Friday, January 6, 2017

AL East Preview

Whattup whattup whattup. As the start of spring training keeps inching closer (37 days at the time I'm writing this), and most of the big name free agents already signed I figured it would be a good time to start breaking down each division. I'm going to try and spread it out so that I don't overload you with too much at once. First I'm going to start with the AL East, and you can't stop me.

1. Boston Red Sox

What is there to say about the Red Sox. They’re the class of the AL East. They are projected to have one of the best young outfields in recent memory with Jackie Bradley Jr in CF Mookie Betts in RF and uber prospect Andrew Benintendi in LF. Add in the best Arubian SS in the game with Xander Bogaerts. Oh and how can we forget that rotation. Perennial Cy Young Candidates Chris Sale and David Price, reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello, and 2016 All-Stars Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz. The AL East is the Sawx to lose.

2. Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles just barely made the playoffs last year but lost to the Blue Jays in the Wild Card game. I have a soft spot for any team that loses in the Wild Card game because it’s kind of like being a homeless guy on Christmas Eve looking in the window of a happy family huddled around the open fire opening presents. So close yet so far.
The only significant moves the Orioles made this offseason was signing Welington Castillo instead of resigning Matt Wieters. Looking at their offensive and defensive stats they are almost identical. Wieters is a year older than Castillo. Wieters made almost $16m last year whereas Castillo is due to make $6m this year. So this is a savvy move by the Orioles. I don’t see the Orioles winning the division this year but I can see them fighting for one of the Wild Card spots again for sure.  


3. New York Yankees
The Yankees missed the Wild Card last year by 5 games, which is surprising considering the AARP squad they rolled out to start the year.
Yankees 2016 Starting Lineup
Due to a midseason youth infusion the Yanks came dangerously close to making a playoff push before they cooled off in the last couple of weeks of the season. El Gary Sanchez, Aaron the Judge Jury and Executioner, and Tyler Austin all helped set the tone for the next wave of Yanks prospects. Add in Greg Bird, who most people forget started his career off with a bang when he was called up two years ago before he got hurt in spring training last year, and the addition of the big red hope Clint Frazier
As a Yankee fan I cannot wait for this majestic beast to grace the the field for my team this year. Unfortunately, despite all of these prospects making an impact with the big league club, the Yanks are still 1 or 4 SP away from seriously contending in the AL Beast. However, I expect them to make more noise than most people expect by finishing third. Maybe I’m biased because I’m a Yankee fan. Maybe I’m not. Maybe fuck you this is my list I can put anybody wherever I want. I was already pretty close to putting the Red Sox in last because fuck them but I want to maintain my journalistic integrity.

4. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays made it all the way to the ALCS last year after knocking off the Orioles in the Wild Card game and beating the Rangers again in the ALDS. There was a lot of rumors surrounding Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista and whether the Jays were willing to shell out the cash to resign the aging superstars. We’ve already seen Encarnacion jump ship and hop on board with the team that beat the Jays in the ALCS, the Indians. And they don’t seem overly anxious to resign Bautista. Bautista has been garnering interest from clubs other than the Jays such as the Phillies and the Orioles and I’m sure there’s more. Assuming the Jays lose Bautista and Encarnacion, the heart of their lineup is basically completely gutted other than perennial MVP Candidate Josh Donaldson. Look for their rotation to come back down to earth after Sanchez and Happ both had career years going an absurd combined 35-6 with 3.09 ERA. I don’t see the Blue Jays making the playoffs this year after just barely making the wild card last year and seemingly not improving in the offseason.

5. Tampa Bay Rays
What is there to say about the Tampa Bay Rays? Not much really. Evan Longoria had one of his better years in quite some time last season. Kevin Kiermaier had the 27th best WAR in the majors last year, so that’s something. The Rays also signed Wilson Ramos who I am a huge fan of personally but he is expected to be out until at least May possibly June after receiving surgery on his right knee. Its not all bad for the Rays though who have a pretty good rotation with the likes of Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and supposed stud prospect Blake Snell who looks like some kind of movie monster/animal that I can’t quite figure out at this point in time but i will revisit this.
Idk you be the judge.

