Results tagged ‘ Carlos Santana ’

My 2013 MLB All-Star Team

Because so many people are clamoring over what I think, I figured it was time to make my All-Star ballot public, while filling up the rosters so that each team is represented. Feel free to ridicule and taunt my choices if you wish, but you’ll have to defend yourself.

 NLNational League – 35 players

Starting Lineup:

1. Carlos Gomez, CF, MIL: Continuing his awesome breakout.

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN: Huge production behind Votto in Cincy lineup.

3. Joey Votto, 1B, CIN: His numbers would look much better if he was pitched to.

4. David Wright, 3B, NYM: Hometown hero and best 3B in the NL.

5. Carlos Gonzalez, LF, COL: Hitting everywhere this year, even away from Coor’s.

6. Carlos Beltran, RF, STL: Defying age with a healthy, productive season.

7. Michael Cuddyer, DH, COL: Helping to make the Rockies a contender in 2013.

8. Buster Posey, C, SF: Tough choice over Molina, but his bat is still bigger.

9. Jean Segura, SS, MIL: Huge breakout by one of the key pieces in the Greinke deal with the Angels.

Starting Pitcher: Matt Harvey, RHP, NYM: Probably the biggest story in the biggest city in all of baseball, he gets the start at Citi Field.

Pitchers:

Jeff Locke, LHP, PIT

Jason Grilli, RHP, PIT

Jordan Zimmerman, RHP, WAS

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, LAD

Patrick Corbin, LHP, ARZ

Cliff Lee, LHP, PHI

Adam Wainwright, RHP, STL

Shelby Miller, RHP, STL

Aroldis Chapman, LHP, CIN

Craig Kimbrel, RHP, ATL

Edward Mujica, RHP, STL

Rafael Soriano, RHP, WAS

Travis Wood, LHP, CHI-C

Jeff Samardzija, RHP, CHI-C

Jonathan Papelbon, RHP, PHI

Bench:

Yadier Molina, C, STL

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARZ

Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL

Marco Scutaro, 2B, SF

Everth Cabrera, SS, SD

Giancarlo Stanton, RF, MIA

Yasiel Puig, OF, LAD

Domonic Brown, OF, PHI

Matt Carpenter, 2B, STL

Andrew McCutchen, CF, PIT

Biggest Snubs: Sergio Romo, RHP, SF; Kevin Gregg, RHP, CHI-C; Lance Lynn, RHP, STL; Allen Craig, 1B, STL; Mat Latos, RHP, CIN; Madison Bumgarner, LHP, SF; Rex Brothers, LHP, COL; A.J. Burnett, RHP, PIT; Nate Schierholtz, OF, CHI-C; Shin-Soo Choo, OF, CIN; Ryan Braun, LF, MIL; Bryce Harper, OF, WAS; Ian Desmond, SS, WAS; Chris Johnson, 1B/3B, ATL; Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT; Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD; Wilin Rosario, C, COL; Evan Gattis, C/OF, ATL;

ALAmerican League – 35 players

Starting Lineup:

1. Mike Trout, LF, LAA: Having a “down” year when compared to his 2012 rookie season, which was one of the greatest in baseball history.

2. Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY: Tough choice but his bat is still huge and he gets the start in NYC.

3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, DET: His numbers are even better than his 2012 Triple Crown winning season.

4. Chris Davis, 1B, BAL: An absolute monster season from the toss-in in the Koji Uehara deal with Texas.

5. Jose Bautista, RF, TOR: Production is slightly down, but Joey Bats is still a huge fan favorite.

6. David Ortiz, DH, BOS: Still producing as a member of AARP.

7. Adam Jones, CF, BAL: Continuing where he left off in 2012 and becoming one of the top players in baseball.

8. Joe Mauer, C, MIN: The power won’t ever be there again from his 2009 MVP season (28 HR), but he can find the gaps and be productive in ways that no other AL catcher can match.

9. Jhonny Peralta, SS, DET: Quietly having an incredible season as one of the worst defensive SS in baseball – loving his production, though.

Starting Pitcher: Yu Darvish, RHP, TEX: He just struck you out and you didn’t even know he threw three pitches. Having a dominant season.

Pitchers:

Jesse Crain, RHP, CHI-W

Felix Hernandez, RHP, SEA

Justin Masterson, RHP, CLE

Max Scherzer, RHP, DET

Mariano Rivera, RHP, NYY

Joe Nathan, RHP, TEX

Clay Buchholz, RHP, BOS

Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP, SEA

Ervin Santana, RHP, KC

Greg Holland, RHP, KC

Bartolo Colon, RHP, OAK

Matt Moore, LHP, TB

Bud Norris, RHP, HOU

Glen Perkins, LHP, MIN

Jim Johnson, RHP, BAL

Bench:

