Friday, March 28, 2014

Playoff and World Series Predictions

Love it, or hate...I have to do it. My predictions for the playoffs with Division winners, ALCS/NLCS, World Series, and the predicted Champ:

Playoff Prediction
American League:
DC- Oakland Athletics
DC- Texas Rangers
DC- Detroit Tigers
DC- New York Yankees
WC- Cleveland Indians
WC- Toronto Blue Jays

National League:
DC- San Diego Padres
DC- St. Louis Cardinals
DC- New York Mets
DC- Montreal Expos
WC- Chicago Cubs
WC- Florida Marlins

ALCS: A’s vs Indians
NLCS: Mets vs Cardinals

World Series: A’s vs Cardinals

Winner: Oakland A’s

NL West

Los Angeles
Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Can the Dodgers turn the corner? They didn’t add any new offense, even though they wanted a right handed slugger and didn’t get one. There are some young guys that should appear throughout the season as wvwc mixes and matches to get the best production.
If the Dodgers can find the right combo and up their run production to over 700, they will win the division. If not…they could lose ground. I’m betting on the improvement. Prediction: 85-77
OUT: Alejandro Saenz, Wilton Atkins, Alejandro Saenz, Vin Phelps, Luis Valdivia, Harry Gross
I cannot figure out why the Dodgers didn’t perform up to expectations. The talent is certainly available, and Chavez Ravine is a great place to play. So, here are the observations in bullet point style:
·         How does a player like Alberto Jacquez only get 154 plate appearances??? Here is a guy that has an MLB OPS of .845. His defense is awful…so if wvc doesn’t plan to play him…trade him? The same goes for Mathew Gwynn, Bryan Cambridge, Luis Rodriguez, Darrell Franklin
·         Why does a team trade their best pitcher, mid-season, for offensive players that they don’t use?
·         How does a team, with such solid defense and good pitching, still give up 654 runs?
This team is still loaded, but they have to find a way to get some offense without killing the defense. Trades are probably the best way. I don’t see wvc networking or angling for deals, and really that is what it will take for this team to get the players it wants and reach the upper echelons of Kinsella.
This year I project the team to score anywhere from 650 to 800 runs. Huge difference? Of course! Will the biggest bats play, finally? The Dodgers should allow somewhere between 630 and 680 runs…once again dependent on trading defense for offense.
PREDICTION: 83-81 to 93-69

Arizona Diamondbacks (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Overall, this teams strength is offense. But it won’t make up for the lack of pitching and defense. Expect a LONG season in Arizona. PREDICTION: 68-94

OUT: Alberto Castillo, Donovan Crawford, Jose Pizzaro, Jair Villafuerte, Dennis Dixon, Les Walker, Barry Shaw, BC Lopez, Stephen Dimaggio
IN: Otis O’Keefe, Kent Robertson, Bert Barber, Eswalin Rosa, Tony Cabrera

PREVIEW (courtesy of owner Beanpole):
A lot of house cleaning of below-average talent, but in this case I think it’s a case of addition by subtraction – of the nine players who hit the door, only one picked up a major league deal elsewhere. Jose Pizzaro’s power will be missed, but he is squeezed out by a cheaper options at 1B (Wilfredo Ortiz, Stone Buford). Outfield is the strength of this unit, with future MVP CF Raymond Taylor anchoring a unit that has OFs Raymond Wolf, Vic Shipley and rookie leadoff man Bert Barber all vying for playing time.

Infield defense is much improved as SS Santiago Amaro shifts to 2B to provide an upgrade over departing 2B Donovan Crawford, and rookie SS Eswalin Rosa gets his shot at a starting job. Benji Castro returns at 3B, and platoon infielder Andres Campos is a power threat. C Craham Delahanty, in his second season, is the primary catcher.

The pitching continues to be awful. I’m very happy that geriatric starter Ozzie Jordan (39) and Yuninesky Mercado (36) are in their final years. They’ll be joined by 38-year-old Julio Matos, Harry Pena and newcomer Kent Robertson (acquired by trade from Minnesota). This group overachieved last year and I’ll need another magical year to be competitive.

Armando Chavez emerged to grab the closer role last year and will keep it in Season 26. The worst free-agent signing in league history, Trace Weber, will make $11.9 million this year as a setup man and I’ll try to get 100 innings out of him before he goes to $13 million next year (sigh). Cooper Osborne will also throw some important innings.

Beanpole’s prediction:
I overachieved last year by winning 78 games. If my pitching holds up (and I have 20 in medical and 20 in training), I could get to 85 games and challenge for a wild card berth, but it’s doubtful. At least we’re getting the budget under control.
My prediction:
Overall, I agree with an owner that can self-evaluate so well. Raymond Taylor had a breakout season, and there was contributions from multiple players. However, I don’t see them reaching 85 wins with the current group. They need more offense, and the pitching staff isn’t quite ready to reach down to the 600 runs allowed level. They should score 720 to 760 runs, and allow 770 to 740.

San Francisco
San Francisco Giants (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The predicted win/loss was exactly on point. I’m not going to say I told you so. That’s not appropriate. What I will say, is that this team could be a whole lot better.
The same proposition applies this season. Play players the right way, win. Play players in the wrong spots…lose. Prediction: 66-96

OUT: David Yang, Alex Gabriel, Richard Purcell, Lon Heffner, Louie Masato, Rico Alvarez, Timo Tabaka, Jeremi Johnstone, Reyel Pineiro, Carlos Mota, Burke Millar, Gio Tejeda
IN: Shep Carroll, Andrew Pettitte, Greg Wilkins, Mario Cox, Ismael Johnson, Lorenzo Terrero, Edgardo Martin, Brett Aspromonte, Joseph Suzuki, Cal Stone, Carlos Wilfredo, Destin beamon
San Francisco has seemed to be my favorite team to pick on. Maybe it’s just a product of being a Dodgers fan, so hating the Giants is in my DNA now. Not sure. Either way, tmantom made some improvements last year and beat my prediction by 11 wins.
The offense was MUCH improved and actually reached 706 runs. Quite a feat after being the most inept offense in Kinsella history. Rather than sticking with the group that made such strides, most are now gone.
The pitching staff has been completely remade. Seven pitchers are gone from the team, including starters Timo Tabaka and Jeremi Johnstone (whew, tmantom sure did dodge a bullet there!). A whole slew of pitchers were promoted, and the rest came from Rule V. Greg Wilkins takes over the #5 starter role, and Andrew Pettitte takes on the unusual #6 spot. Neither are ML ready. Other than Carlos Wilfredo (the #2 starter???) I don’t see any other good pick ups in the rule V. And why the ‘???’ you ask. Because Wilfredo isn’t a starter with his 91 durability and 31 stamina. Tmantom…always looking for an angle.

Overall, I can’t figure out what the heck the Giants are doing. Why is a player like Mario Cox in the big leagues??? There just isn’t one player that makes me go “wow, nice pick up.” Or “that makes sense.” None. Expect this team to go back down. Offense should score 590 to 620 runs, and the pitching staff will give up 800 to 820 runs.



LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The team is completely retooled, with the defense AND offense improving.Ivan Megias, and Benny Guerrero returning as possibly the best 1-2 starting combo in the league. Plin Olivares is possibly the best setup man in the business. Angel Ferrer returns to the closer role, which he lost back in season 20 after 8 blown saves. Previous ownership never let him pitch more than 65 innings. Olivares would be a better fit, but that is just one bloggers opinion. Overall, I’m not sure if the Padres can hold on to their crown. But I like what I see. Prediction: 82-80

OUT: Ivan Megias, Fred Lewis, Diego Wilfredo,  
IN: Willie Boyle, Will Lange, Esteban Iglesias, Oliver Cole, Cy Bruntlett, Octavio Lopez
Jeanpaul pointed out that the reason for the turnaround in San Diego was the defense. I would have to agree. The pitching staff benefited greatly.
The pitching was the best in Kinsella, only allowing 552 runs. That takes a lot of pressure off the offense to produce. But that complacency might hurt this year. Gone are Megias, Lewis and Wilfredo. Although age finally caught up to Lewis and Wilfredo they were productive.
The offense has improved without losing the defensive tenacity. Willie Boyle is a superstar, Bruntlett is a future gold glover (but won’t win one because he is platoon only).
Overall, the offense doesn’t change too much. Expect 630 to 650 runs, and on the other side of the ball expect the pitching defense to have another good season 580 to 540.


Al East Preview


LAST YEARS PREVIEW:This year…it just won’t be enough for the O’s to overcome the rest of the AL and steal a playoff spot. BUT if Smoltz and Bando perform over their heads, and the pitching is better than expected…you never know. Prediction: 81-81
OUT: Karim Saenz, Julian Bennett, Dickie Wallace, Felix Turner, Brian Russell, Sam Long, Sven Hammonds, Daric Averill
IN:  Melvin Damon, Johnny McNamara, Burke Miller, Jeremi Johnstone (lost to dl for year), Trevor Tyner, Lonny Sierra, Ivan Gomez, Pablo Beltran, Mike Gordon (r), Louie Uribe (r)
Crabman’s team is rebuilding on the fly, and as a result there are quite a few new faces in Baltimore. Gone are starters Sam Long, and Sven Hammonds. One of the replacements, Jeremi Johnstone, was lost for the year which puts a damper on the Orioles season.
The offense took a hit with the loss of Karim Saenz. Saenz was one of the more productive members of the team last year. That leaves Terrence Smoltz to lead this team. Gomez was a great pick up, as was Damon (who basically came over for free, your welcome). Tyner might raise some eye brows if he can get on base ahead of the big bats. I really like Gordon and Uribe. They aren’t “super” prospects, but they will rake and might be worth 70-90 runs apiece. That will make a huge difference.
Overall, this team looks weaker than last year’s Orioles. You can expect them to score a little less, which puts them in the danger zone…anywhere from 760 to 790. The pitching should have been better, but the loss of Johnstone HURT. Expect them to jump up to the 780 to 760 range.
Crabman had tears in his eyes as he admitted that this was “officially ending a great era for Baltimore baseball. A bunch of veterans and fill-ins were acquired to keep the team competitive but this will probably be a down year in Charm City.” Sad days, indeed. But it could be much worse.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: he Yankees feel they can win 100 games and earn another division title. I would have to agree. This team is stacked and should push their way into the ALCS once again with the hope of a World Series title. PREDICTION: 101-61

OUT: Sean Pearson, Kid Peters, Miguel Sanchez, Arthur Loney, Donatello Bollea, Carson Graves, Denny Watson
IN: Humberto Sierra, Julian Bennett, Rico Alvarez, Pedro Santiago, Alex Cruz

I didn’t think it would be possible for overeasy to make this team even more dangerous. But the Yankees made some key acquisitions, and replaced non-performers with players that could take the Yankees back to the promised land after just missing out last season.
Julian Bennet, Rico Alvarez, and Pedro Santiago are all capable of providing 80 runs. Which will be key after losing Pearson, Peters and Sanchez.
Most importantly the pitching staff went from Porsche to Lamborghini with the addition of Alex Cruz. To go with Cruz stars Al Perez, and Javier Gonzalez should continue to produce. Ciraco and Redding anchor a decent but not overwhelming bullpen.
Overall, this team is a title contender. I picked them last year, and I might pick them again this year. Expect them to score 870 to 900 runs. They will allow 690 to 660.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The team is in a free fall with little to no hope of pulling the rip cord. This is basically the same team that jclark threw out last year. This team only scored 608 runs last year, while their pitching was actually the best in the AL East. Prediction: 68-94

OUT: Geraldo Hernandez, Charles Farrell, James Randall, Mendy Williams, Phillip Shouse, Frank Leach, Bryce Hafner, Sawyer Velarde
IN: PREVIEW: Bill Thompson, Joe Johnson, Ray Bell, Mike Bowker, Sammy Frey, Trace Epstein, Ted Lombard
Boston took a huge nosedive last year, finishing well below even what I predicted. While I had the offense pegged correctly, I did not forsee the pitching/defense to be taken to the woodshed. Giving up 866 runs after having the best pitching staff must have hurt. I know jclark has a lot of pride and seeing his team fall so far must be killing him.
Three of the starters that really sucked are now gone. Williams, Shouse, Leach, and Hafner. Ray Bell and Mike Bowker get their shots at the rotation. Bowker came on strong at the September call ups. The bullpen looks solid with Crawford, Sheridan, Peralta, and Dalesandro locking down from the 7th inning on.
The wildcard is Lombard. He is a good defensive player, but he’s been iffy with the bat. Still, he’s an improvement. Combined with Pedro Fuentes, Babe James, and Jerry Murray the offense looks much improved. Sammy Frey was an intrigueing pick up in Rule V and is very capable of contributing 80-100 runs.
Overall, jclark has done a great job bringing this team back to respectability. It rests on the shoulders of the new additions. The rookie pitchers, Frey, and Lombard will determine how far this team goes. Expect them to be MUCH better offensively scoring anywhere from 740 to 770 runs. The pitching is also better, and will come back down to 710 to 670 range. It looks like the Red Sox should have a winning season again and be the most improved in the league.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: The big problem looking at this team was Javier Valdes who got very old in the off season and certainly will not contribute the 4.1 war that he put up last year.The pitching staff isn’t any better, and I’m afraid to say that the Indians are becoming a one hit wonder after their miraculous season. Prediction: 74-88

OUT: Luis Valdivia, Todd O’Sullivan, Brian Lee, Craig Frazier, Sammy Hamilton, Quinton Hobbes, Justin Lidge
IN: Jose Pizzaro, Rodrigo Salinas, Chad Richardson, David Castro, William Page
I’m starting to think Cleveland, and their owner drichter, just don’t like me very much. Another year with no preview or insight. And the fact that I picked them to only win 74 games.
Last year I predicted Javier Valdes would fall off, and I was correct. He went from 4.1 war down to 2.2. But he came to camp in better condition and should not drop off unless he gets injured. Which is a possibility at age 35. Young guys stepped up. Les Brown, and Tiny Sosa combined with veterans with just enough in the tank (Craig Frazier and Sammy Hampton) all contributed to lead the offense to 842 runs. Gordon had an off year but still contributed 89 runs.
Pizzaro, Richardson, and Castro should fill the roles vacated by Frazier and Hampton and keep the offense running on high octane.
The pitching staff was solid last year, and the dead weight was cut. Rodrigo Salinas gives the Indians a solid bullpen arm that can log 120 innings in relief. A big luxury. After going 23-27 in one run games, his addition will help immensely.
Expect the Indians to score between 810 and 840 runs, and give up 710-690 runs. Much improved.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

NL South


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: This is another team that is fun to keep an eye on. DHerz has a plan, and that is to eventually unseed Florida and St. Louis and take over as the team to beat. They will get there eventually. Prediction: 68-94
OUT: Virgil Trinidad
IN:  Royce King, Tony Wilfredo (back after being traded to Tampa), Dorssys Saenz
The preview last year was just a little optimistic. But the Astros played it smarter than most realized. They made several deadline deals in preparation for this year. “Last season was terrible, but the lineup / rotation the end of the season was very successful, so hopefully more of the same this season,” said owner dherz.
The starting rotation features Damaso Pujols, Fergie Munro, and Phillip Shouse. Expect to see Luigi Mercedes, and Juan Torres sometime very soon. That’s a very capable starting five. The bullpen is also MUCH improved with super reliever Vargas, Redondo, with future help coming in the form of Jake Wilson, Cesar Alomar, and Sammy Montero. Rookies are un predictable as Dherz knows. “This group could be good and it could be terrible. Probably something in between.”
This team is very hard to project due to the influx of talent that could make their debut. Things are going to improve in Houston very quickly. The other three teams in the division should be looking over their shoulder during the course of the year.
Expect the Astros offense to improve. Not a lot, but at least to 670 and at most 700. The pitching is MUCH better, and expect them to finish between 750-770.

St. Louis
St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
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LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Johnstone and Daniels give me a legit #1 and a solid #3 and both will be more reliable come playoff time than last season's offerings,” said cyben. Everything about this team is aimed at a deep playoff run. This will be a team to watch.. PREDICTION: 94-68

OUT: Juan Sivilla, Banana Conine, Johnny Kennedy
IN: John Patel

Calamity hit the Cardinals early last year when they lost Delanor Johnstone and had to put him on the 60 day dl. He did come back to get 31 starts, but he took a hit due to the elbow issue. And the worst part is that it has happened AGAIN this year. Keep in mind this isn’t some 40 health guy. He was in the 80’s and now is in the 70’s. Sometimes this game just isn’t fair.
Mo Daniels led the staff, but didn’t improve as expected. Still, striking out 181 and logging 225 innings while still progressing is pretty amazing. Imagine this team with Redondo and Reese still in the bullpen. The Cards were 22-23 in one run games, and I can’t help but wonder how different things could have been. But it’s not like they got screwed. While Toby Willis was a bust, Ricardo Ramirez was solid. Time will tell if the trade for former 1st round pick Mathew Munoz will pay off. He’s at least three years away.
On paper this is probably the best team in Kinsella. And I cannot stress enough how much pure talent this team has on the offensive side of the ball, and the defense those players bring to the table. Garcia led the team last year, but only managed 94 runs created. He is an MVP candidate and you can expect that number to jump 20 to 30 runs. For the rest of the group, I see a big jump as well.
Instead of turning my back on this team, I’m doubling down. I know they made my prediction look like a joke, but this team has too much talent. Expect them to score 770 to 800 runs, and give up 670 to 640.
PREDICTION: 91-71 (with a chance to finish 97-65)

LAST YEARS RECORD: 92-70, World Series Champions

LAST YEARS PREVIEW: This just in, ted is pretty good at this game. His team scored 815 runs, and allowed 541. They are still getting older, but this team is just good. No big changes so far, and that includes another playoff run. Prediction: 103-59

OUT: Glenn Gosling, Alex Cruz, Juan Palacios
IN: Rob Scott, Tomas Soto, Bryce Hafner
Ted got himself another ring, winning his third World Series title. This year’s collection of talent is a year older, and curiously Ted is only running with a 9 man pitching staff. That’s a head scratcher…
Gone is Tuck Eichorn, Elrod Riggs, and former starter Kent Crawford. I can’t help but think that the pitching staff this year will be worse than the 604 runs they allowed.
The offense scored 746 runs. Most of that came from Yamil Ramirez, Nick Helms, Rodrigo Marin, and Brady Sierra. Nick Helms is now gone leaving three solid bats, plus the iffy Eugene Castillo.
As much as I like the way Ted conducts business, this year seems to be a big step backwards for a premier franchise. I expect them to only score 700 to 720 runs, and allow 650-670 runs. After nine seasons of 89 wins or more, making the playoffs every year, and three world series titles…the train is pulling into the station.


LAST YEARS PREVIEW: Khoury Hayes went to Tampa for almost nothing, and took his 82 runs/2.8 war with him. But he was replaced with one of the better free agents in Tomas Dotel. But based on numbers alone, the production is a wash. David Lo was another good pick up and moves to LF to solidify a weaker defense. Overall, the young guys are going to play better this year. Even though they are rebuilding, they are not to be overlooked. Prediction: 80-82

OUT: Benji Gutierrez, Bryce Vina
IN: Orber Coronado, Albert Prieto, Ricardo Martinez, Sean Pierson
Last year Tomas Dotel and David Lo joined the Braves with high expectations. However…Dotel only provided 75 runs, and Lo was well below replacement level only contributing 50. The loss of Khoury Hayes was glaring.
The pitching staff allowed 686 runs, about average. This year they return everyone, even the poor performers like Montanez, and Tejada.
The offense was miserable, only scoring 651 runs. Are Dotel and Lo going to rebound? Once again, Bux let go of a solid offensive talent when Bryce Vina skipped town. His replacement? 32 year old Sean Pearson. Pearson had a career year, but has been inconsistent in his career. Which version will the Braves get?
For the offense, it’s up to Dotel, Lo, Parent, and Pearson. A lot can go right for this team. The Braves should score between 700 and 750 runs…a wide gap. The pitching staff is about the same and should post 670-700.