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MLB Power Rankings: April 2016

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Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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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.

Yesterday won’t change much for the rankings.  Although it kicked off interleague with the Royals beating the Mets 4 – 3, and starts the Junior Circuit looking to win the AL vs NL competition for a 13th straight year.

Pittsburgh also beat the Cardinals.  I have them both ending the year win 91 victories, but these squad’s really intrigue me.

There are a multitude of reasons why I have picked the Cubs as the #1 team.  I explain them in the writeup.

Each Monday, we will post a new set of power rankings and go over the week that was. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Be The 1st MLB Manager Fired In 2016: Who Is On The Hotseat?

a hot seat

Hunter Stokes (MLB Reports Part Owner – Chief Writer) 

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Every year there are certain managers that have a ton of pressure to win.  This is always a tough process to think of who will be nixed first.

On one hand, many clubs that should be in contention for the playoffs will see an axe come to their tenure, however sometimes clubs are so bad record wise (even though they were projected to be) that the franchise will just slay the field general in the name of mercy.

As far as under the gun goes. guys like Brad Ausmus, John Farrell and John Gibbons.  are tops on the list. 

Ausmus doesn’t have a track record of any postseason series wins like the latter two here, so he is going to be the #1 favorite out of this group of skippers that could go fast with playoff aspirations if their team struggles out of the starting block.

Gibbons did a great job with Toronto in 2015, but a slow start would really put his name on the block. Say if they are 6 or 7 games behind the playoff bar near Memorial Day.

Farrell has put up back to back 5th place finishes in the AL East after winning the World Series Title in his 1st year of being the skipper in 2013.

Then there is a perennial bad losing club that have long tenured coaches like Walt Weiss and Robin Ventura. I am not sure they should not have been shown the door following last years campaigns. 

Weiss has losing years for every year under his belt, and Ventura rode out 2013 with his late season collapse, but his club has underachieved in every other year.

Still the two most managers on the hot seat are Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves on top of the favorite list at +331, followed by Bryan Price at +441. But I hate putting money on either of these gentlemen with their clubs both being on track to challenge for the worst record in the Majors this year.

Heck, Gonzalez’s predecessor Bobby Cox was the well into his 3rd decade with the “Tomahawk” Choppers when he finally stepped down to a front office job. Gonzalez at least had the Braves in the playoffs in 2012. 

Price can’t really be expected to do anything with this anemic Pitching Staff, and all veterans except for Votto may be available for trade at any point.

Read the rest of this entry

Cardinals Extend Kolten Wong

kolton-wong

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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In an offseason where the St. Louis Cardinals tried to sell their city to every free agent out there – including outfielder Jason Heyward

Heyward spurned the Cardinals, who acquired him before the 2015 season from the Atlanta Braves.

The team and its players immediately began talking the team, the city and the fans up to Heyward in hopes that the soon to be free agent would want to re-sign with the team.

In the end Heyward decided to take less money to go to the Chicago Cubs. A lot of MLB free agents did the same this year including super utility man Ben Zobrist and most recently outfielder Dexter Fowler.

Perhaps it’s the Cubs’ young talented core and their good chance to finally win a World Series or two after a century-long drought. Perhaps it is that they like manager Joe Maddon‘s style.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – February 23, 2016

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Rick Scuteri / USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs are the team to beat.

Read that sentence again. It seems strange to think about it, doesn’t it?

But seeing that they are the team to beat, don’t be surprise of someone beats them!

It is a don’t mention the Billy Goat episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 30, 2016

 

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Janette Pellegrini/Getty Images North America

Anthony Rapp, actor and the original Mark Cohen in Rent, joined the podcast to talk about his beloved Chicago Cubs and his faith in Joe Maddon.

It is an episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast that is far shorter than 525,600 minutes

Follow Anthony Rapp on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Subscribe to Anthony’s podcast, The Clubhouse Podcast, by clicking HERE.

