Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

I've got a bit of time before I go straight back into Serling mode for the day, so I might as well get my Year in Review post out of the way now.

2015 was a really nice year for me, and for a lot of people in the blogosphere apparently. It was a very retro-driven year on all fronts, as if the past was more important than new, original ideas. And yet there was something refreshing about that, something that was new and worthy of the experience.

This was my most consistent year on the blog EVER. I had more posts than days in the year, which is new for me actually. I had record viewership in the summer months, and had a lot of really great post ideas. I have a feeling the next year is gonna be even more consistent and original.

As per usual on December 31st, I'll go over the highlights, and not-so-highlights, of the year that is just ending, all beginning with "this was the year that..." I've done this every year. 'If it ain't broke...'

This was the year that the Philadelphia 76ers made a case for one of the worst starts by any NBA team in YEARS. Somewhere Allen Iverson snickers, and then stops snickering at the absolute worst moment to go take care of his kid (yep, I'm still bitter.)

This was the year that Diamond Kings returned. I'd make a subjective comment about how DK went in 2015, but there was so much of a disconnect between reviews that I'm not exactly sure what the blogosphere thought about it. Personally, I thought it was worthy of some kind of merit, if slightly unspectacular. I'm sure those words were generous compared to some other bloggers.

This was the year that Universal put out a Jurassic Park movie that was adamant in its sameness and disownership of past failures, and while it made a ton of money, hardcore fans turned out it not long after its release.

This was the year that Disney put out a Star Wars movie that was adamant in its sameness and disownership of past failures, and while it made a ton of money, hardcore fans have...YET TO turn on it, as it's still being hailed as a solid product. Which once again proves my old theory...Star Wars is better than Jurassic Park.

This was the year that Oakland thought it would be a wise idea to trade its star third baseman for an equally-good third baseman for an up-and-coming team. Currently Oakland is without a third baseman, while their 2014 third baseman is in Toronto coming off an MVP season, and their 2015 third baseman just joined a power-hungry White Sox roster. Poor Billy Beane.

This was the year that The Big Bang Theory fell so far off the deep end that not even the UMPTEENTH shark-jumping character hookup could save it. Or make me care.

This was the year that the Patriots won the Super Bowl yet again, amidst a ball-deflating scandal that has basically subsided by now. I'm guessing Bill Belichick will be forgiven for flat-out-shooting someone next year, as it will be lost in the shuffle of their umpteenth Super Bowl victory.

This was the year that I attended four MLB games, at the White Sox, Cubs, Mets and Phillies stadiums. In all four games, the home team won. Even the Phillies game. I was their good luck charm, I hope.

This was the year that Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere played for the Yankees. Just not after August. Then they played for teams that actually won games.

This was the year that we were alarmingly close to a Cubs-Astros World Series, which would have completely broken the entire fan base. Seriously, I would have paid to see that.

This was the year that ELO put out an album for the first time since before I knew who they were. And it was beautiful, synth-fueled music.

This was the year that Chase Utley plowed over a New York Met, and because he wasn't wearing a Phillies uniform, everyone got outraged.

This was the year that three of the highest grossing comedies of the year were headlined by women. Not including 50 Shades of Grey, of course. Unintentional comedies don't count.

This was the year that I pulled a game-used card of Tom Glavine out of a 13-year-old box of Upper Deck. Followed by a game-used of Omar Daal. You can't win 'em all.

This was the year that Topps put out one of its most refreshing flagship sets in years, and the base set's originality is going to be pave the way for more awesome, out-of-the-box ideas from Topps, including the 2016 design, which is, if anything, going to be different.

This was the year that a member of one of the most legendary rock'n'roll bands of all time did a song with Kanye West and Rihanna and confused the hell out of everyone.

This was the year that i FINALLY completed my 1988 Topps set. Now onto polishing off my 1984 Fleer and 1990 Topps ones.

This was the year that I made more customs than I've ever made in my entire Mint Condition career, which is pretty nice.

So, that was my 2015. It was fun, it was difficult at times, but it was all worth it. And 2016 is just as exciting.

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Yankees


Anyway, now I get to talk about the 2015 Yankees, which is kind of bittersweet. True, they had a lot of great momentum toward the midseason, but it all fell out once the Blue Jays got red hot. There's a lot of good in this roster, and there's also a lot of crap in there.

