Results tagged ‘ Brewers ’

My Favorite MLB Teams

While I’ve always kind of known which teams I like and which I don’t–although even those have changed throughout the years–I truly have never ranked the teams 1-30 as to which I like better than others. So that’s what I’m going to do right now. (Disclaimer: This is a list of how I order the teams in the offseason of 2013-14. While most of my decision in where to put a team in the rankings is based off of the franchise itself, some of it is based on who is on the team right now, so these rankings are subject to change over time.)

1. Minnesota Twins-

My story with the Twins is that I grew up a Yankees fan being from New York, but being that I look at things from a GM’s perspective, I thought that being Brian Cashman and having a $200-million payroll would be a pretty boring job creatively since he could essentially buy any player he wanted to. In thinking this, I thought of a team who had success but doing so with a reduced payroll that required teams to build their team in an innovative way on a much smaller budget. Being as it was the mid-2000s, the Twins was a natural choice seeing as they were a constant playoff team with one of the lowest budgets in baseball. Now don’t get me wrong; there’s a different challenge in being the GM of the Yankees: you’re never allowed to take a year off having success to rebuild your core/farm system, but I was entranced by the building of a successful major league team from a solid minor league core.

2. Washington Nationals-

In going to a ton of games at Nationals Park in 2011 I fell in love with the core of players that went 80-81 as well as the people who inhabited it. Ever since then, I have been a really big fan of the players that made up the core of the teams in the next two years. And because of me falling in love with the Nationals Park environment for whatever reason as well as the people who made it such a special place, I became a fan of the franchise as a whole.

3. Tampa Bay Rays-

Much like the Twins, the Rays endeared themselves to me by being a team that built their team intelligently–allowing them to achieve repeated success on a payroll that can’t compare to that of a larger market team.

4. San Francisco Giants-

The Giants is an interesting case because it started as simply a liking of a specific player: Tim Lincecum. However, as I kept up with Lincecum more and more as he began to turn from the Washington kid who could pitch insanely fast for his size to a household name, I grew to have a liking fro the other players on the Giants as well. I think having shared a hotel with the players in Milwaukee and having a mini-conversation with a couple of them as well as having a personal memory of what Brian Wilson was like pre-beard may have contributed to this connection to the team, though.

5. Texas Rangers-

I truly have no idea how the Rangers managed to climb my list so high. I used to not really be a fan of them in their team with the two Rodriguezes, but as they turned towards a team that relied more on pitching *in addition to* the offense the Rangers always seemed to have, I really liked the teams that they constructed around 2009-10.

6. New York Yankees-

While they have fallen down my list and I hate the franchise past the team itself, they still are my childhood team that I can’t help to root for.

7. Philadelphia Phillies-

While it was not the beginning of my fandom of them, this certainly sealed it for me. They’d be higher on the list for me, but Phillies fans.

8. Toronto Blue Jays-

Part of me always sympathized with our neighbors to the north. Even when the Expos were still a team, I liked the Blue Jays a lot and always secretly as a Yankee fan hoped they would surge up and break the norm of the AL East standings for a while in the early 2000s–which was:

1. Yankees

2. Red Sox

3. Blue Jays

4. Orioles

5. Devil Rays

I just really always wanted them to have success, and this translated to a fandom of the team when they played teams that weren’t my top-of-the-line favorite teams.

9. Milwaukee Brewers-

My liking of the Brewers began in around 2008 when CC Sabathia joined the team for half a season and did amazing with being in attendance for what should have been a no-hitter, (I might write about this/do a video for a “Blast From the Baseball Past” entry) but then I just had a fandom for the Fielder and Braun teams. My fandom for the team, though, has lessened the past couple of years for obvious reasons regarding one or more of the aforementioned players.

10. Oakland Athletics-

(See Tampa Rays.)

