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Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
Workouts for all teams are in full swing and Spring Training games will start this weekend. Baseball season is here. In the past few weeks, I have projected saves and HR leaders for this upcoming season. In this week’s installment of projections, I will predict the SB leaders for the year (in descending order).
1. Mike Trout, 50
Last year, Trout caught the baseball world by storm after being called up nearly a month after the season started. The young superstar stole 49 bases en route to an MVP-like season. If it were not for Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, Trout would have been the MVP. The Angels outfielder stole 49 bases in less than a full season. I believe that Trout will steal roughly the same amount of bases due to the Angels’ acquisition of Josh Hamilton. The Angels will want Trout in scoring position as much as possible. This year, there is no way the Angels will not make the playoffs with Trout, Hamilton, and Albert Pujols.
Mike Trout Highlights 2012 – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:
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Tuesday February 12th, 2013
From the movie Glengarry Glen Ross came one of the most compelling scenes ever – when Alec Baldwin took the stage in an office setting – spewing out some of the greatest and powerful insults over a failing sales crew that included Jack Lemmon and Ed Harris. In the scene, Baldwin himself is a powerful corporate executive that has been sent down to yell at these guys – from the powers to be of the operation. At the beginning point in Alec Baldwin’s lecture, old sales veteran (Lemmon) goes for a cup of coffee. Baldwin yells out “Put the coffee Down! Coffee is for closers!
The same can be said for closers that are not doing the job in nailing down games. Many teams have bullpens that blow games at the most inopportune times. Nothing is as deflating as losing a lead in the late Innings. It is bad for team moral, the players and managers try to not play the blame game, however it is a tough pill to swallow when your team can’t close down baseball leads…. Just like the guys in Glengarry Glen Ross the movie couldn’t. After you view this clip, you can move past it and read on who the best players that nail down victories. The last part of the speech also works: A.B.C.: Always Be Closing. It is Close or hit the bricks! Great movie BTW…
Glengarry Glen Ross – Explicit Language so Parental Guidance is advised (Not for the Weak Of Heart):
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Thursday February 7th, 2013
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
2012 was an exciting year for the long ball. The MLB saw its first Triple Crown winner since 1967, and there were six guys that hit over 40 HR. It seems as if 2013 will be more of the same with the emergence of new sluggers in Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. In this feature, I will highlight some of the hitters who I think will have the most dingers (and how many) by the end of 2013. I don’t think Joey Bats will stay healthy enough to reach this list (although he will have a chance if he can miss the injury bug.
Adam Dunn: 40
In the years that Dunn has not slumped, he has been pretty consistent. This past season proved to the baseball community that the slugger is not quite done yet. Although he hit for a very low average, Dunn still managed to club over 40 bombs. Knowing this, I have no problem putting Adam Dunn down to hit at least 40 this year. He will have more confidence than he did in 2012 – and will most likely be in better shape to start off the year. The White Sox might have a shot at the playoffs if Dunn can stay healthy and keep his average above the Mendoza Line.
Mike Trout: 41
The Angels prized possession did not even start the year with the big club, yet he still hit 30 HR. A legitimate candidate for MVP, Trout will not have a problem hitting 41 HR this season. The protection for Trout in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton makes this argument even more convincing. I could see Trout driving in 100 runs this year and winning the MVP. Just like Dunn, Trout needs to maintain his health. With Trout, Hamilton, and Pujols running on all cylinders, the Angels will not have a problem reaching the playoffs after failing to do so in 2012. The Athletics and Rangers will not be a match for the powerful offense that now includes Josh Hamilton.
HRs 2012 (Explicit Music Lyrics-Parental Guidance Advised)
Thursday July 12th, 2012
Sam Evans: Tim Lincecum has been proving doubters wrong his whole life. Despite his small frame, Lincecum has managed to win the Golden Spikes award and two N.L. Cy Young awards. However, in 2012 Lincecum hasn’t looked like the same pitcher. He has not only lost velocity on his fastball, but his numbers across the board are not what we expected from one of the best pitchers in the game. It’s hard to conclude what has caused Lincecum to struggle in his first fifteen starts. But the question on everyone’s mind is: what is next for Lincecum?
