Results tagged ‘ National League ’

Surprisingly Good and Bad Performances from 2016

In baseball — much like in life — surprises can be really good or they can be really bad. A good surprise in baseball might be a player or team having an unpredicted breakout season, while a bad surprise may be defined as a team or player destined for great things having a below average year. The 2016 season has had plenty of both throughout the entire stretch.

With just over a week left until the last games of the season leading up to the playoffs, a lot has taken place that can be deemed as good surprises or bad surprises. Having said that, I wanted to take the time to go over six hitters, six pitchers and six teams who surprised the baseball world in good or bad ways, keeping in mind that it is by no means a record of all the players who fit each category, nor is it the very top options in some cases. It’s simply a broad overview meant to recap the season as a whole.

HITTERS

Surprisingly Good: Brian Dozier, Brad Miller and Adam Duvall

Over the past several seasons, Brian Dozier has been one of the best second basemen in all of baseball. However, this season, he has broken out as arguably the best second baseman in baseball. With a previous career high of 28 home runs coming last year, Dozier has been even better this season, having knocked 42 so far — the most in American League history for a second baseman. Despite the Twins having the worst record in baseball, Dozier has been a huge surprisingly bright spot in Minnesota.miller

On the same theme, Brad Miller has been the biggest standout on the Rays, with the exception of All-Star Evan Longoria. Hitting 30 homers to this point in the year, Miller has blasted more round-trippers this campaign than he had over the past three seasons (343 games) combined. For that reason, Miller has been a great surprise to Tampa Bay. Whether Miller will be this type of player moving forward or is simply having a career-year, there is little argument that he wasn’t expected to be this good when the season began.

The final player on my list is Adam Duvall. After winning a World Series ring with the Giants back in 2014, Duvall has spent the last two years in Cincinnati, where he has turned out to be an extremely productive player. After playing in just 27 games last season, in which Duvall managed to hit just 5 home runs, this season has seen Duvall breaking out to record 31 blasts. It surely was surprising to see Duvall break out in the way he did, but it certainly was of the good surprise variety for the Reds and their fans.

Surprisingly Bad: Mark Teixeira, Jason Heyward and Bryce Harper

Mark Teixeira announced earlier this season that 2016 would be his final year, but he’s not going out with a bang as many of baseball’s greats have before him. Unlike his fellow retiree David Ortiz, who has recorded one of the best years in baseball history for a player 40 or older, Teixeira hasn’t been able to hit even a mere .200 and has notched only 13 homers and 38 RBI’s in 2016. Following 2015, in which Tex managed 31 homers, his year has definitely been a bad surprise for the Yankees. Even so, he is still one of the best players in recent baseball history, having hit over 400 homers in his career.heyward

When the Cubs signed Jason Heyward to an eight-year, 184 million dollar contract leading up to this season, he was obviously expected to put up All-Star numbers for Chicago. However, he has somewhat surprisingly been pretty horrible, quite frankly. Only managing to record seven home runs and a .230 average, Heyward has yet to get things going, now nearly six months into the season. Given, Heyward can turn things around with the playoffs looming, but it would take a lot for that to happen where things stand now.

Bryce Harper’s 24 home runs and 82 home runs would be a great season for any number of players around Major League Baseball. But by Harper’s standards — set last season with his MVP-earning 42 homers — Harper is having a surprisingly bad year, seeing his batting average drop nearly an entire 100 points from a year ago. There have been rumors that Harper has been playing through an injury all season long, but that’s being denied by Harper. Whether or not it’s true, Harper — who was expected to be in the running for a second straight MVP — is still having a surprisingly down year by all accounts.

