My division and playoff picks for the year.
I think the Cardinals are the most talented team in the division, but there's a lot riding on injury-prone and aging players. The Brewers need to be worrying abot a depth problem as well, but they were able to survive it last year. While the Pirates faded badly last year, they were in first place in late July and if they're in it this year, there's the possibility of Gerrit Cole and/or Jameson Taillon coming up to give them a boost. For the Cubs, it would take a lot of injuries to teams above them and for Samardzija and Volstad to join Demspster and Garza in the 200 IP ranged and 110 ERA+ range or higher. Then hope Jackson and Rizzo can provide an offensive boost mid-season. Color me skeptical.
Dbacks and Giants are a coin flip for me, but I didn't really believe much in the DBacks last year and think they fall back a little this year. The rest of the division is nothing to get excited about or worried about.
Phillies might struggle for runs to start the season, but they can afford to with their big 3. Don't see a big difference between them and Giants while they battle through the injuries and then the Phillies know reinforcements are coming. Marlins and Braves are certainly in the picture and Nats could be with a good amount of luck and how much Bryce Harper fever will end up energizing them.
Wild Cards: Brewers & Marlins
- White Sox
Tigers seem too easy a pick for a team that's going to be terrible defensively. Verlander has also pitched a lot of innings over the last few seasons. Royals still lack pitching for me to get too excited.
This feels like it's gonna be a fun division down the stretch with the new rules and the likelihood that an AL East team takes one of the wild cards. I'm sure my homerism is showing on this one, but the Angels look very tough this season.
- Red Sox
- Blue Jays
Red Sox didn't really do much to improve their starting pitching that was their downfall last year. The Pineda injury is a little worrisome for the Yanks, but they seemed stacked enough this year to withstand.
Wild Cards: Rays & Rangers
Elite: Phillies, Angels, Rangers, Yankees
Contenders: Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, Giants, DBacks, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, , Tigers, Indians, Red Sox, Rays
If Luck Would Have It: Pirates, Cubs, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers, Royals, White Sox, Twins, Blue Jays
Wait Until Next Year: Astros, Mets, Mariners, A's, Orioles,
Surprise Team: If you're not counting the Indians, I'd say the Twins with Mauer & Morneau can become interesting really quick.
I've been wracking my brain to work a "Room With a View" reference in there but I just haven't gotten it to work.
Bryant might be playing SS during an infield shift, no? Usually he is moved to 2B but it could happen.
I won't really be happy until I see Bryant at shortstop.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.