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Houston Astros Roster In 2014 Part 1: How All Of The Hitters Were Acquired

The Astros decided to rebuild a few years ago  In doing so they traded away Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, at first, and then have since also traded Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie, Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes.  Many of the transactions have given the team many of its current roster today, with many of the players also with the organization - while hardly any of the departing guys are with the team that dealt for them.  Today is the 1st part of a 2 parter seeing how the current club was assembled by the Astros.

The Astros decided to rebuild a few years ago In doing so they traded away Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, at first, and then have since also traded Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie, Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes. Many of the transactions have given the team many of its current roster today, with many of the players also with the organization – while hardly any of the departing guys are with the team that dealt for them. Today is the 1st part of a 2 parter seeing how the current club was assembled by the Astros.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Houston Astros – and how they assembled their current roster for hitting and Pitching. 

It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted or signed.

Sometimes pitchers will be in the hitters part of the write-up and vice versa.  This is simply done when one side of hitter or pitcher is dealt for each other.  Read the rest of this entry

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (April.08) – Updated MLB Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings 2014

Photograph by Chris Szagola , AP

Photograph by Chris Szagola , AP

Ryan Braun homered three times, driving in 7 runs and spoiling the Phillies home opener with a Brewers 10-4 victory.

Delmon Young went 3 for 6 with a 2 run homer, 2 RBI total and a pair of run scored, leading the Orioles 20 hit attack against the Yankees and a 14-5 victory.

Tim Hudson won the Giant’s home opener with an 8 inning performance, letting up just 2 earned runs and no walks against Arizona for a 7-3 final.

Chris Archer was masterful against the Kansas City Royals, throwing 7 shutout innings in just 91 pitches. He did not get the decision, but set up the Rays tense 1-0 win.

They owned baseball on April.8, 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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Houston Astros State Of The Union Address: Fall 2013

From 1992 - 2006, Houston was one of the best franchises in the games of baseball, not having one losing season in that time span.  They won 4 Division Titles, 8 2nd place finishes, and appeared in 6 playoffs.  After being swept in the 2005 World Series, the core got old, and the team waited too long to rebuild.  Once it was time, the management actually did a smart thing in totally gutting the entire franchise, in order to restock the Minor League System.

From 1992 – 2006, Houston was one of the best franchises in the games of baseball, not having one losing season in that time span. They won 4 Division Titles, 8 – 2nd place finishes, and appeared in 6 playoffs. After being swept in the 2005 World Series, the core got old, and the team waited too long to rebuild. Once it was time, the management actually did a smart thing in totally gutting the entire franchise, in order to restock the Minor League System.  Now with 3 105+ Loss seasons, and back to back 1st overall picks, the team has begun the process.  An ownership changed mirrored the last transference of all the remaining Veterans from the previous regime.  How long will it take for the Astros to compete again?

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The Astros had one of the easiest years to peg down in the game of baseball for 2013.

They were horrible early, traded away every possible Veteran that were making any kind of cash on the Major League Level, and then proceeded to be even worse after the ALL – Star Game.

The worst part of the campaign was left for the end, where they promptly lost their last 15 games – to finish with a record of 51 – 111.

It was their 3rd straight 100+ Loss season.  But overlooking the obvious is that they actual drew a few more fans in 2013 – compared to 2012.

That was more a symptom of the club moving to the American League.  At least they were not last in the league for Attendance, like payroll.

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The Houston Astros Payroll in 2014 + Organization: Affiliates, Prospects + Depth Charts (MLB + MiLB)

The Astros have scaled their Payroll to miniscule proportions.  As of this minute, the players they have signed - that aren't on entry level deals, equals $4.37 MIL, and that is if the club picks up their Team Option on Philip Humber for 2014.  The only other player that makes more than an entry level is Jose Altuve at $1.37 MIL in 2014.  The club is paying more in dead money to Wandy Rodriguez ($5.5 MIL in 2014) as part of the 2012 Trade worked out between clubs.

The Astros have scaled their Payroll to miniscule proportions. As of this minute, the players they have signed – that aren’t on entry level deals, equals $4.37 MIL, and that is if the club picks up their Team Option on Philip Humber for 2014. The only other player that makes more than an entry level is Jose Altuve at $1.37 MIL in 2014. The club is paying more in dead money to Wandy Rodriguez ($5.5 MIL in 2014) as part of the 2012 Trade worked out between clubs.  It has been bantered about that the ownership and management are willing to spend some money in Free Agency for 2014.  MLB currently does not have a floor for Team Salary in the current CBA, so why would the club do that until they are ready to compete?

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

A 3rd straight season with 105+ Losses, and 15 straight losses to finish the 2013 campaign does not give the fans very much to look forward to in 2014.

I am here to tell you that the MLB should be ashamed of letting the Houston Astros field such an incompetent team.

