Author Archives: MLB reports

MLB Odds To Win Both Of The AL And NL Pennants In 2014: 5 Best Value Plays

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant.  The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year's lineup, and have decent pitching.  Boston is the reigning champs - and will be part of the race before all is said and done.  Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant. The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year’s lineup, and have decent pitching. Boston is the reigning champs – and will be part of the race before all is said and done. Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Rays are finally listed where they should be on the betting board.

3 teams start play today tied in the AL East in the Rays, Yankees and Jays.  Baltimore has struggled along with Boston.

I think it is way too early to shovel dirt on the Red Sox season.  While I think they may not take down another pennant, they are my 2nd favorite play in the AL Pennant Odd list for return.

The Yankees are my favorite odds pick right now with a +900 mark.

Yes they have injuries to old guys are their team, but the guys in the lineup can mash right now, and particularly at Yankee Stadium. Read the rest of this entry

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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 3 MLB Baseball 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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A little rant before the power rankings this week

Well, another 7 days has passed in baseball for this year.

There are no more home openers, attendance is down, fans are scattering about their Easter business and the NFL Draft is around to swing its mighty sword on the sports landscape. Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (April.11) – Updated MLB Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings 2014

AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

Andrew Cashner threw a complete game 1 hit shutout of the mighty Detroit Tigers, getting the 6-0 win for the Padres.

Justin Upton got on base 5 times and clubbed a game tying homer and a walk off hit, dominating the Braves’ dramatic 7-6 10 inning win over the Nationals.

Yu Darvish pitched amazingly well over 8 1 hit innings against the Astros. He struck out 9 and let up no runs. He got no decision but the Rangers won 1-0.

Grady Sizemore went 2-4 including a dramatic 3 run homer, giving the Red Sox a 4-2 win over the Yankees in the Bronx.

They owned baseball on April.11, 2014.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings, plus see who gained 1/2 WOB’s – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON OR SCROLL DOWN.

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Injuries In The MLB: Hamilton, Garcia + Moore Out Could Change Outlook For Clubs In 2014

Josh Hamilton had his worst year as a Major Leaguer in 2013 with a 3 slash of .250/.307/.432 - with 21 HRs and 79 RBI last year.  This campaign looked to have been better, with the OF hitting .444/.545/.741 through 27 AB.  Injuries just seem to happen for the man.  He underwent thumb surgery two days ago after jamming his hand trying to slide into 1st base.  His loss will be felt big by Los Angeles, and they may not be in position to contend by the time he comes back.  The Angels are at home for 6 games before a killer 9 game road trip at Detroit, Washington and New York.

Josh Hamilton had his worst year as a Major Leaguer in 2013 with a 3 slash of .250/.307/.432 – with 21 HRs and 79 RBI last year. This campaign looked to have been better, with the OF hitting .444/.545/.741 through 27 AB. Injuries just seem to happen for the man. He underwent thumb surgery two days ago after jamming his hand trying to slide into 1st base. His loss will be felt big by Los Angeles, and they may not be in position to contend by the time he comes back. The Angels are at home for 6 games before a killer 9 game road trip at Detroit, Washington and New York.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Angels Josh Hamilton is out for 6 – 8 weeks after sliding in head down to first base at Safeco Field on Apr.8.

I would never accuse the guy of being a slacker, but this was not a bright move at all.

Doesn’t he remember suffering a major injury when the Rangers had him barrel down on home plate a few years back.

It came on the heels of the man having a great start.  Nothing seems to go right for Hamilton to play a full healthy season.

The Angels needed this player, with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout hitting on all cylinders to put forth a competitive year.

This curbs the process down badly.

Josh Hamilton’s Injury – 2 Minute Mark

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Odds To Win The 2014 World Series – Updated For Week 2

Milwaukee just pulverized the Red Sox and Phillies in a 6 - 0 road trip - that featured a great offensive output from the lineup.  Braun is hitting, Gomez is looking to back up his 2013 campaign.  Jean Segura has not slowed down.  Mark Reynolds looks decent for some power at 1B, and Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez have added torque as well.  The Pitching is performing well.  The Brew Crew hosts a pivotal weekend series against Division Rival Pittsburgh starting tonight in Miller Park.  They moved the most up the charts this week - but are still full value for a World Series odd this week nonetheless

Milwaukee just pulverized the Red Sox and Phillies in a 6 – 0 road trip – that featured a great offensive output from the lineup. Braun is hitting, Gomez is looking to back up his 2013 campaign. Jean Segura has not slowed down. Mark Reynolds looks decent for some power at 1B, and Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez have added torque as well. The Pitching is performing well. The Brew Crew hosts a pivotal weekend series against Division Rival Pittsburgh starting tonight in Miller Park. They moved the most up the charts this week – but are still full value for a World Series odd this week nonetheless

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The have and the have not’ s have started to dictate their positions in the game of baseball.

The Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves  and San Francisco Giants were the biggest movers and shakers up the leaderboard.

On the other side of the coin, bettors have lost faith in the Orioles, Reds, Angels, Philies and Diamondbacks. 

At the end of the article, there will be the top 5 best and worst odds to wager on this week Read the rest of this entry

MLB Odds To Win The 2014 Divisions – With Full Breakdowns After 1 Week

The Yankees are leading the AL East, having won 4 of their last 5 games - after dropping 2 straight to begin the year.  As the listed #3 team in the division, their +275 odd is a nice bit of value, and it flies onto the radar of one the best bets of the week.

