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5 MLB Starting Pitchers With a lot to Prove in 2017

With the 2016 MLB season officially in the rearview mirror, the entire baseball world now shifts its focus to the offseason and preparing for 2017.

Some players and teams hope to build upon the progress they’ve made over the last six months, but others are out to re-establish themselves and prove that recent subpar performances were a blip in the radar. That’s easier said than done, of course.

Plenty of players have an eye toward rebounding in 2017, but the following starting pitchers find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. They’ve each experienced a period of dominance on the mound – some longer than others – but had to deal with tough times in 2016.

To regain their status of being one of baseball’s top starters, these five hurlers have plenty to prove once April rolls around. 

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Another of Oakland’s starters may be headed to the DL

The Oakland A’s already completely depleted starting rotation may have lost another member Monday night. Sean Manaea left the game early. with forearm soreness.

The seriousness of the injury is thus far unknown, however, the A’s medical staff has said that they believe the injury to Manaea’s forearm to be a strained pronator muscle and not necessarily ligament damage.  However, the full diagnosis will not be known until the team gets the results of his MRI on Tuesday.

When most people hear the words “forearm soreness” their mind automatically jumps to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and Tommy John surgery.

In the fifth inning of Monday’s 14-5 rout of the Texas Rangers,  after having just given up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo, that’s where Manea’s mind went.

“My first thought was [that] it’s pretty scary, just because you hear about forearm stuff all the time and TJ,” Manaea said. “That word, I try not to think about it. But from what they told me, it’s nothing too serious.”

This wasn’t the first time Manaea had felt the pain in his forearm. It had bothered him a bit at Triple-A Nashville earlier in the season but this was more intense. 

A’s manager Bob Melvin said that he and the rest of the coaching staff could tell that something was off with Manaea, as they were having trouble distinguishing between Manaea’s fastball and changeup. He throws a hard changeup so they continued to watch but after the home run to Choo, it was apparent to them that it was time for a visit to the mound.

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6 MLB Teams Who Could Take Advantage of Stephen Strasburg’s Extension This Winter

Just a couple weeks ago, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg was watching a perfect free-agent storm happen right before his eyes. Not only was he dominating on the mound, but he also would easily be the best available hurler on the open market this winter.

Instead of trying to maximize his earning potential, the Scott Boras client opted for comfort and familiar surroundings. Doing this was obviously much easier since he was signing a seven-year, $175 million deal with two opt-outs, as well.

It’s not every day we see a player with Strasburg’s potential (and a Boras client) take a deal that’s probably below market value. For teams in need of top-tier starting pitchers, it left them with not-so-inspiring options when looking ahead at the remaining hurlers projected to be free agents in a few months.

There are certain MLB teams with depth on the mound that could take advantage of this situation by putting one or more of their young pitchers on the trading block. Here are six organizations with the ability to do so:

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MLB Power Rankings 2016: Week 2 – April

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Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Disclaimer:  We based these rankings on best strength to win the World Series.  Therefore some teams that have an easier division to play in, with the least path of resistance to the postseason overall may be ranked a lot higher than a club who is equally talented, yet may play in a juggernaut of a division.

The Cubs will top our list for a second straight week despite losing 2 out of 3 games to the Rockies at Wrigley Field this weekend.  The biggest reason is the pitching.

Jake Arrieta is 3 – 0, and has picked up right where we he left off in 2015, and Jon Lester has thrown awesome too.  The Bullpen has also been good.

The bats are too solid not to come around and gel as the season moves along.  They are playing .750 baseball after a 4 – 2 week still.

Bryce Harper is the best player on the planet, and has homered in 6 straight contests at Citizens Bank Ball Park (4 overall in a row for the MLB this year.)

Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are their top players – and all performing like it, the rest of the club is following through in their secondary roles.  This team is scary.

I have the Royals as the top American League club.  This squad is 8 – 1 in games that are not started by back end of the rotation man Chris Young.

The reigning 2 time pennant winners have company on the top of the Division to make it interesting, however this team has the better pedigree the last few years.

Some may say with a weekend series win – that the Dodgers should be put in front of the Giants, yet they are still only one game ahead of San Francisco.

With the Giants – there is no real weakness, while with the Los Angeles team, the Bullpen is not giving everyone confidence in the back half of games.

The Dodger Blue is still in the top 5, so I am high on them. Kenta Maeda could be the steal of the winter with how this guy is throwing so far.  Reinforcements are starting to come back. Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball April 12, 2016 (Daily MLB AL/NL Pitcher + Hitter MVP’s) + 2016 #WOB Standings

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Matt Slocum / AP

Charlie Morton pitched shutout ball into the 7th, finishing 6 2/3 innings, 3 hits and 7 strikeouts, getting the 3-0 decision for Philadelphia over San Diego.

Trevor Brown continued his surprising power surge with a pair of homers and 4 RBI to lead the Giants to a 7-2 victory in Colorado.

Derek Holland gave the Rangers 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and striking out 4 in the 8-0 blowout in Seattle.

Justin Upton went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored in the Tigers 8-2 win over Pittsburgh.

They all owned baseball on April 12, 2016.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings, plus see who gained 1/2 WOB’s – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON OR SCROLL DOWN.

