3-3 ballgame. It was the bottom of the 8th, and ex-Red Sox pitcher Alex Wilson was on the mound. It was high in the air. I knew it was gone the minute I saw it. JBJ had just nailed a go-ahead home run to give the Red Sox the 5-3 lead.
The Red Sox went on to top the Tigers 5-3. Each team got 11 hits in this big hitting game. Mitch Moreland went 3-4 with 2 RBI, JBJ went 2-4 with another 3 RBI. Lots of good plays by JBJ and Mookie Betts made the game interesting and I was at the game and witnessed the great comeback victory.
It started out ugly for the Sox though. Brian Johnson gave up a dinger with 1 out in the 1st inning to Nicholas Castellanos. But the Tigers weren’t done. Both Victor and J.D. Martinez got on base, and it was 1st and 2nd with 2 down. Then Justin Upton knocked Victor Martinez in with his single up the middle. It was 2-0 Tigers after 1 inning and Brian Johnson had thrown almost 30 pitches. Johnson tried to settle down after that, but in the next two innings he reached 70 pitches. He had given up 5 hits and a walk in 3 innings.
Then to begin the 4th, Mikie Mahtook nailed a dinger into the bleachers. 3-0 Detroit.
However, the Red Sox began to rally in the 4th inning. Mitch Moreland answered with a leadoff home run to center. Then after a Benintendi single and Ramirez walk, it was 1st and 2nd. Then Bradley Jr. hit a line drive single to knock in a 2nd run. 3-2 Tigers.
However, Pablo Sandoval ended the rally on a double play. Panda struggled all game, striking out twice and grounding into this double play. He also made 2 plays that could’ve been called errors.
The Tigers tried to strike back. Victor Martinez got a base hit, and then J.D. Martinez doubled to center and Victor was on third, but it wasn’t enough. After Brian Johnson and Heath Hembree were done, Joe Kelly was an absolute machine against Detroit in the 7th.
Mookie Betts tried to start another rally when he doubled, but it failed. However, the Red Sox came back in the 8th. Alex Wilson, the former Red Sox player, was pitching. Fans were booing and taunting him. Bogaerts got on base, and then he reached second when Wilson wildly tried to pick him off at first. Then Moreland drove in another run with an RBI single. It was a tie ballgame, 3-3. Benintendi lined out, and Ramirez was out on a lazy fly ball.
Then, JBJ hit a huge dinger to right. Everyone was cheering. They had come back! The Red Sox were up 5-3 going into the top of the 9th, and Craig Kimbrel came right into the game. After a strikeout, a foul pop up and another strikeout, the Red Sox won 5-3. Kimbrel got the 3 out, 10 pitch save.
Here’s the final strike. My good luck may have factored in again. I even got a picture of the win dance, where JBJ was honored. They did their ski jump and I got it on camera.
Can they get into a good stretch after a big win tonight? Chris Sale starts tomorrow and it should be a rude awakening for Detroit tomorrow night.
The Red Sox lost their streak and their momentum with a 3-0 loss last night. Rick Porcello actually pitched really well, with 0 earned runs. It was errors that allowed the Blue Jays to score.
Pablo Sandoval had an error again. Even Gold Glove winner Mitch Moreland had an error in addition to going 0-4 after hitting really well during the winning streak. The 2nd inning was when the Jays scored all their runs. The two errors happened back to back at the start of the 2nd inning and all of the sudden it was 2nd and 3rd. After Justin Smoak struck out, Darwin Barney got a base hit that knocked both of them in. 2-0 Jays. Kevin Pillar singled to make it first and second. Then Ezequiel Carrera hit a single down the line for a third run. It was 3-0 Jays, but Porcello didn’t have a single earned run.
It was pretty quiet after that, and pitching was pretty good. But the Red Sox also blew several scoring opportunities. In the 5th, Sandy Leon grounded into a double play with 1st and 2nd. Hanley Ramirez did the same thing in the 6th! Instead of 2 innings in a row where they successfully scored, there were 2 innings in a row of blown opportunities.
Both starting pitchers, Rick Porcello and Francisco Liriano had amazing games. Neither gave up any earned runs, Liriano gave up just 4 hits in 5.1 innings, and Porcello gave up just 6 hits in 7 innings.
I was expecting the defense to back up Porcello but Porcello did fine. The defense was the problem. Hopefully, Porcello’s good pitching will combine with good defense for a win the next time he starts.
The Blue Jays ended up winning, 3-0. Unfortunately, Liriano got the win, and Porcello got the loss despite a great pitcher’s duel that was ruined by errors.
Chris Sale starts in today’s game at 12:30. Will the Red Sox win their 5th out of the last 6 and take this series, or will the Blue Jays surprise them again and win?
The Red Sox came through again. They topped the Blue Jays 8-7 in a high scoring showdown.
Brian Johnson really got rattled early. In the first inning, Kevin Pillar led off with a double, followed by an RBI single by Kendrys Morales. 1-0 Jays already. But Toronto wasn’t done. Tulowitzki got a base hit to make it first and second and a Justin Smoak double scored a second run. The Jays were up 2-0 in one inning. Johnson was able to get out of the inning after that. But in the 2nd, after a walk, Pillar doubled again, and after intentionally walking Jose Bautista, Johnson was stuck with the bases loaded. Thankfully, the Red Sox defense helped him get out of the inning without a run. Hopefully, they’ll do the same for Rick Porcello tonight.
The Red Sox struck back in the third though. Bogaerts and Benintendi started he rally with back to back singles. Then Betts made that three singles in a row and a run scored. 2-1 Toronto. After a strikeout, Mitch Moreland hit another RBI single to score two more runs!
The Red Sox had a 3-2 lead, but not for long. Justin Smoak smoked a leadoff solo shot to left to begin the bottom of the 3rd. It was a tie game, 3-3.
The Red Sox took the lead back in the 5th though. Betts got another base hit, and Hanley Ramirez knocked him in with a long double over Jose Bautista’s head. It was 4-3 Sox. But the next at bat, Moreland hit his 10th double of the year to knock in Hanley Ramirez. That was Moreland’s 3rd RBI, and it was 5-3 Red Sox. After that, Stroman was done. Aaron Loup came in, but Sandoval just got another RBI hit to knock in Moreland! 6-3 Sox. The Blue Jays went to their bullpen again, and Dominic Leone finished the inning.
The Blue Jays just struck right back though. Russell Martin crushed a solo homer, and the Jays narrowed the lead to 2 runs. It was 6-4 Jays to end the 5th.
But in the top of the 7th Mookie Betts answered. He nailed a solo shot to left, and made it 7-4 Red Sox. The 3 run lead was back. Betts also had his first homer. The one week I don’t start him in my Home Run Derby pool, he hits a homer! But it’s good for the Sox.
