Category Archives: MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis

From the Atlanta Braves to the Washington Nationals, Discussions on All 30 MLB Teams

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Houston Astros

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME WE SIT DOWN WITH ASTROS COUNTY TO CHAT HOUSTON ASTROS.

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

This MLB Wrap Up features James from Astros County as he gives us his take on the 2016 season the ‘Stros had. They finished 3rd in the AL West, 11 games back of the Texas Rangers and ended up missing the Wild Card spot by 5 games. Once again, Jose Altuve was a bright spot for Houston as he hit himself right into the mix of AL MVP considerations.

JFtC: If you could sum up the Houston Astros’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

James: It was frustrating. Oh, a paragraph? Okay. For the first time in ten years Astros fans had some expectations about a legitimate postseason run…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Brewers

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WARP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH CHRIS ZANTOW TO GET INSIGHT INTO THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

This MLB Wrap features some great insight into a team we might not have been paying much attention to in 2016. Chris Zantow does a nice job of wrapping up the Milwaukee Brewers 2016 season for us. The Brewers finished well back of the race in the NL Central division at 73-89, 30.5 games back of the Cubs. They were also 14 games back of the Wild Card. That said, we can’t really call the season a disappointment if expectations weren’t that high to begin with.

JFtC:  If you could sum up Milwaukee’s season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Chris: The season was all about development of young players and seeing what General Manager David Stearns and Manager Craig Counsell could do with a full year in their roles…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Giants

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH THE GIANTS COVE TO DISCUSS THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

This MLB Wrap Up features a discussion with Richard Dyer of The Giants Cove and his interesting thoughts on how his San Francisco Giants made out in 2016. They finished at 87-75, in 2nd place behind the Dodgers. They managed to snag the second Wild Card spot and played the New York Mets. The Giants would win that pitcher’s duel, but go on to lose to the eventual World Series winners, the Chicago Cubs.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up San Francisco’s season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Richard: The San Francisco Giants’ 2016 season was an extension of their 2015 season (and their doo-da lucky 2014 championship season): mediocrity on the field; no vision, creativity, or leadership in the front office…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Cardinals

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH CARDS ONCLAVE TO CHAT ST LOUIS CARDINALS

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Daniel Shoptaw of Cards Conclave to get his thoughts on the 2016 season for the St Louis Cardinals. The Cards finished 10 games above .500, and many would consider 2016 a disappointment. They trailed the Cubs by 17.5 to finish in 2nd spot in the National League Central and they missed the Wild Card spot by a single game.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up the Cards’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Daniel: It was a frustrating year for the Cardinals, summed up by the fact that they only reached 10 games over .500 on the last day of the season, and that still wound up keeping them one game away from a shot at the playoffs…..

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Detroit Tigers

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU MLB WRAP UPS. THIS EDITION, WE CHAT WITH TOTALLY TIGERS TO GET PERSPECTIVE ON THE DETROIT TIGERS

 

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

 

For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Kurt Snyder and Holly Horning of Totally Tigers to talk about the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers finished 8 games back of Cleveland in the AL Central and seemed like they would take one if the Wild Card spots, but ended up 2.5 games back in that race. Led by Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers fell short, but were pleasantly surprised by rookie, Michael Fulmer.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up the Tigers’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

TT: Injuries had an unusual 2-sided effect on the Tigers. They closed some doors but opened others….

 

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Pirates

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH PIRATES BREAKDOWN TO CHAT BUCCOS!

 

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

 

This time, we chatted with Jason Rollison, the founder of Pirates Breakdown to get his take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They had an interesting year, finishing 8.5 games out of the National League Wild Card spot and a whopping 25 games back of the Cubs, who won 103. After a few years of hanging around the playoff picture, the Pirates took a step back in 2016. They’re an intriguing squad that is looking to get back the postseason and maybe even surpassing their Wild Card run.

 

JFtC: If you could sum up the Pirates’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

PBD: The Pittsburgh Pirates returned a lot of their 98-win team from 2015. Unfortunately that alone could not save the team from dropping off to the tune of 20 less wins in 2016…

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 MLB Wrap Ups: Red Sox

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 WRAP UPS. THIS TIME, WE SIT DOWN WITH OFF THE BENCH BASEBALL AND DISCUSS THE BOSTON RED SOX

 

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

 

For this MLB Wrap Up, we sat down with Ari Glantz of Off the Bench Baseball to chat about the 2016 AL East Champion, Boston Red Sox. After signing David Price to a mega-deal, lots of things went right for this team as they climbed the standings late in the season to snatch the division title from the Blue Jays. They rode an amazing season from David Ortiz and an MVP type season from Mookie Betts.