Part 2 of my conversion with Anthony Rapp
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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – December 10, 2015

League Championship Series - New York Mets v Chicago Cubs - Game Four

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

I know it is only December. But MAN the Cubs look like the team to beat in 2016!

They have been filling in their holes while the other NL contenders have bigger question marks.

Dare Cub fans dream?

It is a tempt the fates episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – October 22, 2015

Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

I made my predictions before the LCS games and gave my thoughts afterwards. I feel badly for Cub fans, elated for Met fans and happy that we have playoff baseball this weekend.

We are almost at the third anniversary for this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast!

Lucas Duda, Marco Estrada, Troy Tulowitzki, Steven Matz, Salvador Perez and Jorge Soler all added to their totals of Who Owned October.

Read the rest of this entry

Kris Bryant Can Only Look To Himself Why He May Not Be On The Opening Day Roster

Kris Bryant is about as sure of a prospect there has been in the last 5 years.  Will the Cubs let him start the year in 2015, or will they send him down until the end of April to save service time.  All you need to know about the franchises desire to win it all this campaign may be based on this decision.  The young slugger had 40 HRs in the Minor League's last year.

Kris Bryant is about as sure of a prospect there has been in the last 5 years. Will the Cubs let him start the year in 2015, or will they send him down until the middle of April to save service time?. The young slugger had 43 HRs in the Minor League’s last year – and has also smacked 6 big fly’s in Spring Training so far.  But there are things to suggest that starting him off in the Minors is not such a bad idea.  The 23 Year Old is not the slickest fielder, has already experienced shoulder fatigue, and the team will play its 1st 9 games in cold weather too. (Hosting 6 games at home, and playing the other 3 in Coors Field.)  But really. he might have sealed  his fate for the opener by having Scott Boras as his agent.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer)

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So the talks continue to mount on the Kris Bryant Opening Day watch.  With each passing day he hits a HR, or shows himself ready for the big leagues, the question will become even more serious.  But if he is ultimately not pulled up to Wrigley Field on Sunday Apr.5th vs Division Rival Cards, he has no one to blame by himself.

By having Scott Boras as his Agent, it has pretty much implanted in the Cubs brass, that the prize prospect will never sign an extension, and when his service time has him approaching Free Agency, he will indeed hit the open market and look for the top bidder.

I don’t even blame Boras for this.  He is a phenomenal representative of his players, and always seems to get the max dollar for the highest percentage of the time compared to other agents.

Perhaps it will serve as a deterrent to future awesome young studs, that Boras has been sticking it to team owners for years.  Maybe they should opt for a different agent, as this man has shown his playing cards on too many occasions.  The executives all know Boras will lead his client to the open market.

Even having said this, if the man was not under the direction of the Boras Corporation, the Cubs should not start the clock on him anyway.  The talk of the Cubs contending in 2015 is much over-hyped in my view. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings March 2015

Once again, the National League is very top heavy. with the Nationals, Dodgers and Cards reeling in 3 of the first 4 rankings spots.

Once again, the National League is very top-heavy. with the Nationals, Dodgers and Cards reeling in 3 of the first 5 rankings spots.  The American League has more parity in the league this year. and could feature several new entrants into postseason play.  This includes the two longest playoff drought teams in the Toronto Blue Jays (the last team to make the playoffs since the Strike/Lockout in 1994 and 1995 – and the M’s haven’t since their 116 win campaign in 2001. The Marlins own the longest such dry spell in the NL<- with their last playoff berth coming in their 2003 World Series win.  You also have many young franchises like the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins having several of their young studs coming into the fold, and teams like the Rangers trying to be relevant again following a league record for DL Stints in 2014.  This will mean there are no easy wins on the J’unior Circuit’ this campaign.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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1.  Washington Nationals – This team is so far above the rest of the MLB, they should be everyones unanimous pick to win the best record in the MLB.  Their Division is weaker the NL West, and the teams in the NL Central are a lot closer in parity.

