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Atlanta Braves State Of The Union 2014: The Hitters

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

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Odds To Win Each Division In Major League Baseball 2014 Change With TJ Surgeries

Medlen was only 2nd to Clayton Kershaw for ERA in the NL since mid 2012.  Unfortunately for the RHP, he is on his way for a 2nd Tommy John Surgery recovery.  Medlen injured himself earlier this week in Spring Training.  He was projected to be Atlanta's #1 Starting Pitcher,

Medlen was only 2nd to Clayton Kershaw for ERA in the NL since mid 2012. Unfortunately for the RHP, he is on his way for a 2nd Tommy John Surgery recovery. Medlen injured himself earlier this week in Spring Training. He was projected to be Atlanta’s #1 Starting Pitcher,

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

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The theme of the week is Tommy John Surgery . It has affected the Athletics, Braves and Diamondbacks on the odds board all over.

Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen moved the line for the Braves from a +120 Mark to +140.  Arizona went from +650 to +700 on the heels of Patrick Corbin being lost.

The Athletics have 60% of their rosters on injury watch.  Jarrod Parker is gone for the 2014 year because of a torn UCL.  A.J. Griffin has a UCL strain – and Scott Kazmir has triceps soreness. Read the rest of this entry

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

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Braves Payroll in 2014 + Contracts Going Forward Part 1

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season.  When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins.  With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014.  Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash - to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves.  Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again.  These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

It would be one thing if B.J. Upton were the only player on the Braves who had an abysmal season. When you add the injuries and the season of Dan Uggla to Upton worst year of his career, it is actually amazing this team ended with 96 Wins. With the club losing Brian McCann, Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson, they will need Upton and CO. to rebound for the team to contend again in 2014. Upton has to get back to 20/20 years for powers and steals, and at least hit to 85% of his career 3 slash – to justify the contract doled out by the Atlanta Braves. Uggla must correct his vision problems and get back to raking again. These 2 guys are the #2 and #3 paid guys on the squad in 2014 behind Justin Upton.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart/Payroll Expert)

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The ‘Tomahawk Choppers’ have 2 players that are killing them for Free Agent signings this winter.

B.J. Upton is only in the 2nd year of his 5 YRs/$75 MIL – and underachieving Dan Uggla  is still on the  books for 2 more years.

Between these 2 gentleman, they will bring down $26.25 MIL in 2014.  The Braves are hoping for more than under the ‘Mendoza Line’ Batting Averages – and an occasional big fly.

The Braves are also headed to Arbitration with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.  This is certainly bound to cost the organization a pretty penny.

In fact, those 3 players will likely exceed the amount of the B.J Upton and Uggla contracts.

Craig Kimbrel 2013 Highlights – Mature Lyrics Parental Guidance Is Advised:

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The Atlanta Braves State Of The Union – Fall 2013: Part 1

2013 was not an easy road traveled either. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

2013 was not an easy road traveled for Atlanta. The Braves suffered so many injuries and set backs this season that I think a lot of us almost forget about the ones that happened earlier on in the year. Johnny Venters never even threw a regular season pitch this year and he has been our premiere set up man. Eric O’Flaherty threw his last pitch somewhere around the middle of May against this very Dodger team at Turner Field.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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At the point after Eric O’Flaherty went down, many of us Braves fans began to panic and wonder how Fredi Gonzalez would get the ball to arguably the best closer

in all of baseball Craig Kimbrel. What happened after that? The Braves would still go on to post the best bullpen ERA in all of baseball and on top of that set a franchise record for the same mark.

Jason Heyward missed significant time as did Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman spent a couple of weeks on the disabled list and still drove in over 100 runs on the season.

BJ Upton and Dan Uggla struggled throughout most of the 2013 season and BJ was one of the players expected to make a huge impact when he signed with the Braves this winter and it just never happened.

Other players stepped up and young players assumed roles that were well beyond the original expectations of them in 2013.

