Top prospect Kevin Gausman makes his MLB debut tonight for the Baltimore Orioles, and as a surprise congratulations gift, his Orioles teammates gave Mr. Gausman his favorite food, or at least what I hope is his favorite food: donuts
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 23, 2013
I’m going to guess there’s somewhere around 15-20 donuts in each of those containers, and there are about 50 cases of those visible in the picture (scary thought that there could be more). This means that Kevin Gausman has at least 750-1,000 donuts that he will need to go through if he kept all those donuts. I don’t know when those kinds of donuts expire, but if it were in a month, and he were to eat those on his own, he would have to eat at least 25-33.333 donuts a day to not put them to waste. However, if he ate all of those donuts, he would be wasting his body. What to do… what to do…
These days you can’t talk about Mel Ott without talking about a certain Washington Nationals outfielder, but in a “This Date in Giants History” segment on Saturday night’s telecast, Mel Ott was given his own little time for black-and-white highlights. Growing up, my favorite number was “4,” and so when I found out I couldn’t get that numbered jersey at a Giants Dugout Store, I was a little disappointed, and got one custom made… in a jersey size that was way too big for me. Nevertheless, this guy is a good reason for why the number “4″ isn’t still worn by players in the Giants organization, in my opinion. Ott’s career line is pretty remarkable, especially since he started playing in the big leagues at age 17 in 1926. A power hitter in his day, he never won an MVP award, though interesting to note that his WAR was highest in the 1932 and 1938 seasons, and in most of the MVP races he was involved in, especially the earlier ones, Mel Ott’s numbers didn’t seem to be appreciated as much as they might be in 2013. However, that is not to say that other players did not have excellent and outstanding seasons, as you can see by clicking the MVP-# under the “Awards” column.
|162 Game Avg.||673||561||171||30||110||101||53||.304||.414||.533||155|
He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1951, getting 87.2% in favor.
Most Giants fans never got the chance to see Mel Ott play, but I’m guessing the generation before us got to see highlights of him since it wasn’t as far away from his time. Below are pieces from highlights from that “This Day in Giants History” segment:
Mostly an outfielder in his day, I’ll bet he’d have won plenty of Gold Gloves since he was a good hitter.
I look at his swing and think, “How’d he get 511 home runs doing that?”
Still, I love the front leg kick — and those socks! — and for me, it’s so cool seeing these kinds of highlights of Hall of Fame players we never had the good fortune of seeing live.
The “injury news” tab on Baseball Reference is busy for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Busier than most teams after the regular season started, I’m sure:
- 4/27 Injury Report: Mark Ellis Left Friday’s game against Milwaukee (April 26, strained right quadriceps)
- 4/27 Injury Report: Chris Capuano On the 15-day disabled list (April 17, strained left calf)
- 4/27 Injury Report: Zack Greinke On the 15-day disabled list and is expected to miss two months (April 12, broken left collarbone)
- 4/27 Injury Report: Hanley Ramirez On the 15-day disabled list and will miss two months (March 22, right thumb surgery)
- 4/27 Injury Report: Chad Billingsley On the 15-day disabled list and will miss the remainder of the season (April 16, right elbow surgery)
- 4/27 Injury Report: Scott Elbert On the 15-day disabled list (March 22, left elbow surgery)
- 4/27 Injury Report: Shawn Tolleson On the 15-day disabled list (April 13, to undergo back surgery)
That’s a lot of injuries that call for the disabled list to be used.
No decision on Ellis yet:
Don Mattingly said Mark Ellis feels better today. Still no decision on DL but unavailable
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) April 27, 2013
And then right before the game tonight in Los Angeles:
And now the Dodgers have scratched first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) April 28, 2013
Per Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA, Gonzalez was the only Dodger to start every game this season.
No information about the scratching of Gonzalez has been provided as of yet. UPDATE:
Adrian Gonzalez scratched from lineup tonight with a small skin infection in his right leg- at hospital now, but back at the stadium tonight
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) April 28, 2013
A name that’s actually missing from all that injury news is RHP Stephen Fife with right shoulder bursitis, and have had to recall Matt Magill to start in his place. That’s pretty far down the depth chart for the Dodgers, who have proved you cannot have too much pitching.
