Archive for the ‘baseball’ Category

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Are the Seattle Mariners the worst MLB franchise of all time?

May 25, 2017

Someone just messaged me suggesting the Mariners are the worst baseball franchise of all time. Curious, I decided to look into it. For simplicity, I ignored all defunct franchises, but franchises that continued on in different cities or with different names are included. Here are the facts:

-Only four teams have a worse win percentage than the Mariners (.469): Rockies (.468), Marlins (.468), Padres (.462), Rays (.462).

-Of those four teams, all of them have been to the World Series. The Marlins have won it twice. The Mariners have never played for the title.

-The only other current franchise with no World Series appearance is the Washington Nationals and they are currently on a run that rivals the only run the Mariners ever had from 1995 to 2001. The Nats have made the playoffs multiple times in recent years and are title contenders in 2017. The Nats also have a win percentage of .486.

-Only the Rays (2), Marlins (0), and Rockies (0) have less division titles than the Mariners (3), but all three of those teams have been around for 15-20 less years and have already been to the World Series. The Rockies also have a chance to crack that goose egg this year.

-Only the Rockies (3) and the Marlins (2) have been to the playoffs less times than the Mariners (4), but they’ve been around for half the time and have both been to the World Series.

-The Brewers have won as many division titles (3) and have been to the playoffs as many times (4) as the Ms, but they also have a higher win percentage (.477) and have been to one World Series. With about a decade on the Mariners, Seattle has some time to establish itself as the better franchise, but as of this writing, the Brewers are in first place in the NL Central.

-The Padres have been around as long as the Brewers and have managed two more division titles (5) than the Mariners and one more playoff appearance (5) and while they have a worse all time win percentage, they have been to the World Series twice.

-The Mariners didn’t reach the playoffs until their 19th season. The Padres reached the postseason and the World Series in their 16th year. The Nationals, then known as the Montreal Expos, made their first playoff appearance in year #13 and then they tortured their fan base with a 31 year drought before their current run of good fortune. The Brewers also made the playoffs in their 13th year and then the World Series in their 14th. Rays fans only had to wait 11 years to make the playoffs and immediately got a World Series appearance. The Rockies made the playoffs in their third year and reached the World Series in year 15.

-The Mariners have sandwiched a solid seven season run from 1995 to 2001 in between postseason droughts of 19 seasons and 15 seasons (and counting) – currently the longest playoff drought in all four major sports.

So are the Mariners the worst baseball franchise in MLB? You tell me.

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2017 MLB Predictions and Wagers

April 2, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Major League Baseball season! The Rays have already vanquished the Yankees, but it’s not too late for me to write about what I think/hope is going to unfold this season, so here are my 2017 predictions:

AL EAST

1. Boston Red Sox
2. Toronto Blue Jays
3. New York Yankees
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Tampa Bay Rays

Thoughts: Losing David Price for an indefinite amount of time hurts, but it’s still hard to imagine anyone but the Red Sox winning this division. There aren’t many teams that don’t envy Boston’s loaded lineup and the addition of Chris Sale to the rotation is monumental.

The Blue Jays have a solid, if unspectacular rotation and while the lineup will miss Edwin Encarnacion, Kendrys Morales isn’t a bad replacement. They have holes at 1B and LF, but the Jays should compete for a Wild Card spot.

The Yankees are an interesting team. They unloaded at the All-Star break last year and still managed to stay in the playoff race until the last week or so, all while arguably establishing the best farm system in baseball. They should have some growing pains this year, but they should also hover around .500. This team could be scary good in a couple years, especially if/when they sign Bryce Harper or Manny Machado (or both! GASP!) after the 2018 season.

The Orioles will probably make the Wild Card game because I’m wrong about them Every. Single. Year. Their lineup is solid and their bullpen is absurdly good, but Ubaldo Jimenez is currently listed as their #3 starter. UBALDO JIMENEZ.

The Rays have a formidable rotation if everyone stays healthy and pitches to their potential, but that’s been a challenge of theirs in recent years. With the exception of Evan Longoria and Kevin Kiermaier, the lineup features a group of players that would be battling for roster spots on a lot of other MLB teams.