2.  LA Dodgers – Too many changes will take the club time to gel.  Emphasis on Joc Pederson to do well may be too much to ask.  Not enough is being said about the club losing the offense of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez. Any club with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke as their top 2 starting pitchers will never be to far from the top ranking.

3.  Detroit Tigers – This is all based on the American League Central.  While I believe the team is not as strong as last year in the pitching department with Max Scherzer, they may be better in the lineup with Yoenis Cespedes. Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – March 1, 2015

AP

AP

Remembering Minnie Minoso and his legacy.

Plus it is Sunday and time for The Sunday Request.

These new manager are so anonymous that I had to look them all up to remind me who the hell they are, except for Maddon of course.

That and more on today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

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Baseball News Of The Week, Baseball News Of The Weak, Baseball News That Wreaks

Joe Maddon signing with the Cubs to skipper the club for the next 5 years is the biggest story of the hotstove so far.  He is also the clubhouse leader of adult beverages bought, although we will still give the consumed adult beverage lead to Madison Bumgarner

Joe Maddon signing with the Cubs to skipper the club for the next 5 years/at $5 MIL per annum is the biggest story of the hotstove season so far. He is also the clubhouse leader of adult beverages bought, although we will still give the consumed adult beverage lead to Madison Bumgarner.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Welcome to the new offseason segment.  I will try to do this once again.  It has been a slower winter than the previous two years, however it is starting to pick up.

Anybody miss the live action yet?  Yes there is still the Japan exhibition series and the Arizona Fall League,  but for the people like myself, I live and die for the major league action.

I would much rather watch Major League Baseball any day of the week.  It is not that I begrudge anyone for attending Minor League attendance, heck in some campaigns, the Minor Leagues have outdrawn the MLB.

This will be sort of like the good, the bad and the ugly from (insert show here). Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 11, 2014

Getty Images

Getty Images

Why haven’t the Rays hired Dave Martinez to be their manager yet?

And where the hell are they going to wind up playing?

It is a Tampa centered this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

 

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 10, 2014

Gary A Vazquez - USA Today Sports

Gary A Vazquez – USA Today Sports

I believe the Cubs tampered to sign Joe Maddon.

I have knowledge that the Mets have lost their damn minds with the Michael Cuddyer signing.

It is a discussion of belief versus knowledge in this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

My latest for The Scoop Sports can be found HERE.

 

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 3, 2014

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

 

Can Pablo Sandoval re-sign with the Giants? All year long I said “No, it makes no sense.” But I might be changing my mind.

Talking Panda plus Joe Maddon and Michael Cuddyer on this episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 1, 2014

AP Photo, The Canadian Press - Fred Thornhill

AP Photo, The Canadian Press – Fred Thornhill


 

Joe Maddon looks like he is heading to the Cubs. Why didn’t the Dodgers back up the Brinks truck and offer him the sun, moon and stars?

They will regret this for the rest of the decade.

The off season is beginning in earnest on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – October 28, 2014

 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Tonight is Game 6 of the World Series.

Those words can bring up so many different memories. Who will be the Reggie Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Don Denkinger, Bill Buckner, Kirby Puckett, Joe Carter, Tom Glavine, Josh Beckett, David Freese or Nelson Cruz of the night?

Meanwhile I all but beg Joe Maddon to take over the Dodgers.

It could be a memorable night that is previewed on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

 

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Total AL Plus/Minus Of BB/SO On Offense + Pitching

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

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Baseball is a game full of stats and numbers.  Sabermetrics aside, one thing that I fully believe takes to win baseball games is superior pitching, and still having some plate discipline.

Of course it you can compensate for a lack of patience at the plate, with some big Home Runs, than you still may make out just fine.

While doing some research on the Oakland A’s, I looked at AL offensive and defensive Walk to Strikeout totals on both sides of the field.

I believe this is a relevant look at how good a team is faring.

Right away, the Rays and Orioles stick out in this blog, because the Rays were number 1 for this category, and the O’s are 14th, yet have the 3rd best record in the AL, and lead the AL East by 5 games currently.

