2009 National League East Preview

Here is the first division preview for the upcoming season and I begin with the NL East:

Predicted Standings
1. New York Metsdavid-wright3
2. Florida Marlins
3. Philadelphia Phillies
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Washington Nationals

Best Hitter: Hanley Ramirez
Best Pitcher: Johann Santana

Mets

The Mets return the same offense as last year with David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran leading the team. Johan Santana leads the starting rotation and is followed by Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez. Santana is an ace, but Pelrey and Perez could put the Mets in a tough situation if either doesn’t live up to expectations. However, their bullpen is key as the Mets have two proven closers in Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. There won’t be many times this year when the Mets blow a lead after the 7th inning so if an opponent wants to win, it is going to have to beat the Met’s starters. Continue reading “2009 National League East Preview”

Does Money Ball Work?

For years now, Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane has been hailed the king of GMs, but is he worthy of this title? The Athletics have a resolute philosophy of developing talent in their farm system and not wasting money on over-priced free agents. Beane brought this system to the A’s and it seemed to work, but as A’s fans look back over the last decade, how much success has this philosophy really brought them? Since Beane took over in 1997, Oakland has won a total of one playoff series. If the goal was to reach and win a World Series, then Beane has certainly come up short. That’s not to say Beane’s strategy did not pay dividends. From 2000-2004, the Athletics won at least 91 games every season and made the playoffs four out of those five years. They lost in the first round every one of those years, but nonetheless, they made the playoffs. They developed strong starting pitching from their farm system and they used every inning out of those young arms. Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito are three of the most notable pitchers to come through the A’s system and subsequently be traded away as their free agency approached. Beane knew he could not compete with teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, who have nearly unlimited funds. Thus he did the smart thing and traded his pitchers away right before they hit the open market. He wasn’t going to be able to sign them, but by trading them, at least he got something in return. Continue reading “Does Money Ball Work?”

2008 MLB Mid Season Report

It is nearly the middle of June and Interleague Play is about to get underway so I have decided that it is a good point to look back at the first couple of months of the season

Best Team: Though not completely clear cut, this award goes to the Chicago Cubs who are currently 18 games above .500 and own the best record in MLB, a game and a half ahead of the Los Angeles Angels. They have scored 369 runs, second in Major League Baseball, but the Cubs have allowed the fifth least amount of runs in the entire league at 268. The 101 differential between runs scored and runs allowed is first in baseball and they also have the best ERA in the National League at 3.66. Alfonso Soriano leads the team with 15 home runs and seven of the Cubs’ eight daily batters have averages equal to or above .280. The Cubs possess the best team OPS in National League at .809 and have the third best bullpen ERA at 3.17. Leading in almost ever statistical category, offense or pitching, the Cubs have jumped to the top of league as they hope to win their first championship in 100 years.

Worst Team: One of my favorite awards, the Worst Team Award gives me a chance to look at the most incompetent, hopeless, and pitiful team that Major League Baseball has to offer. Though there are many candidates for this award, the Washington Nationals are most deserving. Though they only have the seventh worst ERA in MLB at 4.56, they have scored the fewest runs out of any team for the entire season at 243. The Nationals have the second lowest OBP (.310) and the lowest OPS (.666).  They have blown 14 saves in 27 opportunities and possess the third highest bullpen ERA at 4.37. All of these stats have combined to make the Nationals 15 games below .500, 6.5 games behind the fourth-placed New York Mets. Continue reading “2008 MLB Mid Season Report”