Odds To Win The 2016 AL Cy Young In The MLB: Best And Worst Bets

Only a few missed starts over the last several years (in April and March) have stopped the lanky LHP from winning a Cy Young Award thus far. His favorite status is the proper odd - and he should be the #1 guy to win the Award. I hate betting on the favorite though, and in fact, will skip the 3 of the last 4 Cy Young winners on the list - by bypassing them for wagering.

Only a few missed starts over the last several years (in April and March) have stopped the lanky LHP from winning a Cy Young Award thus far. His favorite status is the proper odd – and he should be the #1 guy to win the Award. I hate betting on the favorite though, and in fact, will skip the 3 of the last 4 Cy Young winners on the list – by bypassing them for wagering.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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When gambling establishments put forth their player specials as this it is rarely ever worth it to go for the top 2 picks to win (value – wise).

This doesn’t mean the favorite still won’t win.

Take the ‘Junior Circuit’ Cy Young race for instance.  Chris Sale is listed as +300. whereas David Price and Corey Kluber are next with +350.  2015’s winner Dallas Keuchel is 4th at +700 – as is Felix Hernandez.

These five players represent three of the last 5 winners. Typically these guys would all be a great throw down for the Award again in 2016.

My pick for the Award would actually be Sale, who is always a ‘dead arm’ period per spring away from taking the honors as the best chucker in the American League.

I am not going to wager on any of those guys though. Read the rest of this entry

Forget Prospects When Your Window Is Open To Win With Good (To ALL – Star) MLB Players Available!

I am sick and tired of hearing about Draft Picks being coveted by clubs, and in particular with the picks 11 - 30th having to be given up as compensation for signing a guy who was extended a Qualifying Offer. Prospects turn into Suspects in a real hurry. Only 4 or 5 out of the picks 11 - 30 contribute significantly within 4 years. Meaning if your roster is poised now, go ahead and burn your pick by signing proven players that can help your squad right now!

I am sick and tired of hearing about Draft Picks being coveted by clubs, and in particular with the picks 11 – 30th having to be given up as compensation for signing a guy who was extended a Qualifying Offer. Prospects turn into Suspects in a real hurry. Only 4 or 5 out of the picks 11 – 30 contribute significantly within 4 years usually. Meaning if your roster is poised to win right now, go ahead and burn your pick by signing proven players that can help your squad right now!

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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I can’t stand it when I hear that ready to win Major League Clubs are holding off on good Free Agent Signing because of a pending Draft Pick in the coming MLB Amateur Draft being forfeited.

For current organizations like the  Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, KC Royals, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants – all of them project to be contenders in 2016 except the O’s, and the last 6 clubs listed here are acting on that – while the 1st 4 are not.

Let me kind of qualify that.  The Jays did in 2015 – and may do so in 2016.  The real truth will be told by the August.1 Trade Deadline.  Not picking up a top end rotation guy by then will hurt their chances to win in the last few months and definitely in the playoffs. 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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Bold Predictions For The 2016 MLB Year

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Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) 

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Every year we do an article called “Bold Predictions”.  I love this concept as most of these ideas are so preposterous that none of them will actually happen.  I liken it to the “Riverboat Gambler Theory” where you can really get rich quick if it were to come to fruition.

There may not be too many secrets in the National League where the clubs seems to be either really good or really bad.  The American League has a lot more parity.

I suppose I could start off by saying that the NL would win the Interleague series versus the AL, but that it is probably not going to happen based on a 12 year losing streak. (more…)

Los Angeles Dodgers State Of The Union For 2016

The Dodgers need to start spending money like right now, otherwise they stand to jeopardize themselves winning a 4th straight NL West title in 2016. Both the Giants and D'Backs have signed ace pitchers this year, and added another good Starting Pitcher besides the point. The club does have several young pieces and Depth at Roster to pull off a blockbuster trade forth coming - or they still have enough resources to acquire players for their 2016 run. The clock is officially ticking gentelmen

The Dodgers need to start spending money like right now, otherwise they stand to jeopardize themselves winning a 4th straight NL West title in 2016. Both the Giants and D’Backs have signed ace pitchers this year, and added another good Starting Pitcher besides the point. The club does have several young pieces and Depth at Roster to pull off a blockbuster trade forth coming – or they still have enough resources to acquire players for their 2016 run. The clock is officially ticking gentlemen.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer) 

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The Dodgers are having the same kind of offseason the Baltimore Orioles had in 2014 – going into 2015.

If everyone remembers that year, they rejected a couple year contract with Grant Balfour, when he failed a physical, and they did the same thing with Grady Sizemore.

That club also traded back to back 50 Saves guy Jim Johnson.  By the way, the 2014 O’s won the AL East with a 97 – 65 record.

Key cogs in the wheel were new Closer Zach Britton, and Super Utility man Steve Pearce.  A lot of parallels can be made between that squad and the Dodgers.

Late last week, the Dodgers pulled out of a three year deal wish Hisashi Iwakuma because they had concerns with a physical.

For the whole winter they have watched the Giants sign Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija, while the Diamondbacks stole Zack Greinke way from them, while trading a kings ransom for Shelby Miller. (more…)

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