The MLB Season: The Season After 1 Month, and What More to Expect

The MLB season has been extremely exciting for the fans, as there is plenty of new talent taking over the league, and new rivalries that have emerged. Here is what I have seen this season, and what I expect throughout the rest of the season:

Boston-Baltimore is Must-Watch TV
Whether or not you are a fan of any of these team, you cannot miss when these teams play. The last 6 matchups have all had nasty endings and controversy. It all started April 23rd, when Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes hit Orioles 3B Manny Machado, and Barnes was ejected. The next series between these teams started on May 1st, and Adam Jones received racial taunts directed towards him. The next day, the Red Sox fans gave Jones a standing ovation, but in the end, the feud just will not stop. The Orioles are currently 2nd in the AL East and 2nd in the AL, overall, while the Red Sox are 3rd in the AL East, and 8th in the AL, overall. No matter what, this is must-see TV, with a lot of controversy, brawls, and scoring, this rivalry has it all. They next play Boston on June 1st, in Baltimore.

Aaron Judge is Not Just Your Average Rookie

Aaron Judge is an MLB player. Aaron Judge plays for the New York Yankees. Aaron Judge should not be an MLB player. Aaron Judge is a 6’7”, 282 lbs, and is the starting rightfielder for the New York Yankees. Aaron Judge is the MLB’s next big thing who defies all stereotypes of baseball players, particularly size-wise. As of the last study done on MLB players (2010), most MLB players are between 69 and 74 inches in height (Judge is 79), and weight between 167.3 and 190.9 lbs. Judge’s numbers have been phenomenal, batting .337, has 13 HRs and 27 RBIs. These are the numbers that have helped the ‘Bronx Bombers’ come back to Earth after the last few years and their disappointment throughout.

The Washington Nationals are the NL’s Best Team

The Nationals have the most complete roster in all of baseball right now, as Bryce Harper is no longer alone, it seems. The pitching has finally been worked out evenly by Manager Dusty Baker, the infielders (Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, and Anthony Rendon) have all become reliable hitters game-in and game-out, and the outfielders (Harper, Michael Taylor, and Jayson Werth). At 20-9, they hold the MLB’s best record, and that will continue. They were the team I predicted to be better than the Chicago Cubs, and be the favorites for the World Series, and that has held true so far. As long as the team stays healthy and resilient, as it has been all year long, they will be World Series champions.

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MLB Trade Deadline: What Needs to Happen?

Now that the MLB is in full swing after the rather boring All-Star Game, the focus of the MLB will turn towards the MLB trade deadline. August 1st will be here before we know it, and many teams could use trades to get themselves back in the playoff picture, or even just make themselves look better, perhaps. Here are some trades which I think should happen:

LA Dodgers Trade SP Clayton Kershaw and 2B Howie Kendrick to Tampa Bay Rays SP Chris Archer and 3B Evan Longoria

I completely understand that Kershaw leads the NL in WAR despite missing over a month of play, but the Dodgers offense is inconsistent. Howie Kendrick has been good at times, and Longoria just has been on the Rays for too long. I think this trade can power LA into a possible division champion contention. As for the Rays, it can only get better from here. Tampa has been in a state of flux for many years now, and the ‘Rays’ of the sun don’t seem to be helping at all. Now, LA is going to lose one of the best pitchers in the game, but I think that Longoria will thrive under the leadership of manager Dave Roberts, who is all about high-powered offenses.

Colorado Rockies Trade OF Carlos Gonzalez to Oakland Athletics for OF Josh Reddick

This trade is a golden one for both teams because these are two great outfielders looking to change teams in order for contracts to be fulfilled. These are two of the best power-hitters in their respective leagues, and these teams are already having downfalls which will force them to have to settle for sitting on the couch in October, so why not try to improve the team going into next season. This will also possibly force these players to restructure a contract, and not have to walk away from their respective teams.

Milwaukee Brewers Trade OF Ryan Braun to NY Yankees for LF Carlos Beltran and CP Aroldis Chapman

The Yankees want to make their team as young as possible, and Milwaukee needs veteran leadership in all facets of the game, and so Beltran and Chapman are excellent position fillers. Braun on the other hand will always be an MVP candidate (even if he is on PEDs), and New York needs a guy who is a blend of power hitting and skilled fielding, and Braun brings that to the table immediately. The Yankees have some work to do in the AL East if they want to be in the Wild Card, though. They are 4.5 games behind the Wild Card leader, the Toronto Blue Jays, who are also in the AL East. Now, with Boston flailing a bit, New York could be in good hands, but if the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers continue their hot streak, New York ain’t seeing the playoffs this year.

Atlanta Braves Trade RF Nick Markakis to Kansas City Royals for OF Alex Gordon

Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves, Markakis’ glory days are behind him. His days in Baltimore were great, and they just didn’t seem to last very long. Alex Gordon had his glory days last year in Kansas City. Now, he is an outfielder, like Markakis, looking to find his ‘fountain of youth’. This trade makes a lot of sense because these are two outfielders who have a lot of potential and can still be productive if put on the right team. Markakis has a contract which pays him $11 million per year all the way through the year 2018. This allows for trades for him to become much easier than expected. This trade will give Atlanta fans a chance of hope, as they are the worst team in the big leagues.