The Yankees are leading the AL East, having won 4 of their last 5 games – after dropping 2 straight to begin the year. As the listed #3 team in the division, their +275 odd is a nice bit of value, and it flies onto the radar of one the best bets of the week.  Of course they do have a tough schedule coming up in April – with 7 games versus Boston, 4 versus Tampa, and 3 game sets with the Angels and Mariners will not be a picnic either.  Still the team looks better than everyone thought with their pitching, and they can actually manufacture runs with new found team speed.  My gut would still be with Tampa or Boston to win out the AL East, but the value is just not there this week.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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We wake this morning to see the betting world has finally clued in the Tampa Bay Rays are a good team.  What is weird about this is that it comes off the heels of them losing their 2nd straight and falling to 4 – 4.

The Yankees are now favored 3rd in the AL East.  Even with Mark Teixeira going down to injury, I like this club.  For a change, they have finally been seeded 3rd in the Division – yet they are leading the AL Beast after week 1.

Boston showed many weaknesses versus the Milwaukee Brewers.  One of my things I also wrote about in their season preview is that they will miss Jacoby Ellsbury, and that no one in their OF will see 500+ AB.

Also worth mentioning is that the Jays are tied for the 13th best World Series odd at +2500, yet are listed as #4 in the AL East,  Stay away from this team in all directions for these odds.

Yankees Roll Call – Opening Day @ Yankee Stadium Apr.07, 2014

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The Tigers Bullpen Has Had A Brutal Start For The 2014 Campaign

Even with his early season woes, Joe Nathan is still one of the best closers the game of baseball has ever seen. The 39 year old came off one of his best seasons, registering a WHIP of .90 and an ERA of 1.33 amidst his 43 Saves and 74 SO.  Nathan will also bring plenty of playoff experience to Detroit. Lets just hope if the Tigers make it back to the playoffs, that he can improve in his career postseason ERA of 9.00 in 9 IP.  Nathan was inked to a 2 YR Deal this winter, worth $20 MIL, with a Team Option of $10 MIL for 2016.  This doesn't end all of the teams Relief woes, but it gives them the best Closer that was on the Free Agent Market.

Even with his early season woes, Joe Nathan is still one of the best closers the game of baseball has ever seen. The 39 year old came off one of his best seasons in 2013, registering a WHIP of .90 and an ERA of 1.33 amidst his 43 Saves and 74 SO. Nathan will also bring plenty of playoff experience to Detroit. Lets just hope if the Tigers make it back to the playoffs, that he can improve in his career postseason ERA of 9.00 in 9 IP. Nathan was inked to a 2 YR Deal this past winter, worth $20 MIL, with a Team Option of $10 MIL for 2016. This doesn’t end all of the teams Relief problems, but it gave them the best Closer that was on the Free Agent Market. There is still plenty of work to do

By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent)

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The bats are rolling, the starters are clicking, and the bullpen is failing.

It’s no secret that the Detroit Tigers bullpen is struggling. Through the first five games of the season they have allowed 9 runs. To make it even worse, all 9 have come in the 9th inning.

That’s 9 runs on 18 hits through only 13.1 innings for the bullpen. To put that into a harsher perspective, the starters have given up 8 runs on 20 hits through 32.2 innings.

Yes, the bullpen has given up more runs and almost as many hits through less than half the innings. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: April

The Tigers fought off a tough KC club in the 1st series and now have battled their own bullpen and injury woes to be the only unbeaten team.  Add that to one of the weaker divisions, and you see the #1 ranked team in our list this week.

The Tigers fought off a tough KC club in the 1st series and now have battled their own bullpen and injury woes against the Orioles -  to be the only unbeaten team left in the MLB a. Add that to one of the weaker divisions, and you see the #1 ranked team in our list this week.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Well, we have seen one week come and go.  It is important to realize that only about 3% of the entire season has gone by.

People tend to panic when their team isn’t doing so well, and some fanbases are ready to project their club as a playoff contender.

While it is still a good idea never to bury yourself with a bad first few week or 2, as long as you are hovering around the .500 clip, you should be fine.

How we do these rankings at the MLB Reports is based on 1 thing.  The chances of the club winning the World Series.

After all, that is why we have 45 days of Spring Training, 186 days in the regular season, and another 30 or so in the playoffs.

Some teams will have their number predicated on the strength of their divisions are not.

Nearly 47% of any teams schedule is within their own division.  So the AL East and NL West would be tough divisions.

The NL East and AL Central have 2 playoff contenders in each division, while 3 teams may be easier opponents. Read the rest of this entry

The Nats Restructured Bullpen

MLB reports:

There isn’t much difference between the Opening Day 2013 Nationals bullpen and the 2014 variety, but even small changes can have major impacts.

Gone are Zach Duke, Henry Rodriguez, and Ryan Mattheus replaced by Ross Detwiler, Aaron Barrett, and Jerry Blevins.

Add that to the incumbents Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Craig Stammen and the Nationals bullpen doesn’t have a bad choice.

It is early in the season and perhaps the dreaded blower will emerge as the season progresses but the Nationals bullpen is full of both talent and pedigree and if all the relievers pitch to their expected averages then the bullpen will be a strength of the team.

