National League Power Rankings

by on March 31, 2011   No Comments

The National League power rankings will look similar to the American League rankings, it will have a member of each division in the top 3 positions.

The San Francisco Giants have been given top spot because of their World Series victory. Right now they are the team to beat. This would be the case even if they traded their whole team away. Texas was not afforded the same spot in the AL simply because they did what every team could do,–and that includes amateur teams–lose.

American League Power Rankings

by on March 21, 2011   No Comments

Baseball’s regular season is quickly approaching, and that means the first edition of this season’s power rankings.

These rankings will be unique in a couple senses. One, they will only look at one league at a time. And two, the top three teams will represent the three divisions. After all, those are the teams that will make the playoffs in the end. This is the American League edition of the power rankings. The National League rankings will be available when you check back here next Monday.

After the preseason rankings, the American League rankings will appear on the last Monday of the month and the National League power rankings will appear on the first Monday of the month. Stay tuned, enjoy and as always feel free to comment!

Dark Horse Teams

by on March 14, 2011   4 Comments

It’s easy to start predicting great things for teams who have added big-name players and have a recent history of success. Even then, a team could disappoint you due to injuries or a simple failure to live up to the hype. This season the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox are the teams for which you could make such rosy predictions.

It’s a lot more difficult to choose the team that really comes together. Last season it was the Cincinnati Reds, a couple seasons before it was the Tampa Bay Rays, and just before that was the Colorado Rockies. These are usually young teams who finally develop some consistency. Dark horse teams are difficult to predict and if you do it correctly you look like a genius. In my attempt to look like a baseball Nostradamus, I offer my dark horse candidates from each league:

2011 Off Season Free Agents

by on February 28, 2011   8 Comments

Money has a funny way of inspiring people to perform even better than expected. This is true in several career paths and certainly doesn’t exclude baseball. In baseball, the money up for grabs is anywhere from the league minimum of $400,000 to the $27.5 million Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees makes annually. Salaries are based on a combination of what a player has done and what is reasonable to expect he can do. Top performers in their mid- to late twenties and early thirties are those who can expect the big bucks. Players can either sign a contract extension with their current team or they can wait until their contract expires and they become a free agent. Both scenarios have pros and cons.

As far as a contract extension goes, it is guaranteed money, and who doesn’t like job security? Baseball is a gruelling sport and every player is one injury away from seeing his career end. With a long-term contract, even if the unthinkable happens, the injured player still gets paid. Free agency, on the other hand, usually means a lot more money. It can also be a strong motivator for good players to have great seasons. (Adrian Beltre’s 2004 and 2010 seasons anyone?)

2011 Rookie of the Year Predictions

by on February 21, 2011   2 Comments

The Rookie of the Year award is as important to the player as well as the franchise for which he works. Having a different player from the same team challenge for the award year in and year out is a great sign for your organizational depth. In 2010, both leagues had great races for the award. The Detroit Tigers had two players—Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch—seemingly poised to take the trophy at the start of the year, winning top rookie honours in April, May, and June. They eventually lost to Neftali Feliz of the Texas Rangers. In the National League, there was a two man race between Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, with Posey eventually winning out.

This season, there is another crop of hopeful winners. Here are my picks for the award as well as a dark horse in each league. There are a ton of potential impact rookies this season, so I won’t attempt to list them all. Feel free to comment and tell me how foolish I was to not list Kyle Drabek (Toronto Blue Jays), Jesus Montero (New York Yankees), Mike Moustakas (Kansas City Royals), Brandon Belt (San Francisco Giants), Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves), Mike Minor (Atlanta Braves) and/or any other top prospect expected to get playing time that I have missed.

Wild Card Teams

by on February 14, 2011   4 Comments

Last season’s Wild Card winning franchises are no strangers to success. The New York Yankees have failed to make the playoffs just once—in 2008—in the last 16 seasons. The Atlanta Braves returned to the playoffs, after missing five seasons in a row, but before that they had made the playoffs in 14 straight seasons. They differ in the amount of money they spend on their teams, with the Braves at a modest $86 million while the Yankees are paying their players a whopping $196 million.

East Division Playoff Teams

by on February 7, 2011   No Comments

In 2010, the best teams in all of Major League Baseball came from the East Division in each league. Both divisions were home to the wild card winners, the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees. They were also home to baseball’s two best records, 97 by the Philadelphia Phillies and 96 by the Tampa Bay Rays. What fate awaits the monsters of last year’s regular season? Will these teams once again be playing in October?

The simple answer for the Phillies is yes. In fact, anything short of a second World Series championship in four seasons—having won in 2008—would be an utter disappointment. A starting rotation like the Phillies had last season made Charlie Manuel’s managing job easy. His club posted 14 complete games, the most in the Major Leagues. Managing a bullpen is certainly easier when your starters are going deep into games. This will not change for Manuel as he will still have the three staff aces; Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, who carried Philadelphia to the playoffs.

Central Division Playoff Teams

by on January 31, 2011   No Comments

Last season, Major League Baseball’s Central Divisions came from different directions. In the American League, the Minnesota Twins won the division, just like they have six of the last nine seasons. The Cincinnati Reds, on the other hand, found their way to the top of the division for the first time in 15 years. Both teams were disappointed during the playoffs, losing in the divisional series.

West Division Playoff Teams

by on January 23, 2011   No Comments

Last season, teams from MLB’s two West Divisions won their respective pennants and made it to the World Series. This season, neither the San Francisco Giants nor the Texas Rangers will be flying under the radar. The expectations for both teams will certainly be higher than seasons before. What have these teams done to meet or exceed these expectations?

The Giants won the World Series on the strength of their young pitching staff. They were counted out before each series, including the final series against the Rangers, yet still prevailed. As a result, they will be expected to win.

Foiled By Division

by on January 17, 2011   5 Comments

It is a well-known fact that the American League East is the toughest division in baseball and has been for years. One reason why the AL East is so tough is money. The New York Yankees ($207 million in 2010) and the Boston Red Sox ($160 million) have the highest pay rolls every season. This allows them to add the best players in the game to their respective teams. As a result, since 2003 the division has dominated baseball. Just to put the dominance into perspective, every season except 2006 the AL East’s second-place team has had more wins than the average of the five other division champions.

A few seasons ago, the Tampa Bay Rays made the division even tougher. The Rays built their team solely through the draft instead of the free agent route, and their success has made the other two teams in the division, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles, look even worse.