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2012 American and National League MVP Awards Announced

Friday November 16th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  The final awards have been announced. Both races could have gone either way, with deserving candidates in each league. In the end, each winner won by a large margin (Cabrera 362-281 and Posey 422-285). There really were not any surprises in this year of MVP voting. Here’s my analysis for each league.

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2012 AL and NL Cy Young Award Winners

Thursday November 15th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  Both Cy Young awards were announced yesterday. R.A. Dickey won in the National League and David Price won in the American League. Dickey won by a large margin; he had 209 points by 27 first place votes and five second place votes. This race was not even close. Price on the other hand, won by four points. He received just one more first place vote than Justin Verlander, who finished second. Here’s my take on how the voting went down.

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MLB Realignment Proposal: Time to Overhaul the Divisions

Thursday May 19, 2011

MLB reports:  Looking at today’s divisions in baseball, the setup to me does not make sense.  From a geographical and competitive standpoint, the current six divisions in baseball appear to exist without much of a foundation or reason.  After years of watching baseball in its present day form, I believe that it is time for a change.  As a disclaimer, I will warn that this article is not about expanding or changing the playoff format, the unbalanced schedule within divisional matchups and revamping interleague play.  While all these items are worth discussing, they will need to be put on the back-burner for a different day.  For now, the focus is on the division setup and the new MLB divisions as proposed by MLB reports.

In order to create a new structure, we need to look at the recent history of the divisions in major league baseball to understand how we got to the current structure.  Not too long ago, the American League and National league were broken up into two divisions apiece:  the East and the West.  Each league was stocked as follows:

 American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee Brewers

New York Yankees

Toronto Blue Jays

American League West

California Angels

Chicago White Sox

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

National League East

Chicago Cubs

Montreal Expos

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals

National League West

Atlanta Braves

Cincinnati Reds

Houston Astros

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

There were four divisions in total.  When the playoffs rolled around, the leaders of the East and West in each league faced-off and the winners met in the World Series.  A system that had its flaws, but the majority of people knew it and liked it.  The system worked for many years, but with time inevitably came change.  New teams entered baseball through expansion:  the Marlins, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now Rays).  The Montreal Expos moved to Washington and became the Nationals.  Baseball wanted to expand its playoff format and add two more teams per league to the playoff mix.  As a result of the changes, baseball grew from a four division to a six division format.  Both the American League and National League had three divisions each:  the East, West and now Central Division.  Add to the mix that the Brewers moved to the National League, the Angels went through somewhat of an identity crisis and the MLB divisions now look as follows:

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto Blue Jays

American League Central

Chicago White Sox

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

American League West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

National League East

Atlanta Braves

Florida Marlins

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Washington Nationals

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

Houston Astros

Milwaukee Brewers

Pittsburgh Pirates

St. Louis Cardinals

National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

Checking the totals, we have 14 teams in the American League and 16 Teams in the National League.  Divisions have a range between 4-6 teams each.  From a competitive standpoint, teams in the American League West have the best mathematical chance at a division/wildcard entry, with the fewest amount of teams in their division and fewer teams in the league overall.  Based on competitive records, the impression is that teams in the American League East face the toughest battles, while the National League Central for example is a weaker division.  Finally, from a geographical standpoint, the current setup just doesn’t work.  Looking at a map one day, I thought to myself:  there has to be a better way.  After a geographical and competitive analysis, I believe that I have found the fix.

In order not to change the baseball landscape too much, I have left the current six named divisions in place.  For simplicity of discussion, let’s assume that this portion works.  I believe that too many divisions will create chaos, while too few divisions will create a logjam of teams.  I am prepared to proceed with five teams per division and simply realign the current system.  On that basis, the following is the MLB reports proposed MLB divisional realignment plan.  Featured for the first time ever, our new MLB would look like this:

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Mets

New York Yankees

Washington Nationals

American League Central

Cincinnati Reds

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee Brewers

Toronto Blue Jays

American League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Houston Astros

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

National League East

Atlanta Braves

Florida Marlins

Tampa Bay Rays

Philadelphia Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

Chicago White Sox

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

St. Louis Cardinals

National League West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Los Angeles Dodgers

Oakland Athletics

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

 

From a geographical and competitive standpoint, it is impossible to ever make a perfect division.  But on the basis of 15 teams per league and 5 teams per division, I believe that the above proposal is a vast improvement over the current baseball divisional arrangement.  I will present each division as proposed by MLB reports with the related commentary as to the logic behind each.