Having said this, I don’t personally blame them for tanking it over the last 3 years.  They are the other ‘extreme’ – of what the New York Yankees and LA Dodgers have done payroll wise.

Last season at the end of the year, their highest paid player for the Active Roster was Erik Bedard, making $1.1 MIL.

If they keep picking 1st overall, it is only a matter of time before the team becomes very good, just like the Rays, Nationals, Twins and Pirates have all done in recent times.

For the Up to Date Roster for the Astros all year around, please visit Jeff’s Website right here

For the Entire Page of teams links we have dedicated to Payroll, Rosters, Depth Chart, State Of the Unions and Roster Trees, please click right here. Please bookmark this page and check back, as we are busy on the analysis at MLB Reports always.

Jose Altuve Highlights

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Astros’ Jose Altuve and Jarred Cosart Show The Horizon Looks Bright

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Tuesday, August.20, 2013

Jose Altuve is a great and dynamic player for the Astros. He is a threat to steal bases constantly, as he has swiped 30 bases and has only been caught eight times. He is hitting .277 on the season with 164 Total Bases, that includes him having 128 hits. He knows how to put the ball in play with him only striking out 67 times in 462 at-bats. Altuve does great against left-handers with a .302 batting average against them, but is only hitting .267  facing right-handers on the season. He is best when he hits from the lead off position, as indicated by a .326 average. He also has a .429 batting average when he bats in the 6th inning.

Jose Altuve is a great and dynamic player for the Astros. He is a threat to steal bases constantly, as he has swiped 30 bases and has only been caught eight times. He is hitting .277 on the season with 164 Total Bases, that includes him having 128 hits. He knows how to put the ball in play with him only striking out 67 times in 462 at-bats. Altuve does great against left-handers with a .302 batting average against them, but is only hitting .267 facing right-handers on the season. He is best when he hits from the lead off position, as indicated by a .326 average. He also has a .429 batting average when he bats in the 6th inning.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)

The Houston Astros are not having a great baseball season in 2013 and this was not much of a surprise. This is the first season in which they are playing in the American League, as they were members of the National League since 1962.

They joined the American League West division and as expected they are last in the division. The Astros trail the Texas Rangers by 30 ½ games and at 41-83, they have the worst record in baseball.

Jose Altuve 2013 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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2 And A Hook Podcast #11: Its All About – How Many Altuves? The ALL – Star Game + Reds Chat

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Friday, July.19, 2013

A picture put up during a Houston Astros broadcast - helped the movement immensely - photo courtesy of howmanyaltuves.com

A picture put up during a Houston Astros broadcast – helped the movement immensely – photo courtesy of howmanyaltuves.com

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show:

Today, my brother Daniel joined me for the show.

We talked to MLB XM Home Plate Radio Host Mike Ferrin (16 Minute Mark and a 22 Minute Segment) I asked him about the origin in which he and Morgan Ensberg started this ‘phenomenon’ – and their reaction to how it has blown into a huge fanbase for the guy – based on one night that it was all started by the former Astros player Enberg, Ferrin and CO.

Jose Altuve is the shortest man in the MLB at approximately 5 FT 5, but he does not get cheated at the plate with his heavy swings.  His big heart and hustle have inspired his own measurement.  Go and check out @howmanyaltuves or www.howmanyaltuves.com  for all of your Home Run (or any measurement for that matter) needs.

Jose Altuve is the shortest man in the MLB at approximately 5 FT 5, but he does not get cheated at the plate with his heavy swings. His big heart and hustle have inspired his own measurement. Go and check out @howmanyaltuves or http://www.howmanyaltuves.com for all of your Home Run (or any measurement for that matter) needs.

Next up was Astros County Writer and http://www.howmanyaltuves.com owner Bryan Trostel (41 Minute Mark and a 18 Minutes Segment)  or We talked about how he joined the ‘Jose Altuve’ Phenomenon, created a twitter  account and website surrounding it, and how it has thrived and blossomed over the last 14 months.  We even learned the metric conversion for an ‘ALTUVE’. Read the rest of this entry

2 And A Hook Podcast #10: All Star Chat, Yankees, Dbacks + Trade Deadline Talk

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Friday, July.12, 2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

Im back & ready after being off during the 4th of July week to give you all another baseball packed podcast. On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show.

I star by paying respect to the great Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard on the 3 year anniversary to the day that he passed away…

I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  16 Minutes in and a 31 Minute Segment

Chuck makes some notions about the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman needing to risk it all for this year – for the legacies of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano.  Plus whether the club can trade Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes – and maybe acquire a bat. Read the rest of this entry

Top MLB Teams 1 – 30: Monthly Rankings + (Top 200 Stats For Reading And Fantasy Baseball)

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Thursday July.11/2013

The Giants have gone 9 - 23 in their last 32 Games and are in danger of having a brutal campaign just one year after capturing the World Series.  Key injuries and overlogged pitchers have been the main point of contention. They lost 8 Ranking Spots.

