Baseball

AL award predictions

Tuesday was my NL award predictions blog and today is my AL one. If you read my Tuesday blog (all 2 of you) then you already know that I won’t be saying who I think will win every single award just the big 3, MVP, Cy Young, and rookie of the year.

Starting with the MVP of course and my favorite to win it is the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera. Even with his injury plagued 2015 he still managed to win another batting title by hitting .338. He missed a lot of time with a calf injury that landed him on the DL for the first time in his career. Because of that injury Miggy lost a lot of the power he usually has. Even with the injury he still managed to hit a whooping .338 and obviously lead the league. So if he’s healthy I see the power coming back with the high average obviously makes an MVP season. My player to watch in the AL this year might be interesting to some, it’s the Mariners, Robinson Cano. For the people that still think an MVP season means your team makes the playoffs. No it doesn’t, it just means you have to be valuable to your team (hence the name most valuable player award) preferably a player helps his team to the playoffs but it’s not a necessity. So no I don’t see the Mariners making the playoffs but that doesn’t mean Cano can’t win the MVP. Just like McCutchen in my NL blog on Tuesday, Robinson Cano got off to a dreadful start but he finished super strong. Also like McCutchen, Cano is tearing the cover off the ball in spring training. Had a 3 homer game the other day. A strong finish to the ’15 season coupled with a strong spring training could mean Cano’s looking at a big 2016.

My pick for Cy Young is also a Mariner, it’s the King Felix Hernandez. Last year he had an “off” year, for his standards at least, but he still went 18-9 with almost 200 strikeouts. His Cy Young year a few years back I believe he only won around 13 games nor do I think the Mariners made the playoffs that year. With his track record it’d be foolish to count him out, he got hit around last year but I can guarantee he has made some sort of adjustment to make sure it doesn’t happen again. My pitcher to watch is the Tampa bay Rays ace, Chris Archer. After the breakout season, where Archer had a 3.23 ERA while striking out 252 batters, I think he can improve on it. This kid understands pitching he has a good head on his shoulders and I know for a fact he’s not satisfied with just one good year. I’m sure the Cubs aren’t exactly thrilled they traded away this kid (I know the Cubs are fine now but before Theo came to town the GM gave up some serious talent) if they just waited for this late bloomer they could’ve gotten the reward of a true ace. Chris Archer bloomed a little late but with the stuff he possesses he’s just going to get better.

My winner and my player to watch for rookie of the year are both on the Minnesota Twins. I think Byron Buxton is the obvious choice to win the ROY, the tools he has are just electrifying. His defense in center field is already top notch, which is impressive because he’s so young, and his speed is on full display every time he’s on the field. His problem isn’t if he can play it’s always been whether or not he can stay healthy an entire season. I’m not completely sold on Buxton winning it for that reason but because of his tools you have to think he will. If he figures it out at the major league level and can stay healthy watch out for Byron Buxton. Tool set is similar to Mike Trout’s back when he won ROY. My other Twin to watch is Jose Berrios. The 21 year old pitcher should’ve debuted last year after leading the minor leagues in strikeouts. He’s not the biggest guy out there or the nastiest but he has plus stuff across the board and he’s a hard worker. Those can both translate to majors and can make Berrios a dark horse to win the ROY. If the Twins are going to compete they’ll need help from these two young studs.

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Baseball

NL award predictions

Last week was my predictions on who will win each division but this week will be my predictions for who wins the awards. And not every single award just the big 3, MVP, Cy Young, and rookie of the year. I will say my prediction to win the award and then I will mention a player to “watch”. By that I mean someone I think will have a good year and will be in the running.