AL CENTRAL

1. Cleveland Indians
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Chicago White Sox

Thoughts: The Indians rival the Cubs for the easiest route to the playoffs. Cleveland made it all the way to extra innings of Game 7 of the World Series last year, despite missing multiple significant pieces for lengthy periods of time. All the starters are presumably healthy, plus The Tribe adds Edwin Encarnacion and a full year of Michael Brantley to the roster, and Andrew Miller and Cody Allen really shorten the game from the bullpen.

The Tigers are good enough to take second in this division, but I do not think they will be part of the Wild Card race in September. The lineup still has a solid, aging core, but the Tigers have little depth and look like they will be trotting out Jacoby Jones and Tyler Collins in their Opening Day lineup. The rotation is pretty questionable outside of Justin Verlander/Michael Fulmer and the bullpen remains a problem.

The Royals annual championship runs appear to be over. Danny Duffy emerged as an ace last year, but the tragic death of Yordano Ventura has left K.C. with a rotation of guys that will need to overachieve to keep this team relevant.

The Twins are still in transition: they have a number of good, young position players that are still developing at the major league level, but the rotation isn’t going to keep them competitive. Brian Dozier wants to be a lifelong Twin, but the organization is probably better off trading him for future building blocks.

The White Sox are all in on a rebuild, so they are going to be bad this year and it’s going to get even worse when they trade Jose Quintana and David Robertson, with Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier also possibly on the market. On the plus side, the White Sox crushed the offseason and the future looks bright.

AL WEST

1. Houston Astros
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Texas Rangers
4. Los Angeles Angels
5. Oakland Athletics

Thoughts: It pains me to predict the Astros as winners of the AL West, but the recent injury to the Seattle’s Drew Smyly has me concerned. Houston’s lineup is absolutely loaded – they are going to score a ton of runs. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are both serious threats for AL MVP. The rotation doesn’t look particularly scary, especially if ace Dallas Keuchel’s 2015 Cy Young run was an anomaly. I really like Joe Musgrove and Lance McCullers has filthy stuff, but can’t seem to stay healthy.

I love the Mariners lineup – they added Jean Segura to compliment an absolutely nasty middle of the lineup. Jarrod Dyson, Mitch Haniger, and Danny Valencia are interesting additions that could make Seattle’s offense one of the best in baseball. The Mariner rotation is filled with question marks. Can Felix Hernandez return to ace status? Can James Paxton stay healthy and live up to the immense expectations? Can Seattle overcome the injury to Smyly with Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo starting 40% of their games for the first six weeks of the season?

The Rangers should make the AL West an interesting three team race for most of the season. They have a pretty loaded lineup but their success largely depends on how far Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels can take them. The rotation is really lacking behind those two and Darvish is no sure bet to survive a full campaign.

The Angels are arguably improved over the 2016 version, but Mike Trout can’t carry this team to the playoffs himself. The Halos are starting Ricky Nolasco on Opening Day, so, yeah…

The A’s are similar to the Rays in that they have some upside in their rotation (but way less experience) and a lot of their everyday players would be bench players on most MLB squads.

AL MVP: Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
AL CY YOUNG: Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
AL ROY: Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox

AL Wild Card Game: Mariners over Blue Jays
AL Division Series: Indians over Mariners; Red Sox over Astros
ALCS: Indians over Red Sox

NL EAST

1. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Miami Marlins

Thoughts: If the Mets can keep their rotation healthy for the majority of the season, they can win this division. If they can’t, the Nats remain the team to beat and a return to MVP form from Bryce Harper and a full season of Trea Turner could be pretty imposing.

The Phillies might have the most underrated rotation in baseball, plus they have some young players that are producing at the MLB level. They won’t compete for a playoff spot, but they are getting closer.

The Braves are in a similar position, but maybe a year or two further away from contention. They cobbled together a rotation that should be decent enough to keep them out of the cellar of this division.

The Marlins have a great young outfield, but their rotation is borderline laughable – I’m not even sure if they have a legit #3 starter. It’s hard to imagine them not losing a ton of games.

NL CENTRAL

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Saint Louis Cardinals
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Cincinnati Reds

Thoughts: The Cubs still have the most complete roster in the game and should be the envy of every team in baseball – and they are going to be really good for a long time. I fully expect them to run away with the division again.

The Cardinals should be good enough to take second in this division, but I think they are a starter or two away from being a playoff threat.