After Brian Johnson was done, the Red Sox bullpen actually did a somewhat good job quieting down the Jays. They got in a couple of jams, but managed to hold the Blue Jays without a run for a few innings. Kevin Pillar actually hit a third double, but Fernando Abad and Matt Barnes (after Abad was done) got them out of the inning. The Blue Jays also had 1st and 2nd in two other innings, but the Sox managed to shut them down.
In the top of the 8th the Sox scored again. Pablo Sandoval started it with another base hit! He was 3 for 4 on the day, with one RBI. The Jays almost got him out on a pickoff but after a review, he was ruled safe. After Marco Hernandez walked, Benintendi drove in the run with a ground rule double. It was 8-4 Red Sox going into the bottom of the 8th.
After a quiet 9th inning for the Sox, Barnes stayed in the game for the bottom of the 9th. But he almost blew the game. After 2 outs, Russell Martin walked, and Steve Pearce hit an RBI single to knock him in. Then Ezequiel Carrera pinch hit, and he nailed a two-run homer to make it 8-7. It was a close game now. The Blue Jays almost came back. But Matt Barnes put them away before any more scoring occurred. This was all with two outs, so all that was needed to end the inning was one line drive. That was it.
The Red Sox just barely saved the game, a game they would’ve lost without an explosive lineup. Brian Johnson actually got his first major league win. The Sox cannot do this every game, but they’ve somehow won 4 in a row since Porcello’s horrid start on Friday.
Porcello starts again tonight. Will the winning streak live on or will the Red Sox and Porcello blow it? Check out my latest Baseball Bits for more on Porcello’s case.
The Red Sox won again on Opening Day. They topped the Pirates 5-3. The Red Sox were powered by stellar pitching from Rick Porcello and a 5th inning rally started by a JBJ triple with two outs. He nailed it into the right corner and speeded around the bases. Pablo Sandoval went on to drive him in, and by the time Benintendi walked up to the plate, it was 1st and 2nd and the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead. Then, Benintendi nailed a homer into the right field corner, giving the Red Sox a 5-0 lead in the 5th inning.
Early on, it was a pitchers duel. In the first 4 innings, Gerrit Cole gave up just 1 hit and struck out 2. Rick Porcello gave up just 3 hits and struck out 5 in the first 6 innings. He was backed up by some great defense by JBJ and Andrew Benintendi. After the 5th inning rally, the Red Sox slipped up a little bit, but recovered. However, in the 7th inning, the Pirates got back into the game.
With David Freese on first, Francisco Cervelli crushed a double into left field. Then soon after Josh Harrison drove David Freese in. With that, Porcello left the game while it was still going well. He was credited with a quality start. Then Matt Barnes came in. But the rally continued with another RBI single, followed by a walk and a sac fly. It was now 5-3. After the 7th inning, the pitchers began to thrive again. The rest of the relievers that came in during the 7th and 8th were doing well. Then Kimbrel came in for the Sox in the top of the 9th. Despite letting the Pirates get away with 1st and 2nd, Kimbrel earned the save.
The Red Sox won again on Opening Day. They return to action on Wednesday night, as Chris Sale debuts.
Welcome to the 5th and final day of my MLB preseason power rankings. We have finally made it to the top of the list. The most dominant teams are here. However, each of them had one Achilles Heel. That will be revealed today. Last time, we looked at some other contenders that had problems that were really holding them back. This time, the problems aren’t as big, and because of that, these 6 teams will dominate. Let’s get started with #6.
Now that the series is over, you will be able to view all the articles under the “Ranking The Teams” tag.
6. Cleveland Indians
The Indians had a very brief off-season, but the moves they did make made a big impact. They signed Austin Jackson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Boone Logan. Each of these players will help the team in a different way. Jackson is a veteran mentor in the outfield that will rotate with the younger players. His bat will be helpful for the Indians. Edwin Encarnacion will play DH or first base, and his big bat will lead the Indians lineup. Logan will be a late inning reliever and helps this bullpen’s depth. These moves make the Indians look better than before and give them that last little push that makes them AL Central favorites.
The Case for the Indians
The Indians are in store for another strong season. Despite small holes, the Indians’ lineup is looking better than before. With Michael Brantley healthy, they could kick but. The rotation’s top three will still kick butt, but there are problems in the 4 and 5 spots. Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin aren’t the greatest options out there. The Indians have always had bullpen depth issues as well, but helped resolve them by signing Boone Logan and claiming Tim Cooney off waivers. The Indians made some big moves this off-season and will hope that leads to a bigger season.
The Achilles Heel
It’s hard to point out one singular Achilles Heel for the Indians. The problems they have are all pretty small, but all together, they cause bigger problems. If there was one clear weakness on this team to point out, it would probably be the outfield. The rotation and bullpen aren’t that bad and have gotten better in recent years. Most of the lineup is good, but the outfield could be a problem. Michael Brantley should be good to go, but there aren’t many significant players around him. This wouldn’t be a problem if Brantley was 100%. But the Indians don’t have a good outfielder fully healthy. Austin Jackson is getting older, and the Indians don’t have another significant outfielder to fill the last slot. The last slot will have to be filled by players who aren’t quite ready yet. The choices are limited.
Best Case Scenario: The rotation thrives and a strong lineup leads the Indians back to the World Series.
Worst Case Scenario: The rotation struggles and the lineup can’t really do that much better as the Indians fail to win the AL Central.
Projected Finish: 92-70, 1st in AL Central
5. Boston Red Sox
Much like the Indians, the Red Sox had a very brief off-season but made the most of the moves they made. With Big Papi retired, the Red Sox added Mitch Moreland to preserve the dominant status of their lineup. They also traded away Yoan Moncada and three other prospects to the White Sox but got ace Chris Sale in return. Lastly, they traded Travis Shaw away for Tyler Thornburg. Hopefully, a slimmed-down Pablo Sandoval will fill Shaw’s role. Now, the lineup, rotation, and bullpen are better.
The Case for the Red Sox
The Red Sox are my team, so it’s hard not to be biased, but this is a very talented team. The rotation is one of the best in the league now, led by three ace level pitchers who are all Cy Young candidates. The lineup is still overpowered even without Big Papi, and if the back of the rotation struggles, the bullpen is improved as well. This is a strong all-around team but could they have a weak spot?
The Achilles Heel
Yes, even teams like this have an Achilles Heel. Without David Ortiz, there is a strain put on the lineup. Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill are also gone. Hanley Ramirez will move to DH. Mitch Moreland will fill in at first. But who plays third? Pablo Sandoval has not proved himself worthy since he joined the Red Sox. Maybe now that he lost some weight, he will have a bounce back year. But it is pretty risky putting him in the full-time starting job at third.
Best Case Scenario: The lineup continues to do well, the rotation kicks butt, and the Red Sox win their fourth World Series since breaking the curse.
