MLB DFS Lineup July 19 (Draftkings)

P: Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets, $10,600

The Giants have been hot up until their matchup against Thor last night.  The Giants team total is set at a pedestrian three runs tonight in San Francisco, a very pitcher friendly park.  DeGrom is not the highest priced pitcher on the slate, which means you will save some money.  San Francisco is still striking out at over 26% as a team even with their recent hot streak.  

P: Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds, $6,000

The Cardinals are hot, but they still feature a watered-down lineup with a lot of strikeouts.  Tyler Mahle is way better against righties than lefties and the Cardinals will feature only a few lefties that are not overly scary DFS players Dexter Fowler, Matt Wieters and Tommy Edman.  

C: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees, $4,600

Kyle Freeland has given up five earned runs or more in six straight starts.  Sanchez’s price has come down due to recent struggles but a matchup with the homer happy Kyle Freeland is a great play.

1B: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds, $3,400

Adam Wainwright has troubles versus lefties.  With multiple options in the Cincinnati lineup. I have chosen Joey Votto who over 49 at-bats versus Wainwright has hit him to a tune of a .995OPS.  Votto has been a disappointment all season but at this cost against a pitcher getting killed by lefties he makes almost too much sense.

2B: Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays, $3,900

Stacking against Kyle Freeland and Jordan Zimmerman are a theme for today’s lineup.  Biggio has been put in the middle of the order for the Blue Jays since his call up.  All six of Biggio’s homers have come against righties. I am looking for him to go yard tonight. 

3B: Vlad Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, $3,700

Power. Power. Power. Vlad brings ridiculous power to the table against Zimmerman.  End of story.

SS: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,900

Seager has not returned to his rookie year form after a litany of injuries has slowed him down. His struggles have forced a lower cost at a prime position on a big slate.  Seager will face rookie Zac Gallen who

OF: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, $5,300

Judge may be the chalkiest of chalk plays in a Yankee stack.  Freeland has a real issue with giving up bombs and Judge will happily oblige him. Look for a double dinger day.

OF: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, $4,900

Lourdes is the light to our firecracker Blue Jays stack.  Gurriel hits in bunches and an already juicy matchup with Jordan Zimmerman should be a great showcase of one of the hotter hitters in baseball over the last few weeks. He is the highest price Blue Jay for good reason, and he will show it tonight.

OF: Matt Beaty, Los Angeles Dodgers, $3,600

Beaty is coming off one of his best games of the year posting 26 fantasy points against the Phillies including a homer and three runs scored.  Beaty has a low price tag and high upside against Zac Gallen.  Check the starting lineup before you finish your lineup.  If he is in it, he is a must start at just $3.6K.

Stackable Teams:

Blue Jays

Yankees

Brewers

Sneaky Stack:

Pirates

Angels

DFS Picks Day Slate

I Talk Sports DFS Lineup (Day Slate) September 12 2018-

P: Carlos Carrasco, Ross Stripling

C: Martin Maldonado, Astros

1B: Edwin Encarnacion, Indians

2B: Brian Dozier, Dodgers

3B: Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

SS: Alex Bregman, Astros

OF: Corey Dickerson, Pirates

OF: Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals

OF: Joc Pederson, Dodgers

Looking at the day slate you have multiple options at pitcher.  Carrasco has the best matchup at a more affordable price.  The Rays can be a tricky to understand at times but they strike out a lot.  Gerrit Cole is an obvious choice vs the Tigers but his cost will leave you will little to know room to stack some potentials stud hitters. Save yourself almost 2K  for some hitters.

For potential lineup stacks the obvious choice is the Astros going against Daniel Norris. The Astros middle of the order can feast of of Norris.  Alex Bregman and red hot Tyler White are potential bats that can bring you some power.  White was a little to pricey so I decided to go with the upside of a cheap Edwin Encarnacion.  I also like the Dodgers in a . must win spot against the pesky Reds and Anthony Desclafani.  Brian Dozier and Joc Pederson were affordable options that have homerun potential in Great American SmallPark.