Look for the Rays to really not do a whole lot this year, or don't, I dont really care.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Incoherent Ramblings of an Angry Baseball Fan Pt. 2 (Unwritten Rules)


Guess who's back after an almost two week hiatus?? That's right, your favorite baseball blogger under the age of 25 that still lives at home with his parents and who may or may not have doubled his body mass in the last two weeks, itsa me, Big Tones. I had to take a little break with the holidays going on and everything so that I could focus solely on eating my body weight in Italian food and drinking until I couldn't see.
Yeah something like that


Fuck you Kermit
But its a new year now, and a new me, my resolution is to talk to you guys more, all 20 of you that read this. Ok, now back to the topic at hand. Im back with part 2 of my Incoherent Rambling series and I got a lot of shit to get off my chest. Sticking with the theme of the popularity of baseball (or lack thereof) in America I want to talk about baseball's "Unwritten Rules". Nobody really knows exactly what these "Unwritten Rules" are, mainly because they aren't written down anywhere. These rules come from an era where men were men, and they treated each other with respect. You wouldn't be flashy because it was disrespectful to your fellow man and the only people who were flashy back then were homosexuals. Can't have everyone thinking your a gay now can you.


In all seriousness though, these "rules" are alienating younger fans who don't fully understand them. Even myself who claims to be a hardcore baseball fan don't fully get them. Why is it ok for Lebron to do whatever this stupid fucking thing is?


Or for Gronk to spike the ball to the moon


Or even for Ronaldo to do this?


But Bautista can't even do a bat flip after hitting potentially the biggest home run of his career without dealing with severe backlash


Come on guy's even soccer has better celebrations than us. As a red blooded American who thoroughly enjoys a nice ribeye and more than a couple Budweisers I cannot allow this to go on any longer. Now join me as I combat some of my least favorite "unwritten rules" and continue my quest to make baseball fun again.

Right there with ya Bryce

Unwritten Rule #1: Don't Bunt to break up a No-Hitter

This one is a big no-no among baseball "purists". The idea behind this rule is that if you can't break up the no-hitter with a "traditional" base hit then you deserve to be no-hit. So by that logic if the pitcher is throwing a perfect game you shouldn't take ball 4 because its a cheap way to get on base. Listen, I consider myself fairly competitive person in general, so I'm all for winning anyway you can by any means necessary. If that means you have to lay down a bunt to get any kind of rally going then you do that. When I was a kid and played baseball I was compared to the likes of Mo Vaughn, at least in terms of physique and athleticism.
Being that I was a man child I generally had more power than the kids I was facing. Occasionally they would back the infield up when I would get up to bat. So what would I do if I was having a bit of a cold streak? I'd drop a bunt down the third base line just to get on base to help my team. If you're down 1-0 and the other pitcher is throwing a no-hitter and you drop a bunt down for a base hit, that throws the pitchers mojo off, next thing you know you could get a rally going just by reaching base. At the end of the day the point of playing the game is to win the game, so don't give me this bullshit playing the game the "right way". If you won then you played the game right.

Unwritten Rule #2: Dont walk across the pitchers mound

This rule was relatively unknown, at least by me,  until a few years ago. After returning to 1st from 3rd on a foul ball Arod ran across the mound sparking outrage from Dallas Braden and the rest of the Athletics at the time. This is one of many instances of fake tough guys trying to "police" the game. Now, as a Yankee fan I have a tumultuous relationship with Arod. And he is known for doing stupid things from time to time such as slapping the ball out of someones glove
Or yelling "Mine" while rounding the bases on a pop out and starting a fight with another group of fake tough guys
Or the time he did this
All that being said in this situation I 100% back him up. Geometrically speaking the shortest distance from 3rd to 1st is through the middle of the field by the pitchers mound. And from all reports it didn't seem like Arod was trying to intimidate Braden or talk any shit or anything of that sort. Arod was just trying to get back to 1st and Braden absolutely lost his shit. And notice how he waited to lose his shit until after the inning was over and everybody was walking back to the dugout. Bro, if it really bothered you that much do something about it then and there, don't yell from the opposite side of the field when there's like 40 people between the two of you to break anything up.
Sweet Hair Bruh