You have to wonder what’s going on with Andrew McCutchen, but the Pirates could have an elite outfield and a solid young core of starters in Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, and Jameson Taillon. Pittsburgh’s infield features no established stars though and the pitching staff is mostly unproven.

The Brewers are rebuilding and while they have some interesting players at the MLB level, they will not be contending in 2017.

The Reds are terrible and have no hope on the horizon either.

NL WEST

1. San Francisco Giants
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Colorado Rockies
5. San Diego Padres

Thoughts: I think I’m in the minority on thinking that the Dodgers are a bit overrated. Clayton Kershaw might finish as the greatest starting pitcher of all-time, but I think the rotation behind him and Kenta Maeda is full of injury risks and question marks.

The Giants, meanwhile, have two legit aces (and one serious power threat!) in Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. Matt Moore is only 27 and is still capable of taking a big step forward and I think a lot of teams would be happy with Jeff Samardzija as their #4. The SF bullpen is shaky, but Mark Melancon should be a positive and the rest of the Giants roster is riddled with guys that play good baseball. It’s no coincidence this franchise has three titles since 2010.

The Diamondbacks and Rockies are both really interesting teams that could be a lot better than people are expecting. The D’Backs were a popular sleeper last year after acquiring Zack Greinke, but he bombed and then they lost superstar A.J. Pollock early in the year. I see a lot of potential across this roster – although Fernando Rodney in the closer position is frightening – and I wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona made a playoff push. The Rockies are in a similar position but they have already been crushed by injuries/ailments to a number of impact players. Even with the losses of David Dahl, Ian Desmond, and Tom Murphy, the Rockies lineup looks loaded and the rotation is as good as the Rockies have ever had.

The Padres should be the worst team in baseball. With the exception of Wil Myers, the rest of the roster is basically a AAA team.

NL MVP: Byrce Harper, Washington Nationals
NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
NL ROY: Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres

NL Wild Card Game: Dodgers over Mets
NLDS: Cubs over Dodgers; Nationals over Giants
NLCS: Cubs over Nationals

World Series: Indians over Cubs

Finally, here is a list of all the wagers I currently have on the MLB season. I’m no pro, so I don’t recommend tailing any of these plays, but I like them enough:

Padres u66.5
Rockies o79.5
White Sox u69.5
Mariners o85.5
Marlins u76.5
Reds u69.5

MLB stolen base leader o62.5

Rockies -1.5 wins over Twins
Mariners -17.5 wins over Padres
Chris Sale -0.5 wins over Madison Bumgarner

Diamondbacks 80-1 to win World Series
Diamondbacks 100-1 to win World Series
Mariners 18-1 to win World Series
Rockies 35-1 to win World Series

Carlos Correa 12-1 to win MVP

HAPPY OPENING DAY!

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2017 Spring Training Trip

March 30, 2017

This past weekend my wife and I crossed off another Bucket List item by making a trip down to Arizona for some MLB Spring Training action. I have to say it was a pretty surprising development. Last month I went to Vegas for some WSOPc events and when I landed in Nevada, I received an email confirmation for a flight to Arizona – something we had literally never talked about doing this year. And then as the time of our trip grew nearer, we started to wonder if Arizona was a place we might actually want to live some day, so we were really excited about checking the area out.

Obviously the main focus of our trip was to check out the Mariners complex in Peoria and take in a couple games. It was amazing! Everything is so relaxed and accessible that it all has more of a minor league vibe to it. If you arrive early enough, parking right next to Peoria Stadium is free (and even if you arrive after the parking attendants, it’s still only $5) and the practice fields open at 9 A.M. Unfortunately, the MLB squad didn’t come out of the M’s clubhouse until past 11, so we were just kind of standing around doing nothing for two hours. When they did come out, it was pretty cool. A number of players would come right up to the fence and sign autographs and Mike Zunino was catching pitches from a machine right in front of us, carrying on casual conversation with the onlookers – although I must note while he replied to all the stupid things people were saying to him, I could tell he would rather everyone just shut up. Arguably my favorite current M already, Kyle Seager is now #1 without a doubt. While Zunino seemed like he would rather do without the fan interaction, Seager’s social skills were incredible. Not only did he sign plenty of autographs and take pictures, but he was funny and genuine, making fun of a little girl wearing Blue Jays gear and telling me he didn’t want to ruin my 40th Anniversary Sports Illustrated cover by signing it. Leonys Martin was also great with the fans. He signed more autographs than anyone, took a crazy amount of pictures, and did it all with a huge smile on his face. You can tell he truly loves what he does, including all the obligations that come with being a major league baseball player. I also got to witness some interesting banter between newcomers Jarrod Dyson and Danny Valencia. Fans were speculating how many steals Dyson would get this year and Valencia asked him “you gonna steal 100 bags?” and Dyson snapped back “you gonna hit 100 homeruns?”

