Archive Page 2

Balance of Power – Blue Jays Struggles With Tampa Bay More Than Just Simple Road Woes

After beginning the season with a series split against the AL East powerhouse Tampa Bay Rays I was beginning to think of what it would take for the Toronto Blue Jays to really become an annual contender themselves.  I fully expect this season to be up and down and if the Blue Jays finish the season around the .500 mark I don’t think most fans would be shocked.

But no I am talking about becoming extremely competitive, year in and year out.

How can a team truly consider themselves a contender when you hear the words “if he stays healthy” for 60% of the starting rotation?  Yes health is a key equation for any potential success league wide but if health will almost completely dictate your fate then you were defeated before you even began the season.

The key to this current season for me isn’t Brandon Morrow, RA Dickey or even Jose Reyes.  This season the key players will be the development of Drew Hutchison, Daniel Norris, Kyle Drabek, Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez.  In short development of the most volatile commodity in baseball will be the real key for the franchise going forward.

The Tampa Bay Rays are the model organization in baseball and when they lose a key member of the starting rotation there is no panic, just a replacement.  James Shields would have been the best pitcher the Blue Jays organization has had over the last decade not named Roy Halladay.

The Rays rotation not only continued to thrive in his absence but they were able to parlay Shields into a potential all-star in right field.  Alex Cobb, Chris Archer, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi make it easy for a team to simply trade their ace and if not for injury they would have stud right handed prospect Taylor Guerreri knocking on the proverbial major league door as well.

The Blue Jays need to take a step back and reassess what is working and what is not.  The current major league team is not a contender and when Josh Johnson and RA Dickey proved to be less than Ace 1 and Ace 1a this team never had a chance as currently constructed.  Alex Anthopoulos right or wrong took his shot and unfortunately appears to have come up short.

I don’t doubt his intentions and neither did a majority of the fan base.  While I don’t think anyone in their right mind thought the trade of Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard for RA Dickey was shrewd the notion of contending in 2013 can somewhat justify the move.  Of course in hindsight it could turn out to be one of the most lop-sided trades in the Alex Anthopoulos era.

I think it was simply a case where the Blue Jays made their move about one season too soon.  If they had Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman all knocking on the door ready to contribute to a major league roster it makes filling out a winning roster much easier.

Bringing in Ervin Santana would not have been the answer.  If the team had been close to the playoffs last season I think you could justify if not promote bringing in that extra piece or as a replacement for Josh Johnson but when a season goes so off the rails and was nowhere near good enough the entire roster is likely due for a major tune-up.

If the engine of a race car just can’t match the output of other race cars there is no sense buying expensive tires to compensate.  Though it will be painful and a sign of defeat the engine must be rebuilt.  This isn’t to say that there is a complete blow-up of the current team but until we can roll out a young quartet of starting pitchers that Tampa Bay possesses or we decide that no price is too great to sign Yu Darvish, Zack Greinke or David Price then we are not in a place to contend.

Mark Buehrle was brought in to be the number four or five starter but is now seemingly our only reliable option every five days.  That should tell a team everything it needs to know.  The path to major league success is not linear and I hold out hope that one or two (or more) of Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna take a big step forward in 2014.

If the trade of either Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion can speed up the quick retool with a too good to pass up offer of young cost controlled pitching prospects than I think Alex Anthopoulos has to give strong consideration to pulling the trigger.  I love both hitters but the market has shown you can add veteran sluggers (maybe not at their level) on the cheap.  Nelson Cruz was barely able to land a contract and Stephen Drew continues to sit out waiting for an appropriate contract.

I have enjoyed the early season Blue Jays action because I am a loyal fan of the team and they have looked sharper with the gloves and have shown some resolve playing in a house of horrors.  Like anyone else I am quietly optimistic that the team plays above expectations and fights for playoff contention.

But I am also a realist who gets discouraged when I compare our current organizational depth chart with our rivals from Tampa Bay.  Pitching has to come from internal development, astute trades and occasionally free agency.  The team has had a very difficult time drafting and developing legitimate major league starting pitchers and that is still very concerning.

Until we roll into Tampa Bay with a starting rotation that can match or exceed the Rays it will continue to be a house of horrors.  The balance of power in the AL East has shifted considerably over the last decade and it certainly hasn’t proved advantageous to the Toronto Blue Jays.

