in baseball.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
This year, every sportswriter in America predicted that something huge was going to happen in Miami. Things had been building for a few years, the farm system had begun to climb upwards, and by 2014 we had a solid, confident roster, where there used to be just tons of dead space.
The writers thought that the Marlins, a team that had been consistently terrible for a few seasons, had enough stuff built up to be truly successful in 2015.
And they were wrong. Just ask Mike Redmond. I think he's easier to contact now.
However, they weren't wrong about the tactic. Because that's where the Astros have come in.
Ever since 2011, the Astros have been stockpiling young, raw talent. It started with Jose Altuve. They needed a guy to build a team around, and that guy fit. And then people like Chris Carter, Dallas Keuchel and Jon Singleton started working their way up and making a name for themselves.
And then, last year, George Springer arrived on the scene. And he rocked the entire roster, took the reins, and became one of the most powerful players on the team. I swear, this guy is heading for some big things, and he's doing a lot of damage in Houston.
I really hope something nice happens to the Astros. I mean, it's a tricky division to do well in, but the Astros could either hold on for a while or sink back to the bottom. I just like what they've been doing.
Coming Tomorrow- A guy who's made a stellar comeback with Kansas City.
FOR SALE: FIRST BASEMAN
Hard-hitting first baseman. Ignore the label on the custom that says 'shortstop'. The customizer was tired. First baseman.
Hits home runs and plays great defensive ball. Sets great standard for everyone else on the team. Is used to a quiet working environment. Almost won an MVP. Kids and fans love him.
Unfortunately, doesn't fit our needs this year, mainly because our needs include a last place finish, and...right now Colorado's in last. Because Paul keeps hitting. So please, take him off our hands.
Would be nice if you weren't the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers or especially Dodgers. Because we have standards.
All the best,
P.S.- We'll even throw in Rubby De La Rosa, free of charge.
Coming Tonight- The Astros are red-hot right now. Here's their red-hot outfielder.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
The man is 29. He has 2,000 strikeouts, 130 wins, a Cy Young, and is already the greatest pitcher to come out of Seattle.
If he retired TODAY, he'd be a likely inductee into Cooperstown in 2021. The guy is the most dominant pitcher in baseball, has the best numbers, and is more consistent than anybody else in the game. The man has not had a down season since he hit his stride (albeit a few years in). I mean, Clayton Kershaw is scaring a lot of people because he's not having a great start. Tim Lincecum has lost all of his supporters because of his last few seasons. But already, not only is King Felix having a momentous start, but I can see him landing in the Top 5 Cy Young candidates in six months' time.
I mean...every once and a while, I'll joke that Felix didn't deserve the Cy Young in 2010, because...I for one, still think that C.C. Sabathia had a better year that year. But...I'm ADAMANT that King Felix should have gotten it last year instead of Corey Kluber. And the funny thing is it's the exact same issue. It's wins vs. power. And both King Felix in 2010 and Kluber in 2014 won based on power, not wins.
Thankfully, Felix Hernandez is not only powerful, but he's got some nice run support on him, and racks up a nice amount of wins.
I think that of anybody playing in the majors right now, Felix Hernandez has the best case for Cooperstown. He's made some Seattle records, has hit 2,000 K's, and has made a case for one of the best overall talents of the last 25 years...and he's not even halfway done yet.
Coming Tomorrow- This guy just homered against my Phillies tonight. However, he's the only thing propping up a confused, barren roster.
This guy's probably one of the most underrated infielders in the game right now.
I think the stuff he had in Cleveland was pretty nice, and it was a shame that he couldn't transfer 100% of it to Washington. Which is why I'm pretty happy he's back in the AL, even if he is in fact playing in my division. The Rays are definitely depleted after letting go of Ben Zobrist and Wil Myers. So Cabrera is the kind of hard-hitting infielder that they need. I'm glad he's fitting in that kind of dynamic.
The Rays probably aren't gonna do a ton this year, but I'm glad they have somebody like Cabrera. Him and Tim Beckham are a pretty nice double play duo, even if Beckham's a bit more inexperienced than Cabrera.
I have no problem with Asdrubal Cabrera on the Rays. Which means I hope he has a pretty nice season.
Coming Tonight- The man they call the King.
Friday, May 15, 2015
The guy has had stellar hitting seasons with three different teams in the past four seasons. He's stayed relevant despite being on some hard luck squads, and now, with an even riskier squad, he's hitting even better numbers. The guy is unstoppable.
I think Justin Upton was secretly one of the best guys that came to the Padres this offseason. Because Kemp, Shields, Middlebrooks and Norris are all maybes, due to injuries and fluke seasons, and Shields was getting a lot of 'don't sign him, he's contract kryptonite' warnings. But Upton was still having a nice season in 2014, and was still posting really nice numbers. He's still technically in his prime, and he's still one of the best outfielders in baseball right now. So nabbing Upton was a nice move for the Padres, in addition to all the other nice moves they made.