11. Cincinnati Reds-

I think this is kind of a fusion of many of the various teams I have talked about to this point. So in part it’s like the Rays where I liked that a solid major league team was built from the pooling of major league talent, but it is also a lot like the Giants since I really like Joey Votto as a player.

12. Atlanta Braves-

I think this is Nationals-esque in that I loved Turner Field and its atmosphere. I also liked the core and became much more of a fan because of people I have met that are passionate about the Braves. And I can say that the fact that Julio Teheran plays for them doesn’t hurt them at all.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks-

This is one of the teams that I honestly don’t know why I like more than most teams. I’ve just always liked Diamondbacks teams (after the 2001 season, that is.) Yeah, I don’t know.

14. Seattle Mariners-

This has been mostly the product of running into very nice baseball people who are fans of the Mariners. I’m also a fan of how good of a pitching team they have been despite being offensively anemic the past seasons.

15. Baltimore Orioles-

Similarly to the Mariners, I just know a ton of awesome baseball people that are Orioles fans. In addition to that, their stadium is my favorite in baseball. I would say that really the only reason they’re this far down the list is that some Orioles fans became obnoxious as they began to climb out of the AL East cellar.

16. Detroit Tigers-

I know that I’m supposed to hate the Tigers as a Twins fan, but the fact that we beat them in the game 163 we played them helps and I always admired the teams that had success more than most of the teams I am supposed to dislike.

17. Pittsburgh Pirater-

I can pretty safely say that if I weren’t a ballhawk, this team would be lower on the list, but because of the big ballhawk following in Pittsburgh, I have kept up and liked the Pirates and it was incredibly fun watching them have success for the first time in over two decades last season.

18. Miami Marlins-

Ah the Marlins. Those poor souls. I always had an affinity for them especially teams with the 30+ homer infields of Uggla, Ramirez, Cantu, and Jacobs. That said, Jeffrey Loria has made this a team that I can’t root for over half of the other teams. They remain a team that I’m intrigued by and want to root for, and they would skyrocket up this list if Loria ever sold them and kept them in Miami, but right now they’re just not a team I can really get behind.

19. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-

I don’t know about this team. I want to like them in many respects, but they lost me when they started spending a bajillion dollars on free agents, trading for Vernon Wells, and then having success with not with their big free agent acquisitions but with the farm talent they had beforehand.

20. Colorado Rockies-

The Rockies are one of those teams I have a preference towards, but still in a kind of “eh” way. I’ve never disliked them really, but I’ve never really had any passion behind my support of them.

21. San Diego Padres-

I used to like them a lot more in the Trevor Hoffman era, but they’ve dropped a bit since then  not necessarily because their lack of success but the players behind these teams. They just haven’t been groups of guys that I’d like to get behind.

22. Cleveland Indians-

Again, never disliked them but never really liked them.

23. Houston Astros-

I actually like the group of people in this team and could see myself liking a lot in the years to come. That said, they have made some pretty bad decisions in the past and it was not a shock that they were as bad of a team as they have been.

24. Kansas City Royals-

I actually like this franchise in terms of their ballpark and look, but then there are the people behind the scenes that ruin this team for me. At the ballpark, I have not heard many positive things about their ushers, and behind the franchise, I disagree on many things with the GM of the team, Dayton Moore. I think that the team could have been competing a long time ago had it not been for his guidance.

25. St. Louis Cardinals-

The main reason for them being this far down the list is the fact that their fans claim incorrectly that they are definitely the “best fans in baseball.” While I don’t think there is a no-doubt group of the best fans in baseball, if my experience with Cardinals fans in baseball has taught me anything, it is that while the Cardinals fan base may be in the top-10, they are definitely not the no-doubt best fans in baseball they claim to be.

26. Chicago White Sox-

I was a fan of the 2005 Astros and 2008 Twins. Enough said.