 

JFtCIf you could sum up the Red Sox season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Ari: David Ortiz, David Ortiz, David Ortiz. (Is that a paragraph?) At times for better, at others for worse, this was the season of Big Papi….

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

JFtC 2016 Wrap Ups Interviews: Yankees

JAYS FROM THE COUCH BRINGS YOU 2016 MLB WRAP UPS. WE SIT DOWN WITH OFF THE BENCH BASEBALL TO DISCUSS THE NEW YORK YANKEES’ SEASON

 

4-jays-from-the-couch_transparent-01

 

To kick things off, I checked in with Max Frankel of Off the Bench Baseball to get his thoughts on the New York Yankees 2016 season. In many ways, it was a season that folks could probably look back on fondly. Despite the aging roster, the Bronx Bombers managed to make things exciting near the end of the year with Gary Sanchez captivating the imagination of the league. Max talks about the rookie phenom and much more in our little interview.

JFtC: If you could sum up the Yankees’ season in a paragraph, what would you say?

Max: 2016 was a genuine, actual, for real transformational season for the New York Yankees. A changing of the guard, if you will……

READ FULL POST at Jays From the Couch

Andrew McCutchen: Small Changes Add Up to Big Drop In Performance

Andrew McCutchen is slogging through the worst season of his professional career. His drop in production is a case of death by 1000 tiny cuts.

Andrew McCutchen‘s season is officially a cursed one.

What started off as an unsurprising bad start quickly mushroomed into one of the biggest storylines for the 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, something that was previously thought to be unthinkable has occurred. McCutchen has been benched for an entire series.

The search for answers is wide-ranging. Many have offered their own theories as to McCutchen’s struggles. The 29-year old center fielder is himself at a loss for words. He responded with exasperation when asked if he felt he needed to take a breather.

“I wouldn’t be taking days off”

Andrew McCutchen

The fact of the matter is that he is working to pull his bat out of its summer doldrums. But, as you will see, there is no easy fix. Rather, many small changes in McCutchen’s approach make up the large picture of a struggling former MVP.

Debunking The Lack Of Hittable Pitches

Andrew McCutchen has offered that he does not get many ‘hittable pitches,’ but the data culled from pitch f/x shows otherwise.

McCutchen

The table above shows the Zone percentages (percentage of pitches in the strike zone) as well as percentages of fastballs seen overall. McCutchen is seeing the most pitches in the zone than he ever has before, and 4.4 percent more than his 2013 MVP campaign.

On their own merits, Zone and fastball percentages can’t tell the full story. They are imperfect metrics. Just because a pitch lands in the zone doesn’t mean the pitch did not have enough deception to freeze the batter, or outright fool him. In this particular instance, fastball percentage lumps in all fastball types. Thus, we can’t fully lean on it to help explain away McCutchen’s inability to drive the ball.

READ MORE AT PIRATES BREAKDOWN…

What would a Nationals trade for Mark Melancon look like?

The Pittsburgh Pirates historically move closers at the right time. Is history about to repeat itself?

Today, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been in talks with teams regarding Mark Melancon.

With the Washington Nationals specifically named, how do the Pirates line up as trade partners with the franchise formerly known as the Expos?

Before we can delve into that, we should note that the Nationals were in on Aroldis Chapman. As Jon Heyman reported:

The Nats declined to give up  Lucas Giolito for Chapman, then they declined to give up Joe Ross. After those two attempts by the Yankees, New York is said to have requested a four-player package centered around young pitching. Anyway, the Nats didn’t do it and never got close

Jon Heyman

First, let’s be very clear. In the closer market, there is Chapman, and then there is everyone else. We can use logic to tell us that the Nats will not give up Lucas Giolito – the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball entering 2015 – in any type of 1-for-1 deal. Thus, any deal that includes Giolito and Player X or Prospect Y likely will not work either.