Compare this to last season where there were definite bad choices.

Henry Rodriguez was a project and a mop-up man to be avoided in a close or tied game and Zach Duke was a long reliever that lacked the stuff to even make it through three outs without surrendering multiple runs.

Matt Williams could draw names out of a hat and it would be a good choice whereas Davey Johnson had pitchers that could only be used in loses and that isn’t the type of bullpen he envisioned.

In 2013 Davey Johnson would call-up relievers when he shouldn’t.

He used Henry Rodriguez in extra innings of a tie game, Yunesky Maya in a game in which Maya was only called up as a possible emergency long reliever in case the starter couldn’t go five, and both Craig Stammen and Drew Storen appeared in their most games when they were struggling at their worst.

That last one has little to do with the talent of the players and it is yet to be seen how Matt Williams handles struggling relievers but with the bullpen he has been given he has the ability to stay away from reliever in a slump when he needs to.

It is always easy to use a bullpen when everyone is going right, and to start the season the Nationals have seen reliever after reliever come in and dominate.

It has only been one series but Drew Storen looks to have picked up where he left off in 2013 and a refreshed Drew Storen is a strong weapon the 2013 bullpen lacked. When you think about that bullpen of the first few months of 2013 it really only had three reliable pitchers.

With the project of Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke as the long reliever the Nationals were already down to five relievers they could use in close or tie games and when Storen and Mattheus struggled that number fell to three.

Replacing Duke and Rodriguez with Detwiler and Blevins strengthens the Nats bullpen by immeasurable degrees. Add to that a productive Drew Storen and the young Aaron Barrett and the Nats bullpen is seven deep.

Players will struggle as the year goes along, but the depth of the Nationals bullpen is better in 2014 than it was in 2013. The Nats had to rely on Astros cast-off Fernando Abad and rookie Ian Krol for much of last season.

Both had their moments but weren’t great overall. When the Nationals need to call on an extra reliever this year they have the option of going to Ryan Mattheus, Christian Garcia, Mike Gonzalez, and Xavier Cedeno who all have major league experience or they could go to prospects Richie Miroswski or Blake Treinen.

The Nationals 2014 bullpen has started stronger than 2013, is more talented than 2013, and the depth in minors is better than it was in 2013.

A Nationals bullpen that let too many opponents back into games and couldn’t hold ties in extra innings has been restructured and is much stronger in 2014. Early signs indicate that what was a weakness for the 2013 Nationals is going to be a strength of the 2014 Nats.

-David Huzzard

Originally posted on Citizens of Natstown:

There isn’t much difference between the Opening Day 2013 Nationals bullpen and the 2014 variety, but even small changes can have major impacts. Gone are Zach Duke, Henry Rodriguez, and Ryan Mattheus replaced by Ross Detwiler, Aaron Barrett, and Jerry Blevins. Add that to the incumbents Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Craig Stammen and the Nationals bullpen doesn’t have a bad choice. It is early in the season and perhaps the dreaded blower will emerge as the season progresses but the Nationals bullpen is full of both talent and pedigree and if all the relievers pitch to their expected averages then the bullpen will be a strength of the team.

Compare this to last season where there were definite bad choices. Henry Rodriguez was a project and a mop-up man to be avoided in a close or tied game and Zach Duke was a long reliever that lacked…

View original 494 more words

Cleveland Indians State Of The Union For 2014

The Indians hosted the Wild Card Play in Game for the right to play Boston in the ALDS, but were ultimately ousted by the Tampa Bay Rays.  Now minus several pieces from last years team, they turn to their franchise depth in hopes of another playoff berth in 2014.  The club ended the year on a 10 game winning streak and extended it by 1 in the Season Opener at Oakland.  The Indians are pretty much hanging with 'status quo' among their franchise this winter.  They have also lost Scott Kazmir, and potentially Ubaldo Jimenez to Free Agency as well,  Of course Joe Smith signed with the Angels and they released Chris Perez, so other than Terry Francona winning the Manager of The Year in the AL, it hasn't been a banner offseason in Cleveland thus far.

The Indians hosted the Wild Card Play in Game for the right to play Boston in the ALDS in 2013, but were ultimately ousted by the Tampa Bay Rays. Now minus several pieces from last years team, they turn to their franchise depth in hopes of another playoff berth in 2014. The club ended the year on a 10 game winning streak – and extended it by 1 in the Season Opener at Oakland. The Indians are pretty much going with ‘status quo’ into this year. They lost key Starters Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez to Free Agency.  Of course they saw Joe Smith sign with the Angels and they released Chris Perez, so other than Terry Francona winning the Manager of The Year in the AL, it wasn’t a banner offseason.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Indians had one hell of a rollercoaster ride in the 2013 year.  It ended with the club making their 1st playoff game since the 2007 ALCS.

To make it to the #1 Wild Card Slot, Cleveland reeled of 10 straight victories, and hosted the one game battle against the Rays.

Albeit the team could not beat the Rays, and were left to settle with one home date in the postseason.

With 92 Wins, with no lineup player having an exceptional year except for maybe Jason Kipnis, there was no doubt Terry Francona peeled off one of the great managerial jobs ever.