Some good news for the Blue team is that Hanley Ramirez is beginning his rehab tonight with their High-A affiliate and HanRam hasn’t been silent in his excitement to get back to playing.
Still, that’s a lot of injuries to happen for a team at one time and you don’t like to beat a team because they’re depleted (or at least I don’t), but because you beat them at their best. Maybe by mid-June the Dodgers will start to look like the Dodgers we thought they are supposed to be (minus Billingsley).
So it’s not a bold prediction, but there’s no denying that the Colorado Rockies have raced to a fast start, garnering the 2nd-most wins in the Majors (14) before their game tonight. They beat up on a slow-starting Milwaukee Brewers team, swept the lowly Padres, got swept by the Champs, swept the Padres AGAIN, swept the three games they had of the four scheduled with the Mets at home in the snow, and then took two out of three from the DBacks before seeing two out of three get taken from them by Atlanta, the hottest team in the Majors. Got all that? The standings right before their game tonight look like this in the NL West:
While their Strength of Schedule is 5th in the Majors, remember the Brewers were not the hot team they became, and nearly half of their wins have come from the Padres, and they got swept by the Giants. Credit should be given to the Rockies whom are winning the games they should be winning, and not only their hitting, but their pitching has helped more than I thought their pitching could, even after twelve games at home! Starters Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa have led the staff while the bullpen has accumulated tied for the highest fWAR of all thirty relief corps with Detroit led by setup man Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers, and the walk-happy Rafael Betancourt. The rest of the Rockies are pitching like you’d imagine the Rockies pitching.
On the hitting side, Dexter Fowler has seven bombs, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are doing their part, and Michael Cuddyer plus Wilin Rosario are having nice starts to the year with the first four position players listed all having a wOBA above .400 and a wRC+ above 150. You get four players to do that, chances are good things will happen. We knew this team could hit, the question was could they pitch, and could they stay healthy.
The Rockies now have to put up as they begin to square off away from home in Arizona, Los Angeles against the Dodgers, come home for interleague action against the Rays, Yankees, and then go to St. Louis. With Chacin on the DL, I see their lack of pitching depth coming back to get them as they begin to face off against good pitching. The Rays and Dodgers are both a game under .500, and that’s as low as the records go for the upcoming Rockies opponents. While I’m sure the hitters that have started well will still contribute, I don’t think it’ll be enough to cover up for four starters that are more used to seeing runs get up against them than seeing a quality start registered to their names.
So I’m a non-believer, I’m sure Rockies fans happy with their team’s success are used to seeing those, and some of them are still mad over Keith Law’s prediction for them, but there’s always a few teams that start off hot then tail off, and I think that hot start is starting to come to an end for the Rockies, and will bow out from the top of the West by May 13th at the very latest.
This morning’s news from LA Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez:
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 21, 2013
There has been speculation even before now that Chad Billingsley might need Tommy John surgery, and if that turns out to be the case, chances are he’s done until 2014. Stephen Fife has been called back up to the big league team to help fill the gap for now.
Remember when the Dodgers had something like eight starting pitchers? It was pretty funny, especially because people knew the Dodgers would have a tough time getting rid of the extra pitchers that might be able to help out a second-tier major league roster. But they had depth! That depth can come in handy if there’s an injury, or somebody needs to make some mechanical issues. The original roster of pitchers looked as such:
Now, Greinke’s out after his unforgettable shoulder drop vs. Carlos Quentin, Bills could be done for a couple weeks, or a whole year, Harang was traded to the Rockies for Ramon Hernandez (and then Harang was traded to Seattle), and Lilly should actually be coming up this week to give the Dodgers a fifth pitcher. Oh, and Capuano also has a strained left calf, so he’s on the 15-day DL. Funny how baseball can work, it can give so much, and it can certainly taketh away so much more.
Questions are coming around from Dodger fans to their favorite Dodger bloggers when they can expect from the estimated time of arrival for their top prospect Zach Lee (a break from all the Yasiel Puig questions!), and the consensus seems to be that it’ll be later (2014) rather than sooner (2013) that he’ll be able to contribute to the club. This of course assumes Lee is still a Dodger in 2014 and not in somebody else’s minor league system. I’m not sure if fretting about other former prospect Allen Webster, whom was called up to pitch for Boston today, is all that worthwhile, since he did help LA land Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford (and those other guys). Giants fans will show no sympathy for that “should have kept” complaining.
