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MLB Reports Top 100 Prospects In Mid – 2014 (51 – 100)

 

The Texas Rangers possess 5 of the players we have in our 51 - 100 prospects.  If this team is serious about getting younger even more with trades of Alex Rios or Adrian Beltre, perhaps they can add even more to the list  In a year where they have had 20+ DL stints, maybe some of these young guys will find themselves in Arlington sooner - rather than later.

The Texas Rangers possess 5 of the players we have in our 51 – 100 prospects. If this team is serious about getting younger even more with trades of Alex Rios or Adrian Beltre, perhaps they can add even more to the list In a year where they have had 20+ DL stints, maybe some of these young guys will find themselves in Arlington sooner – rather than later.

 

Top 100 Prospects (51 – 100)

Jordan Gluck (Baseball Operations Analyst): 

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To make this list you must be able to meet rookie eligibility. To be eligible for a list, a player must have rookie eligibility.

To qualify for rookie status, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the 25-player limit period, excluding time on the disabled list or in military service.

This list doesn’t include players in the 2014 Draft nor the 2014 international signing period.

For Part 1 of our list – Click the Link Below

MLB Reports Top 100 MLB Prospects In Mid – 2014 (1 – 50)

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Milwaukee Should Put Ryan Braun On The Trading Block

Ryan Braun is coming back to start the 2014 year with the Brewers, but maybe the brass should be thinking about trading him to spread out the talent pool on their young squad?  Chances are the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals are going to get the best of the you for the next few years, and you really have to take stock in the 2013 winter Free Agent's.  Their is a huge need out there for an OF like Braun.  One has to think whether or not he will be 100% ready to come back to Milwaukee - as that is a lot of baggage to go through initially.  Read the rest of the piece to see who I think could be a potential suitor!

Ryan Braun is coming back to start the 2014 year with the Brewers, but maybe the brass should be thinking about trading him to spread out the talent pool on their young squad? Chances are the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals are going to get the best of the you for the next few years, and you really have to take stock in the 2013 winter Free Agent’s. There is a huge need out there for an OF like Braun – if he were to be made available via trade. . One has to think whether or not he will be 100% ready to come back to Milwaukee – as that is a lot of baggage to go through initially. Read the rest of the piece to see who I think could be a potential suitor!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Okay, I maybe a little late on my thoughts of Ryan Braun, but I wasn’t writing for this website at the time the fiasco went down.  I am not going to spend too much time talking about his suspension either.

My purpose of writing this piece is to say that the Brewers should trade the jaded superstar before they even start play in 2014.

Let’s face it, the man’s talents may be in question, however the dude put up monster numbers during 2012 – when the entire world had their sights set on him.  Yet this is different.

Braun has been exposed for the ‘Fraud’ that he is.  More than just setting a bad example, he lied to the fans of the Brewers, and to that entire town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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“Stoking The Fire” Week 4: Mariners State Of The Union: Spend Some $$$ This Winter Seattle!!

Life has not been so great for the fans of the PAC NW of late.  The Mariners have regressed in the last decade of baseball - and are withering with the lowest attendance teams in the game of baseball.  This followed the 1st 5 years of Safeco Field's existence, where they were drawing over 3 Million fans - and competing in the AL West every year.  It is imperative this team spends money on quality Free Agents this winter.  Loaded with a multitude of young arms, and position players.  this franchise should be seeking power bats in the OF and 1B/DH positions

Life has not been so great for the fans of the PAC NW of late. The Mariners have regressed in the last decade of baseball – and are withering with the lowest attendance teams in the game of baseball. This followed the 1st 5 years of Safeco Field’s existence, where they were drawing over 3 Million fans – and competing in the AL West every year. It is imperative this team spends money on quality Free Agents this winter. Loaded with a multitude of young arms, and position players. this franchise should be seeking power bats in the OF and 1B/DH positions.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Nothing is more a waste of time, than watching a premiere talent like Felix Hernandez, have to suffer in the haphazard city of Seattle, while the team has entered a new generation of futility.

This is a franchise that was abysmal from 1977 – until the time that Ken Griffey JR. came to the rescue.

A few years later, armed with some good drafting – and Randy Johnson from trading away Mark Langston, and the team was ready to compete.

Of course I can always quote “Seinfeld” – where Jay Buhner was also acquired for DH Slugger Ken Phelps.

But since Lou Pinella followed ALL – Stars out the door in 2004, Johnson, (1998) Griffey (1999) and Alex Rodriguez in (2000), the club has fallen on some hard times.