27. New York Mets-

They’re the Mets. I don’t know how many things I have admired about the Mets the past five years. If it’s any indication, the rendition of “Meet the Mets” that I have adopted begins:

Beat the Mets,

Beat the Mets,

Step right up and,

Sweep the Mets

28. Los Angeles Dodgers-

While I have kind of liked the players on the Dodgers for stretches, their recent acquisition by the Kasten-Johnson group and metamorphosis into baseball’s new Yankees has really turned me off to them. I have disliked them sans Vin Scully for a much longer time than just that, but that’s the most recent thing that provides a rational reason for disliking them.

29. Chicago Cubs-

I have never had any appeal to the Cubs, and I’m not particularly found of how Cubs fans overreact to prospects as well as how in-your-face Cubs fans I have interacted with have been about the most minor successes. Granted, it’s a conditioning that has come with being the fan of a team who last won a World Series when one’s great-grandparents were your age.

30. Boston Red Sox-

This is partially because I grew up a fan of the Yankees, but I also do like their stadium and the atmosphere of it. However, I can’t get over the attitude of their owner John Henry that many fans have adopted without realizing the absurdity of it of that the Yankees have a ridiculous advantage in terms of having a humongous payroll. The reason this argument infuriates me is because for the longest time, there was a gigantic gap in payroll between the Red Sox and the third largest payroll. Thus it was the rich crying poor in order to gain sympathy. The second reason is because the Steinbrenner family is actually a middle-of-the-pack ownership group in terms of wealth. The reason they invest so much money into the team is because they value winning. Therefore, if John Henry truly wanted to win, he could spend the extra money and win. The problem is that if he didn’t win with this extra money invested, he would be losing money. However, George Steinbrenner was taking the same risk when he invested his extra money; it was just that Steinbrenner’s Yankees did win every season and could thus keep spending. So what Henry did by calling out Steinbrenner and the Yankees was criticized him/them for doing what he didn’t have the guts to do with the Red Sox in order to give his fans the winning such a great fan base deserved. However, being the fans that they were, many Red Sox fans backed their owner without truly understanding what was behind these claims.

So those were my favorite teams. I am by no means “right” in any of my judgements. Picking a favorite team–or in my case *teams*–is something of complete subjectivity and can be done for any number of reasons. Also, the next entry is me making a new Observing Baseball Logo. I would actually like to make a clarification. So it’s actually not the logo itself–this:

Just Logo

But it would actually be me remaking the icon itself, which is this:

Icon 5

But besides that, keep voting for your favorite entries. I should mention that I’ll be doing various entries for Twinsfest, but you can vote for the stuff you want to see besides this on the poll below:

Milwaukee Brewers 2012 Offseason Recap and Preview

Sorry to do this to you Brewers fans, but these two guys were the biggest story of the 2011 season, even with all the additions last offseason:

Grade: D-

Notable Additions:

Aramis Ramirez, Brooks Conrad, Cesar Izturis, Alex Gonzalez, and Jose Veras.

Notable Subtractions:

Prince Fielder, Cragi Counsell, Yuniesky Betancourt, Latroy Hawkins, Takashi Saito, Casey McGehee, Jerry Hariston Jr, and Mark Kotsay.

Why?: I know that considering they signed Aramis Ramirez and all, the Brewers look like they have had as good an offseason as they could with there being virtually no chance of signing Prince Fielder. However, you will see many more big MLB players on the “subtractions” list than the additions list.

Ah the McGehee trade. I don’t think we can evaluate this trade yet. If he returns to the level of two years ago, this will be a horrible deal for the Brewers, but if he continues at the level of last year, Doug Melvin looks like a genius.

There are names on both lists I could get into, but it doesn’t make any sense as the players only have an impact on the teams record as aggregate units and not as individuals. I would like to point out, however, that the Brewers are still a good team as they stand. I do see life after Prince for this club. I don’t see them slipping into the days where Jeff Cirillo was on the team and they were the league’s bottom feeder along with Detroit, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and some other team I’m forgetting (the Expos maybe?).