I mean, the Padres are still trying pretty hard to get to where people said they'd be this season (and by people, I mean Padres organization dudes), but Upton is definitely chugging along, as are Shields and Kimbrel. So the spark is definitely there. Only problem is the Dodgers are doing even better, and are probably going to be the team to beat in the NL West. Denver and Phoenix may be non-factors in the long run here, so we're just gonna ignore them (and the Giants...I would like them to sit this year out.)
This is going to be tough for the Padres to pull out, but there's definitely a chance. I mean, it's only May.
Coming Tomorrow- The man known as Ass-Dribble.
Sometimes I wish real life operated on Microsoft Excel logic.
What I mean by that is on Excel, you can group a number of columns, and they can fold inward, so you don't have to see them when you compile new data or whatever, but it's almost like they don't exist, or, if they do, you don't have to see them everyday.
I wish Michael Pineda's career was like that. Where I could just group together his 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, and fold them in so his career is just 2011, 2015-onward. Because his debut season in 2011 was outstanding, and the sole reason why we plucked him from Seattle in the first place (for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, which has given me my good laugh of the morning). And now that he's had a few minutes to rebuild, reform, and use some pine tar, he's finally having a season worthy of why we got him.
On Mother's Day, he had a colossal start, striking out a ton of batters and keeping 100% dominant through the whole game.This is something he couldn't have done last year, or at least to this caliber. He's grown as a player, and as a pitcher, and I'm so glad it's been with the Yankees.
For the rest of the season, he needs to keep that momentum going. Right now Pineda is technically our first starter, because Tanaka is hurt again and CC Sabathia's balls have deflated, which in this sport is not as good as in some of the other ones, especially metaphorically. He is the guy we're relying on the most, and even if Nate Eovaldi is giving some good stuff, we're relying on a lot of younger, less experienced (and more innocent, if Bono needs any more money) pitchers in place of injured ones. So Pineda needs to stay dominant, especially as dominant as he was this past weekend.
Coming Tonight- This is the kind of guy that can hit bombs for any team he's played for, and still give a nice performance. Now he's with a surging Padres team, and he's definitely keeping his own momentum going.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
You know, for a team that plays in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball, there hasn't been a ton of hitting going on from the home dugout. Sure, the guys who play against the Rockies have a grand old time, crushing the crap out of the mediocre Rockies pitching. But other than a few people, one of whom being D.J. LeMahieu, nobody is really hitting too well for the Rockies.
I mean, last season you had Troy Tulowitzki, Charlie Blackmon, and The Second Coming of Justin Morneau, and all of them were on, not even counting Wilin Rosario and Corey Dickerson. So obviously the pieces are there, especially now that CarGo's back on the table. Yet none of them are hitting. Only LeMahieu is doing most of the heavy-lifting here, which is kind of pathetic.
This isn't to diminish the efforts of LeMahieu. He's had a phenomenal start, hitting for high average and accomplishing stuff that nobody else on his team is really scratching the surface of. If he keeps this up, he's gonna be pretty great for the long run. Imagine him, CarGo, Tulo and Blackmon all on point. That could be pretty powerful.
I dunno if the Rockies are going to hold onto everybody or deal some guys at the deadline, and it may be Tulo's last season in Denver. Still, as long as some people who are hot, people like LeMahieu, stay on the roster, they'll be fine.
Coming Tomorrow- The Yankees needed this guy to have a huge season. And...so far, that's exactly what this pitcher's been doing.
Do you have any idea how much skill it takes to strike out 18 batters from the best team in baseball?
Especially when said team is the Cardinals, and you play for a team that's in last in the division, and you've not won a game yet?
So much skill. Thankfully, this is skill that Corey Kluber's been saving up for a while.
I mean, even if the Indians aren't doing great, Kluber is still a powerful, strikeout-reliant pitcher, and the Indians haven't had one of those since Cliff Lee left (yeah, Justin Masterson was alright, I guess). Plus, the dude won a Cy Young last year. This was a year where I thought either King Felix or Chris Sale had it all wrapped up, and Kluber came in and stole it.
The guy's got some nasty stuff, and hopefully what he did in 2014 isn't a fluke. I think he's in it for the long run. He's gonna have some nice seasons, though I'm not sure if all of them will be for the Indians.
Coming Tonight: The guy that's been lighting it up in Denver.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
In Matt Harvey's debut, he struck out 11 Diamondbacks and hit a double off Wade Miley.
In Zach Wheeler's debut, he struck out 7 Braves and pitched six scoreless innings.
Noah Syndergaard, talent aside, didn't have as eventful a debut as those guys.
Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Starlin Castro got the better of Syndergaard, hitting off of him and stunting his debut to six innings. Now, you can argue that Alex Torres and his incredible hulk cap were the real losers of that game, but still, Syndergaard was not untouchable. He was...touchable, if you will.
I'm not saying this is gonna reflect the rest of Syndergaard's career. Your first game doesn't set your path in this game. For instance, in Javier Baez' first game, he actually played well.
I imagine Syndergaard's gonna have starts that are gonna be so much better than his showing Tuesday night. He's better than that. He's more powerful than that. And if the Mets have Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard ALL HEALTHY...they are gonna rip the walls off the place.
Coming Tomorrow- He threw a gem of a game tonight. And his team really needs his stuff lately.