Jason Castro, C, HOU

Adam Lind, 1B, TOR

Prince Fielder, 1B, DET

Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS

Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE

Evan Longoria, 3B, TB

Manny Machado, 3B, BAL

Jed Lowrie, SS, OAK

Nelson Cruz, OF, TEX

Coco Crisp, OF, OAK

Biggest Snubs: Josh Donaldson, 3B, OAK; J.J. Hardy, SS, BAL; Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX; Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA; Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA; Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/3B/DH, TOR; Carlos Santana, C, CLE; Hiroki Kuroda, RHP, NYY; Chris Sale, LHP, CHI-W; Addison Reed, RHP, CHI-W; Grant Balfour, RHP, OAK; Casey Janssen, RHP, TOR;

 

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2013 Predictions and Useless Guesses

I did this last year and it was interesting, as they were mostly useless guesses as opposed to valuable predictions. However, with days until real games begin, I figured that I would join in the fun of putting this out there so that we can all look back and see just how wrong I was when October rolls around. Let the incorrectness begin!

AL East Champion

Jays

Toronto Blue Jays

I’m buying the upgrades to the Jays roster. A great improvement to the pitching staff, and just in time to pounce on an AL East division where the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox don’t look like major factors. While the Rays and Orioles look to maintain success without a huge payroll increase, the Jays will utilize their awesome blend of speed, power, and rotation depth to take the crown in the East.

AL Central Champion

Tigers

Detroit Tigers

Like the Jays, the Tigers will impress with their strong rotation, and while the club plays scetchy, at best, defense, the presence of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera is enough to make them strong contenders in a weak, yet improving, AL Central. The signing of Torii Hunter and the return of Victor Martinez will only improve the offense, while the club will hope that Austin Jackson continues his tremendous improvement and that Andy Dirks can hold down left until Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia prove themselves ready. The bullpen issues are something to be concerned about, but someone out of Bruce Rondon, Phil Coke, and Joaquin Benoit will step up.

AL West Champion

Angels

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

How do you improve a lineup that had Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in it a season ago? Well, by signing Josh Hamilton, of course! The Angels could be the best offensive team in baseball, but they’ll need to be, after seemingly taking the “we-will-outscore-your-team-because-we-don’t-have-pitching” way of building a roster. After losing out of Zack Greinke, the club traded for Tommy “my shoulder is gonna rip off of my body at any moment” Hanson, signing Joe Blanton, and trading for Jason Vargas, who could benefit from continuing his career in another pitcher-friendly ballpark. The Halos have enough offense to overcome their pitching shortcomings, though, and could easily manage to score about 6-8 runs per game.

AL Wild Cards

Rangers Rays

Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays

The Rangers may have lost Josh Hamilton, but they still have a dynamic offense, led by Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre. While it is highly unlikely that Lance Berkman can truly fill the shoes of Hamilton, he is just a season removed from revitalizing his career in St. Louis. Can he do it again? Well, if he can’t, the club will need more from their rotation, which is solid, but not nearly a lock to be great as others in the AL. Yu Darvish is the anchor, but with Matt Harrison‘s low strikeout rates, one has to wonder if he can maintain the 32 wins and 3.34 ERA that he has put up the last two seasons. Derek Holland needs to bounce back, as well, if Texas is to be taken seriously. If they don’t get the right breaks, this could easily be the Oakland Athletics, once again.

The Rays gambled on cashing in two seasons of James Shields for more young talent, acquiring a great haul from the Royals. While the rotation will miss the strength and innings that Shields brought, David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, and Alex Cobb will be solid, while Roberto Hernandez and Jeff Niemann fight over the No.5 spot. The Rays have to get some production from Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar up the middle, while hoping that Evan Longoria stays healthy until Wil Myers can get called up. They need power in the lineup and on Opening Day, Longoria and Ben Zobrist seem like their only hope. Pitching and defense has worked for the last several years, and it will again in 2013.

AL MVP

jose-bautista-toronto-blue-jays-mlb

Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

While everyone will focus on the huge trades that brought the club Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, and others, Bautista will be the spark plug to the offense due to his tremendous power and ability to get on base. With his wrist fully recovered and a dynamic lineup around him, opposing clubs will be forced to pitch to the slugger, which will result is a season that should resemble his 2010 and 2011 seasons, with overwhelming power and run producing statistics.

AL Cy Young

Courtesy: dcobb1621.blogspot.com

Courtesy: dcobb1621.blogspot.com

Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers

To say that Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball would be an understatement. He turned 30 years old in February and since 2008, he has gone 89-48 with a 3.28 ERA over 1,154.2 innings, and while those numbers have been outmatched by only CC Sabathia in the American League (91-39 with a 3.11 ERA), Verlander seems to have a pretty tight grip on the best pitcher in MLB title for the moment. While Yu Darvish and David Price begin to catch up to him, Verlander will hold control it for another season, with another 20-win season and an ERA under 3.00 for the Tigers.

