Ever since the steroid era ended the combination of hitting for a good average while hitting for power has become a very rare commodity in the MLB. Obviously the most elite players are doing it, but still they aren't in the upper echelon of homerun hitters. In this day an age of baseball the guys leading the league in homeruns, are the same guys that don't have a batting average above .250. Khris Davis, Chris Carter, Chris Davis, Todd Frazier, and Mark Trumbo all fit that criteria, you can even add Brian Dozier and Edwin Encarnacion to that list since they're only hitting in the .260's. That leaves like 2-3 guys that actually hit for a solid average while hitting a lot of homeruns. It's apart of today's game, every team has that one guy that can hit a lot of homeruns, knowing he's also going to bat for a really low average in the process. The Yankees had an entire lineup full of those types of players a couple years back, was successful to a degree, however once they couldn't hit homeruns they couldn't score. Most of these guys don't get paid top dollar, but one player does, Chris Davis.
The fact the Orioles are paying Chris Davis on average around $23 Million per year is astonishing. This is the same guy that has led the league in strikeouts the last two seasons, and in 2 of the last 3 seasons failed to hit above .225. Back in 2013 when he put up 53 homeruns, batted .286, and drove in 130+ runs he would've been worth that money, although he's never been able to duplicate that season or anything close to it for that matter. They signed him in 2016 to this extension, so they saw him bat .195 for a season striking out a bunch, and then he had another monster homerun hitting season also striking out a bunch. Then they signed him to his big deal and walla he's hitting .220, hitting a lot of homeruns, and striking out a bunch. Money well spent if he hits that many homeruns though, right? WRONG.
The New York Yankees just signed the exact same player for about $18 million less, Chris Carter. Chris Carter hit more homeruns than Davis, struck out less, had more RBI's, and hit for a higher average, the numbers were extremely close, however Chris Carter comes at a fraction of the cost. Now, Davis does have the ability to hit for a tiny bit better of an average, yet he hasn't been able to do it on a consistent basis. The Orioles could be paying a lot less for equal product. Don't get me wrong I love this because the Orioles are handicapped for a long time by this huge long term deal with Davis, so the Yankees won't have to worry about them whatsoever once we steal Manny Machado from them next season. Just wanted to state how crazy it is that a player gets paid so much more than guys that put out the same production as him, really makes me scratch my head how some of these GM's could be trusted giving out so much money to players that don't deserve it whatsoever.
Nothing gets my juices flowing quite like Yankee baseball being back, or just baseball being back in general for that matter. Spring training means baseball is right around the corner and so is summer time, therefore if you aren't getting excited you probably aren't human. Anyways, the Yankees kicked off their spring training tour today and I couldn't be more hyped for the season to start now. I'm telling everyone how this is our season now, meanwhile couple weeks ago I was happy with being average, now I'm expecting great things. How could you not after what we saw out there on the field today.
Didi Gregorious started us off early hitting a solo blast, essentially securing his spot in the #2 hole for the rest of the season. Thank god, Gardner proved he's not worthy of that spot whatsoever, so having Didi hitting #2 in the lineup is a huge upgrade. Then we saw what Aaron Judge is all about, hitting 450ft homeruns and striking out, fine with me if he hits 40 of those a year. If that's the case, he's a right handed Adam Dunn, and I'm completely fine with that. The rest of game was just filled with our farm system showing how great they are, our backup catcher to Sanchez, who is another young stud, hit a homerun. Two great young catchers, obviously Sanchez is the future, although it is nice to have an insurance policy, God forbid anything happens to the Sanchize. Clint Frazier had a nice showing his first time in pinstripes hitting a RBI triple and then scoring a run afterwards. Refsynder got an RBI single as well, although I've already given up on him maybe he'll prove me wrong. Miguel Andujar had a great game and now I'm ready to replace Headley with him, that's not really saying much, but the kid is 21 years old and can't be any worse than Headley so why not, right. Great day for the baby bombers.