As far as the actual games went, it was a great experience. I always like to get good seats, so we were right next to the Mariners dugout for both games and the view was fantastic. When the Mariners played the Rangers, Felix Hernandez was trolling his WBC Venezuela teammates Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos for the entire first half of the game before taking his leave and getting a cup of water in the face courtesy of Odor. The Mariners beat the Rangers 3-1 on Saturday and then lost to the lowly Padres 2-12 on Monday.

Some notes from the games:

-Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz were both entirely absent this weekend, staying in their rooms with the flu.

-Dillon Overton has pitched well this spring and is a surprising member of the current MLB camp.

-Taylor Motter hit two homers this weekend and seems to have locked up the Mariners utility spot.

-Yovani Gallardo got blasted by the Padres to the tune of 9 hits, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 HR, and only 2 Ks in 4.1 innings. He carries a 9.24 ERA this spring and while spring stats should always been taken with a grain of salt, this is a spot on our roster we should be worried about. There’s always a chance Gallardo will thrive in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him either released or optioned to Tacoma before the All-Star break.

-There was a great moment in the Mariners-Padres game where someone hit a routine grounder to short with a runner on 1st and the second baseman blatantly dropped the throw from the shortstop and the umpire ruled the runner out, claiming that the miscue occurred during the transfer. It did not. Without question, the fielder never had control of the ball. At this point in time, the Padres were winning 7-0 and the sun was burning a hole into my neck, so the call seemed whatever to me, but the Mariners fans, including the KIRO 710 ESPN radio guys that were sitting two rows in front of us, gave the ump hell for the rest of the inning. I told my wife that ump would have a conversation with the third base ump after the inning, but he took it one step further and came right over to our section of the crowd and asked everybody if they wanted a “free lesson” on the rules. Just as he was about to “school” us, Leonys Martin stopped by, tapped him on the shoulder, and pointed to the M’s dugout, where manager Scott Servais was standing on the top step, with a big smile on his face, summoning the ump over with his finger.

-I have faith in Jean Segura, but you have to wonder about the make up of a guy that strikes out for the second time in a Cactus League game and slams his bat on the ground, splintering it.

-It’s pretty hilarious watching all the fans try to get autographs from players when they have no clue who they are. Some random, light-skinned minor league player came to sign and the entire section called him “Segura” the whole time. I tried to inform them that it wasn’t Jean Segura, but my claim was promptly denied by a number of fans and I honestly don’t even know what to say in a situation like that. I watched everyone refer to Tyler Smith as “Valencia” as he signed a number of autographs and finally after the 100th time he finally said “Danny’s twice my size.” Also, every dark-skinned player that walked by was “Heredia” and after being wrong about five times, it really was him! All of this, plus a plethora of incorrect “facts” stated by random fans all around me during both games I attended really made me wonder about something: part of me was dying to provide everyone with the correct information and another part of me was realizing how douchey that actually is. So I learned to just shut up and treat it like all the crazy things I hear people say at the poker table.

-I ended up getting four autographs on my Mariners 40th Anniversary SI cover: Kyle Seager, Danny Valencia, Leonys Martin, and Hisashi Iwakuma. I could have gotten many more, but I realize that I’m in my mid-30s and leaning over kids to get signatures from random guys that are younger me is kind of weird and stupid, so I don’t push it. This passivity has cost me autographs from Mike Trout (I eventually got him though), Max Scherzer, Jose Altuve, and Felix Hernandez over the years. On the other hand, I think baseball will always bring out the 12 year old in me and I don’t think that’s something to be ashamed of.