Worst Case Scenario: The lineup struggles without Big Papi, the rotation can’t find a rhythm, and the Red Sox struggle to make the playoffs.
Projected Finish: 92-70, 1st in AL East
4. St. Louis Cardinals
Like many good teams, the Cardinals didn’t go all out this off-season but made a couple bold moves to improve. They got the Cubs back and picked up Dexter Fowler, who will be a leader in a young outfield. Now there’s competition in a tight NL Central. They also signed Brett Cecil to add to a strong bullpen. The Cardinals are in good shape.
The Case for the Cardinals
The Cardinals couldn’t compete with the Cubs in 2016, but they have gained on the Cubs. The addition of Dexter Fowler has helped. The bullpen is also better. The rotation should improve most of all. Lance Lynn is coming back, and I could see Mike Leake bouncing back. That fills a strong rotation that will help lead the Cardinals. The lineup is also better and after this off-season’s changes, the Cardinals will compete with the Cubs.
The Achilles Heel
The one problem with this team is that there’s too much pressure on the young guys to do well. Consistency is tough for young players, and parts of their lineup include younger players like Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk. and Aldemys Diaz. You never know with these younger players. Until players reach their prime, it’s hard to foresee how they will do. That’s where the Cardinals are at, and they’ve been facing that problem since they decided to let their younger players take over.
Best Case Scenario: The rotation dominates, the lineup looks better and the Cardinals win the NL Central with ease.
Worst Case Scenario: The young team is inconsistent and struggles, leading them to miss the playoffs for a second straight year.
Projected Finish: 93-69, 2nd in NL Central
3. Washington Nationals
Unlike most good teams, the Nationals were super busy this off-season. They got two new catchers, Derek Norris and Matt Wieters. They also signed Adam Lind and traded Lucas Giolito to Chicago for Adam Eaton. They also upgraded their bullpen, signing several guys including Joe Nathan. Will these moves be enough to finally win the Nats a World Series?
The Case for the Nationals
The Nationals are in good shape for 2017. The rotation still looks pretty good and is led by the best duo of starters in the league. The bullpen did have depth issues, but after this off-season, that shouldn’t be a problem. The lineup is also looking a little bit better after an active off-season. There could be a hole at shortstop if Trea Turner can’t play there, but Turner is the likely starter. The Nats are looking better in 2017 and could run for a championship.
The Achilles Heel
The one problem with this team is the infield. When Danny Espinosa left for LA, he left a hole. Now, there are questions remaining. Can Trea Turner adjust smoothly? How will the lineup and infield fare without Espinosa? Those questions must be answered, and if the Nats can say “yes” and “good” to those questions, they will do very well.
Best Case Scenario: The lineup looks better, the pitching dominates the league, and the Nationals go on to win the World Series.
Worst Case Scenario: The off-season’s lineup changes don’t work out, the rotation fails to stay healthy and the Nats fail to win the NL East.
Projected Finish: 93-69, 1st in NL East
2. Texas Rangers
The Rangers are looking good after their off-season moves. I know a lot of people think they’ll flop, but this team can be dominant, I can’t see them missing the playoffs. They improved their rotation. They signed former Padres pitchers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross to add to a strong top of the rotation. The bullpen isn’t as good after losing Shawn Tolleson. The Rangers also signed James Loney and Mike Napoli to fill the gaps that Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland left. They also resigned most of their key free agents, which preserved most of what they had last year.
The Case for the Rangers
This team is better than it looks. You may think this lineup is getting older, but young stars are actually taking up a good part of it. The lineup will dominate. Meanwhile, the rotation has continued to improve. After boosting the top of the rotation the last two years, they signed two more starters to fill out the rest of the rotation with Derek Holland gone. The bullpen is looking better, but does it still need work.
The Achilles Heel
If you think that the lineup is the problem, you’re wrong. The rotation isn’t perfect. It can’t do everything. The weak bullpen will be a problem. It’s lacking depth, which can’t happen when the rotation is not completely solid. This isn’t the best rotation in the MLB. They can’t do the whole pitching job, and until they find some bullpen help in Texas, the pitching staff’s depth problems will be the Rangers Achilles Heel.
Best Case Scenario: The rotation is solid, the lineup is dominant, and the Rangers find themselves in the World Series.
Worst Case Scenario: The pitching staff holds the Rangers back, the lineup declines, and the Rangers are led to finish 3rd in the AL West.
Projected Finish: 94-68, 1st in AL West
1. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs did lose Jason Hammel, but they improved their depth in the rotation and bullpen. They signed Brett Anderson and claimed Eddie Butler of waivers to help their rotation. In order to upgrade the bullpen, they also signed Koji Uehara and traded away Jorge Soler for closer Wade Davis. In addition, with Dexter Fowler leaving they signed Jon Jay. The Cubs are looking like World Series contenders for the third year in a row, can they make what they have into a dynasty for years to come?
The Case for the Cubs
The lineup here is looking as good as last year. The fifth spot in the rotation could be a problem, but this team has so many bullpen options, and a few of them could compete for that 5th starting job. This team looks ready to dominate again in 2017. Their depth everywhere else isn’t as good as last year, but the lineup is solid, the rotation could be great, and the bullpen will help fill in the pitching’s holes.
The Achilles Heel
For such a perfect team, it’s hard to find an Achilles Heel without nitpicking. There is one problem, though. The lineup should be fine, but despite good options in the bullpen, if the Cubs don’t have a solid 5th starter, then the bullpen will start to get overtired, and this will cause widespread pitching staff issues. These problems will only occur if the rest of the rotation can’t pitch a lot of innings and the 5th spot isn’t filled well., which may or may not happen. This team is spotless for the most part.
Best Case Scenario: The lineup is at its best, the rotation dominates, and the Cubs are a lasting championship winning dynasty in years to come.
Worst Case Scenario: The rotation is problematic, depth of the lineup becomes a problem, and the Cubs lose in the ALDS.
Projected Finish: 96-66, 1st in NL Central
That’s it for my preseason power rankings. Hope you enjoyed it. Comment with your feedback and predictions. Now, the first Baseball Bits of 2017 is coming soon, and be on the lookout for a Red Sox spring training article.
Bases loaded, 1 out. Toronto led 7-2. Then suddenly, Holt cracked it into right, and it was gone!!!!
The Red Sox came back to haunt the Blue Jays after trailing by five at the end of the fourth. Their bullpen held the Jays to no scoring from innings 5-9, and their lineup produced 6 runs in the span of two innings. Brock Holt had a monstrous game, going 2-3 with 5 RBI, 1 run, a double and a grand slam. Xander Bogaerts added a 3 hit, 3 run game.