At first the team was stoic with the players leaving the nest, as Jamie Moyer and Ichiro Suzuki helped lead the charge for a record winning 116 Games in 2001.

Suzuki was the right infusion when the other guys left, and he stayed graciously with the team until mid 2012.

Raul Ibanez Highlights:

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The Seattle Mariners Payroll In 2014, Organizational Affiliates, Prospects, Depth Charts, (MLB + MiLB)

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now.  It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great - in what has been a brutal decade.  Jack Z.. was just extended for one more year.  While it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, the club's youth has finally shown some promise.  The team has a promising amount of young pitchers, good Starting Pitching already in the Majors, and a few positional players that look like they will stay in the bigs.  Of concern is the fact they will lose several veterans in Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez after this year.  That is, unless they decide to trade any of them in the next week.

The Mariners have one of the gem stadiums in all of baseball right now. It is too bad the team on the field has not been that great – in what has been a brutal decade. Jack Z.. was just extended for one more year. While it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, the club’s youth has finally shown some promise. The team has a promising amount of young pitchers, good Starting Pitching already in the Majors, and a few positional players that look like they will stay in the bigs. Of concern is the fact they will lose several veterans in Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez after this year. That is, unless they decide to trade any of them in the next week.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

The Mariners were one of the best teams in the Major Leagues when they moved into Safeco Field.

Despite losing Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Ken GriffeyJR. in successive seasons, the team matched a Major League Record with 116 Wins during the 2001 year.

Ichiro Suzuki admirably took over the reigns as the team leader, and carried the club on his shoulders for the next years.

Lou Pinella was there until 2003 – and was having his team in perennial contention since the 1995 year.

After 2003, the club has been abysmal in the next decade.

The team has had several face lifts, rotation managers – and the attendance has come down for over 3 Million fans per year, and now the can barely draw about 1.5 MIL people.

Seattle is one of the biggest markets in North America, and can totally put forth a winning team – and a high payroll.

For the team to even sign some Free Agents, the young players of the organization have to start playing well and to potential.

Any team with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma is not that far off from competing.

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Mariners Organization click here.

For all 30 teams Organization Lists from the MLB Reports, plus any related Payrolls, Depth Charts, Roster Trees, State Of The Unions click here.

Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Highlights 2012

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Chase Headley: Contract Talks Or Trade Bait?

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Monday May 6th, 2013

Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, he will need to put up monster numbers for the Padres to compete with the LA Dodgers going forward.  Headley caaptured a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger in 2012. He ended up finishing 5th in NL MVP voting.  He hit 23 HRs and 73 RBI in just 75 Games after the 2012 ALL-Star Game.. Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 - with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812.  He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI.  He could potentially hit a few more out with the fences drawn in.

Headley led the NL with 115 RBI in 2012 amongst 31 HRs, he will need to put up monster numbers for the Padres to compete with the NL West teams  going forward Chase Headley actually fared well at Petco Park in 2012 – with a 3 Slash Line of .272/.357/.812. He added 13 HRs and 51 RBI. He could potentially hit a few more out this season with the fences newly drawn in.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

For the past few seasons, Chase Headley has been the one guy on the roster that the San Diego Padres can rely on. Last year, he put up MVP-like numbers, hitting 31 HR and driving in 115 runs.

This year, he is really the only guy in the lineup that can truly produce runs. Yonder Alonso has that capability, but he is still a bit raw. Headley is signed to a one-year $8.58 million contract.

He becomes Arbitration-eligible in 2014 and is a Free Agent in 2015. The Padres are faced with a conundrum: should they trade Headley?

This third baseman is 28 years old—about the time when most players enter their prime. With the season we saw from Headley in 2012, I think it is safe to say that he has already entered his prime, and probably has two or three more years similar to 2012 ahead of him.

If the Padres are building for the future, which I sure hope they are, they need to trade Headley right away.

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MLB Monthly Power Rankings May 2013 (Podcast Version)

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Sunday, May.05/2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour.

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

One month down in the MLB season and that means it’s time for some Power Rankings! Chuck Booth the czar of MLBreports.com joins us in studio to rank every team from worst to first. Where does your team rank? Read the rest of this entry

Bundy Injury Might Turn Out Okay After A PRP Injection: The O’s May Callup Gausman Instead

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Saturday May 4, 2013

After being picked 4th overall in the 2011 draft, Bundy made his big league debut just over a year later. Even though most people thought it was too soon to call up the 19 year old RHP, he didn't disappoint in his 2 appearances. He only tossed 1.2 innings but did not allow any runs and only 1 hit and one walk.