AL Manager of the Year

Francona

Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians

While he actually has very little to do with the drastic changes that the Indians have undergone this offseason (that honor belongs to GM Chris Antonetti), Terry Francona will get a lot of credit for the Indians posting their first winning season since their 2007 ALCS  appearance. Manny Acta never seemed capable of keeping successful starts going over the 162-game season, but Francona’s resume proves that he is capable of that, regardless of the 2011 Boston Red Sox collapse. While the Tribe won’t make the playoffs, they will be very competitive and, possibly, be a nuisance to the Tigers in the AL Central for most of the season. For that, Francona will deserve the honor for making a Cleveland sports franchise matter again.

AL Rookie of the Year

myers

Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

He won’t start the season with the major league club, but Myers will be up in June, once the Rays can guarantee that he won’t gain Super Two arbitration eligibility, taking over the left field job from Matt Joyce, while manning right field when Ben Zobrist goes to second or short. Myers exploded in the minors last season, hitting an absurd .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs between the Royals’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. While he could work on his contact rate (he struck out 140 times in 522 at-bats), Myers is a much needed offensive force for the Rays, who need someone besides Evan Longoria and Zobrist to produce consistently. Expect a .260/.320/.460 line with nearly 20 home runs if Myers gets the call in June, which should be good enough to win the AL ROY with Jurickson Profar waiting for a shot in Triple-A for the Rangers and so few players getting an opportunity early in the 2013 season.

NL East Champion

Nationals

Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper will be better than he was in 2012 and Stephen Strasburg won’t have an innings limit. Really, this is all that you need to know, but with the addition of a leadoff hitter in Denard Span and another fantastic arm in Rafael Soriano to add to Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen, the Nationals are about as good as it gets in MLB for a lock to go to the playoffs. Add in Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam LaRoche, and you have a team capable of winning 95-100 games. Yes…they’re that good.

NL Central Champion

Reds

Cincinnati Reds

What do you get when you take an outstanding team without a leadoff hitter and you add a guy with a lifetime .386 on-base percentage in that spot? You get a team with a very bad defensive outfield that plays in a hitters paradise and the 2013 version of the Cincinnati Reds. Shin-Soo Choo could be a liability in center, but his offensive skills fit perfectly into the Reds lineup. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto will need some help from Choo and Ryan Ludwick, but with a very good starting rotation and great depth in the bullpen with the move of Aroldis Chapman back to closer, the Reds will battle the Nationals for the best record in MLB in 2013.

NL West Champion

Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers

Like the Dodgers, I’m buying. The addition of Zack Greinke was huge, but the trade with the Boston Red Sox that brought Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez, along with their massive contracts, to the Dodgers will begin paying dividends this season. While the Hanley Ramirez thumb injury is a slight issue to start the season, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are the right kind of awesome to overcome any issues like that. The Dodgers have great pitching depth, unless they make a trade in the next few days, to overcome any further arm issues for Chad Billingsley, and their bullpen is lights out, with flame-thrower Kenley Jansen sharing end-game duties with Brandon League…until Don Mattingley sees what everyone else does and puts Jansen there full-time. This team is dangerous if they stay healthy. The pitching is deep, but an injury to Crawford, Kemp, or Andre Ethier will cost them the division to the San Francisco Giants.

NL Wild Cards

Braves

cardinals

Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals

The Atlanta Braves have an incredible roster. If Chipper Jones had hung around one more season, they may have had a chance at another World Series title for the old man. Unfortunately, Jones finally retired and third could be the clubs only weak spot, as Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson will share the job in 2013. The addition of B.J. Upton and Justin Upton will make the offense even more dangerous, as Jason Heyward continues to become one of the best players in baseball. Freddie Freeman got his eye issues worked out, so he will also improve in 2013, while the club will rely on a deep rotation, that will only get better when Brandon Beachy returns in June or July. By then, the Braves could have a very difficult choice, especially after seeing Julio Teheran thrive this spring, as someone will have to be removed from the rotation if the club is healthy. As far as the bullpen goes, one name is all you need: Craig Kimbrel.

The Cardinals continue to stick around and be contenders, even after losing Albert Pujols a season ago and, potentially, losing Chris Carpenter for the entire 2013 season. Adam Wainwright should re-establish himself as an ace this season, while Allen Craig will show that he is an MVP-caliber player if he would just stay healthy. Speaking of health, could fantasy baseball nerds be any more excited for the first of Carlos Beltran‘s injuries in 2013? If you don’t know why, you need to look up super-prospect Oscar Taveras. The Cards seem to have an endless supply of young arms, as well, as Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez arrive and establish themselves in the majors.

NL MVP

votto

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Votto will do one of two things: 1) Post an on-base percentage approaching .500 (.474 in 2012) while never seeing a pitch worth hitting, or 2) Post numbers close to his 2010 MVP season (.324/.424/.600, 37 home runs) while earning his 2nd MVP. The Reds are going to have Votto hitting No.3 again, and with Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips hitting in front of him, Votto will easily exceed his career-high 113 RBI this season. With his knee healthy and a tremendous lineup and hitter’s paradise as a home ballpark, Joey Votto will win the NL MVP in 2013.

