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New York Mets, Cleveland Indians Traveling Similar Paths in Search of a World Series Title

Like most professional sports, Major League Baseball is a copycat league.

When the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals displayed how crucial a dominant bullpen can be en route to winning championships, other teams tried to duplicate their strategy in hopes of finding similar success.

Now, after seeing what it took for the Chicago Cubs to end their excruciating 108-year title drought, even their most bitter rivals are taking notes for the future.

Although they haven’t yet won a World Series, the Cleveland Indians and New York Mets have rebuilt their respective rosters in such a way that many opponents are likely jealous of. There aren’t many organizations around baseball with the type of top-flight and mostly homegrown starting pitching these two have.

That’s not where the similarities end, either.

In fact, Cleveland recently signing Edwin Encarnacion to a three-year deal on the eve of Christmas further strengthens the similarities between these two teams, and it’s much more than just reaching the Fall Classic one year apart.

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Neil Walker Accepting Qualifying Offer Should Have Matt Wieters-Like Impact on Mets’ Offseason

It’s only the middle of November, but the New York Mets just gained a whole lot of clarity to their offseason plan. And while the fan base is still upset about Bartolo Colon heading to the Atlanta Braves, they have reason to be excited about what’s to come.

Second baseman Neil Walker was one of just two players out of a possible 10 to accept a qualifying offer on Monday, meaning he’ll be returning to the Mets on a one-year deal for $17.2 million. That’s a lot of money for a middle infielder, but Sandy Alderson is clearly confident in Walker making a full recovery for Opening Day.

Some may feel this could hamper New York’s ability to re-sign outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but it should actually have the opposite kind of impact. Call me overly optimistic here, but watching Walker accept the qualifying offer was exactly what the front office needed in order to operate under a “win now” mentality…even more than before.

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Asdrubal Cabrera’s Drastic Improvement vs. Fastballs Turned His 2016 Season Around

New York Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera has been with the organization for just one season, but he’s instantly become a fan favorite. A strong April helped start his tenure on a positive note, but it was an epic late-season surge that instantly brings a smile to every Mets fan.

It’s interesting how one player transformed from being the biggest rally killer to the team’s most dependable run producer, but that’s a microcosm of the Mets’ 2016 performance.

His turnaround can be credited toward a number of things, but there was one specific area that tells a lot of the story.

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OTBB: 10 MLB Teams With a Very Important Offseason Ahead of Them

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on On The Bench Baseball.

The 2017 MLB regular season is the furthest thing from our minds right now with the postseason in full swing, but not for the majority of the league.

Most are at home watching the playoffs, trying to figure out how they could be playing baseball next October instead of sitting on their respective couches. The winter months don’t include any on-field action, but the Hot Stove does plenty to keep us warm and occupied until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

Before the slate officially gets wiped clean for the coming year, front offices around baseball put in a lot of hours to decide what pieces could make their team a playoff contender. Here are 10 MLB teams who have a very important few months ahead:

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Greatest Strength of Mets & Indians is Now Their Biggest Concern, But They’re Not Dead Yet

The old adage in baseball is you can never have enough pitching. While every team can vouch for that, the two organizations currently feeling this the most are the New York Mets and Cleveland Indians.

Heading into 2016, both squads had one clear strength: a solid starting rotation expected to be one of the best in baseball. By solely looking at the cumulative statistics – and paying no mind to who contributed – New York and Cleveland received the kind of production necessary to be on the verge of a playoff berth (via FanGraphs):

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When it comes to fWAR production, the Mets rank second in baseball, while the Indians are second in the American League.

But with October on the horizon, they’ll each be forced to use a much different group than those who toed the line on Opening Day. With a seven-game lead in the American League Central, the Indians are all but assured a spot in the postseason. The Mets still have some work to do with just a one-game cushion in the National League Wild Card race, though.

Each situation is distinctly different, but the Mets and Indians will have a similarly steep hill to climb once the regular season comes to a close, and there seems to be quite a few naysayers.

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Yoenis Cespedes Couldn’t be More Perfect for the Bright Lights of New York

Since baseball is a game of failure, it’s imperative for players to remain confident when they’re not successful. It’s even more imperative for those playing in large media markets to not be fazed by the fans and reporters who monitor their every move.

Understandably so, playing in a big city isn’t for everybody, but New York Mets outfielderYoenis Cespedes appears to thrive on it more than anything else.

When he was acquired from the Detroit Tigers minutes before the non-waiver trade deadline last summer, he was expected to immediately become “the man” in New York’s lineup. Mets fans know how often players live up to those kinds of expectations upon landing in Flushing.

So, the fact that he’s lived up to them by hitting .290/.353/.584 with 42 home runs and 108 RBI in 154 games since joining the Mets is shocking. It’s also why fans hope Cespedes either decides against using his opt-out clause after this season, or New York finds a way to keep him with the organization via another contract.