Still, at least there's Didi Gregorius, who, while he's no Derek Jeter, is still a great shortstop, and did a great job in the last half of the season, somehow hitting pretty well towards the end there, too.

Andrew Miller was our closer this year, and he certainly did not disappoint, getting a ton of saves, and reigniting his career fully after a semi-comeback last year with Boston and Baltimore. He's also saying he wants to stay in the Bronx next year, which is a pretty nice concept.

Chris Young was back as the auxiliary outfielder this year, and while it took him a while, he got to doing some really nice stuff at the plate in the May-June area, which was really nice. Young got a lot of time filling in for Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran in their respective DL stints.

Dellin Betances was, once again, the set-up man in NY, and he continued is AS-nod-grabbing, flame-throwing work. They tried him in the 9 spot, and it didn't work too well, so I'm glad they're keeping him in relief work. He's a good arm, and he's doing well for us. Plus, with Aroldis Chapman in the nine spot, and Andrew Miller probably in the seventh, he's gonna be around some huge-time relief machines for a little while.

So, that was my Uncustomed Heroes for this year. Now I actually have to get to writing actual posts with actual substance to them, I guess...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: White Sox

Well, how about the White Sox, then? Sure, in 2015 they were a fourth-place team, but there are so many bits of promise lying around that roster than they can't possibly do it again in 2016.

Adam Eaton, continuing his good luck from 2014, got even more done, becoming even more of a star in the outfield, and having a more consistent season than his glory-grubbing teammate from 2014, Jose Abreu.

David Robertson, who pitched for my Yankees last season, continued his superb work in the ninth for the White Sox. Yeah, he wasn't gonna be the next Mariano Rivera, but he's still an awesome closer, and could be an even bigger factor when he actually has a great team to close for.

Adam LaRoche didn't do as much as was promised by his Washington numbers, but was still a solid DH. Hell, he hit a homer when I saw the Sox play at Comiskey this year, so he's at least still got some stuff left.

Carlos Rodon is the guy everyone's watching out for in 2015, because his stuff was pretty nasty in short-form last year, and he's a young arm who's gonna get more emphasis now that Jeff Samardzija is gone. Imagine him, Sale and Quintana, all in a row. That's gotta be horrifying.

Coming Tomorrow- At last, my New York Yankees.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Twins

Not a whole lot for the Twins fans, but at least we have Joe Mauer, a guy that's been the undisputed anchor of the Minnesota offense for going on ten seasons now. I love what he's done to the Twins, and I hope he keeps delivering offensively, even if his defensively-excellent days are basically over.

Ervin Santana, thanks to a suspension, came to the Twins late in the season, but managed to pick up where he left off in Atlanta, throwing some beautiful stuff worthy of his late-2000's seasons. Not sure if he's staying with the Twins in 2016, but the pitching staff needs an anchor or two.

Coming Tomorrow- The White Sox are building up to a serious competing season in 2016, and here are some of the pieces they used well this year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

One Last Solid BANG for 2015


I honestly didn't think that this would happen. I dreamed, I wished, but it was always too improbable. I expected some high seller like LA or Arizona to nab him, and the Dodgers did indeed...however the deal fell through, so back on the market he went.

Then he started talking to the Nationals, and my head began to slam against the wall. The Nationals don't NEED a closer, I thought. They have Drew Storen and he saved 30 games last year. What do they need Aroldis Chapman for?

So today...this trade happens. Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees for four prospects I've never heard of. Hits me like a brick. I didn't see it coming, and didn't bank on it ever occurring. And here it is.

The question now is what happens to Andrew Miller. The guy said a few weeks ago that he'd much rather stay in New York, but now the closing position has been filled. He can't take the eighth inning because that's kind of Dellin Betances' thing. The only other options are to make him do 7th inning work, which he'd be amazing at since he's Andrew Miller, or trade him to a team that needs a closer (which, as I pointed out two paragraphs ago, DOES NOT INCLUDE WASHINGTON).

Either way, the Yankees are playing to get back on top of the East, and Brian Cashman's already saying he's not quite finished yet. If he nabs a low-key starter in addition we should be good to go for 2016. Everybody, save for Baltimore, is rebuilding big-time, and it could be an explosive year for the East, but the Yankees have the best closer in baseball. And the Red Sox have Craig Kimbrel, who's also really good. Matter of fact- Between Chapman, Kimbrel, Roberto Osuna, Zach Britton and Brad Boxberger, the AL East has the best closing pitchers across the board in the league.