The Dodgers rotation will be interesting to watch in the next month, as their one ace works, Ryu has looked decent so far, Beckett doesn’t, Capuano will probably be pulling his weight for the most part, and Lilly is likely going to be getting calls for the DFA from fans. It’s gone from having two strong figures standing tall to protect the glory of Los Angeles to having Kershaw and him wondering what they’re going to get out of the other four, hoping things don’t go as bad as most baseball fans think they will.
There being 162 games in the season, 16 games in seems like a fine place to check in with 10% of the regular season finding its box checked by the Giants. The Giants are 9-7 after getting swept by Milwaukee, but I can’t say that these last three games speak to what we’ve seen out of this team so far. They’ll be in second or third in the NL West depending on how Arizona does tonight against the Yankees tonight, and I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t concerned if they had the record of the Marlins (3-12), but the record you have today shouldn’t be a predictor of where you finish.
Baseball Reference won’t have all sixteen games until tomorrow, but this is what the Giants season has looked like so far:
More of the “W” than the “L,” and have swept the division leading Colorado Rockies (what year is this?). Sure, the Giants are suffering their longest losing streak since the end of July last year, but I think they just needed to get out of Miller Park. There may be some obvious stars and goats from this first ten percent of the season, but there are also some legitimate questions for each player we look forward to see being played out.
Some of the Heroes
Brandon Crawford is always known for his defense, but have you noticed his productive start at the dish? How about a very handsome .352/.435/.593 line, tied for first in fWAR with Justin Upton at 1.3, so his value isn’t only coming with the glove. Crawford’s fWAR last season? 1.7.
Barry Zito didn’t have a very productive third start in Milwaukee, but then again, anyone who pitched there wished their day went a little bit better. Being a contributor with his pitch hand and his bat, Zito was a welcome surprise, continuing his postseason success with two straight starts with his defense helping him to two victories.
Sergio Romo had been called on to work in a eight of twelve game stretch, which is plenty of games for any reliever and wouldn’t bode well if that’s the rate at which he was being used when worrying bout fatigue. A 41.4% strikeout rate with no walks is pretty incredible work so far, and to have the guy that comes into the 9th inning not walk anybody saves all of us a few years of our lives.
Some of the Goats
Brandon Belt is the obvious choice for the guy that’s having the slowest start. His .214 BABIP has kept his hit count low, despite the line drives we’ve seen him hit. His nine hits in fifty-nine plate appearances don’t look stomach pleasing, and Nick Noonan is actually catching up to him in hits since the rookie already has seven himself. The ropes Belt’s hitting right now aren’t finding the ground, maybe it’s me being an apologist for him, but I gotta believe he’s close.
Tim Lincecum‘s struggles continue, and while Hector Sanchez did cost Lincecum strikes in his first start with his framing abilities, Timmy has not been helping his batterymate out with his lack of control. It’s amazing that a) he has gone at least five innings in each start, and b) the team has won each of the three games he’s started. His walk count in his three starts have gone from 7 to 4 to 1, so that is encouraging.
George Kontos is my choice from the reliever corps, though it’s not like it’s a runaway. His 15.2% left on base rate is pre-tttty low, and that will go up as the season goes, and his Opening Day homer to Clayton Kershaw still burns in my brain. He is not a question mark for me, just not a hot start.
Some of the Questions
How real is this personal catcher situation? Last year, we experienced the Hector Sanchez-Tim Lincecum experiment with Buster Posey at 1B. With Guillermo Quiroz getting a hit today, now the question is if he is being auditioned to take Sanchez’s spot. Also of note, since Posey got a day off today in a day game after a night game, might that set him up for catching #55 on Saturday? While Hector has given the team a better walk rate recently, his bat is not the answer.
Speaking of Posey, what the heck’s going on with the 2012 MVP? One more hit than Belt, and a slash line that you’d expect more out of 2011 Brandon Crawford than 2013 Posey. Articles on him suggest it’s just a slow start, that he’s feeling fine. If he’s feeling fine, I’m not worried about him catching back on. Same goes for Matt Cain.
When does Heath Hembree get the call-up? I believe it was Pavs that said when the Giants call him up, the Giants want it to be for good. When it comes to that, you’ll see MLB teams calling their prospects up in June so that they may hold on to their players for an extra year.
