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Bold-ish Predictions For 2013

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Bold-ish Predictions For 2013

Posted on 04 April 2013 by Will Emerson

I know you have been waiting months, days even, for this exciting moment. Well, it is a bit late, I know, but better late than never, right? Just agree. In any event, it is here! Your wait is over! My much anticipated bold-ish (The “ish” part  will be important. Just wait, you’ll see.) predictions for the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

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Mark Trumbo will sock over forty homeruns. During his mid-season tear it sure seemed like Mr. Trumbo would easily clear forty dingers, but alas, he did not. Trumbo had a huge drop off (a drop off that may or not have cost me a fantasy baseball championship and that I may or may not still be bitter about) where he hit a measly five homeruns from August to the end of the season. Five? FIVE?! Well, there were lingering injury issues and those should be out of the way, so look for more long balls from Trumbo this season. Yeah, the forty homerun number is certainly attainable for Trumbo, so not super bold, but bold-ish.

Felix Doubront will win 17 games, post a sub 3.50 ERA and strikeout 200 batters. Last year Felix went 11-10, with a 4.86 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP and 167 strikeouts, so this prediction has its bit of boldishness, does it not? Fact is, Doubront had a 9.34 K/9 and an xFIP of 3.81. I feel like working with Pedro Martinez, John Farrell and Juan Nieves will help Doubront harness his talent and overall goodness.

Hee Sop Choi and or Hideki Irabu return to Major League Baseball. Huh? Choi is tearing it up in the South Korean pro baseball league right now! Well, he probably is. Why wouldn’t he be? What with that sweet swing and all? You know he’s just itching to get back to America, probably. Now, Hideki Irabu? You just know he is ready for a comeback! And quite frankly, what team would not want a 42-year old former major league pitcher who posted a career ERA over five? Hmmm? Hmmmm?! Surely some team will want it for a gimmick or something. If ony there were a team everyone thought was so bad that they would look for any sort of something to draw a crowd. If only. Eh, onto another prediction.

The Houston Astros will have an All-Star representative….. not named Jose Altuve. Okay, this is bold for sure, right. Now, do I have a prediction of who this All-Star will be? Well, not per se. I mean go ahead and name as many Houston Astros as you can? How many did you get? Ten? Of those, how many do you think could be an All-Star? Hmmm? Well, my shortlist of possible Astros All-Stars includes Lucas Harrell, Justin Maxwell and Carlos Pena. Should any of them, with the numbers they have produced in their career, be considered potential All-Stars? Eh. But who knows, stranger things have certainly happened, right? Now, while I listed several potential players that could earn that coveted All-Star spot for the Houston Astros, my best bet is my boy Bud Norris, because…

Bud Norris will finish top ten in the National League Cy Young voting in 2013. Yeah, you don’t need the “ish” on this bold statement. There is really no way this should happen, but if Bud Norris pitches even half as good on the road as he does at the Juice Box? Well, look out world! Last year at home, Bud Norris posted a 1.71 ERA and a .96 WHIP over 73.2 innings. Likelihood of this one coming true? Not great, sure.

Jered Weaver will win less than 15 games and have an ERA over 3.50. Now, I am not saying I am not a fan of Weaver (I’m not). Weaver is good, certainly. The numbers do not lie. Last season Weaver won 20 games and posted a sub-three ERA, and only once in the last four seasons has he won less than fifteen games or posted an ERA over 3.50. So why do I think that he will not picth as well this season? An xFIP of 4.18 and a sub-seven K/9 that Weaver posted last season. Now, Weaver has a good defense behind him, which has helped him overcome that ugly xFIP, but I feel the regression is a comin’ and this is the year for it to a come!

The Red Sox will make the playoffs. Everyone is down on the Sox this year after what can only be described as an abysmal 2012 for the Beantowners, but not sure they’ll be that bad though. I mean, sure, they could not hold onto Lyle Overbay, but that aside, I still think they can do some things in 2013. The outfield should be pretty good defensively with the addition of the Flyin’ Hawaiian Shane Victorino and I think Mike Napoli probably has another 30 dingers in him this season. Not to mention a full season of Will Middlebrooks and some guys roatating through the shortstop position! Pitching, I think, is the big question, but I think that starting rotation will be much better than people think, so do not sleep on the BoSox!