The Yankees locked up the ninth, big time. Now let's just see how he does for us.

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Tigers

The Tigers began the year in 2nd, and ended it in last. Which takes some serious skill, and some serious roster-dropping.

Ian Kinsler had a really nice season this year, scoring well in the WAR department, and being one of the few heavy-hitters still in the lineup. Even though, at this point, the Rangers got the more offensively-productive end of the deal in landing Prince Fielder to get him, Kinsler is an amazing defensive player, and a great all around roster presence.

Anthony Gose was an even bigger surprise, popping up in an outfield spot and hitting better than he has in his few seasons. Hopefully it's not a fluke.

Anibal Sanchez, while slipping down another rung in the rotation, still pitched well enough this season. With so many heavy-hitters leaving the rotation, Sanchez is one of the few constants, and the Tigers need those.

James McCann started a ton of games behind the plate for the Tigers this year, and did not disappoint, bringing youth, speed, and more emphasis on defense to a position guarded by bat-heavy Alex Avila. McCann should be a shoo-in for the job next year.

Daniel Norris came to Detroit in exchange for David Price, and hasn't done a great deal in his few starts, but still has a nice arm, and will likely be used very well by the Tigers next year.

Coming Tomorrow- The last remaining Twins worth posting.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Royals

How about those World Series Champion Royals??

I have nothing but respect for these guys, because they came out on top quickly, and made a series of little moves that strengthened the team and made them even more of a sure shot for the Series. I love that they did so much this year, and I hope they can do even more damage in 2016.

Chris Young, after a comeback season in Seattle, continued his dominant work as the 3-4 man in the rotation in Kansas City, and pitched into the postseason, commanding the mound.

Jarrod Dyson retained his position as the fourth outfielder to a very strong three, and did even more starting games later in the season. He's a really good speedy extra part, and with some reshuffling, he might be starting more games next year.

Greg Holland was phased out of the ninth inning spot towards the end of the season, but until then he was pretty nice, at his usual save-wielding self. Hopefully he'll figure out how to rebound in 2016.

Coming Tomorrow- The Tigers dropped like a brick in 2016, but not everything was a failure.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Rockies

Not a ton to talk about in Denver that hasn't been spoken about already.

Justin Morneau, coming off a nice season in 2014, was injured for most of it, yet still did as much as he could. The Rockies signed Mark Reynolds, so it's looking like Morneau will either end up retiring or on another roster next year.

Jorge de la Rosa had a far more memorable season, still retaining his position as the ace in the rotation, giving some much needed power and consistency to a sadly inefficient team. Hopefully he'll have another nice season in 2016.

Coming Tomorrow- The last few remaining Royals I didn't already post back in October.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Yes, but did the Nats really NEED Daniel Murphy??

Your Newest Nationals 2nd Baseman...just, uh, just go with it...
We knew the Mets weren't gonna re-sign Daniel Murphy. No, the additions of Neil Walker, Alejandro de Aza and Asdrubal Cabrera kind of made that part obvious. We just knew Daniel Murphy was going to go SOMEWHERE...

And yet, the one team that DID grab Murphy...I don't really think that was the greatest move for them. That may have, actually, been a step in the opposite direction.

You see, the Nationals have had this name for having a young, quick, homegrown infield, and they did a lot to make sure that all of the pieces fit. For a while it was Zimmerman-Espinoza-Desmond-Rendon in some kind of combination. Whenever one piece was injured, they would add a short term piece like Yunel Escobar or Asdrubal Cabrera, and get someone (usually Rendon or Espinoza) to float or play backups on some days.

So they made it clear that they weren't going to re-sign Yunel Escobar, so he's gone, and now they have a solid formation for a Zim-Espinoza-Dez-Rendon infield. This works because they've already been playing around each other, and now that there aren't options, it can be a very speedy, defense-driven yet still offensively-sharp infield. The only snag is that Ian Desmond is a Free Agent this season.

I really don't see why getting Daniel Murphy, for more money, was a better idea than just getting Desmond back and keeping everyone together. It's kind of baffling to me, because, yes, it allows for more flexibility, as Espinosa can play short or second, Zim can play first or third, Murphy can play 2nd or third, and Rendon can play 2nd or third...but also, it sort of ruins the dynamic that the Nats have been trying to build for the last five or so seasons. They've had the pieces in place for a truly great infield...and then they go and screw it up by getting a guy who can hit very well, but might not be able to fit into that infield. It's a Dan Uggla situation. You're fitting a guy who's not especially known for defense into a defensively-driven infield. I'm not sure if that's going to work.