What the Chad Gaudin? I know, right? He’s been surprisingly better than decent, but has been used in more low leverage situations than in a situation you might see Santiago Casilla or Kontos showing up in. It will be interesting to see how aggressive the Giants are with Gaudin as the year goes on, especially when Gaudin regresses.
What to look forward to
How about five straight series with NL West opponents? Padres, D-Backs, @ Padres, @ D-Backs, Dodgers that will carry us into May, all of these sets lasting three games a piece. Arizona gets to have six straight series with NL West opponents, so that should be fun for them.
The Giants, students of the comeback for some of their victories, are indeed lucky to be where they are, but the record is probably around what you might have expected out of them. You cannot win the division in April, but so far, they are not losing it.
Looking forward to more of those.
Posey would never be so arrogant to another baseball player like that, but no one’s surprised the Tigers kept Verlander, although maybe the money was a bit high. Gerald Dempsey Posey III, entering his Age 26 season, will be a Giant for the foreseeable future (through 2021 at the very least, a club option for 2022). You might be wondering to yourself like I was how often the Giants win with Buster Posey in the lineup, well thanks to baseball reference, I can tell you that they win more often than not when Posey starts games. A graph:
Let’s say you won 58% of the games you started in 140 games, that’s still 81 wins with twenty-two games left to go. The fact that Posey has been an integral part of a winning club should not be lost on anybody. Has he had some good fortune that he’s had the chance to work with guys like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong when they’ve got their stuff in check for the most part? Absolutely. Bengie Molina had to work with less, although still had a pretty awesome Timmy, Cainer, and MadBum was just making his presence known. Here’s a totally unfair graph of how the Giants did in Molina starts:
Even in 2010 when Posey came up, Molina saw half the games he started in being won, but 59% of Posey’s netting the Giants a W, and ultimately, Buster would be a part of a drought-ending team for the Giants.
In between 2010 and 2012, Buster has amassed 301 games at the catcher position, which is tied for 19th most in that timespan, yet he still has had the time to put up some pretty nice/interesting numbers. Among MLB Catchers:
HR: 6th (46)
BABIP: 2nd (.342) to Joe Mauer
AVG: T-1st (.317) with Victor Martinez
OBP: 3rd (.384) behind Mauer, and Carlos Ruiz
wOBA: 1st (.383)
wRC+: 1st (145)
fWAR: t-1st (13.2) with Yadier Molina
Consider that every player listed here and along with the HR peoples have played at least 60 more games at the C position than Posey with the exception of Martinez (272 G).
Other Notable Catcher Contracts
- Mauer with the Twins makes $23MM a year in a 2011-2018 deal.
- Molina has a 5 year/$74MM guaranteed deal that beings this year, with a $15MM option for 2018
- Miguel Montero ha a 5 year/$60MM deal that begins this year
- Brian McCann is making $12MM this year and will be a free agent in after this season unless the Braves sign him to an extension
I’d say most of these catchers are pretty important to their franchises, especially the top two, but I’m sure Buster Posey’s camp started talking about Mauer numbers from the get-go before Yadier’s name was brought up in conversation. Words such as “Two in Three,” ”MVP,” “Rookie of the Year,” “Face of the Franchise,” were probably all used in conversations between the two sides.
Well, now we definitely have money to keep track of beyond 2019. Madison Bumgarner has options that can take his contract out that far, with guaranteed money that he’s owed in those later years, Matt Cain’s contract “only” goes out through 2018. Here’s what my Excel spreadsheet said about the payroll before the signing:
2013 — $138.33MM
2014 — $67.55MM
2015 — $55.5MM
2016 — $42.83MM
2017 — $32.33MM
2018 — $32.83MM
2019 — $12MM
If you’re going to fill up the payroll though, wouldn’t you do it on Buster Posey (if anybody) too? Of course you should. Here’s the payout:
Signing bonus $7 million, $3M in 2013, $10.5M in 2014, $16.5M in 2015, $20M in 2016, $21.4M in 2017-2021. option 2022 22M with $3M buyout.