The Sox started off sloppy in the first inning with a 1-2-3 and a run given up by Joe Kelly. Kevin Pillar hit a lead off triple and with first and third, Edwin Encarnacion hit the sac fly that scored the run. By the end of the inning, despite two strikeouts, Kelly had given up a triple, two walks and a run off a sac fly. The Red Sox turned things around in the next couple innings. Hanley Ramirez got a single but was caught running to second. Travis Shaw and Brock Holt made up for it with back to back doubles that scored a run for the Sox. Starting Brock Holt and Travis Shaw rather than Panda and Castillo was worth it. It didn’t end for them there. Holt and Shaw had become a crucial part of the lineup. A Xander Bogaerts single along with an impressive RBI double by Big Papi scored the 2nd run for the Sox in the 3rd.
Joe Kelly also had more control in the 2nd and 3rd, he had two straight innings with only 1 hit or walk, but no 1-2-3 innings. In the 4th, Kelly just lost it. With Kevin Pillar up, he had given up four straight singles and a 2nd run. That’s when things just got worse. He hit Pillar in the head, scoring another run! Then Josh Donaldson, reigning AL MVP, came up to the plate. He crushed one into right and there went a grand slam. It was now 7-2 Blue Jays, Kelly had barely made it three innings, (he got pulled after the grand slam) and worst of all, it looked like the Red Sox could not win without David Price. Noe Ramirez even gave up two more hits before a third out in that same inning.
But in the 6th, the Red Sox began to prove everyone wrong. Xander Bogaerts drove a double to left, and Big Papi walked. When Hanley Ramirez grounded out, they both advanced a base. Travis Shaw then walked to load the bases. Guess who was back up? Brock Holt. Holt just barely got the grand slam to right. It looked like he would have to settle for a double but just reached the bullpen. The Sox had suddenly cut Toronto’s lead to just 1 run.
Meanwhile, the bullpen was impressing everyone. The Blue Jays lineup was held to just 1 hit since the dreaded 4th inning.
In the 7th, the Red Sox went on a two run, four hit rally. David Ortiz drove in run #1 of the inning on a base hit that drove in Pedroia. Hanley Ramirez drove in the 2nd run with Big Papi on first and Bogaerts on third. With that Bogaerts scored his third run of the game. It was now 8-7, the Red Sox leading. Junichi Tazawa additionally got the Boston bullpen their first 1-2-3 on the Jays. They were trying their hardest to stay in control until Craig Kimbrel was ready to close the game. After a quiet two innings for the Sox lineup, Kimbrel went out to finish the game on a 1-2-3.
After a game full of grand slams, rallying and big surprises, the Red Sox had come back to take down the Blue Jays 8-7. If they keep playing like this, they could actually fight for a playoff spot. Even if their rotation is iffy beyond Price, just as I said in my Opening Day Preview, the powerful lineup and bullpen just need to stay consistent for a good season. To go beyond getting a wild card, the Sox will need to be capable of outplaying the Jays head to head. That could be their key to their first pennant in three years. Catch game 2 of Red Sox @ Blue Jays on NESN. The Bruins also play their final regular season game as they fight for a playoff slot. Things are looking up for Boston Sports this weekend.
It’s just a couple of hours until the first full day of regular season games starts, and I’m here to get you ready. Sure, you may have have seen my MLB Preview, but this is a condensed, more accurate version. I even have some bold predictions for the season. Let’s get started.
Boston Red Sox 91-71
Toronto Blue Jays 86-76
Tampa Bay Rays 82-80
New York Yankees 76-86
Baltimore Orioles 72-90
The Red Sox made a good move starting Travis Shaw over Pablo Sandoval, and Hanley Ramirez has adjusted well to first. This lineup is new and improved, and ready to take over a weak but tight division. Even if the rotation behind David Price is a concern, their bullpen makes up for it.
I just don’t believe the Blue Jays can function without better pitching. When they lost David Price and LaTroy Hawkins, it was back to square one. The Rays made some good off season improvements but their lineup still lacks power, and the Yankees are just getting too old to be good anymore. Starlin Castro was a good first step. Lastly, the O’s don’t have anything to convince me. Their outfield is seconds away from shattering, and after Miguel Gonzalez’s release, their rotation is still short a pitcher. So it looks like easy pickings for the Red Sox, even if they’re a shaky team.
Kansas City Royals 93-69
Detroit Tigers 89-73 (WC)
Chicago White Sox 87-75
Minnesota Twins 78-84
Cleveland Indians 74-88
The Royals cannot be beaten in this division, it just won’t happen. With a strong lineup and balanced rotation, they’re not going down. They will be closely challenged however as the Tigers and White Sox improve. They still have weak areas more than the Royals, but they will compete for wild card spots. They made key signings like Justin Upton and Austin Jackson that take their teams to the next level.
The Indians aren’t horrible like I said but can’t compete in a tough division after such a quiet off season.
The Twins have a reborn lineup but the pitching can’t support young sensations Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano yet. This division is up for grabs beyond Kansas City, but the Royals have first place locked up.
Texas Rangers 95-67
Houston Astros 88-74 (WC)
Seattle Mariners 81-81
Oakland Athletics 76-86
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 68-94
Alright, at least I have the Astros in the playoffs. I just believe that the Rangers have more than Houston. The Astros don’t even have a starting first baseman, and their young rotation is inconsistent. The Rangers probably have the best trio of batters in the AL with Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus. They have some good lineup improvements to support their lineup this off season and their rotation is completely revamped and healthy.
The Mariners went on a full shopping spree this off season, but they didn’t necessarily fill their main holes, so they’ll only be mediocre. The Athletics are only slightly improved, and the Angels clearly aren’t going anywhere with such an inconsistent rotation and lineup. So this division will be a tight dogfight between the Rangers and Astros with the Mariners in the wild card bidding.
Wild Card: Tigers over Astros
ALDS: Red Sox over Royals
Rangers over Tigers
ALCS: Rangers over Red Sox
Washington Nationals 93-69
New York Mets 90-72 (WC)
Miami Marlins 83-79
Philadelphia Phillies 67-95
Atlanta Braves 64-98
Yes, in my modified predictions, the Mets make the playoffs. I have always underrated them so maybe if I predict a wild card, they’ll win the division. Even though I usually overrate the Nationals above them, the Nats have a case this year with an improved lineup, and strong rotation. Who needs Jordan Zimmermann when you have Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez?
The Marlins have the next best chance but are still working on a weak bullpen, and the Phillies and Braves have absolutely no chance and have practically abandoned their teams for the year. So that leaves the Mets and Nats to have the best battle yet. I say they both make the playoffs and lose in the NLDS. What do you think?
Chicago Cubs 97-65
St. Louis Cardinals 91-71 (WC)
Pittsburgh Pirates 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 73-89
Milwaukee Brewes 69-93
With the exception of maybe last year, this Cubs team is by far the best Cubs team of the century. They are favorites to win the World Series, and will not be stopped in this division. The Pirates and Cards still had good off seasons, but have tapered off from last season’s teams. They have lost many of their best like Neil Walker, Lance Lynn (temporarily) and Jason Heyward. They will only compete for the playoff spots behind Chicago.