2018 Nationals: What went wrong?

The 2018 Washington Nationals entered the seasons as clear favorites in the National League East race, potentially favorites for the National League Championship.  They would be at the forefront of the baseball world as they were set to host the 2018 All Star Game. With a rotation that featured Stephen Strasburg Gio Gonzalez and Cy Young winner Max Scherzer that Nationals had a rotation that screamed NL crown.  Impending free agent superstar Bryce Harper was going to lead this team to the next level, potentially convincing him to stay in Washington after rather then hit free agency in 2019.  As it so often happens in sports though projections and hype are tough to live up to.The Nationals currently sit one game under .500 at 69-70 a shocking 7.5 games back of the first place Atlanta Braves and 4.5 games behind the second place Philadelphia Phillies. A team projected to win their division by most sits in third and is showing no signs of progression.  We are left to ask, What went wrong?

There have been multiple players that have underperformed for the Nationals in 2018 but we have to point the finger at the guy looking to cash in over the winter of 2019. After a strong start to the year, he’s all but collapsed. Harper posted a .986 April OPS, followed by an .856 May and a .675 June, one of the worst monthly performances of his career. By Baseball-Reference’s numbers, he’s only barely classified as a productive player for the season, with 0.1 WAR. That puts him below the batting value of two of the team’s pitchers. (Scherzer, with 0.3 offensive wins above replacement, and A.J. Cole, with 0.2.) While Harper struggled the team struggled as the Nationals fell below .500 for the first time in the season on July 4th.

Blaming Harper is the easiest route especially for those who believe he is a bit overvalued in today’s baseball standards (I am one of those people).  Injuries plagued this team as well.  Injuries that included former #1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg led to a decline in a starting rotation that seemed to be carrying a sluggish offense. Strasburg’s injury seemed to be the final unravelling of a team that was on the brink of falling a part.  The Washington rotation outside of Max Scherzer fell a part to a tune of 5.36 ERA during the time he was absent. Despite the tailspin Nationals management was not giving up on the season, picking up long time Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera to sure up the back end of the bullpen that has been in question for multiple years.  This signified the commitment to try and make one last run for the playoffs that was quickly dwindling away.

The pick up had little effect on a team that seemed to have all but given up.  As the trade deadline approached Washington saw no hope in continuing its efforts.  Announcing that for the right price Bryce Harper would be up for grabs.  There were no takers for the 25 year old soon to be free agent.  Washington was stuck, a season going no where a star that is sure to leave.  It was team to unload what they could.  Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams, Ryan Madson were all sent packing to teams that were truly contending.  The Nationals 2018 season was all but done.

Moving on from Dusty Baker and solidifying the bullpen was suppose to make this team the better. They followed all the prototypes of a contender, deciding not to resign aging veteran Jayson Werth, calling up phenom Juan Soto, returning Adam Eaton to the lineup.  Everything made sense for them.  But there is something that this team has had trouble with since their move to Washington.  Team chemistry has been an issue.  Fights in the dugout and lack of true leadership has always been an issue.  Bryce Harper is a once in a generation talent, but from the start of his career he has been thrust to a position that only mature players can make work.  He is not a leader, he is just a great player.  Losing Jayson Werth, an under appreciated voice of the locker room with experience as long as his grizzly beard was a lose that people did not take into account.  An inexperienced manager that has never had to make big decisions cost them games down the stretch.  Injuries to a bullpen that was suppose to be “fixed” put them in a situation where they currently only have two players that were on the opening day bullpen.

I am a believer in great talent but sometimes you have to have the veterans around them to make it work.  Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Juan Soto are great talents that you can build around, but they are not leaders.  This team still has a bright future even without Harper in 2019.  Victor Robles would most likely assume his role with the team next year and the return of a strong rotation will put them in the race with the Braves and the Phillies.   This team’s 2018 was a bust but they can have a fresh start next year with a huge shadow of Bryce Harper gone.  Nationals fans will miss their superstar but maybe its better that he is gone.

 

Matt Carpenter the best at the top.

Matt Carpenter has entered himself into the National League MVP race over the last two months of the 2018 season after many wrote him off, including yours truly.   I went so far as to write an article about the Cardinals moving Tommy Pham into the leadoff position was what was best for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Just like Carpenter and his salsa I am ready to eat my words.  Carpenter has found himself in this situation while being primarily in the lead off role. His potential MVP status has opened my eyes to the evolution of the lead off hitter as a force in MLB lineups.