Josh Hamilton plays less than 100 games. I know, I know, barely bold-ish on this one, but come on, they can’t all be gold, can they? Something tells me sometime in June or July Hamilton’s season will come to an end, leaving the Angels with only 3-4 big hitters in their lineup. Seems like Hamilton is always injured and I feel like his body is wearing down on a high rate from season to season and his days of full, MVP, seasons are behind him.

Kendrys Morales will hit 30 or more home runs. Remember when Morales was a stud? A superstar in waiting? And then, remember when he hurt himself celebrating? It happens. I, for instance, have pulled a muscle getting out of bed. Freak injuries happen. Anyways, Morales quietly hit 22 bombs for the Angels in 2012 in 484 at bats, so 30 is definitely attainable. What makes this bold-ish, is that he now will be playing home games in Safeco and possibly platooning with guys in the Mariner lineup. Now, they have messed with the dimensions in Seattle, but there is still the possibility this will be a picther’s park. But I am still thinking this year will be a big year for Mr. Morales, so ,ark my words!

So there you go!My boldish predictions for the 2013 season. When these come true, remember, you heard it here first, folks. Enjoy the season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tis The Time For Bold Predictions

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Tis The Time For Bold Predictions

Posted on 25 March 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

In the last week, the sports world has seen its fair share of bracket fever and the only cure is more predictions! The World Baseball Classic bracket tournament concluded with the Dominican Republic being crowned champions after going undefeated throughout the tournament. Congratulations to them. Also this week, the office pool of all office pools, the NCAA basketball tournament has tipped off with everyone and their mother filling out a bracket. Some brackets are filled out with knowledge and expertise; others are filled out with hopes and sheer guesses. But no matter what, the spectacle is a fun and exciting time.

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Being in the prognosticating zone and Opening Day just over a week a way, it is a good transition to some Major League Baseball season predictions. This week will be the American League 2013 preview.

Starting in the American League East, I am anticipating this division being the best division in baseball this season. All five teams will be ultra strong and all have visions of the post season. Sadly, one team will finish in last and it may be the New York Yankees turn. Injuries and an older roster may finally catch up to the Bombers and bring up the rear in the East. The Baltimore Orioles may also have a set back year compared to last year, finishing fourth and the Tampa Bay Rays, while pesky, in third. The Boston Red Sox will have a bounce back year (hard to have a worse year), and finish in second. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are pitching great thus far this spring. The new Toronto Blue Jays will be division champs this season. The roster is fully balanced after off season moves and will narrowly come out on top.

In the Central, the Detroit Tigers will repeat as division champions. In the division they have the best pitcher and best position player that should keep them on the top line of the standings. The Chicago White Sox will be runners up again but compete for a wild card spot. Both the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are improved and could be major thorns in the sides of other clubs. The Indians were well represented in the WBC that could lead to an improving campaign and the Royals made one of the boldest off season trades this past December trying to spark the franchise. The rebuilding Minnesota Twins will finish in fifth.

Out west, the Los Angeles Angels are heavy favorites and will win the division by the widest margin of any of the six division winners. That will be aided by playing the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros several times during divisional play. Houston is making their inaugural season in the American League and on paper appears to be heading toward a difficult season in the wins category. The Texas Rangers lost a lot of fire power this off season and are not quite the same team that has had recent playoff success. They will finish in second while the Oakland A’s will finish in third. Oakland, like Baltimore will fall back a bit after a surprise 2012 season. In fourth, will be the Seattle Mariners, who while trying to make some improvements still cannot quite compete for a full season compared to the other ball clubs and the Astros will be a distant fifth place.

Come October, the Wild Card match up will feature the two Sox teams – Red versus White. Winning the one game playoff will be Boston and advancing to the Divisional Round.

