Monday December 10th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):
The Braves have been one of the most active teams during the offseason, but outside of the B.J. Upton signing, their additions and subtractions have pretty much flown under the radar. I guess that’s no surprise when the spotlight sits on Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, and the Dodgers. But it’s time to analyze what’s brewing in Atlanta.
The big headline here is the loss of Tommy Hanson. The 26-year-old has yet to fully reach his ceiling in the major leagues, after having such lofty expectations placed on him when he first broke into the league in 2009. In 2012, he took a few massive steps back, though, with mediocre numbers across the board.
To be specific, he posted a career-worst 4.48 ERA, yielded a career-high 27 HRs, allowed 9.4 hit per Nine Innings, and walked nearly four batters per Nine Innings. So in other words, he didn’t have much of a clue as to where the ball was headed when it left his hands. Still, he has the potential to be front of the rotation starter with the Angels.
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):
With the last games of the 2012 regular season being officially completed yesterday I get the same feeling I do every season…it’s a sickening pain in my stomach, that makes me want to hibernate and not wake up until April comes around. For baseball lovers, we are all very familiar with this feeling. We find solace in the fact that with the exception of the month of November, we can still follow baseball transactions all year-long. Furthermore, we cannot get too upset; baseball isn’t really over. In fact, some might argue that it is just beginning!
The boys of summer play all those games in the summer heat for one reason. The grueling 162 game schedule sees many ups and many downs, and all of these challenges are met with a firm resolve: to do whatever it takes to get to the postseason. October is the time when the weather turns cold, and ball players become unshaven warriors duking it out to be the victorious few who have the honor to take a championship ring home this offseason. Read the rest of this entry
Monday October 1st, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Unlike the American League wild card situation, the National League race is much simpler. And by that I mean that there’s one spot left to be decided, and just two teams competing for it. A couple of weeks ago this wasn’t the case. The Brewers, Phillies, Pirates, and even the Diamondbacks were all congested and all had a legitimate chance. Now, all of those teams are entirely out of contention. Boring? Yes. But it was fun while it lasted, imagining all of the possible scenarios to tiebreaker games to potential rainouts.
However, the Cardinals and Dodgers are the only two left.
Atlanta: 93-66 -
St.Louis: 86-73 -
Los Angeles: 84-75 2 GB Read the rest of this entry
Thursday September 27th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky: Kyle Lohse could be the most underrated pitcher in the National League, if not all of baseball. Granted, he does not have stand-out stuff and is not an eccentric character. He plays for the Cardinals, so he could be overshadowed by true “aces” Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter. He blends in with the rest of the league. Over his 12-year career, Lohse has been mediocre, posting a cumulative 4.44 ERA. He started his career on the Minnesota Twins and bounced around between Cincinnati and Philadelphia over a three-year span. He finally settled in St. Louis in 2008 and found his stride (minus 2010).
In St. Louis excluding 2010, Lohse never had an ERA higher than 4.74, and beside this year, his lowest ERA was 3.39—last year. He has been reliable for the Cardinals, and has carried a good percentage of the workload. 2010 was a rough patch for Lohse—he only threw 92 innings and posted a 6.55 ERA. Last year was his best—leading up to this year—when he posted a 3.39 ERA over 188.1 innings of work. This year has been the best of his career by far. Up to now, Lohse has pitched over 200 innings—for just the third time in his career. His ERA sits at 2.77—the best of his career, and he has gone 16-3—his best record. He still will have a start or two left this season, so it will be interesting to see how he will build on these strong numbers. While everyone is talking Kris Medlen these days, plus Cain, Gio and Dickey, Lohse seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Read the rest of this entry
Wednesday September 19th, 2012
Jake Dal Porto: Ever heard of a pitcher named Kris Medlen? By now, you should have at least come across the name. The Nationals were the most recent victims of Medlen’s dominance, as the unknown starter fanned 13 Nats hitters.
The Braves loss of ace Brandon Beachy was a void that supposedly couldn’t be filled. Medlen has seemingly done the impossible since being thrown into the starting rotation. But, with success comes higher expectations. And yes, going 7-0 with a 0.86 ERA is certainly a successful stint. Meaning, Medlen is the Braves X-factor for late season success, and barring a collapse, aka 2011, he is their X-Factor for a successful postseason run.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024 To say that this year has been a good year for baseball is an humongous understatement. I thought after last years finish, that nothing was going to duplicate the experience. Everyone forgets (or maybe not) that there should not even have been many races last year with Atlanta and Boston having such substantial leads on playoff spots. The Red Sox and Braves collapsed like a couple of bowling pins with King Kong Bundy splashing down on them!
This year, there are 15 teams still vying for 10 playoff spots. So far the only probable locks are Washington for a playoff spot-and Cincinnati to probably win their division The player races for all of the categories is almost as fascinating. Will Andrew McCutcheon catch Melky Cabrera for the Batting title? Or will 2012 be forever cemented in baseball folklore by a stained player like Cabrera? He could still end up determining who wins the World Series in the Fall Classic by his Testosterone filled antics in his MVP ALL-Star Game. The big question is, will the San Francisco Giants fans cheer for him if he comes back in the playoffs? They cheered for another league leader before when it was obvious he was guilty. Right now if you are the Giants, you will take an opportunity to boo or cheer for Cabrera because that means you would be in the playoffs.
Will the spending happy Dodgers have to wait another year to capitalize on their new plan to make the playoffs? If they ultimately miss the playoffs outright, are they going to buy every player they can in the off-season? I sure hope Magic knows that there are Luxury Tax penalties for spending over 178 Million Next Year. 1st year fine is 22.5%, 2nd year is 30%, 3rd year and beyond is 40%. So if they plan on having a 250 Million Dollar Payroll in 2013 (by adding 2 or 3 more top Free Agents) will the Dodgers just forego the worry of any financial penalties on a yearly basis– just to dominate the whole National League (plus baseball for that matter.) Every other team has to consider the urgency in cashing out a World Series right now while the Dodgers have not had a full off season with the new management yet. Can Oakland and their ‘New Money Ball philosophy’ make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2006?
The Best Players over the last month were: Buster Posey, Prince Fielder, Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Yovani Gallardo, Kris Medlen, Adam Wainwright, Aroldis Chapman and Felix Hernandez. The best teams have been Oakland, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego, Baltimore and Texas. The worst teams have been Houston (at least its better to go down hard and stockpile #1 Draft Picks guys.) I have a feeling you will be there for a while with the division you are heading into and may even challenge the 120 Loss Single Season Record. At least you are not going into the NL West to compete with the LA Dodgers! The Cleveland Indians have fallen to an epic drop-off as well. Toronto misses their top sluggers. What has happened to the Minnesota Twins? The Mets have ownership and payroll problems, so at least they have an excuse. Plus they lead the world in guys being hurt. When David Wright has been your healthiest player, you know the season has been backwards! So sit back, get your notebook and popcorn ready for this Month’s Rankings! Read the rest of this entry