So I was reading Baseball Digest yesterday, and they had the box score of the game when the Rangers scored 30 runs. It happened on August 22, 2007, and the Texas Rangers defeated the Baltimore Orioles by a score of thirty to three. I noticed a few interesting things about the game, though:
- The game was played in Baltimore- pretty embarrassing
- The game only took 3 hours and 21 minutes, which is not that much above average
- Rangers star Josh Hamilton did not play in the game- he had not been traded from Cincinnati yet
- Going into the 4th inning, the Orioles were leading 3-0.The Rangers put up 5 runs in the top of the fourth
- In the 8th inning the Rangers put up 10 runs and in the 9 scored an additional 6. They were already leading 14-3.
- The Rangers scored in 4 innings, the least amount of runs scored in an inning if they scored were 5.
- Every player who had an at bat for the Rangers had an RBI except for two players. Just two players. Who were the two players? Michael Young and Nelson Cruz!
Yesterday, the San Francisco Giants took down Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers 3-1 to nab the World Series title in 5 games, with Edgar Renteria winning the MVP award. It was the first title for San Francisco since 1954, when they played in New York and beat the Cleveland Indians. That was so long ago it was in that series Willie Mays had his historic catch.
It became the Giants 6th World Series title as a franchise. The fans and team really deserved this one. The Rangers took the loss in their first ever appearence in the World Series, and now their main priority will be locking down free agent Cliff Lee. Tim Lincecum dominated all postseason long, he went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA and 43 strikeouts to nine walks in 37 innings. He now has a World Series title and two Cy Young Awards in a 4 year career. Buster Posey had a steady postseason to top off a marvelous rookie season, he hit .305, had 67 RBI, 18 homeruns and 23 doubles in only 108 games.
I just want to reference I predicted the Giants to make the World Series (but lose to the Yankees), one of the few bright spots on my 2010 predictions. I also warned evryone to atch out for 5th overall pick from Florida State in 2007 Buster Posey, two games after he was called up.
What a drag it must be for the voters of the NL Rookie of the Year this year. You got Jason Heyward, who is in reach of the All-Star Game. Stephen Strasburg is expected to be called up, and who knows what he brings to the table. Now there is Buster Posey, who is 6 for 9 with 4 RBI in his first two games of 2010.
Posey is a catcher for the Giants who can hit, and is rated one of the top prospects in Major League Baseball. In fact, part of the reason the Giants re-signed Benji Molina was so he could mentor the young prospect. Posey is 23 years old, and played College Baseball at Florida State. He throws and hits right-handed, and was known as the best catching prospect in baseball after Matt Wieters was promoted to the Orioles. Buster Posey still has a lot to prove, but so far he has already proved quite a bit. Who knows, he may turn out to be the Joe Mauer of the National League…
It is about a third of a way through the 2010 season, and there have been a lot of suprises and disappointments. In the standings, a few teams have been suprising.
The Rays were expected to be good, but noot this good. The Blue Jays have also kept up in the toughest division in baseball. In the West, the Athletics and Rangers are putting up a good race, and they were expected to be the two worst teams in the divison. The Mariners are a big disappointment, and have scored 172 runs in 48 games, last in the American League. That’s about 3.58 runs a game. Their pitching has been less than steller, but they don’t get any run support anyways. In the National League, the Braves are only half a game behind the Phillies, and the Nationals are only 4 games back at one game under .500. The Reds have recently taken control of the Central, much credit to an 18-game homerun streak that ended today. The Padres also have the best record in the Seinor Circuit. The Padres!
There have also been a handful of players putting up excellent years. Veron Wells and Vladimir Guerrero have also put up nice comeback years. Wells leads the AL in doubles (17) and total bases (116) to go with 13 homers and a .302 batting average. Vladimir Guerrero has 12 homeruns and 43 RBI, and he only had 15 and 50 all of last year. He has also proved he is healthy, he has started in 5 games in right field compared to the two starts in rightfield for the Angels last year. Justin Morneau and Robinson Cano have also teared up the league. Cano leads the AL with 69 hits, yes above Ichiro, and has 10 homers, 37 RBI and a .359 batting average. Morneau has a .371 batting average, and more walks than strikeouts (41 to 36). Andre Ethier and rookie sensation Jason Heyward have also put up big numbers. Ethier has just come off the disabled list and is ready to add to his 11 homers, 38 RBI and an enormous .392 batting average. The “J-Hey Kid” has 10 homeruns and 36 RBI and a .298 batting average in hig first season as a big leaguer. The first of those ten homeruns came in his first career at-bat.