NL Cy Young

bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

You can take Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw, while I go off the board (or rocker) to choose Madison Bumgarner for NL Cy Young. After tiring at the end of the 2012 season, Bumgarner knows that he has a lot to prove. Add on the fact that his WHIP fell from 1.21 in 2011 to 1.11 in 2012, and you can see that the 23-year-old left-hander can not only miss bats (191 K’s in each of the last two seasons), but he isn’t allowing many hits or walks. With a pitcher-friendly ballpark and loads of expectations on him due to his fall-off late last season, Bumgarner will show that he shouldn’t be overlooked due to Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum being on the same roster.

NL Manager of the Year

black

Bud Black, San Diego Padres

There isn’t a whole lot to like about the Padres roster. They don’t have a superstar on the front of a video game, they don’t have a player that shows up to the MLB Fan Cave with an infamous twitter account, but they have an interesting team and a better manager. Bud Black can get a lot out of the club that he has. While the team will continue to struggle to score runs, at times, Chase Headley could provide enough power to get runs in bunches, and Yonder Alonso could thrive with the fences being moved in at Petco. Solid speed and gap power throughout the lineup will make the Padres a surprise team in 2013, and while the rotation is more patchwork than well thought out, the bullpen is tremendous, as it always seems to be. If the Friars can get anything out of Andrew Cashner, Clayton Richard, and Eric Stults, they’ll be a team capable of 82-85 wins, which isn’t playoff worthy, but worth giving Bud Black an award for.

NL Rookie of the Year

Courtesy: stlouiscardinalsbaseball.com

Courtesy: stlouiscardinalsbaseball.com

Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

You don’t get called a left-handed version of Vladimir Guerrero and get overlooked, and Taveras is that special of a talent. Like I mentioned above, once Carlos Beltran gets hurt (as in it IS going to happen), Taveras would, more than likely, get the call. Not only a Beltran injury, but an under performing Jon Jay could even be replaced by the super-prospect, as Taveras played 93 games in center for the Cards Double-A affiliate in 2012. Taveras will get enough at-bats to be valuable and he could do that as a fourth outfielder once June rolls around, but once he is in St. Louis, he won’t be leaving town for several years. A pure hitter in every sense of the label.

World Series Prediction

Washington Nationals defeat Los Angeles Angels, 4-2

Random, Bold Predictions

There is no rhyme or reason here, just as the title says:

  1. Bryce Harper will hit over 30 home runs in 2013, while posting an OPS near .940.
  2. Mike Trout won’t hit 30 home runs again, but he will steal 50 bases.
  3. Jose Reyes will stay healthy, even while playing on turf, and terrorize the AL East while stealing over 50 bases.
  4. Ike Davis will hit over 40 home runs after hitting 32 in 2012 while hitting just .227.
  5. Mat Latos will become the ace of the Cincinnati Reds, posting better overall numbers than Johnny Cueto and winning 20 games in 2013.
  6. Mike Minor proves that his second half from 2012 (6-4, 2.16 ERA, 0.87 WHIP over 87.1 IP) wasn’ a fluke, as he becomes the Braves best starting pitcher in 2013.
  7. Jordan Zimmerman has a more impressive 2013 season than Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez and he will no longer be overlooked in a fantastic Washington rotation.
  8. Brandon Belt continues hitting like he has all spring, ripping 25 home runs after having a power outage in the earlier stages of his career (16 in 598 at-bats).
  9. Troy Tulowitzki stays healthy and benefits from Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler having All Star seasons to hit 40 home runs, making all of those fantasy baseball players that took him in the first round feel like the smartest men alive.
  10. Allen Craig becomes an All Star and hits over .300 with 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI.
  11. Carlos Santana hits 30+ home runs and will have the kind of hype that Buster Posey has right now during the 2013-2014 offseason.
  12. Jason Heyward finishes 2nd in NL MVP voting to Joey Votto, posting his first 30 HR/30 SB season for Atlanta.
  13. Domonic Brown keeps the Phillies left field job all season and posts a .270/.380/.450 line with solid production across the board. Philly fans hit Ruben Amaro, Jr. with batteries for not trusting in him sooner.
  14. Zack Greinke can’t handle the Los Angeles pressure and spotlight and misses time due to his anxiety disorder.
  15. Chris Sale pitches 200 innings and proves doubters about his bony frame and drastic innings increase in 2012 wrong.
  16. Drew Stubbs (remember him?) hits 20 home runs and steals 50 bases, revitalizing his career.
  17. Rick Porcello wins 17 games with a 3.20 ERA while striking out 180 batters…all because he began using his four-seam fastball for the first time in his career.

