2014 Season Predictions: Stone cold guesses

Predictions are predictably wrong.  But just in case we can get them right, it’s fun to go back and look at what you thought.  These are not based on simulations or modeling which is probably the best way to do things.  If you want those, there are plenty of places that do that.  The best thing about my predictions is that you know they came from the guy who picked the Angels to make the World Series…and the Blue Jays to win the AL East.  What can I say?  I guess I’m a sucker for the higher priced things in life.  (Side note:  No way can I get on board with paying a portly slugger $30M when he’s 41.)

Without further ado, here is what I think will happen during the 2014 season:

National League

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I have the Nationals and Reds meeting up in the Queen City for the wild card matchup with the Nationals throwing Stephen Strasburg and winning.

I have the Dodgers falling short again to the Cardinals in the NLCS to make their second World Series in a row.  These two staffs are really good, but I see the Cardinals as the better staff overall – and that will prove the difference.

American League

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I think the Red Sox and A’s match up in the wild card with Sonny Gray putting his big boy pants on and shutting down Boston.

The Yankees will somehow beat the Tigers in the ALCS and get back to the place they seemingly were every year.

World Series:

That trip will be short lived however as the Cardinals will win the World Series this year. I hate this as a Reds fan and hopefully I will jinx them by picking them (I won’t).  Let’s say it will take 7 games to add some drama in my life.

Other Predictions:

AL MVP – Mike Trout.  He’s the best player and he’ll finally get over the Miggy hump.

NL MVP – Ryan Braun Bryce Harper – The story becomes Harper vs. Trout.  He’s looked jacked this spring and has all the skills in the world.

AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander.  I know the trend is down, but with much of the top pitching in the NL I think he’s got a shot.

NL Cy Young – Stephen Strasburg.  If he’s healthy and dealing I think he is on Kershaw’s level.  Voters like new faces.

 

I almost had my son randomly pick teams for this as it might be as accurate.  That post might be coming up soon.

 

 

 

 

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MLB.tv officially renewed

Officially renewed my MLB.tv premium account for 2014.  Especially during the summer when I usually dump cable, being able to watch the Reds, Mariners and all the great matchups is a serious bump to the summer enjoyment level.

I’m hoping to complete the back patio so that I can come home from work, turn on the Reds game in the 3rd inning on the iPad and watch the game whilst (yes…whilst) consuming an adult beverage in the sun.

MLB.tv as a product puts every other sports package to shame.  I’m assuming the others will catch up eventually but only time will tell.

Pro tip:  If you don’t have cable and want to watch your home team or a national ESPN game, you can spoof your IP to make it look like you’re logging in from somewhere else.  I’m sure this is breaking the terms of service so do so at your own risk.

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AL wins an exhibition game and they win home field advantage…makes sense?

This post is brought to you by The Sports Geek.  A great place to go for free betting advice.

The first half of the season has been a great one.  Highlighted by Chris Davis’s home run bonanza, no hitters by Homer Bailey and Tim Lincecum, two brawls in Los Angeles, the upstart Pirates claiming the 3rd best record in baseball, Miggy cementing himself as the most dominant hitter since Barry Bonds and other great moments.  The standing may not look very much like I thought they would at the beginning of the season but they are nonetheless interesting.  Here’s where we stand so far in both leagues:

AL standings 7.15NL standings 7.15

A few observations:

  • The Red Sox, the only team I said didn’t have a shot to win the AL east, are in first place in the toughest division in baseball (sorry NL Central).
  • The Pirates have had another great first half.  Can they avoid another second half dumpster fire?
  • Oakland has the best record in baseball over the last 162 games.  Look at the roster.  It’s incredible.
  • My NL World series pick, the Giants, are not making me look good.  I still feel a second half run.
  • The Houston Astros and Miami Marlins haven’t let anybody down by being the worst teams in baseball.