The Giants have gone 9 – 23 in their last 32 Games – and are in danger of having a brutal campaign just one year after capturing the World Series. Key injuries and overlogged pitchers have been the main point of contention. They lost 8 Ranking Spots this past time.  Should they also become sellers at the Trade Deadline,  Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence could fetch a few players in return.  The Giants are currently 40 – 50 and 6.5 Games behind the NL West Leading DBACKS – but are in last in the NL West.

 

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

The time has come for the July Power Rankings with Stats Edition.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during these weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON or scroll past the video and picture.

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Potential All – Star Candidates For All 30 MLB Teams:

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Saturday, July.06/2013

Citi Field is one of the newest Ball Parks in the Majors and will have be host to the 2013 ALL - Star Game.  It is light years ahead of where Shea Stadium was.  The home club should have the Starting Pitcher and Third Baseman for the NL, who else will be picked for the NL and AL - will all be revealed in a matter of hours.  MLB Reports gave its candidates and choices in this blog

Citi Field is one of the newest Ball Parks in the Majors and will be host to the 2013 ALL – Star Game. It is light years ahead of where Shea Stadium was. The home club should have the Starting Pitcher and Third Baseman for the NL, who else will be picked for the NL and AL – will all be revealed in a matter of hours. MLB Reports gave its candidates and choices in this blog.  Citi Field also modified its fences last year in hopes of hosting this event.  This is the RF cavernous portion that used to be what Right Field was.  I took this photo in 2009 – during its 1st season in existence.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

I am doing this list based solely on whether the player is a viable candidate or not.  I don’t care if the fans vote someone else in – although they have done a decent job.

This website’s stance on Yasiel Puig is known by know – if you are reading this for the 1st time.  We feel the man belongs based on his numbers.  He has numbers comparable to Bryce Harper – and his BA and OPS is far above and beyond.

In a recent article our Dodgers Correspondent also mentioned Hanley Ramirez deserves a shot to make the team.

Ordinarily, I would say no – but Troy Tulowitzki is hurt.

Han- Ram might be a victim of all teams needing to be represented as the Padres best candidate is definitely Everth Cabrera – unless Bochy takes Jason Marquis to replace him.

I think behind Bochy should take Ramirez behind David Wright and Pedro Alvarez at 3B.  With Segura, Cabrera and Desmond taking spots at SS. Read the rest of this entry

Top Teams In The MLB 1 – 30 + (200 Best Stats For The Last Month)

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Thursday June.06/2013

Chris Davis was the hitter of the month for the MLB Reports.  The guy has 20 HRs and 20 2B on the season - after hitting 11/11 for both columns in the last 30 Days.  The Orioles slugger also hit for a 3 Slash Line of .385/.448/1.256.  Davis also Walked 11 Times, drove in 22 RBI - and collected 40 Hits in just 24 Games Played.  He is on pace for a 50 HR/ 50 Doubles Season.  "Crush" is due for Arbitration after this year - and will garner a considerable payraise from the $3.3 MIL he will earn this season.

Chris Davis was the AL hitter of the month for the MLB Reports. The guy has 20 HRs and 20 2B on the season – after hitting 11/11 for both columns in the last 30 Days. The Orioles slugger also hit for a 3 Slash Line of .385/.448/1.256. Davis also Walked 11 Times, drove in 22 RBI – and collected 40 Hits in just 24 Games Played. He is on pace for a 50 HR/50 Doubles Season. “Crush” is due for Arbitration after this year – and will garner a considerable payraise from the $3.3 MIL he will earn this season.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

The time has come for the June Power Rankings with Stats Edition.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during this weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON or scroll past the video and picture

Chris Davis 2013 Highlights:

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Daily Home Run Hitters Update From May 7th, 2013

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Wednesday, May.08/2013

Jose Altuve hit a blast last night that measured (77.82 Altuves).  Any time this man hits a Round Tripper, his picture will be on this page.  Go and check out @howmanyaltuves or www.howmanyaltuves.com  for all of your Home Run (or any measurement for that matter) needs.

Jose Altuve hit a blast last night that measured (77.82 Altuves) versus the Angels. Any time this man hits a Round Tripper, his picture will be on this page. Go and check out @howmanyaltuves or http://www.howmanyaltuves.com for all of your Home Run (or any measurement for that matter) needs.

DH – Stands for Daily HR Hitters in the Majors.

We are going to run the gauntlet on the previous days HRs for all MLB Players.

I loved it when MLB XM Radio used to do a running total every night on their Roundtrip with Mike Ferrin (Laser Show).  So I am bringing it every day on this website.  To view every nights big boppers for the whole year (from May.7th) visit the DH page!

Click beyond the Youtube link or click  the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to see who hit yesterdays big flies

Dingers!!