Breakout Stars

These guys are about to go bonkers in 2013. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…(obvious names not listed, i.e. Harper, Brown, Braun, Ike Davis)

Alex Cobb, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Brett Anderson, LHP, Oakland Athletics

Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta Braves

Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics

Greg Holland, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals

Chris Parmelee, OF, Minnesota Twins

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs

Dayan Viciedo, OF, Chicago White Sox

Dan Straily, RHP, Oakland Athletics (Bartolo Colon won’t last forever)

Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

Michael Saunders, OF, Seattle Mariners

Prospects to Watch

This has nothing to do with the Top 100 Prospects that I put out in December, but you will find some familiar names and others that will be players to keep an eye on, especially if they’re on your favorite team or if you’re in a keeper fantasy baseball league.

Jonathan Schoop, INF, Baltimore Orioles

Dorssys Paulino, INF, Cleveland Indians

J.R. Graham, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Yordano Ventura, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Bubba Starling, OF, Kansas City Royals

Yasel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros

Xander Bogaerts, INF, Boston Red Sox

Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

Joey Gallo, INF, Texas Rangers

Indians Stuff, 12/20/12

IndiansI write about the Indians over at www.wahoosonfirst.com and Bleacher Report when I’m not writing things here. You should check these out, just in case you need something to read while the sky is falling due to a lazy Mayan:

Who is going to DH for the Indians with the current roster? http://wahoosonfirst.com/2012/12/20/who-will-be-tribes-dh-in-2013/

Thoughts on the Indians’ acquisition of Mark Reynolds and Trevor Bauer:

http://wahoosonfirst.com/2012/12/13/on-mark-reynolds-trevor-bauer-and-the-indians-new-direction/

Should the Reds and Indians do a Chris Perez for Devin Mesoraco Trade?

http://wahoosonfirst.com/2012/12/03/could-indians-reds-trade-chris-perez-for-devin-mesoraco/

Three pretend trades that the Indians should try to make:

http://wahoosonfirst.com/2012/11/19/three-trades-the-cleveland-indians-should-make/

2013 Indians Batting Order:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1448795-mlb-indians-projecting-the-2013-batting-order

How many wins is Terry Francona worth?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1443626-mlb-how-many-wins-can-new-cleveland-indians-manager-terry-francona-produce

Seven starting pitchers that the Indians should target:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1430156-mlb-7-available-starting-pitchers-to-complete-the-ideal-2013-indians-rotation

Why the Indians can win now with Terry Francona:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1429424-mlb-why-the-indians-can-win-now-with-terry-francona

10 Players to Watch in 2013

Whether they are rookies, players who may have had a surprising second half in 2012, or a feeling, here are players you will want to look out for in the 2013 MLB season.

Courtesy: ESPN.com

Jurickson Profar, 2B/SS, Texas Rangers

Jurickson Profar posted an amazing season at the age of 19 in Double-A in 2012, compiling a .281/.368/.452 line with 26 doubles, seven triples, 14 home runs, and 16 stolen bases for Frisco. He had 17 at-bats with the Rangers at the end of the season. Profar is about as ready as any prospect could be, even though he will be just 20 in February. The question will be: where does he play? With Ian Kinsler at second, Elvis Andrus at short, and Adrian Beltre at third, will the Rangers move Profar or make a deal? Perhaps moving Kinsler to left if or when Josh Hamilton leaves via free agency is an option. Regardless, Profar is a hitting machine who can get on base, a rarity for someone so young.

Darin Ruf, 1B/OF, Philadelphia Phillies

Ruf was “old” for Double-A in 2012, but you still have to appreciate his .317/.408/.620 line and his 38 home runs. Fans should be aware of the fact that he hit three home runs and posted a 1.079 OPS in 33 at-bats for the Phillies at the end of the season. More importantly, he is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, learning to play the outfield, and he is still raking, having hit nine bombs with a .994 OPS in 76 at-bats. With Ryan Howard locked in at first base, the 6’3″, 220 pounder out of Creighton will need to play elsewhere. As the Phillies make changes with their roster after dealing Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino in 2012, it will be interesting to see how much of an opportunity Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Company will provide the slugging right-handed hitter.

Giancarlo Stanton, RF, Miami Marlins

Stanton is an absolute freak. Standing 6’5″, 245 pounds, the slugger just turned 23 at the beginning of November and he already has 93 career home runs. Stanton hit 37 home runs in 2012 in just 449 at-bats, including 18 in just 43 games and 164 at-bats in the second half of 2012. Stanton’s 1.057 OPS in the second half was only behind Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey, both players worthy of their league MVP awards. I felt that 2012 was the year that Stanton could get to 50 home runs, and had he not missed 39 games, he very well could have reached that total. If he keeps his knees healthy, Stanton could be on his way to catching asterisks, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, or any other slugger in history.

Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres

San Diego is where pitchers go to revive their careers and where hitters go to die, but don’t tell Headley that. The 28-year-old switch-hitter erupted in the second half of 2012, hitting .308/.386/.592 with 23 home runs and 73 RBI in 289 at-bats, while posting a career best .875 OPS, 31 home runs, and an NL-leading 115 RBI. Headley’s name was mentioned all over the place at the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline, but with the Padres moving the fences in at Petco and Headley under team control for two more years, it would take a significant haul to pry away the star third baseman. However, the Padres have dealt the likes of Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, and Adrian Gonzalez in the past due to salaries, so Headley may only be more impressive if he ends up playing elsewhere in 2013.

Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City Royals

Wil Myers has nothing left to prove at the minor league level. In 2012, Myers hit .314/.387/.600 between Double-A and Triple-A, mashing 37 home runs and driving in 109 runs. Myers doesn’t even turn 22 until December, so the future is bright. The Royals, brilliantly, have Jeff Francoeur signed through 2013 in right, Alex Gordon signed through 2016 (counting the team option) in left, and Lorenzo Cain in center. Myers played 87 games in center in 2012 but he profiles better in a corner. With Billy Butler entrenched at DH and Eric Hosmer needing a bounce-back in 2013, where will the Royals find room for this future All-Star? Another trade is possible, but, more likely, Frenchy could be headed to the pine.

Courtesy: Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com

Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Oakland Athletics

The A’s won the AL West in 2012 and shocked the world. After trading away Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals for a load of prospects, Billy Beane and Oakland ownership won the 2012 offseason by landing the Cuban-defector, Cespedes. While he was a free-swinger (102 strikeouts), Cespedes could also take a walk (43 BB, .356 OBP), becoming an immediate impact player for the A’s. Cespedes exploded in the second half of 2012, posting a .909 OPS, 14 doubles, 14 home runs, and even stealing 10 bases. The overall line, .292/.356/.505, was enhanced down the stretch, .311/.376/.533, so this could be the beginning of a fantastic career. The pure power and speed that Cespedes offers makes him a potentially elite outfielder, MVP candidate, and a superstar, which the A’s needed so badly.

Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals

When you go 14-0 with a 0.08 ERA in your senior year of high school, you must have some solid stuff. Odorizzi still has the stuff, a broad repertoire that had many linking his pitches and command to Greg Maddux when he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. A major part of the Zack Greinke deal, Odorizzi went 15-5 with a 3.08 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012 before making two starts for the Royals in September. Odorizzi has the stuff to become a solid No.2 starter for the Royals, and with Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy working their way back from elbow surgery, and only Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza, Ervin Santana, Will Smith, and Luke Hochevar in front of him, Odorizzi should begin making an impact early into the 2013 season. He may end up striking out about 170 batters over 200 innings in his prime, while keeping the ball in the park and runners off the bases due to his control.

Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians

After an anemic .221/.339/.336 line in the first half, Santana broke out in the second half of 2012, hitting .281/.389/.498 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs, 46 RBI, and a 41:45 K:BB in 263 at-bats. Santana will turn the magical age of 27 in April, and the catcher, signed through 2017 for the Indians, could continue to establish himself as a dynamic offensive catcher, wearing the No.41 of his mentor, Victor Martinez, with pride. Defensively, Santana allowed 10 passed balls (most in the AL) and threw out only 26 percent of would-be base stealers, so he may not be a catcher much longer if he doesn’t improve behind the dish.

Zack Cox, 3B, Miami Marlins

Gregg Dobbs is all that is standing between Zack Cox and the Miami Marlins everyday third base job. While Cox posted a disappointing .254/.301/.409 line over 394 at-bats in 2012, he was rated by Baseball America as the best pure college hitter in the 2010 MLB Draft, prior to being taken 25th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. While he has been a bit of a disappointment to this point, especially with his plate discipline, Cox will only turn 24 years old next May. Considering his pedigree, the fact that the Marlins acquired the third baseman for Edward Mujica was surprising. While there may be growing pains, Cox is probably better right now than what Dobbs could provide over the entire 2013 season.

Max Scherzer, RHP, Detroit Tigers

6-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 80:15 K:BB over 65 innings from August through the end of the season. Then, 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and an 18:3 K:BB in 11 innings against the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees…Scherzer was a beast down the stretch. He lost his only World Series start against the San Francisco Giants, but Scherzer became a reliable piece to complement Justin Verlander and Doug Fister, stabilizing an amazing group of pitchers collected by the Detroit Tigers. Scherzer was third in the majors (behind James Shields, Verlander, and tied with Clayton Kershaw) in strikeouts in the second half (110), while winning a career-best 16 games in 2012. Scherzer will turn 29 in July and he is arbitration-eligible for the second time. After earning $3.75 million in 2012, Tigers ownership may want to consider locking the mis-matched eyed starter into a long-term contract.

Indians Stuff, 8/28

Lots of stuff on Bleacher Report if you would like to check it out! Make me famous, people!!!!