Unwritten Rule 3: Don't show up the other guy
This "Unwritten Rule" is the one that you probably hear about the most, and is probably my most hated. The general consensus is that you don't want to show the other guy up by celebrating right in his grill piece. FUUUCK THAAT! Baseball is one of the few sports where the outcome is largely based on one on one battles. It's one of the sports where you're in control of what happens when you get on the field (generally speaking). When you get up to the plate, you're in control of your at-bat. If you strike out its because you swung and missed or didn't swing at a strike. When you step on that mound its up to you to make the right pitches to strike the guy out. Thats what drew me towards baseball, thats why I love it. Thats why I loved to pitch, I loved that one on one, me vs you, mano y mano mentality. That being said, if you have an ounce of competitiveness in your bones you should want to celebrate a big strike out, or a big hit. I know, I know, your probably sitting there like "hey, Big Tones, I thought in baseball you're not supposed to show the other guy up?". And to that I say again FUUUCK THAAT! If you don't want me to celebrate then stop me from beating you in the first place. You don't want me to bat flip? Don't let me hit a homerun. Don't want me to fist pump after a strike out? Don't let me strike you out. Plain and simple.

The Bat Flip/Trot around the bases
This kind of falls under the same rule of "not showing up the other guy" but this has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years so I felt that it needed to be address individually. One of the first memorable incidents with a bat flip becoming a problem was in 2001 when then rookie Jimmy Rollins hit a 2 run shot off of Cardinals reliever Steve Kline. Rollins flipped his bat and after the game Kline said to reporters "That's fucking little league shit" "If you're going to flip the bat, I'm going to flip your helmet next time. You're a rookie, you respect this game for a while...there's a code. He should know better than that." I don't man, just sounds like you're butt hurt to me bruh. I'll paraphrase myself again, if you don't want me to bat flip don't let me hit a home run you bitch. 

There have been other bat flipping incidents but the most recent and most publicized was the Jose Bautista bat flip. 
That was a 3-run HR in the bottom of the 7th of game 5 of the ALDS to take the lead. The homerun would end up being the deciding blow in the series. How in the FUCK do you not celebrate that. Thats literally what kids dream about growing up, hitting a deciding homerun in the playoffs infront of the home crowd, add the fact that it was an absolute moonshot. I mean just look at the crowds reaction behind him, its a no doubter, they know it, joey bats knows it, everybody knows it. If that doesn't get you juiced up and itching to take some hacks in the cage then I don't want to know you.

Fast forward to spring next year and there is still some butt-hurtness over the incident that leads to this
I actually did respect this move by Odor. It led to one of the more memorable baseball fights since 
Or
Or
GET'UM TOMMY
Instead of one of those other "pow-wows"



HOLD ME BACK BRO!

Basically what the whole point of this blog has been is that I wish baseball players would play more with emotion and not by some set of "unwritten rules" that nobody truly even understands. Let loose, celebrate a little when you've done something good, don't get butt hurt about stuff. And lastly, don't play by some made up rules that were most likely written by these fucking guys
 

         

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Incoherent Ramblings of an Angry Baseball Fan Pt. 1


       Whats up guys, im here and back at it again. Being that its the middle of December and Spring Training is on the distant horizon there isnt a whole lot of baseball news to talk about. There is only so much you can say about offseason trades and free agent signings, especially when they havent even hit the field yet. Because of this and because of the fact that I feel the need to get my opinion out, even if nobody is paying attention, I'm introducing a new segment called "The Incoherent Ramblings of an Angry Baseball Fan" (working title). Basically this is going to be a stream of consciousness of what is bothering me in baseball at that point in time.

The first thing I want to cover with this segment is the state of the popularity of baseball in America. Baseball has been "America's Pastime" for over 100 years. Im here to address the fact this is an antiquated notion. Im not saying that the NFL or the NBA have taken over the that role entirely, but they have taken away more than enough shine from the MLB. In the first couple installments of this segment I'm going to address certain problems with the game and the MLB as a whole that have led to this decline in popularity. In this segment I'm going to start by talking about the MLB's poor job of marketing their star players.

For starters, I just want to say that the MLB has done a good job of marketing Bryce Harper, possibly their biggest star right now (in terms of ability and personality). You can see him in Gatorade, T-Mobile, Under Armour and even Geico commercials.

Other than Harper though I found myself scratching my head trying to find another baseball player that you consistently see on TV. Baseball currently has an unusually high number of young up and coming superstars with more coming on the scene every year (2016: Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Michael Fulmer and Gary Sanchez to name a few). This is an exciting time for baseball and baseball fans alike. The problem is that nobody else realizes this. Ask most casual sports fans that rarely watch baseball and they cant name anybody other than Harper and maybe Trout or Kershaw.