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MLB Trade Deadline Breakdown 2014 + The August Aftermath

jonah hill

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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It was a flurry of action that baseball really needed.  Half way through the day, I was amazed their was actually day games.

Oakland and Detroit pushed all of their chips in, and you have to think they are pretty much done with transactions, although one of them doing an August deal could prompt the other to do the same.

I am holding back reservations for judging the Pirates, Blue Jays and Royals….however they all must be the “MLB clubhouse leaders” in August acquisitions to challenge for playoff slots.

Although KC better have a better idea than having Raul Ibanez take regular AB at 1B..That is horrible..

It wasn’t like the club didn’t know Eric Hosmer was injured badly.

I am also about throwing Ruben Amaro‘s career about 10 second from a toe-tag (and those ten seconds are August), for standing pat on his 47 – 60 aging core.

Like I have said so many times on twitter and social media outlets.  Someone teach this man some basic economics.

Take a lesson from Boston, and trade-off assets, to receive younger ones in the process, then you can turn around and spend every red cent in Free Agency in the offseason.. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 15 – 2014

The Atlanta Braves were hovering around .500, and in serious jeopardy of watching the Nationals blow by them with a healthy roster.  Instead, they are the biggest mover of the week, riding a 9 game win streak.   All of this coming on the heels of losing Evan Gattis for awhile.

The Atlanta Braves were hovering around .500, and in serious jeopardy of watching the Nationals blow by them with a healthy roster. Instead, they are the biggest mover of the week, riding a 9 game win streak. All of this coming on the heels of losing Evan Gattis for awhile.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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*** Denotes Division Leaders

Records are before play Thursday July.06, 2014

RK Team   Last Wk Rnk  ()      Current Rec –  Last 10 Days Rec

1.  ***Oakland A’s (1) 54 – 33:  6 – 3  The A’s are the only team that has an above .600 Win Percentage.

What is not to like.  They have the best record since 2012, are even better over the last 2 years (July 2012, July 2014, about .615 Baseball), have won 2 AL West in a row as well.

Added to the fold is a great trade bringing in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and not yielding anything from the current MLB Roster in return.

2. ***Detroit Tigers (2) 48 – 36: 6 – 4: Tigers beat the better teams, and have troubles with the lesserlites.

Emergence of J.D. Martinez is a major bonus for a team starving for OF help.  Still need more Bullpen arms.

Great division for opponents down the 2nd half. Read the rest of this entry

Gambling In Baseball, Hedging Your Bets + Value Plays: MLB Reports Picks Of The Year

Get set for another season of throwing some cash around when it comes to baseball.  MLB Reports will have you ready with what we are looking at as well.

Get set for another season of throwing some cash around when it comes to baseball. MLB Reports will have you ready with what we are looking at as well.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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Staked with an initial bankroll of over $1000 thanks to a nice NFL Parlay in the 2013 – 2014 year, I set out to make some bank trying make luck at placing some moolah on the game of baseball.

I head to Vegas frequently enough that I have thrown down almost all of it already, but have a great chance of making my $ back and then some.

Before the year began, I placed a wager for each of the Texas Rangers (Yikes), Tampa Bay Rays (Or should I say Devil Rays?), but they best maneuver before campaign was to slot a $14.44 wager on the Giants at 25/1 odds for the World Series.

That pays about $380.00.

I then followed the Tampa Bays advice ticket Chuck Booth laid out for all of the website.  Even though it will break even as a wager, I would do it every time.

The skinny of that was that I bet $120 on the Tampa squad to lose under 88 games, and I used the potential profit to bet on the team to win the AL East, the ALCS and World Series.

The whole caveat was that I was virtually guaranteed to make my money back if Joe Maddon‘s club struggled, but could make substantial amounts of profit if the organization had a long October run. Read the rest of this entry

With Moore Out For TJ Surgery – The Rays Should Hold Onto Price Through 2015

Matt Moore finished 17 - 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness.  Losing this LHP will hurt the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 - 3 slots in the rotation.  That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 - 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost.