Predicted Record Range: 81-86 wins

Next up: The World Series Champion, St. Louis Cardinals, but what division would you like to see next?

Re-view of the Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

First of all, here (http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com/2011/04/15/milwaukee-brewers-offseason-recap-and-preview/) is the entry.

Predicted Record: 85-90 wins
Actual Record: 96-66

I really thought that the Brewers lost enough talent to hinder their progress made in the acquisitions. What I didn’t account for is the progress their players would make. Both Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun were better than they were in 2010. I don’t know how much better the numbers were, but they were both MVP candidates while none was in 2010.

I think that most of the reason is that I got this prediction so wrong (which wasn’t that wrong, relatively speaking) is becauseI was stuck on how many net wins I thought they had added. Actually, if you go by the net wins last offseason, I might have actually been a little optimistic, because they lost so many player last season. Sure, they weren’t top-of-the-line players, but they were mostly above average, and not players you are dying to get rid of.

All in all, I made a good intellectual decision, but if you followed this team, there was something magical about this team. Some were put off by how they expressed it, but they had some true synergy, which is why I picked them for the World Series once the Phillies got knocked out. I think that they would have appeared there too, if they hadn’t run into a team that was a little more magical.

I visited Milwaukee in August, and I can’t think of a better, louder environment than I was in. I think the fans could feel how special this team was, too. I’ve always kinda of liked the Brewers, and I’m disappointed what has happened to them with the loss of Fielder, and the probable loss of Braun.

8/13/11 Pirates at Brewers: Miller Park

This is pretty much a cautionary entry to anyone going to a game on a Saturday between two teams in contention. I went through the same pre-game ritual this game as I did at my last and was already to redeem myself for lost opportunities the game before by arriving once again at 4:30 for a 7:00 game when I heard the roar of a crowd:

I then took that last picture. When Richard and I were driving to our parking spot of the previous day, he noticed that the parking lot was packed but I had been to Miller Park previously before this trip and attributed it to the fans tradition of tailgating as I had seen it was very prevalent in my last trip. I should have known, though. When there weren’t many people outside the cars themselves. The reason that I showed up late was that when I looked at the game it was scheduled for 7:00 pm central but Fox then took over the game and moved it to their standard 4:00 pm eastern time slot and I had no clue this had happened. Okay, it was on my ticket but I did not even have the slightest clue to check for the time. What makes it even more painful is that Richard and I were doing a whole lot of nothing the whole day waiting for my mom’s flight to arrive and could have easily shown up to the game.

When we got in it was already the fifth inning. Had I not gotten shutout at Target Field I would have turned around when I saw the crowd and walked back to the car. Instead, I tried to get into prime foul ball territory and this was the result:

No one checked my ticket or anything. You see there is a cross aisle behind Home Plate and in front of the press box that is a pretty good spot for catching foul balls and I thought it would take an ID-ing just to take pictures of it but I walked right in without getting anything checked. My only complaint is that the protective netting is too high for baseballs to come back on a line but here I am in the cross aisle:

I will say, though, that with the net being say 5 feet lower it is the perfect height and distance from Home Plate for a foul ball to get there. As you can see, I have an orange circle in the upper right of that last picture. That highlights just some of the hundreds of white spots on the wall caused by foul balls. Of course, a security guard noticed I was shifting back and forth from batter to batter and asked where my tickets were. I showed him that they were standing room only  and he then told me I (and Richard) would have to leave the section.

We eventually made our way to the Left Field Lodge bleachers and sat there for the inning remaining of a 1-0 game. As you can (maybe) imagine, I was pretty angry at myself for not checking the time of the game but I must say that it as the most energy filled game I have ever been to and I grew up a Yankee fan and attended my fair share of games at the old/new Yankee Stadium. Perhaps it was because there was so much tension in the air. The Brewers only had a 1 run lead in the ninth inning and whoever was pitching loaded the bases with no outs and John Axford got three consecutive outs to end the game (I’m not sure if Axford came in before the Ninth started and loaded the bases or if someone else did and he just finished it off). That was the most excited I have ever been at a baseball game.