CJ Wilson is the forerunner of a team that should very well be in first place right now. He's off to a nice start, pitching the team through some nice games and striking out numerous batters, which is what a great pitcher should do. Plus, with the gradual decline of Jered Weaver, and the current idleness of Matt Shoemaker and Garrett Richards, Wilson is playing the role of the ace right now.
Only trouble is they're not in first. Even with Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and David Freese all playing really well, they're not in first. The Astros are. Which is pretty weird.
I mean, ever since the 2006-ish season, the 'Stros have been kind of a non-factor. But thanks to the gradual success of the youth movement, they're kicking everyone's ass, even the Angels, which is kind of distressing, because the Angels were kind of supposed to win the division this year.
Still, there's a ton more season left, and there's a lot of time for the Angels to prove themselves and keep winning games.
Coming Tonight: Yeah, that big Mets rookie that debuted last night and got torn to bits by Kris Bryant.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
I feel like the Reds have a lot of problems this year, yet their hitting is getting noticed more than their flaws. Joey Votto and Todd Frazier are having really nice starts, especially Frazier, who is more and more becoming one of those guys you need to watch.
I mean, Votto is the team captain, the unofficial leader and all that, but Todd Frazier may be the most consistent performer on the team. The guy's a big-time home run hitter, he's capable of hitting out of tough situations, and he's from Toms River, NJ.
The main issue the Reds have been dealing with is their lack of real pitching. Other than, say, Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, there's not a lot going on, and there's not a lot of security on some select days. Runs are getting by, and the run support hasn't been great, aside from Frazier, Votto, and Mesoraco. People like Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos are elsewhere, and it's hurting the Reds.
Good news is that, even if this season they've basically been counted out, there's enough of a base for them to build upon for next season. There is some definite talent there, and all it needs are some supplements. Plus, this lineup hinges on everybody being on the same page, so when people like Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce aren't hitting, it's not helping.
I hope this team can eventually get back on track, because people like Todd Frazier could really rock the house if they're allowed entry into the postseason.
Coming Tomorrow- a pitcher for the somehow-still-in-the-race Angels.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Sorry about that, everybody.
Last few days have been busy as hell. Finals week is just finishing up here, and while I had a lot of time to make customs, I didn't have a ton of time to post them. So...they just kind of sat there, and piled up. I'm definitely gonna have start doing 2 or 3 per day, because I already have enough to be good until June.
For now, let's talk about the Cubs. They're doing modestly. Their youth movement is getting them far, but the Cardinals are holding them back. Good news is they have someone like Anthony Rizzo to basically be the leader, and hit a ton while still being the role model for everybody.
Sorry, I have finals brain. Hopefully you'll be hearing more from me after finals are done.
Coming...?: The guy who's been hitting up a storm for the Reds lately.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Stephen Vogt was one of those names I learned through Topps Bunt.
Yeah, for a good two-month period, I was a member of Topps Bunt. And while I'm the farthest thing from a spokesperson, I'll say that this stint in Bunt did introduce me to a lot of good baseball info. By the way, I'm gonna write up a lot of things that happened during my Bunt experience sometime soon, because there is a lot to tell.
Through Bunt, I did find out about a lot of under-the-radar players that I didn't know about following the game. People like Luis Valbuena, Juan Lagares, and Steven Souza, guys who are RULING this season, popped up as rare inserts in Bunt.
One of those guys was Stephen Vogt, and I figured out that he was a utility guy, not necessarily an everyday guy, in the A's system. He'd appeared in some games in 2014 (as Derek Norris' backup mostly), and he got some nice numbers in the batter's box. It was enough to warrant an inclusion in Bunt's special DIRTY HELMET insert set, which was numbered to about 900 copies, and swished around like wildfire during a certain week in November, after which it was basically forgotten.
So I kept seeing Stephen Vogt pop up in Bunt, even if he didn't get an actual base card, I was like 'I should keep a tab on this guy, just in case he gets big.' And sure enough, this year Derek Norris was swapped to the Padres, and Vogt became the only option at catcher, which the A's management was more than happy with.
Vogt has been off to a nice start, posting great numbers in the Home Runs and RBI columns, and just being a great force at bat. Plus, he's sort of been pushed to the center of this A's lineup, as one of the main forces of power now that Donaldson, Norris and Cespedes are gone, and Crisp is injured. So right now, Stephen Vogt, the Man with No Name, is powering a team that came close to the playoffs last year. It's funny how it all turns out.
Coming Tomorrow- Another Chicago Cub, this one being the unofficial team captain.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Josh Harrison is helping that a bit, as he's one of the younger members of the club, yet he still has enough power to keep the hits coming, and to keep Pittsburgh relevant. People like Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Neil Walker, and, of course, Andrew McCutchen, are powering this roster, and trying so hard to keep the hype alive.
Will it work? I can't tell. The Cardinals aren't looking like they're going to budge, but there's always room for an upset.
(That's all I have room for tonight because I'm kind of tired)
Coming Tomorrow- In the absence of one Oakland catcher, another rises to the occasion.
Monday, May 4, 2015
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
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
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.
(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.