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Daily Fantasy MLB DFS Picks For Fanduel, DraftKings, and Fanpicks 8/5/16

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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (8/5/16): MLB DFS Advice

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Daily Matchups for 8/5/2016

Pitcher

Noah Syndergaard

Justin Verlander

Jon Lester

Steven Wright

Ervin Santana

Jaime Garcia

Francisco Liriano


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Daily Fantasy MLB DFS Picks For Fanduel, DraftKings, and Fanpicks 7/25/16

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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/25/16): MLB DFS Advice

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 Daily Matchups for 7/25/2016

Pitcher

STUD

Noah Syndergaard- Thor has absolutely dominated the Cardinals in the 1 start he had against them. He held them to a .067 BA (1 for 15) with 5 strikeouts and 4 groundouts. He is the best pitcher on the slate in my eyes tonight even more than the most expensive pitchers in Arrieta and Pomeranz. We are projecting Thor around 45- 50 FP tonight.

Jake Arrieta- He is facing the White Sox who have really come down from earth since the beginning of the season. The White Sox are 2 games under .500 while the cubs are 21 games above. Arrieta has held the White Sox to a .217 BA (18 for 83) with a 20.9 K% and a 5.5 W%. He’s struck out 19 while giving up only 2 HRs and one triple. I like Syndergaard more but you can’t go wrong here either.

MID RANGE

Aaron Sanchez- He hasn’t faced the Padres much but he’s held them to 1 hit in 8 ABs. This includes 3 groundouts, 1 single and 1 strikeout. Sanchez comes in with 125 IP, 37 walks, 110 hits allowed, 108 Ks, a 2.87 BA and 10 wins. In his last 10 starts, Sanchez has 6 50+ FP games on FD and tonight could be another one of those games.

Jake Peavy- I think this could be more of a sneaky play but like him as a cheap tournament option tonight. Peavy has held the Reds to a lifetime BA of .250 (19 for 76) with a 30 K% and only a 3.8 W%. He’s struck out 24 while allowing only 4 HRs. He’s a cheap option to help pay up at other positions.

VALUE

Dallas Keuchel- Now this does worry me some as Keuchel is sporting a 4.70 ERA this season but he has dominated the Yankees in the past. Keuchel has held them to a .211 BA (24 for 114) with a 27.6 K% and 34 Ks to only 3 HRs. Keuchel has 126 IP with 110 Ks and 40 walks but he’s also given up 132 hits. I’m not sure if last season was a fluke but I think he’s only a GPP option tonight.

Jeremy Hellickson- He’s held the Marlins to a .209 BA (31 for 148) with a 16.2 K% and only a 3.2 W%. He’s struck out 25 Marlins while walking only 5. He’s coming off a start last week against this same team where he pitched for 8 innings, a 3.84 ERA, picking up the win and 57 FP on Fanduel.  I like him again tonight against this team that we suggested him last week.


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New York Mets Must Improve in These 6 Areas in the 2nd Half

Manager Terry Collins and his New York Mets had to deal with what many viewed as a potentially season-defining 11-game homestand prior to the All Star break. On the surface, they succeeded by going 7-4 against the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals.

However, it was likely one of the most frustrating 7-4 homestands fans will ever experience because New York missed a golden opportunity.

The importance of this stretch prior to baseball’s midseason break was only magnified because the Mets arrived at Citi Field fresh off losing five of seven to the Nats and Atlanta Braves. The pitching staff continued to do their job for the most part, but it was the offense that resembled the 2015 squad before acquiring Yoenis Cespedes, not after.

This group then came alive by sweeping a four-game set against the Cubs, followed by taking two of three from the Marlins. Things continued looking up on Thursday, as New York battled back with the help of Wilmer Flores to win the series opener against Washington.

Those good feelings faded quickly as Stephen StrasburgMax Scherzer and Daniel Murphy displayed why they’re All-Stars this year en route to the Nats winning three straight, building their NL East lead to six games.

Finishing the first half with a 47-41 record isn’t bad considering what New York has dealt with since April, but they must improve in these areas if they want to return to the playoffs this October:

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Daily Fantasy MLB DFS Picks For Fanduel, DraftKings, and Fanpicks 7/9/16

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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/9/16): MLB DFS Advice

Fanduel Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/9/16): MLB DFS Advice

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Daily Matchups for 7/9/2016

Pitcher

STUDS

Max Scherzer-  Easily the top pitcher on the day. Mets haven’t been hitting well of late. Should get plenty of strikeouts and a shot at the W.

Carlos Martinez- Brewers have combined to hit 13-56 of Martinez, and are one of the worst offenses vs. RHP’s this season.

MID RANGE

Danny Salazar- Right  now the Yankees offense is a hot mess.  Only down fall here is they don’t strike out much, which limits his upside. More of a GPP play here.

Lance McCullers- McCullers has great strikeout numbers but at 4 walks per 9, it runs that pitch count up in a hurry  that being said, a matchup with Oakland could offer some nice fantasy value.

VALUE

Rick Porcello- Only there Rays really have good match ups vs. the Boston righty, but the Rays as a whole have been horrible this season vs. righties. Porcello is in play in cash and GPP for  me today.


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