Almost instantly after the year, the club lost Ubaldo Jimenez, Scott Kazmir, Chris Perez, Joe Smith and Drew Stubbs (trade). Read the rest of this entry

Texas Rangers Roster For 2014: State Of The Union

Prince Fielder's 2013 - 3 Slash Line (.279/.362/.819) is far below his Career Mark of .286/.389/.916.  The man has not hit a HR in his last 74 AB in the playoffs either.  Fielder at least had 5 HRs in 1st 70 AB for his playoff Career.  Maybe that will change in Texas, after he clubs his way to be an AL MVP Candidate for the Rangers in 2014.  I expect him to return to the 40+ HR plateau, drive in well over 100+ RBI - and lead his team to a World Series Appearance this year.

Prince Fielder’s 2013 – 3 Slash Line (.279/.362/.457) is far below his Career Mark of .286/.389/.527. The man has not hit a HR in his last 74 AB in the playoffs either. Fielder at least had 5 HRs in 1st 70 AB for his playoff Career. Maybe that will change in Texas, after he clubs his way to be an AL MVP Candidate for the Rangers in 2014. I expect him to return to the 40+ HR plateau, drive in well over 100+ RBI – and lead his team to a World Series Appearance this year.  Fielder will be in Texas for the next 7 years, and the Rangers only have to pay $20 MIL per year, with Detroit eating $4 MIL each season as part of the trade that saw Ian Kinsler go to Motown.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Stay Alive Until Re-Inforcements Arrive

The Texas Rangers bolstered their 2014 offensive lineup with 2 new .400+ OBP Players.

Shin-Soo Choo (.423 OBP in 2013, and a Career .389 OBP), and Prince Fielder (.362 OBP, but was .400 OBP+ in 4 out of the last 5 years and .389 OBP for his lifetime) – will be front and center into the Rangers new lineup.

These gentlemen will be surrounded by Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios as guys to help offset their walk totals.

This is not an indictment of the 3 right handed hitters either though, Beltre is a .312 hitter for Texas during his 3 campaigns, while Alex Rios and Andrus should hit anywhere from .280 to .290 this year.

You add Andrus’s speed with Leonys Martin – and these two guys could swipe 40+ bags each.  Even Alex Rios thieved 16 Bags in 2013 – and Choo had 20 SB yet again. Read the rest of this entry

Colorado Rockies State Of The Union For 2014

 This club often reminds me of an aging heavyweight fighter.  You may beat on them for a time, but there is always that chance the team will land a haymaker on you.  2007 was one of their days in the sunshine.  2014 may see them at least make the postseason again.  With a 20 - 1 odd for the club, the value is there for a longshot pick.

This club often reminds me of an aging heavyweight fighter. You may beat on them for a time, but there is always that chance the team will land a haymaker on you. 2007 was one of their days in the sunshine. 2014 may see them at least make the postseason for the 1st time since 2009. With a 20 – 1 odd for the club to win the NL west, the value is there for a longshot pick – should you be allowed to gamble on this chance.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Colorado Rockies brass were a busy bunch in the 2013 winter, heading into the 2014 year.  They have picked up several solid players for the upcoming campaign.

I simply hate that this club plays in the NL West with the Dodgers and Giants.

This year, just like any in recent memory, will depend heavily on whether the team can keep Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.

When both are clubbing it, this 3 – 4 punch may be the best in baseball now that Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera have been separated. Read the rest of this entry

San Diego Padres State Of The Union For 2014

The Padres have not made the playoffs since 2006, and have only authored 2 winning seasons in the last 7 years.  It is not from a lack of the coach, rather the NL West has far superior talent, while the San Diego franchise has been trying to replenish the farm, went through an ownership change, and now the team needs to make some decisions this offseason, that will shape the fortunes of the club for the next several years.  How does this team jump from +2200 to +1700 in such a small time in the NL West.  Someone put a lot of cabbage on San Diego.  I think the Pad Sqauad are in the mid 60's wins range, stay away from this longshot.

The Padres have not made the playoffs since 2006, and have only authored 2 winning seasons in the last 7 years. It is not from a lack of the coach, rather the NL West has far superior talent, while the San Diego franchise has been trying to replenish the farm, went through an ownership change, and now the team needs to make some decisions this offseason, that will shape the fortunes of the club for the next several years.  I think the Pad Squad are in the mid 60′s wins range by the time it is all said and done this year.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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This season could get real ugly for the Padres in 2014.

As of right now, here are the injuries the team has endured for Spring Training.

Cameron Maybin is out till mid to late April with ruptured biceps tendon.  Josh Johnson will miss a month with a strained right forearm, Corey Luebke is gone for the year with his 2nd Tommy John Surgery, and Joe Wieland also had an elbow surgery.

Among the latest issues, Carlos Quentin is doubtful for the opener today with a sore knee, Catcher Yasmani Grandal is questionable, recovering from knee surgery – while Chase Headley (strained right calf) and Chris Denorfia (sore right shoulder) are probable for tonight’s North American MLB Opener. Read the rest of this entry

Minnesota Twins State Of The Union For 2014

The Minnesota franchise has been through predicament before.  From 1987 - 1991, the club won World Series and was one of the best clubs in the timeframe, but this was followed by a losing stretch from 1993 - 2001.  The Twins then reeled off 6 Division Titles, and built a new baseball park from that success.  Now they have suffered 3 straight 90+ Loss seasons, and look to run into a 4th straight.