Joe Ross is interesting as he can be seen as somewhat expendable. He’s been a very solid performer, with an ERA in the mid 3.5 or lower range with low-enough walk and home run per nine rates. This year he is averaging about 7.5 K/9. He is controllable through 2022, and is pre-arbitration.

Despite all these accolades, the Nationals are set at the top of their rotation with Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Giolito. Tanner Roark is in tow and controllable through 2020. Gio Gonzalez has a team option for the next two years, but the club might want to clear space for Erick Fedde, another talented starting pitching prospect.

Putting Together the Package

Taking all of that into consideration, and it would appear that Ross or Roark would be imminently available. Roark might have a slight edge over Ross in esteem due to a slightly longer track record and having slightly better control.

It is easy to envision a 1-for-1 swap of either Ross or Roark for Melancon’s services. We have seen a plethora of “baseball trades” in recent years, afterall.

But, as is often the case, trade deadline deals are rarely that easy. If we expand our criteria to see how the team’s farm systems match up, there is a lot of similarity. The Nationals have an abundance of infielders with multiple position chops as well as the usual assortment of pitching. Much like the Pittsburgh Pirates, their pipeline is surprisingly well-stocked for a team that traditionally has been built through free agency.

I could easily see a swap of B-level prospects being included in a potential deal, or a prospect going to the Pirates as a throw-in.  Regardless, any deal with the Nationals would have to involve either Roark or Ross. Both are young, controllable and capable.

With just over 72 hours left until the deadline, the club might just be able to find a better deal elsewhere, but it’s clear that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals line up well as trade partners.

Nine Innings/Questions With Dodgers Blue Heaven: A New BBBA Featured Series Of Its Members

Blue-Heaven-Blog-Header

Note From Chuck Booth:  We have some talented bloggers at the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, and our Executive Committee member (Peter Schiller) is going to start doing an article series interviewing them.  Today he asks our friend Ernest Reyes about his Dodgers site.

If you are a fan of these teams, I recommend to read their insights – and to also follow their blogs. Peter is a good man.  He gave me my first chance ever to have an authorship page at his site over 7 years ago.

Peter Schiller (Featured BBBA Executive Committee Member/Writer/Owner – baseballreflections.com) 

If you like what you read below, check out more from Ernest Reyes  at his site,  Dodgers Blue Heaven!

This is the first in a series of me asking fellow bloggers from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA) 9 innings worth of questions about their team.

The goal is to do this for as many teams as possible (all 30 would be ideal) a few times a season. This one is a pre-All Star edition, then a post-All Star edition, another down the stretch (towards the end of the season) and then either a playoffs edition or off season edition or both!

So, without further ado …

  1. How are the Dodgers’ offseason acquisitions working out so far? Any concerns?

This is a bit of a mixed bag.

To read the rest of this article on BaseballReflections.com, follow this link!

Do The Pittsburgh Pirates Miss Pitching Guru Jim Benedict More Than Expected?

pirates+logo

Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

This past off-season the Miami Marlins hired away former Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching guru, Jim Benedict and named him their Vice President of Pitching Development, which is a new position specifically created for the for the former minor league pitcher turned advance scout.

Despite being credited hand-in-hand with Ray Searage for their numerous reclamation projects, Benedict’s specific contributions were at times difficult to fully quantify.

With Benedict gone, the 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates have seen their pitching devolve from an area of strength to a current weakness. Is this simply due to the loss of Benedict? Or are there other factors at play? Can we draw any conclusions from Benedict’s new team’s performance?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Time To Face The Facts Tigers Fans; This Team Is Not Good

Shane Kay (Featured BBBA Writer Owner – sonsof84tigers.mlblogs.com) 

Well Tigers fans, after 31 games and the Tigers sitting at 14 – 17 and 8 games out of first, it’s time for a reality check…the Tigers just aren’t that good.

This isn’t to say that they are absolutely terrible either, but the inconsistencies will continue to haunt them all season long.  During this 7 game losing streak, it seems when you get good hitting, then starting pitching is poor, or when you scrape enough runs to support good pitching then the pen blows it, and then there are just times when the team doesn’t hit.

There have been some positives with out a doubt so far an include:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

The Oakland A’s Offensive Struggles, And Where They Go From Here

oakland-as-logo

(Featured BBBA Website – offtthebenchbaseball.com) 

Saturday night, I had the pleasure of catching the Oakland A’s take on the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore’s Camden Yards. In addition to being a beautiful night, the first we’ve had on the East Coast in more than a week, and one of baseball’s best ballparks – if you haven’t been, go, its awesome- game 2 of Saturday’s day/night double header was a crisp and enjoyable game to watch.