Moving on from baseball, the rest of our Arizona experience was great as well. We loved the scenery and while 80 degrees felt like 95 to us and I still got burned even with two coats of sun block on, I think that’s something we can get used to. It’s certainly more palatable than the constant rain and cold weather that we experience in the Marchs and Aprils of Seattle. Also, the highways were mostly free of traffic, with the exception of Monday morning and even that wasn’t too bad. We ate at a couple of really good restaurants and enjoyed playing poker at Talking Stick Resort. Even on a Sunday night, the room had 37 poker games going, so the game selection was immense. The 20/40 game was pretty good, although not amazing, but Sunday night isn’t exactly one of my target playing times, so I’m curious how the action is during prime time hours. The 2+2 locals pretty much universally insist the 20 game is great, so I’m inclined to believe them.

All in all, we are still on board with relocating to Arizona in five years or so. While I love Washington and being close to family, the Arizona vibe is more appealing to us and its location relevant to my favorite poker stops (L.A., Las Vegas, Denver) is incredibly ideal.

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Franchise Four – New York Yankees

May 6, 2015

I have to say the New York Yankees were probably the team I was looking forward to the least – it’s simply an impossible task to narrow down the list of great players to a mere four. Babe Ruth makes one of the choices really easy – and so does Lou Gehrig – but it gets extremely difficult after that. Was Derek Jeter a better player than Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio? Was Yogi Berra better than any of them? Can we possibly exclude the greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera?

Babe Ruth

The Argument: This is an easy one. We’re talking about the most dominant hitter in the history of the game. Before Babe Ruth came along with his 714 career homeruns, if you could hit double digit homers you were a monster. His presence completely changed the game – no one has ever stood so far above their peers than Babe Ruth did. The Babe is the Yankees all-time leader in runs scored, homeruns, walks, batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage. His 1.164 career OPS is the highest mark in history. The Great Bambino is also arguably responsible for making the Yankees the marquee franchise they have become today, helping them to their first of 28 World Series titles back in 1923. The Yanks went on to win four World Series with Ruth and perhaps his presence in New York helped attract many of the franchise’s future stars. For all his game-changing accomplishments, Ruth was part of the first ever Hall Of Fame class.

Lou Gehrig

The Argument: Gehrig ranks in the top 3 of virtually every offensive category in Yankees history. The Iron Horse was the first legendary Yankee to spend his entire career with the club, finishing with a .340 batting average, 493 homeruns, 1995 RBI, and a 1.080 OPS. Gehrig played his entire career at his peak and basically never took a day off before the disease that would eventually be named after him slowed him down one year before retiring at age 36. Another Hall Of Famer, Gehrig won two MVP awards and six World Series with the Yanks.

Joe DiMaggio

The Argument: DiMaggio is another Hall Of Fame Yankee lifer, albeit over a smaller career size than most legendary players at just 13 seasons. To be fair, like Ted Williams, DiMaggio missed three full seasons in the middle of his prime due to military service. The Yankee Clipper’s career numbers are impressive: 2214 hits, 1390 runs, 361 homers, 1537 RBI – numbers that all rank within the top 6 on the Yankees all-time lists – but it’s his 162-game averages that astound: .325/.398/.579, 130 runs, 207 hits, 34 homeruns, 143 RBI; his average season would easily win the MVP most seasons these days. DiMaggio did win the AL MVP in 1939, 1941, and 1947 and the 56-game hitting streak he put together in 1941 may never be matched (actually, this is a record that probably will be). Joltin’ Joe’s Yankees reached the World Series 10 times in his 13 year career and walked away with 9 titles during that time. He was also an All-Star every year of his career.

Derek Jeter

The Argument: Mickey Mantle had enough talent to be the best baseball player of all-time. Unfortunately, he likely tore his ACL during the World Series of his rookie year and never had his knee surgically repaired, playing the rest of his career with an injury that would sideline most players indefinitely. Alas, The Mick did suffer that injury – and battled alcoholism – and was never able to play to his full potential, and since this is a list of what players did accomplish, Derek Jeter becomes the somewhat difficult choice. Jeter may not have the gaudy power numbers of Mantle or the ten World Series rings of Yogi Berra, but no player better represents the face of the Yankees franchise than Derek Jeter. For starters, no one played more games (2747) or had more hits (3465), doubles (544), or stolen bases (358) for the most storied franchise in baseball. Jeter batted a remarkable .310 for his career and, considering he played 20 seasons, posted a very respectable .817 OPS. The 1996 Rookie Of The Year was a 14-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glover, and finished in the top 3 of the AL MVP voting three times. After being a perennial World Series winner from the 1920s to the early 1960s, the Yanks managed just two titles from 1963 to 1995 before winning four times in Jeter’s first five seasons (he would add a fifth in 2009). Perhaps the most important reason Jeter is so revered and why he belongs on this list before some Yankees that were arguably better players, is the amount of class he displayed both on and off the field. Few players carried themselves with more grounded charisma than Derek Jeter.