AL East Prospect Report – April 5, 2014

Some great performances by Blue Jays prospects.  Alberto Tirado dominates and AJ Jimenez off to fast start.  In other news Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer dominates.  LA Dodgers teenage phenom Julio Urias looked sharp.

Hitters:

BAL AA Alvarez, Dariel CF 4 1 1 1 .333
BAL AA Ohlman, Michael C 3 2 3 1 .571 2 BB (3)
BAL AA Walker, Christian 1B 5 2 3 1 .500
BAL AAA Urrutia, Henry LF 3 1 1 0 .286 BB (1), CS (1)
BAL HiA Davis, Glynn CF 5 2 2 0 .375 2B (1)
BAL LoA Mancini, Trey 1B 5 0 1 1 .250 2B (1), SB (1)
BAL LoA Sisco, Chance C 4 1 1 0 .429
BAL MAJ Schoop, Jonathan 3B 4 0 1 1 .182

 
BOS AA Betts, Mookie 2B 5 0 3 0 .778 2 2B (2), CS (1)
BOS AA Coyle, Sean 3B 4 1 2 2 .333 HR (1)
BOS AA Marrero, Deven SS 4 1 1 0 .375 2B (3), BB (1)
BOS AA Swihart, Blake C 4 0 1 1 .429
BOS AAA Brentz, Bryce RF 3 1 1 2 .167 BB (1)
BOS AAA Butler, Dan DH 4 0 1 0 .250
BOS AAA Cecchini, Garin 3B 4 1 1 2 .333 2B (1)
BOS AAA Vazquez, Christian C 4 1 3 2 .429 2 2B (2)
BOS LoA Rijo, Wendell 2B 4 0 2 0 .375 2B (1)

NYY AA Sanchez, Gary C 5 1 1 0 .125 2B (1)
NYY AA Williams, Mason CF 4 1 1 0 .250 BB (1)
NYY HiA Gumbs, Angelo 2B 4 0 1 0 .125
NYY LoA Avelino, Abiatal SS 2 2 2 1 .429 3 BB (3), SB (1)
NYY LoA Judge, Aaron RF 4 0 1 0 .125 BB (1)
NYY LoA Katoh, Gosuke 2B 3 1 1 0 .400 BB (3), 2 SB (3)

TB AA Casali, Curt DH 4 0 1 0 .143
TB AA Shaffer, Richie 3B 4 1 1 1 .125 HR (1)
TB AAA Kiermaier, Kevin CF 5 3 3 1 .444 HR (2)

TOR AA Burns, Andy 3B 4 0 1 1 .111
TOR AA Jimenez, A.J. C 4 1 3 2 .625 2 2B (2)
TOR AA Wilson, Kenny CF 5 1 1 0 .333
TOR LoA Davis, D.J. CF 4 1 2 2 .500 2B (1), 2 SB (2)
TOR LoA Dean, Matt 1B 5 1 1 0 .200
TOR LoA Nay, Mitch 3B 5 1 2 2 .400 2B (1)

Pitchers:

BAL AAA Gausman, Kevin 4.2 3 0 0 2 6 0.00
BAL HiA Bridwell, Parker 4 4 4 3 6 3 6.75
BAL HiA Givens, Mychal 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.00
BAL LoA Harvey, Hunter 6 4 0 0 0 5 0.00 W (1-0)
BAL MAJ Stinson, Josh 2.2 4 1 1 0 0 2.45

 

BOS AAA Ranaudo, Anthony 4 4 4 1 4 7 2.25
BOS AAA Wilson, Alex 1 0 0 0 2 1 0.00
BOS LoA Callahan, Jamie 3.2 4 3 3 6 4 7.36 L (0-1)

NYY LoA Severino, Luis 2 2 3 3 2 2 13.50 L (0-1)
NYY MAJ Betances, Dellin 0.1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
NYY MAJ Tanaka, Masahiro 7 6 3 2 0 8 2.57 W (1-0)

TB AA Floro, Dylan 5 7 4 4 1 4 7.20
TB AAA Romero, Enny 4 6 6 4 3 4 9.00 L (0-1)
TB MAJ Odorizzi, Jake 6 3 0 0 3 4 0.00 W (1-0)