       Because of this I decided to hold a survey, and by survey I mean that I asked my 19 year old brother who considers himself a pretty avid NFL and NBA fan if he knew the top 25 players in baseball now. You're probably like "Hey Tones, if you're doing a survey why would you ask only one person? And why you're brother?". Well my brother fits the profile of people that the MLB should be marketing too, young men who are big sports fans. And if I'm being honest he happened to be sitting next to me while I was writing this and I really didnt feel like finding anybody else. Now granted the 25 players I used for this aren't necessarily the absolute best 25 players, but any baseball fan would agree that they are names that should be known. For each player theres 3 possible answers "yes", "no" and "heard of them". For the answer to be a yes he had to be able to name what team the player was on. Also keep in mind he was playing Battlefield at the time this survey was taken.

As you can see he didn't know 14 of the players at all, and could only name what teams 6 of the players were on. Baseball has some catching up to do.

       Take a look at the NFL for example, you cant watch TV for 15 minutes without seeing that fake Italian asshole Papa John Schnatter alongside the king of the try hards JJ Watt and Peyton "five head" Manning. 
  
Yea I know, its tough to watch Peyton


And who can forget Aaron Rodgers and his annoying State Farm "Discount Double Check" Commercials.

Give to'em Raji


Or you can look at the NBA with the likes of Lebron and his preposterous endorsement of KIA
Or cornball ass samsung commercials
Or whatever the fuck this is from Russ Westbrook


A little sidenote here but has there ever been a bigger try hard super star than Lebron? I've never seen anybody with so much God given ability who can easily just say fuck the haters but still wants to be loved by everybody. Newsflash bro, during MJ's heyday most people outside of Chicago hated him. Same could be said for Kobe in LA. Get off of twitter and stop subtweeting people and just play ball.

       But I digress, the MLB has a plethora of young players in major markets that aren't being marketed properly in the mainstream media. Let me start with New York for example. The Yankees are in a rebuilding mode and hopefully will have more superstars in the coming years but for right now they have one bonafide stud in the making with Gary Sanchez. The Mets on the other hand have much more to offer with any of their starting pitchers, most notably Thor, and their superstar outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. You go to LA with the Angels and Mike Trout or the Dodgers who have Clayton Kershaw and unanimous rookie of the year winner in Corey Seager. Or take a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco where you have Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Or head over to Boston where 3 of the 5 starters were all-stars last year and the other two were David Price and Cy Young winning Rick Porcello to go with the likes of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Head over to Chicago and the Cubs have former Rookie of the year and current NL MVP in Kris Bryant, not to mention Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and pitchers Jake Arrieta and John Lester. 
       
       Now I know there's guy im leaving out but I can go all day naming players like this. And I get that not every single one of these guys has the charisma or even wants to try to be the face of baseball. All I'm saying is that out of all of these exceptional young players there has to be 3 or 4 of them willing and capable of filling this role for the MLB. If baseball wants to make a comeback and become America's Pastime again they would be wise to start marketing their young players to the young audience. 

Thats it for this rant.
You guys stay classy now





Friday, December 16, 2016

Grading this Offseason's Trades


   











  Welcome back to your favorite baseball safe space. Today on the incoherent ramblings of a baseball fan Im going to delve into some of the bigger trades made this offseason, and there have been some big ones. With the White Sox asking themselves WWJTD(what would John Taffer do), they decided to pull a "SHUT IT DOWN" on any hopes of making a playoff push within the next 2-3 years, and there was a lot of activity on the trade market.


Im going to dive into the biggest trades made so far and who it would seem the winner of the deal is right now. Obviously its hard to judge the true winner and loser of a trade before any of the players even see the field, and its almost impossible to predict what will happen with all the prospects being shuffled around no matter how talented they may appear to be. Thats why I will be basing my winners based on what I know and what I think about what I know. So in this scenario word is not necessarily bond.

Chris Sale
     Chris Sale getting traded to the Red Sox is easily the blockbuster deal of this offseason. The Red Sox sent over the #1 position prospect Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech (#30 prospect), and two other minor leaguers in return for Sale. The Red Sox got a bonafide ace, in Sale, to go along with David Price, reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright who were both All-Stars last year. The Red Sox just have to keep Sale away from scissors and 14 year old boys and they should have one of, if not the best rotation in baseball.

     The White Sox are in full rebuild mode which is evident by them trading their once in a generation ace, but they got a hell of a haul in return. Moncada, the Cuban phenom, has been compared to Robinson Cano, and there just arent many 2B getting that kind of comparision or with that kind of skill set. Kopech, the #30 prospect in all of baseball, was said to have topped out at 105 mph in a start this past season. Moncada and Kopech immediately took over the #1 and #3 spots respectively in the White Sox prospect rankings.

