Posts Tagged ‘Indians’

Baseball season is right around the corner, and with baseball comes fantasy baseball. People often look for those under the radar sleeper picks to break out and have a great season, then subsequently claiming you knew it all along. Well, we’re gonna look at the top 5 breakout players from each league, and  keep them in mind for your fantasy drafts and pools, and we shall keep the bragging rights to ourselves.

Jackie Bradley, Outfield, Boston Red Sox – The defending champs have been rather quiet this off-season, because they have a great team put together. Anchoring the outfield this season will be the 23 year old Bradley, who appeared in just 37 games last season, dealing with injury and switching between the majors and AAA Pawtucket. He’s got some competition for the starting job, but I wouldn’t expect Grady Sizemore to earn the job over Bradley. Despite Bradley’s struggles last season adjusting to the game, he’s got tremendous upside, and should flourish at Fenway this season.

Danny Salazar, Starting Pitcher, Cleveland Indians – Baseball fans got their first real good look at Salazar during the AL Wild Card game against the Rays. We saw both the good, where he breezed through the first 2 innings, topping 100 mph on his fastball occasionally, and the bad, where he couldn’t get out of the 4th inning. This year, he will get a permanent spot in the Tribe’s rotation, where he can continue to progress, and show his potential. He can only impact games he pitches, but expect him to make a lot of hitters look silly.

Nick Castellanos, Third Base, Detroit Tigers – The Tigers started last season with the corners of the infield manned by the one-two punch of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. With the trade of Fielder to Texas, Cabrera moved over to first, and Castellanos is getting his first shot at an MLB starting position. He was a late September call-up, playing in just 11 games, but showed promise in that and his time in AAA, hitting .276 with 18 HR and 76 RBI. He’s just 21 years old, and has a great offensive team around him to help him grow as a Major Leaguer.

Kole Calhoun, Outfield, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – With the Angels moving Peter Bourjos to St. Louis, it freed up a spot in the outfield for Calhoun, who has been up and coming for the Halos for quite some time. The 26 year old played in 55 games last season, hitting .282, and an OPS of .808. He isn’t confirmed 100% starter just yet, but it’s expected that they will give the vast majority of starts in left to Kole, who we can probably expect a very solid year, surrounded by offensive power-houses in the Angels lineup.

Jurickson Profar, Second Base, Texas Rangers – The former number 1 prospect in all of baseball had a tough rookie season, hitting just .234 in the 85 games he played, but this will be his first full season at his natural position, with Ian Kinsler being sent off to Detroit. He has tremendous upside, and showed versatility, playing in 4 different positions over the season. Texas has a very potent offense, and we can fully expect Profar to be a big part of it at the top of the order.

Junior Lake, Outfielder, Chicago Cubs – Among the first players from the Cubs’ stacked farm system, Lake showed promise from center, playing in 64 games, and hitting .284 with 6 home runs. He probably won’t kill teams on his own, but he’s going to be a good threat near the top of the order on the North Side. In combination with the other young guns for the Cubbies like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, he will be a very good piece for the Cubs for years to come.

Billy Hamilton, Outfielder, Cincinnati Reds – If you haven’t seen YouTube videos on this guy yet, then get watching them, and then keep this guy on high priority in fantasy drafts. He stole 75 bases in AAA last year, and has stolen over 100 in previous seasons in the Reds’ system. He was handed the starting job with the departure of Shin-Soo Choo, and will have a chance to put his much talked about speed on full display. Provided he can get on base, and that hasn’t been a problem for him, he will be a huge pest on the basepaths for years to come.

Scooter Gennett, Second Base, Milwaukee Brewers – This 23 year old came in midway through the season, and put on a great show, hitting .324 and garnering an OPS of .834 in 69 games. He did so well, he stole the starting job from mainstay Rickie Weeks, and is now part of one of the top up and coming double play combos with fellow youngster Jean Segura. He will be an essential part of the lineup, getting on base consistently and keeping the carousel moving in front of power threats such as Ryan Braun. Expect good things for Scooter this season.

Zack Wheeler, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets – The talk of the town in New York (when not complaining about the Yankees) was Matt Harvey, until he went down with Tommy John surgery. Among the other pitchers on the rise for the Mets is Wheeler, who was acquired from the Giants for Carlos Beltran, and he showed potential in his 17 starts in the majors this past season. Manager Terry Collins says he expects 200 innings out of Wheeler, and if he pitches to his potential, he will be a great #2 to Harvey’s #1 for years to come in Flushing.