Traditionalist have a predetermined idea that a leadoff hitter should be someone with speed. A player that can turn a single into a double or even triple by being on the move. But today’s MLB doesn’t work that way anymore.  Baseball is a game of statistics as well as ever changing dynamics.  Players like Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon can change the game with their speed, but they are the leadoff hitters of the past.   The new form of leadoff hitters are players that force a pitcher to be on their game right away or be down by one run.

Today’s leadoff hitters focus more about getting on base and provide much more power.  Look at the impact that George Springer had for the World Champion Astros during their great 2017 run in the playoffs.  Springer was able to jump on get me over fastballs to start the game and put an immediate run on the board.  Lead off hitters now rely on patience and launch angles to beat up on the opposition rather than using their speed.

Look at a list of impactful leadoff men in today’s game and see that there is a new trend in the game.  Joining George Springer are star caliber players like Charlie Blackmon, Mookie Betts, Anthony Rizzo, Corey Dickerson, and even Bryce Harper have spent time in the leadoff spot for their respective teams.  Managers are beginning to understand that their best hitters will not only be getting more at bats but they will also be in a position to see a few get me over fastballs that can be deposited in the seats.  Instead of pitchers trying to pitch around these players they are forced to pitch to them at least once rather than start a game with a runner on base.

Matt Carpenter is currently leading the National League in homeruns. While a large portion of those homeruns are solo shots he is still making an impact from the lead off position.  What is overlooked is that he has the protection of the middle of the order forcing pitchers to throw to him.  The worst thing a pitcher can do is to put a man on in front of the middle of the order.  Carpenter has to see strikes, he has to be challenged and he more you challenge him the better he has been.  This is the new idea of lead off hitters.  In a way its like a slow pitch softball approach, why not get your best player as many at bats as you possibly can?

Time to sell. Is that a bad thing?

The Cardinals stepped into the second half taking a glass is half full approach.  By moving on from Mike Matheny all their problems would magically dissapear.  The bullpen would pitch better, Ozuna and Fowler would start hitting, the defense would play error free.  After just six games they realized that not only was the glass half empty but it has been thrown to the ground and shattered.

Sitting five games back in the Wild Card is an illusion of potential for a team that has lost its way.  While they only sit five games back they have to jump two teams in their own division just to make case for the second spot. It is time to open their eyes and see that this is a team that has to find a new direction.  I wrote a piece earlier in the month talking about the potential of trading “ace” Carlos Martinez in hopes to have a return that can set them up for future success.  While it is unlikely that they move on from Martinez they have to see that it is time move the pieces that are not going to be a part of the future.   Players like Jedd Gyroko, Jose Martinez, Kolten Wong,  Tommy Pham and Bud Norris have to be put on the trade block.  Each one of these players have friendly contracts and assets that can intrigue true contending teams.

Players like Jedd, Jose and Kolten may not bring you high valued prospects in return, but  they can allow the team to open up spots for young talent. Players that are ready in the minors like Patrick Wisdom and Tyler O’Neil need to be called up and put into bench roles while Yairo Munoz and Harrison Bader should be given the chance to play everyday to see what they can bring to the table on a day to day basis.  The players that can bring you the most value on the market like Bud Norris and Tommy Pham should be moved in order to restock your system with top 15 potential players.

So why not move your hottest hitter Matt Carpenter or your bad contract Dexter Fowler or your “big” offseason pickup Marcell Ozuna?

Carpenter is the player you have to build around, moving him full time to first base is your best option and can bring you stability to work around for your infield.

Fowler’s contract will most surely be impossible to move.  The reality is that you have to put him on the bench and try and find a suitor in the offseason that will help you take on some of his salary (Very Unlikely).

Ozuna is injured.  He has little to no value at the moment unless you want to sell low.  Shut him down and let him go fix his shoulder injury.  If you would like to move him next season before he becomes a free agent then look into it then.  He has to much potential as a great trade piece when he is fully healthy.

It’s hard for a front office to admit that the season is a bust.  I am not admitting that it is a bust yet, but what the organization is putting on the field is not one that can make it to the playoffs let alone compete in an extremely competitive 2018 National League Central.  Let the young kids come up and see what kind of impact they bring.  Being a seller at the deadline does not admit defeat it can show a better understanding of your personal.  This team needs a change, they need fresh faces beyond Mike Shildt.  Let the young guys play and see if it can turn things around.  Use Poncdeleon, Gomber and eventually Dakota Hudson in the bullpen if their is not a spot in the rotation.  Let Bader get as many at bats as he can and see if he changes your team dynamic.  Cardinals fans may not like the idea of “selling” but they will have to understand that sometimes selling just means admitting your mistakes.   Everyone can accept that.