Am I completely overreacting? Yes, how could you not when your franchise is basically built on young talent waiting for it to blossom, so when I see them perform it makes me excited for what's in store. Hopefully this trend continues and we murder every team in spring training like we did today. Winning is contagious, so if we keep winning it'll carry over into the regular season. I know I'm being overly optimistic, giving baseball back to me is like giving a baby candy, I'm just keep eating it up until I get sick to my stomach, and even then I won't stop. Spring training may not mean anything, however I'd rather see my team perform well than look like shit, so I'll be happy with this win regardless of how the haters try to spin it.
I couldn't help but laugh when I read this tweet, Stroman is obviously trying to be optimistic about his comrades and his own ability, but he took it a lot of bit too far. Blue Jays have a solid starting rotation, no doubt about that, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, and Fransico Liriano are certainly a top 10 starting rotation in baseball. To call them #1, though, that's absolutely ludicrous.
J.A. Happ posted an appetizing 20-4 record last season, which is nice and dandy until you realize he received almost 7 runs per game in run support. He had a solid 3.18 ERA, but he's no ace by any definition of the word. Aaron Sanchez is an up and coming stud, he went 15-2 posting a 3.00 ERA, however like Happ he received a healthy amount of run support at 5.63 runs per game. Sanchez is the Jays best chance of getting the ace they need, but we need to see if he can build off his 2016 season before we start jumping to conclusions. Marco Estrada went 9-9 with a 3.48 ERA, he was definitely a better pitcher than his record showed, but still not close to ace status. Marcus Stroman, a very solid young pitcher, a fan favorite, and the man that made the comments saying his team's pitching staff was the best in baseball, was arguably the worst pitcher on his staff last year besides for Fransico Liriano. So no, the Blue Jays are not even close to the best in baseball when it comes to starting pitching. They do have a lot of potential this upcoming year, however they're not quite there when it comes to being an elite pitching staff.
The Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, and Indians have elite pitching staffs they all have numerous aces while the Blue Jays have none. The Blue Jays have 5 quality starters, yet they have no aces. The Mets have 3 aces when healthy, and two starters that could potentially be aces down the road. The Red Sox are in the same boat as the Mets in regards to their pitching staff. The Cubs have 3 aces, they don't quite have the depth as these other clubs, but their three aces make up for the lack of talent at the back end of their rotation. If the Indians rotation can stay healthy all season, which they never seem to be able to do, they can be just as good as anyone in terms of starting pitching. I'm sure there can be cases made for a few other teams, but you get the point, the Blue Jays are clearly not even close to being the best pitching staff in baseball.
10. Giancarlo Stanton RF, Miami Marlins
Stanton is yet to reach his full potential, mostly in part to being plagued by injuries throughout the last few seasons, if he can remain healthy, though, I believe this will be the year he begins living up to his enormous contract. In 2014, when Stanton was able to play 145 games, he finished second in the MVP voting putting up career highs in every statistical category. If he can return to that form, and put up comparable numbers to that season he will once again be one of the best players in baseball. Hitting .288, with 37 homeruns, 100+ RBI's, and nearly a .400 OBP will put him in MVP discussions. Also, taking into account that the Marlins have a much better lineup than they did in 2014, Stanton will have more RBI oppurtunities, and he won't have to worry about pitchers trying to pitch around him since he's now got protection behind him in the lineup. Stanton has a huge upside, we'll just have to see if he can finally live up to it in 2017.
9. Corey Seager SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Corey Seager is only 23 years old and is already one of the games best players. Last season he didn't just win the ROY by a landslide, he also came in third in the MVP voting as a rookie, that's unbelievable. As long as this kid doesn't regress he's poised for another huge season. Unfortunately, Seager has now set the bar quite high for himself, he had a batting average of .312, hit 30 bombs, and drove in 89 RBI's, so for him to improve on those numbers he'd almost certainly be bound for an MVP award in the 2017 season. We're witnessing a golden age for the shortstop position in the MLB right now, and this 23 year old stud is leading the charge. Like I said as long as Seager doesn't regress we're certainly looking at a top 10 talent in a league filled with superstars.