American League East

Baltimore Orioles

Boston Red Sox

New York Mets

New York Yankees

Washington Nationals

This division was one of the most difficult to build.  The Red Sox, Mets and Yankees were a given as the foundational teams to the new AL East.  Based on their history and makeup, the Red Sox and Yankees were not moving from the East.  Based on geography and rivalry, it was time to add the Mets to the mix and bringing them to the American League will create a fresh start for a team in need of change.  The last two teams for the AL East was between the Orioles/Nationals and Phillies/Pirates.  It would have been nice to see the Phillies in the Yankees/Red Sox division, but location and the team chemistries were part of the equation.   The Orioles and Nationals need to be in the same division based on proximity and are a better fit for the American league.  The Phillies and Pirates are still NL based and without good reason for a move, should remain in the senior circuit.  The Orioles have a long-standing rivalry with the Yankees and Red Sox, with the Mets and Nationals now joining the party that is the AL East.

American League Central

Cincinnati Reds

Cleveland Indians

Detroit Tigers

Milwaukee Brewers

Toronto Blue Jays

Definitely a different look to the AL Central, this new division is reminiscent of the old AL East.  The only difference is both the Yankees and Red Sox are missing with the Reds now on board in the American League.  After some thought, I think you will agree that the new AL Central will be one of the most competitive and fun to watch in baseball.  The Jays and Tigers have always enjoyed a strong rivalry and based on geography, it makes sense for the teams to be in the same division.  The same goes for both Ohio teams, with the Reds offense now enjoying an extra kick in the American League by adding the DH to their lineup.  The battle of Ohio will be a heated one and it is about time both teams were in the same division.  The fifth and final team came down to a choice of the Brewers or Twins.  While the Milwaukee fans might protest a return to the AL, the team overall seemed to be the best fit for the new AL Central.  A great offensive team that will match up well with the Tigers, Jays and remaining group in this division.

American League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Houston Astros

Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers

After watching the last few years of Angels/Mariners and Rangers/A’s matchups, it is time for a change.  These teams do not have the rivalry factor and the old AL West simply lacked excitement.  The Astros and Rangers in the same division will showcase the battle of Texas, which I believe will slowly become one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports.  The Rockies and Astros have the offensive ballparks that were made for the American League, power and home runs in excess.  The Diamondbacks and Mariners based on location fit best into the new AL West, a division in search of an identity but strong overall in hitting.  Exactly what fans would expect from their AL teams.

National League East

Atlanta Braves

Florida Marlins

Tampa Bay Rays

Philadelphia Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates

Rivalries, both old and new, will be the highlight of the new NL East as we showcase the new divisions of the senior circuit.  The Marlins and Rays are logical combatants based on their Florida location.  With the Braves not far away and already being rivals of the Marlins in the existing NL East, this division should feature some of the best baseball ever seen.  With the Pirates on the rebuild, the matchups of the Pennsylvania neighbors will bring back memories of the NL East from days gone by.  The Pirates became stagnant in the Central and with renewed rivalries and enthusiasm, this division will be competitive for years to come.  The move by the Rays to the NL should be an exciting one, with strong pitching and youth, the Rays will finally be home where they belong.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

Chicago White Sox

Kansas City Royals

Minnesota Twins

St. Louis Cardinals

The battle of Missouri and Illinois will run rampant in the new NL Central.  The White Sox after all these years will be the leaving the American League and changing leagues to do battle with their arch-rivals, the Cubbies.  These two teams do not like one another and the Illinois fans will go wild.  After a season or two, people will never understand how these teams weren’t in the same division to start with.  The Royals, with the best farm system in the game and some of the most highly touted young pitchers and hitters will be a force in the NL Central.  The battle of Missouri will ignite Kansas City and bring spark and life to this once proud franchise that needs a fresh start and identity makeover.  Further considering the rivalry between the Cubs and Cardinals, I can see the Cardinals and White Sox having intense face-offs every year.  The White Sox in coming over to the NL also bring their rivals the Twins with them.  The Twins, always built on strong pitching and defense will enjoy their long overdue move to the NL and should continue to match up well against the White Sox, Royals and new division foes.  It may take some time for the Twins to find life in this realignment, but over the long haul they will be better off for it.

National League West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Los Angeles Dodgers

Oakland Athletics

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the last and probably the best new division in the baseball, the revamped NL West.  The Dodgers, Padres and Giants are all left in their rightful homes and coming over are geographical based enemies, the Athletics and Angels formerly of the AL West.  The A’s logically will match up well with both the Giants and Dodgers, cross town rivals and former World Series opponents.  Compared to the old matchups with the Mariners and Rangers, the Athletics will see a sharp spike in attendance and popularity in facing geographical opponents that will ignite strong pitching matchups and close baseball games game-in and game-out.  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, formerly the California Angels and the Anaheim Angels, will battle their “Los Angeles” foe in what will become as heated as the Yankees/Red Sox one day.  Having teams of geographical proximity playing in separate leagues in the past was preposterous.  The new baseball realignment will finally fix the divisional setup and create once and for all, an all California division that will showcase truly what the West Coast is all about.