Who is Trae Santos?

The Frontier League Homerun Derby took place at Carshield Field in O’Fallon, Missouri this week.  Fans filled the stadium for a chance to see former Cardinals greats compete with Frontier League All-Stars in matchup of local favorites vs. unknown up and comers.  Former Cardinals Mark Whiten, Ray Lankford, Kerry Robinson and Rick Ankiel were set to put on a show for the thousands in attendance. To their surprise they were upstaged by a little known first baseman playing just across the river for the Gateway Grizzlies.  His name was Trae Santos.

Trae Santos put on a show from the first pitch launching mammoth homers over the giant right field wall at Carshield Field.  Santos ran through the Frontier League competitors smashing 22 homers in the first two rounds, setting up a matchup with former Cardinal P/OF Rick Ankiel.  Santos dispatched of Ankiel rather quickly beating his 3 homers in just a few swings.  Fans that had come to see the former Cardinals greats swing left wondering who was this power hitting machine manning first for the Grizzlies.  Who was Trae Santos?

In 2005, star pitcher and first baseman Trae Santos led the Guam Little League team all the way to the semifinals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. With that success, the Santos family made a momentous decision. They decided to move their family to America where Trae began to make his mark the baseball community. Drafted in the 17th round of the 2013 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres out of Troy University.  Playing 4 seasons in affiliated ball Santos had trouble standing out.  Hitting his peak during the 2015 season, Santos hit 14 homers and drove in 60 runs for the Fort Wayne Tincaps of the Midwest League. Unable to improve on those numbers the Padres released Santos after the 2016 season, leaving Trae at a crossroads in his career.

“The phones weren’t really ringing last year.  I just kept working on my swing and hitting the gym everyday. Waiting for that opportunity.” said Santos when asked about taking the 2017 season off.

Manager Phil Warren gave Trae a call with an invite to tryout for the Gateway Grizzlies.  With the departure of long time first baseman Craig Massoni their was an opening on the Gateway roster.   Looking for pop in the middle of the order Santos seemed to fit right into the needs of the team.  Beating out Kristian Brito for the starting first baseman spot, Santos jumped right into the middle of the Gateway lineup.  Santos came out the gates struggling in 2018.  Showing signs of rust from the year off of competitive baseball.  After a few weeks into the season Santo was hitting well below .200.  Phil Warren refused to give up on the young slugger.

“I sat Trae down and told him to stop putting so much pressure on himself.  These guys are out here trying to get you out.  Stop worrying so much and just do what you know you can do.” said Warren.

The brief conversation paid off huge for Santos as he was able to turn things around almost immediately.   Hitting .288 with 11HRS, 34RBI’s, earning himself a slot in the Frontier League All-Star game his comeback was complete.

Santos has had a roller coaster career so far in baseball.  Right now he is heading towards the top of the coaster in hopes that there will not be the long drop this time.  At the age of 25 getting a call back to affiliated ball will be a long shot.  But the statement he made during the Homerun Derby will live on in the history of the Frontier League.  Maybe Santos will not be the second player ever to make it to the Majors but he will go down in the Frontier League history books along with the creation of the Baseball’s Best Burger and Brett Gray’s 25 strikeout night.

Come see Trae Santos lead the Gateway Grizzlies in the second half of the season beginning July 14th vs. the River City Rascals.

All Star Snubs, Who they should replace.

All Star games are for the fans first and foremost.  Most of the time the fans make a wrong choice here and there to get a fan favorite in the game…Bryce Harper.  For the mot part the fans got the teams right.  Still there are times where even with the help of the coaches, players and fans the choice are wrong.  Let’s dive into the five biggest mistakes.

Eddie Rosario, OF, Twins.  Should replace: Michael Brantley

Eddie Rosario has struggled over the last few weeks when compared to the start of the season.  Still he owns nearly every statistical advantage over Indians left fielder Michael Brantley.