But the pitchers have dominated this year. There have been three no-hitters in the first two months (two were perfect games). Ubaldo Jimenez no-hit the Braves in April to cap off what has been a brilliant season. He is 9-1 with a 0.88 earned run average. Dallas Braden then threw a perfect game against the Rays on Mother’s Day. He was previously known as the guy who got really mad at Alex Rodriguez for walking across “his mound”. Just recently, Roy Halladay blanked the Marling for the second perfect game in Phillies history. It was Halladay’s first perfect game. He came close in his second career start, coming one out away from perfection and then serving up a home run. The two perfect games were the first time in majorleague history two perfect games were thrown in one season, and they were in the same month. 4 of the last 6 perfect games actually happened in May.
Executives all over the league, fans of every team and Fantasy Owners all want this guy on their team. Talk about pressure.
Evan Longoria has just completely dominated the league since his rookie season in 2008, and is averaging 119 RBI per 162-game season in the loaded-with-pitching-hitting-and-just-about-everything-else AL East. He also has the hardware. So far he is 2 for 2 in All-Star Games and also won the AL ROY Award in 2008, to go with a Gold Glove at third & a Silver Slugger in 2009. Longoria counts for roughly 15% of the Rays runs produced (RBI and Runs), and the Rays rank 3rd in runs. Longoria has also brought life to the lonely Tropicana Field. In 2007, the year before Longoria’s rookie year, the Ray’s fan attendace was 1,387,603, last in the American League. In Evan Longoria’s rookie season, that number jumped up 424,383 people, and in 2009 that number jumped uo 62,976 people. If the Rays can win a World Series or two and raise fan attendance, maybe they can finally build that new stadium out on the water that everyone was looking forward to.
Longoria is making himself known all over baseball. Let’s not forget that after his first two seasons, Longoria averages 35 homeruns in a 162 game average while Albert Pujols’ number was 37. Longoria is also a dream to fantasy owners. He is second in baseball with 198 points, only behind surging Justin Moreneau with 208 points (Points System based on MLB.com Fantasy Baseball). He also is on the cover of the video game MLB2K10. Gee, you wonder why the Rays are 20 games above .500…
Baseball, surrounded by the homerun and the Steroids Era, has reached some new life this year as young players begin to dominate the game. Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Braun, Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price are off to great careers and bright futures. Jason Heyward, outfielder for the Atlanta Braves, is on pace to get around 35 homers and 135 RBI in his rookie season. He also has a .971 fielding percentage. The “J-Hey Kid” is still only 20 years old and sparks a Braves team who is 4-10 against division opponents. Ryan Braun, the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, has shined in Milwaukee. In his 3+ year career he averages a home run every 17 at bats, compare that to Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez’s* home run in every 14 at bats. Not too shabby for a 26-year old outfielder. Stephen Strasburg has yet to even hit the majors but is already astounding fans. He has been clocked over 100 MPH multiple times and his ERA is 0.00 in 3 starts in AAA. Ubaldo Jimenez, the 26-year old righty for Colorado has completely dominated the league this year. He is 8-1 and has an ERA of 0.99. Only two other times in major league history has a pitcher won 8 of their first 9 and had an ERA under 1.00, and one of those two won the Cy Young award that year (Fernando Valenzuela). David Price, the former #1 overall pick in 2007, is living up to his potential. The 24-year old southpaw is 6-1 with an ERA of 1.81. This season he has struck out about 20% of his batters. Watch out for the Rays starter to be a CY Young threat.
The baseball world doesn’t revolve around Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez anymore, and in 3 or so years these will be the guys making 25 million dollars a year.
It’s that time of year where every baseball lover has reached heaven. 2010 has brought quite a few suprises in the first two days, and much has yet to come. I will briefly break down each team up to a World Series Champion and a few other awards as well.