This isn’t really the mid point in the season.  Teams have played over 90 games.  They have less than 70 games to keep their lead or make up ground.  Buster Olney put together a list of the toughest schedules left among the contenders. (Insider)  Hint:  It’s the Royals, Braves have easiest.  I think the Red Sox and the A’s end up with the AL wild cards.  The Rays, Tigers, and Rangers will take the divisions.  In the NL, The Dodgers and Reds will manage to get the wild cards while the Braves, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks will win the divisions.

Maybe the biggest question looming over the second half is whether Chris Davis can continue his torrid pace and get over the 60 HR mark and prevent Miguel Cabrera from winning his second straight Triple Crown in the process.  I’m pegging Davis to come up short of 60…somewhere around 55-57.  Which, clearly is still ridiculous and will be enough to stay ahead of Cabrera.

What about some of the smaller plots?  Let’s see:

  • Can Max Scherzer hold onto his sizable lead in the AL Cy Young race?  No.  I’m going to go with Yu Darvish.  Hopefully his injury issue is nothing and he’ll be right back.
  • Who will be the big buyer/seller at the trade deadline?  With team’s valuing their prospects more, the big deals are harder to come buy, but I think the Dodgers will make some moves now that they are within striking distance.  The White Sox will definitely be unloading and, despite the public saying to the contrary, the Phillies will figure out that they need to blow that thing up.
  • What will happen with the Biogenesis scandal?  Who will get suspended?  I’ve made it known I don’t agree with the MLB’s investigation tactics, but it looks more and more like they will suspend somewhere between a few and a bunch of players.  This is going to get ugly before it gets better.

These questions and more will be on the mind of baseball fans for another few months.  We’ll get answers and most of us will have sarcastic things to say about it on Twitter.  Enjoy the second half.

 

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Angel Pagan hits a walk off inside the park home run

 

Should we call it a “run-off” home run?  Not sure?  Well whatever it was, it was awesome.  The San Francisco Giants ended up beating the Colorado Rockies and got to a tie for first place in the NL West.

Check out the video at MLB.com [Walk-off]

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Orioles lose to Rays on Jim Johnson’s back

Jim Johnson did not look like this today

The Orioles looked like they were going to hold on for a win today against the Rays.  Jim Johnson had other ideas.  He did not pitch well today and it costs Baltimore the game.  See more:

[Rank Relief]

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WAR check up

We are only 35 some odd games into the season, but some players are already have great seasons.  Let’s take a quick look at the players that are most impacting their teams positively.  For this we will use Baseball-reference.com WAR calculation.  In case you aren’t familiar WAR represents “how much better a player is than what a team would typically have to replace that player.”  Pretty basic on the surface but complicated to represent with numbers.  Read their full explanation here.  who let’s see who is pacing the majors this year.

WAR 1

Carlos Gomez has been ridiculous this year.  It took him three organizations and some time, but he finally fulfilling his prospect promise.  The pitchers get half the spots here and 5 of the top 6.  The steroid era is over apparently.  Let’s give the batters some credit and exclude the pitchers.

WAR 3

Well the Rockies and Braves both having two players on this list seem to back up their winning records.  You may be curious why Andrelton Simmons is on here.  Well this includes defense.  Since defense is inherently harder to measure, let’s look at just what happens at the plate.

WAR 4

This is starting to look more like what you might expect when you think of the best players in baseball (Wait…maybe not Starling Marte, but he’s having a good season.)  This is a measure I like because it focuses on the runs that a player creates at the plate or on the bases.  And runs are the only way to win a baseball game.  Finally, let’s get to the pitchers who having been keeping the runs off the board.

WAR 2

Kevin Slowey?  Travis Wood?  Matt Harvey is having a tremendous season and has launched himself to the top of the pitching board.  With familiar names at the top balancing out some surprises at the bottom…bottom of the top 10.

There you have it.  The best players of the 2013 as judged by the stats.

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Fernando Rodney was better last year…

rank relief 5.6-1

Fernando Rodney gets a long look at JP Arencibia blast the game winner.

