Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB Preseason Predictions

In honor of Opening Day I thought i should give you guys my Preseason Picks.

Division Winners-

AL East- Boston Redsox
AL Central- Chicago White Sox
AL West- Oakland Athletics
AL Wildcard- New York Yankees

NL East- Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central- Cincinnati Reds
NL West- Colorado Rockies
NL Wild Card- Atlanta Braves

ALDS- Boston over Oakland
Chicago over New York
ALCS- Boston over Chicago

NLDS- Philadelphia over Colorado
Atlanta over Cincinnati
NLCS- Atlanta over Philadelphia

World Series- Boston over Atlanta


AL MVP- Adrian Gonzalez(BOS)
AL CY Young- Jon Lester(BOS)
AL ROY- Michael Pinieda(SEA)
NL MVP- Troy Tulowitzki(COL)
NL CY Young- Roy Halladay(PHI)
NL ROY- Freddie Freeman(ATL)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Final MLB Power Rankings

Wow, Kevin and I have done a really bad job recently of keeping this site up to date and we apologize. I promise we will bring some more content soon and try and keep it more consistent. I realize that the MLB regular season is approaching fast so I decided I will release my official 2011 MLB Preseason Power Rankings in full today. I will try to do these once a month, so watch out for that.

1. Boston Red Sox
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. San Francisco Giants
4. New York Yankees
5. Texas Rangers
6. Chicago White Sox
7. Milwaukee Brewers
8. Colorado Rockies
9. Minnesota Twins
10. Atlanta Braves
11. St. Louis Cardinals
12. Cincinnati Reds
13. Chicago Cubs
14. Oakland A's
15. Tampa Bay Rays
16. New York Mets
17. Detroit Tigers
18. Florida Marlins
19. Los Angeles Angels
20. Los Angeles Dodgers
21. Baltimore Orioles
22. San Diego Padres
23. Washington Nationals
24. Toronto Blue Jays
25. Arizona Diamondbacks
26. Seattle Mariners
27. Pittsburgh Pirates
28. Houston Astros
29. Cleveland Indians
30. Kansas City Royals

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MLB Power Rankings #9

Well this past week we did not do a podcast. There just wasnt time as Kevin and I were busy taking our midterms. But this week is our spring break so we will try to bring you as much content as we can. We have recorded a podcast, and we may, also I will try to finish my Power Rankings, so look out for a new team every day this week. So now lets dig right in and look at the #9 team.

#9- Minnesota Twins

1. Carl Pavano
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Brian Duensing
4. Nick Blackburn
5. Scott Baker

CL- Joe Nathan
SU- Matt Capps
SU- Jose Mijares
MR- Alex Burnett
MR- Pat Neshek

1. Denard Span-CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka-2B
3. Joe Mauer-C
4. Justin Morneau-1B
5. Michael Cuddyer-RF
6. Delmon Young-LF
7. Jason Kubel-DH
8. Danny Valencia-3B
9. Alexi Casilla-SS

The Twins have created a model for success that I love, they manage to develop nearly their entire team through their farm system. If you have ever listened to me talk baseball on our podcasts or read any of my ideas about how to construct a winning team, you know that the one thing I preach is to build through the farm. That is the only way to consistently win (with the exception of the Yankees and other successful big market teams.) Their offense is built around a series of homegrown talent in former MVP's Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and complementary players Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span. To me the most interesting piece of this offense to watch in 2011 is the young Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka. He was a stellar player in Japan, but as we have seen in the past that doesn't always translate to the majors (Kaz Matsui, Kosuke Fukudome.) All together they have a solid offensive attack that features some speed with Span, Nishioka and Casilla, and solid power from Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer and Young. The pitching staff is also solid with Carl Pavano and the resurgent Francisco Liriano, both provide top of the rotation stuff supported by a multitude of middle of the rotation arms. They have some room to deal a couple of their middle of the rotation arms if they want to. Then as usual they have a really good pen, hopefully Joe Nathan can come back from injury and return to his dominant form. If not they have insurance with another excellent closer in Matt Capps. What I love about the Twins is they are not excellent in any specific category but are good in every category. But with that also comes their downfall that they never seem to go deep in the playoffs, and the rest of the division got a lot better. So It's not a guarantee that the Twins will win the division or even make the playoffs.

Look out for our next Podcast that Kevin is editing and also look out for the rest of my power rankings.

Chris "Da Franchize" Hart

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MLB Power Rankings #10

Now we have finally broken into the top 10 teams in my MLB Power Rankings. This is what we have been building up too, so before we get into the #10 team, lets recap what we have so far.