No one panicked and no one quit and as a fan I am appreciative of the heart and effort this team always put forth.

The Dodgers Celebrate winning the NLDS Series versus Atlanta (At Turner Field)

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Braves May Have The Medicine To Cure The “Blue Flu”

The Braves are National League Eastern Division champions and for that they deserve a large amount of recognition. When you think back to the start of Spring Training and look all of those “expert” predictions that said the Washington Nationals would win the East this year you have to realize that despite the busy off season activity the Braves were still labeled as under dogs in their own division.

The Braves are National League Eastern Division champions and for that they deserve a large amount of recognition. When you think back to the start of Spring Training and look all of those “expert” predictions that said the Washington Nationals would win the East this year you have to realize that despite the busy off season activity the Braves were still labeled as under dogs in their own division.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

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Despite injuries and struggles on the offensive end from highly paid players such as BJ Upton and Dan Uggla the Braves still manged to dominant the Eastern Division.

By “dominate” I mean they were in 1st place every single day of the season except for April 4th and they held at least an 8 game lead every single day for the final 60 of the season. If that’s not dominance I don’t know what is.

Besides the incredible season – and all that was achieved, the Braves did fail to secure the number one seed in the National League for the post season – which would have secured them home field throughout the playoffs and allowed them to play the winner of the Wild Card “play in game.” rather then having to face the Dodgers in the N.L.D.S.

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (September.14th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo - Reed Saxon

AP Photo – Reed Saxon

Brandon Belt led an unexpectedly potent Giants offense with a 5-6 performance, driving in 6 including a 2 run homer as San Francisco demolished the Dodgers, 19-3.

Kris Medlen brought Atlanta closer to a Division Title with a solid 7 1/3 inning performance of 4 hit shut out ball of the Padres. The Braves won 2-1

Lonnie Chisenhall went 2-4 and clubbed a 3 run homer that helped the Indians cruise to an 8-1 thrashing of the White Sox.

In a day full of big pitching performances, nobody was bigger than Bartolo Colon. He let a single first inning run hold up with 8 shutout innings, walking just 1 batter as the A’s continued to pull away from the Rangers, 1-0.

They all owned baseball on September 14, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here

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Is A Chief Needed For The Braves Young Rotation?

At first thought of Freddy Garcia stepping any where near the hill to start a playoff game, may have fans cringe at the thought, but keep in mind of his prior playoff pedigree.  In a spot start or pinch, the wily veteran chucker may be up for the challenge.  The 36 Year Old from Venezuela holds a 6 - 3 record - with a 3.28 ERA in 10 Game Starts, and in particular was 3 - 0, with a 2.14 ERA for the 2005 World Champion White Sox.  Could he channel some of his experience for Atlanta if called upon?

At first thought of Freddy Garcia stepping anywhere near the hill to start a playoff game, may have fans cringe at the thought, but keep in mind of his prior playoff pedigree. In a spot start or a pinch, the wily veteran chucker may be up for the challenge. The 36 Year Old from Venezuela, holds a 6 – 3 record – with a 3.28 ERA in 10 Post Season Game Starts, and in particular was 3 – 0, with a 2.14 ERA for the 2005 World Champion White Sox. Could he channel some of his experience for Atlanta if called upon?

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

Freddy Garcia, nicknamed the “chief” has recently been called up from the minor leagues to add some relief to the Atlanta bullpen.

At first I was very skeptical of the move and didn’t really see it as being anymore then an inexpensive way to eat up innings down the stretch while the team sits on a large division lead.

Then when Garcia began to see minor league action and couldn’t seem to get anyone out I became even more convinced that this deal wouldn’t amount to anything.

Well we all know how quickly things can change in Major League Baseball and today’s zeros can become tomorrow’s hero’s in the blink of an eye.

