Daily Archives: February 26, 2016

Mark Ellis and Mark Kotsay together again at A’s camp

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This is exciting news! My favorite Marks are back together again, for spring training at least, and that is good enough for me because it means I will likely be able to catch a glimpse or two or more of both Mark Kotsay the A’s new bench coach and Mark Ellis who will be a guest instructor for the team during the spring.

Ellis and Kotsay’s careers with the Athletics overlapped from 2004 (although Ellis was injured for the entire season) to 2007. They were part of the team that defeated the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series in 2006, taking the A’s to the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers. They lost of course as almost everyone knows the A’s can’t seem to get past the Tigers in the postseason. Yet that 2006 team broke the curse of the first round and took the A’s farther than they had been in the postseason since 1992.

Ellis, still a fan favorite to this day, came up with the team as a rookie in 2002 and was a big part of the Athletics 2002 20-game win streak, which set an AL record. He was the A’s second baseman from 2002 until 2011 when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. During his tenure with Oakland, Ellis hit .266/.331/.337. He was most impressive on defense however and he has been brought in to work with the middle infielders.

You can continue reading this story on BBST

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Euro League Baseball: Why some teams dare to participate and others don’t

After the news that the Euro League Baseball will start this season without the Dutch, Italian and French participants, I was wondering why some teams have decided to pull back and some can’t wait to participate in the ELB.

Curacao Neptunus’ participation was already at stake when the KNBSB (the Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation) did not allow them to participate on pain of exlusion from the Dutch Hoofdklasse, but according to their spokes person, the financial risk was one of the main reasons that the club decided to pull back. Through the years, Curacao Neptunus never overspent and had a sound financial policy. Without a main sponsor of the ELB it may have forced them to overspend and thus risking the club’s future. Through the years we have seen several Dutch clubs disappear because they kept spending on players with money they did not really have. Clubs like Haarlem Nicols and ADOLakers.
On the other hand, to make something work, you have to invest at times.

ELB: Why some clubs dare to participate and some don’t

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – February 26, 2016

MLB Reports

hi-res-e96d3a17619102c6bb5b05f05bda320f_crop_north Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles took their time with medical exams, which they should. So Dexter Fowler stunned us all and gave the Cubs a very crowded outfield.

It is a look this way and now that edition of the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

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Get Ready For The ‘Zombie Cardinals’ Version 11.0 In 2016: Cubs Are Favored In Division – But Gap Isn’t Huge

St. Louis has been an elite team in the National League for the last 15 years. While Chicago deserves to be favorite in the NL Central - and to win the World Series, never sleep on the St. Louis Cardinals. This team has 9 LCS Appearances since 2000, and did win 100 win games last campaign. Throw in a championship pedigree - and a brilliant youth movement, aided by a few cagey veterans, and the gap is just not that great compared with the Cubs.

St. Louis has been an elite team in the National League for the last 15 years. While Chicago deserves to be favorite in the NL Central – and to win the World Series, never sleep on the St. Louis Cardinals. This team has 9 LCS Appearances since 2000, and did win 100 win games last campaign. Throw in a championship pedigree – and a brilliant youth movement, aided by a few cagey veterans, and the gap is just not that great compared with the Cubs.  A huge effort by Adam Wainwright, with less than perfect years from Arrieta and Lester may be all it takes for the RedBirds to remain the kings of the NL Central.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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The Cubs have signed Dexter Fowler and traded away Chris Coghlan yesterday, and the Cards will have another week this winter where they are not the focus of the NL Central.  It probably suits them just fine.

On the heels of a 100 win campaign during 2015, the gambling websites, PECOTA and FanGraphs are all projecting a massive regression for St. Louis in 2016.  I am not one of those people.

I, for one, think the Cardinals are still to be reckoned with.

Switch out a potentially healthy Matt Holliday, coupled with full years from Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk – for the departed Jason Heyward to the Cubs, and I like that.

Throw in Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake, for the loss of Lance Lynn and John Lackey, and I still like that almost as even.

No doubt that Ben Zobrist was a good singing for the Chicago Cubs this offseason, but lets not throw St. Louis over the cliff just yet. Read the rest of this entry

3 lessons we learned during the first week of spring

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With one week of spring training in the books, here are the top three things we learned

It’s’ the beginning of a new season. Spring Training began as pitchers and catchers reported late last week and position players started to arrive early on this week.

Of course there are going to be at least a few interesting situations that will go down in this first week or two of Spring Training. It happens every year beginning with almost every player declaring “I’m in the best shape of my life” to there being so many new faces on some of the teams that the players literally need  to meet one another for the first time.