1) New York Yankees- The Yankees did themselves a large favor by aquiring Javier Vazquez behind Boston’s back and now have some more speed in Granderson. Predicted record- 105-57
2) Tampa Bay Rays- The Rays have extremely young talent with David Price ready to blossom and Ben Zobrist arriving in full strength. Expect this to be Carl Crawford’s last season in Tampa unless they win the pennant. Predicted record- 93-69
3) Boston Red Sox- Boston has a different team than people have seen in recent years, with more defense and starting pitching as opposed to a lot of big bats. Unfortunately, the Red Sox can’t put in Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon in every day, and that will cost them a trip to the playoffs. Predicted record- 91-71
4) Baltimore Orioles- Baltimore made the most of their offseason by aquiring cheap veterans like Clint Barmes, Miguel Tejada and new ace Kevin Millwood. With young phenoms like Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts, don’t be suprised if Baltimore breaks the .500 mark for the first time since 1997. Predicted record- 83-79
5) Toronto Blue Jays- The Jays do not have the talent to hold up in the most powerful division, and losing Marco Scutaro and Roy Halladay did not help. Predicted Record- 73-89
1) Minnesota Twins- The Twins have a new stadium to play at, and with Moreneau at full health and Mauer locked down for a long time plus Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson and new star Denard Span, the Twins will thrive in this strengthining division, even without star closer Joe Nathan. Predicted record- 92-70
2) Chicago White Sox- Jake Peavy and Gordon Beckham have enough to lift Chicago, plus Mark Buehrle who seems to be an average pitcher with amazing feats. Predicted record- 87-75
3) Detroit Tigers- Former Yankees Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson are not enough to relieve the absences of Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, the Tigers will struggle to reach .500. Predicted record- 82-80
4) Cleveland Indiand- Other than Grady Sizemore, the Indians are not the same team that almost made the World Series in 2007. Predicted record- 64-98
5) Kansas City Royals- Not even Zack Greinke can single handidly lead the Royals into the playoffs. Predicted record- 62-100
1) Seattle Mariners- The M’s retrieved Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee to go along with Ken Griffey Jr, Felix Hernandez and Ichiro. The Mariners will edge out the Angels for the division title. Predicted record- 92-70
2) The Angels lost too much to repeat the division crown. Predicted record 90-72
3) Texas Rangers- The Rangers are almost back to the postseason, but need to wait and acquire one more big bat. Predicted record- 88-74
4) Oakland Athletics- A few more years and you’re there, Oaklandites. Predicted record- 79-83
1) Philadelphia Phillies- Arguably baseball’s best team just got better by replacing Cliff Lee with Roy Halladay, expect a monstrous year. Predicted record- 101-60
2) Atlanta Braves- In Bobby Cox’s last year and Jason Heyward’s MLB debut, the Braves might make a run at the wils card crown. Predicted record- 89-73
3) New York Mets- As long as they can stay healthy, the Mets might suprise baseball. Predicted record- 85-77
4) Florida Marlins- Hanley Ramirez, Josh Johnson and Chris Coughlin are barely enough, they need another big bat soon. Predicted record- 81-81
5) Washington Nationals- Don’t even think about the Nationals until they draft Bryce Harper and when he makes the majors. Predicted record- 61-101
1) St. Louis Cardinals- The Cards will easily run away in baseball’s new wors division. Predicted record- 91-71
2) Milwaukee Brewers- Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are enough on offense, but they need better pitching to return to the postseason. Predicted record- 84-78
3) Chicago Cubs- The Cubs will extend their streak to 102 years of not winning the World Series, but they are improving. Predicted record- 80-82
4) Cincinnati Reds- When Ardolis Chapman joins the team, they will break the .500 barrier. Predicted record- 77-85
5) Houston Astros- The fading Astros cannot stay healthy enough to be a success. Predicted record- 69-93
6) Pittsburgh Pirates- 18 seasons is upcoming, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, Garett Jones has some pop in his back. Predicted record- 65-97
1) San Francisco Giants- The Giants have the pitching and barely the hitting to win this division, Aubrey Huff and Aaron Rowand being the difference makers. Predicted record- 93-69
2) Colorado Rockies- Troy Tulowitzki reaching his prime and great youth will be important in this division. Predicted record- 90-72
3) Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers have the stuff, but the lack of pitching is vital and Dodgertown will just miss the mark. Predicted record- 89-73
4) Arizona Diamondbacks- The D-Backs are definately improving with Justin Upton and new ace Dan Haren. Predicted record- 86-76
5) San Diego Padres- The Padres will be relying too much on the heart of their lineup to be a threat. Predicted Record- 69-93
Yankees over Twins, Mariners over Rays, Phillies over Rockies, Giants over Cardinals
Yankees over Mariners, Giants over Phillies
Yankees over Giants
AL MVP- Mark Teixeira
AL Cy Young Award Winner- Felix Hernandez
NL MVP- Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young Award Winner- Tim Lincecum
AL Rookie of the Year- Austin Jackson
NL Rookie of the Year- Jason Heyward
AL Manager of the Year- Don Wakamatsu
NL Manager of the Year- Bruce Bochy
2009 was definately a disappointment for Cleveland. They were expected by many to win their division, and possibly bring home their first World Series since 1948. Of course, that was when they had Victor Martinez, Mark DeRosa and reigning Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee. Well, to make a long story short, they are all gone. Now they are counting on their young prospects and a comeback from Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner to fulfill their expectations, but it’s a long road.