First and foremost let’s start with the big one, MVP. With me being one of the biggest Bryce Harper fans out there I am 150 percent sure he’ll retain his title as MVP. Last year was a ridiculous year for Harper .330 average with 42 bombs. An unanimous MVP but you want to hear something weird? I don’t even think Bryce Harper has hit his ceiling yet. Think about it he put together that season when nobody else was hitting in that lineup, he was constantly being pitched around. So if he has some protection behind him and people get on base in front of him (the Nats offense will be better this year) what can he do? Not to mention he’s planning on stealing bases more this year he has the speed to steal 30+ but I don’t care too much about steals if he’s hitting bombs. My player to “watch” is Andrew McCutchen. I watch plenty of spring training games (I know it don’t matter much) and I’ve seen the Pirates play a few times and McCutchen looks great. If you remember last year Cutch got off to a really slow start but finished very strong. If he avoids the slow start the former MVP could win himself another.

Now onto Cy Young and this one might surprise people. I see Johnny Cueto winning it this year and here’s why. So Cueto didn’t pitch like himself last year he had some mechanical issues hopefully he ironed those out. It’s obvious he has the stuff to be an ace, 2011-14 (just scratch 2015 as a whole) his numbers were right there with Kershaw’s. He did all of it in a pure hitters park in Cincinnati now he’s in a pure pitchers park in San Francisco. And my pitcher to watch is the Nats Stephen Strasburg. He was injured in the first half then his mechanics were out of wack when he tried to pitch through the injury. When he came back from his second DL stint he was beyond lights out. In the final 10 or so starts Stras had an under 2 ERA with over 110 strikeouts and around 15 walks. That’s a crazy K/BB ratio so if he can put those numbers up all year Stephen Strasburg could easily win the Cy Young.

Finally the national league rookie of the year. My pick to win this year is Orlando Arcia a 21 year old shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers. They traded Jean Segura this offseason to make room for this kid. He is a star in the making that’s for sure (#6 overall prospect in MLB) and now they made the room for him and I think he’s going to make a big splash this year. Arcia is a plus hitter (around .300) with about average power and a legitimate gold glove caliber shortstop. He can hit .270-.280 with 10 homers and 20 steals and that could be enough to win the ROY. Now my player to “watch” is everybody else’s “favorite” to win the award, Corey Seager. He impressed a lot of people in his debut last September enough to where he batted third for the Dodgers in the playoffs. Seager is impressive to me too he can hit over .300 in his first full year but he’s already gotten injured in spring training. So to me personally even though he’s an impressive hitter I’m not sold on him being able to stay healthy all year.

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Baseball

AL preview

Well today will be my AL preview day. It will just be my predictions of each division winner plus the two wildcard teams. Then of course I have to mention my World Series picks. This week was just about the winners and the playoffs but next week will be my predictions for the awards. Start in the west again and work our way over to the east.

Starting in the AL west and I think this division will be the closest of them all. Maybe 1 or 2 games. I believe it will be the two Texas teams slugging it out. In the end I think the Astros inch their way into winning the division, with the Rangers finishing in a close second. The Astros haven’t really changed much from the team that won a wildcard in ’15. But with a full year of both Carlos Gomez and Carlos Correa, I see the Astros as being in line for a big year. Like I said it’s going to be a very close division, the Texas Rangers are definitely not slouches. A year where Derek Holland can (hopefully) stay healthy, Yu Darvish on his way back from Tommy John surgery, Martin Perez coming back from injury too, and they made the Cole Hamels trade last July. From the looks of it this starting staff might be very good just like the offense, which was already pretty good even before they brought in Ian Desmond.

It’s really no surprise that I say the AL central is the Kansas City Royals division to lose. The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians will both make it interesting but I still see the Royals coming out on top. The Royals are basically the same team that won a world championship last year. They loss Johnny Cueto (who didn’t pitch too great for them anyway) even they only had him for half a year and replaced him with Ian Kennedy. The rest of the world champion Royals pretty much remains the same. Now the Detroit Tigers are the interesting team in this division. With the additions of Jordan Zimmermann, Justin Upton, and Francisco Rodriguez at closer, this team looks very promising. With a healthy Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez this should be a very potent lineup, very right handed heavy but honestly it doesn’t matter when you have the best hitter on the planet in your lineup. I don’t get why but some “experts” have actually picked the Indians to win the division, by a lot too. I just don’t see it at all yes, they have a good starting staff but where would their offense come from? I wouldn’t bet on Lindor being above average offensively and Michael Brantley is still working his way back from an injury. I see them as a hair over .500 but that’s it.