In the Divisional Round, the Red Sox will show some fight but in the end be defeated by the Angels while the Blue Jays will take down the Tigers. The American League Championship will showcase the high power offenses of the Angels and Blue Jays. In five games, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and company will put the Jays into a halo effect and advance to their first World Series since winning it back in 2002.

Come awards season, the American League Most Valuable Player will be the man who was runner up a season ago. Mike Trout has all of the talent and the ultimate protection to post video game like numbers for the second straight season. The CY Young, boldly will be handed to Jon Lester. Lester has CY Young talent and perhaps with a new coaching staff in place, this will finally be the year he puts it all together. The Manager of the Year will be awarded to Robin Ventura of Chicago. I believe he should have won the award last season, but with a possible second solid year in a row, this could be his. With the line up and high expectations, Mike Scioscia of Los Angeles may cancel himself out. Finally the Rookie of the American League will be Dylan Bundy of Baltimore (not Polk High). A young talent on the mound, Bundy will see a lot of innings and post good first year numbers.

Next week, predictions on the National League. May your brackets be good to you!

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Stolen Base Champion Passes Away

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Stolen Base Champion Passes Away

Posted on 21 February 2013 by Bill Ivie

Pop quiz: Who holds the record for most stolen bases in a professional baseball season, ranks second among all professional base stealers, and averaged 150 stolen bases a season?

If you answered Rickey Henderson, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Her name is Sophie Kurys (pronounced “curries”).  A young woman from Flint, Michigan, she was a founding member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and a second baseman for the Racine Belles.

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Kurys signed her first contract, for $50 a week, one day shy of her 18th birthday.

Kurys would play for eight seasons for the Belles, including rejoining them a year after they left Racine and moved to Battle Creek.  Her best season would come in 1946 when she was named player of the year after gathering 215 hits and stealing 201 bases in 203 attempts, a professional record that still stands today.  She would hit .286 that season with a .434 on base percentage, score 117 runs, walk 93 times and collect a .973 fielding percentage, leading the league in each category.  Her walks and fielding percentage marks in 1946 would go down as league records.

She wasn’t done with just the regular season, though.  She would lead all hitters in the post-season that year and have one of the most amazing games in professional baseball history in the sixth and deciding game of the league championship.

The game itself was a bit of an enigma   Carolyn Morris, the Rockford ace, had thrown a no-hitter through nine innings before surrendering the first hit of the game in the 10th.  Meanwhile, Racine’s pitcher, Joanne Winter allowed 19 base runners through 14 innings, stranding them all.  The game had gone 14 innings without a run, despite Kurys four stolen bases up to that point.  She would single and steal her fifth base of the game in the bottom of the 14th inning, putting her at second base with Betty Trezza, her double play partner and shortstop for Racine, at the plate.

As Kurys broke for third as Trezza singled through the right side.  As the throw came home from right field, Kurys would hook slide around the catcher’s tag and provide Racine with the 1946 championship.  It was easy to see that the young lady had earned the nickname “Flint Flash”.

“A hook slide away from the tag by a player wearing a skirt – how about that?  Sophie was certainly one of our best,” stated Lois Youngen, former AAGPBL Players Association President.

Many managers and players credit Kurys for her ability to read a pitcher and her attention to the detail for her base stealing prowess.  While she was certainly fast, she would get an incredible jump off the pitcher and was a “master of the slide”.

She played her first few years in the league as the clean up hitter for the team but new manager Leo Murphy, who took over the reigns of the Belles in 1945, identified her base running abilities and moved her to the leadoff spot where she flourished for her team.

She would finish her career with 1,114 stolen bases.  That mark would stand as a professional record until Rickey Henderson would eventually surpass her, finishing his career with 1,406.  Her 201 stolen bases in 1946 remains a record in professional baseball today.  She would also steal 166, 142, 172, and 137 bases in a season during her career, all more than Henderson’s modern-era record of 130 and three of which were higher than Hugh Nicol‘s 1887 total of 138.