The Minnesota franchise has been through predicament before. From 1987 – 1991, the club won World Series and was one of the best clubs in the timeframe, but this was followed by a losing stretch from 1993 – 2001. The Twins then reeled off 6 Division Titles, and built a new baseball park from that success. Now they have suffered 3 straight 90+ Loss seasons, and look to run into a 4th straight.  The young pieces are there to turn this thing around in the next few years, however Miguel Sano went down to a season ending injury. while Alex Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia struggled in their Rookie Years.  Byron Buxton, the top Baseball prospect is also going through a minor injury ailment to his left wrist.  On a bright note, Kyle Gibson made the Starting Rotation.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Miguel Sano being hurt for the entire was a definite early downer to begin the spring.  This team still has many young new  core players, and have finally listed Kyle Gibson as a Starter in the Rotation in the #5 slot.

Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton may also provide a big splash to the franchise that is needed for many years moving forward.

You add in 3B Trevor Plouffe and SS/2B Brian Dozier possibly earning spots for the long-term, and the majority of their lineup with be made up from players from their early to mid – 20′s.

The year starts with Joe Mauer moving over to 1st, the departure of longtime veteran Justin Morneau, and 2 former players are trying to resurrect their careers with Minnesota.

Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett are both back in the Twin Cities trying to make the squad. Read the rest of this entry

Atlanta Braves State Of The Union 2014: The Hitters

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team.  Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers.  In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI.  2013 saw him make his 1st ALL - Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 - with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are the future of this team. Having said that, Freeman has displayed a little bit more consistency in his play to start their Careers. In 1908 AB so far (about 3 full years), Freeman has a 3 Slash Line of .285/.355/.466 with 68 HRs and 280 RBI. 2013 saw him make his 1st ALL – Star Game, and finish 5th in NL MVP Voting by going .319/.396/.501 – with 23 HRs and 109 RBI despite missing 15 games.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Braves won 95 Games in 2013, and the NL East was a runaway by 9 games over Washington.

This was done even though of paltry numbers posted by Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, and a half year with Jason Heyward hitting underneath the Mendoza Line.

The game changer for the offense was a surprise performance by 3B Chris Johnson, who contended for the NL Batting Title for the better part of the whole year.

Evan Gattis and Brian McCann also hit near 20+ HRs each for just about a seasons worth of Plate Appearances out of the Catchers position.

Justin Upton charged out of the gates in April with 12 HRs, and then after going cold in the next 3 months. bounced back in August to take a run at it again.

The younger brother to B.J., had stretches were he carried the club. Read the rest of this entry

Detroit Tigers State Of The Union 2014 – Part 2: The Pitchers

Joe Nathan is still one of the best closers the game of baseball has ever seen. The 39 year old came off one of his best seasons, registering a WHIP of .90 and an ERA of 1.33 amidst his 43 Saves and 74 SO.  Nathan will also bring plenty of playoff experience to Detroit. Lets just hope if the Tigers make it back to the playoffs, that he can improve in his career postseason ERA of 9.00 in 9 IP.  Nathan was inked to a 2 YR Deal this winter, worth $20 MIL, with a Team Option of $10 MIL for 2016.  This doesn't end all of the teams Relief woes, but it gives them the best Closer that was on the Free Agent Market.

Joe Nathan is still one of the best closers the game of baseball has ever seen. The 39 year old came off one of his best seasons, registering a WHIP of .90 and an ERA of 1.33 amidst his 43 Saves and 74 SO. Nathan will also bring plenty of playoff experience to Detroit. Lets just hope if the Tigers make it back to the playoffs, that he can improve in his career postseason ERA of 9.00 in 9 IP. Nathan was inked to a 2 YR Deal this winter, worth $20 MIL, with a Team Option of $10 MIL for 2016. This doesn’t end all of the teams Relief woes, but it gives them the best Closer that was on the Free Agent Market.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Here we go again.  Bruce Rondon is out for the year with Tommy John Surgery, Joba Chamberlain is throwing at Minor Leaguer’s, and Anibal Sanchez is hurting.

No team had better Starting Pitching in the game of baseball than the Tigers in 2014, while I love their top 3 Starters again, I am worried about their depth in the rotation at the back end.

The Bullpen is a lot better at the Closer’s position with Joe Nathan.

Gone are Jose Veras, underrated Joaquin Benoit, Drew Smyly moves to the Rotation,  and the ‘human dumpster fire’ Jose Valverde is also long removed from the relief core.

Added to the bringing in Nathan, the team also signed Chamberlain for 1 year, and added Ian Krol through the Doug Fister trade.

Among several returnees are Luke Putkonen, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Jose Ortega and Evan Reed. Read the rest of this entry

The Game Odds Are Posted For Opening Series MLB 2014 in Sydney: Dodgers Vs Dbacks + Picks

Clayton Kershaw gets the nod in Sydney, Australia for the MLB opener.  He may also pitch the MLB North American Opener next Sunday in San Diego, before potentially throwing 5 days later for the Dodgers Season Opener.  This could mean he Starts 3 of the clubs 6 games.  If Greinke follows him in SD, that could mean 5 Starts for these guys in the teams first 8 games, with potentially Ryu also throwing 2 matches.