From 2007 to 2011, Tim Lincecum ranked fifth in Wins Above Replacement among all starting pitchers. He was simply dominant. In 2008 and 2009, Lincecum became the first pitcher ever to win back-to-back Cy Young awards in their first two full seasons. The Giants largely owe their 2010 World Series title to Lincecum and his 2.43 ERA in the playoffs. Heading into the 2012 season, the Giants reportedly offered Lincecum a five-year, $100 million contract, which he turned down to sign a two-year deal worth about $40 million. Looking back at it, Lincecum probably should have taken the deal which offered him long-term security. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday December 13, 2011
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks, you are probably well aware of the splash that the Angels made in the free agent market with the signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Certainly, the balance of power in the American League West has shifted to the Angels, who have set themselves up for a championship run. While Pujols and Wilson have a good chance to bring home a championship in Los Angeles, they will likely be on many winning fantasy rosters as well.
As I discussed a few weeks back, Pujols has been the best fantasy player in baseball after 10 Ruth-like seasons after he busted onto the scene in 2001. However, 2011 was an interesting year for Pujols, the first in which he did not produce a .300 average, hit 30 HR and drive in 100 runs. He missed this feat by just one RBI and one average point. Through the Cardinal’s first 54 games, Pujols batted .257 with 8 home runs and 28 RBI. However, in the final 108 games, which included the time missed with the wrist injury, he batted .322 with 29 home runs and 71 RBI’s. That is the Pujols that we have all been accustomed to over the last decade. Therefore, I do not think you need to be overly concerned about a significant A-Rod-esque drop off just yet. The back-end of Pujols’ contract will certainly get ugly for the Angels, but expect the usual slugger for the first few years. Now, the other factor on Pujols’ performance is the shift to a new team and new league. In terms of ballparks, Busch Stadium and Angels Stadium are very similar in degree of hitter friendliness. For the switch to the AL. below are his career interleague numbers, which add up to almost one full major league season:
143 GP 39 HR 121 RBI .348 AVG 1.071 OPS (1.037 career)
The stats show the Albert dominates against the American League, with numbers that even exceed his career averages. With a hitter as good as Pujols, it’s the American League pitchers who will be tasked with making adjustments and not Pujols. The Angels lineup is actually pretty similar to the Cardinals, and if people step up (Kendrys Morales), it has potential to be a lot better. Therefore, I expect the usual greatness from Pujols.
Projections: .312 39 HR 120 RBI 117 R 12 SB
C.J. Wilson enjoyed his finest season as a pro in 2011 with a 16-7 record and a 2.94 ERA. At age 31 and not as young as many expect, there is not too much room for actual skill development with Wilson. However, the major factors that impact pitchers results after a team change are in favor for Wilson. Let’s start with park factors and opposition. Wilson no longer has to pitch as many games in Texas, where he sported a career 3.89 ERA, compared to 3.26 on the road. The contrast was even starker in 2011, when he posted a 3.69 ERA at home and a 2.31 ERA on the road. Much of the reason for his success on the road were his regular matchups against the lowly Mariners and Athletics offenses, which he will continue have. Fortunate to have Pujols on his team now, he will still have to face his former talented Rangers teammates. Looking at the defense behind Wilson, it is pretty much a wash. The Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler double play combination was one of the best in baseball, but the Angels outfield is significantly better than the Rangers. Lastly, although the Angels made significant offensive upgrades, it is still safe to think the Rangers would provide more run support, potentially cutting into his win total.
The move to the Angels appears to make Wilson potentially more valuable in 2012. His FIP and XFIP indicate that his ERA range should have been closer to 3.20-3.30, so it might be tough to expect a sub-3 ERA in 2012. However, his recent success, coupled with his change of scenery (most importantly out of Texas), indicate that he should be one the game’s most valuable pitchers in 2012.
Projections: 208 IP, 16-9 WL, 3.28 ERA, and 180 K’s
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein).***
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