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MLB Top Teams 1 – 30 + (Best 200 Stats of 2013)

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Monday May.06/2013

Matt Harvey with his stellar outings so far this season may have just become the New York Mets "ace". Harvey is now 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Harvey has pitched 40.1 innings - only given up 21 hits, 12 Walks for a League Leading WHIP of .0818  For his awesome 5 weeks we name him the MLB Reports NL Pitcher Of The Month

Matt Harvey with his stellar outings so far this season – may have just become the New York Mets “ace”. Harvey is now 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Harvey has pitched 40.1 innings – only given up 21 hits, 12 Walks for a League Leading WHIP of .0818. For his awesome 5 weeks – we name him the MLB Reports NL Pitcher Of The Month

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Stats all Prior to May.06th games. 

The time has come for the 1sy May Power Rankings.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during this weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON

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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

The Houston Astros Should Not Trade The Popular Jose Altuve…Yet Or Maybe Ever…

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Friday May.03,  2013

Jose Altuve was named an ALL-Star Reserve at 2B in 2012 with his .309 AVG in the 1st half and after appearing in the 2011 Futures Game.  He hit .290 with 33 SB and 80 Runs in his 1st full season.  He is under club control until 2018.  Will he last in an Astros uniform until then?

Jose Altuve was named an ALL-Star Reserve at 2B in 2012 with his .309 AVG in the 1st half and after appearing in the 2011 Futures Game. He hit .290 with 33 SB and 80 Runs in his 1st full season. He is under club control until 2018. Will he last in an Astros uniform until then?

By Lee White (Astros Correspondent)  

Ever since last season, mentions of the Houston Astros trading their All Star Second Baseman have been cropping up, and for good reason. Whether you agree with me or not, Jose Altuve is an All Star, and not just because he is on the Astros.

Last season at the All Star game, Altuve was voted as the best Second Baseman in baseball by his peers (Major League players and Managers). He is a great ball player. He hits for a high Batting Average, Steals Bgs and has a some pop in his bat for his size. He also plays pretty good defense.

Jose Altuve (1 Altuve) faces Jon Rauch (1.29 Altuves):

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MLB Power Rankings – Apr.29/2013

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Monday Apr.29/2013

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in     2011 and 67 Last Year.  he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49.  It was a Sept/Oct swoon   of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles - before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series.  He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal.  Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games - including sweeping the Atlanta Braves

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in 2011 and 67 Last Year.) he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49. It was a Sept/Oct swoon of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles – before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series. He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal. Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games – including sweeping the Atlanta Braves in Detroit this past weekend.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

With it coming up to the 4 week Report, the biggest mover this week where the Detroit Tigers.  Jose Valverde came back to the club, looked trimmed down – and more like his 2011 self compared to when we last saw him.  The Motown Boys pasting the Braves over the weekend speaks volumes about their talent.

The worst week went to the Giants – who plummeted from #1 to #11.  It has to be concerning for the fans that Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong do not look right. Decent start by Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito have been wasted.  The club may be lacking the hunger to repeat.  I see the whole team having up and down campaigns.

The Toronto Blue Jays may not have plunged down the rankings that much this week, however they have free fallen the most out of any franchise from the start of the year.  The projected AL favorite – have started 9 – 17 and are looking up at 4 good teams in the AL East now. 

I am predicting they will have a good second half, yet they will not make the playoffs now based on the Jose Reyes injury mostly.  John Gibbons also has to be on the hot seat. 

Papa Grande’s Contract is purchased

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MLB Weekly Power Rankings – Week 3

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Monday Apr.22/2013

The Giants have gutted out a 12 - 7 record despite Matt Cain being 0 - 2 with a 7.15 ERA, and Ryan Vogelsong featuring an early season ERA of 5.89.  Buster Posey is also off to a slow start.  This team has so much depth and talent, I see nothing that will stop this club from taking their 3rd NL West Division crown no that the LAD have had severe injury problems to their Starting Rotation.

The Giants have gutted out a 12 – 7 record despite Matt Cain being 0 – 2 with a 7.15 ERA, and Ryan Vogelsong featuring an early season ERA of 5.89. Buster Posey is also off to a slow start. This team has so much depth and talent, I see nothing that will stop this club from taking their 3rd NL West Division crown now that the LAD have had severe injury problems to their Starting Rotation.  The Giants take their rightful spot as #1 in the MLB Reports Weekly Rankings thids week.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

The Major League Baseball Season is roughly 10% over and we are seeing some trends and patterns.  The next time you wonder why games are so long in the game right now, look no further than there are about 150 hitters that are currently on pace to Strikeout 100 plus times this season.

Other Notes:

The Cincinnati Reds won every game this past 7 days, after losing every day the week prior.  This is simply why they shot up the rankings.  I think the NL Central is the weakest Division this year.  It was my prediction that the oldest professional baseball club would run away with this Division by at least 10 games.

Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto are on the Basepaths at all times – carrying an OBP of over .500 plus each.  Votto is starting to drive the ball with authority too.  Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart are driving in Runs at an incredible rate.

