2012 MLB Division Standing Predictions

All of these predictions are completely accurate.

Biased                                                                                    Unbiased

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum                                      NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum

AL Cy Young: Jarrod Parker                                       AL Cy Young: C.J. Wilson

NL MVP: Buster Posey                                                   NL MVP: Carlos Gonzalez

AL MVP: Yoenis Cespedes                                              AL MVP: Robinson Cano

NL West

  1. San Francisco Giants 96-66
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks 92-70
  3. Colorado Rockies 83-79
  4. San Diego Padres 74-88
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers 34-128

AL West

  1. Oakland A’s 93-69
  2. Texas Rangers 92-70
  3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 82-80
  4. Seattle Mariners 65-97

NL Central

  1. Saint Louis Cardinals 95-67
  2. Milwaukee Brewers 91-71
  3. Cincinnati Reds 82-80
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates 76-86
  5. Chicago Cubs 73-89
  6. Houston Astros 63-99

AL Central

  1. Detroit Tigers 103-59
  2. Chicago White sox 89-73
  3. Kansas City Royals 84-78
  4. Minnesota Twins 72-90
  5. Cleveland Indians 70-92

NL East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies 94-68
  2. Washington Nationals 90-72
  3. Atlanta Braves 85-77
  4. Miami Marlins 76-86
  5. New York Mets 68-84

AL East

  1. New York Yankees 95-67
  2. Tampa Bay Rays 93-69
  3. Boston Red Sox 83-79
  4. Toronto Blue Jays 77-85
  5. Baltimore Orioles 71-91

Fantasy Baseball: Giants and A’s Late Round Draft Picks

Late round picks can save a fantasy season, and the Giants and A’s have some quality ones. Each year they bring in surprise fantasy producers that can be picked up late in the draft, or off the waiver wire. Last year the Giants had Ryan Vogelsong, and the A’s had Brandon McCarthy and Josh Willingham. At least the A’s kept McCarthy. So all these guys are worth a look. All of these players are pretty much set in stone to begin as starters at the beginning of the year. EXCEPTIONS: Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes.

"These kids are gonna have to work for it now, I'm not gonna give it to 'em." -Aubrey Huff on the Giants first base position

Each player’s Average Pick in the draft is based off of Yahoo’s numbers.

Giants

  1. Melky Cabrera(OF)- AP 158.1
  2. Freddy Sanchez(2B)- AP 222.8
  3. Ryan Vogelsong(SP)- AP 235.1
  4. Aubrey Huff(1B, OF)- AP 228.8

"Cespedes looks like a football player in a baseball player's uniform." -Joe Stiglich, A's Beat Reporter

Athletics

  1. Jemile Weeks(2B) AP 158.5
  2. Yoenis Cespedes(OF)- AP 176.3
  3. Coco Crisp(OF)- AP 176.7
  4. Brandon McCarthy(SP)- AP 229.7
  5. Grant Balfour(closing pitcher candidate)- AP 222.1
  6. Brian Fuentes(closing pitcher candidate)- AP 233.7
  7. Cliff Pennington(SS) AP 232.7

Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes are battling for Oakland’s closer role, and I think Balfour will win the job. Fuentes will most likely start off the year as closer just based off of his past experience, but his stats don’t back him up. Either way, whoever wins will provide everyday saves at a reasonable price.

Also with Dallas Braden out until may the A’s pitching rotation is even more wide open. Jarrod Parker, SP,  is probably the young guy they trust the most right now, and the best fantasy option if you’re looking for the he-came-out-of-nowhere guy. He’s a highly touted prospect, 23 years old, and has one Major League start.

And as usual don’t forget about Brandon Belt. He’s bound to find his Major League swing eventually.

UPDATE: Grant Balfour has been named the Oakland A’s closing pitcher.

Fantasy Baseball: Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn

Ryan Howard is out until June, and Adam Dunn sucks. I hate that sentence. There is an upside to these two unfortunate first basemen if you look closely though, and if you’re a little crazy.

In most drafts Howard isn’t going until around the hundredth pick, so draft him. That’s a good deal for some added boost to your team, even if you do have to wait for it. He is not DL eligible yet, but as soon as he is put him there. Now here’s the crazy part.

After Howard is on the DL……pick up Adam Dunn off the waiver wire. I know that sounds more dumb than crazy, but there is some serious upside to that plan. Just keep Dunn on your bench, and wait and see if he returns to form in the first month of baseball action. If he does then you get another offensive powerhouse on your team, and then Howard can join in half way through the season.