Matt Moore finished 17 – 4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013, but was off to an even better start in the 1st half before he had some elbow soreness. Losing this LHP to TJ Surgery hurts the club, however the team was deep with Price, Archer and Cobb still manning the 1 – 3 slots in the rotation. That was, until Cobb went down with an injury himself.  The squad will have to weather the storm for a few months with some organizational players that might include the players: Erik Bedard, Nate Karns or Cesar Ramos. With the teams projected #2 Starter being down for the next 12 – 18 months from his very best, the franchise should not trade Price at any cost in 2014 and 2015..  Moore is under Team Control through the 2019 year, and when he comes back to the fold at 100% in 2015, hopefully the Rays will be vying for another postseason berth in the second half.

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

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Lets face it.  The Tampa Bay Rays have had an incredible run at it.  The Florida squad trails only the Yankees for wins since the start of the 2008 season in baseball.

The club has made it to the postseason 4 out of the last 6 years, and possess 5 out of 6 years with 90+ Wins.

All of this with a shoestring budget, and incredible use of stretching dollars on player talent.

Every year, Andrew Freidman finds a bargain Free Agent that becomes an ALL – Star once he dawns the blue and purple. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Odds To Win Both Of The AL And NL Pennants In 2014: 5 Best Value Plays

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant.  The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year's lineup, and have decent pitching.  Boston is the reigning champs - and will be part of the race before all is said and done.  Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

With injuries to the Pitching Staff mounting fast for the Rays, and now with them not paying out such a great odd, the value pendulum has swung back to pick either the Yankees at +900 or the Red Sox at +750 for the AL Pennant. The Yankees just took 3 out of 4 from the Red Sox, have a better offense in this year’s lineup, and have decent pitching. Boston is the reigning champs – and will be part of the race before all is said and done. Factor in major injuries to Texas, Oakland and the LA Angels early, and a horrid Tigers Bullpen so far, and these two rivals have the best value on the board.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Rays are finally listed where they should be on the betting board.

3 teams start play today tied in the AL East in the Rays, Yankees and Jays.  Baltimore has struggled along with Boston.

I think it is way too early to shovel dirt on the Red Sox season.  While I think they may not take down another pennant, they are my 2nd favorite play in the AL Pennant Odd list for return.

The Yankees are my favorite odds pick right now with a +900 mark.

Yes they have injuries to old guys are their team, but the guys in the lineup can mash right now, and particularly at Yankee Stadium. Read the rest of this entry

30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 3 MLB Baseball 2014

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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A little rant before the power rankings this week

Well, another 7 days has passed in baseball for this year.

There are no more home openers, attendance is down, fans are scattering about their Easter business and the NFL Draft is around to swing its mighty sword on the sports landscape. Read the rest of this entry

Injuries In The MLB: Hamilton, Garcia + Moore Out Could Change Outlook For Clubs In 2014

Josh Hamilton had his worst year as a Major Leaguer in 2013 with a 3 slash of .250/.307/.432 - with 21 HRs and 79 RBI last year.  This campaign looked to have been better, with the OF hitting .444/.545/.741 through 27 AB.  Injuries just seem to happen for the man.  He underwent thumb surgery two days ago after jamming his hand trying to slide into 1st base.  His loss will be felt big by Los Angeles, and they may not be in position to contend by the time he comes back.  The Angels are at home for 6 games before a killer 9 game road trip at Detroit, Washington and New York.

Josh Hamilton had his worst year as a Major Leaguer in 2013 with a 3 slash of .250/.307/.432 – with 21 HRs and 79 RBI last year. This campaign looked to have been better, with the OF hitting .444/.545/.741 through 27 AB. Injuries just seem to happen for the man. He underwent thumb surgery two days ago after jamming his hand trying to slide into 1st base. His loss will be felt big by Los Angeles, and they may not be in position to contend by the time he comes back. The Angels are at home for 6 games before a killer 9 game road trip at Detroit, Washington and New York.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Angels Josh Hamilton is out for 6 – 8 weeks after sliding in head down to first base at Safeco Field on Apr.8.

