Baseball

#43 the LDS

First let me apologize for skipping last week as a Nats fan I was a little pre occupied. Since the Nats lost to the Cubs I have nothing else to focus on so I’m back. Second, this will be a short post I’m going to try and not rant on about anything.

Let’s start in the AL, I guarantee I’ll have less to say. I’ll begin with the Indians and Yankees series and to say the least it was an interesting one. The Indians had the best record in the AL and the Yankees had to win the wildcard game just to get there. Cleveland jumped out to a 2-0 series lead and they looked to simply be the better team but some how some way the Yankees won 3 games in a row to advance. Hate them or love them you have to give them props for that. The other series saw the Astros playing the Red Sox. And well the Astros took that series pretty quickly, 3-1, the Stros just looked like a better team all around.

Now the NL, of course I was mainly focused on the Cubs-Nats series. I knew it was going to be a good series from the beginning and boy was I right. The Nats played better than the Cubs, the Nats were better in every statistical category, but somehow the Cubs still pulled it out. Nothing to do but tip your hat and move on when that happens. Not really mad at anyone for the loss, didn’t really like some of the calls the umpires made in game 5 but I need a whole post to to rant about that. In the other series the Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks, I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming. The Dodgers do have a very good team so I can’t say I’m too shocked though, the Dodgers have won the first 2 games of the NLCS against the Cubs as well.

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#42 The wildcard games

Couldn’t really think of anything to write about on Tuesday so I figured I’d just wait until today when I can talk about who won the wildcard games. It goes without saying that I will be writing about the wildcard teams and each of their futures. I can already tell today will be somewhat short don’t have much to say that I haven’t already said.

First the AL wildcard game because it was played on Tuesday night. It had the Minnesota Twins facing off against the Yankees in New York. No surprise the team with the better record, the Yankees, won. I assumed the Yanks would pull it out because they were the better team, but crazy things happen in October so I wasn’t confident enough to put money on it. The thing that surprised me was the starter for the Yankees, Luis Severino, gave up 3 runs and only got 1 out in the first. The Yankees sure stretched out their bullpen but it seemed to be the right move. They will face the Cleveland Indians next, there is a reason why Cleveland is the number 1 seed in the AL. The Yankees clearly have a tough road ahead.

And just last night in the NL wildcard game the Diamondbacks were able to hold off the Colorado Rockies. Really not a surprise because once again the team with the better record ended up winning. I really like the Diamondbacks and most people are writing them off because they have the Dodgers next, I think that’s way off because the Diamondbacks have won 6 in a row against LA. I believe that’s two straight sweeps too so don’t count Arizona out, I like this matchup and I think they have a good shot beating the Dodgers.

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#40 AL MVP

I personally believe politics should stay out of sports so I’m not going to write about the presidents comments or what happened in the NFL over the weekend, even though I could rant on about it. So today I’m going to write about the MVP race in the AL, mainly about the case of Aaron Judge. I think Judge has had a very interesting season and I don’t think he will win but his season gets him into the conversation which I have no problem with. Two of the front runners for the MVP are 5’6″ (Jose Altuve) and 6’7″ (Aaron Judge) with a 5’9″ guy (Jose Ramirez) in between them. God, that really makes me love baseball if you can play you can play no matter your size.

So Aaron Judge has 50 homers no getting around that, I think the short porch in right field of Yankee stadium has helped a lot since people always mention Coors field when talking about Rockies hitters don’t forget that down the right field line is shorter than some high school ball parks and he hits a lot of homers to the opposite field. Big man has 50 homers no one is really shocked, so let’s mention his other stats a .280 average 100 rbis 150 hits nothing special right? Some stats that help his MVP case are his runs scored, 120, and his walks, 124, but his strikeouts, 203 and counting, don’t do him any favors. Because of the average and strikeouts I think Judge loses out to Jose Altuve, who right now is hitting 70 points higher than Judge. Jose Ramirez is also hitting a lot higher than Judge, he has 29 homers and is definitely having a breakout season. The player I think should really be in the MVP conversation is Indians superstar Fransisco Lindor, a gold glove shortstop with 33 homers should be getting some attention.