Lastly I would like to thank Richard for being the best camera person I have ever had (to this point) by far. I know it was a bit of a stretch to be away from home for that long and attend more games than he had in the last century but I would like to thank him for doing so. Even if I couldn’t put up a show for him during any of these batting practices, I might have to go back to the midwest next year just to have him as my photographer.

No stats for this entry as there isn’t anything to write about this particular game.

8/12/11 Pirates at Brewers: Miller Park

I actually had been to Miller Park before. I went for a three game series against the Giants in 2009. Of course, things were a little different this time. I wasn’t staying in the same hotel as the visiting team and the Brewers were/are a really good team. It was good that I reasearched this because I was going to wait until gametime to buy tickets but to give you an idea of how popular the Brew Crew is, here’s a picture of the line at 12:00 pm:

The best part was that people were buying tickets for weeks and even a month in advance. Go down to the stats and see the attendance in the competition factor stat to be surprised that the stadium holds 43,000.

Anyway, I got my tickets for this game and the next day’s game but the only tickets available for the next day were Standing Room Only.

To the game. I arrived to the ballpark 2 1/2 hours early because Miller Park actually has a restaurant called Friday’s Front Row Grill which overlooks the field and where balls may then be snagged:

When buying the tickets we had the luxury of parking a few feet away from the stadium but for the game we had to park about 2+ miles away and walk to the stadium in order to avoid parking fees. Here is Richard pointing to the stadium as we walk towards it:

As for Friday’s, we somehow went through an opening in the stadium where your ticket didn’t need to be scanned. Don’t ask me how it just happened that way. We were then seated with two small caveats: 1. There was a 1 hour time limit on the table ( knew about this and was fine with this because the gates would be opening as our table expired) 2. There was a $30 minimum. The latter was a bit tough considering both Richard and I are vegetarian and Friday’s, Applebee’s, and that brand of food is not known for its vegetarian options. As for the actual spot of our table, it was all the way to the left of the the seating (I took this next picture with my back against a wall):

Initially, I thought this was going to be a problem because I couldn’t  range to my left in order to snag balls but as you can see, the ceiling was pretty low and as a result not many baseballs would go into the seating. The positive part of having no one sitting to my left was that any ball hit to my left on that the players came out to field I would have exclusive asking right to ( no one else would be closer to the ball.

To add another theme to this trip, it was the trip of over-cautiouness. As in, I was too cautious about not having players see me get a ball from another player and as a result got nothing from the Brewers players. Here is a picture illustrating what I’m talking about:

I see a ball rolling to the wall to my right but I am not calling out to Tim Dillard as he was fielding it because I was afraid the other players would hear me and not toss me balls after that. Let’s call the culmination of this cautiousness lost opportunity #1.

Lost opportunity #2 came when  a ball was hit to my left and here I am re-enacting the moment:

A ball came what seemed to be right at me but it kept tailing and tailing and eventually went just out of my reach. I might have been able to get it but there was a bit of a fall and in the moment I didn’t have my hand on the railing like in this picture but had I, I might have caught the ball but it bounced off the concrete then the railingabove it and back onto the field. While we’re talking about life threatening situations, let’s get them all out of the way. Right after/during Richard taking that last picture, another ball appeared to be hit right at me again. Except instead of tailing, this ball kept hooking. I would have tried to lunge out and grab it over the table but I realized it was headed right at Richard and so I yelled either “Heads up,” or “Duck,” as I knew he was looking at me and not the field. The ball whizzed six inches over what would have been his head had he not ducked and hit this metal container of sorts:

It then of course didn’t stay in the restaurant but then bounced on the concrete below us and back onto the field. The Brewers threw neither of these back to us.