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Franchise Four – Boston Red Sox

April 30, 2015

I have to admit, I’m quite fascinated by MLB.com’s Franchise Four campaign, in which people are encouraged to vote on the four players that best represent each franchise. Since I love baseball and I like sharing my opinion, I’ve decided to not only participate in the voting, but to share my thoughts on my blog. The aim here is to make my picks for one team a day for the next month, so stay tuned and we will see who the voters picked at the All-Star game in July.

Ted Williams

The Argument: Teddy Ballgame is quite easily the greatest Red Sox player of all-time and is always one of the first names you think of when you talk about the greatest hitters to ever play the game. Williams played his entire 19 year career with the Red Sox and slashed a ridiculous .344/.482/.634 and hit 521 homeruns and had 1839 RBI during his tenure, numbers that are even more mind-boggling considering he missed three full seasons during his prime while serving in the military during World War 2. His career OPS was 1.116 – a number no player has reached in a single season since Barry Bonds did it all the way back in 2004. His career .482 OBP is the highest of all-time and he’s also the last player to hit .400 for a full season. He won the AL MVP in 1946 and 1949, was a 17-time All-Star, and, of course, was inducted into the Hall Of Fame. The only thing missing from Williams’ sterling resume is a World Series title.

Carl Yastrzemski

The Argument: Thanks to Ted Williams’ three years in the war, Carl Yastrzemski is the Red Sox all-time leader in at bats, hits, runs, and RBI. He also slugged 452 HR and is the only player to rope over 3,000 hits in a Red Sox uniform. Yaz won the 1967 AL MVP when he hit for the Triple Crown by batting .326 and hitting 44 HR to go along with 121 RBI. Yaz is a Hall of Famer, 18-time All-Star, and won 7 Gold Gloves during his career.

Pedro Martinez

The Argument: Roger Clemens and Cy Young might have the most wins in Red Sox history and both pitched more innings, but Pedro Martinez is the best pitcher to ever wear a Boston uniform. Many would argue that Pedro’s 7 year stretch with the Red Sox is the most dominant by a starting pitcher in the history of baseball. Not just for the gaudy numbers – we’re talking 117 wins, 2.52 ERA, 5.44 K:BB ratio, 10.9 K/9 IP, .206 batting average against – but for the fact that he did it right smack dab in the middle of what we now call The Steroid Era in the brutal AL East where far more than half the games were being played at Fenway, Yankee Stadium, and the Sky Dome, all parks that heavily favor the hitter. He won four American League ERA titles and 3 strikeout titles. For his efforts, he was the recipient of two Cy Young Awards (and four more top 4 finishes) and was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2015.

David Ortiz

The Argument: David Ortiz has become so ingrained as the face of the Red Sox that most casual MLB fans would probably be stunned to learn that he actually played parts of six (6!) seasons for the Minnesota Twins. During his time with the BoSox Ortiz has clubbed 412 HR and posted a .289/.386/.566 triple slash line. Big Papi is a 9-time All-Star and has finished top 5 in the AL MVP voting five times. What probably endears Ortiz to Sox fans more than anything else is his role in their run to the 2004 World Series title, when he seemed to single-handedly will the Sox past the Yankees in the ALCS after losing the first three games to their hated rival. Not only did Ortiz play a huge role in ending one of the longest championship droughts in all of sports, but he also won rings in 2007 and 2013 and has hit .455 in the World Series for his career. After looking like he might be declining in his early 30s, Ortiz resurrected his career and has continued to bash well into his late 30s and should make a strong case for a Hall Of Fame DH when he becomes eligible within the next 10 years.