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#29 trade deadline

It’s pretty obvious by the title but I’m going to write about the trade deadline and the trades that went down. Well actually two moves that were somewhat blockbusters. Other than those two deals the trade deadline is fun but it’s no big deal, it’s mainly teams just trading relievers. If the two big deals didn’t happen today I would be talking about Jonathan Lucroy going to the Rockies for a player to be named later, up until the last hour that looked like what was going to happen.

What happened first was the Sonny Gray trade, who went from the A’s to the Yankees. And in my opinion that trade makes New York a legitimate contender, before it was “the Yankees can hit but the pitching is eh” a good bullpen and Luis Sevorino’s break out year would not be enough. To get Sonny Gray they had to give up some good prospects but 2 out 3 prospects are out for the year. The A’s didn’t get the coveted A+ prospect but they did get 3 B prospects with high ceilings. In my opinion the best of the bunch is SS/OF Jorge Mateo, he has game changing speed think Billy Hamilton. In a lot of ways he and Hamilton have similar games, he is probably a little better hitter but still very similar. Mateo will probably be in the majors before too long, I believe he was already at AAA before the trade, and the other two are injured for the rest of the year but still have high upside. For both sides it was a pretty good trade.

Within minutes of the 4 pm et deadline Yu Darvish, probably the best pitcher on the trade block, got traded from the Rangers to the Dodgers. The Dodgers had to give up Willie Cahloun, a left handed second baseman/outfielder who has 20ish homers in the minors this year, and it was worth it. Let’s look ahead, they’re facing the Nats in the playoffs ok first game matchup Kershaw vs Scherzer great matchup right? Second game Strasburg vs … Rich Hill? Eh I’ll definitely take Strasburg. Third game Gio Gonzalez vs … Brandon McCarthy? I think Gio is better. The Dodgers needed Yu Darvish to slot in behind Kershaw otherwise that rotation would not be impressive in a playoff series. They gave up Willie Cahloun who kind of reminds of Justin Bour, chubby guy with a nice left handed swing that creates plenty of power, quite a bit more athletic than Bour but a similar swing.

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#27 another couple of trades

To be honest with you I did not see this coming at all, we still have a week until the trade deadline. Not even that close to the deadline and there has already been a couple big names shipped to new teams. So today I’m going to write about the two trades that happened Tuesday evening/night, the JD Martinez trade and the Todd Frazier (and others) trade.

I have less to say about the JD Martinez trade so I’ll start there. JD went from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks for 3 prospects, none of which are “big names”. In all honesty it was a pretty weak return for a pretty good outfielder. When the Tigers traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets a couple years ago they got Micheal Fulmer in return, who was a big arm who hadn’t quite figured everything out yet but now he developed into their number 1 pitcher. And if you look at the numbers Martinez and Cespedes are fairly similar, it looks like the Diamondbacks got the better end of this deal but we’ll have to wait a couple years to see if the prospects the Tigers got in return turn into anything. Today they were talking about this trade on MLB network and they were saying nobody in the industry predicted the Diamondbacks to be this good… and guess what? I predicted it check my predictions post from before the season. Will a team just hire me already.

Now about the Todd Frazier deal. So it was basically Frazier and David Robertson (and another reliever but I don’t know how to spell his name) going from the White Sox to the Yankees for Blake Rutherford (first round pick last year and number 30 overall prospect in baseball) and Ian Clarkin (former first round pick) and two others. So not only did New York upgrade at third base they actually got to steal Frazier from Boston, it was reported earlier on Tuesday that the Red Sox were close to a deal with Chicago for Todd Frazier then the Yankees just sweep in and stole him from their rivals. Rutherford looks to be a good, athletic outfielder but they have enough outfielders and don’t need to wait for him because he’s probably around 2 years away from being major league ready. Clarkin has potential but has often been injured and he’s not too close to the majors either (closer than Rutherford probably) and those are the big names in this trade. The Yankees saw a chance to upgrade a weak position and not let Boston upgrade their weak position so they took it, I call that a win-win situation.