Roll the dice on this one, no cash refunds.

Aubrey Huff, Brandon Belt, Brett Pill

I think that title needs to be read from right to left.

Two-run homer

Brett Pill seemingly has no chance of making the team. His performance is not the problem though, in fact that is the exact problem for the Giants. Pill is dominating Spring Training right now, and is outpacing both Brandon Belt and Aubrey Huff. In five games he has accumulated a .429 batting average, 4 RBI, 3 runs, and not to mention a home run and triple. Those are some of the best numbers in the club house right now, and I have a feeling they will go the the wayside when the season starts.

Also don’t forget about his debut last season when he batted a .300 through the 15 games he played in. Don’t forget about those 9 RBI he produced either. He has done nothing but good with the chances he has been given, and his minor league stats back him up. He garnered more than 100 RBI in the PCL last season, and that is not the first time he has done that in the minors.

Brandon Belt is the hyped Top Prospect though, and that is an unavoidable situation. The Giants are pretty much obligated to keep Belt second in line to Huff…or possibly first after what happened last season. It is easy to get on Belts side and everything, but I think Pill is earning himself a plausible case for the starting job. I think his best argument right now is that well, he’s the only one of the three who didn’t flop in the Majors last season. Actually that’s his second best argument. His first is that he’s OUTPACING Brandon Belt and Aubrey Huff in Spring Training.

 

Uncouth Decision

The Giants are getting rid of Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada. They have designated them to assignment, which means they have ten days to either trade or release them. I could really care less about losing Tejada, but cutting Rowand from the team does not make sense. Yes, he has been struggling at the plate mightily and in result seeing less playing time. Despite that he is still under contract through next year, and that means the Giants will have to pay 12 million to a guy who isn’t there anymore. I realize that the Giants needed some kind of shake-up to get the team going again, but it just seems like they could have gotten rid of somebody else. I’m actually surprised it wasn’t Barry Zito. Then again paying 12 million seems much more reasonable than what they would have to pay Zito if they released him.

In the end I guess I’m just going to miss Rowand’s batting stance the most. Out of my respect for him I will not divulge the nickname he has earned at my house because of that stance. He was very good to the Giants, and it was easy to tell he loved playing for them. He helped the Giants win a World Series, and he made an incredible catch to save Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter. I hope he goes to a contender, but just not to the Diamondbacks……..That would be slap in the face. Rowand will always be one of my favorite outfielders because he goes all out every time, and puts the team before himself.

And don’t forget about the amazing catch he made with Philly where he broke his nose and a few other bones. It was only the first inning, but the bases were loaded with two outs.

Here’s the article on it, Rowand recounts catch, crash at the wall

Mark Ellis To The Rockies

By Zac Estrada

Mark Ellis has been traded from the Oakland Athletics to the Colorado Rockies. Ellis went ten years with the A’s, and there are few players in this day and age who can say that. The next longest tenured A is Kurt Suzuki at five years.

Being traded to Colorado is probably the best thing that could have happened to Ellis. They have had at least five different second basemen this year with no end in sight. I think that he will fill that gap for them perfectly. He is extremely reliable on defense, and just yesterday he showed he still has some pop, going 3-5 with a home run, a double, a single, and 3 runs batted in. The thin air in Colorado is no secret, so I think it’s safe to say there are more home runs in his future. Also that means he will be getting in at bats everyday unlike with the A’s recently. Jemile Weeks has stated that good of a case though. All I can say is that Jemile better keep it up. 

That also leaves a very young infield with the absence of Ellis. Cliff Pennington is going to have to be the leader out there. He trained under Ellis in the 2008 season, and he has become a very consistent defenseman. I think the best thing the A’s can do for their defense now is to get Daric Barton back out there. He may have almost said some bad things about the fans, and may be the lowest ranked offensive first baseman, but his defense is great. He makes all the clutch plays, and therefore denying many baserunners on errors; That means all the less offense you need to win the game.

A Leadoff Prospect In The Number 3 Slot

By Zac Estrada

Gary Brown is the San Francisco Giant’s third ranked prospect. He plays center field, and he has a great chance of being the leadoff man of the future. The Giants are in great need of a true leadoff man who can be counted on for years to come. Brown fits that bill perfectly at 22 years old….and the fact that it appears he has taken a drink from the Fountain of Youth.