That was the case for the Oakland Athletics last year after many offseason trades and it appears to be the case in Seattle this season with the Mariners. New GM Jerry Dipoto turned over more than 40% of the Mariners roster in hopes to improve the team enough that they can compete in what is going to be a very competitive race to win the AL West or at least slide in as one of the two AL Wild Card teams.

Some free agents are still signing agreements and getting their physicals while other players are already incurring injuries such as the San Francisco Giants Matt Cain and the Detroit Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.

While injuries and guys without jobs are no joke …. Here are a few very fun and somewhat  interesting things we’ve already learned in 2016: Continue reading on BBST

Odds To Win The 2016 MLB World Series

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium - with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of a young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. While I would favor Chicago over them slightly for the NL Central, the RedBirds, Mets, Dodgers Tigers and Mariners have the best value, while the Angels, Giants, Padres, Red Sox and D'Backs have the worst on the board this week.

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium – with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of a young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. While I would favor Chicago over them slightly for the NL Central, the RedBirds, Mets, Dodgers Tigers and Mariners have the best value, while the Angels, Giants, Padres, Red Sox and D’Backs have the worst on the board this week.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

Follow The BBBA On Twitter 

I was all set to pounce on my 1st American League bet for the Fall Classic in 2016 earlier this week – when the O’s were at +5000, and presumably bringing both Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo into the stable. 

With Fowler opting back to Chicago, the odd also dropped to +4500 in the meantime (also following the Gallardo wait time for the physical fiasco), and the value is no longer there. 

Baltimore is a low 80 wins team in my view, and will not have enough for the postseason.  Fowler would have added a few W’s for sure.

Of course with the chaos that has ensued,  the Cubs have gone from +700 to +650 prohibitive best odd.  There is no doubt in my mind they should be the consensus favorite. 

One of these years the #1 seed will capitalize and win.  I am still not plunking down cabbage at that clip though.

If I were to do my year end picks right now, I would still have Chicago ending their World Series 108 seasons drought – but I can’t place them as twice the favorite as the St. Louis Cardinals.

Still not sold on the Cubs Bullpen either, and I think Jon Lester can be had in the postseason.  The Mets also line up favorably versus Chicago based on pitching matchups.  New York has the better odds to wager with.

I am currently writing a faceoff piece between the Cubbies and Cards that I will post over the weekend.  The difference is not a whopping 8 or 10 games like FanGraphs and PECOTA say.  St. Louis should still be in the mid 90’s for victories by years end. Read the rest of this entry

BBBA Members Video/Audio Shows + Links For The Week That Was

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast

(Sully has a Streak of 20 minute shows everyday since Oct.24/2012)

(1220 Straight Days With An episode)

Week Archives

 

Latest Podcast:
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Twitter And The MLB: Better The Team, More Followers? It’s Much More Than That.

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BY (Featured BBBA Website – bucsraiseit.com) 

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With Spring Training finally getting underway, it’s refreshing to have actual baseball news to talk and write about it after a long winter, which continues to drag on.  

But even with workouts beginning in Florida and Arizona, this is still a pretty quiet period for another week or so- when games actually begin.  

With the down time, and while bracing for the madness of the regular season to being, it’s sort of refreshing to have some time available to look into subject matter, that otherwise, I may not give a second thought about when the thick of the season is underway.  

Several days ago, I noticed on twitter that the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens were celebrating hitting the 1 million follower mark for their official twitter page.  

I thought to myself, “ok, that’s pretty impressive”.  So, I decided to see where the baseball teams in the Majors ranked in terms of their following on the social media network.  At first, I really didn’t have a purpose, but then I thought that it would be interesting to take a look from top to bottom and see if anything sticks out.  

Then, the project evolved a bit to look into whether there were any correlations between market size (which I heavily assumed), or perhaps the weight that winning has on increasing followers.  

Seemed logical to me that teams that were successful, most likely had a following that was greater than perennial “losers”   And finally I figured I would take a look at the data from a geographical perspective.  

First, let’s take a look at the data (twitter followers tab is in thousands- for instance 1,570= 1.57 million), and pick out a few things that stick out:  

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Zack Wheeler Loves Big Sexy and NY Mets Fans

Zack Wheeler Loves Big Sexy and NY Mets Fans

Zack Wheeler gave MLB Network Radio’s Round Trip a few moments talking about his rehab back from Tommy John surgery, Bartolo Colon and NY Mets Fans. The young starter also had a few choice words about recently banned player Jenrry Mejia, playing for Terry Collins, and watching his peers in the rotation during the World Series.

Click here to read the full article.

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