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New York Yankees Need To Go Full Bore To Start 2016: Seek Reinforcements Midway Through If Need Be

The Yankees were almost flawless in their 1st 33 games to start the 2015 campaign. Quick starts by Teixeira and A-Rod fueled the offense, while Miller and Betances did not yield a run in this stretch either. Pineda was 5 - 0, Tanaka was healthy, and their duo of Ellsbury and Gardner were hitting north of .300

The Yankees were almost flawless in their 1st 33 games to start the 2015 campaign. Quick starts by Teixeira and A-Rod fueled the offense, while Miller and Betances did not yield a run in this stretch either. Pineda was 5 – 0, Tanaka was healthy, and their duo of Ellsbury and Gardner were hitting north of .300.  The club was able to coast for the last 129 games of the year when injuries and age caught up to them.  Considering they spent no real money in the winter, they should go for bore early in the season, and then bring in a boatload of people late via trade  to compensate for injuries that will probably occur to their roster.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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On May.11, 2015 – the New York Yankees had just finished an 11 – 5 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Rays – and this led to a record of 21 – 12 to start their first 33 games.  It would be important on so many levels in completing the campaign.

You see – in the next 129 games the club would go just 66 – 63 to secure the 1st Wild Card Berth.

Mark Teixeira had clubbed 11 HRs over the wall with 27 RBI.  Alex Rodriguez had 8 big fly’s with many of them giving the Bronx Bombers a shot in the arm for victory.

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances both had not yielded a run to that point. Michael Pineda was a brilliant 5 – 0, and that was about the time that Masahiro Tanaka began having health issues.

You throw in Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner both hitting well over .300 – and it was easy to see how the Pinstripers had taken off to a great start. Read the rest of this entry

Projected Top 5 Save Leaders In The American And National League For MLB 2016

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn't lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40's in Saves again for 2016.

Craig Kimbrel is still about as filthy as they come in nailing down games in the Majors. With 225 Saves and a 1.63 ERA in the last 5 years of his career, this 27 year old flamethrower brings his talents to Beantown and a top rated club. Last year was the 1st season he didn’t lead the National League after four consecutive years of leading the Senior Circuit. He still managed 39 Saves for a 74 win San Diego team. Since the Red Sox are going to be somewhere in the 90 win range, Kimbrel should at least be in the mid 40’s in Saves again for 2016.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Figuring out the Saves Leaders for the 2016 year is a lot easier to project than the Holds Leaders we did last week.  Perhaps the easiest to discern is also the National League.

Since I projected 7 teams will win 90+ games in the Senior Circuit I have listed 5 teams with their Closer out of the fold there.  I did however, leave out Hector Rondon and Mark Melancon.

I feel the Bucs may trade Melancon despite being in a position to make the playoffs.   I also think the Cubs will blow out a ton of clubs this season in games, and therefore not need Rondon to lockdown a 3 run or under lead.

This is the same reason why I won’t label Roberto Osuna for the top 5 in the American League either.  It is also not unfathomable to see the Jays go with Drew Storen to close down games.

I fully think that Craig Kimbrel will lead the entire Major Leagues for the Boston Red Sox as their Closer.

I may have gone with Aroldis Chapman on the list as well, however his pending suspension for his domestic violence call in should see him riding pine for at least 25 games.  The New York Yankees should still lead the Junior Circuit for total team Saves.
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Top 5 Projected MLB Holds Leaders (AL + NL) In 2016

With so much uncertainty in the air about Mark Melancon's fate with the club, I can't pick Tony Watson to win this category for a 2nd straight year. He was also the runner up in the 2014 season. I say he is the Closer in the 2nd half of the year. His teammate Jared Hughes will get plenty of opportunities all year in late inning relief.

With so much uncertainty in the air about Mark Melancon’s fate with the club, I can’t pick Tony Watson to win this category for a 2nd straight year. He was also the runner-up in the 2014 season. I say he is the Closer in the 2nd half of the year. His teammate Jared Hughes will get plenty of opportunities all year in late inning relief.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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It is time to get our fantasy teams ready in 2016.  Because of the long winter year for certain players, the Relievers market has a pile of roster moves to go down before opening weekend in April.  There are some guys that could make the list, but I am itching to write my list.

For the reasons I was just talking about, Jeremy Affeldt, Matt Thornton, Casey Janssen, Manny Parra, Eric O’Flaherty, Tommy Hunter, Franklin Morales, Neal Cotts, Nathan Adcock, Wesley Wright, Matt Capps, Sergio Santos, Ryan Webb and Joe Beimel won’t appear – although only a couple of those guys are even relevant to the Holds stat.

The biggest questions to think of include trade possibilities.  Will the Pirates trade Mark Melancon?  If this happens, NL Leader of Holds last year, Tony Watson, may see some time as the Closer for the Bucs. Read the rest of this entry

MLB Power Rankings New Year Of 2016

Perhaps the Back to the Future Prediction was off by just one year. The Cubs , who are immensely loaded with young offensive superstars added another to the mix with the Jason Heyward signing. Add that to a revamped Bullpen, strong Starters signed last year in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, coupled with John Lackey this year, and this team is the clear cut #1 ranked team. Oh yeah..They even have depth to make another trade should they need to.