8. Mookie Betts OF, Red Sox
Talk about a player that does it all, Mookie Betts is a guy that does just about everything you could want a star baseball player to do. This guy has a cannon for an arm, is a gold glove fielder, knocks the cover off the baseball, and he has the speed of a cheetah, what more could you want. Oh yeah, he's only 24 years old. He's in the same boat as Corey Seager, as long as he doesn't regress at the plate you're looking at a guy that's going to be in the MVP conversation all season. Unfortunately for me and all Yankee fans we'll have to witness murder on our team for years to come, but there's nothing we can do about it now, this kid is a bonafide stud.
7. Joey Votto 1B, Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto never quite gets the recognition he deserves, that's what happens when you play on a dreadful team as a superstar player. I won't allow his team to diminish what he does year in and year out on the baseball field, though. Votto religiously leads the MLB in OBP, a stat that I value more than any other batting statistic, if you're getting on base at the highest clip in baseball you're doing your job better than most, if not all. This man straight up RAKES, he hits for power, he hits for contact, and he's the most disciplined hitter in the game, you're never going to cheat this man out of an at-bat, that's for sure. In addition to all of that, he's got a pretty sweet glove at first base. My only concern is that he is aging and we all know father time is a ruthless son of a bitch, with that being said he's only 33 years old, so we shouldn't see too much of a drop off if any at all. For the sake of Votto's legacy I hope he find his way onto an actual contender one way or another so he can experience meaningful baseball in September and October. Until then, Votto will continue to be an after-thought in the MLB.
6. Miguel Cabrera 1B, Detroit Tigers
If you're a true appreciator of the game of baseball then there's not much more entertaining than watching Miguel Cabrera strike a baseball. Such a smooth easy swing, yet it delivers so much power, it's truly an anomaly. Every year this legend of the game is in MVP discussions, or even triple crown discussions because he's just that amazing of a hitter. Once again this season he'll post a batting average well above .300, hit close to 40 homeruns, and drive in over 100+ RBI's. That'll be considered an average season for him which is almost comical to a degree since those are worldly numbers. Every baseball fan should be looking forward to another year of Miggy's reign of terror in the MLB.
5. Jose Altuve 2B, Houston Astros
Jose Altuve isn't a very big guy, as a matter of fact he's very small guy, the only athletic career you'd think he'd have just by looking at him is a jockey in horse racing. Well, he may be small, but he's got big game, and an even bigger bat. Altuve has lead the league in hits for three consecutive seasons now, and once he's on base he's most likely to steal the next base putting himself in scoring position. He's been a very good player for a few years now, but last year he elevated his game to a whole new level. Altuve was able to add the ability to hit for power to his skill set and now he's a force to be reckon with throughout major league baseball. He's a 5 tool player that is a master at every facet of the game, not to mention he's got the heart of a lion, and is everything you could want in a player attitude wise.
4. Josh Donaldson 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
Josh Donaldson is hands down the most savage player in the MLB. He's clearly a little sick in the head, but how could you not love it, the mohawk, the badass mentality, and he gives 1000% effort every time he takes the field. Donaldson was a late bloomer, he broke onto the scene as a promising player with the A's at the age of 27, he then followed that season up with another very good year, but in total A's fashion they refused to pay him, and Toronto hit the lottery signing him in 2015. His first year in Toronto he was the best player in the AL winning the MVP and it wasn't even close, he followed that up with another MVP caliber season in 2016, falling just short of the award. What can you expect in 2017, well you can expect Donaldson to once again put up MVP type numbers while continuing to anchor the Blue Jays high powered offense.