A lot of people see this as an upgrade, as, yes, a bat is a bat, and Murphy could hit a ton of home runs, and possibly improve that output in the infield, but...infield bats were not really the problem. We're going into a season with only one real locked-down outfielder, Jayson Werth, a guy who's looking like he's on the decline, and your other big outfield bat, Denard Span, looks like he's heading somewhere else. You didn't need a lot of offensive help in the infield is what I'm saying.

So yes, it's great that the Nationals got Daniel Murphy. Great hitter, great 2nd-3rd baseman, gonna hit 30 homers next year. But don't be shocked if the Nationals fail to clinch yet again. I mean, I'm not denying the fact that if they do get to October, they'd get farther than they would if they DIDN'T have Murphy on the roster. I'm just saying that because they're emphasizing the wrong parts of the lineup in terms of what they need...they're not gonna do well at all. It's gonna be another year of a stacked infield and a piss-poor outfield BA-wise.

Wish I had better Christmas news, Nats fans. Who knows, there are still some FA outfielders out there. However, thanks to this Murphy deal, I'm not sure which ones you can afford...

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Reds

The Reds, for 2016, are planning a serious rebuilding year, and it's looking like they're letting their current huge contracts run out so they can get some young players up there. Jay Bruce, despite having a pretty decent season, is likely done being a productive face of the franchise, and might be on another team eventually. Still, he's one of the best bats on the roster, and still is worth following.

Billy Hamilton is still one of the best base-stealers in baseball, despite not having as productive a season as his debut. If he keeps up his progress he'll be a big deal on the base paths for a while.

Zack Cozart was having the best season of his career at shortstop, getting some serious production done at the plate...and then he got sidelined with an injury for the rest of the season. Hopefully he'll be back in full form in 2016.

Coming Tomorrow- Well, it's Christmas, so nothing, but I'll probably post something card-related tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Red Sox

Well, as it seems as if the Red Sox are going to try in 2016, it's a nice time to remind everyone that in 2015, they were a little less than great. They went through rookies like potato chips, and relied on a ton of unorthodox parts to keep them moving.

Thankfully, Mookie Betts was the one guy who kept them moving through to September, relying on speed and hits to keep going, and made a case for an even bigger 2016.

Jackie Bradley had a MAJOR breakout year in 2015, after coming through as a 2013 Opening Day starter, and...not doing much else since. He had a great average, and came through as a regular outfielder after a while. Should be an even bigger presence.

Travis Shaw, like Brock Holt was one of those guys that can play multiple positions and came through as a nice extra part in Boston. After Mike Napoli's departure, he became the regular first baseman, and did a pretty nice job of it.

The biggest surprise of the season for Boston was the return of Rich Hill, a guy who hasn't pitched in a rotation since 2009, for the Orioles, for coming in September and pitching four beautiful starts, and warranting a signing for 2016 with the A's, who know a thing or two about bringing back mid-2000's arms (like Scott Kazmir).

Coming Tomorrow- The remains of the Cincinnati Reds.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Rays

This wasn't the greatest season for the Rays, but they seem to be on the right track, which is kind of nice. At least they have Kevin Kiermaier, who is one of the best defensive players in baseball PERIOD. SERIOUSLY. MAKE A NOTE OF THAT.

Logan Forsythe, the 2nd baseman, had a nice season, forming a very nice DP combo with Asdrubal Cabrera, and proving he's got it in him to keep the position after Ben Zobrist's departure.

Nate Karns had a great season on the mound, middle of the rotation. He'll be playing for the Mariners next season, which should be a nice opportunity for him.

Mikie Mahtook had a pretty notable rookie season, and probably has enough in him to stick around the Rays' outfield.

Brad Boxberger stepped up BIG TIME as the closer in Tampa, and did not disappoint, getting an All Star nod and becoming one of the most ferocious closers in the game almost overnight.

Coming Tomorrow- Fine, I guess I can post some Red Sox...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Rangers

Don't have a ton of Rangers left, because they had a pretty awesome season, but these will have to do. Especially Gallardo. He had a great season in the Texas rotation after being airlifted out of Milwaukee.