Brantley, 11HR, 49RBI, .306/.351/.490

Rosario, 18HR, 53RBI, .301/.342/.536

Brantley has the luxury of playing along side stars like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion.  He has protection all around him as well as many more chances to knock in runs on a team that is loaded with talent.  Rosario features a lineup with the minimal protection.  Currently hitting in front of career utility man Eduardo Escobar has made him target for pitching around.  I get that the Indians are a superior team, but rewarding their 4th best position player with a spot on the All Star team seems a bit ridiculous.



Blake Snell, P, Tampa Bay Rays.  Should Replace: Joe Jimenez

Blake Snell could be he best pitcher in the entire American League…right now.  Snell owns the American Leagues best ERA (2.09) as well as an impressive 12-4 record.    Despite his ideal numbers Snell has fallen victim to another player on his teams success.  With his catcher Wilson Ramos making the team it seemed as if it was decided that the Rays are only allowed one representative. Snell should not only consider this a snub, he should be asking why he isn’t starting the All Star game.

This injustice continues when you see a guy like Joe Jimenez on the roster.  The Tigers are a sinking ship that will be looking to unload every last bit of extra cargo at the trade deadline.  I have never been a proponent of every team should have an all star, but if you are going to have one, make sure they chose the right all star.  Joe Jimenez has had a fine season but a reliever with a solid but not overly impressive 2.45ERA should not be in the All Star game.



Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinal. Should replace: Buster Posey

Buster Posey is a future Hall of Famer.  He is a former MVP, no doubt he deserves a shot at the All Star game.  This year he should have fell short of that honor.  It has nothing to do with Posey’s abilities as a player.  This is all about the offensive output of the multi time Gold Glover Yadier Molina.  Despite missing time with an injury I choose not to speak of, Yadire Molina has put on one of his best offensive seasons in his storied career.

Molina’s 13HR 38RBI and .495Slug are all on pace to be career highs for the Cardinals backstop.  Molina’s responsibilities with a young pitching staff has made them one of the most effective staffs in years despite dealing with a flurry of injuries, including to mainstays like Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright and ace Carlos Martinez.  When you are dealing with two great players the debate can go on for a long time, this one I can live with.



Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers. Should replace: Joey Votto

Reputation clearly matters, and before this season the Milwaukee first baseman didn’t have much of one. Aguilar is a destructive force in the middle of a first place lineup. 22 home runs and 63 RBI, and his 1.001 OPS is tops in the NL overall.  Yet he is hoping on the fans to vote him in on the last ballot.

Joey Votto is a great player with a great background.  He is one of the best players in the National League over the last five seasons, but the Reds have representatives at two different places on the infield, Votto should have not even been in the conversation of being an All Star.  It’s debatable whether he should be in over any other first baseman in the NL Central.

Hopefully the fans make the right decision and vote him in.  This selection should never have made it to this.  Shame on the MLB.

 

A “Rockie” bullpen

The Colorado Rockies found themselves in the National League Wild Card game in 2017, losing to the Diamondbacks.  The players looked at the season as a huge step forward for a young club.  With young starters like Jon Gray, Chad Bettis and Tyler Anderson carrying the load of the rotation as well as a offense packed with talent the Rockies had a clear hole to fill in the back end of the bullpen.  They needed depth and a new closer, enter Wade Davis.  Davis and Colorado agreed to a three-year, $52 million contract. The deal included a four-year vesting option that could take the total value up to $66 million if he finishes 30 or more games in the 2020 season.  The former Royal and Cub signed a historic contract pundits of the deal called it a classic “Coors overpay”.  Fans of the contract saw the final piece of a potential championship puzzle.

Davis joined free agent signee former Indian Bryan Shaw (3year, $27million) and the resigning of Jake McGee (3year, $27million). Along with the rebranded and dominating Adam Ottavino the Rockies thought they had shaped a bullpen that would be able to handle the pressures of Coors Field.  Unfortunately for Colorado their bullpen has been more rocky then the mountains they were named after.