The Brewers and Reds are both in rebuilding stages after making a splash in 2013 and 2014. They are two of the worst teams in the league and will not compete for this division in any way, shape or form.
Los Angeles Dodgers 92-70
Arizona Diamondbacks 87-75
San Diego Padres 86-76
San Francisco Giants 86-76
Colorado Rockies 63-99
The Dodgers still rule this division even after a weak off season. The Giants are overrated and young, the D-Backs just aren’t ready yet, and the Padres are a big sleeper but have the potential to be a bust as well. LA has a strong rotation with great depth and despite numerous injuries, the Dodgers’ spot starters are happy to help, and they do. The Rockies have done a minimal amount of improvements, and I don’t see them going anywhere. Their rotation is a mess, and they have such big holes at positions like first base that they’ll have to call up players off of the 40-man roster.
Wild Card: Mets over Cardinals
NLDS: Dodgers over Nationals
Cubs over Mets
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers
World Series: Rangers over Cubs
10 Bold Predictions for the 2016 Season
Former Mariners Smoak and Saunders both bat above .270
Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders’ contributions in Seattle have not yet showed up on the Blue Jays. I say they both have comeback years and Smoak earns his job back from Chris Colabello easily. After a .273 avergage in 2014, Saunders batted just .194 in ’15 in just 9 games played. Saunders missed most of the year. Smoak has never put up that good of stats, but he has a chance to rebound from the last two years, as he sucked in 2014.
Starlin Castro finally breaks through, as the Yankees star player
You can’t spell Starlin without Star. Year after year the Cubs have gotten their hopes up about the young shortstop. However, this young guy has showed his skills and I think he’s ready to fully breakthrough. I have this guy hitting between .310 and .320 with a personal best in average and dingers. Hopefully, he can adjust to the Yankees system and be strengthened by the Yanks.
White Sox and Tigers will each get at least 85 wins
Both teams sucked last season, what happened? They both made very bold moves in the off season, as I had said. The Tigers have a much better rotation in 2016, while the White Sox have revamped their lineup. They may not beat the Royals in the division race, but between the two of them, they could put on a big fight.
Eric Hosmer and Jason Heyward win MVPs
The Royals have had Hosmer his entire career and he’s just been a subpar star the whole time. When will he fully breakout and have a rampage season? 2016 of course. Hosmer’s stats have increased recently as he takes a lead role on the Royals. He is a well known veteran in Kansas City and it’s time that his name is known league-wide. Heyward meanwhile has developed really well and after a strong year with the Cardinals, he looks like a serious MVP candidate. He put up a career best .293 average last season. The Cubs have put him in a crucial role and Heyward’s ready to nail it.
Yu Darvish wins AL Comeback Player and AL CY Young
I have Yu Darvish winning both the AL Cy Young and AL Comeback Player of the Year. The guy looked outstanding in his rookie season and when he’s healthy, I think he could still do great things.
Mets infield hits 3 times more homers than Yoenis Cespedes
Between Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker, the Mets have made a splash in the infield. Add on David Wright and Lucas Duda, and you’ve got yourself the infield of a super-team. Between all those guys, I think they will hit 3 times the homers of Yoenis Cespedes. I think Cespedes will hit about 40 homers. However, I think each of the Mets infielders will hit 20-35 dingers this year. They have a lot of potential. That’s what potential can do.
Harrison and Freese combine for 70 dingers and Pirates only win 88 games
Yes, even with the Pirates winning just 88 games and missing the playoffs, I see the hitting doing surprisingly well this year. I have two mediocre guys combining for 70 taters, and one of them isn’t even a full time starter. That doesn’t even include Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte. The Pirates lineup is overpowered to an extreme level.
At least one Reds player comes in the Top 5 in the NL for AVG, HRs or ERA
There are many candidates on the team that could do this. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, even Raisel Iglesias or Homer Bailey. But I think despite the Reds not being that good as a team, they have veteran players that can do big things when given the chance. The Reds had a somewhat healthy year last year, and I’m feeling it will happen again.
Giants run out of even-year luck, miss playoffs
Yes, the Giants don’t win the World Series in 2016, or even make the playoffs. The NL just has too many teams that are better this year. The Mets aren’t going to miss the playoffs even if the Nats beat them out in the NL East! That leaves the Cards, D-Backs, Pirates and Giants to fight over Wild Card #2. Compared to those three teams, the Giants look like garbage. Well what if they win the division? No way, not happening. The Dodgers are just too hard to beat even after such an empty off season, and if they don’t win, the D-Backs have a pretty good chance too.
Entire Dodgers rotation ends up with ERAs under 3.50
The Dodgers rotation is stacked. Despite injuries, it’ll start the season looking like this:
Even without Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy, that rotation is pretty overpowered. Kenta Maeda was a star in Japan and I think he can adjust, and if Scott Kazmir pitches like he did in Houston, then the Dodgers top 3 is ready to shut down the league. Hyun-Jin Ryu is efficient and powerful when he’s healthy, and Alex Wood can really pitch if they need him.
After a 2013 World Series win, the Red Sox have been washed up earning themselves last place two years straight. Hopefully, this off season’s moves finally did the trick. The Red Sox have tried to make their team better but it’s been Murphy’s Law; all the players they sign have had horrible seasons in their first year on the team. If things work out their second years will be better. Also, hopefully guys they got this off season like David Price and Craig Kimbrel are a different story.
The Red Sox have had a pretty strong off season. They filled their holes at starting ace and in the bullpen, but the lineup is a concern. They didn’t focus on the lower rotation either.
The Red Sox started the off season relatively quiet. In Mid-November, they boosted their bullpen by receiving Craig Kimbrel from the Padres for Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Logan Allen and one other prospect. Kimbrel is one of the premier closers in the league. Aroldis Chapman, the only better closer in the MLB, in my opinion and was traded to their rivals the Yankees. However, he will miss 30 games due to taking PEDs. Andrew Miller will continue to close until that is over.
They also exercised Clay Buchholz’s club option to save him his spot in the rotation. However he looked crummy yesterday, which is fearful because of his even year struggles recently. The rest of November was quiet, but rumors surrounding pitchers David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Darren O’ Day were in the air. They were favorites to sign Price. They finally reached a seven year, 217 million dollar deal in early December, just a couple days after the two-year signing of Chris Young, the ex-Yankees outfielder, not the Royals pitcher.
As the winter meetings came around they were trying to trade a lower rotation starter to save a rotation spot for either Joe Kelly or Henry Owens. Despite bad starts to the year, they had a great run late in the season. On December 7th, just a few days after the Price signing, the Sox traded Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners for more bullpen depth in Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. They filled their main needs, but they still had some minor ones afloat.