Ubaldo Jimenez tossed 8 solid innings in his first start in forever and Chris Davis launched a mammoth 2 run shot  to help Baltimore notch a 5-2 win and earn a doubleheader split after Oakland took game one. But in watching the A’s, I couldn’t help think there was something missing. Sure, it was game 2 of the day but most of Oakland’s starters were playing and the lineup lacked any sort of fearsomeness or hint that it might be capable of competing in the AL West.

Of course, the A’s aren’t a bad team, but it doesn’t feel like it’s a team capable of being a good team either. Watching them meekly go down against a pitcher with an ERA north of 5 and a fastball topping out at 91 inspired me to go back and look at the numbers.

Right now, Oakland is 14-17, 4.5 games behind Seattle for 1st in the West. They have a -16 run differential, good for 4th worst in the AL and are currently 10th in the AL in runs, 10th in batting average, and dead last in on base percentage.

That last number really jumps out at you.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

The Pittsburgh Pirates Are Not A Shifty Bunch

pirates+logo

Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

Pittsburgh are shifting less in 2016 and their pitching is worse. Are these two related?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have earned a reputation around the league of being a very analytical front office and with good reason. The use of FIP and xFIP to find value starting pitching is well known, but the shift is where the Pirates really earned their stripes as a numbers-centric team.

From 2013-2015, the Pirates shifted a total of 2,446 times, which was good for third in all of baseball behind only the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays, two teams with sabermetric driven front offices of their own.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

5 Things About the 2016 Boston Red Sox That Aren’t Being Talked About Enough

boston1

Andrew Martin (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – baseballhistorian.blogspot.com)

 

After finishing the 2015 season in last place, the Boston Red Sox look much better this year, currently on a pace for 93 wins. While some things have gone very well, there are others that have not.

Despite the chatter that seems to perpetually swirl around the team, some things haven’t received the attention they deserve. Here are five of them (keeping in mind the season is only about a sixth of the way over):

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

 

The Pittsburgh Pirates Payroll In 2016 + Roster That Could Have Been

payroll-breakdown-1024x576

Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

After a second consecutive exit from the playoffs by way of the wild card game, the Pittsburgh Pirates promised a bigger payroll this season, but could they have done better?

In December, Neal Huntington and Frank Connelly both hinted the Pirates target payroll would be approximately $105 million for opening day.  As it stands, the Pirates opening day payroll was about $100 million.

That wouldn’t be so bad if the team’s pitching staff wasn’t off to a rough start, the first base platoon partner wasn’t gone after two weeks, and the Cubs weren’t the center of the baseball universe at the moment.  The saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20,” but we consider what could have been if the Pirates had spent their money a little differently.

Let’s start with the breakdown of the opening day payroll broken down by position: (Note: Only players included on opening day 25-man roster/DL are included below.)

The rules for this little experiment are simple.  We cannot exceed $105 million, and our payroll has to include 28 players due to Jared Hughes, Elias Diaz, and Jung-Ho Kang starting the season on the major league disabled list. 

If we choose any players the Pirates did not sign, we will assume the Pirates could have signed said player(s) to the same terms.  Knowing what we know now, here’s a look at what the Pirates roster could have been.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 4 – April

One is the #1 club in the whole MLB right now, and the other was the biggest mover and shaker of the week for week 3 of MLB action.

One is the #1 club in the whole MLB right now, and the other was the biggest mover and shaker of the week for week 3 of MLB action.  Both are leading the Central Divisions in their respective leagues behind awesome starting pitching and timely power.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

Follow The MLBreports On Twitter

Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

Game Records were before the results of the ESPN Sunday Night Game was played.

After a crazy week in which we saw our 1st no hitter, and massive long 16 inning game in Washington, we have for you the MLB Power Rankings.

There was no movement from the top 3 clubs.  The NL West saw the Dodgers take a decent lead on the Giants – and that is major critical, as that is the team most likely to give them trouble in their quest for a 4th straight Division crown.

Bryce Harper has pulverized the Phillies, Marlins, Braves and Twins thus far.  His late inning heroics are taking him to the next level.