After being picked 4th overall in the 2011 draft, Bundy made his big league debut just over a year later. Even though most people thought it was too soon to call up the 19 year old RHP, he didn’t disappoint in his 2 Appearances. He only tossed 1.2 Innings, but did not allow any runs – and only 1 hit and one walk.

By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer):

In 2011 the Baltimore Orioles were lucky enough to have the 4th overall pick in the First Year Player Draft after finishing 66-96 in 2010. When their pick came three pitchers were off the board.

Gerrit Cole went to Pittsburgh, Danny Hultzen went to Seattle, and Trevor Bauer went to Arizona in that order. So, why not continue that trend of picking pitchers?

With the 4th pick in the 2011 draft the Orioles took the RHP Dylan Bundy from Owasso High School in Oklahoma.

Bundy had an impressive 4 years at Owasso High School. In his senior season alone he threw 71 Innings, went 11-1 – while tossing 158 Ks, only 5 Walks and posting a 0.30 ERA.

He won the Gatorade State Player of the Year 3 times and in his senior season became the first baseball player to win the Gatorade Athlete of the Year.

Dylan Bundy- 2010-11 Gatorade Player of the Year

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Seattle Mariners Payroll in 2013: And Contracts Moving Forward

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Tuesday.February.25/2013

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars.  Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

The Mariners Payroll in 2013 will be 80+ million dollars. Sadly enough, the Mariners are still not expected to compete in the American League West.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

It has been over ten years since the Seattle Mariners found themselves as participants in the American League playoffs. Over the course of that time, the M’s have had their ups and downs (quite obviously more downs), and they have come close to getting back to the post-season on several occasions. However, the last three years have been frustrating for Mariners’ fans as the team has ended each season in last place in the AL West. Along with the post-season drought, the Mariners have made some poor contractual decisions. This seasons payroll will not be exceptionally high, but Seattle is far from a small market team. One of the benefits of this season is that the Mariners are not flooded with a lot of long term, massive contracts. The future for the Mariners can be bright, but they need to find some talented offensive pieces and a couple of arms to back their superstar ace, Felix Hernandez.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the big deals that make up the top end of the Mariners payroll in 2013. I think most Mariners fans will ultimately be pretty disappointed in which player is following up King Felix on the payroll for the upcoming season.

Mariners 21 Rangers 8 on May.30/2012 Highlights:

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MLB Reports Top 100 Prospects: A Rebuttal To The MLB.com’s Top 100

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Tuesday February.12, 2013

Our favorite Minor League Prospect - Tyler Austin has been invited to Yankees Spring Training in 2013.

By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent)

Before I show you my top 100 prospects – I want to get you familiar with my grading tactics and styles and what I value most. All prospects have ceilings and very few players reach that ceiling. First lets go through the tools of what I personally value most and where.

Tools: 

Bat:1
Power:2
Speed:3
Glove:4
Arm:5
Makeup:?

Those are the 5(6) tools that scouts use and the scale goes from 20-80. 80 being HOF rare like Giancarlo Stanton Power and 20 being absolutely terrible like Bengie Molina has 20 speed. Most people reading this will probably have more than 20 speed so that’s how pathetic it is.

Jurickson Profar Prospect Highlights:

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Seattle Mariners Roster in 2013: State Of The Union:

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Thursday, January.31/2013

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

Felix Hernandez is still the Mariners best player without a doubt. Will he get some help shouldering the load in 2013? Either way, all of baseball should be watching when King Felix pitches, he is a true marvel on the mound.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Intern):

Seattle Mariners fans must be pretty amazing, Felix Hernandez sticking with their team through recent times. The Mariners were established in 1977 and have made the playoffs just 4 times in their history. They were the AL West champs 3 times (’95, ’97, ’01) and winners of the Wild Card once (’00). They have never won a World Series, or even an AL Pennant, and in 2012 they shipped off a fan favorite, Ichiro Suzuki, to the Yankees. The AL West is a tough division. The Rangers and Athletics made the playoffs last year, and the Angels just landed the prize of the off-season in slugger Josh Hamilton. I guess one bright spot is the Astros are moving to the AL West, so the Mariners won’t be rebuilding within the brutal division alone.