I would never accuse the guy of being a slacker, but this was not a bright move at all.

Doesn’t he remember suffering a major injury when the Rangers had him barrel down on home plate a few years back.

It came on the heels of the man having a great start.  Nothing seems to go right for Hamilton to play a full healthy season.

The Angels needed this player, with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout hitting on all cylinders to put forth a competitive year.

This curbs the process down badly.

Josh Hamilton’s Injury – 2 Minute Mark

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Which Manager’s Seat Is The Hottest In The MLB – 2014?

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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There are many expectations in 2014 for a lot of the MLB clubs. 

Realistically, only the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins could be ousted from playoff contention before we even play in the American League.

The National League has several more teams with improbable chances to post a postseason berth in 2014.

The Mets, Marlins, Twins, Cubs and Padres are the longest shots on the board to nail down play in October as well.

Out of those teams, Chicago just hired Rich Renteria, and the other 5 teams would likely let the year play itself out before thinking of a skipper’s switch.

With those teams listed, I highly doubt the current bench bosses will remain in position by the time the clubs become good. Read the rest of this entry

Young Guns To Watch In The MLB For 2014

“Hard Cheddar” – with ‘Baseball Writer’ Steve Cheeseman 

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Young Guns to Watch in 2014

The 2014 season is fast approaching.  With spring training just around the corner, there are many up and coming players who are on the brink of making it to the majors. Who knows!

It may also be the beginning of hall of fame careers for some of these guys.  There are also a couple of players, who are already in the majors, and look to continue their success. 

I’ve profiled 5 hitters and 5 pitchers for your reading pleasure.  Some of these guys may be a little under the radar; however I believe they have a tremendous upside, and are fun to watch.  Let’s take a look.  Read the rest of this entry

The Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2014

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years - posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant.  This has all been done on a shoestring budget - and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs,

The Rays are always at the bottom for attendance in the Major Leagues, which is a shame for how successful this team has been for the last 6 years – posting 4 playoff berths and an AL Pennant. This has all been done on a shoestring budget – and facing the toughest strength of schedule in the bigs.  The 2014 season will pose the same kind of challenges and problems that have arisen in the teams history.  The Rays have to contend with high payroll teams like Boston and New York fielding ALL – Star squad’s throughout their lineups.  The management has done a fantastic job to stay competitive, and will rely on their franchise depth to post yet another nice record for a 7th consecutive year.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Tampa Bay Rays are still one of the best run franchises in baseball, and have put themselves in a position to contend for the AL East for yet another campaign.

I hope the Rays Management decides against trading David Price in the next 2 years, and just goes for a World Series trophy.

Being the 13th biggest city, and yielding the 28th lowest payroll in the game should not be conducive to sustained success, yet there the Rays are pesky every year.

It has been noted on this website plenty, that since the beginning of 2008, the Rays have the second best record in the game to the Yankees in this time frame.

In that span, they trail the Bronx Bombers by just around 10 wins.

Wil Myers 2013 Highlights

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Tampa Bay Rays Organization: 2014 Depth Charts + Rosters, (MLB + MiLB)

Joe Maddon has a career Record of 704 - 644 (.522), but is 552 - 421 (.567) over the last 6 years  from 2008 - 2013.  He runs his offenses like the Angels used to, with a NL style built on speed and contact.  He may be the best AL Skipper when it comes to utilizing players versatility and matchups. Maddon is also great at working in Rookie players.

Joe Maddon has a career Record of 704 – 644 (.522), but is 552 – 421 (.567) over the last 6 years from 2008 – 2013. He runs his offenses like the Angels used to, with a NL style built on speed and contact. He may be the best AL Skipper when it comes to utilizing players versatility and matchups. Maddon is also great at working in Rookie players.