In 306 at bats with The San Jose Giants Brown has put together some pretty nice stats. He leads the team in batting average, .320, on base percentage, .388, and in stolen bases, 33. That is pretty impressive to see from a leadoff guy. All of that does need to be taken with a grain of salt though. The reason why is because he is a big fish in a small pond.

The San Jose Giants are a high class A team. He is a third ranked prospect prospering where and when he should be. That is good news, but overall expected good news. When he makes it up to Triple A is when we see what he is really made of. We can only hope he carries his Class A numbers through the ranks with him. His Speed won’t leave him anytime soon though, and the San Francisco Giants definitely need some of that.

Vogelsong. Zito. Same Rotation. Same Day. It Looks Like A Doubleheader.

By Zac Estrada

lets talk about the task at hand today. The San Francisco Giants face a doubleheader against the injury-riddled, not-as-much-depth-as-the-Giants Chicago Cubs. It is definitely going to be a revealing day. Ryan Vogelsong(5-1, 1.86 ERA) VS. Doug Davis(1-6, 5.01 ERA) game 1 at 11:20 am PDT. Barry Zito(0-1, 6.23 ERA) VS. Rodrigo Lopez(0-1, 6.59 ERA) game 2 at 5:05 pm PDT.

Both of these match ups seem very favorable for Zito and Vogelsong. Wrigley field is as good a place as any for a 7 game winning streak to be born, and for the dominant return of Barry Zito to be witnessed.  

Ryan Vogelsong has had an excellent season so far, and he was given that chance through Zito’s foot injury. Usually injury spells out bad news for a team, but the Giants have somehow managed to come out on the winning end of it, meaning the Giants own a 2 game lead in first and a 5 game winning streak. Lets crash back down to reality though. Pablo Sandoval missed more than a month and is now listed as day-to-day with a tight left quad, Buster Posey is out for the season, Freddy Sanchez is on the 15-day DL with a dislocated shoulder(he should be back sometime around early July), and now Jonathan Sanchez is on the 15-day DL with left bicep tendonitis. When Sanchez comes back there will be some tough decisions to make, but it does give room for a possible comeback for Barry Zito. In his last rehab start with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies he pitched a two-hit shutout. That is very promising, considering the Giants need all the pitching they can get. I am also still bitter about Zito not starting in the World Series. I won’t forget that. I won’t ok. I don’t hold grudges, but I’m going to remember that forever.

Also there is a great article about Zito on the San Francisco Giant’s home page. It talks about his trip to the minors, and how his appreciation for the game has been renewed. Don’t pass it up, here’s a link to the article. http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110627&content_id=21078110&vkey=news_sf&c_id=sf

All-Star Pitching

National League

BAA stands for opponents batting average. I find it to be a very helpful stat, and it really shows how dominant a pitcher is against batters. Usually it correlates with a low earned run average too, but not always. Although you can count on a pitchers high ERA to lower if their BAA is an exceptional number.

 

AP

 

I would have put Ryan Vogelsong as my number one, but he has only made eleven starts. Most starters have made four to seven starts more than him. A lot can happen in that many starts. He will get a full second half though, and if he keeps up these kinds of numbers there is no doubt in my mind he will win the National League Cy Young Award. 

Starting Pitching

  1. Cole Hamels- 2.49 ERA, .212 BAA
  2. Clayton Kershaw- 2.93 ERA, .211 BAA
  3. Jhoulys Chacin- 2.71 ERA, .190 BAA
  4. Ryan Vogelsong- 1.86 ERA, .221 BAA
  5. Shaun Marcum- 2.95 ERA, .215 BAA

Relief Pitching

  1. Mike Adams- 1.31 ERA, .150 BAA
  2. Jonny Venters- 1.29 ERA, .171 BAA
  3. Sergio Romo- 2.25 ERA, .184 BAA

Closer

  1. Brian Wilson- 2.50 ERA, .212 BAA, 23 saves in 25 opportunities

 

American League

 

 The American League surprisingly has great pitching this season. The numbers are hard to argue with, and it looks like this All-Star game is going to be a low scoring pitching duel with a lot of heat. I still have to give the edge to the National league though. The numbers may be on the American League’s side, but all the clutch is on the National League’s.