I hope that you enjoyed reading our feature on the new proposed MLB realignment.  The ideas have been in my mind for some time and watching almost 1/3 of the season in 2011, it was time to suggest to align baseball into divisions that make sense.  The current setup as previously indicated does not make sense.  Baseball in its current form is nothing more than a patchwork set of divisions that quite frankly when viewed do not make sense.  It is time to get teams on more equal footing and create divisions that better reflect geographical proximity and competitive balance.  If major league baseball thought that creating interleague play and wild cards sparked new interest in the game, the new realignment will shake up baseball and bring a whole new level of fans to the sport.  It will be impossible to get everyone to agree on the divisional alignments.  But at the end of the day, most of us can agree that change is needed.  Here is one proposal on the table: let’s discuss it and work towards implementing the best system we can.  The fans deserve it and the game as a whole will benefit as a result.

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MLB 2011 Standings: Analyzing all the Divisions

MLB reports:  With nearly a month of MLB action already underway, it is time to check all six of baseball’s divisions and focus on the standings.  After the excitement and panic that accompanied the completion of the opening series for each team, it is now time to check out each division and find which teams are playing above their heads and who needs to turn up a few notches.  The MLB standings as of the morning of Thursday April 28th, 2011, look as follows:  

 AL East W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
 New York Yankees 13 8 .619 9-5 4-3 6-3 5-4 2-1 Won 1 6-4
 Tampa Bay Rays 12 11 .522 2.0 6-7 6-4 4-4 8-5 0-2 Won 3 7-3
 Toronto Blue Jays 11 13 .458 3.5 6-5 5-8 3-6 2-1 6-6 Lost 1 4-6
 Baltimore Orioles 10 12 .455 3.5 7-7 3-5 5-4 4-6 1-2 Won 2 4-6
 Boston Red Sox 10 13 .435 4.0 5-4 5-9 5-6 0-3 5-4 Lost 2 7-3

AL East:  Few people should be surprised to see the empire sitting at the top of the AL East.  With the largest payroll in baseball and fielding a team of all-stars, the Yankees have proven that they can still win without a complete pitching staff.  The Rays after a slow start have turned it up and are now above .500.  With continued strong play, we may see the Rays in first by next week.  The Jays and Orioles sit in the middle of the pack as expected.  With hot and cold performances so far, both teams are two games under .500.  The Red Sox are still playing far below expectation but only sit four games out of first.  With a 7-3 record in their last ten games, the Red Sox are due for a huge tear.  Expect the toughest division in baseball to be a battle all season long as all teams could conceivably finish with a .500 record or better.

AL Central W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
 Cleveland Indians 15 8 .652 9-2 6-6 6-0 5-6 4-2 Won 2 6-4
 Detroit Tigers 12 12 .500 3.5 6-5 6-7 2-4 4-2 6-6 Lost 2 5-5
 Kansas City Royals 12 12 .500 3.5 9-5 3-7 0-0 6-7 6-5 Lost 5 2-8
 Minnesota Twins 9 13 .409 5.5 4-4 5-9 5-10 3-1 1-2 Lost 1 5-5
 Chicago White Sox 10 15 .400 6.0 4-6 6-9 6-5 3-5 1-5 Lost 1 3-7

AL Central:  The top team currently in the American League:  the Yankees?  No.  The Rangers?  No.  Look out, but the upstart Indians continue to lead the AL in winning percentage.  With the Indians on top and the White Sox at .400, this division is due for what is called a market correction.  The Twins at .409 have suffered through poor play and injuries, but their time is coming soon.  The Tigers at .500 haven’t played their best ball yet.  The Royals have fallen drastically back down to earth with a recent 2-8 tailspin and should continue to fall back to the cellar.  But what about those Indians?  At 9-2 at home, their play has been fairly one-sided.  With a 6-6 road record, it is only a matter of time before the bubble bursts.

AL West W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
 Texas Rangers 15 9 .625 11-4 4-5 7-5 4-2 4-2 Won 1 5-5
 Los Angeles Angels 14 11 .560 1.5 6-7 8-4 4-5 6-4 4-2 Lost 1 4-6
 Oakland Athletics 12 13 .480 3.5 4-5 8-8 2-3 6-4 4-6 Won 1 5-5
 Seattle Mariners 10 15 .400 5.5 5-8 5-7 2-1 4-8 4-6 Won 2 6-4

AL West:  The American League champion Rangers are back on a top with a convincing 15-9 record.  The Angels after a recent hot streak have cooled off, going 4-6 in their last 10.  The A’s, a traditional second half team are almost at .500.  This division should be a three-horse race right until September.  The Mariners…. at .400, are already preparing for next year.

