Tag Archive | "High Hopes"

Ah… Predictions, Predictions

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Ah… Predictions, Predictions

Posted on 30 March 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

There is no true off-season in baseball. It is simply some down time to make adjustments to rosters, to reflect on past stats, and make predictions for the future. Baseball is never over in the heart of the fans, and now it is almost time again for the first pitch of the regular season.

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2013 is going to be interesting. Numerous changes have been made to many Major League rosters. Some seemingly revamping their whole team. I think this season, teams that may not have been thought of as strong have made themselves good contenders to snag that division title. And other clubs that are expected to always be the leader, might suffer.

AL East
The Toronto Blue Jays gained a lot of solid veteran players over the off-season making them seem unapproachable for the rest of the AL East. As long as they can handle the pressure and do not burn themselves from the stress, they will be dangerous. They just need to stay focused, and not get swept away by all the talk of high hopes swirling around them. If they can pull this off, the Red Sox, the Rays, and the Orioles will have a hard time keeping up with the Blue Jays this year.

The Yankees… Oh the Yankees… They seem to be on a steady decline with the injuries they are facing. Healthy Yankees have always been a threat, but right now they seem to be scrambling. If they can pass the injury issues, they can once again be capable of making it to the playoffs.

AL Central
The Twins lost both Denard Span and Ben Revere over the off-season which will slow the team down considerably. They both have tremendous hustle and now Minnesota is lacking in that category. They made some much needed upgrades to their pitching, and they do have a little bit of pop in their line up, but I do not think it will be enough to replace the loss of these outfielders. They will likely fall to the retooled Cleveland Indians and the up and down Chicago White Sox. Even the Royals will be a stronger competitor than the Twins, with the improvements they made this season.

I expect the Detroit Tigers to be as impressive as last year. Adding leader and weathered outfielder Torii Hunter to the team will increase the power in their already dominant line up. And if Victor Martinez can stay off the disabled list, they could be unstoppable. And not to mention Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez in their starting rotations. As long as having no dedicated closer does not make this team crumble, I think the Tigers will be in the post-season.

AL West
The Astros will not make a smooth transition over to the American League. They will be a fish out of water this season. Once they get acclimated, they may increase their skills, but for now it will just be a learning period.

The Angels and the Rangers will, as usual, be tough to beat this season. They both have well-rounded teams with some scary defensive talent. The Rangers lost Josh Hamilton to the Angels which might not be that big of a blow, as the rest of the team is capable of picking up the slack. And now the Halos have that added power to their roster. These two teams are comparable.

The Oakland Athletics are a favorite for being the scrappy underdogs, but they will have to rely heavily on their pitching to defend their division crown. Newcomers, Chris Young and John Jaso will not be enough to put fear into their rivals.

The Mariners will once again try to build around their ace Felix Hernandez. However, I feel that they will not be a serious contender for the division title. They might get a little more adrenaline after facing the Astros, but there will not be much change for Seattle this year.

NL East
The Atlanta Braves have a fierce line up with the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward, but I think they might not excel as much as expected. Justin Upton has major potential to win an MVP award in his career and still has yet to show everything he is capable of, but the initial excitement of playing with B.J. Upton might be more of a distraction than a motivator. Eventually, these two will tear up the NL East, maybe even toward the end of this season in a push for the playoffs. But I think they might be too amped in the beginning to reach the standards that everyone is anticipating. The Braves do have some bullpen talent that can rescue them in any inevitable jams. This team will certainly make their name known this year.

I am not sure what the Marlins were doing over the off-season. It seems that most clubs were making improvements and Miami had a different plan. This will not be their year. They may put up a fight… or perhaps a squabble. But I do not think they will make much of a dent in opposing teams. The Mets will surly dominate them with Shaun Marcum in their starting rotation.

Between the Nationals and the Phillies, both teams could give a strong push to the playoffs. Both have offensive depth, but the Nationals will have an edge over the Phillies with their strong pitching rotation. With Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg as starters, the Nationals could take the division title.

NL Central
With young stars like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, there is reason to be excited about the Chicago Cubs. Having said that, I feel they will not make much of an impact yet in their division, especially competing against Andrew McCutchen and the upstart Pirates.

The Brewers could be a worthy contender for the playoffs if they were not facing the Reds. Milwaukee has some dependable bats, but their pitching is lacking. And the Reds have too much offensive ammunition for the Brewers to tame.

The question is: can the Cardinals take on the Reds? The Cardinals play hard, always come hungry, and seem to excel at the most important times. They are healthy competition for the Reds. Both teams have offensive talent and their pitching matches up fairly evenly.

NL West
The Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to rely too much on big names to carry them through the season. Chemistry is important. Big names are not everything. If these guys can figure out how to work together, they can be merciless to their opposing teams. But everything has to click seamlessly. And I am not sure the Dodgers are quite there yet. They have ample pitching with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and a powerful offense. They look good on paper, but may need a year to get more settled.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have a proficient pitching rotation with Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy starting. And their bullpen is jam packed with solid relief options. They made many adjustments to their positional players as well, to create a unique team. They were average last season, but this time around they might have the formula to increase their game. Competing against the Colorado Rockies, who are an average team, and the San Diego Padres, who will actually put up a fight this year, the Dbacks have a chance at making their team stand out.