Starting Pitching

  1. Jered Weaver- 1.97 ERA, .196 BAA
  2. Justin Verlander- 2.38 ERA, .178 BAA
  3. James Shields- 2.29 ERA, .207 BAA
  4. Josh Beckett- 1.86 ERA, .174 BAA
  5. Michael Pineda- 2.45 ERA, .199 BAA

Relief Pitching

  1. David Pauley- 1.49 ERA, .183 BAA
  2. Al Alburquerque- 1.95 ERA, .125 BAA
  3. Koji Uehara- 2.25 ERA, .165 BAA

Closer

  1. Kyle Farnsworth- 1.99 ERA, .217 BAA, 16 saves in 17 opportunities

 

 

National League All-Star Selections

National League:

  • 1B – Gaby Sanchez
  • 2B – Freddy Sanchez
  • SS – Stephen Drew
  • 3B – Pablo Sandoval
  • C – Buster Posey
  • OF – Ryan Braun
  • OF – Jay Bruce
  • OF – Aubrey Huff

National League says “American League?”

I may have said the American League will win, but I never believe what I say. My National League All-Star team may appear to be battered and bruised, but looks can be deceiving. Yes, Freddy Sanchez and Buster Posey are on the DL. Yes, Pablo Sandoval has missed over a month of the season. Yes, Aubrey Huff is struggling at the plate. And Yes again, I do pretty much believe the San Francisco Giants should pretty much make up the entire All-Star team. What of it?

Gaby Sanchez 1B- Sanchez has entered his second full season with grace. He is batting a .302, has 45 runs batted in, 13 home runs, and has mustered a .377 on base percentage. He is not the most elite option(yet), but the kid just has spirit. Here…..just check him out punching this guy(Sanchez is the guy who comes flying in from the left side of the screen). Also don’t forget that he has a .997 fielding percentage.   

Freddy Sanchez 2B- Freddy is obviously not a power hitter, but that’s what people want to see. If he wasn’t injured(dislocated shoulder-15 day DL as of June 11) he probably would have already brought his batting average up to .300 from his current .289 unnoticed. Maybe even possibly up to the .344 he batted in 2006. I guess we’ll all be waiting in anticipation until he gets back. I know I frickn will. Either way he is an important part to the Giant’s offense, and he hits doubles like he’s playing for the Oakland A’s. Freddy has 15 doubles on the season already, and that’s what I like to call scoring position.

Stephen Drew SS- I think I just like Drew because every time I watch him play he plays hard, and he has smart at bats. That’s all you can really ask for from a player, and he has done that five years in a row now. Not to mention he has a flare for power, and a talent for doubles and triples. Drew has 16 doubles, and 4 triples already this year. He is also on track for a career high in runs batted in, slugging in 39 thus far this season. Combine all that with a .274 batting average, and Stephen Drew really isn’t that bad of an option.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- Pablo had a lackluster season last year, but that is securely in the past. In his eight games back his batting average has been lowered from a .313 to a still ok .282. That is definitely misleading though, because in those eight games he has gotten a hit in all but one of them. That is what the Giant’s need, and what I like to see as a fan. Also his 5 home runs, and 15 runs batted in are considerably impressive, considering he has missed 45 games. Pablo is a legitimate choice for the All-Star team, and I stand by him.

Buster Posey C- Posey may have left early in the season, but he was playing well enough to be a hands-down All-Star catcher. He has a 13 game hitting streak going, and his offense and defense were impressively solid. It is hard to argue with a .284 batting average, 4 home runs, and 21 runs batted in….in only 45 games played. Also with an astounding .994 fielding percentage to go along with all that. Buster deserves the nod.

Ryan Braun OF- Braun is really bringing it this season, and he has all the numbers to back up his bid. He is batting a .309, has 57 runs batted in, 15 home runs, and 16 stolen bases. He has proven himself to be an elite player season after season now, and that makes it easy to know what to expect from him. That’s why I find his stolen bases total of 16 to be really impressive. Braun’s career high in stolen bases is only 20, so that just shows how much he is pushing himself this season. Not to mention he’s on a 16 game hitting streak.

Jay Bruce OF- He had his breakout season last year, and he’s continuing that into this season. Jay’s batting average has dropped to a .274, but that is more than acceptable when compared to how great his other numbers are. 49 runs batted in and 17 home runs is elite, and that has put him on-track for a career season.

Aubrey Huff OF- Huff is one of my favorite players. That’s all I can really say. He is off to an uncharacteristically slow start, but his is still getting guys across the plate. 38 runs batted in is definitely competitive, and what the Giants and National League All-Star Team need. He has the power to spark an offense, and can provide a welcomed veteran presence for the team. Also not to mention he is one of the few players with three home runs in one game this season.

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