MLB Preview

First Impressions From the 2015 MLB Season and (Finally) My Division and Wild Card Predictions (Part One)

Kris Bryant, the #1 Prospect in baseball, has arrived in Chicago. They still have more young help on the way.

Kris Bryant, the #1 Prospect in baseball, has arrived in Chicago and they still have more young, top-flight prospects on the way.

It’s been almost three weeks since the season started and there are quite a few storylines to discuss. I figured I would break this into two parts and give a few first impressions starting with the National League. I also will (finally) dole out division predictions so without further delay let’s get to it. (more…)

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MLB 2015: Making Sense Of Craig Kimbrel Trade

Craig Kimbrel, 26, leaves Atlanta as the Braves all-time leader in saves (186)

Craig Kimbrel, 26, leaves Atlanta as the Braves all-time leader in saves (186) (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America)

Before I even had the opportunity to hide an Easter egg the Braves pulled off a stunner of a trade. Craig Kimbrel, the undisputed best closer in Major League Baseball, is now a San Diego Padre. (more…)

MLB Preview 2015: Top-5 Players Facing A Make Or Break Season In 2015

Bryce Harper (55 HR, .272 BA, .816 OPS) has put up solid numbers in his first three seasons. Unfortunately 2015 will need to be even better to buck the "Overrated" label levied by his peers.

Bryce Harper (55 HR, .272 BA, .816 OPS) has put up solid numbers in his first three seasons. Unfortunately 2015 will need to be even better to buck the “Overrated” label levied by his peers.

A make or break year for a baseball player isn’t always one that sees them going into free agency. It’s also one that changes perceptions placed on a player after a couple of inconsistent or down years. (more…)

MLB Preview 2015: A Tale Of Two Philosophies For Marlins And Padres In 2015

James Shields has averaged 14 wins, 33 starts, and a 3.72 ERA every season since 2007.

James Shields, 32,  has averaged 14 wins, 33 starts, and a 3.72 ERA every season since 2007. He signed a 4-year, $75 million dollar contract this past offseason to continue that production in Southern California.

This past Major League Baseball offseason was the most intriguing I’ve witnessed in years.

Of all the interesting moves that went down perhaps the most interesting were how two markets (Miami and San Diego) made themselves relevant in two very different ways.  (more…)

Major League Baseball Preview 2014: National League West

Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77 ERA, 199 K's, 1.033 WHIP) has next level ability and will flourish in 2014

Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77 ERA, 199 K’s, 1.033 WHIP) has next level ability and will flourish in 2014

Well call me crazy, but I’m thinking going against the national grain is warranted here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were picked by 43 of 44 baseball analysts to make the postseason as the National League West champion. Count me among that minority in thinking they will get in some other way. (more…)

Major League Baseball Preview 2014: National League Central

Michael-Wacha

Michael Wacha (NLCS MVP) will be a full-time starter in 2014.

In the National League Central the way of life still sees the St. Louis Cardinals as the cream of the crop.

In 2013, however, the Pirates made it known they would like to join the conversation. With a rotation that might be the best in the business and professional hitters up and down their lineup the Cardinals look ready to make another World Series run. The Pirates, who finally broke through after 20-consecutive losing seasons, have a good thing going in Pittsburgh with a good mix of youth and veteran leadership. (more…)

Major League Baseball 2014 Preview: National League East

Jason Heyward seems to have found his comfort zone in the leadoff spot, from which he hit .322 with 6 HR, 16 RBI's and a .403 OBP.

Jason Heyward seems to have found his comfort zone in the leadoff spot; from which he hit .322 with 6 HR, 16 RBI’s and a .403 OBP.

In the National League East things are getting tight in a hurry.

Last season, everyone (myself included) picked the Washington Nationals to run away with this division. Could you blame me? They had a bullpen, a deep lineup, a strong rotation, and the manager to lead them. They were also coming off a season in which they had already won the division, so forgive me for picking the favorites.

But boy did I struggle again this year. (more…)

Major League Baseball 2014 Preview: American League East

Manny Machado's 2013 was cut short by injury (14 HR, 71 RBI, 51 2B, .283 BA) but at age 21 he's and the Orioles are contenders in 2014

Manny Machado’s 2013 was cut short by injury (14 HR, 71 RBI, 51 2B, .283 BA) but at age 21 he’s and the Orioles are contenders in 2014

In the American League East anything can happen.

Last season the Boston Red Sox put a dreadful 2012 behind them and rode their top ranked offense (and their bearded camaraderie) to the World Series title. With so many issues entering the season last year you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who (here included) picked them to make the playoffs let alone win their division, league, and the World Series. The team will be hard pressed to replicate that success in 2014 and I will explain why. (more…)

Major League Baseball 2014: American League West Preview

Sonny Gray will look to lead the A's to a third consecutive AL West Crown (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)Sonny Gray looks to lead the A’s to a third consecutive AL West Crown (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

The last couple seasons when I’ve kicked off these previews the American League West seemed all but won. In 2012 they had the best staff, best lineup, and best front-office heading into that season. The Oakland A’s proved that incorrect on the last day of that season by thumping the Rangers 12-5. Last season the Angels looked like the favorites heading into the season when they brought Josh Hamilton over from the Rangers to form an impossible lineup trio of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Hamilton. Well, the A’s spoiled those plans as well winning a second consecutive AL West crown.

Yet here I am in 2014 about to prove I haven’t learned my lesson.

(more…)

Major League Baseball 2014: These Pitchers Are Poised For A Breakout In 2014

Andrew Cashner (1.131 WHIP, 3.09 ERA) is an Ace in every sense of the word

Andrew Cashner (1.131 WHIP, 3.09 ERA) is an Ace in every sense of the word

Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting out quite a few lists before my divisional breakdowns and team reports. 

The definition of a “breakout performance” can vary from person-to-person but the general idea is always the same: that player who takes the next step from potential star to household name. (more…)