TOR LoA Labourt, Jairo 3.1 2 1 1 4 4 2.70
TOR LoA Tirado, Alberto 4 5 1 1 1 7 2.25 Sv (1)

AL East Prospect Report – April 4, 2014

Hitters:

BAL AA Alvarez, Dariel CF 5 1 2 1 .400 2 2B (2)
BAL AA Walker, Christian 1B 5 1 2 0 .400 2B (1)
BAL AA Ohlman, Michael C 4 1 1 0 .250 2B (1), BB (1)
BAL AAA Urrutia, Henry RF 4 0 1 0 .250
BAL HiA Davis, Glynn CF 3 3 1 2 .333 2 BB (2), SB (1)
BAL HiA Marin, Adrian SS 4 0 1 0 .250
BAL LoA Sisco, Chance C 3 2 2 1 .667 2 2B (2), BB (1)
BAL LoA Mancini, Trey 1B 3 0 1 0 .333 BB (1)

 
BOS AA Betts, Mookie 2B 4 3 4 1 1.000 HR (1)
BOS AA Marrero, Deven SS 4 0 2 2 .500 2 2B (2)
BOS AA Swihart, Blake C 3 0 2 1 .667 3B (1)
BOS AAA Cecchini, Garin 3B 2 0 1 0 .500 BB (1)
BOS LoA Lin, Tzu-Wei SS 3 0 3 0 1.000 BB (1), 2 SB (2)
BOS LoA Rijo, Wendell 2B 4 0 1 0 .250
BOS MAJ Bogaerts, Xander SS 4 2 3 0 .556
BOS MAJ Bradley, Jackie CF 4 1 2 1 .400

NYY AA Williams, Mason CF 4 0 1 0 .250
NYY AAA Flores, Ramon RF 4 0 2 1 .500 3B (1)
NYY HiA O’Brien, Peter C 4 2 1 2 .250 HR (1)
NYY HiA Cave, Jake CF 4 0 1 0 .250
NYY LoA Andujar, Miguel 3B 4 0 1 1 .250 3B (1)
NYY LoA Avelino, Abiatal SS 5 0 1 1 .200 2B (1)
NYY LoA Katoh, Gosuke 2B 2 1 1 0 .500 2 BB (2), SB (1)
NYY LoA Torrens, Luis C 3 1 1 0 .333

TB AA Hager, Jake SS 4 0 1 0 .250 3B (1)
TB AAA Kiermaier, Kevin CF 4 1 1 3 .250 HR (1)
TB AAA Mahtook, Mikie RF 4 0 1 0 .250 SB (1)
TB HiA Toles, Andrew CF 5 0 1 0 .200 2B (1), CS (1)
TB HiA Goeddel, Tyler 3B 4 0 1 0 .250 SB (1)
TB HiA O’Conner, Justin C 4 1 1 0 .250
TB LoA Hernandez, Oscar C 4 1 1 4 .250 HR (1)

TOR AA Wilson, Kenny CF 4 1 2 3 .500 3B (1)
TOR AA Jimenez, A.J. C 4 0 2 1 .500 BB (1)
TOR HiA Smith, Dwight LF 5 1 4 0 .800
TOR HiA Pompey, Dalton CF 4 2 1 1 .250 BB (1)

Pitchers:

BAL AA Gurka, Jason 2 1 1 1 0 3 4.50
BAL AA Rodriguez, Eduardo 5 8 5 4 2 2 7.20 W (1-0)
BAL AAA Jones, Chris 2.2 1 0 0 0 1 0.00
BAL HiA Kline, Branden 5 7 1 1 0 4 1.80 W (1-0)
BAL LoA Brault, Steven 4 8 6 6 2 2 13.50 L (0-1)
BAL LoA Keller, Jon 2 1 0 0 0 4 0.00

BOS AA Owens, Henry 6 0 0 0 2 9 0.00 W (1-0)
BOS AAA Britton, Drake 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0.00
BOS AAA Webster, Allen 3.2 7 3 3 2 4 7.36 L (0-1)
BOS HiA Johnson, Brian 5 4 2 1 2 7 1.80 W (1-0)
BOS LoA Kukuk, Cody 5 3 1 1 4 4 1.80 W (1-0)
BOS MAJ Workman, Brandon 0.2 1 0 0 1 1 0.00