The biggest mover and shaker this week was the White Sox, who climbed up 7 slots.  The Giants dropping 8 positions was the biggest decline.

Bad weeks were had by the Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees and Astros.  All clubs in the AL who are supposed to contend for a playoff slot.

The Mariners won their 3rd straight road series against the Angels (after beating the Yankees and Tribe 1s), and sit just a half game back in the AL West.

Oakland had started 7 – 0 on the road, before yielding 15 runs over the last 2 losses to the Blue Jays.  They are tied with the Rangers for the lead in the Division, but it is just a matter of time before they are bounced out in my opinion.

Cleveland had a nice week of 4 – 2 to jump up 5 spots in the rankings. and are that much closer to bringing back Michael Brantley.

Gaining only one spot but having an awesome week were the New York Mets.  All the boys are hitting now, and they are 8 – 2 in their last 10 contests. Read the rest of this entry

Steven Wright Is Pitching Himself Into Permanent Status With The Boston Red Sox

zz steven wright

Andrew Martin (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – baseballhistorian.blogspot.com)

 

The Boston Red Sox have gone through their fair share of pitching woes over the past several seasons. Despite signing a blue chipper in David Price last offseason, the 2016 season has still been one of inconsistency for their staff.

While it seems there is still work to be done, the surprise emergence of knuckleball starter Steven Wright may end up going a long way towards fortifying the team’s starting rotation.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

 

The Numbers Behind John Jaso’s Early Success

John-Jaso

Jason Rollison (Featured BBBA Baseball Writer/Owner – piratesbreakdown.com) 

To say nothing of his more-than-capable defense at first base, John Jaso has been a revelation at the top spot in the batting order for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

John Jaso has put up some solid slash lines over his career, so it should not come as much of a surprise that he currently carries a .414 on-base percentage as part of an .897 OPS.

How has Jaso been able to acclimate himself so quickly and effectively to the top of the Pirates’ lineup?

A Solid Foundation

For Jaso, his propensity for quality plate appearances starts with the first pitch.

His F-Strike percentage (percentage of plate appearances that start with a strike) clocks in at 53.3 percent. That figure represents the third-best on the club, behind Starling Marte (52.5) and Gregory Polanco (51.6). While the importance of first-pitch strikes has been debated in recent years, good things happen for Jaso on a 1-0 count. More on that later.

In looking a bit deeper at what Jaso is actually seeing on the first pitch, the four-seam fastball is seen the most at 46 percent. It likely may not even matter what type of pitch Jaso sees first, as chances are it won’t be anywhere near the strike zone.

His Zone % (percentage of pitches seen in the strike zone) is 47.8 percent, which is not significant on its own until coupled with his O-Swing % (percentage of pitches outside of the zone that a batter swings at).

Jaso’s O-Swing percentage clocks at 16.5 percent, nearly two-thirds better than the league average of 30 percent. Incredibly, he isn’t even the best on this Pirates team in this regard. That honor belongs to David Freese and his 15.7 percent clip. Regardless, Jaso’s rate is fourth-best in the National League for anyone with 50 or more plate appearances.

The foundation that Jaso lays in his plate appearances almost feels as if he dictates to pitchers how the PA will go. He absolutely refuses to chase anything out of the zone, and such an approach can force an opposing pitcher to offer something he may not necessarily want to offer on the next pitch, which usually comes at a 1-0 count.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY.

What Is Making The 2016 Dodgers Tick?

los angeles dodgers 2016

Emily Siskin-Toy (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – behindenemylines32.blogspot.com) 

They’ve only been at it for about two weeks, but I really like the way the Dodgers are playing ball this season. Led by rookie manager Dave Roberts, the Dodgers look and feel and act like a TEAM.

Pardon me if I am excited by something that should be a given in this sport, but the Dodgers haven’t played as a 25-man unit since the last time they won the World Series in 1988. What’s changed and why? Here are the main reasons so far.

The New Puig

As I mentioned in a Spring Training post, Yasiel Puig came to camp with a whole new outlook, thanks in part to Roberts wiping the slate clean, and also because he needs to prove himself this season.

I also believe his command of English is much better and therefore he feels more a part of the crew. He shed 15 pounds and has that Bo Jackson-like speed back, running the bases like a bull and getting to every outfield ball.

The difference is that he is playing with that fire again, but under control.