Chris Gimenez was the backup catcher for the Rangers...but he hit better than Robinson Chirinos, and he was the starter. The only real issue in Arlington was the catching, so...maybe they'll fix that.

Coming Tomorrow- The Rays are definitely looking to reform for 2016, so here are some of the pieces that worked in 2015.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015: The Year in Irony

As we've discussed quite a few times on the blog, I tend to be wrong a lot.

I do a lot of posting things with fervor and making predictions that, over time, tend to be completely false over time, and end up making a fool of myself through this. I try not to, but trying not to tends to make it easier to do so.

Like I have the last few years, here are the menagerie of times that I was comically wrong this season.

November 24, 2014- On a Napoli-Pedroia-Ramirez-Panda infield: "it's still a strong infield, and it still could be the defining factor in the AL East next season.". Wel, Napoli would be traded in August, Ramirez would stink it up in the outfield, and Panda struggled in Boston. Also, it wasn't really the defining factor in the AL East. That would be the Toronto infield.

December 12th- This post was about the fact that I didn't think any of the big roster-beefing moves from the Winter Meetings would work, citing the Cubs, Red Sox and Marlins as examples. I was wrong on 2/3rd counts. The Cubs ended up having a really nice season. I also wrote off the Padres in one sentence, saying "one aging slugger does not a playoff team make." The Padres would answer that criticism shortly.

December 19th- "I imagine the Padres will do pretty well this season. I don't know if they'll be as good as the Dodgers or Giants, but they could be a solid, surging team in 2015."  Jeez was I wrong on this one. 

December 21st- "Steve Cishek is their closer, and is a modest, workable closer that can definitely keep going for them." Nope, not really. He floundered in the closer position and wound up in the Cardinals bullpen by midyear.

March 17th, 2015- "The most ambitious assumption people have is that the Mets are going to have a very strong season, which I, for the most part, disagree with." Didn't really get me anywhere.

April 7th- "On the flip side, Josh Donaldson might not have a great year, as his roster is still pretty crowded." Jeez, if I thought that roster was crowded IN APRIL...
(Also, Donaldson had an amazing season, Toronto or no.)

April 14th- "I'm expecting Altuve to have another huge season, even if the Astros end up in fourth or fifth again." This whole post was about how the Astros were a couple years away from being huge. Little did I know that I was even underestimating them THEN.

April 15th- - "[Panik], Crawford and Belt are a great combo, and McGehee is warming up, I think." Well, McGehee would end up back in Miami halfway through the year, and Matt Duffy would take over at third, proving that all that infield took was one more little push.

(later)- "I don't know if the Indians are going to be too great this year, because the Royals and Tigers look like they're gonna dominate." This was back when the Tigers were doing kind of well, and before the bottom completely fell out for them.

April 19th- "I have no idea what the Cardinals are going to do this seas-oh, yeah, I do. They're gonna have a quiet summer, and then get really good towards the end, make it to the playoffs and narrowly miss the World Series. That's what they do every damn year." I was wrong here because they didn't narrowly miss the world series. It was a sharp exit, really.

May 30th- "So yeah, the Nats are in first, and I don't see why they'd be slipping out of that distinction anytime soon." 
Terry Collins: "Ahem."

June 13th, my most embarrassing post of the year: This whole post is about how the Blue Jays winning ten in a row wouldn't amount to anything. The killer line: "Here's what I think's gonna happen- they win their tenth, today. And they lose the eleventh, and lose a bunch more, and sink back into the #3 spot, and stay there for the rest of the year. The Blue Jays are not a playoff team. Not now, at least." Man, I'm just shuddering reading that.

June 23rd-  The whole point of this post was that I didn't want Cole Hamels to go to the one place that he ended up going to. So...that's pretty bad.

June 25th-  And HERE I say that the Phillies will end up keeping Ben Revere and Chase Utley, and trading Jeff Francoeur and Ryan Howard. Nope to all of that.

July 30th- You can just tell by the title of the post. 'No Blue Jays, you're still not for real.' I just kept digging my own grave with this Jays shit. 

August 8th- 'Sometime soon, everything's gonna come crashing down for the Blue Jays. Just you wait.'

August 27th: After the Yankees got swept by the Astros in 3 games, "I'm happy about the whole 'Astros being contenders' thing, and I'm even happier that the Yankees don't have to play them anymore." We would have to play the Astros the AL Wild Card...which wouldn't go too well for us.