NYY AA Mitchell, Bryan 4 4 4 4 2 4 9.00 L (0-1)
NYY HiA Banuelos, Manny 3 0 0 0 1 3 0.00

TB AAA Karns, Nate 2.2 3 6 5 7 1 16.88

TOR AA Sanchez, Aaron 5 1 0 0 2 5 0.00 W (1-0)
TOR AAA Stilson, John 0.2 1 1 1 2 1 13.50
TOR AAA Stroman, Marcus 4 4 2 2 1 4 4.50

 

Riding with the Wind, ’14: A Good Read

I just read a community research article at http://www.fangraphs.com written by Foster Honeck a few days ago, entitled “Baseball’s Biggest Market Inefficiency”.  It is worth your time, whether you agree or disagree with him.

I won’t play the role of spoiler, but I will make one comment about the Toronto Blue Jays: you will be interested or outraged or intrigued or surprised or something else to see the Jays’ rank.  It is unlikely that you will be indifferent.

Read it, enjoy it, respond to it thoughtfully, or react to it viscerally.  It was not what I expected nor did it tell me what I wanted to hear, both of which contributed to my enjoyment.

Wes Kepstro

Break from Baseball – Sultans of Swing

The Sultans of Swing, our Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of another baseball season.  Here is a quick break from baseball for a sweet cover – fittingly given the composition of our roster with a Cajun flair!

Riding with the Wind, ’14: Gunning for League Average

This likely isn’t the first time you’ve read about Ryan Goins.  It isn’t the first time that I’ve written about him, either.  Given his relative lack of familiarity before his call-up last season, a lot of virtual ink is being spilled about him now.  He was unnoticed in the minors because of his offense, which is, of course, why we’re all interested in him now.

Can a team that dreams about contending carry such a black hole on offense?  Of course it can.  Can their dreams be realized?  Of course they can.  But will they?  That remains to be seen.  Ryan Goins is terrible offensively, there’s no two ways about it.  He has no power, he doesn’t walk, he strikes out too often, and, while that means there’s lots of room for improvement, there’s little chance that’ll happen, right?  Maybe, maybe not.

I’m on record as saying that over the course of his career his “output surged beyond the previous lower level almost across the board”.  He does a workman-like job, gets promoted, struggles briefly, and then improves upon his previous level.  I believe this betrays his mindset: it seems as if he’s out to prove people wrong.  I don’t know what kind of things are said to him, but he ain’t a big guy (5′ 10″, 185lbs.) for a pro ball player and, since bigger/stronger/faster prospects are generally favoured, we can make an educated guess.

He also isn’t a little guy who hits for unexpected power (Joe Morgan; Jimmy Wynn, who had one of the best nicknames ever–the ‘Toy Cannon’; etc.), or steals a lot of bases, or bunts well, or anything.  But there’s something tangible–his defense–and something intangible–his desire to prove himself, maybe?–that makes me think he can play at the ML.  But I could be DEAD WRONG.

We need some context, don’t we?  The following table shows how well the average ML 2B fared offensively in 2013.  We also included the averages from the two leagues.

2013 BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
MLB 7.3 16.6 .257 .316 .376 .305 91
AL 7.6 16.2 .260 .320 .377 .308 91
NL 7.0 16.9 .254 .313 .375 .303 90

*Table info courtesy of www.fangraphs.com.

The average 2B in MLB was a below-average offensive contributor which, given the nature and importance of the position, is acceptable to most teams.  After all, not everyone has or can afford a Robinson Cano on the right side of the infield.

Fair enough but where does that leave us?  Well, since there isn’t a lot of data from Ryan Goins’ major league career, we can look for comparisons and contrasts in the careers of others to give us a little bit of perspective.

Ryan Goins isn’t the only middle infielder in baseball history to struggle offensively.  As a matter of fact, it’s almost cliché that middle infielders don’t contribute much with the bat.  Players such as Cano, Roberto Alomar, Jeff Kent, and Joe Morgan are the exception rather than the rule.  Defense is crucial at shortstop and second base.

Knowing this, we took a look at some of the more well-known middle infielders who struggled to produce positively with the bat.  The following table shows how some of these defensively adept/offensively inept middle infielders fared in their first ML season.  Ryan Goins’ 2013 effort in AAA Buffalo is included for perspective.