Freddy Garcia hurls a SO versus the Nationals 5/30/2013

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Atlanta Braves Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Tuesday, July.23, 2013

Craig Kimbrel is one of the best young closers in baseball. He has saved 27 games this season for the Braves and with only three blown saves. The hard-throwing righty has a 1.49 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 13 walks in 36.1 innings pitched. He has a WHIP of 0.99 and 14.1 SO/9. The opposition is just hitting .181 against him, and he is holding right-handed batters to a .140 average. He is holding opposing teams an average of just .129 when runners are in scoring position. They  fare a little better with runners on and two outs with a .176 average.

Craig Kimbrel is one of the best young closers in baseball. He has saved 27 games this season for the Braves and with only three blown saves. The hard-throwing righty has a 1.49 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 13 walks in 36.1 innings pitched. He has a WHIP of 0.99 and 14.1 SO/9. The opposition is just hitting .181 against him, and he is holding right-handed batters to a .140 average. He is holding opposing teams an average of just .129 when runners are in scoring position. They fare a little better with runners on and two outs with a .176 average.

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

The Atlanta Braves have a comfortable lead in the National League East division with them ahead 6 ½ games on the Philadelphia Phillies. This division is having a down year, with no team a legitimate threat to catch Atlanta.

The Braves have a high-powered offense that only a few teams in baseball can match. They have the 3rd best offense in the NL with them scoring 425 runs this season.  Atlanta has a play style that is more suited to the American League than the NL.

Atlanta Braves 2012 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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2 And A Hook Podcast Ep #8: Dodgers (Puig Especially), White Sox + Braves Talk With Awesome Guests!

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Thursday, June.20/2013

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 )

On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports (www.mlbreports.com) & yours truly The Bench Warmers, I talked with MLB Reports Braves correspondent Bob McVinua (www.braveschoptalk.wordpress.com) about the Atlanta Braves season so far, what’s to come for them the rest of the season plus other things…

Then I talked to MLB Reports Dodgers correspondent Enrique Rivera about their phenom Yasiel Puig, if the Dodgers somehow can get back in the playoff race amongst other issues…

Also I interviewed MLB Reports White Sox correspondent Brian Madsen about the White Sox offensive struggles, is their farm system producing any future ball players & other stuff…also I do my Stats & Facts segment as usual so check out this baseball podcast that talks baseball like it outta be!!! SPREAD THE WORD!! Thank you all for your support!!!

People in this Podcast:

Bob McVinua (MLB Reports Guest Braves Correspondent – About 9 Minutes in and a 21 Minute Segment)

Enrique Rivera (MLB Reports LA Dodgers Correspondent – 31 Minute Mark and a 15 Minute Segment) 

Brian Madsen (MLB Reports White Sox Correspondent- 53 Minutes In and a 17 Minute Segment) 

(Stats and Facts done by James at the 1 Hour and 10 Minute Mark for 20 Minutes and for the 1st 9 Minutes.)

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Atlanta Braves Organizational Charts: 2013 Team Payroll, Depth Charts + Rosters, (MLB + MiLB)

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Thursday, June.20/2013

The Braves are right up there with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for best run organizations over the last 25 years.  Some would say that Atlanta's brass is the king at organizational bang for the buck from drafting a trading. The team reeled off a professional record 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 - 2004.  They made it to 6 World Series, unfortunately only winning 1 of them.

The Braves are right up there with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for best run organizations over the last 25 years. Some would say that Atlanta’s brass is the king at organizational bang for the buck from drafting a trading. The team reeled off a professional record – 14 straight Division Titles from 1991 – 2005. They made it to 6 World Series, unfortunately only winning 1 of them in 1995.

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  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis.  After you click on it….Bookmark it.  There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page.  Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!

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

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 11

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Tuesday June.11/2013

David Ortiz is providing the kind of difference at the DH position that is an automatic advantage for the Boston Red Sox.  The 37 Year Old has hit for a 3 Slash Line of .314/.395/1.018 - accounting for 13 HRs and 48 RBI in his 46 Games.  The DH position was created for one dimensional players like '''Big Papi", however teams are not imploring awesome players for the slot.