He is hitting the cut-off guy, taking extra bases with a bit more care, and waiting for good pitches to hit. The result is just the kind of start the Dodgers needed him to have (.356 avg., .442 OBP, 9 runs scored, 5 RBIs) to spark the team like only he can.

Ki-ké, Ki-ké, Ki-ke (Enrique Hernandez)

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

 

 

Strong Player Starts (And Not) From Around The League: National League Central

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Kay (Featured BBBA Baseball Writer/Owner – sonsof84tigers.mlblogs.com) 

Continuing on look at hot starts from around the league, we move on from the AL East to the National League Central where we see a bunch of exciting starts from teams and players as well as some very slow starts from key stars.

Chicago Cubs

Hot

Dexter Fowler, OF – Fowler has done a great job helping the a struggling offense with his team leading .378 average, 10 runs scored, 3 homers (tied with Rizzo), 9 walks (tied with Rizzo), and a 1.211 OPS

Cubs Starting Pitchers – The offense is sputtering, but the pitching is thriving right now. 

All 5 starters have allowed a total of 21 runs 13 starts (combined 2.18 ERA), Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta have batting averages against of .195 and Jon Lester has hitters baffled with a .183 avg against.  

Oh, and WHIP…a combined 0.969, which is led by Arrieta at 0.77 and Lester at 0.84

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

 

Strong Player Starts (And Not) From Around The League: National League East

Bryce Harper emerged as the premiere player in the National League during the 2015 season. At Age 22, he 3 Slashed .330/.460/.649 with 42 HRs. 38 - 2B. 118 Runs Scored and 124 Walks. His plate discipline is incredible, and he pulled off these numbers despite the rest of the club battling injuries and lackluster play. If they can all up their game, Harper's talent will be elevated even higher. Harper won his 1st MVP Award in 2015.

Bryce Harper emerged as the premiere player in the National League during the 2015 season. At Age 22, he 3 Slashed .330/.460/.649 with 42 HRs. 38 – 2B. 118 Runs Scored and 124 Walks. His plate discipline is incredible, and he pulled off these numbers despite the rest of the club battling injuries and lackluster play. If they can all up their game, Harper’s talent will be elevated even higher. Harper won his 1st MVP Award in 2015.  Heading into action today, he has homered in 4 straight contests, and the Nats have started out 9 – 2. – on the heels of his 1.356 OPS.  Harper leads the NL in Slugging and OPS, and has reeled in 15 RBI.

Shane Kay (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner Of sonsof84tigers,mlblogs.com) 

Now that we’re a couple weeks in to the season, besides the amazing start by rookie Trevor Story, let’s take a look at some other players from the NL East that are hot starts and some that aren’t to this point.

Atlanta Braves

Hot

Nick Markakis, OF – Leading the team in hitting (.333), RBI (12), Runs (7), and OPS (.956)

Not

Freddie Freeman, 1B – Hitting just .167, with 6 hits in 36 at bats, 1 homer, 4 RBI, and 11 K’s

Julio Teheran, SP – The teams “ace” is 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in 3 starts, giving up 4 homers, walking 8, and with hitters batting .250 again.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

(In this Post, Bryce Harper)

Cubs And White Sox Had Different Winter Strategies, But Could Experience A Similar 2016

image courtesy of chicagonow.com

image courtesy of chicagonow.com

Matt Musico (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chinmusicbaseball.com) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

The journey toward fielding a competitive baseball team can happen in a multitude of ways, but as long as winning is the result, the other details will take care of themselves.

A perfect example of this is what’s going on in Chicago right now with the Cubs and White Sox.

Based on their young roster and improvements made over the winter, the Cubs are a popular pick to win this year’s World Series. Predictions be damned, they still have to go out and prove it.

Even though the season is barely two weeks old, the results have been excellent. Chicago’s National League squad is entering Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies with an MLB-best 8-1 record.

Meanwhile, the White Sox have seemingly flown under the radar in their own city with an equally impressive 7-2 record. At the moment, they’re tied for first place in the competitive AL Central with the Kansas City Royals.

The schedule is 162 games long for a reason and what happens over the first couple weeks brings no guarantee for the remainder of the year.