Look for BP to be a dark horse NL MVP candidate.

Brandon Phillips Talks about Winter Workouts:

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Why The Houston Astros Can beat The Texas Rangers On Opening Night

From Chuck Booth:  Lee White sent this to me on late Saturday Night – no joke.  I am still on vacation and watching the Dodgers Season Opener today (Cain vs Kershaw), but attest to this.

The Houston Astros will take the diamond at 7:10 local time to square off against the Texas Rangers. Everyone is looking past the Astros, and for good reason. The Astros have lost 213 games over the past two season, but are looking for a change of fortune in 2013. It won’t be easy for ex cellar dweller of the NL Central. The Astros are now in a tougher division, but can still improve on the field of play. But forget all that. It is Opening Night!

Baseball is back, and the games finally mean something again. Everyone has a fresh clean slate, and are looking to improve on their past seasons. Forget what teams did what last year, that doesn’t matter anymore.

When the Astros play the Rangers tonight, I fully believe the Astros may be able to surprise some people. They have arguably the best pitcher (at home) that you can have taking the mound in Bud Norris.

Last season Norris was terrible, unless he was pitching at home. My ‘Stros Bro and I, Richard Perez, had a bit of a debate about Bud pitching Opening Night instead of Lucas Harrell, and there is no way around what Norris can do at home. Last season at home, he went 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA.

He came extremely close to setting a franchise record for ERA at home last year. How can you not pitch him for Opening Night? Especially since, you know, it is at Minute Maid Park. I predict that manger Bo Porter may stretch Norris out a bit in his first start and let him go seven innings. If he can make it that far, he’ll go seven innings and give up one run and help propel the Astros to victory.

Another reason I think the Astros can beat the Rangers on Opening Night is because they’re facing Matt Harrison. Harrison was a pretty good pitcher for the Rangers last season, I’m not trying to belittle what he can do.

But, he has never pitched well against the Astros. In fact, in four outings, two starts, he is 0-1 with a 5.04 ERA against the boys from Houston. Harrison isn’t exactly a veteran either. So he has been facing the rebuilding Houston Astros, especially as a starter.

One more reason why I think the Astros can win. Here it is: Offense. The Astros haven’t had it the past few years, but with the addition of Chris Carter, and a little from Carlos Pena, they will get some offense. Yes, they will also strike out a ton, but tomorrow night against the Rangers, I believe we may see a few long balls from the Astros.

Houston will have the little hit machine, Jose Altuve, leading off with Brett Wallace following, and then probably Chris Carter in the three hole. Carter will probably be the Astros biggest bat in the lineup, so Brett Wallace will see his fare share of pitches. Especially if Altuve is on base. The Rangers will try to make Brett Wallace earn his way on base, and Wallace can run into a baseball. He is no slouch.

I’m not predicting a blowout, but I may be one of the few people who actually believe the Astros can win tonight against the Rangers. They will need to put it all together though. Pitching will be the main key as Bud Norris will need to shut the Rangers potent lineup down if the Astros want to have a chance to shock the baseball world on Opening Night.

Lee White

Jose Altuve: The Speedy Little Big Man

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Sunday Mar.31/2013

Jose Altuve was named an ALL-Star Reserve at 2B in 2012 with his .309 AVG in the 1st half and after appearing in the 2011 Futures Game.  He hit .290 with 33 SB and 80 Runs in his 1st full season.  He is under club control until 2018.

Jose Altuve was named an ALL-Star Reserve at 2B in 2012 with his .309 AVG in the 1st half and after appearing in the 2011 Futures Game. He hit for a 3 Slash Line  .290/.340/.750  with 34 Doubles, 7 HRs and 41 RBI.  The man also had 33 SB (7th in the NL) and 80 Runs in his 1st full season.  Altuve is also a great defender (4th in the NL with Assists during the campaign – while only committing 11 Errors.  He  is under club control until 2018 with the Houston Astros.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Last year we all discovered what was the phenomenon of what was the Jose Altuve Movement.  You can check out that article here.  Since that day, the Astros have traded away every semblance of a veteran – and are carrying a salary that is being challenged by the Yankees Taxi Sqaud of players that have come in since the start of the week.

One of the best things to do at Minute Maid Park – and on broadcast via Root Sports, will be to watch the little speedster from Venezuela.  He is 5 Foot 5 – and swings like Jeff Bagwell.  Everything about this man is pure heart, emotion and effort.

MLB Fancave gets measure in Altvues!!

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Houston Astros Roster In 2013: State Of The Union:

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Monday, February.11,  2013

houston_astros-9413By Nicholas Rossoletti (MLB Reports Trade Correspondent):

In 2005, the Houston Astros completed a run to the World Series. It was the culmination of the Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell teams in Houston. That team had players on it named Clemens, Pettitte, Oswalt,Bagwell and Biggio. This Houston team is a far way from that National League Champion. Houston has failed at epic levels the last two seasons. The state of the current union of this team is summed up in one word: bad. With that said, there is a ray of hope in these dark days.