Clayton Kershaw gets the nod in Sydney, Australia for the MLB opener. He may also pitch the MLB North American Opener next Sunday in San Diego, before potentially throwing 5 days later for the Dodgers Season Opener. This could mean he Starts 3 of the clubs 6 games. If Greinke follows him in SD, that could mean 5 Starts for these guys in the teams first 8 games, with potentially Ryu also throwing 2 starts in.  For those people who don’t think this season starter in Australia could benefit the Dodgers, think again.  They could lead the NL West for every day of the 2014 season, and could net 3 wins before anyone in the NL West or MLB in total has their 1st victory.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Chuck Booth gave me this mission to kick of the year writing this article.  We both come from a long history of predicting outcomes of games.

Some years we have done well, and some years have not been okay.

It has been researched and studied that Doubleheaders have a high probability of seeing a split for the 2 games.

You throw in the neutral site factor of this series, and all home field advantage is thrown out the window.

Chuck nailed the prediction of what they would put the game odds for the 2 games – based on the Starting Pitchers. Read the rest of this entry

The Braves Pitching Injuries are not a Big Deal

MLB reports:

Awesome Braves Pitching Piece by

Originally posted on Citizens of Natstown:

In 2013 the Atlanta Braves were the best team in the NL at preventing runs and they did so with a pitching staff not much different than the one they will open the 2014 season with. Subtract Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, and Kris Medlen and add in Freddy Garcia, Gavin Floyd, and Ervin Santana. Figure that Medlen and Santana were near equals in ERA last season and that Santana is moving from the AL to NL and that can be considered a lateral move. Freddy Garcia and Gavin Floyd could go either way but consider that Tim Hudson was just short of a 4.00 ERA in 2013 and Maholm was well over it and Garcia and Floyd should be equally serviceable as back of the rotation starters. In reality the Braves 2014 starting rotation isn’t much different than the 2013 variety and that doesn’t even factor in the improvements Julio…

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The Boston Red Sox State Of The Union Part 2 – The Pitchers: 2014 Preview

This is a not a slight on the Red Sox at all, but they should not be favored to win the American League right now.  Detroit should be that placeholder.  I am not sure the Red Sox will even in the AL East.  I would go with the Rays or Yankees before them right now.  The Rays had one of the best second half records in 2013, and the Yankees are a lot better as well.  I am also not sure of the team losing Ellsbury, Drew, Dempster and Saltalamacchia has improved itself with Capuano, Middlebrooks, Pierzynski and the tandem of Sizemore and Bradley JR.

This is a not a slight on the Red Sox at all, but they should not be favored to win the American League right now. Detroit should be that placeholder. I am not sure the Red Sox will even win the AL East. I would go with the Rays or Yankees before them right now. The Rays had one of the best second half records in 2013, and the Yankees are a lot better as well. I am also not sure of the team losing Ellsbury, Drew, Dempster and Saltalamacchia has improved itself with Capuano, Middlebrooks, Pierzynski and the tandem of Sizemore and Bradley JR.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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For added depth in the Bullpen, the franchise added Edward Mujica, amply giving the team multiple options at Closer should Koji Uehara not duplicate his 2013 success in 2014.

The management did a great job in peacemealing this Pitching Rotation in 2014.

Big injuries, 3 different Closers, and finally won the hottest Closers to end a year in Uehara pitching for the clubs final outs to win the Fall Classic.

The latest addition as of now for the 2014 season, are Chris Capuano for the Starting staff and also Bullpen arm Burke Badenhop, who came over from a nice year in the pen for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The club will sees Ryan Dempster take the year off for injury, but are stoked about saving his $14 MIL pricetag that he is forfeiting this season.

The Bullpen features Koji Uehara, Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Brandon Workman, Burke Badenhop, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Alex Wilson round out the potential Relief Core.

The Starting Rotation was also held together with duct tape and barbed wire in 2013, but it was enough to aid the awesome offense, and the team will sporting championship rings because of it.

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The Boston Red Sox State Of The Union Part 1 – The Hitters: 2014 Preview

The now 30 Year Old, is the only player the team has signed for massive cash and term.  Pedroia is locked up until 2021, and his AAV is around $14.0 MIL for the duration. This was a considerable hometown discount and affords the club wiggle room in payroll each year, while the 2 time World Series champ received security.

Dustin Pedroia, the now 30 Year Old, is the only player the team has signed for massive cash and term. Pedroia is locked up until 2021, and his AAV is around $14.0 MIL for the duration. This was a considerable hometown discount and affords the club wiggle room in payroll each year, while the 2 time World Series champ received security.  This contract was similar to how the New England Patriots do business with their top players.  Maybe others will follow down the same pike.  Pedroia had an incredible run in 2013, and that was despite of a bad injury. Project him to be his usual and consistent self in 2014.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Red Sox embark on a chance to repeat a World Series win for the 3rd time in 10 years.  2005 didn’t work out so well, and Boston narrowly missed in the 2008 ALCS (TB won 4 – 3).

This year, the teams brass has decided the 2014 Roster is a lot like the 2013 Roster, and then you add in the mix of a bunch of youngsters.

There were some acquisitions brought in with A.J. Pierzynski (replacing Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jackie Bradley JR or Grady Sizemore will take over for departing CF Jacoby Ellsbury.

While they gave SS Stephen Drew a 1 YR/$14.1 MIL Qualifying Offer which he doth refused.

