2014 MLB Predictions

I’m back once again for my 2014 MLB predictions. Last year I was correct on 8/30 of the standings and had the win/loss record correct on 3/30 considering Texas played a wild card game. Here are my predictions for the 2014 season. As always, feel free to comments your thoughts or suggestions on the standings.

AL East

NL East

Team

Wins

Losses

Team

Wins

Losses

 Boston

90

72

Washington

92

70

Tampa Bay

84

78

Atlanta

86

76

New York Y.

81

81

Miami

77

85

Toronto

79

83

Philadelphia

77

85

Baltimore

75

87

New York M.

71

91

AL Central

NL Central

Team

Wins

Losses

Team

Wins

Losses

Detroit

94

68

Pittsburgh

89

73

Kansas City

87

75

St. Louis

84

78

Cleveland

85

77

Cincinnati

82

80

Chicago W.

78

84

Milwaukee

77

85

Minnesota

71

91

Chicago C.

72

90

AL West

NL West

Team

Wins

Losses

Team

Wins

Losses

Texas

85

77

Los Angeles D.

95

67

Oakland

83

79

San Francisco

87

75

Los Angeles A.

82

81

Colorado

83

79

Seattle

76

86

Arizona

80

82

Houston

73

89

San Diego

75

87

 

 

Advertisements

Mascots? Who Needs Em?

The Chicago Cubs recently unveiled their first “official” mascot, Clark the Bear. This rather boring bear has absolutely nothing special about him… Oh now I see why the Cubs came up with him. May I note the 4 straight losing seasons and the fact that they haven’t won the World Series since 1908. Why didn’t they come out with a Billy Goat mascot? I don’t know either.

The Chicago Cubs organization says that this mascot will not be jumping on the dugouts, waving towels or interfering during the game. That leaves plenty of time before and after the game to annoy fans.

I have never been a fan of mascots for sports teams or schools. I’m guessing they were created to attract a younger audience to the sport or the team, but how many kids go to sporting events for the mascots? Sure they may crack a smile when they get a hug from a  random half-naked animal, but most likely the human being underneath the costume wants nothing to do with a smelly toddler.

The backwards baseball cap on Clark may spark some debate amongst the older Cubs fans. The folks who have been supporting “the Lovable Losers” for generations don’t like the gangster style that comes along with the backwards hat. But they do have a point. If Clark the bear did have pants, I would assume they would be down around his knees showing three-quarters of his paw print underwear.

No word yet on if Clark the bear is making more this year than a ball player on the Cubs, but I will keep you posted.

I sometimes wonder who is brave enough to wear the suit. Is there a rotation of guys? Is there one person? Does his girlfriend know about this job? Let’s hope she never finds out if something like this ever happens to Clark.

Despite my dislike for mascots, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Milwaukee’s sausage race and Washington’s presidential race. You gotta love these guys.

Feel free to share your opinion on Clark the Bear and mascots from around the world of sports.

The Chicago Cubs Have The Best Catching Duo

Yes, you read correctly. I am actually awarding the Chicago Cubs with an award. I’ve got to give credit to the Cubs catchers. What seemed like two misfits at the beginning of 2013, has turned out to be the best 1-2 catching combo in the Majors. (Stats current as of Sept. 9, 2013)

Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro have put together great offensive numbers and defensive stats. Welington spelt with one “L”, is known more for his defensive style of play. Castillo has thrown out 26 base stealers which is good for 2nd in the MLB behind Russell Martin. Welington is currently the starting catcher and is only 26-years-old. He may not have as much power as Navarro but I’ll take any catcher hitting above .260. This is the first year Castillo has played more than 60 games and has played for the Cubs in parts of 4 seasons.

I don’t have enough good things to say about Dioner Navarro. He is the definition of a clutch hitter. The way he has been playing this year, with limited opportunities, I would easily let him or Castillo be the starting catcher. Navarro and Castillo are both under 6’0″ and over 200 lbs. Dioner has been tossed around to five teams including the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays and Reds. He was an All-Star in 2008 and his numbers are much better this year. The Venezuelan is now 29-years-old with 9 years of experience under his belt. Navarro is currently batting above .300 which is good for 4th in the MLB for catchers with more than 200 at bats.

Of course, these are not the first catchers I would pick in fantasy pool and probably not even in my top 10, but Castillo and Navarro are, in my eyes, the best catching combo of the 2013 season. Looking around the league, other teams have better starting catchers, but no team has a better 1-2 knockout like the Cubs. The only team I considered was the Atlanta Braves, but the inconsistency from Evan Gattis, put Chicago over the top. The Cubs have very few bright spots this year and I guess you could say this is the only positive offensively for Chicago.

Here are the side-by-side stats for the two catchers.

Catcher Games Played Hits Home Runs RBI Batting AVG. Height Weight (lbs.) Caught Stealing
Welington Castillo 105 94 4 25 .268 5’10” 210 26
Dioner Navarro 45 61 12 31 .305 5’9″ 205 11

             

Welington Castillo                                                                   Dioner Navarro

MLB Facts You Didn’t Know

These are not so much facts on Major League Baseball as it is on the athletes participating in it. I love learning about a player or a team. You know, that piece of info you can “WOW” your friends with. I find myself learning lots of new stuff from watching a baseball game. Major League commentators are overflowing with information they want to fit into conversation. I have lots of info that you didn’t know or didn’t think of about baseball and ballplayers.