Perhaps the Back to the Future Prediction was off by just one year. The Cubs , who are immensely loaded with young offensive superstars added another to the mix with the Jason Heyward signing. Add that to a revamped Bullpen, strong Starters signed last year in Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, coupled with John Lackey this year, and this team is the clear cut #1 ranked team. Oh yeah..They even have depth to make another trade should they need to.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part-Owner) 

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(1) Chicago Cubs: Big additions of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey.  Tonnes of young superstars only ging to get better.

(2) NY Mets:  Starting Pitching best in the Majors.  Offensive depth better in offseason.  Need David Wright to stay healthy.  NL East easiest bottom 3 teams in the bigs.

(3) Kansas City Royals:  Easiest Division in the Majors.  Back to Back AL Pennants and defending World Series Champs.  Look for some more mid year deals. (more…)

Tampa Bay Rays State Of The Union For 2016

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 - and that was only at 80 - 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense - except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention, it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Evan Longoria.

The Rays have still been one of the best teams in baseball since the start of 2008. Last year marked their 1st losing season since 2007 – and that was only at 80 – 82. But with the starting positional players listed on depth chart all being below league averages on offense – except for Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria, they will need a few breakout players from their bench. It may be time trade one or 2 Starting Pitchers to add some offensive help. If they fall out of contention in 2016 it also may not be a bad idea to trade all veterans that they can. This may include Longoria.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Tampa Bay Rays failed to make it to .500 or better for the 1st time since 2008 in 2015, however with a 5 game winning streak at the end of the campaign, they made it to 80 wins or better for an 8th year in a row.  I highly suspect this year that may come crashing down.

First Boston went off on a spending spree to amp up its roster, and now the Yankees have added Aroldis Chapman to the fold, and upgraded at Second Base with Starlin Castro.

Toronto made its moves for the better in late July, and should be a team to be reckoned with again in 2016.

Only the Orioles don’t look to compete in the AL East during the 2016 campaign with the Rays thus far, and they still may be tough to play 19 times a year if they are to re-sign Chris Davis.

Tampa Bay still clearly has the best Pitching Rotation in the Division with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jake Odorizzi filtering in spots 1 – 5.  But will it be enough to help a fledgling offensive in 2016? (more…)

Milwaukee Brewers State Of The Union For 2016

New Milwaukee GM David Kearns has his hands full trying to compete in the NL Central for the next several seasons. Really the club should be starting a full scale rebuild that includes trading Ryan Braun. Jonathan Lucroy and potentially Wily Peralta. With dealing with the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all in the NL Central, expect a 100 loss season coming forth for the club.

New Milwaukee GM David Stearns has his hands full trying to compete in the NL Central for the next several seasons. Really the club should be starting a full scale rebuild that includes trading Ryan Braun. Jonathan Lucroy and potentially Wily Peralta. With dealing with the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all in the NL Central, expect a 100 loss season coming forth for the club.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Milwaukee Brewers owner just sent out an open letter to all of the fans explaining to them his gratitude, and promised that the organization is committed to winning long term.  I liked his candor, but it will be some time before this team has many victory laps.

The NL Central has turned into a fierce 3 club race, with the Reds and Brewers being left in the dust.  Cincinnati has already thrown the white flag this week in trading Todd Frazier and now potentially Brandon Phillips.  They would have already traded Aroldis Chapman as well if it weren’t for a domestic dispute.

The time to rebuild for the club is now.  I would think the club should also entertain trade talks with Ryan Braun and Jonathon Lucroy over the next 6 – 8 months. Read the rest of this entry

Players With Potentially Expiring Contracts In 2016: Trade Bait, CBA + Payroll Implications

In the last year of the current CBA, there is potentially only one more year to take advantage of a feeble penalty as a first time abuser in 2016. With Boston set to join the Dodgers and Yankees as abusers, I took a look at other teams who should consider the 2016 campaign as a rare gamble to dole out some cash in seeking a World Series trophy before the new CBA is authored in prior to the 2017 season.

In the last year of the current CBA, there is potentially only one more year to take advantage of a feeble penalty as a first time abuser in 2016. With Boston set to join the Dodgers and Yankees as abusers, I took a look at other teams who should consider the 2016 campaign as a rare gamble to dole out some cash in seeking a World Series trophy before the new CBA is authored in prior to the 2017 season.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part-Owner) 

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The Boston Red Sox might just be on to something.  They will be penalized for the 1st year of going over the new $189 MIL limit in 2016, but it is also the last year the CBA may have the percentages.

Currently right now, there is a 17.5% penalty for spending dollars over $189 MIL.  The Dodgers and Yankees are the only other teams that are budgeted over the mark in addition to Boston.

On the cusp are the Detroit Tigers, sitting at around $177 MIL – while the Giants and Angels are nearly at $170 MIL.  The Cubs are also near the $165 MIL area.

Why not spend like crazy in 2016 – and take advantage of the system as it is presented towards you? (more…)

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