Subtractions- The Indians did not lose nearly as many players as some other teams. Actually, the only decent player they lost was Jamey Carroll, who signed with the Dodgers.
Aquisitions- Austin Kearns, the former Nationals outfielder, joined the Cleveland squad as well as Shelley Duncan (previously with the Yankees) and Mark Grudzielanek, who previously played second base for the Royals.
Arbitration- No major guys had arbitration issues.
Postioin Battles- The catching battle will be tough, with Mike Redmond and Lou Marson battling it out for the starting spot.
Concern- The back end of the bullpen lacks depth. Can Kerry Wood hold up? Who will be the setup man? The Indians need to find a reliable reliever fast…
Bottom Line- The Indians are in the middle of a crucial building project to restore the team that came 1 game from the World Series in 2007. Don’t expect a winning season in Cleveland.
After two straight years of prevailing in the National League and falling to the Phillies in 5 games in the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers are ready to make a run to not only the pennant, but the World Series trophy as well. This offseason was full of gains and losses for LA. They did well in arbitration, but lost some veteran players and Manny being Manny. But as Spring Training gets into full swing, the Dodgers will have to prove that they can again surpass the Giants and Rockies.
Subtractions- The Dodgers had a boatload of veteran free agents leave the team, including Jim Thome, Juan Pierre, Orlando Hudson, and Randy Wolf and. Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson both signed with the Minnesota Twins, Thome signing a one year 1.5 million dollar deal while the O-Dog signed a one year deal worth 5 million dollars. Juan Pierre was traded from the Dodgers to Minnesota’s rival the Chicago White Sox for two minor league pitchers. Randy Wolf signed a 3 year deal (with an option for 2013) worth 29.75 million dollars (plus bonses) with the Milwaukee Brewers. Wolf is expected to make the no. 2 spot in the rotation.
Aquisitions- The Dodgers did not make a big move by signing any notable All-Stars, but they did improve their all around team. Former Indian Jamey Carroll signed with LA with a contract worth 3.85 million over two years. They also brought back Ronnie Belliard and Brad Ausmus to one year contracts and a two year deal with Vincente Padilla, who has rencently been shot in the leg… The Dodgers also signed Reed Johnson to a one year deal.
Arbitration- Most of the Dodgers keys to their 2009 success were brought back to LA through arbitration. Their biggest signing was Matt Kemp, who now has a two year deal with a raise from $467,000 to $5,475,000. They also brought back slugger Andre Ethier, closer Johnathan Broxton, Russell Martin and James Loney.
Concerns- Manny Ramirez has been chatting again. He literally talked his way out of Boston, and when he arrived to Los Angeles he said he would like to spend the remainder of his career there. Well, that was 2008. Now he says that this will be his last year in a Dodgers uniform, perhaps because he wants to return to the Cleveland Indians, where he started his career. Another question is the starting rotation, where you wonder if Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley can lead the pack and if everyone can stay healthy, with Padilla already injured.
Position Battles- The left side of the infield might be tough to deconstruct. Blake DeWitt cam play second and third base, and Jamey Carroll can play second, third and short. Rafeal Furcal, Ronnie Belliard and Casey Blake are the current starters, but that may be subject to change
Bottom Line- The Dodgers have the talent to win what used to be the worst division in baseball, but they will need the health and moral support from manager Joe Torre to do it.
After a long time of being the best remaining free agent on the market, Johnny Damon has finally signed with a team. While the Rays, Yankees, White Sox, Braves and Athletics have all shown interest in the 36 year old left fielder, he will be sporting Detroit Tiger colors in 2010. Damon (more specifically Scott Boras) and the Tigers front office agreed to a one year, 8 million dollar deal yesterday, taking another veteran off the list of free agents. Boras was looking for a 3 or 4 year deal and compared Damon to Derek Jeter, who made 21.6 million dollars in 2009. Damon just expressed he wanted to stay in New York. This confirms that the Yankees will start Randy Winn, Marcus Thames or Brett Gardner at left field next year, and the race begins in two days. Although the Athletics, one of Damons former teams, the Rays, who play close by to Damons home in Orlando, and the White Sox, who joined the race towards the end of January, it always seemed the Tigers and the Atlanta Braves were the cream of the crop. The Braves offered a one year deal worth quite a few million less, estimated to be around 4 million. The Tigers countered with a one year deal worth around 6 million, and Damon signed at 8. After Damon agreed to a deal, the Braves reported “they were never serious contenders”. Pending a physical, Damon becomes the second veteran outfielder to leave the Yankees and sign a one year deal (Bobby Abreau signed a one year,, 5 million deal with the Angels beforethe 2009 season).