Anthony Rendon, Second Base, Washington Nationals – This sophomore had a solid first run in the majors, appearing in 98 games, hitting .265 and an OPS of .725. This year, he has the starting spot for himself, and will continue to improve on last year’s campaign this season. With a tremendous young squad around him, he should be counted on to hit near .300 this season, and be an essential part to the Nats’ continued rise in baseball. Get used to hearing his name in conjunction with Bryce Harper as the young guns in DC.

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The Major League’s offseason is still going on, and Masahiro Tanaka is still singlehandedly plugging up the pitcher’s market. But lots has been done over the last few weeks, and we are going to check out which teams improved, and which teams took a step back.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Their 3-team deal with the White Sox and Angels landed them Mark Trumbo, who is little more than a power hitter, and a later deal brought in Addison Reed, who is an effective late innings pitcher. The cost was very high, as they traded prospects Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs to Chicago and Anaheim respectively. The question is, did it improve the team’s chance to win games? I don’t think it’s a step in the right direction, but it didn’t really hurt the team. Trending: Neutral

Atlanta Braves – They have been relatively quiet over the offseason, but they lost 2 of their key pieces in Tim Hudson to the Giants and Brian McCann to the Yankees. Their only acquisition worth mentioning is Gavin Floyd. They probably resigned themselves to losing both of those pieces, but it didn’t do much damage to them, with catcher Evan Gattis still on the roster. Trending: Neutral

Baltimore Orioles – The O’s roster took a few shake-ups the last couple of months, trading closer Jim Johnson to Oakland for Jemile Weeks, but most of the moves involved players leaving Baltimore. Nate McLouth went to Washington, Scott Feldman to Houston, and Michael Morse to San Francisco. I have to believe that next year will be tough for the O’s, with impending free agents Matt Wieters and Chris Davis to worry about. Trending: Down

Boston Red Sox – It’s tough to improve on a championship run, especially when one of your star players leaves to a rival team (understatement of the year). Jacoby Ellsbury was one of the most shocking moves of the year, going to the Yankees for 7 years. They also changed their catcher from Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Miami) to now another long last name, in A.J. Pierzynski. They didn’t improve, but they didn’t decline either. Trending: Neutral

Chicago Cubs – The Lovable Losers so far made a bunch of minor acquisitions, such as OF Justin Ruggiano and Casper Wells, C George Kottaras, and RP Jose Veras. They are also one of the big players in Tanaka, but that doesn’t mean they have him. Their farm system is loaded with talent, so big name free agents aren’t hugely important. But, I have to believe they will be on the rise soon, with or without Tanaka. Trending: Up

Chicago White Sox – The South-Siders were busy this offseason, picking up guys like 1B Jose Abreu (Cuba), and Mark Eaton. They did lose a couple of young arms, but they took a nice step in the rebuilding saga, trying to bring back competitiveness they had years ago. Trending: Up

Cincinnati Reds – They knew they were going to lose OF Shin-Soo Choo (Texas), and they have a serviceable lead-off replacement in Billy Hamilton AKA Speedy Gonzalez. They also lost starting C Ryan Hanigan (Tampa). They still have a great roster loaded with talent, and I don’t see them losing ground in the NL Central anytime soon. Trending: Neutral

Cleveland Indians – They signed a bunch of smaller contracts, notably OF David Murphy and RP John Axford, but they lost a ton of their effective bullpen, with Joe Smith, Clay Rapada (both Anaheim), and Chris Perez (other L.A. team) all leaving. Also, Scott Kazmir, their low-risk, high reward starter is gone to Oakland. It’s not going to be easy to keep up the level of competition in Rock City. Trending: Down

Colorado Rockies – They made a ton of signings: 1B Justin Morneau, OF’s Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes, and pitchers LaTroy Hawkins, Franklin Morales, Boone Logan, and Brett Anderson. Their only key loss was OF Dexter Fowler, in the trade with Houston for Barnes and Jordan Lyles. They vastly improved their pitching, and their offense should be able to help that as well. Trending: Up

Detroit Tigers – The Tigers were extremely busy. They signed OF Rajai Davis and closer Joe Nathan, and traded for Ian Kinsler and Steve Lombardozzi. But the list of key losses is massive (not because of a certain 1B): IF Omar Infante (KC), RP Joaquin Benoit (SD), IF/OF Jhonny Peralta (STL), 1B Prince Fielder (TEX), and SP Doug Fister (WAS). They were trying to clear salary and they did. But it came at a massive cost. Trending: Neutral