30. Royals
29. Indians
28. Astros
27. Pirates
26. Mariners
25. D-Backs
24. Blue Jays
23. Nationals
22. Padres
21. Orioles
20. Dodgers
19. Angels
18. Marlins
17. Tigers
16. Mets
15. Rays
14. A's
13. Cubs
12. Reds
11. Cardinals

Now lets get into the #10 team in my MLB Power Rankins......

#10- Atlanta Braves

1. Derek Lowe
2. Tim Hudson
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Jair Jurrjens
5. Mike Minor

CL- Craig Kimbrel
SU- Scott Linebrink
SU- Jonny Venters
MR- Peter Moylan
MR- George Sherrill

1. Martin Prado- LF
2. Jason Heyward-RF
3. Chipper Jones-3B
4. Dan Uggla-2B
5. Brian McCann-C
6. Alex Gonzalez-SS
7. Freddie Freeman-1B
8. Nate McLouth-CF

It's too bad these guys play in the same division as the Phillies, because if it were not for the Phillies the Braves would easily win this division. They have a dominant pitching staff that has a plethora of arms moving up from the minors that also help improve a solid bullpen, and with the addition of Dan Uggla the Braves now have a very potent offense. Now I think this is an extremely strong team but they do have a few flaws. They lack a true ace, Derek Lowe is an innings eater and Tim Hudson may have put up good numbers but his stuff no longer rates as an ace in my eyes. But Tommy Hanson is on the cusp of developing into an ace, he has the stuff and potential to be the anchor of this braves pitching staff for years to come. Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel are two exciting young arms that will battle for the closers spot this year and provide a solid foundation for this bullpen. The offense has also improved mightily, Dan Uggla provides the raw power for the middle of the lineup, and Jason Heyward provides the 5 tool talent to pair with Uggla. The Braves have 4 legitimate offensive stars in Martin Prado, Heyward, Uggla and Brian McCann to go along with aging veterans in Alex Gonzalez and Chipper Jones, and up and coming talent in Freddie Freeman. The Braves have a nice balance on offense and on the mound that I think they have a realistic shot at making the playoffs this season, barring some unfortunate injuries. But even if they do not make it this year, the Braves are a team on the rise and should take over when the Phillies begin to decline.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

MLB Power Rankings #14-#11

I had some time today so I thought I would finish up the bottom 20 teams in my Power Rankings by doing the #14-#11 Teams. Now we are entering the area where I will likely receive the most criticism for my picks, but that's just part of the sports writing business. Well that's enough small talk, lets dive right into the Power Rankings.

#14- Oakland Athletics

1. Trevor Cahill
2. Brett Anderson
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Dallas Braden
5. Rich Harden

CL- Andrew Bailey
SU- Grant Balfour
SU- Brad Ziegler
MR- Brian Fuentes
MR- Michael Wuertz

1. Coco Crisp-CF
2. David Dejesus-RF
3. Daric Barton-1B
4. Hideki Matsui-DH
5. Josh Willingham-LF
6. Kevin Kouzmanoff-3B
7. Mark Ellis-2B
8. Kurt Suzuki-C
9. Cliff Pennington-SS

I realize some people may think that the A's should be higher on this list, I would agree with them but I am still a bit skeptical about their offense. I am sold on their very talented young pitching staff and their very deep bullpen (maybe to deep if there is such a thing). But I am skeptical to put a team with a questionable offense to high. they could go the route of the Giants or the route of the Mariners, until the season starts we wont know with team they will be. But with the additons of Matsui. Willingham and Dejesus they will be better than the 2010 club that finished .500. So to sum things up they could very well win the world series this year but because they have the chance of collapsing and they are not as proven as some of the teams ahead of them Im ranking them at 14.

#13- Chicago Cubs

1. Ryan Dempster
2. Carlos Zambrano
3. Matt Garza
4. Randy Wells
5. Carlos Silva

CL- Carlos Marmol
SU- Kerry Wood
SU- Sean Marshall
MR- Andrew Cashner
MR- John Grabow

1. Kosuke Fukudome-RF
2. Starlin Castro-SS
3. Marlon Byrd-CF
4. Aramis Ramirez-3B
5. Carlos Pena-1B
6. Alfonso Soriano-LF
7. Geovany Soto-C
8. Blake DeWitt-2B

I have a feeling this is the pick I will get the most flack for on this post. Yes I am a Cubs fan, so maybe you think I have a bias, and maybe I do but I used a statistical system to devise these rankings and this is were they came out, so whatever bias I may have had no influence on the spots on the Power Rankings. But the Cubs have bolstered their rotation with the addition of Matt Garza and helped the pen by bringing back a true Cub in Kerry Wood. They also hope to add some pop with the Powerful yet strikeout prone Carlos Pena. With a little luck and healthy years out of Ramirez, Pena and Soriano, the Cubs could post similar offensive numbers to their 07' and 08' campaigns. They should be competitive in the division but I would not expect playoffs as the NL Central is very tough this season. The Cubs may be able to look forward to this off season though if Pujols doesn't re-sign with the Cardinals as they are well positioned to offer him a contract.