Now we turn our attention to the National League after polishing off the junior circuit.  With so many interesting races, the National League should prove to have exciting matchups all summer long.

NL East W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
 Philadelphia Phillies 16 8 .667 7-4 9-4 7-4 4-2 5-2 Won 1 6-4
 Florida Marlins 15 8 .652 0.5 10-5 5-3 6-5 5-1 4-2 Lost 1 7-3
 Atlanta Braves 13 13 .500 4.0 4-5 9-8 6-6 1-3 6-4 Won 2 6-4
 New York Mets 11 13 .458 5.0 5-8 6-5 7-7 1-2 3-4 Won 6 7-3
 Washington Nationals 10 13 .435 5.5 5-6 5-7 5-9 5-4 0-0 Lost 3 4-6

NL East:  The Phillies, led by the four-aces are on top with a 16-8 record.  But don’t look now, the Florida (soon to be Miami) Marlins are on fire at 7-2 in their last 10 and only sit 1/2 a game out of first.  With the Mets on a six-game winning streak and the last place Nationals only 5.5 games out, the NL East is becoming quite balanced and competitive.  Smart money is still on the Phillies to take the crown, with the Braves playing better than their .500 record as of today.  But so far the Marlins and Mets are surprising me, the Braves are disappointing me and the Nationals and Phillies are playing to expectations.

NL Central W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
 St. Louis Cardinals 13 11 .542 6-6 7-5 2-1 4-4 7-6 Won 1 6-4
 Cincinnati Reds 13 12 .520 0.5 7-6 6-6 0-0 9-7 4-5 Won 1 4-6
 Milwaukee Brewers 12 12 .500 1.0 8-5 4-7 5-5 7-7 0-0 Lost 1 5-5
 Pittsburgh Pirates 11 13 .458 2.0 4-7 7-6 2-4 7-5 2-4 Won 1 5-5
 Chicago Cubs 10 13 .435 2.5 6-8 4-5 0-0 4-5 6-8 Lost 3 4-6
 Houston Astros 9 15 .375 4.0 5-7 4-8 3-6 4-7 2-2 Lost 1 5-5

NL Central:  For all the critics that wrote me threatening letters when I predicted the Cardinals would take the wild card, please start typing your apology letters and sending them my way.  Just kidding.  But in an expected strong division, the Cardinals are in first place with only 2 wins over .500.  Having the Pirates, Cubs and Astros in the division would do that.  For all the press that the Indians, Royals and Pirates received to start the year, the Indians are the only team left at the end of the musical chairs.  The Pirates have fallen back down to earth with an 11-13 record that should prove to only be worse as the season progresses.  The Cubs and Astros in my estimation could best hope for good drafts and 2011 being a rebuilding year.  The Reds, Cardinals and Brewers are all .500 and better and should continue to battle out for the NL Central crown and likely the wild card all season long.  Keep an eye on those teams.

NL West W L Pct GB Home Road East Cent West Streak L10
 Colorado Rockies 16 7 .696 6-4 10-3 5-2 7-2 4-3 Won 2 5-5
 Los Angeles Dodgers 13 13 .500 4.5 7-5 6-8 4-3 3-4 6-6 Won 1 6-4
 San Francisco Giants 11 12 .478 5.0 4-5 7-7 0-3 3-2 8-7 Lost 1 4-6
 Arizona Diamondbacks 10 13 .435 6.0 6-6 4-7 2-4 6-6 2-3 Lost 1 5-5
 San Diego Padres 9 16 .360 8.0 4-11 5-5 1-6 6-7 2-3 Lost 2 2-8

NL West:  Last, but not least, we come to the NL West.  A strange division which is strong some years and extremely weak in others.  The Rockies have been the class of the National League, with a league leading .696 winning percentage.  A strong 10-3 road record has carried the team, which points to a likely correction in the future.  The Dodgers, my pick for the division, sits at .500 despite multiple distractions off the field.  With the talent base in Los Angeles, they will continue to be a tough competitor.  The World Series champs, the San Francisco Giants are below .500 and we need to fight for offense in order to contend.  The Diamondbacks continue to rebuild and after a hot start to 2010, the Padres tanked in the 2nd half of last year and now sit with eight games out of first, the biggest margin in baseball.  The Padres will need some extreme smoke and mirrors to mask their deficiencies and will need to continue to rebuild to climb back to contention.

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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