I am a Red Sox fan. If you follow me on twitter via @AV_MLBSweetSpot, then I am sure you have been aware of this for awhile now. The reason I have decided to state my team preference at the beginning of this article is because of the delicate topic that I am about to discuss. The current talk around the game is Giancarlo Stanton and his potentially record-breaking homerun pace. He has 44 through Wednesday and is on a pace that could bring him in the range of Roger Maris’s non-steroid record of 61. Stanton is a slugger for sure, and reaching the 60 homerun plateau would be an amazing accomplishment, but fans around the game need to pump the breaks. The level of hype and the “willing to trade anybody for Stanton” talks have become unreasonable, at least in Boston. That being said, I am not here to discuss the merits of Stanton’s recent surge. Instead, I want to talk about another player who, two months ago, was in the position that Stanton is currently in: Aaron Judge.
With the MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline fast approaching (Monday, July 31st at 4:00 pm Eastern time), there are numerous rumors and predictions being tossed around. Baseball fans love rumors; they provide something to talk about. I, however, prefer to re-evaluate trades that have happened in the recent past, using hindsight to provide clarity on how well each team truly made out in the deal. Since prospects are such a major part of trades in the MLB, it often takes a few years to really determine if a trade was worthwhile. Therefore, I have gone back to the 2012 and 2013 trade deadlines and have handpicked three deals that I believe are worth revisiting.
Late Tuesday night, the New York Yankees completed a trade with the Chicago White Sox that brought third baseman Todd Frazier, as well as righties David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, to the Bronx. In exchange, Chicago received former first round pick Blake Rutherford (36th on Baseball America Top 100 Prospects), lefty Ian Clarkin (also a former 1st rounder), outfielder Tito Polo, and right-hander Tyler Clippard.
The title explains this article pretty well, but let me make a few things clear before jumping into the predictions. 1) A prediction, per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “to declare or indicate in advance.” 2) Bold, again via Merriam Webster, is to be “fearless before danger.” 3) Incredibly means “too extraordinary and improbable to be believed,” again from Merriam Webster. Putting those three definitions together explains that the following 30 statements are predictions being made in advance that are too bold, or fearless, to be believed. In simpler terms, none of the following are expectations so much as dart’s being thrown at a dart board. Should any of them turn out to come true, I will be very, very pleased.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Taijuan Walker is Arizona’s starter in Game 1 of the NLCS. That’s right, I said the NLCS.
Last week, SportsNet ran a piece summarizing the teams that exceeded the 2016 MLB Luxury Tax threshold. The list includes six organizations, three from the American League: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Tigers; and three from the National League: the Dodgers, Giants, and Cubs. As is the case with most luxury tax offenders, each of these teams has at least one ill-advised contract on their books, and some teams have multiple. As a result, I thought I would have a little fun and create a 2016 All-Luxury Tax Team; a team of the most expensive players who provided the least value to their ball clubs in 2016. First though, lets give some background on who our big-spenders were this year (as well as some fun nicknames!).
LOS ANGELES DODGERS aka “The Yankees of the West”
- Tax Amount: $31.8 million (4th Consecutive offense)
Last Friday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals finalized a 5-year, $82.5 million with former Cubs center-fielder Dexter Fowler. As has been explained in the media, the Fowler addition was meant to add more athleticism both on defense and atop the Cardinals’ lineup. At face value, this seems to make sense; Fowler’s skills are indicative of a lead-off hitting center fielder. In theory, inserting Fowler in center in place of incumbent Randal Grichuk should improve the outfield defense. In researching this theory; however, I have found that the ‘Fowler Effect’, while certainly providing plus-value, is not as straightforward as it may seem.
For the fourth time in five years, Mike Trout may not win the AL MVP award, despite yet another outstanding season by the Los Angeles Angel. Entering play Monday, Trout had put up a triple-slash of .312/.431/.546, accumulating 24 home runs, 21 stolen bases, 82 RBI’s and 98 runs. Defensively Trout has ranked about league average, but advanced metrics have been bullish on him in the past, and to the naked eye he can still impress with his glove. His base-running has been great, per usual, and looks to once again be in the running for AL MVP. Other candidates, like Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve, come and go from year-to-year, but Trout can always be counted on to be right in the thick of the race.