Still, it’s interesting to see how these two Chicago teams have taken completely different routes with regard to roster construction and on-field play before seeing similar results through nine games.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Milwaukee Brewers – What We Learned In Week 1 Of 2016

New Milwaukee GM David Stearns has his hands full trying to compete in the NL Central for the next several seasons.  Really the club should be starting a full scale rebuild that includes trading Ryan Braun. Jonathan Lucroy and potentially Wily Peralta.  With dealing with the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all in the NL Central, expect a 100 loss season coming forth for the club.

New Milwaukee GM David Stearns has his hands full trying to compete in the NL Central for the next several seasons. Really the club should be starting a full scale rebuild that includes trading Ryan Braun. Jonathan Lucroy and potentially Wily Peralta. With dealing with the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all in the NL Central, expect a 100 loss season coming forth for the club.  This squad split their 1st 6 game homestand with after being blistered by the Giants, Milwaukee took 2 out of 3 in Interleague play versus the Houston Astros.

Chris Zantow (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – chriszantowauthor.wordpress.com)

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

With one week in the books, let’s take a look at what Milwaukee Brewers fans have learned so far.

This isn’t last year’s team. GM David Stearns ran off nine trades that netted 16 players after taking the job last year.  Stearns has repeatedly said he’s looking to stock up on pitchers – not just arms – but pitchers that throw strikes and get ahead in the count.  Stearns also feels the Brewers outfield has a lot of depth and is an area of strength.  So if this isn’t the 2015 team that went 68-94, then what can fans expect?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Nats Need Stellar Years From Scherzer/Strasburg Similar To Johnson/Schilling Duo In 2001 – To Win The World Series

Max Scherzer was filthy in the 1st half of 2015 - with a 2.11 ERA heading up to the ALL - Star Break, and Stephen Strasburg ended the 2nd half of the year with a 1.90 in his Post ALL - Star games. If these 2 day aces can be in top form for the whole year, and then carry through to the playoffs, it would go a long with their chances to win a World Series. Since Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister left, the rotation is not as deep as it once was, yet these guys could make for an unforgettable 1 -2 punch in the postseason, and combined with Bryce Harper, potentially win the Fall Classic this year.

Max Scherzer was filthy in the 1st half of 2015 – with a 2.11 ERA heading up to the ALL – Star Break, and Stephen Strasburg ended the 2nd half of the year with a 1.90 in his Post ALL – Star games. If these 2 day aces can be in top form for the whole year, and then carry through to the playoffs, it would go a long with their chances to win a World Series. Since Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister left, the rotation is not as deep as it once was, yet these guys could make for an unforgettable 1 -2 punch in the postseason, and combined with Bryce Harper, potentially win the Fall Classic this year.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

With Zack Greinke flying the coop in Los Angeles over the winter, all of a sudden, this dynamic pair of Nationals chuckers should be the best back to back starting tandem in the Majors right now.

It is a walk year for Stephen Strasburg.  He has shown flashes of brilliance, but has yet to put it together for the whole year.  You could say his career has kind of been like Schilling’s prior to his arrival in Arizona.

I think both guys could near 20 wins each. have mid 2 ERA’s – and both compete against the NL’s elite for the NL Cy Young Award.

If they have great seasons, it should equal a playoff berth – and if not the NL East Division.  Strasburg’s best two years were in 2012 and 2014, so maybe he is just a better even year pitcher himself.

Scherzer is 53 – 20 with a near 1.00 WHIP and ERA of 3 since the start of the 2013 season.  No doubt these 2 guys will pull up awesome numbers in playing the Marlins, Phillies and Braves for almost 40% of their total games.  Add in the Brewers, Reds, Padres, Rockies to the fold, and that becomes half of the year.

Should Washington make the playoffs, that is exactly why they doled out $210 over 7 years for Scherzer in the first place.  The former Tigers pitcher was pretty damn good in the 1st RD of the postseason for Detroit, going 3 – 1, with an ERA of 2.79 and WHIP of 1.034 in 29 Innings worth of work in the LDS rounds.  I think he could take the next step beyond that.

Last year Scherzer threw 2 no-hitters and nearly tossed 2 more.  He has shown he can last longer than ever before.  He was a workhorse with his 228.2 IP. It was a career high, just like his 276 Strikeouts in that timeframe and his incredible WHIP of 0.918 were.