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Franchise Four – Baltimore Orioles

April 28, 2015

I have to admit, I’m quite fascinated by MLB.com’s Franchise Four campaign, in which people are encouraged to vote on the four players that best represent each franchise. Since I love baseball and I like sharing my opinion, I’ve decided to not only participate in the voting, but to share my thoughts on my blog. The aim here is to make my picks for one team a day for the next month, so stay tuned and we will see who the voters picked at the All-Star game in July.

Cal Ripken Jr.

The Argument: No surprise here. Ripken is still the face of the Orioles franchise long after he has retired. A career Oriole and Hall Of Famer, he was the 1982 Rookie Of The Year, 1983 MVP, and 1991 MVP and helped the O’s win a World Series in ’83. He was also a 19-time All-Star and is the all-time leader in HR as a shortstop. He finished his career with over 3,000 hits and is the career leader for the Orioles in basically every offensive counting stat. Oh, and he also played in more consecutive games than anyone else in baseball history.

Brooks Robinson

The Argument: Another lifelong Oriole and Hall Of Famer, Brooks Robinson is widely considered as the best defensive third baseman of all-time – and his 16 Gold Glove awards would be hard to argue against. He also ranks 2nd to Ripken on the Orioles all-time list for hits, runs, and RBI. Robinson helped lead the O’s to titles in 1966 and 1970 and was named the MVP of the ’70 series. He was a 15-time All-Star and a league MVP in 1964.

Jim Palmer

The Argument: Palmer is another Hall Of Fame Oriole that never played for another team. During his tenure, he helped the Orioles reach the World Series six times and finished his career with three rings, something neither Ripken or Robinson can lay claim to. Palmer won three Cy Young Awards and was an All-Star six times, logging 268 wins and finishing his career with a ridiculous 2.86 ERA.

Frank Robinson

The Argument: It was such a tough call between Frank Robinson and Eddie Murray that I almost considered tossing a coin on it. Ultimately, while Murray played more years for the O’s and has the sexier counting stats, Robinson’s years in Baltimore were unquestionably better. Not only did Robinson post a .944 OPS as an Oriole (Murray had an .868 OPS) and win the Triple Crown in 1966, but his arrival in Baltimore seemed to trigger a run of perennial success that led to two titles and four appearances in the World Series during his six year tenure.

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2014 Baseball Awards – First Half

July 18, 2014

Since I’m following baseball closely due to numerous season long bets and because I like to rank things and think my opinion is important, I’ve decided to pretend what I would do if I had a vote in baseball’s major awards. These are my votes for the first half:


American League MVP



1. Mike Trout (.310, 22 HR, 73 RBI, 65 Runs, 10 SB)
2. Nelson Cruz (.287-28-74-56-3)
3. Jose Abreu (.292-29-73-49-1)
4. Michael Brantley (.322-15-63-63-10)
5. Edwin Encarnacion (.277-26-70-57-2)
6. Victor Martinez (.328-21-55-45-2)
7. Miguel Cabrera (.306-14-75-57-0)
8. Jose Altuve (.335-2-27-49-41)
9. Robinson Cano (.334-7-57-49-7)
10. Ian Kinsler (.303-11-51-64-10)


Comments: The legend that is Mike Trout. The last time I posted my MVP rankings (in late May), Trout was sitting just outside my top ten and now, at the All-Star break, he’s firmly #1 in both the AL MVP ranks and fantasy baseball rankings – and the Angels are arguably the hottest team in baseball. Nelson Cruz and Jose Abreu are pretty much neck and neck at #2 and #3, with Cruz getting the slight edge because the Orioles look playoff bound and he’s undoubtedly carrying that offense. In actuality, Abreu’s numbers have been more impressive considering he missed some games due to injury. If someone showed you Michael Brantley’s numbers and said they were Mike Trout’s numbers, you would believe them – until you saw that he’s only fanned 32 times in 80+ games (Trout has 95 Ks). Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Ian Kinsler have all put up ridiculous numbers for the Detroit Tigers. V-Mart has had a particularly amazing season hitting over .325 with 21 homers and only 23 strikeouts. Cabrera somewhat quietly leads MLB in RBI, but I expect him to separate himself from his teammates going forward. Robinson Cano’s power has disappeared, but hitting .334 playing half your games at Safeco Field is no small feat and he’s been the best hitter on a surprising Mariners team.


