Friday, March 31, 2017

Deacon Art's 2017 MLB Predictions

Baseball kicks in for real in the next day or two, and rumor has it spring may arrive someday as well. As is the annual tradition around RSM I will take a shot at predicting how each division and league playoffs will turn out.  As I tell you who will the 2017 World Series, please try to forget last year I had the Giants winning over Texas.

As always each team will have its own one line comment, followed by some other league predictions. I'll wrap with some random MLB and Red Sox thoughts/predictions.  Let's go.

American League  ( * first wild card  ** second wild card)

East

1. Boston-        Boston's B Boys Bring a Banner to Beantown.
2. Baltimore-   Birds Nest in Second, but Closer to Fifth than First
3. Toronto-      Justin- Jays Only Have Third Place Talent- Harsh but Trudeau.
4. New York-   Flip or Flop
5. Tampa Bay- Another Group of Immigrants Canada Will Take Eventually

Central

1. Kansas City- Royals Avoid July Fire Sale, Then Thrive
2. Cleveland-   Tired Twirlers Take Down Tito's Team
3. Detroit-        Post Illitch Era Decline Begins
4. Minnesota-  Mayday, Mayday
5. Chicago-      Chisox Clearance Continues

West

1. Seattle-          Mariners Build Wall Around Texas Teams
2.* Houston-     Better Team on Paper than M's- Except for Paper Mache Pitching
3. **Texas-       Gotta Root for a Team That has a Nomar
4. Los Angeles- Another Serving of Spoiled Trout
5. Oakland-       Hey Raiders, Got Room for us in Vegas

AL Post Season

Houston tops Texas 11-9 in the wild card game on a walk off Alex Bregman grand slam.

ALDS
Boston takes down Houston in four with Chris Sale winning games one and four.
Kansas City's free agents to be sweep Seattle.

ALCS

KC's post season experience from 2014-15 only goes so far and the Red Sox win their fourth AL pennant in the 2000's in six games.  Xander Bogaerts in the ALCS MVP.

AL MVP & Rookie of Year: Andrew Benintendi in a remake of Fred Lynn 1975.
AL Cy  Chris Sale   ( 24 wins make it a landslide)
Manager of the Year: Scott Servais, Seattle
Home Run Champ: Nelson Cruz 44
Comeback: Felix Hernandez  ( joins Sale as only AL 20 game winners)

National League

East

1. Washington-    Nats Won't be the Only Thing Not Passed in DC This Year.
2. Miami-            Mattingly's Marlins Mature
3. New York-      They're Still Citi
4. Atlanta-           Good at Stockpiling Young Pitchers, Like Bartolo Colon & RA Dickey.
5. Philadelphia-   Best Philly Pitcher Could Be Clay Buchholz...Fake News

Central

1. Pittsburgh- Sometimes the Best Deals are Those You Don't Make (see A. McCutchen)
2.* Chicago-  Looked Unbeatable Throughout Campaign Until Hacked by Russians
3. St. Louis-   Shoulda Grabbed a Better Cubbie Than Dexter Fowler
4. Milwaukee-Rebuild Yet to Come to a Head
5.Cincinnati- This Dick Williams Team Will Not "Win More Than We'll Lose"

West

1. Colorado-          The National's League's Best Story
2.** Los Angeles- The winner is ...La La Land!.......No Wait
3. San Francisco-   Odd/Even Year Lock Blown All to Hell, Who Knows Now
4. Arizona-            The DBacks Hazen of the NL West Comes Soon
5. San Diego-         At Least They Have Don Orsillo

NL Post Season

Cubs beat LA 4-3 when Jon Lester picks potential tying run off first base to end the game

NLDS

Cubs over Nationals in five: Trump tweets he will throw out first pitch for NLDS Game Six
Pirates sweep Rockies

NLCS

Despite the Cubs outscoring the Pirates by ten runs in the series, the Pirates win 4 games to 3.
NLCS MVP is Gerrit Cole.

NL MVP  Andrew McCutchen
NL CY     Gerrit Cole
Manager   Bud Black, Colorado
Rookie      Dansby Swanson, Braves edges out Josh Bell of Pittsburgh
Home Run Giancarlo Stanton 55
Comeback Stanton

WORLD SERIES

In a replay of the first Series ever in 1903 (although this time not a best of nine) the Pirates and Boston meet in Game One at Fenway Park.  Boston with 96 regular season wins gained the home field advantage over the 92 win Pirates.

The Red Sox win Games One and Two at home behind Chris Sale and Rick Porcello.  The Pirates go home to win the next two to tie the series.  In Game Five the Sox explode on the highly touted Buccos pitching to win 14-4 with five home runs from their outfielders, two apiece for Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley, Jr, and a three run blast from Andrew Benintendi.  The Red Sox return to Fenway and put away their fourth World Championship of the 21st century. The 3-1 win was paced by a three run double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. and David Price coming out of the bullpen to get the last six outs. JBJ is the World Series MVP, not only for his bat, but for making a back to plate Game Six saving catch reminiscent of Willie Mays in 1954( yeah, I wasn't alive then either, look it up on You Tube for chrissakes).

Other Random MLB Predictions

Thursday, March 2, 2017

David Price's Elbow Hurts and So Does My Heart

Reports are out all over Red Sox Twitter this morning that David Price has been scratched from his next start with elbow/forearm soreness. He got an MRI and apparently didn't like the results, because he's getting a second opinion. That's right, our $217 million man is visiting the dreaded office of Dr. James Andrews, Tommy John surgery extraordinaire.

So, to recap, the Red Sox signed Price to a 7 year, $217 million contract before the 2016 season. Price proceeded to underperform expectations, not pitch "like a true ace", and lost yet another postseason game running his postseason record as a starter to 0-8. And now it looks like he'll need Tommy John surgery and be out until late in the 2018 season, and really not back to top form until the 2019 season. For those counting at home, by the time April 2019 rolls around, the Red Sox will have paid Price around $90 million. It reminds this blogger of the John Lackey contract - a less-than-stellar beginning in Boston, looked like the worst contract in the history of sports for most of it, then a major injury and rehab, but rebounded to become a vital part of the 2013 championship team before being traded away. Let's hope at least that last part comes true for Price, who even before this injury was dealing with headlines in the Boston Globe like "Will Boston Ever See the Good Old David Price?"

Now, before we go any further I would like to add this important disclaimer: David Price was good last year. Really good. He led the American League in innings pitched and games started (seems like an important part of "pitching like an ace!"). His K/9 was just 0.3 less than in 2015. He won 17 games and struck out 228 batters, good for the second-highest total of his career. His control was slightly worse than normal, posting his highest BB/9 in four years (2.0), and a few more balls left the park pitching in Fenway, resulting in his highest HR/9 in his career (1.2). But David Price is still a damned good pitcher, folks. His absence hurts.

Finally, what will this do to the Red Sox rotation? Well, this article claiming that Drew Pomeranz wants zero part of being put in the bullpen might not matter, since the big lefty will most likely now be firmly entrenched in the top five. Sox rotation will shake out like this if in fact Price is out for 2017:
1. Chris Sale
2. Rick Porcello
3. Eduardo Rodriguez
4. Steven Wright
5. Drew Pomeranz

That's still a pretty damned good starting rotation. The Chris Sale trade is looking better and better. My only issue is this: what happens when another starter gets hurt? The depth beyond this is scary - anyone want to see more of Henry Owens starting games for Boston? Me either. Brian Johnson anyone? Eh. Clay Buchholz? He's wearing a Phillies uniform now. It gets scary quick down here beyond the top five. Get Brian Bannister on this quickly, we need another Rich Hill for depth.