If you exclude Ottavino the other top five Rockies bullpen arms based on usage:

Bryan Shaw 39 games, 7.08ERA, -1.5 WAR

Jake McGee 30 games, 5.40ERA, -0.1 WAR

Chris Rusin 23 games, 7.45ERA, -0.6 WAR

Mike Dunn  23 games, 9.00ERA, -0.5 WAR

Wade Davis 30 games, 4.55ERA, 0.3 WAR

Five players making a combined $130 million in contracted salary have combined to make the worst bullpen in the entire league with a combined ERA of 5.75.  Davis leads the league in blown saves followed directly behind him is Bryan Shaw, both have 4 blown saves for a team that is still looking to fight their way into a playoff spot.  Davis has also been uncharacteristically wild during the first two months of the season, sporting a 33.6 percent Zone% that is the second-lowest among qualified relievers.

The Rockies cannot blame the entirety of their troubles on their bullpen.  The starting rotation hasn’t been top level and the offense has been nearly non-existent at times during the season.  The Dodgers have had early season struggles and the Diamondbacks have been falling off from their red hot start.  The Rockies are still in the mix for the National League West despite being four games under .500. Colorado will need a drastic turn around from their bullpen to have a chance to make up ground with in the division.

The Nationals made the first move to improve themselves before the All-Star break acquiring Royals Closer Kelvin Herrara.  With some much money locked up in their current relievers its seems unlikely the Rockies will be able to go outside the organization for help.  They will have to rely on their players to overcome their problems.  There is hope despite recent struggles Wade Davis has had his moments including 18-20 saves before June as well as holding hitters to a .274 Xwoba at dreaded Coors field.  Adam Ottovino has established himself as a dominate reliever.  Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee are not young players, you would have to believe that they will find a way to figure out what is going wrong.

The NL West has done one of the worst things they can possibly do, allow a team that has underperforming talent stick around.  If the Rockies find a way to fix their bullpen they will leave their mark on the National League soon.

 

 

Eddie Rosario- The star we don’t talk about

In 2017 the Minnesota Twins would have been the best story in baseball if they had not been overshadowed by the brilliant run by the world champion Houston Astros.  The Twins made a huge step forward finishing second in the Central, finding themselves in the American League Wild Card game.  Minnesota fell short against the powerhouse Yankees but the statement was made, they have arrived on the scene and are ready to make the next step.  The baseball world has begun to see the Twins but they have yet to notice their developing star Eddie Rosario.

Rosario burst onto the scene in 2015 for the Twins hitting 13HR, stealing 11 bases  and hitting an astounding 15 triples.  Rosario finished 6th in the rookie of the year voting.  Rosario struggled to stay healthy in 2016 playing just 92 games. Without their young star the Twins suffered a tough season finishing just 59- 103, 35.5GB.  A healthy Rosario took the field in 2017 and began his accent to a leadership role on a young Twins roster looking for a star.  Rosario’s stats spoke for themselves, being placed in the middle of the Twins order Rosario blasted 27HR. Rosario also saw a huge progression in his advanced analytics. 2017 Stats (Increases from 2016)  OBP +33 – SLG  +86 – OPS +120 – XWOBA +59. The impact of having Rosario created a boast to the team as they finished 85-77 a ridiculous +26 in there win total.  While there are many different reasons for the increase in wins for the Twins it cannot be ignored that Rosario’s presence was huge for this team.

Rosario has continued his development in 2018 continuing to be a force.  The Twins struggled out of the gate mainly due to pitching issues.  But as we inch closer to the All Star break the twins currently sit 4.5 games back from the Central leading Indians.Eddie Rosario has been the reason why this team has been able to stay afloat in the division.  Over his last 15 games he has a Ruthian stat line .379BA 7HR 13RBI.  Eddie Rosario came into the league as a guy with a little pop but a lot of raw skills.  He used his speed and defensive ability to get into the lineup.  There has been a regression in his speed game, but I believe that is due to the fact that the Twins needed a guy that can hit for power.  Players like Byron Buxton can provide speed, Joe Mauer can provide more OBP. Rosario has changed his game to address the needs of his team.  He has found more value swinging for extra base hits and driving in runs.