PITCHERS

Surprisingly Good: Kyle Hendricks, Tanner Roark and Steven Wright

Part of a rotation that includes the likes of Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks has surprisingly been the best pitcher of the Cubs’ entire rotation. Over the course of 28 games started for the Cubs, Hendricks has notched a mere 2.06 ERA — the best in all of baseball. By doing so, Hendricks has helped to lead the Cubs to the best record in baseball and what looks to have all the makings of a postseason run. Although it’s yet to be seen whether or not this is actually the year for the Cubs, it has certainly been the year for Kyle Hendricks.roark

Tanner Roark has been an average to above average pitcher for the Nationals over the past few years, but this season Roark has truly broken out. Holding a 2.70 ERA over 200.1 innings pitched, Roark has kept the Nats push towards October strong, despite the loss of Stephen Strasburg for a good chunk of the season, and inevitably the final several weeks. It very well may come down the Roark’s ability to keep his surprisingly good performance going in order to keep the Nationals going deep into the postseason.

I’ve been bringing up the name Steven Wright all season long, and for good reason. Despite being a knuckleballer, Wright has been one of the top surprises in terms of pitchers this season for the Red Sox. Although his historic start to the season has slowly dwindled away as the year progressed, Wright’s 3.30 ERA is still good enough to make this list. Although he is currently working to battle his way back from an injury, Wright has still recorded enough innings to prove himself to all of baseball that he is a true weapon moving forward.

Surprisingly Bad: Chris Archer, Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke

Chris Archer broke out in 2015 to be one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, and was set to be the Rays’ ace moving into this season. But after getting off to a poor start to begin the year, Archer hasn’t been able to get much of anything going with only one more start remaining. The strikeouts are still there, as he has produced over ten strikeouts per nine innings on the year; and with the Rays’ poor collective season, Archer’s 19 losses are somewhat deceiving. But his 4.02 ERA can’t be ignored, especially following his Cy Young eligible season last year.miller

Being traded to the Diamondback’s this past offseason in exchange for Dansby Swanson, who has gone from 2015 first overall draft pick to star in the big leagues, Shelby Miller has been one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball this year. Having never recorded a full-season ERA above 3.74 heading into this year, Miller has posted an ERA of 6.47 over 19 starts. Following Miller’s 3.02 ERA with the Braves last season, many expected Miller to help get the Diamondbacks back into the postseason, but he has been virtually no factor whatsoever.

Joining Shelby Miller as part of the D-back’s rotation, Zack Greinke was expected to help make their rotation one of the greatest in the majors. After all, with Greinke posting a historically-low 1.66 ERA with the Dodgers in 2015, he was all but guaranteed to be the number one starter for the D-backs. But this is baseball, where nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen from one year to the next. As such, Greinke has put up his worst ERA since back in 2005, notching a 4.37 ERA for his efforts in 2016.

TEAMS

Surprisingly Good: Marlins, Mariners and Indians

I didn’t know what to make of the Marlins heading into the 2016 season, but they truly surprised me in a big way. Dealing with the losses of star players such as Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton at various points in the season, for drastically different reasons, many expected the Marlins to fade away early on. But they’ve hung in there all season long, sitting five games back of a wild card spot. Inevitably, there aren’t enough games remaining for the Marlins to wind up in the playoffs, but to still be in the discussion at this point in the year is remarkable.mariners

Things are coming down to the wire for the Mariners, and they may not have enough in them to make the postseason for the first time since 2001, but they had a year that shocked a lot of people. With Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager all having great seasons at the right times, Seattle was able to beat a lot of teams around baseball that many felt would give them trouble. As such, they easily made my list. They may or may not make the postseason in 2016, but things are looking positive all of a sudden for them to finally get there in 2017.

Many people felt the Indians would be as good as they have been this year, but I wasn’t as convinced. I simply thought the World Series defending Royals and the always good Detroit Tigers would keep Cleveland from being relevant in the month of September. But to my surprise — as well as the surprise of some people who felt the same way I did — the Indians are sitting atop the American League Central. If they can keep things going into the playoffs, they may not be done surprising people as the postseason plays out.