Did you know that the average MLB, nine inning game is less than 10 minutes. Think about it.

Evan Gattis: The 27-year-old Braves rookie has many jobs before he returned to baseball in 2010. He was a night janitor, ski-resort worker, pizza man and worked at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Ben Zobrist: Tampa Bay’s infielder and former teammate Gabe Gross used to organize Bible studies with teammates. Zobrist also chooses not to drink, smoke or do drugs.

Brandon Moss: The A’s first baseman is distant cousins with country musician Alan Jackson.

J.J. Hardy: The O’s all-star shortstop’s father was a professional tennis player and his mother was a professional golfer. I guess pro sports runs in the family.

Alex Gordon: In 2006, before Alex had ever played a major league game, he had a Topps rookie baseball card. This card was released too early and is now considered and “error” card.

                                                                                        Alex Gordon

Brandon Morrow: The 6’3″ Blue Jays pitcher is a Type 1 diabetic. He wears an insulin pump to regulate his blood sugar.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett: Jacoby, alongside former teammate Josh Beckett, released a wine called ZinfandEllsbury through Charity Wines with all proceeds going towards several charities. Beckett’s wine was called Chardon-K.

                                                            

A.J. Pierzynski: The aggressive Rangers catcher has made several appearances on wrestling shows including TNA Impact, WWE Raw. I have no interest in this sport, if you want to call it a sport.

 

MLB Overrated Players #1

Usually we hear more of underrated players who don’t receive enough or any credit. But this is not about giving praise, this is pointing out the facts that prove the player is not what they are hyped-up to be. Stats current as of August 22, 2013

Pedro Alvarez- Alvarez was supposed to be the next big thing in Pittsburgh a couple years ago. He was, until everyone saw his batting average. He is currently batting .233 for the season and despite his 31 home runs, he has failed to deliver in my eyes. Pedro has a career average below .240 and has struggled to make contact for 4 years. The 26-year-old needs to maintain his hot streak for the rest of the year as he heads into arbitration in 2014. I would want him hitting at least .250 I he was going to be the starting third baseman on my team. Everything seems to be going Pittsburgh’s way so I would assume no changes will be made at third.

Andre Ethier- The Dodgers have a tricky situation in Right Field. The young Yasiel Puig is ready to take over in right and the obvious solution would be to trade Andre for a prospect or two. I don’t think anyone would want the 31-year-old. Ever since Andre’s monster 2009 season, his stats have dropped rapidly. He is stuck with 9 home runs and is well below his career average in homers (17.3). Ethier is aging fast and his play does not seem to be improving. His massive contract doesn’t help. The Dodgers owe him $13.5 million in 2013 and that number will increase to $18 million by 2018. Time is running out for Andre and he better smarten up if he wants a shot at Right Field in 2014.

Josh Beckett- I’m sorry for hating on the Dodgers but Beckett and Ethier combine for a $30.5 million dollar salary and together they have brought a below average contribution to Los Angeles. Beckett currently sits on the DL and with his 0-5 record and 5.19 ERA I would prefer him there than pitching for my team. With the acquisition of Ricky Nolasco (10-9 3.42 ERA) the future doesn’t look bright for Beckett. Ever since the blockbuster deal between Boston and Los Angeles, everyone has not lived up to expectations with the exception of Adrian Gonzalez. Josh has not been the leader of the staff and at the moment would not even be on the pitching staff if I was managing. A nice trip to AAA would do the trick.

              

Pedro Alvarez                                                                   Andre Ethier

 

 

Run To First!

I apologize once again for my relatively long absence. I have been caught up in summer and have not had enough time to sit down and talk baseball.

I always knew that when a player hits a ball in fair territory, their job is to run to first base. Not to walk to first, not to jog to first, but to run to first. I have noticed an overwhelming amount of morning jogs to first base on a ground ball that could very easily be turned into a hit. I know some of you may be thinking I’m crazy and that these professional ballplayers put everything they have into helping their team. Then why do you see this happening from so many of your favourite stars today?

Wow what amazing hustle, what incredible speed. I notice at least one or two groundouts every game that could have been stretched into a hit or at least a much closer play at first. I understand on some groundballs to first there is no point running when it’s an obvious out. But when you hit a sharp grounder or slow roller to the left side of the diamond, hustle it out. They should run like its for an award.  I realize that this speed may cause injury, but the chances of it happening when your running to first is very slim… unless your Ryan Howard.

Whenever I hit a grounder in my games, I’m always running it out like there is no tomorrow. I can walk to first when draw four balls not when its the difference between one out or two thanks to an inning ending double play. Ever heard of a two-out rally? It is a simple change that many big leaguers today should consider. Why do we only see a hustle when someone lays down a bunt? Even that there only objective was probably to advance the runner. How about advancing the runner with a home run eh? That’ll really advance the runner as well as the pitcher’s ERA. All I’m saying is maybe we should see a little more of this.

Even though he was bunting a speedy guy like Jemile should never ground into a double play all year. For example, take totals from Jemile’s career and he has grounded into 8 double plays from 2011-2012 . Look at another similar sized player, like Zack Cozart and his total comes to 25 from the end of 2011-2013.

When a picture a hard runner, I think of Ichiro Suzuki. For years this guy has been bolting down the first base line. I’m not just saying this because he is a slap hitter, but he is practically half way to first before the fielder can even glove it. If hitters would just run like their contract is depending on it, I’m sure we would see a whole lot less double plays and some higher averages from the players we love.