The Seattle Mariners hopes and dreams start where they have for years now, on the shoulders of King Felix. Felix Hernandez is no doubt an Ace. He has pitched 200+ innings every year since ’08, and had a sub 4.00 ERA every year since ’07. Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010, and is a perennial contender for the award. Last year the Seattle fireballer threw his first Perfect Game. Hernandez will once again be atop the Mariners rotation, which as of now figures to include Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez, and Hector Noesi.

Hisashi Iwakuma was a pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2012. He wasn’t a greatly sought after oversees free agent last year, overshadowed greatly by fellow Japanese hurler Yu Darvish, but proved to be a great signing. Iwakuma started 2012 in the bullpen until he later earned a spot in the team’s rotation. Iwakuma managed a very respectable 3.16 ERA in the 125.1 innings he split between the rotation and the pen. This success is part of the reason the Mariners resigned the pitcher to a 2YR/14 Million Dollar deal this past November. He figures to hold down the 2nd spot in the rotation and should do just fine if 2012 was a sign of things to come.

Blake Beavan is still just 23 Years Old, but he already has 41 Major League Starts under his belt which gives the club hope he can hold down the 3rd or 4th slot in the rotation. Beavan clearly has the talent which is what made him a 1st Round draft pick out of high school for the Rangers, and the reason the Mariners made sure he was a part of the package they received in return for Cliff Lee in 2010. Beavan’s 2012 stats won’t impress a lot of people, but they were a good start for a young player like himself to build and improve upon.

Felix Hernandez Highlights:  Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised

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Vargas/Morales Trade Fills Needs For Both Teams

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Friday, January.04,  2013

Kendrys Morales had a breakout year with the Angels in 2009, where he he hit .306 with 34 HRs and 108 RBI.  He also clubbed 43 Doubles and carried an OPS of .924 for the year which propelled him to a top 5 AL MVP Finish.

Kendrys Morales had a breakout year with the Angels in 2009, where he he hit .306 with 34 HRs and 108 RBI. He also clubbed 43 Doubles and carried an OPS of .924 for the year which propelled him to a top 5 AL MVP Finish. In 2010, he suffered an ankle injury celebrating a Walk-Off Grand Slam in Angels Stadium.  His OPS was .778  in 2012,  can he regain his previous form in Seattle?

Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Trade Correspondent):

It is rare in baseball that division rivals complete trades.  Most of the time when it does happen, it is a lower end deal involving pieces that neither team is particularly worried will come back to haunt them.  This is what makes the Jason Vargas for Kendrys Morales trade so interesting.  It is a trade that makes incredible sense for all parties involved, but there is at least some likelihood that either or both players could make their former club regret the move in the short term.  Let’s take a closer look at the players involved in the deal and why each club wanted to make this move.

On the Angels side, the team was in dire need of innings they could count on.  After acquiring Tommy Hanson and his questionable shoulder as well as losing Zack Greinke to their cross-town rivals, the Dodgers, the Angels needed to find a starter who could give them guaranteed innings.  Enter Jason Vargas.  Vargas has been good for 190 plus innings over the last three season including over 200 Innings Pitched in 2011 and 2012. Vargas is a back-end of the rotation starter who has one terrific pitch in his arsenal, which is his change-up. Vargas’ change-up is an elite pitch.  To help characterize how elite a pitch it can be, we can look to some statistical measures.  Per 100 pitches, Vargas saved 2.25 runs over the course of 2012 with his change-up. To understand in comparison, Justin Verlander‘s curveball, what many would consider his “put-away” pitch saved 2.04 runs per 100 pitches in 2012.  Now clearly, no one in their right mind is going to positively compare Vargas to Verlander, but in terms of Vargas’ change-up, I think it is important for everyone to understand that he does do something as well if not better than any other pitcher in the Major Leagues.  

The Brutal Kendrys Morales injury after a Grand Slam Walk-Off HR:

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Weekly 6-Pack MLB Prospects: Hot/Cold Sheet – Week of August 4th

Saturday August 4th, 2012

Codey Harrison:  This is the first installment of the weekly prospect hot/cold sheet. We will feature 3 prospects that are on fire, and 3 prospects that are ice-cold. List’s of player’s will only include players who are still prospect eligible, less than 130 MLB at bats, less than 50 innings pitched at the MLB level. Featured players are generally players who are highly regarded amongst the minors and are regarded as legit prospects. Dylan Bundy who ranks 2nd on our mid-season top-50 prospects list gets the nod for the hot prospect after his best outing as a pro.