Besides minor league deals, the rest of the off season was relatively quiet, and they will have to figure out the rest in spring training. Anthony Varvaro, Roman Mendez, Carlos Marmol, Sandy Leon, Ali Solis, Chris Dominguez, David Murphy, Ryan LaMarre and Brennan Boesch highlighted the minor league non-roster invitees.
Off Season Grade: B+
Spring Training Questions
Will Christian Vazquez be ready to go?
Don’t expect Vazquez to start the season in the majors. He may need some more seasoning just to make sure he’s good to go, although in a Red Sox sim game, he said he was okay. Vazquez underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2015. He is almost one year removed, but catcher Matt Wieters returned too early, and that’s never a good thing. However, what other options do they have?
Unless Ryan Hanigan can stay at the majors level for an extended time again, Vazquez may be wanted as a backup catcher to Blake Swihart. It’s a tough decision.
Will the back end of the rotation perform?
Guys like Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello have potential for a bounce back season, but Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly may be questionable. I was very worried when E-Rod got hurt — all that potential gone but when he’s ready to pitch, he can emerge into an SP2 role. Porcello had one bad year. He’s still in his prime and he was once a mediocre SP3-SP4 in the league. Buchholz also worried me on Sunday when he pitched badly. But the back end of the Red Sox rotation can bounce back if they have enough good pitching to beat out the bad.
How will the young guys do?
I’m a little worried about JBJ and Rusney Castillo’s abilities to hit, but Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Rodriguez are a young trio of breakout candidates across the team. Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi could crash the majors in 2016. Deven Marrero and Travis Shaw looked like they could stay in the majors. Henry Owens could start in a relief role, and eventually become a spot starter.
There is a lot of strong prospects high and low in the Red Sox system. Between their non-roster invitees, younger starters, and minor league prospects on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox’s farm system is piled with strong players.
Will Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez adjust?
This is a tough one to answer. These are two former all star sluggers that were good for a long period of time on just a couple of teams who signed with the Red Sox last off season. In the end, Murphy’s Law; as soon as they joined the Sox, they suddenly sucked and Ramirez didn’t even have a place in the organization after a failed attempt to move to left field.
Hanley Ramirez reportedly looked good in fielding drills with Brian Butterfield at first. He struggled in the first few exhibition games, but has bounced back recently. Sandoval however, came in to camp in very bad shape, and is attempting to adjust back to switch hitting. He made some decemy catches and plate appearances in some of the games, but has had a high number of errors in the games.
Right now it’s Hanley on an uptrend, Panda not so much, but that could change. Panda did look good at the plate despite fielding and health issues. Ramirez needs work at the plate, too. Changing to first still could be a little rough though. He may have hope if he can hit like he did early in 2015. So, it could go either way with these two mysteries.
Red Sox Projected Roster
Craig Kimbrel (CL)
Robbie Ross Jr.
Mookie Betts (RF)
Dustin Pedroia (2B)
Xander Bogaerts (SS)
David Ortiz (DH)
Hanley Ramirez (1B)
Pablo Sandoval (3B)
Rusney Castillo (LF)
Blake Swihart (C)
Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF)
Travis Shaw/David Muprhy
**If Vazquez isn’t ready to go by Opening Day, it will be Ryan Hanigan in his place.
That’s all for today. Check out my Cubs article coming soon.
By the way, I actually have the Dodgers winning the world series, but I wanted to show my Red Sox fandom on my Animoto account.
Alright, let’s dig in.
Boston Red Sox 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 89-73
New York Yankees 85-77
Tampa Bay Rays 83-79
Baltimore Orioles 74-88
I have the Red Sox bouncing back from an ugly season and going from worst to first once again. The Red Sox were even bolder than they were last off season, acquiring Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, despite giving up former #3 and #7 prospects Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra. Then they signed AL Cy Young runner up David Price to a seven year, 217 million dollar deal. They also signed Chris Young to a two year deal and traded Wade Miley for relievers Roenis Elias and Carson Smith. They now have a strong rotation front and a top closer, along with the powerful lineup the 2015 Red Sox provided.
Meanwhile I think the Blue Jays will stay strong even without their 2015 ace and closer (David Price & LaTroy Hawkins). They still have a strong lineup and some amazing prospects, and they acquired some new starters like J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez, plus closer/set-up man Drew Storen. I think they still have some playoff relevance.
The Yankees meanwhile have done majority of their moves via trade. They acquired Starlin Castro for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan, plus star closer Aroldis Chapman from Cincy. Having Chapman in New York will heat up the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry as the Sox acquired Kimbrel. The Yanks should be competitive in the division.
The Rays upgraded their pretty empty offense with Logan Morrison and Brad Miller. Centerfielder Desmond Jennings also will return from injury this season. Alex Cobb will also return. I think the Rays are still a little washed up in their lineup, but they have good defense and pitching.
Meanwhile I don’t think the Orioles’ acquistions are efficient. Mark Trumbo is not a full time starter, Hyun-Soo Kim might not be as good in America, and they still have a serious hole in the rotation. They already had a pretty bad team last year, they just made it a lot worse. The Orioles are by far the worst team in this division. Besides maybe the Rays, every other team in this division will still be in the playoff race at the beginning of September.
Detroit Tigers 93-69
Chicago White Sox 89-73
Kansas City Royals 89-73
Minnesota Twins 73-89
Cleveland Indians 68-94
This division’s teams have made many impact transactions but not every team that made an impact in free agency can do well, especially all in the same division.
The Tigers have really improved their pitching game and outfield to match the rest of their good teams. They signed Justin Upton, Mark Lowe, Mike Pelfrey and Jordan Zimmermann and have acquired Cameron Maybin and Justin Wilson via trade. They only gave up Ian Krol to trade and Alfredo Simon and Rajai Davis to free agency. Even after a bad season, I think that the top prospects and star players will combine to make a bad team in 2015 a great, powerful team that will make an impact in 2016.
Meanwhile the White Sox have also been very active in the hot stove. They’ve revamped their infield by trading for both Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Lawrie was a third baseman like Frazier but will play at second to make room for Todd Frazier. They still have a hole at shortstop though.
The Royals are still good, but are once again lacking a rotation. They also have a hole in the outfield unless Jarrod Dyson can step it up. So, they’ll compete, but they aren’t necessarily make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, I don’t think the Twins’ youth plus Byung-Ho Park is enough to bring a good season in the Twin Cities. The Indians haven’t done enough by getting Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. So there are teams in the Central that aren’t competitive as well.
Texas Rangers 90-72
Seattle Mariners 87-75
Houston Astros 79-83
Oakland Athletics 78-84
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 71-91
I have the Texas Rangers at the top of this division. Look at their rotation. Personally, I think that both Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are serious Cy Young candidates. The two ace-like pitchers are joined by wing man Derek Holland. They also have a powerful lineup with some guys like Josh Hamilton, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder who have a ton of potential.