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#21 Torres time will have to wait

Today I want to write about how the Yankees top prospect (and currently MLB’s number 2 overall) Gleyber Torres got injured and will be out the rest of the year. It’s really too bad, before the injury I thought the 20 year old shortstop would be making his debut in the Bronx fairly soon. He was working on third base, where the Yankees struggle, so I thought it was coming a lot sooner than most expected. Before I get into Torres I want to mention a couple things, not really much to say so I guess you can consider them “notes.”

What was with that slide Rizzo? Last night Anthony Rizzo slid/ran over the catcher at home plate trying to score on a sac fly. And honestly I don’t care, that’s how the game use to be played until they changed the rules to protect the catcher. Usually Joe Maddon is considered a genius (this year not so much) but his comments last night were incredibly dumb and ill informed. I know he was just defending his player but Rizzo had a clean lane to slide he went out of his way to initiate contact. Go back and watch the tape if you don’t believe me.

Don’t you hate it when some players get more attention than others? Last year (and the beginning of this year) people would not shut up about Gary Sanchez and his power, “so fast to 20 homers” “among the best ever.” And then there’s Cody Bellinger who’s literally THE fastest ever to 21 homers in MLB history, and yet nobody is really talking about him. What’s up with that?

At just 19 years old he won the Arizona fall league MVP just last year, Gleyber Torres certainly has great potential. He has very quick feet and an excellent arm looking a lot older in the field, he simply knows where to be. He’s just one of those players where it just looks like everything comes super easy to him, especially on defense. I was in Arizona and witnessed him with my own two eyes and it still surprises me he was only 19. I personally believe in his power potential right now he’s more of a gap to gap doubles kind of hitter, but I think as he grows up a little more he can transition that to homerun power. The reason why I’m talking about him is because he injured himself sliding head first into home (always a bad idea) and needs Tommy john surgery which will unfortunately cut his season short. But the silver lining it’s his non throwing elbow so it shouldn’t effect his future arm strength any. It’s still funny the Cubs gave up Torres in the Aroldis Chapman trade last years and then the Yankees sign Chapman back in the offseason anyway, I think it’s safe to say the Yankees won that trade.

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#11 a surprise AL team

Well the New York Yankees are off to a 21-9 start and surprising some people, not me obviously but some people. Ok that’s a lie, I saw them as an above .500 team but I didn’t see them having the best record in the AL at any point during the season. I’ve wrote a full post about Aaron Judge just last week so I’m not going to focus this post on him, or any other player for that matter, but more on the Yankees as a whole.

I’m not saying that I’m completely shocked that the Yankees are doing great, because they have a decent team. I knew they were going to be able to out slug some teams but it does come as a surprise when you say the Yankees have the best record in the AL. If you look at some of their hitters they have a nice looking lineup. Brett Gardener is doing his thing, so is Jacoby Ellsbury even though he’s kind of injured right now. In my opinion it’s not the veterans that are part of the Yankees offensive success lately, it’s the question marks. What I mean by that is the guys that no one really knew what to expect to start the season. Like Chase Headly and Starlin Castro? Nobody saw those two getting off to the hottest starts of their career. The old guy they brought in, Matt Holiday? Surprise he’s off to a great start as well. Fresh off the DL Didi Gregorious and Gary Sanchez? Hopefully they can repeat the years they had last year. See what I mean the offense is clicking right now because of the question marks. The reason why this start is kind of a surprise is because of the pitching staff. Masahiro Tanaka is the ace without question, but after him there is no one. Pineda? Way too inconsistent. The rotation doesn’t really have anybody but the bullpen is top notch. Clippard? Betances? Chapman? Yeah that’s a pretty good ‘pen. With the very good farm system I thought the Yankees were 1-2 years away from being serious competitors. But with this start I think it’s possible they make a couple trades to ship off these hot veterans to make some room for these young kids to show what they can do. With this start the Yankees might of pushed up their window and might be ready to compete this season.

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