HOT PROSPECTS:

Dylan Bundy RHP Orioles - The 4th overall pick of the 2011 first year player draft has been dominant all season, but especially dominant of late. Bundy had arguably his best start as a pro his last time on the mound going 6 2/3 Innings, allowing 2 hits, 0 earned runs, while walking 2, and striking out 8. Overall in his last 2 starts, Dylan Bundy has posted very good numbers. 11 innings, 9 hits, 2 runs (1ER), 3 walks, and 14 strikeouts. Bundy signed a big league contract with the Orioles and management hasn’t ruled out calling up Bundy in September if Baltimore is still in the playoff race. Read the rest of this entry

2012 MLB All-Star Futures Game Preview

Thursday July 5th, 2012

John Burns: On July8th 2012, the 14th annual MLB All-Star Futures Game will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

For those who do not know about the Futures Game, it is where a team of minor league baseball prospects from the United States and a team of prospects from other countries in the World compete against each other in a 9-inning exhibition game. The rosters for both teams are picked by Baseball America and all 30 teams must have at least one representative.

Here are some highly regarded names of players that will be playing in this year’s Futures Game: Dylan Bundy (BAL), Manny Machado (BAL), Billy Hamilton (CIN), Nick Castellanos (DET), Wil Myers (KC), Zack Wheeler (NYM), Gerrit Cole (PIT), Jameson Taillon (PIT), Danny Hultzen (SEA), Enny Romero (TB), and Anthony Gose (TOR). Read the rest of this entry

Seattle Mariners and Ace Felix Hernandez: What to Do With King Felix?

 

Sunday June 24th, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: As the Mariners continue to grind away at the bottom of the American League West, many wonder: should they trade Felix Hernandez? With Felix, the Mariners have one of the best starting pitchers in the league, as he’s already pitched in eight seasons by the age of 26. 2010 was his best season, when he won his first Cy Young even though the Mariners struggled and were below .500. Felix has yet to enter his prime and is most likely at the height of his trade value. If the Mariners want to get the most possible out of this ace, they would have to act now. But would the Mariners even dare to trade such a prize? Read the rest of this entry

My Top Six Worst MLB Teams in 2012

Sunday January 8th, 2012

Sam Evans: It’s no fun to be a fan of a losing team. Every game seems longer and it hurts to look around and see fans of the other teams loving every moment. There’s always supposed to be next year, but that kind of talk just hurts the players and coaches as much as it does the fans. Let’s look at my bottom five teams in 2012: based on the major league roster and talent in the system that could make an impact in the upcoming season.

25. Seattle Mariners: As a Mariners fan, this one hurts. It’s been eleven years since the Mariners made the playoffs. A city blessed with a beautiful new ballpark, Seattle hasn’t had much of chance to cheer on many winners in recent times.

Since he was hired in 2008, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has transformed the Mariners farm system into one of the best in the game. The problem is that the major league club is still struggling, and fans are losing interest. The Mariners are like New Year’s resolutions. They’re so promising at first, but after two weeks, most people just give up.

So far this offseason, the Mariners have been rumored to be actively pursuing Prince Fielder. The argument for Prince Fielder is that his contract would be worth the risk for the team given all of the fans he would draw… not to mention, the M’s need for a middle of the order slugger. However, other fans feel that Fielder is overpriced and point to the fact that if the Mariners signed Prince, they would be only the fourth team with two players making over $20M in 2012.

The Mariners do have some young promising players. Justin Smoak, a former top 10 BA prospect, will finally be healthy heading into the new year. Also, the M’s have a trio of young pitchers in the minors that are all top 100 prospects. James Paxton and Danny Hultzen could possibly see time in the rotation this year. Furthermore, last time I checked Felix Hernandez was still a Mariner, and he’s signed through 2014.

26. New York Mets: The Mets have always been second to the Yankees in New York in terms of popularity, but there’s never been this much of a difference. The Mets have been silent this offseason, except for a swap of outfielders with the Giants, and bringing in some bullpen help. The Mets do have Zack Wheeler (acquired in the Carlos Beltran trade) and Matt Harvey (2010 1st rounder) on the way, but neither will make a huge impact in ’12.

Jason Bay has struggled ever since receiving his enormous contract two years ago. In 2009, Bay hit 36 homers for the Red Sox. In 2010 and 2011, Bay had only eighteen homers. Part of the decline in numbers is the park factor that Citi Field has on hitters (which is due to change with the new park dimensions in 2012). It should be noted though that Bay hasn’t hit a home run to right field since June 28, 2010.