Houston Astros – It’s hard for them to decline, with 3 straight 100-loss seasons. They made a bunch of small acquisitions at little cost, like OF Dexter Fowler, 1B Jesus Guzman, P’s Scott Feldman, Chad Qualls, Matt Albers and Peter Moylan. They have improved, but most of their improvement is on the way still. Trending: Up

Kansas City Royals – Building on a great season in Royal standards last year, they’ve made some improvements to their roster for this year. IF Omar Infante for 4 years was the biggest move, which included OF Norichika Aoki and SP Jason Vargas. There is still word that they might deal DH Billy Butler, but it hasn’t happened yet, and seems to not be happening at all. Still, these guys should be the main contestants to the Tigers in the AL Central. Trending: Up

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Of course losing 1B Mark Trumbo is big, but they got a great return on all their moves this offseason. They picked up 3B David Freese, and SP Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, plus DH Raul Ibanez, if for no other reason but to hit home runs. They still have too much tied into Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, so it’s tough for them to really do much else. Trending: Neutral

Los Angeles Dodgers – Most of their offseason was spent shopping (or not shopping) Matt Kemp, and resigning their players. They did pick up SP Dan Haren, to further improve a dynamite rotation, and RP Chris Perez to help the bullpen. As far as quiet offseasons go, however, the Dodgers found all the squeaky floorboards. Trending: Neutral

Miami Marlins – Their big fish (hehe pun) was C Jarrod Saltalamacchia for 3 years, and they also picked up 1B Garret Jones, while losing Justin Ruggiano (CHC) and Logan Morrison (SEA) from their outfield. Remember when I said it’s hard not to improve on nothing? The Marlins managed that. Trending: Neutral

Milwaukee Brewers – You’ll see pretty much the same Crew next year, minus Nori Aoki (KC). OF Corey Hart signed with Seattle, making that the only news in the offseason regarding the Brewers. Trending: Neutral

Minnesota Twins – They have vastly improved their rotation, from pretty much Samuel Deduno, to now include Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. Also, they picked up C Kurt Suzuki to work with them. They seem to still be in the market for some more pitching, and it still will improve their staff. Trending: Up

New York Mets – The Mets made 3 signings, OF Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, and SP Bartolo Colon. 2 guys who will average somewhere between .220 and .240, and giving Colon a guaranteed year make me scratch my head, but anything is an improvement for the Amazin’s. Trending: Up

New York Yankees – My firm belief is that building a team can’t be from just free agents. I guess my philosophy isn’t the same as the Bombers. They brought in C Brian McCann, and OF Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, and lost 2B Robinson Cano (SEA), OF Curtis Granderson (NYM), and P’s Phil Hughes (MIN), Boone Logan (COL),  Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera (retirement). Spending money isn’t the only way to improve this “team”. They need to clear the table and start over. Which in Yankee-land, is impossible. Trending: Down

Oakland Athletics – GM Billy Beane is always wheeling and dealing. This time, he got closer Jim Johnson, SP Scott Kazmir and Drew Pomeranz, and OF Craig Gentry. They lost a decent amount of players, like OF Seth Smith (SD) and Michael Choice (TEX), 2B Jemile Weeks (BAL), P Brett Anderson (COL), Bartolo Colon (NYM), and Jerry Blevins (WSH). Beane has something up his sleeves, as always, and the A’s will probably contend, like always. Trending: Neutral

Philadelphia Phillies – The Fightin’ Phils didn’t do much this offseason, signing just OF Marlon Byrd and SP Roberto Hernandez (Fausto Carmona) among others. Seems like they are standing pat with what they have, for the most part, even though they are older and falling apart. Supposedly SP Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are on the trade market. I doubt, however, that either will be moved. Trending: Down

Pittsburgh Pirates – Everyone’s new favorite team made noise in October, but not so much after. They lost a couple of pieces in 1B’s Justin Morneau (COL) and Garret Jones (MIA), along with platoon man Marlon Byrd to Philly. They gave a flyer to Edinson Volquez, and for the most part kept what they had, which isn’t a bad move. They are still dangerous, and will probably be contenders for the NL Central for the next few years. Trending: Up

San Diego Padres – They didn’t lose a ton of names, because they didn’t have many names beforehand. But they brought in a couple in OF Seth Smith and P’s Josh Johnson and Joaquin Benoit. The Friars still have a long way to go before getting back on track, however. Trending: Neutral

San Francisco Giants – Their only to additions/losses were adding OF Michael Morse and SP Tim Hudson, in the hopes of last year being a fluke. Not a bad idea, but you would think that a losing record the year after winning the Series would set off some alarms. Trending: Neutral