When I first learned of this assignment, I planned on doing a portion of a piece on the Astros most expensive and possibly most prominent offensive piece, Jed Lowrie. Houston, in an effort to aggressively proceed with rebuilding its roster, traded Lowrie for several pieces. The trade itself has been covered by this site and our Astros’ corespondent already so I’m going to focus on piece of it. Chris Carter, the First Baseman/Outfielder, acquired by the Astros. Carter has shown consistent power at the Minor League levels as he consistently posted well above league average ISO numbers. His brief stint in the Majors with the A’s prior to the 2012 season did not see those numbers translate. Finally in 2012, we got a look at what we hope is the real Chris Carter.

Carter posted 16 Home Runs in less than 300 Plate Appearances while posting a spectacular ISO. Carter is not the type of player who will hit for average as his Strike-Out rates are consistently well above league average, but he does so an excellent propensity for taking walks. Carter is an Adam Dunn - type player. Big power, good On Base Percentage, but a high Strike Out rate with a low Batting Average. Overall, I think he will make a fine number four hitter, but the pieces around him need to fit. The other issue is where does Carter play. He is traditionally a First Baseman, but Houston is currently playing 26-Year Old Brett Wallace at first in an effort to determine his value. More important than Wallace though is one of Houston’s top prospects, First Baseman Jonathan Singleton.

Bagwell and Biggio Mix of Highlights:  Who will be the next tandem of Astros greats?:

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Houston Astros Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Thursday, December.27,  2012

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Nicholas Rossoletti (Baseball Writer):

The 2013 Houston Astros payroll is one of the stranger payrolls to look at given the current state of baseball where player’s salaries seem to be ever-increasing.  Before Dec.18, the Astros were paying exactly one player above One Million Dollars annually.  That player was shortstop, Jed Lowrie. Then, the team added 1B/DH Carlos Pena to its roster on a one year deal for approximately $2.9 Million according to reports and reliever, Jose Veras on a 1 Year/$1.85 Million dollar deal.  Thats it.  Three players earning more than a Million Dollars on a professional baseball franchise approximately sixty (60) days until pitchers and catchers report. (Please note that the Astros are rumored to be interested in signing Third Baseman Jose Lopez who may be added to this list). These are your 2013 Houston Astros, who are a far cry from the Astros of the mid-2000′s who signed Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, traded for Carlos Beltran and made a run at a World Series.  Read the rest of this entry

The Robert Whitmer 5-Point Plan to Fix the Yankees

Tuesday October 23rd, 2012

Robert Whitmer:  If I gave you 196 million dollars and told you that you could take that money and build a baseball team out of that money and get whoever you wanted, who would you get?  If we take the bottom 10 teams in regards to payroll in baseball, take their best player at the eight field positions, pitcher and closer, who would we get?

Oakland A’s: Yoenis Cespedes (OF) $6.5 million

San Diego Padres: Chase Headley (3rd Base) $3.475 million

Houston Astros: Jose Altuve (2nd Base) $483,000 million

K.C. Royals: Alex Gordon (OF) $6 million

Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen (OF) $708,333

Tampa Bay Rays: David Price (SP) $5.2 million

Cleveland Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera (SS) $4.55 million

Arizona Diamondbacks: J.J. Putz (CL) $4.5 million

Toronto Blue Jays: J.P. Arencibia (C) $489,600

Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto (1st Base) $11.4 million Read the rest of this entry

2013 MLB Fantasy Keeper Rankings: Installment #1

Friday October 12th, 2012

Peter Stein:  Now that the 2012 season is over, it is time to start thinking about the 2013. For many owners, that includes deciding on keepers, although keeper systems vary from league to league. In some leagues, keepers can be held onto for an indefinite period of time, while others build upon the previous year’s draft value. Regardless of your league’s keeper setting, this piece identifies the top keeper player at each position. I chose a time period of five years; therefore, the player at each position should produce the most total fantasy value over the course of the next five years. That is, of course, assuming another Mike Trout doesn’t jump onto the scene.

Here is the first installment of the 2013 fantasy keeper focus:

First Base:

Winner: Joey Votto

Honorable Mention: Paul Goldschmidt

First base is actually the most tenuous and hardest to predict position on this list.  Can we really expect Albert Pujols to be super-productive for another five years? He will be 33 next season and his struggles at the beginning of the year are certainly not encouraging. Then again, a .285/30/105/8 season is considered a major down year from him. And, we all know how much better he was after the brutal start. Edwin Encarnacion (.280/42/110/13) emerged into the mix and excluding Miguel Cabrera was the top option at first base. However, he is 29 years old and has just a career .815 OPS in eight seasons. Clearly he has made strides, but he is very tough to predict moving forward. (more…)

Just How Bad Are The Houston Astros?