  BB% K% AVE OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Goins, AAA 2013 6.9 20.3 .257 .311 .369 .311 90
Mazeroski, PIT 1956 6.5 8.7 .243 .293 .318 .278 67
Belanger, BAL 1968 7.5 21.5 .208 .272 .248 .243 61
Bowa, PHI 1970 3.6 8.3 .250 .277 .303 .262 56
Smith, SDP 1978 7.0 6.4 .258 .311 .312 .288 84
Vizquel, SEA 1989 6.5 9.3 .220 .273 .261 .249 51

*Table info courtesy of www.fangraphs.com.

Here are some remarks from this info and from the broader statistical picture not included in the table:

  • There’s only one 2B in the bunch—Mazeroski—but Goins fits well into both categories, being a converted shortstop;
  • There’s obviously a big leap from AAA to MLB, one that so many players never make, but this offers some context for Goins’ offensive output;
  • Not surprisingly, Ozzie Smith is the class of the field but even his numbers aren’t very impressive, though he played in Jack Murphy Stadium as a rookie;
  • Larry Bowa and Omar Vizquel contributed very little offensively to their teams (PHI and SEA, respectively);
  • Mark Belanger is the only one who debuted with a good team;
  • The group combined to give only 10 seasons of 100 wRC+ (or greater): Ozzie Smith was responsible for seven of those seasons, and Omar Vizuel was responsible for two of them;
  • Ozzie Smith’s first season of 100 wRC+ came in his 8th season in MLB;
  • Ryan Goins’ AAA season is strikingly similar to the 2013 ML average for 2B;
  • Ryan Goins’ AAA season also fits in very well with the debuts of these other middle infielders who were strong defensively/weak offensively.

Can we expect Ryan Goins to reproduce his AAA season from 2013?  I don’t think so.  He’s working diligently with Kevin Seitzer, but it will probably be a longer process than most people are patient enough to bear.  What we’re likely to see is something along the lines of what Larry Bowa and Omar Vizquel gave to their teams.

There is one major difference that needs to be taken into account, though.  The difference is that the Blue Jays’ offense is much more capable of carrying Ryan Goins in 2014 than PHI was of carrying Bowa in 1970 or SEA was of carrying Vizquel in 1989.  The Phillies won 94 games in 1964 and bottomed out at 59 wins in 1972 (Steve Carlton’s 12.5 bWAR season).  Bowa’s rookie season occurred in the midst of that downward trend.  Vizquel’s 1989 Mariners had never enjoyed a winning season since joining MLB with TOR in 1977.

The real problem is whether the Blue Jays’ sketchy starting rotation can afford a black hole in the offense.  His defense will be a boon to the rotation.  However, it’s possible that Toronto gives up runs by the basketful in 2014, though this is arguably the best rotation supported by the greatest depth since Roy Halladay was the ace.

There are so many significant questions about the rotation—injuries, experience, consistency—that it would be foolhardy to expect them to resemble a championship staff.  This consideration, in concert with a run-rich home park (The Rog) in a division skewed heavily toward offensive production, may sound the death knell for the confidence they’ve placed in Ryan Goins.  After all, Stephen Drew is still out there.

I think his skills play at the ML level but, again, I could be dead wrong about this.  The more pertinent question, I think, is ‘if the Jays stumble out of the gate, will Ryan Goins be an early casualty?’ He’s 26 and may never mature offensively, but he may line up very well with the likes of Mazeroski (20), Belanger (24), Bowa (24), and Vizquel (22) over his career.  We dare not hope for him to be as good defensively as he was in his very brief debut, do we?  That’s Ozzie Smith territory and it’s sacred.  And we dare not hope that he’ll continue to improve offensively as the Wizard did, right?  Right…

Wes Kepstro

Blue Jays 2014 Prediction Quiz

Oh boy, last year was ugly and I recapped how pathetic our predictions proved to be for the 2013 Blue Jays quiz, check it out if you want a good laugh.  It’s that time again and here is a fresh set of ten questions pertaining to the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays season.

I want to see more participation in the comments section, copy and paste the template I placed below in the comments and join in on the fun.  It takes two seconds and we can laugh at your predictions as well as our own next year!

1) Blue Jays win total has been set by the bookies at 80.5.  Over / under?