5 ways the Indians can salvage the 2012 season:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1313883-5-things-that-can-salvage-the-cleveland-indians-2012-season

How does the Dodgers and Red Sox blockbuster trade hurt the Indians?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1311891-mlb-how-does-the-blockbuster-deal-for-los-angeles-and-boston-hurt-cleveland

Who deserves the most blame for the Indians’ 2012 season?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1307986-who-deserves-the-most-blame-for-cleveland-indians-disappointing-2012-so-far

Manny Acta calls out ownership

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1300955-mlb-cleveland-indians-manager-calls-out-ownership

How can the Indians stop the bleeding?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1288012-mlb-cleveland-indians-how-can-you-stop-the-bleeding

The disaster-filled decision-making 2012 Indians season

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1284719-mlb-the-cleveland-indians-and-the-2012-disaster-filled-decision-making

Bleacher Report Links, 8/2

Some recent posts at Bleacher Report, mostly on the Indians:

A look ahead to the 2013 Cleveland Indians:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1280957-mlb-the-2013-cleveland-indians

Grading the Philadelphia Phillies’ Deadline Deals:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1280374-mlb-philadelphia-phillies-grading-the-phillies-trade-deadline-deals

5 Trades the Cleveland Indians should have made at the trade deadline:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1277089-five-best-case-trade-scenarios-for-the-cleveland-indians-at-the-deadline

10 Indians who were sweating out the trade deadline:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1264712-10-indians-who-will-have-to-sweat-out-the-2012-trade-deadline

Expect a big 2nd half for Carlos Santana:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1264750-mlb-cleveland-indians-the-return-of-carlos-santana

 

Indians Stuff, 7/14

 

 

 

 

Recent articles at Bleacher Report for the Indians:

The Indians Top 11 Prospects

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1251147-mlb-cleveland-indians-top-11-prospects

Things the Indians Need to Contend in the Second Half

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1256997-mlb-cleveland-indians-five-things-the-indians-need-to-contend-after-the-break

Which Player’s Return from the DL is More Important: Hafner or Hannahan?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1254313-mlb-cleveland-indians-whose-return-to-the-lineup-is-more-important

Thanks for reading!!!

2012 MLB Mid-Season Awards

Courtesy: ESPN.com

This is where I come in and embarrass myself by making absurd predictions, but they are predictions that I feel are worthy.

NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

McCutchen was somewhat productive in April with a .302 AVG and .351 OBP, but it was pretty empty, just seven RBI and six extra-base hits – none of them home runs. Then, May led to an absolute eruption for McCutchen. Since the start of May, he has hit .383/.443/.706 with 11 2B, five triples, 16 home runs, 49 RBI, and 9 steals. In that time period, the Pirates have gone 36-25, taking the lead in the NL Central away from the Cincinnati Reds. At the age of 25, McCutchen is a total beast, capable of hitting for power, average, and running like crazy. You don’t have to run when you’re trotting around the bases, though.

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

When Mike Trout arrived in Anaheim to stay on April 28, the Angels were struggling. Without Albert Pujols producing and the lack of an identity, they were 6-14, nine games out in the AL West and in last place. However, they are 40-24 since Trout arrived, sitting four games back of Texas in the AL West. Trout would be the first rookie MVP since Fred Lynn in 1995, and he totally deserves it. The All-Star outfielder leads the AL in batting average (.347) and steals (26), while Trout has amassed 15 2B, three triples, 11 home runs, 39 RBI, and 55 runs scored in just 62 games. If it seems like he has two or three hits per night and a couple of runs scored, it isn’t a surprise. He has 28 multi-hit games and 14 games with at least two runs scored. He is a machine and at just 20 (he doesn’t turn 21 until August 7), he is only going to get better.

NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds

You can call me a homer if you’d like to, as I live about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati, but Cueto deserves some praise, and he certainly isn’t going to get it from Tony LaRussa. He leads the NL in ERA (2.35) and has gone 18-10 with a 2.33 ERA over his last 41 starts. He won’t get the publicity of R.A. Dickey due to the lack of a crappy career like Dickey had before deciding to show up in his tenth attempt at mattering as a starting pitcher in the Majors, but he deserves some love, so I’m giving it to him. If he continues to pitch so well, he could win a few more games and matter to all of those people who only look at wins for a Cy Young candidate.

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

If Sale makes it through the whole season without an injury and continues pitching like he has to this point, he has to win the award. The injury concern is present, as he had a tender elbow and was moved to the bullpen for one appearance before the Sox moved him back to the rotation. The 23-year-old lefty is 2nd in the AL in wins (10), 2nd in ERA in the AL (2.19), 2nd in WHIP (0.95), and has an impressive 98:25 K:BB in 102.2 innings. The White Sox are in first place and this surprising, young arm has a lot to do with it.