The Beantowners will go ahead with Xander Bogaerts there, and see Will Middlebrooks have another crack at the hot corner.

Read the rest of this entry

The MLB Opens On Saturday With ARI/LAD Playing In Sydney: Opening Series Prediction

The Dodgers open up the year against the DBacks in the MLB Opening Series.  For those hardcore home fans, the games start at 1 AM PST and 7 PM PST on Saturday.  Look for an article on Friday that will have an in depth look at some of the bets that will be available for this 2 game set.  This series does scream a split between the feel of a Doubleheader, and the weirdness of the neutral site and country.

The Dodgers open up the year against the DBacks in the MLB Opening Series. For those hardcore home fans, the games start at 1 AM PST and 7 PM PST on Saturday. Look for an article on Friday that will have an in depth look at some of the bets that will be available for this 2 game set. This series does scream a split between the feel of a Doubleheader, and the weirdness of the neutral site and country.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It should have been Clayton Kershaw vs Patrick Corbin in Game #1, and Zack Greinke and Trevor Cahill in Game #2 in Sydney this Saturday.

While technically it is two different days in Sydney, the games are held at 4:00 AM and 8 PM EST on Saturday Mar.22.

For those brave enough to watch the early game, it is listed as Kershaw vs TBD (MLB.com not listing it, although Miley has been named., and Game #2 is listed as Hyun-jin Ryu vs Trevor Cahill. Read the rest of this entry

New York Mets State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

The Mets are destined of another catastrophic year in Flushing Meadows.  The only saving grace may lie with the young players starting to flourish in 2014, and the 10 Year Stalwart David Wright.  A bad Bullpen. shaky rotation dependent on health, and a Strikeout laden club, with HR power, but low OBP fuels a fan to think 'what the hell is the ownership doing?

The Mets are destined for another catastrophic year in Flushing Meadows. The only saving grace may lie with the young players starting to flourish in 2014, and the 10 Year Stalwart David Wright continue to stake his claim as an ALL – Time Met. A bad Bullpen. shaky rotation dependent on health, and a Strikeout laden club, with HR power, but low OBP -  fuels a fan to think ‘what the hell is the ownership doing?  As tough a situation as it has been for the teams brass, Sandy Alderson and Moneyball’s Paul DePodesta’ have actually done spade work in rebuilding the Minor League System and big club with prospects.  I am afraid 2014 will be another dull year at Citi Field.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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To fully describe the current state of the ‘Big Apple’ franchise we must go back to Sept of 2013.

New Team icon, and filthy dominant Right Handed Pitcher, Matt Harvey was looking to put up an awesome end to his 2013 campaign, and give the Mets fans full fledged hope for the following season.

Harvey underwent Tommy John Surgery just a few months later, which has both curbed expectations, but also excitement at the same time for the upcoming year.

Sandy Alderson pursued Curtis Granderson and landed him on a 4 YRs/$60 MIL deal, and also signed SP Bartolo Colon to a 2 YR Deal worth $20 MIL.

In a smaller move, he also inked Chris Young to a deal for one year. Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling.  Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL's Penguins, and NFL's Steelers.   They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike)

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling. Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL’s Penguins, and NFL’s Steelers. They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike).

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Pirates not only kicked the playoff curse in 2013,  but they also embarked on a journey that saw them improve on their win total for a 4th consecutive season.

In a row, it went 59, 72, 79 and 94 wins respectively from 2010 – 2014.

Neil Huntington could finally show the fruits of his labor in assembling his team.

In the last few years particularly, stalwart Draft pick Andrew McCutchen has asserted himself as one of the premiere players to suit up in the MLB right now. Read the rest of this entry

With Iglesias Out With A Shin Injury, The Tigers Must Sign Drew – And For A Few Years!!

Stephen Drew has definitely been hindered by the Draft Pick compensation.  Now with Detroit losing their Starting Shortstop for potentially the entire 2014 year, the door has swung open for the 31 Year Old player from Georgia.  If I were Drew and his agent, I would push the envelope for a 2 year deal, or at least have a total near the $14.1 MIL barrier for a one year contract.  Drew is coming off a World Series year in 2013 with Boston, where he fashioned a .777 OPS and 50 Extra Base Hits in just 442 AB.

Stephen Drew has definitely been hindered by the Draft Pick compensation for his services this winter. Now with Detroit losing their Starting Shortstop for potentially the entire 2014 year, the door has swung open for the 31 Year Old player from Georgia. If I were Drew and his agent Scott Boras, I would push the envelope for a 2 year deal, or at least have a total near the $14.1 MIL barrier for a one year deal . Drew is coming off a World Series year in 2013 with Boston, where he fashioned a .777 OPS and 50 Extra Base Hits in just 442 AB.  It will see the Tigers payroll grow some, but is a necessary cost of doing business to preserve the best squad to compete in 2014.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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With news coming down the pike that Jose Iglesias could miss the entire year due to a shin splints injury, or at least until the ALL – Star Break, going to sign Stephen for a contract now is a must for the Detroit franchise.

Iglesias was supposed to solidify the Infield in Motown this upcoming campaign with his exceptional defense.  However, lets be realistic in that his offense is a bit challenged.

Now with news of his injury wreaking havoc for most of 2014, the Tigers are left with a major void at the position.