*I would like to thank everyone for their support of my blog, as my last post was featured last week on the MLB.com Blog.

The Best MLB Storylines After All-Star Break

The MLB has been the center of attention in terms of sports to watch now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have brought an NBA championship to The Land, and with All-Star Break over and the season back in swing, here are my predictions for what will happen after the break.

How Legit Are the Orioles?

Let’s get serious now about something, their pitching stinks outside of Chris Tillman. I mean SPs Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez were supposed to be huge this year, but it hasn’t happened. However, they are one of the best hitting teams in the MLB, led by 3B Manny Machado and RF Mark Trumbo, and their fielding has been bailing out their pitchers quite a bit. I will be very concerned in the playoffs if the pitching does not improve by then, but they can light up the scoreboard for sure, and that can make them a threat to teams like the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians (the top 2 seeds in the AL).  Also, if they can get a high seed, they could coast their way to the World Series (33 wins at home).

The Case for Texas and Cleveland

Yes, I am talking about the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians. If the Indians were to win the World Series, then Cleveland may as well just become the new Paris (except unlike the 2016 France Soccer team, Cleveland has a championship). The Rangers were off to a hot start to the year, but in their last 10 games, they have gone 3-7 overall, and only have a +16 run differential. Cleveland has a +81 run differential, and Baltimore, whom we mentioned earlier as a threat to these teams, had a +41 run differential. Texas hasn’t produced much, scoring 41 runs in their last 10 games, and allowing 94. If this keeps up, Baltimore and Cleveland will fight ‘til the end for the top seed in the AL.

What About Dem Cubbies?

The Chicago Cubs just could not seem to find their mark in June. Their pitching, including SP Jake Arrieta, who was supposed to be the best in the biz, has been on a downfall lately, and the team is starting to get a bit overconfident. Manager Joe Maddon has to do a better job of mixing it up and keeping the team intact. They do not want to turn out like the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors in the NBA, blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Cavaliers, and losing in 7. If they get to the World Series, they better not perform like that.

Do the Washington Nationals Have a Clear Path to the World Series?

The Washington Nationals seem to be having a very clear path in the NL right now because no team is overly good right now besides the Nats. The Cubs are disappearing, the Giants are inconsistent, the Mets look like the best team in the league, and then the worst. I mean the NL has turned into a roller-coaster with too many twists, turns, and drops, and it is making baseball fans sick. The Nationals have been so good across the board, with guys like infielder Daniel Murphy, C Wilson Ramos, OFs Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, and SPs Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer playing on top of their game, that they seem so dominant, and yet their record doesn’t say so. If they keep playing like they have, though, it’ll be smooth sailing for the Nats.

Who Will Be the Wild Card Teams for Each League?

Right now, in the AL, the Wild Card spots belong to the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. In the NL, the spots belong to the LA Dodgers and NY Mets (Mets hold tiebreaker over Miami Marlins). I think that the Dodgers will make it in as a Wild Card team for the NL. As far as the 2nd Wild Card spot in the NL, I think that the Marlins have been so good of late, and OF Giancarlo Stanton’s confidence is through the roof after his historic All-Star Break (he hit 61 HRs in the Home Run Derby to be crowned Derby champion), and that will propel Miami to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years (they won the World Series in ’03). For the AL, I don’t think any teams are going competitive enough to prevent either Boston or Toronto from being Wild Card teams.

Front-Runners for MVPs?

For the AL, I would have to say it will be neck-and-neck between Mark Trumbo and Jose Altuve. Their stats are so similar, but I think that Altuve’s improvement from a fantastic 2015 campaign gives him the AL MVP. For the NL, it’s Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, and Giancarlo Stanton. I think that Harper gets the edge due to how he has played as of late.

My MLB World Series Predictions

Now, the Washington Nationals were stunned in Game 5 by the St. Louis Cardinals, the comeback kids. The NY Yankees dreams have been shattered after Derek Jeter went down with an ankle injury and is expected to miss the rest of the postseason. Now, it’s Yanks vs. Tigers, and Cardinals vs. Giants. Here are my predictions for who will win the World Series.

Yankees vs. Tigers

In this situation where you’re down a game and DJ3K is out, you have to panic. He is noted as out for rest of the postseason, so Robby (Robinson) Cano and Alex Rodriguez will have to step up. Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and the rest of the bullpen will have to step up late in the game. Josè Valverdè struggled to close the game out in the 9th, and the game was tied at 2 going into the 10th. David Smyly got it done in the 11th and 12th, and Delmon Young’s double made it a 4-2 lead. I expect Miguel Cabrera and Co. to take advantage of Jeter’s absence, as the Tigers cruise into the World Series to sweep NY.

Cardinals vs. Giants

Throughout the DS vs. Nationals, they had outscored the Nats 23-9 thanks to the monster batting game. Carpenter should ease out Game 1 against a Giants batting crew that struggles. Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey have had to ride the whole team on their backs because the team has been struggling all postseason. I expect this to be a big series, though I think Matt Cain and Co. will be able to win and make it to the World Series for the 2nd time in 4 years.

Tigers vs. Giants

The World Series will be decided by who can win the batting battle. Both teams have young, talented batters, and so this series will be one of the best we’ve ever seen in the history of baseball. The Tigers will win in a tough and hard-nosed 7 games. Miguel Cabrera will win the World Series MVP Award.