3. Kris Bryant 3B, Chicago Cubs
No one had a better 2016 than Kris Bryant, he built off a strong rookie of the year season, won the MVP award, and he won the World Series bringing a 108 year drought in Chicago to an end. One hell of a year for a 24 year old stud. Kris Bryant gives the Cubs a ton of defensive versatility, he's played most of his games at third base, but he can basically play any position on the field, which is a treasure of a trait to have in your star player. Bryant has ridiculous power, not only does he hit a lot of home runs he hits them very very far. Can't help but just marvel as you watch him swing the bat with that sweet stroke of his, and the fact that he looks like the happiest and nicest guy on the planet makes it impossible not to like him. If Kris Bryant can continue to minimize strike outs and bump his average up a little bit more we're looking at the best hitter in the national league for the next 10 years.
2. Manny Machado 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Every time I'm blessed with the opportunity of watching this beast play I can't help but think to myself, boy does this kid remind me a whole lot of A-Rod, without the steroids of course. Manny Machado is really a shortstop converted to third basemen, I wish we'd get to watch him play his actual position of shortstop since he's one of the best fielders I've ever seen, but watching him be a barricade at the hot corner is still very entertaining to say the least. Machado will be entering his 5th full season as an Orioles starter this year, the crazy part being that he's only 24. Expect Machado to keep improving at the plate, something he's done each and every year since entering the league. Machado is my pick to win the MVP this season, his power numbers just keep getting better and better, along with his ability to find ways on base without just hitting the ball over the fence. Machado is one of the league's brightest young stars and this is the year he shows the MLB just how amazing he can be.
1. Mike Trout OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
There's no debate when it come to who the best player in the MLB is because Mike Trout is light years ahead of everyone. When it's all said and done if Mike Trout continues at the pace he's at he'll be the greatest player to ever step on a baseball field, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Trout has been either the MVP or second in the voting every year since he broke into the league at 20 years old, absolute insanity. There's not a part of his game you can really criticism because he does everything so well, there's nothing more you could ask for out of a player. Trout fields his position better than anyone, his ability to steal bases is just as good as anyone, he gets on base almost every other at bat, and he can hit the ball to the moon and back. Trout is a superhero among boys on the baseball field, the scary part is that he's still so young, I don't see how he can continue to improve since the numbers he puts up are already ridiculous, but I'm sure he'll find a way to do it, he's just that type of player, always hungry. Just such a shame he's on one of the worst teams in baseball.
Boy oh boy did I quiver in my boots when I got a hold of this news. Betances and the Yankees had their final arbitration ruling Saturday, and the arbitrators ruled in favor of the Yankees. This whole dispute was over a $2 Million difference in salary for Betances this upcoming season, the Yankees were only willing to offer Betances $3 Million and Betances wanted $5 Million. This would've been a ground breaking ruling if the arbitrators sided with Betances since getting that much money for a setup man in his first year of arbitration would've been record breaking, but that didn't occur. Betances' agents were going to respect the decision of the ruling and move on as any respectable sports agency would do, but when Yankees president Randy Levine held a press conference following the hearing, Betances' representatives were not happy to say the least.
Jim Murray, who is Betances' main agent, had a lot to say about Levine following his press conference. He was saying things like "Betances will not be bullied by the Yankees team president", along with accusing Levine of trying to mislead the media, and trying to bully the board into not siding with the player. Murray also said, “With regards to Dellin, it was very ironic to hear the Yankees’ president express his love and affection when he spent the only portion of the hearing, to which he contributed to, was calling this player by the wrong first name. It is Dellin, for the record. He then proceeded to blame Dellin for the Yankees’ declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history while trying to bully the panel, saying something to the effect that the sky will fall if they rule for the player." Murray continued on but you get the gist of it.