This year, the Mets should get Johan Santana back. I wrote about Johan in November here. If he is healthy this year, hopefully the Mets can get something out of Santana, who is due $24M in 2012.

The Mets future will be based on how they spend their money and how they control their prospects. If the Mets hadn’t pushed Jenrry Mejia, chances are he wouldn’t have gotten injured. If the Mets hadn’t signed the Jason Bay and Johan Santana contracts, then they would have had the money to go after Prince Fielder this offseason (in theory). New York has a long ways to go to compete with the other N.L. East teams, and they’re going to need to make smart long-term decisions to get there.

27. San Diego Padres: The Padres acquired Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso this offseason in an attempt to boost their offense. They ended up trading away Mat Latos and Anthony Rizzo, and losing Heath Bell and Aaron Harang to free agency.

Carlos Quentin is really going to struggle in Petco Park, and Alonso is going to have his share of issues developing into a power hitter with his new team. The fact is that the Padres will never have a terrible pitching staff due to the spacious Petco Park effect. But their rotation is actually as bad as it has been in some years. I also am a supporter of Will Venable, and I think the Padres would be making a mistake if they traded him.

San Diego plays in a division where it’s not impossible that they could make a nice run and make the playoffs. But I would be surprised.

28. Oakland Athletics: Led by GM Billy Beane, the Athletics have been extremely active this offseason. They’ve shipped away their best pitchers and let their best hitter leave in free agency. The A’s have had a good offseason, thanks to all the new talent that they’ve imported into their farm system.

2012 is not going to be the year of resurgence for the A’s. 2013, maybe, but right now the Angels and Rangers are just too good. The A’s strength is probably their middle infield which will feature Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington. If Chris Carter can show some power in the majors, then he will do just fine at DH.

With acquisitions such as Derek Norris, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Cole, Billy Beane has shown he’s not afraid to trade his best major league players in order to obtain talent that won’t be ready for a year or two.

29. Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles were a promising team heading into 2011. The “Fighting Showalter’s” had a late run in 2010, and Buck Showalter seemed to be really getting through to the players. Unfortunately, 2011 didn’t go as expected for the Orioles. They finished 69-93 and solidified their reputation as the worst baseball team in the A.L East, if not the whole American League.

The  2011 Orioles will forever go down in baseball history not for their season, but for their last game against the Red Sox on September 28, 2011. The Orioles were down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth on the last day of the season. Going into the game,  the Red Sox were 77-0 on the season when leading after the eighth inning. The Orioles came back to win, and they will forever be remembered for their contributions to one of the best days in baseball history.

2012 can be a  successful year for the Orioles if they discover an ace… and if Adam Jones improves his game to the next level. It’s not going to be easy, but if everything falls into place, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette could lead the Orioles out of the A.L. East basement in the next coming years.

30. Houston Astros: Moving into the 2011 season, the Astros were projected by pretty much everyone in baseball to be the worst team in baseball. Well, at least they didn’t let anyone down. The Astros finished 56-106, which was the worst record in all of baseball.

I traveled to Houston this summer and I expected to find an uninterested Astros fanbase. I was surprised to see countless devoted fans who truly cared about their team. Astros fans are out there and they will start coming back to Minute Maid Park when the team starts winning.

Sorry Houston fans, but 2012 isn’t going to be much fun for you. Chances are that you will return to the basement of the N.L. Central and lose over one hundred games. Nevertheless, there is hope. Jose Altuve is turning into a nice young second basemen who can hit for average . Jordan Lyles can be a #3 starter, and Jarred Cosart could finally reach the bigs in 2012.

Another piece of the silver lining is Houston’s new General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who is involved in sabermetrics and helped build the Cardinals who won the 2011 World Series. Luhnow was in the Cardinals scouting department since 2003 and helped produce major league talent from the draft. He also has been a General Manager for Petstore.com, and has an M.B.A from Northwestern. His first move was trading for Jed Lowrie. On the surface this seems like a solid deal, whereby he attained a young talented infielder for his new organization. In my opinion, this is going to look like an amazing hire in four years time.

So even if 2012 is rough, Astros fans can start looking towards the future. It might take a couple of seasons, but it won’t be long  before the Astros are packing Minute Maid Park everyday. Ironically, the road to the respectability for the worst team in the majors won’t happen until they move to the A.L. West. With the Rangers and Angels waiting in their new division, the journey towards success for the Astros will get that much tougher in 2013.

**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

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