My opinion on the contract
A nine-year contract, eight-year extension worth $167 million all told, if you want the whole thing averaged out, it’s $18.5MM/year. If you just want the extension, it’s $19.875MM. The option year has reported to be worth $21.4MM-$22MM, which would push the contract up to $188.4MM over the course of ten years. $7MM signing bonus (ka-ching!), and a $3MM buyout in that option year if things go all Barry Zito. Posey gets a full no-trade clause, and that shouldn’t be anything the fans or front office worries about for a while anyway. I Love this contract with a capital “L,” and think Brian Sabean and his team did a great job locking up their catcher (would have liked six years, but many fans thought this would be a ten-twelve year deal in the end). Assuming good health, Buster can probably make good on the value of this possible ten-year deal in seven years through $5MM per one fWAR. However, he may make it up sooner after he wins the Giants four straight World Series titles *winky face*
It is a wonder whether the Giants will be keeping Posey at catcher throughout the life of his contract, especially as long as Joe Torre stalls to not implement any new catcher safety rules. Regardless of all that, Buster Posey will be a Giant throughout the prime of his career, and that should make Giants fans very happy to have both a leader, and a bat in their lineup for years to come.
Luckily, Posey has given us an exclusive look at that in this commercial:
Time to get to work.
— Daniel Brown (@mercbrownie) March 29, 2013
#SFGiants correct their announcement: Sabean, Bochy do indeed get extensions through 2016 — but the option year for 2017 was bad info.
— Daniel Brown (@mercbrownie) March 29, 2013
Bruce Bochy has been with the Giants since 2007 entering his age 52 season after his stint with the San Diego Padres, and over the last four seasons, has helped lead the team to a winning record, and in the two World Series seasons, the Giants had more than 90 wins, enough to win the NL West. While he has never won the NL Manager of the Year award as a Giant, he does have two championship rings ready to show off, and will matchup you to death late in a game.
Brian Sabean has been the Giants GM since 1997, so that’s back in the Candlestick days, the Barry Bonds days, and the in between-World Series days. Many other players besides Bonds would play for Sabean’s Giants in between 1997 and now, that is a fact I wanted to make sure I relayed.
At the end of Sabean’s extension he’ll have been the GM of the Giants for 19 years.
— Jonathan Bernhardt (@jonbernhardt) March 29, 2013
That’s if the option isn’t picked up, if it is, that’s a whole 20 years of Giants baseball, so It’s no wonder why people my age only know what baseball in the Bay is like with Brian. While it’s fun to poke at Sabean because of his knack for signing veterans, watching some of his moves work in a regular season and a set of short series has seen the criticism go down about his moves, and instead turn to his use of a Motorola RAZR.
I don’t really have any strong baseball/personal opinions against either of these two gentlemen, and while the Buster Posey extension is more important to a lot of other people, these extensions were pretty important to get done before the season as well. Let the gentlemen be rewarded for their work of two world championships, and ensure that you have a not-horrible field manager, and someone that has been drafting more successfully of late locked down for at least three years.
The regular season begins this Sunday at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. As I preview these divisions, I’ll tell you a little of what sport betting sites see, what computer simulations see, and what I see. The teams will be previewed in the reverse order I expect them to finish. Let us preview the NL West, where my predictions mean I have no respect for managers that have transformed Eric Gagne‘s career (“Trace, you’re crazy!”), the intangibles, and recent success.
5. Colorado Rockies
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 25/1, 60/1, 150/1
Stuart sees: a team that if healthy, could hit their way to third place in the division. Really! It’s just that I don’t know how healthy they can be, and their starting pitching is mostly what I would call “not good.” Jeff Francis and Jon Garland bring up the back of the rotation, and I’m not sure how long that’s going to work, especially Francis. Maybe he’ll wind up with the Marlins some time this season. The bullpen is whatevers with Rafael Betancourt handling the save opportunities, and the bench not being horrible for a bench. That lineup led by Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki should be respected, and yea, Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton are older, but if they’re in the lineup, you respect that, too. With this team, I’m just waiting for the wheels to come off in terms of health and then watch the pitching suffer. I’m glad they tried that four-man rotation last year to try and innovate, and hope they try something else this year. Maybe less sacrifice bunting by position players?
