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Nationals Are Banking On A Trio Of Players To Have Comeback Seasons In 2016

The Nationals have made the playoffs in 2 of the last 4 years with 2012 and 2014 being sandwiched between poor 2013 and 2015 campaigns of failed expectations. With 2 .300 hitters fleeing the club this past winter, coupled with the loss of Ian Desmond to Free Agency, this club needs Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon healthy and on the field in 2016. If they struggle in production or health, the efforts of reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper will not matter.

The Nationals have made the playoffs in 2 of the last 4 years with 2012 and 2014 being sandwiched between poor 2013 and 2015 campaigns of failed expectations. With 2 .300 hitters fleeing the club this past winter, coupled with the loss of Ian Desmond to Free Agency, this club needs Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon healthy and on the field in 2016. If they struggle in production or health, the efforts of reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper will not matter.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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Bryce Harper fashioned one of the greatest years we have ever seen by a 22 year old, and the Washington Nationals still only finished with a 83 – 79 record – and plenty of victories behind the NL Playoff Bar.

Harper took home the MVP efforts, and has to be wondering if his supporting cast has his back for the 2016 campaign – if he can make it safely to base at least 300 times again like he did in 2015.

Perhaps the biggest factor Washington struggled down the stretch was injury.  Ryan Zimmerman couldn’t stay on the field – despite racking up a productive 74 RBI on 346 PA.

Denard Span missed 101 games, which is definitely too bad considering the squad was 36 – 25 in games he was featured in.

Jayson Werth never got on track after injuries plagued him early and often – and had his worst year in a decade – after finishing with top 18 votes for MVP in the previous two seasons.

2014 stalwart Anthony Rendon only mustered a half a season of injury riddled play at a .707 OPS after putting forth a Silver Slugger campaign – with a top 5 MVP vote the previous year.

Ian Desmond also had added a horrible 1st half of the year, before he corrected his problems at the plate, and stopped booting the ball around in the second half. Read the rest of this entry

Odds To Win The 2016 MLB World Series

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium - with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of a young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. While I would favor Chicago over them slightly for the NL Central, the RedBirds, Mets, Dodgers Tigers and Mariners have the best value, while the Angels, Giants, Padres, Red Sox and D'Backs have the worst on the board this week.

The Cardinals continued their great play in the MLB since the turn of the millennium – with an MLB best 100 wins in 2015. The organization has transitioned to the next core of a young nucleus, while still holding on to a couple of capable veterans. Considering they have plenty of depth, and lots of payroll flexibility coming forth, the franchise could orchestrate a blockbuster trade soon. While I would favor Chicago over them slightly for the NL Central, the RedBirds, Mets, Dodgers Tigers and Mariners have the best value, while the Angels, Giants, Padres, Red Sox and D’Backs have the worst on the board this week.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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I was all set to pounce on my 1st American League bet for the Fall Classic in 2016 earlier this week – when the O’s were at +5000, and presumably bringing both Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo into the stable. 

With Fowler opting back to Chicago, the odd also dropped to +4500 in the meantime (also following the Gallardo wait time for the physical fiasco), and the value is no longer there. 

Baltimore is a low 80 wins team in my view, and will not have enough for the postseason.  Fowler would have added a few W’s for sure.

Of course with the chaos that has ensued,  the Cubs have gone from +700 to +650 prohibitive best odd.  There is no doubt in my mind they should be the consensus favorite. 

One of these years the #1 seed will capitalize and win.  I am still not plunking down cabbage at that clip though.

If I were to do my year end picks right now, I would still have Chicago ending their World Series 108 seasons drought – but I can’t place them as twice the favorite as the St. Louis Cardinals.

Still not sold on the Cubs Bullpen either, and I think Jon Lester can be had in the postseason.  The Mets also line up favorably versus Chicago based on pitching matchups.  New York has the better odds to wager with.

I am currently writing a faceoff piece between the Cubbies and Cards that I will post over the weekend.  The difference is not a whopping 8 or 10 games like FanGraphs and PECOTA say.  St. Louis should still be in the mid 90’s for victories by years end. Read the rest of this entry

Okay Angels: Why Not Sign Both Gurriel Brothers?

Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) 

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We had an old saying when I worked as a baggage handler backs eons ago at an undisclosed airport.  It said “The Beatings will continue until morale improves.”  Almost perfect to bashing the ownership of the Halo’s until they start spending again

Since the Angels are not eating at the ‘big boy table’ anymore the recent defection of Yulieski Gurriel and his younger brother Lourdes Jr. may have just provided a decent alternative.

Why not sign both of them to your roster?  Perhaps big bro ‘Yulieski’ will give you a hometown discount on his deal if you also ink his little brother.  Clearly you could use a 3rd Baseman, and flip Yunel Escobar over to 2nd base in this instance. Read the rest of this entry

The Angels Are Going Cheap In 2016 When They Need To Buck Up One More Time: Sign Fowler!

Billy Eppler and Arte Moreno really need to evaluate how much the 2016 Angels are going to need offense. Easily the worst bench in 2015, coupled with the loss of David Freese so far, the club has not addressed the weaknesses they have at LF and 2B. With Pujols hurt to start the year, this club may be out of it before he returns. At $164 MIL projected they are $25 MIL underneath the limit for payrolls before paying a penalty. Many players are coming off the books after 2016 as well. Spend the dough needed to compete, or risk missing the playoffs - and burning another year of Mike Trout.

Billy Eppler and Arte Moreno really need to evaluate how much the 2016 Angels are going to need offense. Easily the worst bench in 2015, coupled with the loss of David Freese so far, the club has not addressed the weaknesses they have at LF and 2B. With Pujols hurt to start the year, this club may be out of it before he returns. At $164 MIL projected they are $25 MIL underneath the limit for payrolls before paying a penalty. Many players are coming off the books after 2016 as well. Spend the dough needed to compete, or risk missing the playoffs – and burning another year of Mike Trout.

Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) 

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I won’t be the first one to be on this wave of people who think that the Angels are rotting away the career of Mike Trout in a Halo’s uniform.

The best overall player in the American League (and at least for right now) plus the Major Leagues must be furious with the lack of offensive help arriving in Anaheim this off season.

New Angels GM Billy Eppler is following the directive of Arte Moreno not to spend over the Luxury Tax Threshold.  Now it is catching up with them on the field.

Throw in a disastrous move of bringing in Josh Hamilton a few years back – a debacle that will see the club fork out $53.4 MIL over the next 2 year to see him play in Texas. (more…)

Odds To Win The 2016 MLB World Series

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015.  He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues.  Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit.  Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly's, and was tie for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz.

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly’s, and was tied for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz.  New York brought him back for at least another year, where he helped the Mets go 34 – 23 down the stretch.  Expect more of the same in 2016.  Mets are the best bet of the week for the ‘Fall Classic’ value wise.

Hunter Stokes (Featured Writer) 

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A couple of things have happened over the last week.  The Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes and no odd was changed after this.  Very strange indeed.

With adding the Cuban slugger, the Mets have almost assured their fanbase for another post season berth in 2016.  This club is more like it was in the last 2 months than it was in the 1st four months.

Even if the Nationals were to have an unbelievable year – the Mets should still make the postseason as the #1 Wild Card seed.

I have the Mets as a 96 win team after this move, with the Nats listed about 93 victories.  Had the Nats picked up Cespedes, I would have given Washington a 95 – 92 win advantage over New York. (more…)

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…)

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