Seattle Mariners – The M’s got the top guy on the market, signing 2B Robinson Cano away from the Yankees for 10 years, gobs of dough, and a beard. They also picked up OF’s Logan Morrison and Corey Hart, and are top players for OF Nelson Cruz and SP Masahiro Tanaka. They are making alot of noise, and with a purpose. Look for them to continue. Trending: Up

St. Louis Cardinals – The Redbirds made a trade with the Angels, picking up OF Peter Bourjos for 3B David Freese, and signed 2B Mark Ellis, and OF Jhonny Peralta. They also lost closer Edward Mujica (BOS) and OF Carlos Beltran (NYY). Tough to say they made the right moves, but the Cards usually know what they are doing, so trust them. Trending: Neutral

Tampa Bay Rays  – The Rays made a couple of moves, mostly resigning. They did manage to bring in C Ryan Hanigan and RP Heath Bell. Some minor pieces left, but it’ll still be the same Rays you’ll see, being pesky and run-by-Joe-Maddon-y as ever. Trending: Neutral

Texas Rangers – Their 2 big splashes of 1B Prince Fielder (not a fat joke) and OF Shin-Soo Choo were very good for the Rangers, who lost a bunch of pieces like C A.J. Pierzynski to Boston (who they replaced with another initials guy J.P. Arencibia), 2B Ian Kinsler and CP Joe Nathan to Detroit, and OF David Murphy to Cleveland. They still have some pitching questions, but their offense will be dynamic next season. Trending: Up

Toronto Blue Jays – After last season’s trade for the Marlins, the Jays didn’t do much this offseason, besides wave goodbye to Josh Johnson (SD) and Rajai Davis (DET). That being said, them doing nothing won’t help them in the AL East. They are still well behind the other 4 teams. Trending: Down

Washington Nationals – The Nats brought in SP Doug Fister to bolster an already outstanding rotation, and Nate McLouth to platoon in the outfield. They lost just Dan Haren (LAD) and Steve Lombardozzi (DET), which they are completely ok with. They are a team on the rise, and a bump in the road last year won’t prevent them from being dangerous this year around. Trending: Up

There are still tons of moves still to come, as pitchers and catchers report in 2 months. Until then, Happy New Years!

 

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On October 30th 2013 the Boston Red Sox defeated the St Louis Cardinals in six games to win their first World Series at home in 95 years. At the same time, the Alex Rodriguez arbitration meetings have begun. The two events represent the good and bad sides of baseball respectively. However, there have been people lately (cough cough Mike Francessa cough cough) claiming that Rodriguez and World Series MVP and Boston Hero David Ortiz are one in the same. These comparisons are asinine in a multitude of ways.

Before showing the differences between the two, lets see the similarities. Rodriguez and Ortiz both showed up in the formerly confidential 2003 steroid report.

Now that were done were the single comparison between the two, lets look at the differences.  Firstly, there approaches to the accusations were different. Ortiz vehemently denied any steroid use. Rodriguez, while initially denying it, did admit to taking steroids. In our society it would seem like A-Rod would get bonus points for this, while Ortiz would be shunned. This would have been the case if it were not for something called Biogensis. After connection was established between A-Rod and the PED clinic, his credibility, likability, and credibility were all destroyed. Meanwhile, Ortiz it was never proven to have taking steroids and has never had any accusations against him since.

The differences don’t stop there. Ortiz has been a local hero in Boston. Nicknamed “Big Papi” Ortiz has shown up constantly and consistently in the playoffs. From hitting two walkoff homeruns in games 4 & 5, to being crowned MVP of the 2013 World Series, Ortiz has shown his value early and often.

Rodriguez on the other hand hasn’t. In fact, he has done quite the opposite.  A-Rod opted out of his already monstrous contract very early into the deal, in order to make even more money. This polarized many fans. In addition, his on field play hasn’t helped. In the playoffs, Rodriguez has hit only .263 in 11 playoff series. These are not the numbers of a $250 million player.

In conclusion, Rodriguez is stuck in a catch 22 that is symbolic of the entire steroid era. He could have saved his name had he been clean, but would he have been any good if he were clean. To be fair, Ortiz has had a bit of a bias towards him due to his postseason heroics, but is that valid? If a player proves to be clutch and never tests positive again, should he be forgiven? The unfortunate thing is that’s what this era has become. We question everyone and don’t like to believe anyone. There has been a dark cloud created by steroids and it doesn’t seem to be lifting anytime soon.