Right now Eddie Rosario’s numbers should place him right in the middle of the MVP discussions.  His .323BA (5th), 16HR (10th), 46RBI (6th) put him in the same class as players like Mike Trout and Mookie Betts but he is still not looked at in the same light as these stars.  Rosario currently ranks 14th in AL All-Star voting behind players like Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Nick Castellanos and Michael Brantley.   While these players may be deserving they are not near the level of Eddie Rosario.   I live in realistic world, players in bigger markets are always going to be put in front of a player that plays in the midwest.  Rosario sits in a market that doesn’t receive the same level of coverage.  The baseball world has to open their eyes and see what is happening up in Minnesota.  The best way to make that happen is to win.  The Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau Minnesota Twins teams of the early 2000’s forced the sports world to pay attention.   If the Twins can get more consistency from their pitching and secondary players they can turn around what his been a disappointing season.

Eddie Rosario will most likely make the All- Star game, he may even find himself in the talks for MVP (Not Realistic to win).  What is certain though is that he is becoming a player that the league cannot ignore.  He hits both righties and lefties, he hits for power, he hits for average,  he has speed and he is only 26 years old! It is time to pay attention to this man and watch as he continues to be one of the best players in Major League Baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons Mariners are Winning without Cano

The Seattle Mariners currently sit atop of the ultra competitive American League West.  One game up on the reigning world champion Houston Astros.  Seattle being in first at this point in the season is surprising. The fact that they sit on top with their best player Robinson Cano on the DL (or suspended list) is inconceivable.

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto, known for his aggressive style, has made the moves necessary to cover for the 8 time All- Star.  These are the reasons why the Mariners are winning without their star

1.Soft Schedule

Winning is winning.  I will be the first to agree that it really shouldn’t matter who you play your team still has to show up and execute.  Still it is hard to ignore that the Mariners schedule is been very favorable over the past few series.  The Mariners have still not played the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and have also not had to travel to division foes Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros.

Seattle has won 13 of 16 over their last five series playing only one team with a record above .500, that team being the Oakland Athletics (25-23).  Seattle has feasted on struggling teams during this span.  Beating up the lesser competition in the American League will be vital as they wait for Robinson Cano to return to the lineup.

2.Bullpen Pieces stepping up

Jerry Dipoto made the first move of the 2018 season grabbing Rays Closer Alex Colome for a few mid level prospects.  Colome was another piece added to a bullpen that has begun to fill out their roles to perfection.  Offseason signee Juan Nicasio has begun to get back to his 2017 form, allowing the Mariners to have a 3 headed monster of power pitchers at the back end of the game.  Seattle’s bullpen sits at 8th in the league statistically allowing opposing hitters to hit just .228 against them.

Closer Edwin Diaz has made the conversion to top ten closer with an astounding .85WHIP during the 2018 season. Emerging arms Chasen Bradford, James Pazos and Ryan Cook have emerged as impact arms early in games.  Pazos has been especially nasty. Pazos has substantially decreased his home run rate. The 6’2” 235-lb hurler sports a career 15.6% HR/FB rate, which is thrown a bit out of whack by the 50% figure from his 3.1 innings in 2016. Pazos has given up a total of one run in his last 20 appearances.

3. James Paxton and Mitch Haniger

I put Paxton and Haniger together because they have both taken huge steps in their career during the early portion of the season.  Both highly touted prospects in the Mariners system have reformed themselves into team leaders both on the mound and at the plate.

Paxton the third round pick back in 2010 has emerged as the ace of the staff in 2018. Long time ace Felix Hernandez has not been the dominant force that he has been over the last ten years in Seattle. Paxton has emerged to dethrone the king in Seattle becoming more dominant at ever turn.  Paxton 5-1, 2.95ERA, has struck out an astounding 101 batters over 82.1 innings.  His dominance culminating in a no hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 9th.  Still just 29 years old Paxton is entering what could be the prime of his career at a time where the team needs him most.

Mitch Haniger is struggling right now for the Mariners.  Over his last 15 games he is just hitting .185.  The reason I have him on this list is because he has still been a force in the Mariners order.  For the season Haniger is has 12HR 43RBI this season.  Haniger has improved his advanced analytics across the board as well.  Picking up the production lost by the suspended Cano.  Haniger has stepped into the role as run producers for a team that lacked consistency through the order in 2017.

Haniger Advanced Stats (MLBSavant.com)

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The Mariners will eventually get back their star.  But if they are able to make it to the playoffs Cano will not be eligible to play.  This time without him will prepare them for that situation.  They have the pieces to contend but the upcoming months will provide us with a true idea of what this team is.  I see the playoffs in 2018….maybe.