NL Rookie of the Year: Bryce Harper

Anthony Rizzo could win it if he continues hitting the way that he has since his promotion for the Chicago Cubs (.386/.400/.750), but as his sample size grows, his numbers will shrink. Harper is only 19 and he is in the All-Star game, having replaced injured Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. He has a .283/.355/.475 line with 15 2B, four triples, eight home runs, 25 RBI, and eight steals. The National League has a lot of young talent, with Harper, Arizona left-handed pitcher Wade Miley, Cincinnati super-sub Todd Frazier, Cincinnati shortstop Zack Cozart, and Colorado slugging catcher Wilin Rosario, but Harper’s skills and his ability to help lead his team to the NL East title will help him separate from the pack in the second half.

AL Rookie of the Year: See Mike Trout, above, AL MVP

Duh. Sorry Yu.

NL Manager of the Year: Terry Collins, New York Mets

At 46-39, 4.5 games out of first in the NL East (good for 2nd place), the Mets are the surprise team in the NL this season. After going 77-85 and finishing 4th in the East in 2011, the team lost Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, then they still had to deal with the fact that Jason Bay was on their roster. No way they got better, right? Wrong. With Johan Santana’s resurgically re-glued shoulder actually holding up and R.A. Dickey finding the fountain of youth on his offseason mountain hikes, the Mets matter again. Collins is a miracle worker. Play Scott Hairston every day and they could be in first…just saying.

AL Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore is 45-38 and in 2nd in the AL East. They’ve begun to slide a little recently, having to replace three starters in their rotation due to being terrible, and they’ve dealt with a fair share of injuries, including to starters Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis in the outfield. If they can tread water while they get injuries under control and starters get things rolling again, there is no reason to the believe that there isn’t something magical that could happen in Baltimore this season. Adam Jones is a superstar and Matt Wieters is a star in the making, if you don’t consider him one already, so they have the pieces to matter.

NL Biggest Surprise: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets

What do you get when you get a guy who climbs Mt. Kilamanjaro and mix him with an 80-mph knuckleball? You get a 37-year-old starting pitcher who is 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA, 123:28 K:BB in 120 innings, and a Cy Young candidate. After never having won more than 11 games in a single season coming into 2012, Dickey has already eclipsed that mark before the break. He has been a different pitcher since arriving in New York, going 31-23 with a 2.92 ERA over 75 starts, so I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising; however, I still can’t believe what he is doing, especially with his control and strikeout totals, with a knuckleball.

AL Biggest Surprise: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels

He was supposed to be the odd-man out with the Albert Pujols signing, or so many thought, but Trumbo has been the biggest force this side of Mike Trout for the Angels in 2012. After posting a .254/.291/.477 line last season and an attrocious 120:25 K:BB in 539 AB in 2011, Trumbo is sporting a .307/.361/.607 line and a 63:22 K:BB in 280 AB in 2012. His patience has improved and his power is for real. While many considered him an afterthought this spring, including myself, Trumbo has become an All-Star calibur player on a team with two young superstars.

NL Biggest Fantasy Bust: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

Instead of yelling “Freak”, fans may be yelling “you freaking suck,” at Lincecum, as his nickname now brings questions as to whether his ability to pitch with such odd mechanics is finally settling in. Lincecum is 3-9 with a 6.08 ERA in 2012, but the strange number is that his 101:49 K:BB in 93.1 innings is still solid, though the walks are at a 4.7 BB/9 (which would be a career high). Lincecum’s career high for earned runs was 81 in 2010 and he has already allowed 63 earned runs in just 17 starts, so he’ll easily establish a career worst there. If he allowed one earned run over seven innings in each of his next 16 starts, his ERA would still be 3.46, his highest since his 4.00 ERA in his rookie year.

AL Biggest Fantasy Bust: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

After hitting 27 home runs last season, Santana was bound to explode, especially after hitting just .239 in 2011 with a BABIP of just .263…not the case. Santana is hitting just .219 with a BABIP of just .266 in 2012, so he is not anywhere near the top ranked fantasy catcher that many expected him to be. He may still have a solid eye at the plate and has improved defensively, but that doesn’t help anyone in pretend baseball.

Indians Stuff, 7/2/2012

I’ve been busy with Indians material for Bleacher Report lately. Read the following, share with friends:

Indians Follow-Up to Attendance Issues: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1238459-mlb-follow-up-to-5-ways-indians-can-increase-attendance

What Move Should the Indians Make When Hafner Returns: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1241288-mlb-what-move-should-the-indians-make-with-the-return-of-travis-hafner

Right-Handed Bats the Indians Could Trade For: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1242551-mlb-right-handed-bats-that-should-interest-the-cleveland-indians

Lineup Changes that Manny Acta Could Consider: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1243439-what-lineup-changes-should-manny-acta-consider-to-boost-indians-offense

Indians Stuff

 

 

 

I have a couple of new articles over at Bleacher Report:

Follow-up to Indians Attendance with responses directly from the Indians: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1238459-mlb-follow-up-to-5-ways-indians-can-increase-attendance

 

Should the Indians Cut Johnny Damon?: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1235886-mlb-should-the-cleveland-indians-give-johnny-damon-the-axe

 

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