American League Cy Young


1. Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 154 Ks)
2. Chris Sale (8-1, 2.08, 0.84, 102)
3. Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51, 1.01, 135)
4. Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.38, 0.98, 108)
5. Garrett Richards (11-2, 2.55, 1.06, 127)


Comments: Chris Sale has been lights out since returning to the rotation, but nobody has matched King Felix in mound production this year. Tanaka was a top Cy Young contender, but appears to be out of the season now. Scott Kazmir has been an amazing story: after pitching his way out of baseball for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he returned last year to post some respectable comeback numbers, but is finally living up to the potential he flashed all the way back in 2007 when he posted 239 Ks in 206.2 innings with the Devil Rays. Garrett Richards has been another great story in the AL, seemingly coming out of nowhere to dominate the first half.


American League ROY


1. Jose Abreu (.292-29-73-49-1)
2. Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51, 1.01, 135)
3. Dellin Betances (4-0, 1.46, 0.70, 84)

Comments: Jose Abreu pretty much locked up the AL ROY as soon as Tanaka went on the DL. Abreu’s on pace to break Mark McGwire’s rookie record for homeruns in a season and also carries an RBI pace of 140+.. and he’s almost hitting .300. Pretty ridiculous. Miguel Cabrera would nod his head in approval at those offensive numbers. Betances has had an incredible season in relief with those 84 strikeouts coming in only 55.1 innings pitched.


National League MVP


1. Troy Tulowitski (.345-21-52-71-1)
2. Andrew McCutchen (.324-17-61-57-15)
3. Paul Goldschmidt (.308-16-61-66-8)
4. Giancarlo Stanton (.295-21-63-61-8)
5. Carlos Gomez (.304-14-48-58-17)
6. Todd Frazier (.290-19-53-57-14)
7. Charlie Blackmon (.306-14-52-53-18)
8. Anthony Rendon (.287-13-53-67-8)
9. Yasiel Puig (.309-12-52-53-7)
10. Billy Hamilton (.285-5-38-47-38)


Comments: The NL MVP race has become much closer since my last update when Troy Tulowitski was far and away the best candidate and Andrew McCutchen wasn’t even in the top 10. McCutchen has a tendency to heat up with the weather and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run away with his second consecutive NL MVP award. Charlie Blackmon is hitting .355 with a .996 OPS at home and .248 with a .633 OPS on the road – with such drastic splits and the Rockies out of contention, it’s hard to imagine Blackmon finishing the season in the top 10. Todd Frazier and Anthony Rendon have quietly had huge seasons have carried their offenses while their superstar teammates have been hurt (Joey Votto and Bryce Harper, respectively). Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon are having very similar seasons, but with such a close call, I have to go with the guy on my fantasy team!


National League Cy Young


1. Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.78, 0.83, 126)
2. Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83, 0.91, 115)
3. Johnny Cueto (10-6, 2.13, 0.89, 141)
4. Julio Teheran (9-6, 2.71, 1.04, 116)
5. Zack Greinke (11-5, 2.73, 1.17, 127)


Comments: Clayton Kershaw has been unreal since coming back from the disabled list…just look at his numbers over the past month: 5 wins, 0 losses, 0.22 ERA, 55 strikeouts, 5 walks in 41 innings. Absurd. Even with 40 less innings than his contemporaries, it’s hard to argue against Kershaw at this point. Nobody has been more dominant. Wainwright quietly continues to be one of the five best pitchers in baseball; he’s kind of the new Roy Halladay. Johnny Cueto has put together a remarkable year; he’s given up more than 3 ER in only one start this year and his K rate is way up.


National League ROY


1. Billy Hamilton
2. Jacob DeGrom
3. Chris Owings


Comments: Billy Hamilton has literally run away with the NL ROY award; his current pace: .285, 85 runs, 9 HR, 68 RBI, 68 SB – he’s proven all his skeptics wrong and he’s outperformed even his optimists’ offensive expectations. The power and average has been a really nice surprise and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him top those current runs scored and stolen base projections. Jacob Degrom has been solid for the Mets since his call up in the middle of May, posting 8 quality starts in 12 turns and a solid K/9 rate. Chris Owings is currently on the DL and likely to be passed on this list by Gregory Polanco at some point in the second half.