Surprisingly Bad: Rays, Braves and Twins

A lot of people actually picked the Tampa Bay Rays to win the American League East division this season, with their rotation being the key to that happening. However, with Chris Archer having a rough year along with several untimely injuries, the Rays haven’t been able to come close to realizing their predicted potential. With only a week to go, the Rays are in sole possession of last place in the American League East. With the division strong once again, it remains to be seen if the Rays can turn things around in 2017 and beyond.braves

It took the Braves forever to win a single game this season, and once they finally recorded one in the win column, they still weren’t able to get much of anything going. Losing 91 games to this point in the year, the Braves are promising that 2017 will be the year things turn around, with them getting a shiny new ballpark across town. But if the Braves don’t turn things around next year in a big way from this season, their ballpark could easily turn out to be the bright spot in the entire season when all is said and done.

Much like the Braves, the Twins’ season was over before it even got started. When the final game has been recorded, the Twins will have more than likely lost 100+ games after finishing four game over .500 last year. Following that breakout performance for the Twins, many people felt that they would be able to keep it going into this year. But it wasn’t meant to be, as the Twins have been one of the worst teams in recent baseball history. Although they could easily turn things around in 2017, all hope is lost for this year.

Can Any Team Stop the Cubs in October?

After making the playoffs last season following a seven-year drought, many felt that the time had finally arrived in which the Cubs would break their historic curse and win the World Series title that has eluded them for over a century.cubs However, despite making it all the way to the National League Championship series for the first time since 2003, the Cubs were promptly swept in four games by the Mets.

This season, the Cubs are setting themselves up nicely once again. They have a great team, which has been evident all season long, allowing them to be the first team to officially clinch a postseason spot, as well as run away with the division title by a whopping 17 games over the Cardinals.

But the big question is, are the Cubs setting themselves up for a magical finish to the year or yet another disappointing conclusion?

One of the key differences from the team the Cubs put on the field last season and the one they have this time around is their overall dominance. From week one of the season, the Cubs put their talent on full display, taking the division title with ease (they wound up in third place last season), having never been out of first place since the first few games of the year.

Their offense is extremely good, despite the collective team stats saying otherwise. The Cubs don’t sit in the top few slots in either home runs or batting average for their team, but with 30+ homer guys such as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo — who are both considered top MVP-candidates — the Cubs have plenty of thump to get the job done.

But as good as their lineup is, it’s their pitching that puts them in historic territory.

Four of the Cubs’ rotation options from this season hold ERA’s below 3.00, with all of their starters having recorded ERA’s less than 3.60, chapmanall adding up to a collective team ERA (including the bullpen) of just over 3.00 — by far the best in all of baseball.

On top of their fantastic starting pitching, holding an elite closer in Aroldis Chapman to get the job done at the end of the game gives the Cubs a great chance at a win day in and day out.

However, as has been proven in the past, a win isn’t guaranteed by any means in the month of October, no matter how good of a roster any team may possess. All it takes is for an under-the-radar team to get hot at just the right time and come along to kill the dreams of any given team.

But does any team actually have a chance of beating the Cubs when the postseason rolls around in less than three weeks? Obviously, the answer is yes — anything can and usually does happen in October. But although it remains a possibility, I — along with a great number of people around the baseball world — believe that this could actually end up being the year the Cubs win it all (I said that in 2015, too).

No team could stop the Cubs in the regular season.

Only time will tell if the same will hold true in the postseason.

Time Running Out for Teams Looking to Make Playoffs

There comes a point in every baseball season when teams who have kept hope alive all year long for a turnaround that would see them subsequently powering their way to the playoffs have to face the reality that time has simply run out.cole

For the Braves and Twins, that point in the season has already come and gone, as they have both officially been eliminated from playoff contention. For another nine squads still technically in the race, a shot at the postseason is looking very slim, as they’ve already been eliminated from the possibility of winning their given division, with their elimination number to grab even a wild card spot growing smaller and smaller everyday.

Eight teams have elimination numbers in the single digits (the Rays are just two loses away from complete elimination) with just under twenty games left in the regular season. With things slowly begin to wind down, a rough idea of the teams that will make up the postseason is already starting to take shape.