David Ortiz is providing the kind of difference at the DH position that is an automatic advantage for the Boston Red Sox. The 37 Year Old has hit for a 3 Slash Line of .314/.395/1.018 – accounting for 13 HRs and 48 RBI in his 46 Games. The DH position was created for one-dimensional players like ”’Big Papi”, however teams are not imploring awesome players for the slot.  Most teams use the Designated Hitter for position players that are nursing injuries.  The Red Sox have seen their best run in franchise history with the big man.  Later in this article, I will post a link on how valuable DH’s have been in the last 20 years in Major League Baseball AL Pennant Winners.  More often than not, you need a great DH.  Ortiz is signed through 2014 at $13 MIL for the next 2 campaigns.  One of the better deals signed in the offseason

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

Another Week has come and gone in the MLB.

(MLB Reports) AL Hitter Of The Week – David Ortiz has come up clutch in leading the Bo Sox to a season – high 15 games over .500 with many game changing hits like last week. 

Having the best offensive DH is a decisive difference compared to the rest of league.  If everyone remembers, the 2012 Red Sox actually skirted near .500 until ‘Big Papi’ went down with his injury.

DH article from 1992 – 2011 here

Runners up were: Howie Kendrick, Josh Donaldson, Adam Lind, all had strong weeks – especially for Batting Averages, but Ortiz had late inning heroics that changed the outcome for his team out of his 3 HRs and 9 RBI.

(MLB Reports) AL Pitcher Of The Week – Jarrod Parker

The Oakland A’s Chucker went 2 – 0, with a 1.35 ERA.  He has thrown 6 Straight Quality Starts – and has won 5 of his last 6 decisions after starting the year 0 – 5.

Runners Up were  Jeremy Hellickson and Clay Buchholz,

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We’re A 1/3 Of The Way Home: 10 Braves Questions To Ponder For The Last 2/3

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Friday, May.31/2013

The Braves have entered the 1/3rd part of the NL East atop of the Division,  The Nationals and Phillies have struggled, while the franchise has seen more ups and downs.  Even with B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward having poor numbers (other than Uggla's power,) the club may really take off if these guys get aboard the train.

The Braves have entered the 1/3rd part of the NL East atop of the Division, The Nationals and Phillies have struggled, while the franchise has seen more ups and downs. Even with B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward having poor numbers (other than Uggla’s power,) the club may really take off if these guys get aboard the train.

By Bob McVinua (Special Guest Braves Writer – visit his website here):

I can’t believe it’s already the end of May and that baseball season is almost a 1/3 of the way over already. It’s been a fun two months and I’ve enjoyed cheering for and stressing over these Bravos for the past almost 60 days.

I thought that this was a good time to assess what I think the Braves have and what they don’t have. And moving forward what this team will have to do in order to be successful.

As usual I don’t want to bore anyone with stats, I may throw a few in there for reference points but I’ll try not to over load anyone. I can’t stand the fact that you can’t even read an article on baseball without it looking like a math problem.

Past the Read Entry Tag – or youtube clip – as there are the 10 questions to be answered in the last 108 Games.

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Atlanta Braves 2013 Player Roster: State Of The Union

Monday December 10th, 2012

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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.

Starting Pitching:

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.

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2012 MLB Postseason Preview: Every Pitch Counts

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

October is the time when there is a quiet current of electricity surrounding baseball. There is an intensity in every second between pitches, and the players really zone in. This is the reason they played 162 games through the regular season. They are all after one thing: A World Championship.

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

N.L. Wild Cards: The Playoff Picture Update

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

Kyle Lohse: NL Cy Young Candidate?

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

Why Kris Medlen Is The Braves X-Factor For Postseason Success

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.

Why? Read the rest of this entry

MLB Reports Monthly Power Rankings: September 2012

Monday, September.3/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer):   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

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