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

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The Tampa Rays have been the model franchise in the AL for the last 6 years.  Of course the St. Louis Cardinals club would be the team of the National League.

Besides the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays have won more games in the last 6 years.

The teams record is 552 -421 during this time span, including 4 playoff spots and 1 AL Pennant.

The key to the teams continuous consistency is their Minor League System.  From 9 years of drafting high from 1998 – 2007, to then making smart trades, the Rays have have been able to sustain their club by using the farm.

Wil Myers 2013 Highlights

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MLB Player Profile: How Valuable Has Ben Zobrist Been To The Rays?

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game.  He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the 4 years - including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  . Zobrist who continues this season with his musical chairs role on the team has not let his bat cool down ays fans need not worry this early. With only 10 games played in the young season now is not the time to start throwing in the towel and saying that GM Andrew Friedman and his staff have lost their touch.

Ben Zobrist has quietly tuned into one of the best all around players in the game of baseball. He has finished in the top for WAR in 3 of the last 5years – including 1st in 2011 and 2nd in 2009.  Zobrist, 32,  who continued this season with his musical chairs defensive role on the team this year, has two years left on his current contract, and will be a Free Agent at the end of the 2015 season.  It was the summer of 2006, that the brass traded Aubrey Huff for the young player.  Zobrist has played 1500+ Innings in 4 different defensive positions for the franchise (SS/2B/RF/LF – and it helps Joe Maddon bring in favorable platoon matchups for several other lineup spots).  He has a career 3 Slash of .263/.354/.789 in 8 seasons for Tampa.

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

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Picture how bad the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were when the Houston Astros traded Ben Zobrist with Mitch Talbot to the Tampa Bay Rays for Aubrey Huff and cash on July.12/2006.

The team was in the 8th season out of 9 years of under .500 ball.  The guy he was traded for had great offensive acumen, and was the franchise leader in several career categories as he departed the door.

Zobrist had an auspicious beginning with the Rays, struggling during the 2006 – 2007 years.  His OPS numbers for those years were .572 and .391 respectively.

Joe Maddon was not as worried as others were about the 6th Round Drat Pick of the Houston Astros back in 2004,because the guy would be a Maddon type of player.

Ben Zobrist 2 Part Interview

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MLB’s Payroll Matters Part 2: Just Because Some Low Payroll Teams Have Bucked The Trend – Doesn’t Mean It Will Continue

It seems the only to way to build a team successfully - is to be atrocious for several (talking 6 - 8 seasons), stockpile top 5 Draft Picks, and have them all become your nucleus for a matter of a few seasons. The reason is because of Team Control Salaries.  Teams like the Rays and Pirates have also held players in the Minor Leagues longer than needed - due to salary and Arbitration implications.  I can think of Desmond Jennings, Wil Myers, Chris Archer for the Rays, while Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke come to mind for the Bucs.

It seems the only to way to build a team successfully – is to be atrocious for several (talking 6 – 8 seasons like the Twins, Nationals, Pirates, Rays in recent years – and now the Astros are following suit), stockpile top 5 Draft Picks, and have them all become your nucleus for a matter of a few seasons. The reason is because of Team Controllable Salaries. Teams like the Rays and Pirates have also held players in the Minor Leagues longer than needed – due to salary and Arbitration implications. I can think of Desmond Jennings, Wil Myers, Chris Archer for the Rays, while Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke come to mind for the Bucs.  If a player is ready for action in the Majors, he should playing – end of story.

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

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Lets just take a look at the teams that have played well above their value.  The Twins are a story much like the Marlins in 1997 and 2003.

The Twins had a good team in the late 80’s, and won 2 World Series Titles in 1987 and 1991.  However the economics of the game hit them hard, and they struggled for an 8 year stretch in the AL Central.

For Part 1 of the MLB’s State Of the Union Part 1:  Click here.

Major League Contraction Talk Again?

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