Now the east is actually an interesting division this year. You have the improved Red Sox, the still good Blue Jays, Yankees are always right there, then you have the Orioles who have enough fire power to make it interesting. In my opinion I think the Red Sox just barely inch out the Blue Jays. It’s not because of the Sox offense, which is pretty good, or the addition of David Price, which will really help, it’s the lights out bullpen. Adding Craig Kimbrel puts the Sox bullpen in the top 5 in the league. Think about it, you have Kimbrel a lockdown closer, then you have Koji Uhera in the 8th old but still a good pitcher, then you have Carson Smith in 7th who looked absolutely lights out last year during his debut. That to me makes them the best team in the east.

The two wildcard teams will be the Rangers and the Tigers. The two of the highest powered offenses will both hit their way into the one game playoff.

And lastly my World Series picks this year are the Nationals (maybe a little biased) and the Royals for the third consecutive year. I really wanted to say the Tigers but if the last couple years have proved anything it’s that the Royals are a different team in the playoffs. Don’t quite know why but they just continue to win in the playoffs.

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Baseball

NL Preview

About that time again. The baseball season is so close I can taste it. Before I get into what I’ll be writing about today I just want to apologize to anyone who was waiting for me to say something about what was going on during the offseason. I figured it’s my only time off from this so I should take it. Now that that’s out of the way, this blog will continue to be just a Tuesday and Thursday thing. This week and next week will be my “preview” weeks, Tuesday being NL and Thursday the AL. Some may actually be surprised by my predictions.

Let’s start off with the NL west. My prediction is that the San Fransisco Giants will take the division. With the additions of Samardjza (I tried my best to spell it) and Cueto that makes them the team to beat in my opinion. They both had down years and the Giants got them at reasonable price I see bounce back years from both, Cueto more than Samardjza. Some may ask why not the Dodgers? I have heard many different GM’s (on tv of course) that the teams with fewer question marks are usually the winners. Is Joc Pederson going to bounce back? Is Yasiel Puig? Is Justin Turner going to perform at a high level? Is Corey Seager going to be healthy? Is the bullpen strong enough? I could go on but you get the point, just too many questions surrounding the Dodgers.

This might surprise people. But my pick to win the NL central is not the Cubs, which seems to be everyone’s favorite nowadays, but rather the Pirates. I like the Pirates pitching staff as a whole way more than I like the Cubs pitching. I honestly believe the Cubs had the opportunity to drastically improve the pitching but all they did was add John Lackey, who’s 39, could’ve got David Price or Zach Greinke. But nope decided to add to an already stable lineup instead, Cubs fans might get mad about this, but I think the Cubs are overhyped this year. Not to mention the Cubs are doing pretty awful in spring training, I know it doesn’t matter but it’s better to be good than bad in spring. And back to my question analogy the Pirates simply have less question marks than the Cubs.

This should come as no surprise to anyone but I pick the Nationals to win the NL east. I know “experts” pick the Mets but they only have good starting pitchers. I know they got Cespedes back but honestly that isn’t enough to say this offense is a threat. Cespedes had a good year last year but that was one year he’s good but not a consistent MVP caliber player. Especially now that he’s a center fielder I think he’s offense will dip and well all saw his defense in center during the World Series. Let’s not forget there is obviously a reason Cespedes gets traded so frequently. Question marks, Nats have less.

Now the 2 wildcard teams will be the Cubs and the DBacks. My heart really wanted to say the Cardinals would be the second wildcard team but I think the DBacks are just a tiny fraction better. DBacks already had a terrific offense but added Greinke and Shelby Miller to the rotation and Jean Segura at shortstop just might be enough to push them into the playoffs. Don’t sleep on the Cards with all the injuries last year they still won 100 games and they’ll still be in the hunt.

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