Kurys passed away on February 17, 2013 at the age of 87 years old in Scottsdale, Arizona due to surgical complications.

Read more about Sophie in this comprehensive article, Playing Hardball In The All-American League at aagpbl.org

Bill Ivie is the editor here at Full Spectrum Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Hamilton Did Not Owe The Rangers Anything

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Hamilton Did Not Owe The Rangers Anything

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Bill Ivie

Josh Hamilton made his splash this offseason when he landed a $25 million per year over the next five years from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  His formerly club feels slighted because they were not given the opportunity to match the offer.

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Wait…what?

The Rangers made an offer to Josh Hamilton and then told him if he found a better offer to let them know and give them the chance to match it.  There is some seriously flawed logic here.

First of all, I understand the need to save a dollar if you can, but offering someone a contract and then saying that you could pay them more if you had to is borderline insulting to the player.  Imagine me coming to your house and saying that I would like to hire you for a new job.  I can pay you a lot more, but since no one else has offered you that much, you will have to settle for what I offer you.  If you find someone else willing to pay you more, let me know, and I will pay you more then.  Never mind what you are worth, let’s talk about what I am willing to pay you.

The Angels haven proven one thing over the last two seasons, if you make the best offer you possibly can and tell a player you need a quick answer, that player will be wearing your jersey next year.

The Rangers should realize that they simply got outbid and caught trying to low-ball one of today’s bright stars.  If you could have paid him more, you should have offered him more to start with.

As it stands, Hamilton joins Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in a new age Murder’s Row in the same division his former team has won the last few seasons.

The Rangers will open on the road in 2013 against Houston.  Their home opener, to be played on April 5, is against the Angels.  The start of the marathon baseball season just got a bit more interesting.

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Random, Possibly Intriguing, Mostly Useless Information

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Random, Possibly Intriguing, Mostly Useless Information

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Will Emerson

The Major League Baseball season is winding down and as I was thinking about what to write I was drawing a bit of a blank. So, as I often do when I am bored, I started looking through baseball statistics. Yeah, I’m a baseball nerd and I wholeheartedly admit and accept this. One of the things I love about baseball is that there are just so many stats. So many in fact that some of them are not really even that meaningful. So many that you can even bend stats to your will and make a player seem better or worse than another player by the way you use the stats. Or make him just seem worse than he is. For instance: Player A’s ERA has gone up almost 18% over last season and his WHIP is a little over 14% higher than last season. Yeah, well that seems bad as his number are worsening at a hihgish rate. Well, that player is Justin Verlander and the ERA has risen to 2.82 and the WHIP is up to 1.05. Still impressive numbers, wouldn’t ya say? That was rhetorical. So, hopefully you get the point here. Now I’m gonna save the blind player comparisons I know you all enjoy and love for another day. Instead, this article will feature some random stats and information that I found possibly intriguing. Oh yeah, and they may be mostly useless. Yeah, it was not just a clever title folks! So on with the show!

Pittsburgh Pirate Jose Tabata has the honor of being one of only two players this season that has been caught stealing ten or more times, but has also managed to be successful less often than not. As in he has has been caught stealing more than he has been successful at swiping bases. The other person to accomplish this at this point in the season, since I know you are wondering, is the Diamondbacks Willie Bloomquist. Another note here, the Pirates are the only team in baseball that have more than one player who has been caught stealing more than 10 times. The other player is some no-name fella by the name of McCutchen. In fact the Pirates have the worst stolen base success rate in the majors at 56.8%. Kind of strange that Pirates would be so bad at stealing, am I right? Jack Sparrow would be ashamed!

While we’re on the topic of stolen bases, Howie Kendrick has the pleasure of being the only player in the bigs thus far this season with double digit stolen bases that has also grounded into over 20 double plays. in fact only Miguel Cabrera has grounded into more double plays than Howie. Generally you would think a guy getting a fair amount of steals would be able to avoid double plays. Granted he does not have 20 or 30 steals or anything, he is at 12, but still. It looks like he has an outside shot at this elusive 20-20 mark, but don’t hold your breath. Maybe he needs to do a better job when he puts the ball on the ground, sort of like Austin Jackson.