The Cubs are well on their way to a 100-win season, and should become the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the coming weeks. Likewise, the Nationals and Rangers are approaching 90-win seasons, and look to be postseason-bound.

However, on the flip side, teams such as the Marlins, Pirates and Rockies in the National League, and the Astros, Mariners and Royals in the American League, are going to have to go on major runs to have any shot at a Wild Card spot. Given, baseball is a game in which any team can go on a major run at any point in the year and make the postseason in spectacular fashion (the Mariners have won six straight), the chance of doing so with so few games left is a major feat to attempt to accomplish.

But even if a team or two does shock the world and make the playoffs, the most difficult part of their journey won’t be complete. They’ll then have to go up against powerhouse teams such as the Cubs, who seem determined to make the World Series and end their century-long World Championship drought. For that reason, it’ll be interesting to watch all the teams around baseball to see what goes down over the next few weeks.

Time may be running out, but the fun is just beginning.

Latest MLB Leaders (April 3rd – August 31st)

With the first five months of the 2016 MLB season in the books, I thought I’d take the first day of the new month to recap the season thus far. It’s been exciting as well as disappointing, depending on how you look at it and who you’re rooting for.

But instead of talking about the events that have taken place so far this year, I decided to make a list of different categories and beside them name the player(s) that leads that particular category. I’ve done lists like these for the past several years, and they have been well received, so I decided to do it again.

The following lists are categorized into hitting and pitching, but not AL or NL:

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – HITTING

Most Games Played – Alcides Escobar, Jonathan Schoop and George Springer (133).

Most At-Bats – Mookie Betts (559)

Most Hits – Jose Altuve (184)

Highest Average – Jose Altuve (.351)

Highest OBP – Mike Trout (.436)

Highest SLG – David Ortiz (.622)

Most Runs – Kris Bryant (111)

Most Doubles – David Ortiz (42)

Most Triples – Brandon Crawford, Cesar Hernandez and Chris Owings (9).

Most Home Runs – Mark Trumbo (40)

Most RBI’s – Nolan Arenado (115)

Most Base On Balls – Paul Goldschmidt (95)

Most Strikeouts – Chris Davis (181)

Most Stolen Bases – Billy Hamilton (54)

Most Caught Stealing – Jonathan Villar (16)

Most Intentional Base On Balls – Bryce Harper (16)

Most Hit By Pitch – Brandon Guyer (29)

Most Sacrifice Flies – Francisco Lindor (11)

Most Total Bases – Mookie Betts (315)

Most Extra Base Hits – David Ortiz (74)

Most Grounded Into Double Plays – David Ortiz (22)

Most Ground Outs – Alcides Escobar (200)

Most Number Of Pitches Faced – Paul Goldschmidt (2,488)

Most Plate Appearances – George Springer (612)

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – PITCHING

Most Wins – Rick Porcello (18)

Most Losses – Chris Archer (17)

Best ERA – Kyle Hendricks (2.09)

Most Games Started – Eight players tied for most (28).

Most Games Pitched – Zach Duke and Hector Nerris (67).

Most Saves – Jeurys Familia (44)

Most Innings Pitched – Max Scherzer (190)

Most Hits Allowed – Jered Weaver (187)

Most Runs Allowed – Patrick Corbin (107)

Most Earned Runs Allowed – James Shields (97)

Most Home Runs Allowed – Josh Tomlin (35)

Most Strikeouts – Max Scherzer (238)

Most Walks – Francisco Liriano (79)

Most Complete Games – Chris Sale (5)

Most Shutouts – Clayton Kershaw (3)

Best Opponent Avg. – Jake Arrieta (.185)

Most Games Finished – Jeurys Familia (56)

Most Double Plays Achieved – Martin Perez (35)

Most Wild Pitches – Mike Fiers and Sonny Gray (15).

Most Balks – Matt Andriese and Antonio Bastardo (4).