4. San Diego Padres
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 14/1, 40/1, 75/1
Stuart sees: a farm system that’s good, but just saw Casey Kelly and Rymer Liriano go down for a significant amount of time, so the Padres won’t have a starter and a worthy OF reinforcement to help them out in the middle of the season. They’ll probably get some assistance elsewhere from within, but knowing your back-up plan isn’t as readily available as you hoped it’d be isn’t quite the start to the season you were hoping for. Back to the major league club, I’m curious how Jedd Gyorko will do as he springs onto the scene at 2B, and I’m sure he won’t mind that Petco brought its fences in. 2012 second-half erupter Chase Headley will miss a month with a thumb injury, and Yasmani Grandal decided to be stupid so he’s missing fifty games, so if the Padres start slow, don’t be all too surprised. The bullpen should be good (again), with the rotation holding their own, promising to be that annoying team that doesn’t just let you trample them in September when you need those wins. I say the ceiling for this team is third, the floor being last. Yea, yea, I can hear you, I know that’s not a super-bold prediction.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 13/2, 25/1, 60/1
Stuart sees: a front office that went out of its way to make its squad worse because Justin Upton wasn’t good enough for them, and their bullpen didn’t have enough 9th-inning experience so they decided they would be happy to pay for Heath Bell, and why not ship off Chris Young, and get Cliff Pennington, too… as your starting shortstop. Sure, Didi Gregorious will be diddling about in the minors, but if the moves the DBacks made this off-season didn’t make your eyes roll, what will? Trevor Bauer was given up on, and I’m just hoping they trade top prospect Tyler Skaggs to the Giants for someone “gritty” because intangibles, that’s why. Each part of this Diamondbacks roster should be able to pull its own weight at the major league level, which makes them sound remarkably average, and that’s where I think they are, but maybe a few games above that. This team can win the division, and they might have a couple guys that can provide some help in the home stretch if they so desire to bring them up in Matt Davidson, Didi, and Skaggs.
2. San Francisco Giants
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 8/5, 13/2, 12/1
Stuart sees: loyal Giants fans getting ticked at me putting them here just because I predicted they would win just about every three-game or playoff series against their opponent last season which means I should place them first here, too. Some Giants fans after 2010, and now after both 2010 and 2012 get extremely butthurt when you don’t put the team they support in first, as if that’s disrespecting their team. It’s not at all disrespecting their team as it is respecting what the team ahead of them has put together by throwing around money to bring in talent. Changes to this team include: the bench of Nick Noonan, Andres Torres, and Cole Gillespie, and long-reliever Chad Gaudin in the bullpen. Outside of that, not too much different. The Giants must have someone in the crowd of Hunter Pence, Tim Lincecum, and Barry Zito to step up their game to both compensate the regressions that will happen with Gregor Blanco, and help them make up for the difference in talent on paper between them and the Dodgers. This team can definitely win the division, but I don’t see them finishing any worse than third. I am hoping they do not part with any of their top pitching prospects again to bring in someone this year, but I am worried it will happen.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
From a Spring Training game vs. the Giants, but take note:
— Stuart Jones (@HeHitsItDeeeeep) February 26, 2013
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 5/6, 4/1, 9/1
Stuart sees: a new land of evil, sure it’s a new kind of blue, or whatever the slogan is, and it’s funny how we associate large amounts of spending with being bad, but the contracts the Dodgers handed out to the likes of Zack Greinke and Matt Kemp weren’t all that obnoxious at all. Swallowing up Carl Crawford‘s, taking a risk on Hyun-Jin Ryu, though, are just going to anoint you king of the moneys by people observing the game. A rotation led by Kershaw and Greinke (though the latter might be a little slow out of the gates) followed by some decent guys in Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, and the question mark Ryu, we’re just wondering who can stay healthy, and who Ryu really is: is he a starter? Or an expensive reliever? The spring of Yasiel Puig came to a halt when the Dodgers wisely optioned him to the minors to get an extended look at him there to see if he can develop some plate discipline, but I’ve heard a lot of positive reports on him even without said discpline. Their bullpen is good, so anything that lineup that includes Kemp, Gonzalez, and the platoonable Andre Ethier can put together in the form of a lead, I expect them to hold it down. Injuries are really the only thing that I can see bringing these guys down (hello, Hanley Ramirez‘s thumb), or Don Mattingly bunting them all over the place. The floor is third, but it is an unlikely floor at that.