September 9th: I titled this post 'Good Gosh, Could the Cardinals Actually Pull This Off?'
According to the Chicago Cubs, the answer was no.

October 4th: In this post, I predicted the Mets to beat the Blue Jays in the World Series. I was, clearly, a smidge off. I also predicted the Pirates to beat the Cubs in the NL Wild Card, which clearly did not happen.

October 12th Talking about Rangers and Astros wins in ALDS', "Which means that thought of a Jays-Royals ALCS I had? Down the shitter.", not necessarily.

So, that was how ironic, and wrong, my 2015 ended up being. Some things never change.

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Pirates

This was a pretty gigantic year for the Pirates as, while they didn't dethrone the Cardinals, they had a strong hold on the Wild Card for most of the year, and seemed to get stronger and stronger as the year went on. Mark Melancon had an even bigger season, notching near 50 saves, and proving how dominant the Pirates can be given the right hand.

Francisco Liriano is still the team's ace, even if he hasn't been consistent year-to-year. He's still pretty tough, and still had a pretty nice fastball, and that's really all they need.

Pedro Alvarez had a down season comparatively, switched between 1st and 3rd, and not hitting as well as usual. The Pirates didn't pick him up for 2016, so they'll be looking for a new option for 1st, as Josh Harrison is likely taking over 3rd.

I absolutely adore this card. Seriously, everything came together. The light with the ball, man. That's pretty damn perfect. Jeff Locke is a pretty nice middle-of-the-rotation option for the Pirates.

Coming Tomorrow- I only have a few Texas Rangers because I used most of them up during the playoffs, but they're pretty nice ones.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Uncustomed "Heroes" of 2015: Phillies

I put the word 'heroes' in parenthesis because the 2015 Phillies were nobody's heroes, and everybody's goats. And that's pretty damn sad. They had two good closers, and traded them both away for practically nothing. They had some All Star caliber players that they traded away, for a little bit more than nothing. And...they just weren't trying. Especially Ryan Howard.

Fortunately Aaron Altherr is going to save the team. He came in halfway through the season and started playing like an absolute pro. He's a great talent, great hitter, and a good young guy. If we hang onto him, he's the guy we build a team around.

Jerad Eickhoff was the 2nd-biggest pitcher call up for the Phillies, after Aaron Nola, and did a pretty nice job on the mound. I swear, if him, Nola, and Morgan all play well next year, we may not be in for another last place season.

Coming Tomorrow- A much better team, one that actually cracked the playoffs.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Padres

The Padres took a HUGE gamble in the Winter meetings last year...and it did not pay off. The Padres wound up circling fourth, with a load of injuries, disappointment, and fatigue.

Matt Kemp, however, turned his slow start around by getting his average and RBIs way up, and proving his worth in San Diego.

Yangervis Solarte ended up getting the main 3rd base job in San Diego, over Will Middlebrooks and Cory Spangenberg, and didn't disappoint, bringing the same stuff he brought last year after his trade from New York.

Yonder Alonso, once again, was a semi-hard-hitting first baseman. Next year he'll be playing for the A's. Poor guy.

Coming Tomorrow- I guess I have to commemorate my hometown Phillies somehow.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Uncustomed Heroes of 2015: Orioles

It's looking like the Orioles may be headed back to being a middle-of-the-road team, and that's pretty sad, because there's a ton of talent in that roster, a lot of fight, too. I really hope they can at least do something next season.

Zach Britton is still one of the toughest closers in baseball, though, and I love how far he's come.

Jonathan Schoop had a less-productive but still awesome sophomore season at 2nd base, proving he can play the position consistently, and giving O's fans hope for life after Brian Roberts.

Caleb Joseph, in Matt Wieters' absence, was the main catcher in Baltimore this year, and he definitely did not disappoint, hitting well, playing nice defensive ball, and saddling Wieters to a backup role after his return (basically).

Ubaldo Jimenez came off a notoriously terrible 2014 to become one of the top arms for the Orioles, pitching big games and taking the place of Chris Tillman as the reliable veteran. Hopefully he'll keep it up.

Steve Pearce took an everyday outfield position, and didn't disappoint, playing well, hitting well, and probably going back to a starting job next year.

Gerardo Parra was a midseason trade that DEFINITELY worked out for the O's, as Parra broke big in a way he hasn't in a while, and even dwarfed his stats with the Brewers earlier this year.

Coming Tomorrow- least the Padres tried.