Finally, a ball came that was snag-able. A ball was hit far too low/left for me to catch but it bounced right into the gap in front of me. Since I had my glove trick ready, I started to lower it into the gap to knock the ball closer:

All the people in the restaurant were huddled over the railing but a police officer came from the right of the gap, smiled at my glove trick, picked the ball up and threw it to me for my non-existent copyright infrigment. Here I am with the ball:

I would say this was at the 50 minute mark of our 1 hour stay at Friday’s and it was definitely disappointing to only have one baseball to show for a hour of being in the stadium while having four opportunities pass by me. When I thought it was a good time, I lined up to get into the stadium itself. I thought my ticket would be scanned at this line but turns out Richards and I could have not bought a ticket and still had the same results we had as we never pulled out our ticket once by request.

As soon as I got into the stadium, I lined up in Left Field foul ground behind the Pirates warming up and hoped to get a ball from them. I tried all of the pirates but here are the highlights from my time there. I called out to Joel Hanrahan and he took a look at me but tossed the ball to a young Brewers fan with whom I had been talking to in line and had actually mocked me for wearing Pirates gear (jokingly). I had heard that Hanrahan was anti-ballhawk and I am pretty sure he knew something was up when he saw me but he also seemed confused by my cheerful nature when dealing with the other fans getting baseballs. I even assisted him in getting baseballs to the kids two other friends whom he had invited to the game (both from Hanrahan). The bullpen catcher saw me doing this deed and threw me a baseball but a Brewers fan reached in front of me and gabbed it. The catcher shrugged and I shrugged back because I knew I would be seeing him later on as I was headed to the lower Right Field bleachers.

Here I am once Richard got there to take my picture:

I am the one to the far left of the picture in the bright yellow. Don’t worry, I wasn’t texting or any of that on my phone. I was looking up a player on the Pirates as my phone becomes my roster when I forget to print them out the day before. I sometimes use my phone to look up the player’s hit chart to know where to stand but this is usually more during the game so I am pretty sure I was looking up a player.Why do I point out that girl with the arrow? Well, she becomes important in my next baseball acquisition. I ran to my right as I had seen the batter ground a ball into the Right Field corner:

I then waved at a person I later identified as Mike Lincoln because I didn’t know his name at the moment as it was not on the phone roster. After that, he pointed what I thought to be straight in my direction and threw  the ball to me at about stomach level. I was right behind that girl at this pint and she deflected it into the row behind me. I picked up the ball and suddenly was wondering whether the ball was intended for me or not. To remove all doubt, I gave the ball to her.

Then it was glove trick time. I am very shy about using the glove trick because I always think the ushers will have a problem with it but I saw a ball close to the wall of the bullpen in Right Field and dropped my glove over it. Here is the three part sequence:

That would be me:

1. Looking at the ball

2. Dropping my glove

3. Pulling the ball up

Notice the ball to the left of the picture? I probably wasn’t going to get that ball via the glove trick I waited for that bullpen catcher to come into the bullpen a few minutes later and asked him if I could have another chance but he said something that I couldn’t hear and left the ball. I then gave up on the fact and went up to the second deck where I would have more of a shot at hit baseballs because the second deck really hangs over the first and so only like the first five rows have a shot of getting a ball hit to them:

Right after he took that picture, Richard took a picture of where we came from:

That may not seem like that much of a walk but it was a very indirect route due to the fact that there were railroad racks in the way. For those who know the area, we parked at about 50th and National, walked to the Hank Aaron trail, walked that from National to the pedestrian bridge and walked over that to get to the Harley Davidson gate in Center Field.

Back to ballhawking, here is a picture showing the first part of an interesting event:

A Pirates lefty hit a ball to my right. I looked to make sure my path was clear (pictured) and ran to where the ball was headed. I thought I was camped under it but moved about two feet to my right and so I reached for it. Turns out a man who looked like he knew what he was doing reached out at the same exact moment and our gloves knocked into each other and neither of us ended up getting the ball. You may remember that a similar incident happened on this day at Citi Field. However, on that day the man who knocked into MY glove  stared me down and turned fire engine red where as this was Milwaukee and we both apologized to each other for bumping into the other’s glove.

I then saw a ball go in the direction of the bullpen. I was on the second deck of the bleachers and had never used my glove trick from more than 7 feet up but I looked down anyway to see if it was in range. Surely enough it was. Here is my glove using all of its available fishing line:

I measured out 30 feet of fishing line when I initially cut it. So, Richard and I discussed it and eventually concluded that I had glove tricked the ball from 26 feet up. I obviously couldn’t see the fans behind or to the side of the bullpen but when my glove got five feet off the ground with the ball in it I heard a noise from those two sections that was loud enough to be classified as a roar. I leaned over the railing a bit and saw close to 50 people gathered to watch on the lower level. Here I am pulling the glove almost all the way up:

That was nice but unfortunately it was my last ball of the day. Soon enough, batting practice was over and it was time to head to our seats. We were in Left Field. Want to guess where exactly?:

If you guessed right behind the foul pole give yourself a cookie. The tickets said partially obstructed view and I suppose the foul pole wasn’t big enough to completely block the field but we were right behind it two rows back from it  section 233 row 2 seats 2+3. Safe to say we didn’t sit there. Instead, we sat from where this picture was taken and surprisingly no one came to take our seats. The stadium was absolutely packed. Miller Park holds 43,000 and the attendance for this game was 40,000 something.

For the game, the Brewers won the game and continued on what was an amazing hot streak for them. I don’t remember the exact score but I do remember that Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hit back to back Home Runs in their last at-bats.

STATS:

  • 9 baseballs at this game (4 actually snagged and 3 pictured because I gave one away)
Numbers 191-194 for my career:
  • 133 baseballs in 34 games= 3.91 balls per game
  • 4 baseballs* 41,820 fans ( i was wrong in my estimate)= 167,280 competition factor
  • Time at Game 4:27- 10:06= 5 hours 39 minutes

Milwaukee Brewers Offseason Recap and Preview

Although the result was not what they would have wanted, one good thing came out of the 2010 season for the Brewers:

Rickie+Weeks+Milwaukee+Brewers+v+Houston+Astros+KVaHg_pffN7l.jpg

 

Grade: B+

 

Notable Additions:

large_Zack%20Greinke.jpg

Zack Greinke, Shawn Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Sean Green, Takashi Saito, and Mark Kotsay.

 

Notable Subtractions:

dave-bush-coming-back.jpg

Dave Bush, Chris Capuano, Todd Coffey, Carlos Villanueva, Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun, Doug Davis, and Trevor Hoffman.

 

Why?: Yeah, sure they got two front-of-the-line pitchers (yes I do consider Shawn Marcum front-of-the-line when he is not in the AL East) but also look at all the players they lost. They lost: 4 starters, 3 relievers, two infielders, an outfielder, a catcher, and one prospect I didn’t bother to look up.

 

I think their rotation should be fine despite losing those four starters as they are a strong five… but if (read: when) one of their starters goes down in the season this offseason has created a canyon of talent between the 5 starter and next in line.

 

Their offense should be great as always and might even increase seeing as Prince is in a walk year and might get up a little extra for it. I am not saying he doesn’t try hard but for many stars it enables them to use their family as motivation to do well.

 

There is also the factor of good pitching affecting the hitting. It will be interesting to see whther this hurts or helps. As far as I can see, it will either help to not feel like they have to score 10 runs a game and they will relax/ hit better or they will relax too much and not score enough.

 

Predicted Record Range: 85-90 wins. I am not expecting that much of them because they did only win 77 games last year and didn’t imporve that much when you think about it. This is still giving them an improvement of 8-13 wins which is a lot for a team to accomplish (and in retro spect might be a bit much).

 

Up Next: Chicago Cubs

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