Thursday November 15th, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst)
Last week Jonathan Hacohen, the founder of MLBReports.com called to my attention that the Tampa Bay Rays are an anomaly. Ultimately, if you look at the way their team is structured and where their talent lays, and the kind of game that Joe Maddon manages the Rays are ultimately a National League team; displaced in the AL East. The Rays greatest strength is their depth of pitching that they can reach into the bowels of an amazing farm system ripe with young talent. But from there on out, they rely on an offense that generates runs due to other inefficiencies.
With B.J. Upton leaving town, and Carlos Pena only a carcass of what he once was, there is ultimately zero power left in their lineup. Their DH for the past two years have been the likes of an aging Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Luke Scott. Ownership is constantly complaining about attendance and looking for bargain free agents like Johnny Damon to bring in at the end of their careers and hopefully attract some Yankees and Red Sox fans to the stadium.
At this point, the Rays power hitters are Evan Longoria, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist. They have an amazing nucleus of pitching talent, including David Price who just won the AL Cy Young, and they are mentioning trading almost all of their starting pitchers. This is understandable, as you have to dish out talent to bring back offensive talent that they are in great need of. But I still have major gripes with the way owner Stuart Sternberg has approached the past 4 seasons in St. Petersburg, and I will get into more detail about this in a little while. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday July.4, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season. There will be a few notes written for each team. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts. The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last month. If this report was being done last week I might have put the New York Yankees in 1st and Texas in 2nd. A 7 game winning streak help preserve another month for Texas on the leader-board. There were superior months by Aaron Hill, Jose Bautista, Joey Votto , Jason Heyward and a new phenomenon was born with Jose Altuve. It was a great month for the MLB. With 20 teams within 5.5 games or less for the playoff races, we are sure to see some serious movements in the Power Rankings in the 2nd half of the season.
Standings taken before play Tuesday July.03/2012
July Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis
1. Texas-50-30 (1) The Rangers rode a 7 game winning streak to end up 18-8 for the last month. David Murphy, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus all hit over .300 in the last 30 days. The Rangers were able to weather a slow spurt from Josh Hamilton, in which he hit .222 with only 4 HRs for the month. Matt Harrison has asserted himself as an ace on the staff with a 5-0 month with a 1.29 ERA, while leading the American League with 11 wins on the year. The Rangers have 6 players going to the ALL-Star Game including 3 starters. Yu Darvish can make a 7th if he is voted into the final roster spot with his rookie campaign of 10-5 so far.
2. NY Yankees 48-31(5) The Yankees have ridden good pitching and a hot bat from Robinson Cano to a 19-7 record over the last month, with a 5 games lead over their competition in the AL East. Cano hit .370 with 12 HRs and 24 RBI in the last month. Derek Jeter is hitting .298 overall but saw his average go from .389 in April, to .283 in May to .232 in June. He still tops a list of 4 Yankees heading to the ALL-Star Game including 23 HR homer man Curtis Granderson. Phil Hughes went 5-1 in the month with a 2.59 ERA and Ivan Nova won his 3 decisions with a miniscule 1.32 ERA. Rafael Soriano has converted 18 out of 19 save opportunities since taking over as team closer.
3. San Francisco 45-30 (9) The Giants went 16-11 in the month and saw a perfect game from Matt Cain, with a few other 1 hitters. The team shutout the Dodgers 3 games in a row in a series last week. The Giants have Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera starting in KC next week. The Melkman continues to show that last year was no fluke with his .352 Average and he is leading the Major Leagues with 111 base hits. The Giants pitching staff has coped with the loss of Brian Wilson and the ineffectiveness of starter Tim Lincecum, by the rest of the staff having career years.