Most Stolen Bases Allowed – Noah Syndergaard (41)

Most Pickoffs – Julio Urias (5)

Most Batters Faced – David Price (765)

Most Pitches Thrown – Justin Verlander (3,012)

Latest MLB Leaders (April 3rd – July 31st)

With the first four months of the 2016 MLB season in the books, I thought I’d take the first day of the new month to recap the season thus far. It’s been exciting as well as disappointing, depending on how you look at it and who you’re rooting for.

But instead of talking about the events that have taken place so far this year, I decided to make a list of different categories and beside them name the player(s) that leads that particular category. I’ve done lists like these for the past several years, and they have been well received, so I decided to do it again.

The following lists are categorized into hitting and pitching, but not AL or NL:

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – HITTING

Most Games Played – Odubel Herrera (106)

Most At-Bats – Mookie Betts

Most Hits – Jose Altuve (145)

Highest Average – Jose Altuve (.356)

Highest OBP – Jose Altuve and Mike Trout (.425)

Highest SLG – David Ortiz (.643)

Most Runs – Josh Donaldson (87)

Most Doubles – David Ortiz (35)

Most Triples – Jake Lamb (8)

Most Home Runs – Mark Trumbo (30)

Most RBI’s – Edwin Encarnacion (89)

Most Base On Balls – Bryce Harper (80)

Most Strikeouts – Chris Davis (144)

Most Stolen Bases – Jonathan Villar (38)

Most Caught Stealing – Jonathan Villar (12)

Most Intentional Base On Balls – Bryce Harper (16)

Most Hit By Pitch – Brandon Guyer (23)

Most Sacrifice Flies – Francisco Lindor (11)

Most Total Bases – Mookie Betts (235)

Most Extra Base Hits – David Ortiz (61)

Most Grounded Into Double Plays – Yunel Escobar (19)

Most Ground Outs – Alcides Escobar (169)

Most Number Of Pitches Faced – Mike Trout (1,984)

Most Plate Appearances – Mookie Betts and George Springer (469)

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – PITCHING

Most Wins – Five players tied for most (14).

Most Losses – Chris Archer (14)

Best ERA – Clayton Kershaw (1.79)

Most Games Started – Chris Tillman (23)

Most Games Pitched – Travis Wood (54)

Most Saves – Jeurys Familia (37)

Most Innings Pitched – Madison Bumgarner (150.2)

Most Hits Allowed – Mike Pelfrey (152)

Most Runs Allowed – Patrick Corbin (90)

Most Earned Runs Allowed – Dallas Keuchel (75)

Most Home Runs Allowed – R.A. Dickey, Ian Kennedy and Chris Young (26).

Most Strikeouts – Max Scherzer (187)

Most Walks – Francisco Liriano (69)

Most Complete Games – Johnny Cueto (4)

Most Shutouts – Clayton Kershaw (3)

Best Opponent Avg. – Marco Estrada (.181)

Most Games Finished – Jeurys Familia (48)

Most Double Plays Achieved – Martin Perez (28)

Most Wild Pitches – Sonny Gray (15)

Most Balks – Matt Andriese (4)

Most Stolen Bases Allowed – Noah Syndergaard (30)

Most Pickoffs – Five players tied for most (4).

Most Batters Faced – David Price (602)

Most Pitches Thrown – Justin Verlander (2,354)

Revisiting My 2016 Preseason Predictions

I’ve been making preseason predictions for each of the past five years for how I feel each team will fare at the end of the season, and it never fails that I come up a long way from reality when all is said and done. This year is certainly no different.

In the American League East, I wasn’t too far off, but I still picked the Orioles to finish fourth, who are now currently in first place in the division. Likewise, in the American League Central, the Tigers have underperformed in my mind, but not as much as the Royals, who I picked to finish first, but are in third. The AL West has seen things going close to how I saw them, but I thought the Angels would be much better than they have been. Even so, I once again have been way off.

Things have gone a little better for me in the National League, however.