#12- Cincinnati Reds

1. Bronson Arroyo
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Homer Bailey
4. Edinson Volquez
5. Travis Wood

CL- Francisco Cordero
SU- Aroldis Chapman
SU- Nick Massett
MR- Bill Bray
MR- Logan Ondrusek

1. Drew Stubbs-CF
2. Brandon Phillips-2B
3. Joey Votto-1B
4. Scott Rolen-3B
5. Jay Bruce-RF
6. Johnny Gomes-LF
7. Ramon Hernandez-C
8. Paul Janish-SS

This is yet another pick I expect to receive some criticism. How can I put the defending NL Central Champions out of the top 10? As I have said before I ran each team through some statistical analysis and the Reds actually came out lower than this but I bumped them up because of last season. I have some serious concerns about how sustainable their success can be with this team. First lets start with the pitching staff, while they have depth they lack elite talent that can pitch you deep into the playoffs. When they do not match up against any of the elite teams in baseball in terms of their pitching staff. They do have some young arms that are on the rise but they really lack the ace at the top. I did not understand why they didn't get in the bidding for Grienke or Matt Garza. That was the main problem I have with the Reds, they basically stood pat during the offseason while their opponents reloaded. Now they do have excellent hitters in Votto, Phillips, Bruce and potentially Drew Stubbs and they do play some of the best defense in the National League. I also like Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen and it looks as if he could be one of the most dominant closers in baseball in the near future, when given the chance. But for now he will be an elite setup man. Don't get me wrong this is a very good team that is a lock to contend for the division in 2011. But unless they develop or acquire a bonafide ace or multiple ones for that matter, I don't see them ever making progress in the playoffs.

#11- St. Louis Cardinals

1. Chris Carpenter
2. Jake Westbrook
3. Jamie Garcia
4. Kyle Lohse
5. Open

CL- Ryan Franklin
SU- Kyle McClellan
SU- Jason Motte
MR- Trevor Miller
MR- Mitchel Boggs

1. Ryan Theriot-SS
2. Skip Schumaker-2B
3. Albert Pujols-1B
4. Matt Holliday-LF
5. Lance Berkman-RF
6. Colby Rasmus-CF
7. David Freese-3B
8. Yadier Molina

I think it's obvious why the Cardinals are not in the top 10. With Wainwrights injury I think this may be a generous spot to place them in the power rankings, but while they may have lost him they still have a potent lineup, solid bullpen and a serviceable rotation. I think they can stay competitive, but i don't think they can keep up in what is going to be a very tough NL Central. They are having to rely on Carpenter, a 36 year old injury prone starter, Jamie Garcia who has one solid major league year under his belt and the oft injured Jake Westbrook. They will also need Kyle Lohse to bounce back and find a suitable fifth starter if they want to compete in 2011. On the offensive side they are also relying on some injury plagued players to stay healthy. Lance Berkman will have to transition back to the outfield and try and stay healthy on some already bulky knees and David Freese needs to stay healthy as well. When this entire team is healthy, they may be able to be in this #11 spot, but more likely than not they will slip down this list as the year progresses.

Now we have completed the bottom 20 teams in the majors. Starting next week I will begin my top 10 countdown to the top team in baseball. Look out for further posts and hopefully once i complete the power rankings we can have a podcast dedicated to them.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Podcast 2-24-11

It took me a while but I was finally able to get this podcast up. Again it is not edited but we have streamlined the show so that it is about 60 minutes long. Today we talk about NBA trades, the impact of Adam Wainwrights injury and about some of the better nicknames in sports. We are continuing to work on improving the show,
hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Podcast 2-17-11

Sorry it took a little while to upload this one, its been a very busy week. I wanted to get a chance to edit this but I wasn't able to because as I said it was a busy week. But in this podcast we talk about the Albert Pujols contract negotiations and the Carmello Anthony trade saga. There are also 2 new segments that we did but overall this is a shorter show than usual. Hope you enjoy!!!