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Joey Votto, Jose Altuve Aren’t the Only MLB Hitters Enjoying a Huge Second Half

The MLB regular-season schedule is a grind, and there’s a reason why they call it the “dog days of August.” For some reason, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve aren’t paying much attention to that as they each chase history with torrid runs through the second half.

Basically, no opposing pitcher is safe, as they’re each looking to become the first hitters to hit over .400 after the All-Star game since some guy named Ichiro Suzuki did it in 2004.

While they’re grabbing all the headlines, they’re not the only ones tearing the cover off baseballs since the league’s brightest stars met up in San Diego. In fact, Votto and Altuve are just two of seven hitters with at least 30 second-half games played and a batting average higher than .350. Here’s a look at the list with some stats for perspective:

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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

Odds To Win The 2016 MLB World Series

This weeks best bet.

This weeks best bet.

Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) 

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Howie Kendrick signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past week, and the club has learned that Yasiel Puig has dropped 15 LBS in the offseason.

While I still peg the Dodgers for about 90 – 91 wins as of right now, they have the best odds on the board this week.

There is no doubt the San Francisco Giants lineup 1 – 8 is way better and Pitching Staff is also more rounded, however the gap between the two clubs is not a difference of +600.

I would put the Giants about 93 – 94 wins.  Their roster moves while decent this winter with Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, they all come with a little question mark here or there. (more…)

Cincinnati Reds State Of The Union For 2016

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing potential other deals, Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since the spring. It is going to be a long arduouas process for the brass to pull themselves out of thi predicament.

The Reds management started off the rebuild project nicely with the midsummer deals of Leake and Cueto. They also got a nice haul for 2 years left of Todd Frazier. However, due to a 10/5 rule for Brandon Phillips, and a domestic dispute killing potential other deals, Cincinnati has been stymied in completing the quest. Our own Jordan Gluck ranked them as the 27th worst prospects team in 2015, and it has only slightly improved since last spring. It is going to be a long arduous process for the brass to pull themselves out of this predicament.  Jesse Winker and Robert Stephenson join Jose Peraza as the top 3 prospects that could make the 2016 club.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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The Reds finished 64 – 98 in 2015 and the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.  I predict 100 losses for the Cincinnati club for 2016, and they could really rack up some L’s especially past the trade deadline of next year if they do their job right in managing the squad.

I like the path the management has taken for trading players, unfortunately a domestic dispute cost the chance to flip Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers, and the 10 – 5 rule cost them another opportunity to deal Brandon Phillips to the Nationals.

Obviously there is still hope they can trade these guys before they can’t do so anymore.

Last season the club dealt Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake in separate deals at the deadline, and have 3 players on the current depth chart to show for it (Adam Duvall, Brandon Finnegan and John Lamb, while they have 2 more Minor League prospects in Keury Mella and Cody Reed.)

Cincinnati finished just 1 win ahead of the Phillies for the worst record in the Major Leagues.

There is no polite way to go about this rebuilding process.  Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Jumbo Diaz, J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey should all be considered to be traded in addition to Chapman and Phillips.

The only real players the club should keep are Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, Anthony DeSclafani and all other players they traded for last season – or are in their Minor League system.

One only has to look in which Division they play in to realize that their Roster is overmatched and there is no short term solution to fix this organization.

The Cubs are set for an awesome 4 – 5 years stretch of play as all of their young offensive stars are groomed by their recent Free Agent signings over the last 2 winters.

St. Louis has reset their roster among the veteran core that aged together with Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. Read the rest of this entry

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