I haven’t done terribly in the East, where my pick of the Mets to be leading the division has been the only pick to go a little off track. For the Central, things have gone even better, with the top three teams lining up exactly where I saw them. In the West, I bought into the hype of the Diamondbacks, who sit in last place, despite me selecting them to come in first. But the Giants look destined to finish in first, so I would seem to be right with that one at least.

At the end of the day, there’s still a good amount of season left. Anything can and will happen as teams look to make their powerful pushes towards the postseason. Your guess is as good as mine as to where they’ll line up.

2016 Award Frontrunners at the All-Star Break

Sunday marked the last day of MLB games until Friday, and although the baseball world is currently focused on San Diego and the All-Star game that is set to take place tonight, I wanted to quickly focus my attention on the players who have posted amazing performances throughout the first half of the season.

For this post, I’m covering the players who I feel stand the best chance right now (given, it’s still early) of winning the three major awards of Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young. All three awards have multiple players who can be argued as being deserving, but I have my own opinion as to who deserves each award the most at this point in the season.

Most Valuable Player Award

American League: Mark Trumbo

Sitting as the league leader in home runs at the All-Star break, there is no true competition for Mark Trumbo when it Mark Trumbocomes to American League MVP. Trumbo has been absolutely tremendous for the Orioles all season long, batting .288 while driving in 68 runs with 28 homers, and is a huge part in them sitting in first place. Unless things fall apart for Trumbo, he should easily walk away with the award at season’s end.

National League: Kris Bryant

There are far more options to choose from when picking for the National League MVP award, but I’m going with Kris Bryant at the moment. Like the Orioles, the Cubs are in first place large in part due to Bryant’s stellar numbers for yet another season. With 25 home runs, including a three-homer performance earlier in the year, Bryant is truly showing how much of an impact he is in the National League.

Rookie of the Year Award

American League: Nomar Mazara

All season long, Nomar Mazara has wowed fans with his immense power displays that he has been able to put on withMazara each of his eleven home runs. He may not have overwhelming stats, but Mazara has done enough to earn him the American League Rookie of the Year award, in my mind. But even so, there’s a young Tigers’ rookie pitcher by the name of Michael Fulmer who is pressing to overtake Mazara. If Mazara doesn’t keep things going, he may lose out in the end.

National League: Corey Seager

This was one of the most difficult awards to decide upon. From Trevor Story to Kenta Maeda, there are several great options to choose from. But I wound up going with Corey Seager, who was the favorite to win the award even before the season began. With so many top notch NL rookies, this award could truly come down to the wire, but with Seager having blasted 17 homers with 42 RBI’s, all while hitting .297, I’ll go with him for now.

Cy Young Award

American League: Steven Wright

The most recent knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young award came back in 2012 when R.A. Dickey took home theKershaw honor. However, it appears that things may play out that way again this year. Steven Wright has been extremely consistent throughout this season with the Red Sox, breaking out as their true ace of the staff, despite David Price being on the team. Although his strikeout totals aren’t that high, Wright’s AL-best 2.68 ERA really stands out.

National League: Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is currently on the disabled list, but as long as it doesn’t impact the rest of the season, Kershaw looks to be in line for yet another Cy Young award. His closest competition at the moment, Madison Bumgarner, has been just as good as Kershaw, having notched three more starts than Kershaw and holding a 1.94 ERA to Kershaw’s 1.79. When it comes down to it, though, I still see Kershaw pulling out the award win.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with my picks for who deserves each award at this point in the season, one thing is for sure: there is still a lot of season left where any player can have anything happen. With 19 of the 30 teams at .500 or better, in terms of wins-losses go, regardless of the award races, the games following the mid-summer classic are sure to make for an exciting second half.

2016 MLB All-Star Game Rosters Revealed

The American League and National League rosters for the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star game, set to be held out at Petco Park, in San Diego, California, on July 12th (you can watch it on FOX at 8:00 Eastern) were released on Tuesday evening.