The Mariners also made a lot of impact trades. Despite giving up Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Roenis Elias and Carson Smith, they traded for Wade Miley, Joaquin Benoit, Jonathan Aro, Nathan Karns, Adam Lind, Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas. They also signed closer Steve Cishek, outfielder Norichika Aoki and resigned King Felix’s trusty wing-man, Hisashi Iwakuma. So this is a pretty revamped team.
The Astros are also still a somewhat powerful, young team. Guys like Carlos Correa really stepped it up last year, and they signed some strong veterans like Doug Fister. Some veterans, like Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez, are also playing their first full season in Houston and others like Brad Peacock are returning from injury this year. The Astros have a lot of potential but aren’t quite as good as the Mariners and Rangers.
There are teams worse than that though. The Athletics made some minor moves as usual, and they’ve recovered from some injuries to players, so they will be better, just not enough to make an impact. Jarrod Parker returns from Tommy John surgery, and hopefully the former star Coco Crisp can bounce back.
The Los Angeles Angels also will get C.J. Wilson back, but this team is in need of some serious luck. Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava must create an efficient platoon in left, the rotation is full of people who are either feast or famine or fresh off a breakout, and they still have serious problems at second.
So the AL West is competitive, but there is a wide division between the good teams, decent teams and bad teams.
Washington Nationals 93-69
New York Mets 87-75
Miami Marlins 77-85
Philadelphia Phillies 75-87
Atlanta Braves 66-96
The Nationals continue to improve their team. They got solid second baseman Daniel Murphy. They also got Ben Revere for their second unneeded closer Drew Storen. The Jays did need him. They already had a good team, now they have a great and healthy one built off Bryce Harper and star pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer.
The Mets also resigned Yoenis Cespedes and signed Asdrubal Cabrera for the first time. They additionally traded for Neil Walker. They have a strong rotation but still lack power in their lineup. They should be good, but not necessarily a playoff contender as there are much better wild card candidates in the NL.
The Marlins also have improved their pitching to match the lineup they revamped in 2015. But some of the guys like shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, utility Derek Dietrich and first baseman Justin Bour are still developing. At least they have Martin Prado and Don Kelly in the infield, and a pretty powerful, but somewhat old outfield.
The Phillies have gotten better as well. They’ve really improved their rotation, including the acquisition of veterans Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez. Bobby LaFramboise, Jerad Eickhoff, Luis Garcia and Jeanmar Gomez will lead the bullpen. They also have acquired Peter Bourjos to join Odubel Herrera and Cody Asche in the outfield. They have a stronger, more developed lineup and rotation, but still aren’t above .500 material.
Meanwhile, the Braves are much worse. They have some serious holes in the infield, despite acquiring Erick Aybar. Their pitching is worse, even more devastated despite signing minor league players Kyle Kendrick, Alexi Ogando and David Holmberg.
Chicago Cubs 96-66
St. Louis Cardinals 91-71
Pittsburgh Pirates 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 79-83
Milwaukee Brewers 65-97
The Cubs already had a good team last year with Kris Bryant and some other dominant young stars making it to the majors. This off season, the really stacked up. They already had Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, they inked John Lackey to a deal too. Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward also got deals in Chicago. This team now looks to be one of the most powerful MLB teams while still having a starting lineup that’s almost 50% MLB rookies or sophomores.
The Cardinals still have power in the division, but were fed on just like the 2014-15 Tigers were fed on by the Nationals. What I mean is that without any trades, one team is taking a lot of the Cardinals’ top 2015 free agents, that team is their division rival the Cubs. Their rotation is shorthanded without Lance Lynn and there outfield will miss Jason Heyward, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos. Even Matt Holliday will hit free agency next season. However they have picked up Jedd Gyorko and Seung-Hwan Oh, and got some good insurance in Brandon Moss and Jonathan Broxton at the 2015 trade deadline. They also could still sign a big bat like Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson or Ian Desmond.
The Pirates are clearly at loss after losing Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez, but with A.J. Burnett retiring, they stacked up on some pitchers. They acquired Jon Niese, A.J. Schugel and Kyle Lobstein, and signed Ryan Vogelsong. yet they still have thriving prospect Tyler Glasnow. Man, their pitching staff is stacked. They additionally signed slugger John Jaso. But in the end, compared to the Cards and Cubs, they aren’t too good.
The Reds even have some potential. I see potential in this rotation. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen is who I think will make up the rotation. They could also sign a veteran like Tim Lincecum and let Finnegan or Lorenzen rest after Bailey’s return from Tommy John surgery. If not, Keyvius Sampson or John Lamb will have to start until then, unless Robert Stephenson is in the Opening Day rotation. This team also has some serious holes, and needs some better hitting from Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips. They desperately need a third baseman and an outfielder, and may have a ton of last minute signings if they don’t want to suck. Hey, maybe Scott Schebler takes the outfield, Jose Peraza platoons at third with Ivan DeJesus efficiently, and Homer Bailey comes back early and shines. Or they snag the older guys like Juan Uribe last minute.
The Brewers don’t look any better. Right now, Matt Garza and Wilin Peralta are their best pitchers, Will Smith is their closer, and they need some serious help in certain other positions. What are they going to do? Suck is what.
Los Angeles Dodgers 94-68
San Diego Padres 91-71
Arizona Diamondbacks 88-74
San Francisco Giants 84-78
Colorado Rockies 67-95
This division may surprise you a lot. The Giants put so much money into this off season, and they only go 84-78. The Padres have the season they were expecting a year ago. The D-Backs and Giants both miss the playoffs and are short of a 90-win season after acquiring or signing a combined four top 50 pitchers in the MLB, two apiece. The Dodgers still rule the division after all that drama. Finally, despite a strong rebuild, the Rockies still suck.
The Dodgers however also acquired some good pitchers in Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy will also return this season. They have a secure lineup with very few holes and a strong rotation.
But what happened to the even year luck in San Francisco? Pablo Sandoval brought it to Boston. Oh well, Giants, all that hard work and my Red Sox still get all the glory, with little to pay up at all.
The D-Backs are also looking better but do you honestly think they can win a division title with the lineup they have? Not happening.
MLB 2016 Postseason
Okay, okay, I might be getting a little carried away with the Padres doing so well, because the Cubs wouldn’t lose to them likely. Well here’s something I’ll throw at you, even though I have the Dodgers winning the World Series, I nearly considered the Nats to beat them in the NLDS. Bryce Harper is primed for a bigger breakout than even last year’s. I know I always overrate the Nats, and again, I could be wrong with the Nats even making the playoffs. The Mets could take their spot or San Diego’s. You may have actually noticed that I had the Sox over LA in the Animoto video, I was just showing my Red Sox fandom. But lets be honest here, the Dodgers rotation is by far better than the Red Sox’s. They also have a slight edge with their outfield.