Dellin Betances is a fantastic reliever essential to the Yankees success this season, although I do NOT agree with his agents. Betances is receiving a record deal in his first year of arbitration already as a set up man, he's certainly capable of being a closer on any other team, but the fact of the matter is his role on the Yankees is as a set up man. The ruling was definitley fair in my opinion, however what Levine said was completely unfair. I get he's just trying to make his case so that the Yankees don't have to spend extra money and can win the case, to call the player by the wrong name is just downright disrespectful. The accusations that Dellin is the reason for declining ticket sales and the lack of Yankees postseason history since joining the team is outrageous and simply put, dumb. The guy pitches 1 inning a game, he doesn't control much of the outcome for any game and he certainly shouldn't be held responsible for being a major fan attraction. Anyone that believes the nonsense spewing out Levine's mouth is just as dumb as his outrageous statements. As for the the aftermath of this whole scenario, the Yankees can probably kiss any hope of resigning Betances when he's eligible for free agency after this debacle. It's going to be another few years before we cross that road, so the Yankees will have plenty of time to mend fences with Betances and his representation. However, when you disrespect someone to that degree, it's hard to repair the relationship. Enjoy Dellin Betances while you can Yankee fans because he's probably packing his bags the second he hits the free agency market.
Joe Girardi, will be going into his 10th year as manager of the Yankees when the Yankees take the field this spring, however Girardi is also going into the final year of his contract with the team. Hal Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, says no contract extension talks will take place until late in the 2017 season, that's if there will be any at all. There's been a lot of talk saying how the success of the Yankees this year will dictate if he'll actually get that new contract, rightfully so. If the Yankees were to not meet the expectation of the fans and Yankees organization this could be the last season for Joe Girardi as the manager of the Yankees.
As a die-hard Yankees fan, I'm sincerely hoping the Yankees succeed, not just to bring me the obvious joy of another winning season, but also knowing that Girardi will be able to continue to keep his job as Yankees manager. A good manager, scratch that, a championship caliber manager is not something you stumble upon everyday, so having Joe Girardi is a blessing even if the Yankees were to have a poor season. Let's be real for a second, the Yankees probably won't make the playoffs this year. The starting pitching rotation while I don't want to say is awful, is awful, and the lineup they'll be putting out a daily basis isn't going to be one of the more feared lineups in the MLB, so to have unrealistic expectations for this team is a sin. As long as the the youth of the Yankees continues to show promise and the team plays hard day in and day out, Joe Girardi should be able to keep his job. Unfortunately, that might not be enough with the high expectations of the Yankee organization and fans. To not bring Girardi back would be a ridiculously moronic move by the Yankees front office, and I'm praying that we don't have to go down that road.
While most Yankees fans are scratching their heads, I'm rejoicing. Brian Cashman signed Chris Carter without having an everyday spot to put him, but that's no reason to question the thought process behind this move. Chris Carter led the NL last year in homeruns, so getting him for a mere $3 Mil, which is pocket change for the Yankees, was a steal for the Yankees. Carter won't be an everyday player, with the acquisition of Matt Holliday earlier this offseason, and overcrowded outfield the DH spot is probably going to be filled by Holliday. Greg Bird, our young stud first basemen who missed all of last season will take over Teixeira's spot this season as long as he can produce at the clip he did when he was first called up 2 seasons ago. Carter is going to be fill in guy, when Bird needs a day off Carter will play, or when one of our injury prone outfielders go down he will be able to step right in, and fill the void with his powerful bat. Carter isn't going to hit for a high average, he'll hit .220 at best, but he's capable of hitting one out of the ballpark on any swing. At Yankee stadium all he'll need to do is hit pop ups and they'll find their way over the fence. Having too many bats is a good problem to have, I'm not exactly sure how he'll fit into the lineup, maybe the Yankees will trade away some pieces, but I'm sure Cashman has a plan. Cashman has been making all the right moves lately, so I've grown to not doubt his decisions. Building for the future while continuing to stay competitive is not an easy thing to do, as a matter a fact it's nearly impossible, yet somehow Cashman has managed to accomplish it. Welcome aboard Chris Carter, excited to watch you mash homeruns this season.
Djack- Chief editor