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These 6 MLB Free Agents Will be Intriguing to Follow This Winter

Compared to previous years, the 2016-17 MLB free-agent market leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t intriguing players to follow as they search for new homes.

Like everyone else, I knew this winter’s class of available players wasn’t great, but the reminder was an unpleasant one while looking at the list again this week. Seriously, just take a look at who is expected to hit the market at shortstop and third base this year and tell me that doesn’t make you shake your head.

With that in mind, it means the few MLB free agents who would’ve been rather intriguing during a normal winter get super intriguing this winter. The following six players have unique situations that will shape their trip into the market over the coming months, and here’s why it’s worth following them on their journey.

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Betting Specials: # Of No-Hitters, Will There Be A Guy With 50 Saves Or 16 Strikeouts In A Game For 2016?

Max Scherzer threw 2 no-hitters in 2015, and carried no - no's into the late innings on a few other occasions. It seems every night there is a no - hit watch, so 4.5 on the over/under for the year seems like a big no-brainer to throw down some cabbage on. In 2015 alone, there were 7 no-hitters hurled out.

Max Scherzer threw 2 no-hitters in 2015, and carried no – no’s into the late innings on a few other occasions. It seems every night there is a no – hit watch, so 4.5 on the over/under for the year seems like a big no-brainer to throw down some cabbage on. In 2015 alone, there were 7 no-hitters hurled out.  At +115, it will pay you $1.15 for every dollar wagered

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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# Of No-Hitters For 2016 MLB Over/Under 4.5

Yes:  +115  or No: -115

This is a resounding yes in my view.  In 2015, Max Scherzer threw 2 no-no’s, and could have easily thrown 2 more.  This was 2 of 7 doled out last campaign.

Mike Fiers, Cole Hamels, Jake Arrieta, Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Heston also cemented their place in history by accomplishing the feat.

There are so many teams that are loaded with HR happy clubs that have plenty of swing and miss candidates like the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles.  This also brings us to our next stat. 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: Early Win Total Predictions For Spring Of 2016

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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There is parity in the American League and their is a growing distance between the good and the bad clubs in the National League.

One could argue that the top 6 teams (NYM/CHC/SF/WSH/STL/PIT) in all of the Majors reside in the NL right now, and you then you can counter that by saying they have the 6 worst squads as well (PHI/ATL/MIL/CIN/SD/COL).

The funny thing about this whole ordeal is that the AL is absolutely going to cream the NL in Interleague this forthcoming season.  On a 12 year win streak already,  I am predicting a 175 – 125 W – L for the games between both leagues. The AL speedbags the National League in my view.

Last year, the American League held a 167 – 133 mark over the National League so that prediction up there is not foreign by any means. 

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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…)

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…)

WTF Pittsburgh? Are You Contenders Or Are You At The Kids Table?

This club has improved a great deal over the last 8 years, and they are in great His strategic moves over the next 12 months will determine if that means a playoff round win.

This Pirates club has made themselves relevant in the NL for the last 3 years with appearing in the Wild Card game – and pushing the Cards to the brink of elimination in 2014.  However this organization has looked petty in looking too much to the bottom line so far this offseason.  They have lost 4 players from the 98 win team of 2015 – and only have Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio as guys that help the MLB squad in 2016.  They still have 3 months to go, but thus far the winter has been a tire fire.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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What the hell are the Pirates doing this offseason?!!  I mean I have tonnes of respect for Neil Huntington – however the brass has made some highly questionable moves to save some money.

The Pittsburgh window to win is 2 – 3 more years, yet it almost looks likes the management is throwing a preemptive strike to blow the club up.

Okay, I may be overstating the facts a little here – as there is still well over 3 months before the club even hits Spring Training.

The club first non-tendered Pedro Alvarez – rather than head to the last year of Arbitration with him.  He would have made in the neighborhood of $10 MIL in 2016 – I get that, but losing a 25 – 30 HR out of your lineup will be tough to adjust for. (more…)

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