Wednesday September 12th, 2012

Sam Evans: The 2012 Houston Astros are breaking records every day. If you have followed baseball at all these last two years, you know that these aren’t records that are normally associated with winning baseball teams. At their current pace, this year’s Houston team is on pace to lose at least 111 games. What Jeff Luhnow and others are doing to turn around the losing in Houston looks great, but it doesn’t hide the fact that the product the Astros are putting out on the field is historically bad.

Since 1962, only one team (the 2003 Detroit Tigers) has lost more than 108 games in a single-season. The 2003 Detroit Tigers were pretty awful, but it’s not like they were bereft of talent. That team featured a young Jeremy Bonderman in the rotation and Fernando Rodney pitched out of the bullpen. That Tigers team also had Dmitri Young, Carlos Pena, Omar Infante, Andres Torres, and Cody Ross. Looking at the current Astros’ roster, I don’t see anywhere close to that level of talent. Read the rest of this entry

Beltre and Hamilton Need to Carry the Rangers for a 3rd Straight WS Appearance

Tuesday, August.28/2012

Hamilton and Beltre need to carry the Rangers to their 3rd straight World Series Appearance. This feat has not been done since the Yankees went to 4 straight WS Appearances from 1998-2001.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): It is Adrian Beltre Awareness Week! What is that exactly?  I have adopted an idea to carry out on twitter-in order to provide the unheralded players of the MLB, their just credit.  So far there has been Juan Pierre, Mike Morse , Jose Altuve  Awareness Weeks and now it is Adrian Beltre’s turn.  I decided on the Rangers 3rd base slugger because I believe that he is on a path for Cooperstown.  Rather than bore you with details I have already written about before on the Reports, you can click here for my previous article on Beltre hitting himself into Hall Of Fame Consideration: click here.

Okay back to the point.  It was right after Adrian Beltre’s 3 HR game that I started sending out my link on the article and hailing Beltre as a man worthy for Cooperstown if he keeps it up.  I had many of my followers indicate they had never thought about him like that.  In bullet point style here.  Right after that he had a 3 hit game, in which he was a Triple short of the cycle.  The next day he hit for his second career cycle.  It made me feel really good about my stance on the guy.  5 HRs, 2 Doubles, a Triple and 2 singles is a month for some guys and Beltre accomplished this feat in 14 AB over 3 games.  That is 29 total bases folks, a slugging percentage of over 2 and a .714 Average.  The Rangers offense has several players that seem to blow up like this.  Nelson Cruz had 8 RBI not so long ago.  Beltre had that 3 homer game in the ALCS last year.  Then there was Josh Hamilton and his 4 HR game.  Hamilton has also had 3 games this year where he had collected 5 RBI or more.

The Rangers are a power house offense.  They have guys like Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli hitting 8th routinely.  They are going to win the AL West for a 3rd Straight year.  With all of this said, something doesn’t resonate with me in them making their 3rd straight World Series this year.  That feat has not been accomplished since the Yankees made 4 fall classics in a row from 1998-2001.  The Rangers are vulnerable and have weaknesses in their pitching.  They don’t have C.J Wilson this year and Rookie Yu Darvish is slowing down after a great first half.  I think with Darvish, it is the innings that are catching up to him.  In Japan, they usually have 6 man rotations.  This is new territory for the talented chucker.

Adrian Beltre Highlights!

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The Best Second Baseman in Baseball? It’s Robinson Cano… Don’t Ya Know

Tuesday August 7th, 2012

John Burns:  It is easy to say that Robinson Cano is the best all-around second baseman in baseball right now. Cano has been the top second baseman for a couple of years now. What makes Cano so great is his ability to just flat-out hit and his much improved defense at second base.  Cano is having another great season with the Yankees. With a .316 average and 24 homers, Cano has been one of the most feared hitters in the stacked Yankees lineup.

At age 29, Cano has very impressive career numbers, including a .309 average with 168 career homers. Since being called up to the Yankees in 2005, Cano has been a 4x All-Star, 3x Silver Slugger Award Winner, 2009 World Series Champion, 2010 Gold Glove Winner, and he even won the 2011 Home Run Derby. Now that is a very impressive line for a 29-year-old 2nd baseman! There is much more in store for Cano in the future as well in my opinion. Cano is not only the best second baseman, but I strongly believe that he is the best player in baseball. He does it all: he will consistently 25-30 homers a season and is almost a lock to hit .300 every season. Combine his bat with gold glove defense and you have one of the best all-around players in the game. Cano has been criticized in the past about being “Lazy” which I find absurd; As Derek Jeter has said before: Robinson Cano plays the game very smoothly and has one of the best work ethics around. Personally, I will take Jeter’s word at face value. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: August 2012

Monday August.6/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- It has been a crazy month in which teams have stockpiled some heavy talent at the trade deadline to get ready for the playoffs.  Amongst the biggest gainers for the rankings this month were: the Athletics, Reds, Braves, Tigers, Dodgers (because of the deals) and Mariners while the Mets, Red Sox, Indians and Royals saw brutal months all but seal their playoff fates.  I do think that Boston has a punchers chance but that all is dependent on David Ortiz returning to the lineup swiftly.  The power of the best teams is definitely leaning to the National League right now where several teams are playing great baseball.  With one-third of the season left we are all in for a treat as baseball fans.