Alright, now the AL. Again, I may be exaggerating with the White Sox, I did say the Tigers are ready to bounce back. Now I don’t have them winning a single playoff game. That’s up for debate. But especially if Chicago signs Ian Desmond, think about it. Jose Abreu, Brett Lawrie, Ian Desmond and Todd Frazier all in one infield. Not bad. I see potential for both sides. Again, Red Sox-Rangers could also be debatable, I just believe the Sox have a slight edge in the match-up and will simply win 3-2 in the ALDS. Besides that, I think I agree with my original instinct. What do you think?
Now its time to make my predictions for some MLB Awards in 2016.
Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
This is just going to make Bautista way more valuable. Well, what’s my case? Bautista was injured for a good amount of 2015, and played through some of it. He had unsatisfactory results for much of the season. But 2016 is the year for Jose Bautista to bounce back. He didn’t have terrible results last year, but he definitely has room for improvement. When he gets heated up, he reaches MVP level.
Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Michael Brantley, Carlos Beltran, Xander Bogaerts
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
I almost considered Joey Votto for MVP, but I just think that his team won’t support his relevance well enough. But Harper, he’s ready to dominate. Harper is fresh off a breakout season, and the 23-year old superstar is ready for another one. I also have him winning a very special award, which I’ll surprise you with at the end.
Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Heyward
AL Cy Young Award
David Price, Red Sox
Price has a seven year deal with the Red Sox, so he’s pressured to do amazing. Besides, there aren’t many other good choices. Cole Hamels, maybe Dallas Keuchel. Guys like that don’t match up to Price at his best, which he wasn’t last year. I don’t think Detroit was the right fit for Price. Boston or Toronto, that’s another story. Price is ready to dominate this year.
Cole Hamels, Dallas Keuchel, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Chris Archer, Yu Darvish
NL Cy Young Award
James Shields, Padres
You might say Jake Arrieta, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw will win the NL Cy Young, but where’s the love for James Shields? Especially if the Padres have their long-awaited breakout year, Shields will be a legitimate competitor for the Cy Young. He put up stellar stats for the Royals, he just hasn’t really fit in to the Padres’ system, but I think he’s found a spot as their ace. He is ready to go back to all star form after only a subpar 2015.
Zack Greinke, Kenta Maeda, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw
AL Rookie Of The Year
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
I’m not as big of a believer in Buxton as most people, but look at the other options in the AL. Byung-Ho Park is typically someone who would be too old to typically be a ro0kie. But Buxton really is a prospect, he’s a typical rookie, he plays like a young rookie. He’s actually one of the best at it in the AL, and I admire that. Plus, I have some serious issues underrating Buxton.
Byung-Ho Park, Sean Nolin, Blake Snell, Gary Sanchez, Dylan Bundy
NL Rookie Of The Year
Corey Seager, SS/3B, Dodgers
Unlike Buxton, I see off the charts potential for this guy. He’s the younger brother of a star third baseman in the league, and he proved himself byputting up great numbers while playing in the majors for the end of last season. There has been so much hype for this kid and I believe it. If there was one Rookie Of The Year for all of the MLB, it would be Seager all the way.
Steven Matz, Tyler Glasnow, Trayce Thompson, Jose Peraza
AL Comeback Player Of The Year
Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
Darvish has spent nearly two full seasons on the DL. Two years before even that, he was a great new MLB pitcher fresh out of Japan’s best bunch. Darvish put up outstanding stats in 2012 and 2013. I know he’ll never be able to do that again, he’s too old and crippled, but can he at least return to All Star form? I am a firm believer in Darvish and I’d like to see him try.
Justin Verlander, Pablo Sandoval, Jarrod Parker, Desmond Jennings
NL Comeback Player Of The Year
Matt Kemp, OF, Padres
Kemp was a superstar with the Dodgers. He’s old, but if he can do the same in San Diego, that would greatly benefit them. Right now, he’s just a washed up outfielder forced to start. But as the season progresses, I think he has potential to put up some all star stats.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Jon Niese, Travis Wood, Bartolo Colon
Triple Crown Award (NL)
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
This is the big surprise we’ve been waiting for. Surprise, surprise, we have a Triple Crown winner! Guess who it is? Red hot, young Bryce Harper, already claiming the NL MVP. Harper is fresh of a long-awaited breakout and is ready to become an all time great in the MLB. A Triple Crown would really help his relevance, and I think he’s good enough to snag it at only age 23.
So that’s all for my MLB 2016 Preview. Comment with your thoughts.
The Red Sox defeated the Yankees in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel. Steven Wright lasted 8 innings, giving up only 3 hits, 1 earned run, walking 2 and striking out 9. The Sox scored first in the second inning. Mike Napoli reached on a 2 base throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley. And Alejandro De Aza nearly knocked the ball out of Yankee Stadium with an RBI double.
Meanwhile, Steven Wright was tossing a no-hitter to a powerful Yankees lineup. The Sox struck again in the 4th with a Big Papi 424 foot solo shot into right field. 2-0 Sox. Yankees debuting youngster Luis Severino lasted 5 innings, giving up two runs and only 2 hits. Steven Wright’s no-hitter was broken up in the 5th, by 2 singles to make it 1st and 2nd. In the 7th, Pablo Sandoval lined a ball to right field for an easy double. Mike Napoli was hit by the pitch, and neither De Aza or Swihart could knock in an insurance run.
Carlos Beltran led off with a dinger in the bottom of the 7th to right center, making it 2-1 Sox. But Wright hung in there and got the rest of the side out in order. In the top of the 8th, John Ryan Murphy robbed Xander Bogaerts’ foul ball to end the inning. Wright nearly got himself in a jam after that. Murphy led off with a single. Then the speedy former Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury, hit a ball off Wright’s leg, and Bogaerts turned it into a double play. Even Ellsbury wasn’t up to pace with Bogaerts.
Wright pitched 106 pitches through 8 innings, leading it to the top of the 9th. Yankees shining end of the bullpen set up man Chasen Shreve came in for lefties Ortiz and Sandoval. Sandoval hit a ground rule double that looked gone when he hit it. He intentionally walks Napoli, then Rusney Castillo pinch hit for De Aza. He walked the bases loaded. But Swihart failed to knock in an insurance run with bases loaded, two outs, and was called out on strikes. On the second out, it looked like it bounced before going into diving Castillo’s glove. Teixeira was credited for a base hit after Joe Girardi’s challenge. Headley walked, but JBJ ran to make the final out on pinch hitter Brian McCann and lead the Sox to a 2-1 win. The Sox rode youngsters JBJ and Wright and future hall of famer Big Papi, plus utility waiver pick-up Alejandro De Aza to a 2-1 win, Wright pitching a gem, and his best game of possibly his entire MLB career. The Sox and Yanks play the rubber match tonight at 7.