It is time to for Strasburg to leave it all on the table.  Much like his 34 Game Starts in 2014, where he logged 215 Innings and a NL Leading 242 Strikeouts, the former #1 overall pick could really make a fortune in Free Agency with a banner year. At Age 27 until late July when he turns 28, he is still in his prime years coming for the next few campaigns. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 1 – April

cubs

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

Team – Rank (W – L Record) (Last week ranking in parenthesis)

(1) Chicago Cubs  (5 – 1)  (1):  The Cubs weathered the loss of their slugging OF Kyle Schwarber this week – by taking 5 of the 1st 6 games played, and all on the road.  After these 6 contests – the squad is outscoring their opponents 42 – 15.

Love the idea of setting the table with Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist 1-2-3 prior to the boppers coming after in Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

Having the 2015 NL ROY may help Rizzo win the NL MVP this season.  He had 10 RBI this week – including a 6 RBI effort.

Jake Arrieta is already 2 – 0, and this team shows no signs of slowing down.

(2)  KC Royals  (4 – 1) (2):  This club just knows how to win with the dominant Bullpen and clutch hitting.  They have only yielded 11 runs thus far, and this team has not even hit huge strides on offense yet.

The AL Central is better in 2016 there is no question, however KC will be ready to take them on.  There may not be a more filthy Late Inning Reliever right now than Wade DavisEdinson Volquez has picked up right where he left off in 2015 as well. Read the rest of this entry

For The Pittsburgh Pirates – There Is No Next Year

Following a quiet offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter 2016 hoping a large group of top prospects are prepared to make significant contributions to the big league club down the stretch.

Following a quiet offseason, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter 2016 hoping a large group of top prospects are prepared to make significant contributions to the big league club down the stretch.

Jason Rollison  (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – pbcbreakdown.com) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

In 2006, the Pittsburgh Pirates started their “We Will” campaign.  Of course, that year is well remembered as the year the Pirates decided to commit to the rebuilding effort.

The next year, Neal Huntington would be brought in as the new general manager, and the completion of the rebuild process was brought to fruition in just six years after a rotating door of front office staff and players failed to reverse the losing streak that nearly forced the team to move.

The “We Will” campaign was meant to embody the work ethic and integrity expected of every member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Instead, it became the target of ridicule from many fans.  The banners hanging from the façade of PNC Park did not help matter as disgruntled fans poured out following loss after loss.

Even in success, Pirates fans couldn’t dodge the pangs of defeat.

Following the success of the team in 2013 making a laughingstock of Johnny Cueto in the wild card game and taking the Cardinals to the brink of elimination before melting down in game five of the NLDS, the fans and players expected more, but who could have possibly anticipated the wonders that were Madison Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta?

READ REST OF THIS ENTRY..

The Atlanta Braves 2016 Over/Under Game

atl

Wayne Cavadi (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – wayniacnation.com) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

Yesterday was Opening Day. The Atlanta Braves teased their fans in the last home opener at The Ted as the Washington Nationals came back in extra innings to win the game.

Earlier in the day on the way to work, I tuned in to The Front Row on 680 the Fan. Steak Shapiro, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran were playing what they called the Atlanta Braves Over/Under Game. Steak would read a stat and poll Finneran, Sandra and some of their listeners for their thoughts.

Well, now you get to hear mine.

Braves wins: o/u 70

Finneran said under, while Sandra said over. While I can agree that this rendition of the Braves looks better and more exciting on paper than last season, they did little to make me believe that they can improve on last seasons 67-win campaign.

Let’s be honest, does anyone think the Braves actually care if…

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

Tribe Spring Recap And 2016 Predictions, Thoughts + Player Evaluations

clevelandindians

 

(Featured BBBA Website – 216clevelandgirl.blogpsot.com) 

Follow The MLB Reports On Twitter 

Hey there, Tribe fans! Happy day of Indians Opening Day! baseball is just about back and that means it’s time for 216clevelandgirl to recap the Tribe’s spring and give my thoughts about the roster and the team’s chances in 2016. So here we go!

While spring training is an important part of a baseball players’ preparation, as tedious as it may be, the outcomes of the games don’t always mean a whole lot.

This year, in 34 games, including the two exhibition contests in Texas on April 1 and 2, the Tribe’s spring record was 18-12-4, 3rd best in the Cactus League. while that looks pretty good, it could have been even better.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY

%d bloggers like this: