12. New York Yankees
I really like Brett Gardner. He visited a kid in the hospital one time and the kids asked him to hit a HR for him. Gardner probably panicked for a second, but he agreed (what is he going to do, say no?) and if you know anything about Gardner then you know he isn’t the best HR hitter. But that night he got an inside the park HR, he didn’t look up at the 3rd base coach, he was sprinting home. He was doing it for the kids. Gardner just doesn’t seem like a typical Yankee does he? No power and homegrown, but at least he’s a lefty…not that he takes too much of an advantage of the short RF porch. So I’m glad the Yankees extended Gardner this offseason…and signed 2 other OFs. This OF is pretty good, let me just look at this infield…sweet Jesus it’s terrible. When Derek Jeter isn’t even your most injury risk player, see glass man Brain Roberts and not starting the season because already injured Teixeira, well let’s just say Kelly Johnson is starting to look like the rock this team needs, which isn’t reassuring anyone. The Brian McCain signing makes sense, but this is a guy who took years to figure out that maybe using contact lenses/getting lasik surgery could help him see a ball and hit it better. He even played catcher…at least he’s not as blind as Mark Reynolds. They desperately needed Tanaka, and got him. So their 2 best pitchers this year will probably both be Japanese. CC Sabathia got a whole lot skinnier, but he’s been getting a whole lot worse too. Maybe more weight equals better pitcher. Bartolo Colon knows what’s up, he’s even come into spring training overweight…I smell a Cy Young. He smell’s NY city pizza. Just the fact that Arod isn’t on this team makes me think the Yankee club house will be a whole lot better.
“You guys told me older players>younger players! What am I doing on the bench?!”
11. Cleveland Indians
I don’t think anyone believes in Cleveland this year…or any year… I guess because they had the easiest second half schedule last year and, well, they’re Cleveland. People don’t really put too much faith in Cleveland for anything. I think Terry Francona is a good manager that got unfairly blamed for what happened in Boston, but having Asdrubal Cabrera bat cleanup for them last year…well he’s not the solution, more of a strong step in the right direction. Maybe if the city of Cleveland wasn’t so racist, the Indians and the Browns, come on guys. What’s next the Jews? I guess the best case scenario for them is to come in last place, get the #1 draft pick, draft an amazing talent, still disappoint for a decade, then lose him to a Miami Marlins team that’s actually good now. Regardless, I actually like them a lot this year. Nick Swisher met his wife on How I Met Your Mother. Which may have nothing to do with baseball, but I think this team will take any bright spot it can get. Salazar looked absolutely dominant during his short stint and if the Indians remove their kid gloves, 4 out of 10 starts they yanked him after the 4th inning, I’d love to see what he could do flying free. Kluber and Masterson are solid starters, and Carlos Santana not catching can only help right? The hitting’s not bad either…yeah, this team will surprise people this year, in a good way.
10. Cincinnati Reds
Mat double “t” only if you use his 1st and last name Latos apparently has knee issues…so that’s not good news. Homer Bailey seemingly improves every year, but did he really deserve that 6 year $105 million extension? I guess I’d be a little skeptical handing out a large contract after his career year…for the Red’s sake I hope it wasn’t his peak. Johnny Cueto has been successful by limiting walks and HRs, but he’s never been a strikeout guy…which made me never like him in the fantasy world. Tony Cingrani has one pitch, albeit one really good pitch. And I think he’s young and talented enough to develop some others. The future’s bright for this young arm at least. Brandon Phillips keeps on chugging and keeps on getting no respect. No one seems to believe in this guy, it’s not like he’s gotten 580 or more at bats in 5 years or 18 HRs in 4 straight. Someone’s got to drive in players, and it’s not Joey only walks Votto… I’m not saying Brandon’s better than Votto, just that he gets no respect and Votto get’s everyones. A pretty solid overall team ,yeah, but maybe Billy Hamilton stealing a million bases could spark some excitement for the media. This is the 2nd best team in a tough NL Central and if things land just right for them, like it always does for the Cardinals, then a 1st place team.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers
So I know a lot of people really like this team, but I don’t understand the hype. Let’s go over this rotation that some people have pegged the best in the MLB. Kershaw, best pitcher out there. Greinke, probably got paid too much money but as long as he doesn’t provoke Carlos Quentin again, he should be solid too. Hyun Jin Ryu, really great in his debut season last year and I see no signs pointing to that being a fluke. Dan Haren and Josh Beckett…well, I know Dodger stadium fixes a ton of mistakes, but they don’t produce miracles. They can’t rewind the clock 3 years on these guys. How can people say this is the best pitching staff when their 4th and 5th starters were terrible last year?! And the year before…and just pretty poor until you get back to 2009. Are Matt Kemp’s injuries magically healed too?! Boston didn’t want Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and I don’t know how they convinced the Dodgers do take that deal and fix their poor signings, spin it anyway you want but those contracts were mistakes, but now they’re the Dodger’s mistakes. This team’s aging real fast after Kershaw and Puig. This team was doing terribly before that historic hot stretch. The only reason I ranked them this high is because the NL West is terrible and although I think this team is overrated it’s still their division to lose.
8. Atlanta Braves
This team just had 1 outstanding manager and 2 outstanding pitchers get into the Hall of Fame on the 1st ballot. What a great way to start the year. Last year, however, this team had some troubles. Tim Hudson got stomped on, sorry, Jason Heyward gets a fastball to the face, again sorry, and they have BJ Upton and Dan Uggla starting for them, that’s more of their own fault there…sorry? This team still cruised to 1st place in the NL East. The NL East is terrible and the Braves always seem to have its number. They produce some great young pitchers, but that bullpen is what scares me. Simmons is a prettay good defensive SS. Good thing they already signed him to a long contract. The free agents they sign, minus Tim Hudson, just never seem to work out. I’m looking at you Bossman Upton and Dan Uggla, but their farm system is just so potent. This team should be one of the better ones and it’s scary to think of what they can do if they can improve, which is highly likely considering everything went wrong and they were still amazing. Evan Gattis hits the ball hard and finally has full playing time. Good for him. Brave’s fans sure love them some Waffle House…and on a totally unrelated note diarrhea.
7. Boston Red Sox
2 years ago everything went wrong for this team. Last year everything went right. And I’m glad it did. Boston needed that win after everything that happened. “This is our fucking city” – David Ortiz…well he has such a way with words. I always thought he was kind of crazy, especially after the phone smashing incident. But he’s actually a pretty cool guy. But at the same time I wouldn’t feel too good about having my team rely on a 38-year-old player…even if all he has to do is swing a bat. Dustin Pedroia may legally be a hobbit. I know how every white guy and football announcer loves Danny Woodhead because he’s a average sized white dude playing football, but Pedroia is just as tall. I honestly have no idea how Pedroia generates enough power for HRs. Maybe he asks his pal Gandalf to help him out, it honestly could make more sense. Surprisingly, I’m down on the defending World Champs. Ellsbury departed from the Sox this offseason, making their strongest outfielder Shane Victorino, not exactly intimidating offensively, but you could do worse. I don’t believe in this team’s pitching. I love what Koji Uehara did last year, but they almost didn’t use him as a closer and it’s unlikely he’ll be that dominant again. There’s no way Clay Buchholtz and Jake Peavy remain healthy the entire year. Dempster’s gone, Jon Lester isn’t exactly reliable, and do Boston fans even believe in John Lackey? I don’t. This team’s likely to regress, but when you’ve won more World Series than the Yankees after the departure of previous millennium, life’s pretty good for a Boston fan. The Departed…
6. Texas Rangers
The offense is just ridiculous, besides Geovany Soto this team’s offense ranges from solid to very good options in the lineup. They have Yu Darvish anchoring this staff and he could be even better this year. As much as a nice manager Ron Washington seems to be I think he’s been holding them back.
So now that the Ranger’s moved on from him Wait, what?! They extended him…okay, at least they’ll probably steal a ton of bases…and bunt a ton. Seriously how could they extend this guy? They should have at least beat the Cardinals in the World Series, if Nelson Cruz only made that catch in Game 6…or when Josh Hamilton hits a 2 run HR in extra innings, to get the lead again that game, you make damn sure you keep that lead by putting in your best pitcher. Washington managed that game thinking “if we lose I got to be ready for tomorrow” when he should have been thinking “how can I win now!” This team has been driven by talent and ability the past couple years, but Ron’s holding them back. They need to freshen things up…enter the Prince. I think the Rangers won the trade with the Tigers. Now they can start top prospect Profar in his natural position and I know people were down on Prince’s “poor” outing last year, but he seems like the nicest person ever and he now bats a stadium that is very favorable to left-handed hitters. Beltre, Rios, and Choo. Good golly this team’s offense is scary good up front. But I can’t believe in this team winning any World Series with Ron Washington. 😦
5. Oakland Athletics
I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Moneyball, well your about to learn a whole lot about it. The movie paints a scenario where Billy Beane and Jonah Hill use advanced statistics, like walks!, to find value in players that everyone else is too ignorant to see. They convert a catcher to a 1st baseman, they get an old man who walks a ton, and a sidearmed throwing reliever that “throws weird”. And now they’re amazing despite losing their best players. Also all scouts are old idiots. “No Billy you’re wrong with your crazy magic statistics! I’m right with my feelings!” – Every scout in Moneyball. Well guess what, Billy was right. Like all movies do, this one exaggerates the facts, but for some reason this one really annoys me. It’s not like this team had Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Eric Chavez, and Miguel Tejada. And teams everywhere started adopting “his” method, even though he recruits Jonah Hill from another team in the beginning of the movie, and it’s him who teaches Billy about sabermetrics. So did that other team just stop using statistics after Jonah Hill left them?! Okay I could rant much longer about this movie, but I don’t want to waste your time…well waste more of your time. Anyway with how much this movie hypes up what the A’s did in 2002, what the A’s are doing right now is considerably more impressive. I really can’t explain it, I certainly don’t understand it, I can only label it Moneyball 2.0 because this team is scary good with literally no all-stars. The only players to participate in the All Star Game last year, Grant Balfour and Bartolo Colon. They’re both gone. And they’re probably better this year. Having an all-star general manager can do wonders.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
Last year they had the 3rd lowest salary yet somehow also one of the best teams in the MLB. They also do this every year…in the AL East. This team has amazing pitching staff. Price, Moore, Corn on the Alex, Archer, and Hellboy. I really don’t know what to expect from Matt Moore, he’s either lights out or off the wall wild, but I do trust Maddon. This is a coaching staff that turned Fernando Rodney into the closer with the best season ERA for a relief pitcher ever. I still get a little crazy thinking about it. Look at his stats and show me anything that points to what he was able to do that year. They play in a great pitchers ball park and their defense is fantastic, but the hitting just looks so…weak and they play in the AL East. Have I mentioned that yet? The hitting is pretty amazing in this division, which speaks volumes about how good this staff is. This team needs Wil Myers to be everything Rays fans want him to be, Jennings to develop into a legitimate lead off hitter, and Longoria to play a full season…and hit better than his already great past seasons. This team needs some breaks to go right offensively, but even if they don’t they’ll still be strong. They still have WAR wizard Ben Zobrist and Jose Molina, and I’ve heard Molina’s are pretty good catchers. Maybe a Molina is all it takes to have a good pitching staff?! I think everyone’s favorite underdogs by default because they’re a small market team in the AL East…even though they haven’t been underdogs in a long time, are going to be tough to beat.