The regular season begins this Sunday at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. As I preview these divisions, I’ll tell you a little of what sport betting sites see, what computer simulations see, and what I see. The teams will be previewed in the reverse order I expect them to finish. Let us preview the AL West, where everyone is welcoming in the Astros, and my predictions are pretty predictable.
5. Houston Astros
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 50/1, 125/1, 250/1
Stuart sees: a franchise that got forced into the AL West when the club got sold and bought, and now there will be interleague all the time and it’s all your fault, Houston. (Is nothing sacred anymore?!?!?) I’m not sure how bad this team will be, especially in the AL West. I’m going to say all overall aspects of this roster are below average, and when that kind of thing happens, get ready for nobody showing up to Minute Maid Park, and continued talk of what will happen in the future. If you read that Danny Knobler article on the Astros and agreed with everything, I don’t know what to tell you besides that article was a load of [noun]. Hopefully last year was the worst of what we’ll see out of Houston, but it may be this year. Don’t see them beating out Seattle for fourth.
4. Seattle Mariners
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 15/1, 50/1, 100/1
Stuart sees: a bunch of guys that guy play first base or hit designated-ly. Have fun Seattle Mariners pitchers, because you get Michael Morse, Jason Bay, and Raul Ibanez guarding those foul lines for you, although might they still be able to hit? Maybe, yes, but gosh this team’s overall defense is just going to be one giant sad face. Despite having a lineup that might be able to hit, an “eh” rotation, and a maybe decent bullpen, help is on the way, and it’s in the form of arms and a new battery. RHP Taijuan Walker, LHP Danny Hultzen, LHP James Paxton, RHP Brandon Maurer, and catcher Mike Zunino are all expected to be called up some time in 2013, it’s just a matter of when will that happen? Should these guys mentioned hit their ceilings, Seattle won’t have an unbeatable rotation, but they will have a strong, and deep set of guys ready to go.
3. Oakland Athletics
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 5/1, 16/1, 33/1
Stuart sees: a team that could sneak in again if the Rangers lose their way like they did at the end of 2012. I’m not sure they can pass the Angels, but the Athletics have a decent lineup with good depth in Chris Young, and Derek Norris, although I’m not expecting the lineup to blow you away. The rotation, led by Brett Anderson and Jarrod Parker, should be good again, but my question mark will be the bullpen and how they do this year. I’d love if the energy from the Coliseum is there on a routine basis just like it was at the end of the season, but I think we all know that their stadium and their stadium situation is just a mess. Bringing the Astros into this division definitely will not hurt Oakland’s (or Texas’, or the Angels’) chances of lowering their win-count.
2. Texas Rangers
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 9/4, 15/2, 16/1
Stuart sees: a team that did well in the offseason not to overdo it on guys like Josh Hamilton, Kyle Lohse, or keep around the statue of leadership known as Michael Young. Lance Berkman was brought in for what looks to be his swan song, while questions of “how will top prospect Jurickson Profar fit” will keep the masses talking. The lineup still looks like it can hit, and the rotation should be strong. The bullpen should get a nice addition in Joakim Soria in May, but they’ll hope he’s not too-damaged goods and will be able to make that back-end of the bullpen into a game over scenario. Neftali Feliz also had Tommy John surgery in early August, so he will be a welcome force once he is ready to come back for the home stretch. Can this team overtake the Angels of Orange County? Yes, but they’re going to need some help from the Angels, and from their bullpen to keep their team in the games.
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 2/3, 9/2, 17/2
Stuart sees: money money moneyyyyy being spent all over the place but who in the heck knows how they were just able to get rid of most of Vernon Wells‘ contract to the Yankees. What will doom the Angels is their starting rotation after Weaver and C.J. Wilson. You have Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, and Tommy Hanson. Your first thoughts after that should either be 1) who’s in the minors to take one of their spots (answer: ???), or 2) how’s their bullpen (answer: decent). Lucky for the Angels they have the bats to combat this lack of back-end pitching that will allow some homers here and there. The top half of the Angels lineup will be trouble for the opposition, and if that top half stays healthy, the Angels will probably be riding those bats and their top two arms to a division title. If something goes wrong, specifically with their rotation, I could see this team missing the playoffs.
This AL West set of predictions was pretty standard, but if you got some dark horse picks/flippity-floppity going on or you want to agree, I’d love to hear it in the comments section!