AL Eastbound – I am going to take the under here.  I think the Blue Jays are a .500 team at best in the AL East this season given schedule and uncertainties surrounding the roster.  In fact, I see big time downside if things don’t go exactly how we need them.  Like top 5 draft pick downside.  I also think there is the possibility of big time upside if the Jays stay healthy and Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchison both pitch to their max.  Maybe I am too negative but I stick to the Jays being a 75-80 win ball club in a tough division.

Wes Kepstro - I’m an optimist: over.  I’m also a realist: not much over.  As usual, it hinges on health.

2) Who will hit more HRs in 2014 – Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion?

ALE – I think Jose Bautista actually has a bit of a bounce back season and I think he barely edges EE in the HR department this year.  Both should presumably mash however.  So, Joey Bats for me.

WK - Even:  they’ll each launch 36,

3) Who has a higher fWAR in 2014 – Brett Lawrie or Colby Rasmus?

ALE – I am going with Brett Lawrie here as in 107 games he managed a 1.3 WAR despite horrendous offensive numbers overall (.314 wOBA, 94 wRC+).  With a little health and some offensive upside I think he could have a solid bounce back year.  This is a wildcard selection as Rasmus was worth 4.8 wins last year in 118 games – pretty impressive.

WK - Lawrie, because he begins to put it together and Rasmus comes back a little.

4) Which Blue Jays position player will post the highest fWAR in 2014?

ALE – If I think Bautista is going to out-homer EE than I have to go with Jose Bautista for the highest fWAR on the 2014 Blue Jays.  If he is truly healthy I feel he has a chance at a monster season.  This might be a golden chance to get a good haul on the trade market if he does.

WK - Jose Bautista.  WAR loves him and he has something to prove.

5) Which Blue Jays pitcher will post the highest fWAR in 2014?

ALE – I can’t believe I am going to say this but like  last year I will select Brandon Morrow.  If he is on his game and healthy he racks up strikeouts and keeps the ball in the yard.  I will go with my 2013 prediction and roll with Morrow again in 2014.

WK - I’m with you: Brandon Morrow.

6) Will John Gibbons be fired by the Blue Jays during the 2014 season?

ALE – I think Gibby makes it through the season and is let go at the end of the season.  If Alex Anthopoulos is still at the helm he will ensure Gibbons is treated with as much dignity as possible on the way out.

WK - It depends on the players.  If they perform, they’ll excel meaning he’s safe.

7) Will the Blue Jays trade OF Jose Bautista during the 2014 season?

ALE – I think the safe answer is obviously no but I am going to go with yes.  If Joey Bats starts hot and shows he can stay healthy I think Alex Anthopoulos pulls the trigger on a monster trade to recoup some of the lost value of the RA Dickey, JA Happ and Jose Reyes deals.

WK - No.  He and his contract are far too valuable, even if they hit their mulligan into the pond.

8) Who will win the AL East Division in 2014?

ALE – Tampa Bay Rays.  Most will predict Boston but I think they take a step back on the mound.  Tampa will battle Boston all season and edge them out on the last day of the season.

WK - I like the Rays, too.  They’re talented, well-coached, and hungry.

9) Who posts a higher fWAR in 2014 – Drew Hutchison or Ervin Santana?

ALE – I have to go with Hutch here and I think he provides some solid value if he can maintain solid health for 150-170 IPs.  He is a key to any potential ‘upside’ to the 2014 Blue Jays season.  I think Erv. Santana has a rockier season and pitches closer to his peripherals and declining K-rate.

WK - No brainer.  A healthy Hutch out-performs a healthy Santana.

10) Who will win the World Series in 2014?

ALE – St. Louis Cardinals.  They always find a way and will have an added boost of Oscar Taveras late in the season which should help an already deep club.

WK - Somebody.  I hate to say it because I also cheer for the Giants, but I’ll pick the Dodgers.  If they don’t win it, someone else will.  There’s no repeat of 1994, and I suck at this.  Emoji

Bonus question: Who will be better the M’s, the Yankees or the Orioles?

ALE – I’ll take the Yankees.  Pineda is coming back, they added some pretty good free agent talent at key positions.

WK – Seattle.  Their weak OF and suddenly-weaker division puts themahead of the NYY age/rotation/IF, and I expect Chris Davis/Adam Jones to step back, and Ubaldo to get roughed up at OPaCY/in the ALE.

 


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