4. LA Angels 45-35 (12) The Angels have been really steady since the end of May. They just finished going 17-8 in the last 25 days on the backs of ALL-Stars Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and resurgent Albert Pujols. Trout might be the most exciting player on the planet these days and is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year if he keeps this up. Trout hit .367 over the last month and has taken over the AL batting lead with a .342 AVG. Trumbo hit 10 HRs and drove in 28 RBI for the month and Pujols hit .337. to raise his average 40 points. C.J Wilson was good enough in June to be named as CC Sabathia‘s replacement at the ALL-Star game.
5. Washington 45-32(9) Mike Morse has returned to the lineup with a vengeance during the last week with a .484 average. Super Sub Tyler Moore has also hit .415 in the last 14 games with 4 HRs and 12 RBI. Ian Desmond had 16 Extra base hits for the month to go along with 20 RBI, while he made the ALL-Star game as a reserve. Ryan Zimmerman awoke from a season long slump to plate 17 RBI. Adam LaRoche still contributed 7 HRs and 15 RBI despite a paltry .191 average in June. Stephen Strasburg is 9-3 on the year with a 2.81 ERA and a league leading 122 SO. Gio Gonzalez is 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA. Both Gonzalez and Strasburg made the ALL-Star squad. Read the rest of this entry
Monday June.4, 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you monthly power rankings every month of the season. There will be a few notes written for each team. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts. The Texas Rangers are the top ranked team yet once again, although teams are certainly gaining on the them in the last week. Look out for Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees to make their move towards the top this month.
June Power Rankings-Last Month Rank in Parenthesis
1. Texas-32-22 (1) The Rangers rode Josh Hamilton in the month of May-who enters today on pace for about 60 HRs and 170 RBI while hitting .354. Nelson Cruz is starting to heat up and the duo of Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler are steady as as ever. Yu Darvish is 7-3 en route to the leading the group amongst Rookie of The Year Contention. Joe Nathan is looking like his old self again out of the pen with an ERA under 2.
2. LA Dodgers 33-21 (5) Even with Matt Kemp out of the lineup again, the Dodgers are winning ball games with solid contributions from Andre Ethier and A.J Ellis on offense. The pitching staff has been anchored by Clayton Kershaw and a fast 7-1 start by Chris Capuano. Ted Lilly was 5-1 before a stint on the DL. It is too bad because Lilly is 125-104 since 2004.
3. Tampa Bay 31-23 (2) Hideki Matsui homered in two of his first 3 games back with the Rays. The team has had steady pitching to stay in contention. Carlos Pena has really struggled in the last month and will need to pick it up. Luke Scott with 35 RBI has good production numbers in spite of his .225 AVG. Fernando Rodney has converted 17 out of 18 saves to pace the club.
4. Cincinnati 30-23 (12) Joey Votto has hit .404 in the last 30 days and maybe the best all-around hitter in the National League right now. Jay Bruce has 12 HRs and 34 RBI and is living up to his all-star potential. Aroldis Chapman has 27 Strikeouts in just over 14 innings and has yet to yield a run while opponents are hitting a paltry .043 against him.
5. NY Yankees 29-24 (6) The Bronx Bombers have 6 players with 8 HRs or more, which is a good thing because with the exception of Derek Jeter, a lot of them are hitting under their career averages. The return of Andy Pettitte has helped the rotation with the loss of Micheal Pineda. Phil Hughes threw a complete game over the weekend and CC Sabathia is on pace for another 20 win season. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday April 8, 2012
Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): The MLB season has already officially kicked off, and yet there are still some veteran players looking for a place to play. The list is occupied mainly by former outfielders that may not have enough left in the tank defensively, including Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero and, maybe most notably, Hideki Matsui. The 37-year-old, who played just 27 of his 141 games in left field hasn’t been a regular in the outfield since his 2007 campaign with the Yankees. Last season for the Oakland A’s, Godzilla hit a career low .251 with 72 RBIs and 12 home runs, and was not brought back by the club for 2012. The Yankees seemed to show interest in the 37-year-old slugger, but ultimately decided to sign Raul Ibanez instead. Read the rest of this entry