I will have one more regular season Power Rankings month of September (to be posted on Labor Day Weekend,)  before I also provide a playoff style ranking of the 1-10 seeds right before the Wild Card Teams play the play in game.  It certainly has been awesome to follow how the trade deadline has effected the Monthly Rankings this time around.  I think it is safe to say that this years deadline provided more interest and following-from even the casual fan more than any other year before.  I also believe that the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is now the best Trade Deadline in all of sports.  Social Media has a lot to do with this but so does parity.  The 2nd Wild Card spot has also created more teams willing to trade prospects in lieu of going for it. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: July 2012

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 GrandersonPhil 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

The Jose Altuve Phenomenon

Friday June.15/2012

Jose Altuve is listed as 5 foot five although he may be even shorter than that. His lethal swings have created a new metric measurement based on his height called an ‘Altuve.’ Everyone is picking up the new measurement including social media platforms dedicated to the cause: @howmanyaltuves on twitter and the official website http://www.howmanyaltuves.com –Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Baseball lends itself to traditions and nicknames like no other sport in the world.  During last year, there were two phenomenons in the form of social media and radio.   I was lucky enough to be part of them both.  The MLB ‘Fancave’ sidekick Ryan Wagner was dubbed ‘thickish’ by Mitch Williams of the MLB Network.  The social media took off on his nickname and blogs, websites and a lot of the Fancave skits had Mike O’ Hara calling Wagner ‘thickish.’  I love things like this. I took it upon myself to be the West Coast distributor of the movement.  I was even fortunate enough to have Ryan Wagner write a blog about my buddy Justin and I.  It was cool  to be part of the fun of this social media driven nickname.

Then the summer of 2011 hit.  I was listening to MLB Roundtrip like I do every night while at work.  Mike Ferrin and Morgan Ensberg were talking about Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros.  There were saying the man was swinging out of his cleats like he was Paul Bunyan.  They also mentioned that Altuve was the leader of the Texas League (before his call up) for average.  The next thing I knew Ensberg suggested that they should come up with a new unit of measurement called an “Altuve.”  The idea would be that you can divide the total amount of feet hit for a home run divided Jose Altuve’s height.  I couldn’t stop laughing at the concept.  To me,  Ensberg was entirely right, Altuve does sound like a unit measurement!   For the next few weeks, the guys kept on speaking of long homers hit and how many Altuve’s they would go. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: June 2012

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 CapuanoTed 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

MLB reports Monthly Power Rankings: May 2012

Tuesday May 8th, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-We are going to bring you a monthly power rankings every month of the season.  There will be a few verses for each team.  Please feel free to let us know your thoughts.

May Power Rankings

  1. Texas (19-10)  Josh Hamilton is clubbing the ball at his 2010 like AL MVP clip.  Yu Darvish appears to be the real deal.  Mike Napoli hits 8th on most nights. Michael Young might be the most under-appreciated hitter in the last decade.  Ian Kinsler is on pace for 162 runs.  If Nelson Cruz starts hitting and or Nathan rounds into form, than this team may blitz by every one.
  2. Tampa Bay (19-10) The pitching staff is incredible right now.  David Price is asserting himself as one of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Strong starts from Evan Longoria, Luke Scott and Carlos Pena have helped.  Joe Maddon may be the best ‘in-game manager’ of baseball now with Tony La Russa out of the Majors.
  3. Atlanta (18-12) The reason I have Atlanta rated so high is they are not even having a good year from Tim Hudson yet and Jair Jurrjens has been atrocious.  Still they sit near the top of the standings.  Chipper Jones has 21 RBI and Freddie Freeman has taken the next step so far with 26 RBI.  Last year the team had a lot of players with career worst years and they were only eliminated on the last day of the season.  This year may be different.
  4. St. Louis (18-11) You lose a franchise player like Albert Pujols and you spend half the money for Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal, who are finally hitting the numbers like the back of their bubble gum cards from 5 years ago.  Are we giving enough credit to Mark McGwire here? Lance Lynn has morphed into Chris Carpenter with his 6-0 start.
  5. LA Dodgers (19-10) Matt Kemp is the best player in baseball right now and may walk away with the triple crown this year.  Andre Ethier has matured into the RBI guy he needs to be.  Solid pitching by Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly have this team looking solid. Dodgers look good in the future when  the new ownership takes over. (more…)
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