The Rays score 7 runs in the 3rd inning against the struggling Blue Jays and seemingly would have the game in hand if they could manage the next 6 innings.  Well beginning the very next inning, the Blue Jays begin to slowly claw their way back despite being a bad team despite acquiring many former All-Stars this off-season.  It got to 9th inning with the Rays clinging to a 1 run lead.  The usually recently reliable Fernando Rodney was in to close the game.  He emphatically did not.  See below:

rank relief 5.6-2

He almost made it through the inning, but the free swinging JP Arencibia ran into a fastball and deposited it somewhere in the outfield where presumably nobody was sitting in the Trop.  Rodney was always an adventure closing until last year.  We’ll see if this signals a move back to the median.

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The Reds needed 13 innings and Michael Bowden to beat the Cubs

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Michael Bowden watches Jay Bruce’s game tying double roll to the wall

The Cubs were at it again tonight but this time Carlos Marmol somehow stayed out of the spotlight.  The Cubs are not a great team but they have Theo Epstein so they will probably win a World Series soon despite severed goat’s heads.  Tonight it almost seemd liek they would steal one from the Reds.  In the top of the 13th the Cubs were able to score 2 runs off of Alfredo Simon on a home run by Luis Valbuena.  Going int the bottom of the inning up by 2 runs seemed like a good position to be in.   Nobody told Michael Bowden though.  This is what happened:

rank relief2 4.22

Giving up 4 hits in one inning is a good way to blow a lead.  2 singles, 2 doubles, and 3 runs put the Reds over the top and hung an L on around Michael Bowden’s neck.  The Reds have had few one the good side and few on the bad side.

Side note:  It seems like the Reds have played 32 extra inning games.  In fact they have only played 4 and gone 2-2 in them.  Why was I so confused?

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Look at the lines: If you’d like to make a little money…these might work.

Mike Minor has had a good 2013 season.

Every so often we try to take a look at some baseball lines and see if there is any action worth taking.  Since we are now 2 plus weeks into the season, we’ve been able to get a handle on some of the teams and feel confident enough to make some bets.  Putting a little something on a game makes it a little more exciting, whether its between friends or at one of many online sportsbooks.  So here goes some bets for the night categorized into sure things, most likely, and dart board throws.  Buyer beware.

Sure things:

  • Atlanta (-168) over Kansas City:  Mike Minor has been pitching great, Wade Davis not so much.  Parlay this with anything.
  • Over 9 runs White Sox and Blue Jays:  Jose Quintana and JA Happ at Rogers?  I’ll take that.

Most likely:

  • Oakland (-170) over Houston: Feel a little less confident with Big Fat Bartolo Colon on the mound, and the line isn’t very favorable.
  • Baltimore (+107) over Tampa:  Tampa still isn’t hitting and Matt Moore isn’t quite there yet.
  • Pittsburgh (+114) over St. Louis:  Shelby Miller has been lights out but is young and can be erratic.  AJ Burnett pitched well his last time out against Cincinnati.  St. Louis’s hot streak has to end soon.

Dart board throw:

  • San Diego (+228) over Dodgers:  Yes, Clayton Kershaw is pitching, but the line is good enough and baseball is crazy enough.

Enjoy.  Just remember that any of my advice is likely wrong and you shouldn’t put any actual money on the line based on my opinion.  Think for yourself.

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GIF of the week: Never waste a beer

Most of what we love about baseball happens on the field.  But we’d be remiss if we didn’t pay tribute to this courageous Mariners fan.  Drinking what looks to be a stout or porter he caught a foul ball…in his beer mug.  This isn’t an everyday occurrence but it happens.  I’ve never seen what happened next.  He proceeds to chug said beer (pouring most of it on himself and then retrieves the ball.  A salute for a great snag and for finishing the play.  This guy probably headed out in Pioneer Square and finished the night off as well.  See for your self below.

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