A-Jax is hitting .380, best in the majors, when he puts the ball on the ground. This is almost 20 points higher than number two on that list. Maybe Jim Leyland should go all Lou Brown on Jackson and make him do pushups every time he puts the ball in the air, since keeping it on the ground is clearly getting the job done like nobody’s business! Of course this will not quite work for everyone.

Take Pirate Pedro Alvarez, for instance. He is hitting .381 when he gets the ball in the air, as opposed to a meager .208 when he puts it on the ground. When he hits line drives, he is hitting .741, for those of you scoring at home. Of course many power hitters are going to have similar numbers, I just guess none of those hitters are in the current Giants lineup.

Over the last 30 days the Giants have 13 home runs, one less than Adrian Beltre in that same time span. Now Beltre is having a great last 30 days, but the fact that nine hitters are within five home runs of the Giants in that time span, is not so spectacular from San Fran’s perspective. I mean it’s as if they’re facing Kris Medlen, superstar, every time out!

Medlen has been absolutely brilliant as a starter! Brilliant! In his eight starts he has only allowed more than one earned run on one occasion. In that start he allowed an eye-popping two earned runs. He also had a streak of 39 consecutive innings where he did not allow an earned run. Not quite in Hershiser range, but impressive nevertheless! Also impressive? The Reds rotation.

Something you don’t see much these days; the Reds rotation of Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake have started all but one game for the Reds this season. That’s right, ONE! Now that’s reliability folks! The Mets, on the other hand, have used 12 different starting pitchers this season. Not sure that Reds-like reliability would have helped Houston, however.

The Astros, aptly nicknamed the Disastros this season, are actually picking up the pace with an 8-7 start to September. Those 8 wins in the first two weeks of September, ties their win total for July and August….combined. For July and August they were 8-46, a paltry .148 winning percentage. If they played that pace over an entire 162 game season they would have won 24 games. Yikes! Expansion teams can do better than that! Maybe the ‘Stros need a guy like Tim Collins in their bullpen?

Little Timmy Collins has the honor of being the only relief pitchers in the majors this season with 90 or more strikeouts, and no saves. Only three other relievers who have not been their team’s regular closer for any sort of extended period of time this year have more than 80 strikeouts- David Hernandez (90), Steve Delabar (85) and Jason Grilli (84). All four pitchers have been very effective posting solid K/BB ratios. The same cannot be said for Ricky Romero however.

Romero has a league low K/BB rate, amongst qualifying starting pitchers, of 1.20 which is probably a major reason for his big fall off this season. Second worst K/BB rate in the majors? That would be his rotation mate Henderson Alvarez with a 1.22 rate. Which would probably help explain why the Jays starters have the worst K/BB ratio in the majors at 1.74. Of course Gavin Floyd sure made a valiant effort to catch these two in that category.

A bit in the past, but in July Gavin Floyd posted a K/BB rate of .44 for the month. Now this was over 25.2 innings, but that is still impressively awful. His K/9 that month was 2.81 and his BB/9 was 6.31. What is even more weird, or impressive depending on how you look at, is Floyd still managed a 2.45 ERA for that month. Go figure, right?

Alright, so I ran out of cheesy, barely good, segues, so this one is just out of left field I guess. The Bronx Bombers are, naturally, looking to head to the playoffs, but they haven’t come this far by tripling. See, no segue whatsoever! I have no shame. Anyways, Angel Pagan of the Giants has 13 triples on the season, one more than the entire Yankees team! All of them! Every single Yankee combined! Good work Angel!

Well, there you have it, some random, possibly intriguing, but useless information for you. I hope you enjoyed this little slice of baseball nerdery and don’t you worry, I will certainly find more, and better, obscure, quite random, possibly intriguing, mostly useless information for you for next time. Until then, good day and godspeed.

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