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?)

San Francisco Giants Top Ten Prospects

by on January 22, 2011   3 Comments

In terms of prospect development, the San Francisco Giants are one of the most underrated teams in baseball. After winning the World Series last season with several home grown players, that may begin to change. And it should. Many of the players on their World Series roster were developed by the Giants farm system. Based on their current line-up of prospects, the team looks to get better with time. A new drafting philosophy over the past several seasons has found success and is the reason their system is as deep as it is. After a season which saw Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey graduate to the majors, it is safe to say the Giants farm system is close to as strong as it was before last season.

ALL MLB TEAM (Pre-Season 2010)

by on March 8, 2010   9 Comments

Imagine another planet like Earth that also played baseball (or something along those lines, it won’t work for countries because I’m choosing the best of the best for an all MLB team which consists of players from many countries).  Who would you choose to be on your 25 man roster?   Would you choose the best overall player, the young and upcoming prospect that might save your franchise (e.g. “Jesus” Strasburg, I mean Stephen), the big game playoff performers, or your favorites from your team?  Who would you want to manage these superstars?  This is a list of those players and that coach.  However this list does not include your typical bullpen because I am doing this as more of an All-Star of All-Star’s team (or how players are chosen come All-Star time).  There are thousands of players to choose from with the options and possibilities being almost infinite.

Prince Plunking

by on March 5, 2010   No Comments

On September 6th, 2009, Prince Fielder hit a walk-off home run against the San Fransisco Giants (video), flies like an airplane around the bases, untucks his jersey, and when he stomps two-footed on home plate, his teammates all fall down in either a bowling pin and/or bomb-type celebration.  Yesterday was the first time Fielder faced the Giants since the incident and he took the first pitch he saw from Barry Zito in the ribs – the way it should be.  Fielder didn’t take exception, he took his base and said afterword that he hopes they can move on and play baseball – again, the way it should be.  Some people, like Mike Golic on Mike & Mike in the Morning, see no reason for this type of retaliation, which is an argument that I don’t think you need to be a baseball lifer to find completely ridiculous.

Diary of a Non-Prospect, Non-Steroid User

by on January 14, 2010   No Comments

I played baseball at the University of Michigan from 2000-2003 and played for (and got cut from) several independent teams in the years thereafter including the Elmira Pioneers (formerly of the CanAm League) as well as the Mid-Missouri Mavericks and Ohio Valley Redcoats (both now-defunct Frontier League teams).  I was a fringe player – a scrapper – always on the edge of making my way into the lineup, but lacked the talent and size (5’9″ and sub-170-lb most of my career) to be a prospect.  I played during the heart of the steroid era, never had to face a drug test, and had it made very plain to me by almost everyone in the baseball business that my dreams were in direct proportion to my ability to get bigger and stronger.  All that incentive with no potential consequences, but I never did steroids.  I don’t pretend I would have made the big leagues, but there is no question in my mind that had I made the decision to do steroids, it would have pushed me over the threshold that kept me from advancing in the game.