Winners: For now the Red Sox...

Adam Eaton
     The White Sox continued their rebuilding process by dishing CF Adam Eaton to the Nationals in return for pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. Giolito is the #1 pitching prospect and #3 overall prospect in all of baseball and is considered by many to be a bonafide ace in the making with a mid to high 90s fastball, a devastating 12-6 curve and an ever improving changeup. The flame throwing Lopez is currently the #38 prospect in all of baseball. Dunning was the Nationals first round pick in 2016 and hasnt had a full season in professional ball yet but is projected to be a stud as well. Between this trade and the Chris Sale trade, the White Sox have totally restocked their farm system. Between the two deals, the White Sox have added 5 players into the top 10 ranks including the #1 position prospect and #1 pitching prospect. The top 4 prospects in their system were added through these two deals.
   
     In Adam Eaton, the Nationals got one of the best CF in baseball according to certain sabermetric stats. While his traditional stats don't necessarily catch the eye (.284 BA while hitting for 14 HR 59 RBI and 14 SB) he did have the 4th highest WAR at 15.4 behind Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Kevin Kiermaier. After missing out on the Chris Sale bonanza and not being able to make a deal with the Pirates for McCutchen it would appear the the Nationals settled the way many a bro's have settled at last call at their favorite bar. We've all been there, you've been at the bar all night testing the waters with some 8's and 9's thinking "hey maybe I can pull this deal off, she seems pretty interested". But then you go to the bathroom and by the time you come back she's talking to this guy

   










At the end of the night the lights turn on and you look around and you see that one 6 that you talked to a little earlier in the night and you think "hey she's got a vagina (I think), she's got boobs and I dont have to put a paper bag on her head, lets do this shit". Thats exactly what happened here. Not saying its a terrible move for the Nationals because this allows them to move Trea Turner back to his natural SS position, seemingly making them better defensively.

Winner: Live look-in at the White Sox front office


















Brian McCann
     Continuing with the trend that the Yankees started last season, they were able to dump McCann's contract off to the Astros for pitching prospects Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. On the surface this trade seems like a win-win-win deal. I know what you're thinking "hey Tones, how can it be a win-win-win, theres only two teams involved in this deal". Im getting to it bro, take it easy. The Yankees win because they get another contract of an aging star off the books while opening up the full time catching position for phenom El Gary Sanchez and they get a pitcher that slides into their top 10 prospects immediately with Abreu. The Astros win because they gain a veteran bat that can help take some of the catching/dh load off of Evan Gattis. And Brian McCann wins because he doesnt have to look like a veiny chode anymore and can finally grow his beard back.




                                        +
                                       =





























Winner: I know I said this was a win-win-win trade so im not going to nit pick on who the winner is out of the three. So im just going to go with this guy that came up when I google image searched Brian McCann, hes the real winner in all of this.



PS: This guy fucks.

Jorge Soler/Wade Davis
     With the closer signing bonanza going on with the likes of Melancon, Chapman and Jansen the Cubs went out and found themselves a more fiscally responsibly, yet just as qualified, closer in Wade Davis. To make this deal possible the Cubs gave up Jorge Soler. Soler was stuck behind a log jam in the outfield and wasnt able to see consistent time on the field. The 6'4 214 lb Cuban is loaded with oodles of raw talent but just hasnt been able to spread his wings in Chicago due to lack of consistent playing time. Soler is under contract until 2020 making no more than $5m during any of the remaining years. With Soler set to take over full-time duties in RF, if he is able to reach his potential than this trade is fully worth it for the Royals.

     The Cubs got back one of the premier closers in baseball after losing Chapman to the Yankees this offseason. It is apparent that the Cubs don't trust Hector Rondon to close anymore, citing the World Series last year. During the World Series Rondon only pitched in Games 1 and 4, games which the cubs lost 6-0 and 7-2 respectively. Clearly they didnt trust him in high leverage situations

Winner: The Cubs got a top 5 closer for basically one of their bench players (a very talented bench player but a bench player nonetheless). Until Soler reaches his full potential (which is not out of the question) I have to go with the Cubbies here.

PS: Somebody needs to stop farting in this guys face before every picture he takes

I think he's starting to like it at this point.