The Giants have kept most of their team intact from last year. The World Series Champions will likely still be a strong competitor in their division, and now they have Tim Lincecum back on the mound which can increase their pitching depth considerably. They will be the team to beat in the NL West.

So what will actually happen this season? Every one has an opinion, but we all know anything can happen in baseball. That is the beauty of the sport. And it is almost time, once again, to play ball.

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DOs And DONTs: Los Angeles Dodgers

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DOs And DONTs: Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted on 15 February 2012 by Gary Marchese

Editor’s Note: The 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers might be a franchise in the middle of being sold, near bankruptcy and struggling for an identity.  That does not, however, mean that they cannot help you this year in your fantasy league.  Here is a look at do’s and don’ts for the Dodgers.

Do look at the Dodgers outfield.  They have quite an outfield with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and Jerry Sands.  Matt Kemp was a triple crown candidate last season, Ethier is a good young player and Sands is up and coming.  Rivera is a solid veteran, you have plenty of outfield choices just on the Dodgers alone.  Ethier was at 292, 11, 62 last year with a 368 on base percentage.  Kemp was 324, 39, 126 with a 399 on base and 40 stolen bases.  Sands was at 253, 4, 26 last year in 61 games.  The Dodgers have high hopes for him though and he flashed some of that potential.  Rivera was 258, 11,74 with a 319 on base percentage.  I would put Ethier and Kemp high on my list, Sands good if your in a keeper league and Rivera as a good backup/bench player.

Don’t even look at the Dodgers catchers.  They really don’t have any catchers worth looking at.  They had Russell Martin and gave him away, I wonder what they think of that now.  Matt Trainor may be their starter now and he hit 214 last season with three homeruns and 22 RBI.  A.J. Ellis is a young player who played in 31 games last year hit 271 with two homeruns and 11 RBI.  Who knows what Ellis is, I would stay away from the Dodgers catchers.

Do consider James Loney a legitimate option at first base.  He hit 288 with 12 homeruns and 65 RBI last season.  He would like to improve on his power numbers but his on base was also at 339.  He hit’s a lot of doubles.

Don’t think Juan Uribe is a starter any longer.  He is a veteran but he is getting older and last year may be more of the norm for him.  He batted 204 last year with four homeruns and 28 RBI.  I would like to believe he will improve on that but how much so??  I wouldn’t think he would jump up to like 250 or so with 20 homeruns and 60 RBI.  I wouldn’t waste a pick on him.  He did only play 77 games last year and the two prior years hit 248 and 289 with 24 and 16 in homeruns.  I wouldn’t bet on him getting back to that level again though.

Do believe in the hype and potential of Dee Gordon.  He has been talked about as a future star and he has a good bloodline with his father being Tom “Flash” Gordon.  He hit 304 with 11 RBI in 56 games last season.  His on base percentage was 325 and he also had 24 stolen bases.  I would especially take him in a keeper league.  He is only 23 years old, will turn 24 in April and has his whole career ahead of him.

Don’t take too much time looking at the Dodgers relievers.  Todd Coffey, Blake Hawksworth and Kenley Janson are the names you know.  Coffey had a decent year but still not dominating and usually you want dominating relievers for fantasy teams.  You need the strikeout numbers, wins and the ERA.

On the flip side I would say I Do to their starting pitching.  They have Ted Lilly, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.  Kershaw is one of the best in baseball, Billingsley had a disappointing year last year but is still a young pitcher with potential, Lilly to me is one of the most underrated players in baseball, Harang is solid and Capuano can be a decent back of the rotation guy or reserve pitcher on your fantasy team.  Kershaws numbers:21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, five complete games and two shutouts.  He had 248 strikeouts and a .98 WHIP.  Billingsley:11-11 with a 4.21 ERA, one complete game, 152 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP.  Lilly was 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA, 158 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP.  Harang 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA, 124 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP.  Capuano who could be their fifth starter was 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA, one complete game and one shutout.  He had 168 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP.  Capuano would be the least likely to draft but could be an emergency signing or a backup pitcher.  He may not be that great but he also isn’t that bad.

Don’t be fooled by the name of Tony Gwynn.  He isn’t like his father at all.  He hit 256 with two homeruns and 22 RBI last season.  He did play 136 games and had a 308 on base percentage.  He did have 22 stolen bases.

Do take Jerry Hairston as a very capable backup outfielder or utility guy.  He hit 270 last year with five homeruns and 31 RBI.  He isn’t a big power guy and won’t drive in a ton of runs but he is a solid backup.  He could also steal some bases although last season he only had three.

I know I did less overall Dos and Don’ts in this article but I felt I covered more players.  I grouped a lot more into one paragraph such as the relievers, starters and catchers.  If you feel I missed anyone or would like to add to anything I said please feel free to comment here on the site.  If you have a twitter account feel free to follow me and interact with me there @gmarchesej, the site is also on face book, please like Full Spectrum baseball and comment and like the articles there.  Thank you for visiting and reading not just my articles but our whole team of talented writers.  I hope you look forward to these articles as I have a lot of fun looking at all the different teams, I will continue to do so throughout the entire season and we will have all your baseball especially fantasy baseball needs covered.

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