Stephen Drew 2013 World Series HR

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The Braves Continue To Step Up To The Plate In The Ervin Santana Signing

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It was a move that had to be done in my view.  Atlanta has 60% of its Starting Rotation currently in the sick bay, or has questionable thoughts to whether it could pitch near Opening Day.

In the end it is a Win/Win situation for all above.

The Braves acquire a top end of the rotation guy, and it serves as great insurance, and Santana is able to play for a full season trying to re-establish his worth on next winter’s open market.

Sure Atlanta sacrifices a 1st RD pick, but they are still receiving the compensation Pick from the Yankees for the Brian McCann signing.

Santana flies right out the American League, and will look to pad his stats versus the likes of the Mets and Marlins this year, and to avoid the AL Beast, the only teams that were coveting him that he mutually was talking with Read the rest of this entry

St. Louis Cardinals State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

2013 was a stellar year for the Saint Louis Cardinals, just falling short of capturing the franchises 12th World Series title. Though St. Louis may have arguably lost their best offensive power hitter of 2013, Carlos Beltran, St. Louis is well armed and poised to return to the Fall Classic for the 2nd straight season.

2013 was a stellar year for the Saint Louis Cardinals, just falling short of capturing the franchises 12th World Series title. Though St. Louis may have arguably lost their best offensive power hitter of 2013, Carlos Beltran, St. Louis is well armed and poised to return to the Fall Classic for the 2nd straight season an 5th Fall Classic Appearance since 2004.  The franchise has also been to 8 NLCS’s since the turn of the millennium.

By Steven Hines (Guest Cardinals Writer view his website here): 

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Much like the offseason of a year ago, St. Louis made little moves. Despite little deals made, big changes are coming to the way this team operates in 2014.

Just because the Cardinals will look different does not mean you should expect less success than that of their World Series run of 2013.

In fact, expect the 2014 Cardinals to capture their 12th World Series Championship this season.

Bold prediction or reality, you decide. Read the rest of this entry

Is Rushing Marcus Stroman A Good Idea? Anybody Remember A Young Roy Halladay?

Video by E. Tyler Bullock

By ‘Baseball Writer’ Steve Cheeseman 

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Is Rushing Marcus Stroman a Good Idea?

Prime pitching prospect Marcus Stroman is the pride and joy prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 22 year old out of Medford, New York is front and centre with many media outlets heading into the spring training. Consider his age, and little professional experience under his hat. Why rush him?

Stroman was drafted 22nd overall in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, after finishing a college career at Duke where he set the school record for strikeouts with 290 (over 222.0 innings). Read the rest of this entry

San Francisco Giants State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Okay so it is an even year, so most fans in the Bay Area can only think of one thing…Another World Series ring right?

Come on, they won in 2010 and 2012, why not 2014?

The win in 2012 was a nice statistical oddity, but when you factor in that the hunger to win a World Series must dissipate a little bit when you have just cashed one in, then maybe another one can be achieved when the next year hits again.

The Giants went 76 – 86 in 2013, this is more of a stretch, for when they completed the 2011 campaign at 86 – 76 following their 1st World Series Title.

There is room for optimism though, from their top 7 hitters in the Batting Order, this team features some of the streakiest guys at the plate in the MLB. Read the rest of this entry

MLB’s 2014 Most Likely To Class…….

PED use or not, Stem Cell technology, and who knows what else has aided Colon's body over the last 3 seasons of success.  Yes he was 18 - 6, with a 2.65 ERA - finishing 6th in AL Voting, however the A's went and paid someone else, and usually they are not wrong on guys.  The 40 Year Old from Dominican Republic, is also a gigantic man that decimated his hamstring during a PFP out in 2011 with NYY.  You have to think his lucky streak is numbered sooner or later - and especially on the basepaths in the NL hitting a few times a game.

PED use or not, Stem Cell technology, and who knows what else has aided Colon’s body over the last 3 seasons of success. Yes he was 18 – 6, with a 2.65 ERA – finishing 6th in AL Voting, however the A’s went and paid someone else, and usually they are not wrong on guys. The 40 Year Old from Dominican Republic, is also a gigantic man who decimated his hamstring during a PFP out in 2011 with NYY. You have to think his lucky streak is numbered sooner or later – and especially on the basepaths in the NL hitting a few times a game.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Remember when you graduated, or just had a school yearbook, and one of the best features was a ‘Most Likely To‘ Section.

It could have been John is most likely to succeed at playing football, or Sally will make a fortune by selling her clothes fashions to Hollywood Diva’s.

Lets do this for the MLB 2014 as it sits.

The Most Likely To Hit The DL after running to 1st is Bartolo Colon. Read the rest of this entry

Current Odds Over/Under Wins For All 30 MLB Teams In 2014: Best Bets On The Board

The regular season over/unders have been updated yet again.  While most of them are right in the realm of where they should be - about 20% of the numbers scream out for me to bet some cabbage on.

The regular season over/unders have been updated yet again. While most of them are right in the realm of where they should be – about 20% of the numbers scream out for me to bet some cabbage on.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Yes these are my predictions for the current state of the MLB.

Right beside the wins and losses, is the over.under totals and odd.

Next to that will be whether that would make it Over/Under based on my selections.

If I think an odd is worthy of plunking down some pesos, I will highlight it. Read the rest of this entry

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