3. St. Louis Cardinals
So the Cardinal’s rivals are the Cubs…which is like the popular jock beating up on the nerdy kid. For over a century. Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha are the #2 and #4 starters for this team. As much as I want them to be stars right away, isn’t anyone worried that they may regress this year? It’s not like Shelby Miller disappeared at the end of the year or that Michael Wacha barely pitched over a 100 innings (including playoffs) last year, so this will be his first full season. I love Wainwright, but he did pitch the most innings he’s ever pitched, 276 including playoffs, and he did have Tommy John surgery only 2 years ago. So I’m a little worried about this starting rotation, but even with all the red flags they’re still one of the best. Their offense can’t be this good again can it?! They can’t get the best out of their players every year! They can’t keep making the right decisions can they?! The answer is they probably will…maybe I’m jealous. They still have super prospect Oscar Taveras, albeit a little banged up, toiling around in the minors. I’m sure when he get’s called up he’ll be amazing…just like everything else this team does. This team will find a way to win. And dance.
Well you can’t be good at everything Adam Wainweird
2. Detroit Tigers
We have a very solid pitching staff here folks. Mad Max and Verlander both get a ton of Ks but Max rarely ever goes deep into games like Verlander does. I wonder if Verlander will bounce back from last year’s season, but even if he doesn’t this team still has Anibal Sanchez, who’s a pretty darn good replacement. And I actually really like Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly. This is probably the best staff in the AL. Usually this Dave Dombrowski guy does a great job on trades, but I think he lost both the Kinsler and Fister trades. I can understand making the Kinsler trade to get Miggy back at 1st and improving the defense 10 fold, but I still can’t wrap my head around that Fister give away. Maybe it’ll take a while for the benefits of that trade to blossom and then I’ll reevaluate it or maybe he just believes in the Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello…which makes me like them even more. Hopefully they have enough money to resign Max Scherzer after that Fielder trade. The bullpen can’t be as bad as last year right?! Phil C(h)oke? The Jose Valverde signing felt like sleeping with an ex girlfriend. They didn’t want to, but they were there and they had needs… At least they signed Joe Nathan to help this bullpen out. Austin Jackson should be better this year, especially if he can hit near .300 again, well anyone batting in front of Cabrera should see a ton of runs. It’s sad to see old man Leyland go, I don’t think he was the problem, but maybe this team needed some change.
1. Washington Nationals
So this team were the favorites to win it all last year, but now a year later…what happened did their balls drop off? No, they got better. Well at least I think so. They pretty much got Fister for nothing and now their rotation should be the best in the majors. They upgraded Danny Espinosia for Anthony Rendon, which helps defensively and offensively. Harper and Strasberg are another year older and another year recovered from injuries. Bullpen’s fluctuate yearly, Fernando Rodeny and Brad Lidge are great examples of this, but it really happens all the time. So their bullpen should improve. Werth was the best hitter in the 2nd half last year, Ian Desmond is one of the best offensive SS, Wilson Rasmos was great in his short stint last year, Ryan Zimmerman is alright I guess. It pretty much comes down to health and synergy. I feel like this team’s players are never in synch at the same time and as a result they always seem to have an underwhelming seasons, despite having quite a bit of talent. Adam LaRoche hits better on even years so it’s pretty much fact he’ll bounce back in 2014. They had the 5th best offense in the 2nd half last year and if they can combine that with a great starting rotation this team should be unstoppable. They’re overdue for an amazing season and if Teddy Roosevelt can win the mascot race so can this team…Teddy Roosevelt mysteriously won for the 1st time the year the Nationals made the playoffs…I’m starting to feel like that race is rigged.