As always, the baseball world is hard at work discussing the rosters, debating over which players were snubbed from the teams, which players didn’t necessarily (in their eyes) deserve to make the cut, and (most importantly) which team they think will win when all is said and done. But that comes with each and every year and is part of what makes things so fun.

Here are the official All-Star rosters:

American League

Starters

C: Salvador Perez (4th)

1B: Eric Hosmer (1st)

2B: Jose Altuve (4th)

SS: Xander Bogaerts (1st)

3B: Manny Machado (3rd)

OF: Mike Trout (5th), Jackie Bradley Jr. (1st), Mookie Betts (1st)

DH: David Ortiz (10th)

Pitchers

LHP: Chris Sale (5th)

RHP: Craig Kimbrel (5th)

LHP: Zach Britton (2nd)

LHP: Andrew Miller (1st)

RHP: Wade Davis (2nd)

RHP: Marco Estrada (1st)

LHP: Cole Hamels (4th)

RHP: Danny Salazar (1st)

RHP: Steven Wright (1st)

RHP: Dellin Betances (3rd)

RHP: Brad Brach (1st)

RHP: Alex Colome (1st)

RHP: Kelvin Herrera (2nd)

RHP: Will Harris (1st)

Reserves

C: Stephen Vogt (2nd), Matt Wieters (4th)

1B: Miguel Cabrera (11th)

2B: Robinson Cano (7th)

SS: Francisco Lindor (1st), Eduardo Nunez (1st)

3B: Josh Donaldson (3rd)

OF: Carlos Beltran (9th), Ian Desmond (2nd), Mark Trumbo (2nd)

DH: Edwin Encarnacion (3rd)

National League

Starters

C: Buster Posey (4th)

1B: Anthony Rizzo (3rd)

2B: Ben Zobrist (3rd)

SS: Addison Russell (1st)

3B: Kris Bryant (2nd)

OF: Bryce Harper (4th), Yoenis Cespedes (2nd), Dexter Fowler (1st)

Pitchers

LHP: Clayton Kershaw (6th)

RHP: Jake Arrieta (1st)

RHP: Noah Syndergaard (1st)

RHP: Stephen Strasburg (2nd)

LHP: Madison Bumgarner (4th)

RHP: Jose Fernandez (2nd)

RHP: Johnny Cueto (2nd)

LHP: Jon Lester (4th)

RHP: Julio Teheran (2nd)

RHP: Jeurys Familia (1st)

RHP: Kenley Jansen (1st)

RHP: Mark Melancon (3rd)

RHP: A.J. Ramos (1st)

RHP: Fernando Rodney (3rd)

Reserves

C: Jonathan Lucroy (2nd), Wilson Ramos (1st)

1B: Paul Goldschmidt (4th), Wil Myers (1st)

2B: Daniel Murphy (2nd)

SS: Corey Seager (1st)

3B: Nolan Arenado (2nd), Matt Carpenter (3rd)

OF: Carlos Gonzalez (3rd), Odubel Herrera (1st), Marcell Ozuna (1st) Adam Duvall (1st)

Final Five

The final rosters for the 2016 All-Star game aren’t complete just yet, however. There is still one final spot up for grabs in the American League and National League. Which players fill those roles comes down to the fans. From now until Friday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, you have the opportunity to vote for either Brandon Belt, Ryan Braun, Jake Lamb, Starling Marte or Trevor Story in the NL, and Ian Kinsler, Evan Longoria, Dustin Pedroia, Michael Saunders or George Springer  the AL.

For what it’s worth, I plan to cast my vote for Jake Lamb and George Springer, who are each having somewhat under-the-radar, but superb years. You can pick whoever you want to by going HERE and casting your ballot. It should be interesting to see how the game goes a week from tonight.

Latest MLB Leaders (April 3rd – June 30th)

With the first three months of the 2016 MLB season in the books, I thought I’d take the first day of the new month to recap the season thus far. It’s been exciting as well as disappointing, depending on how you look at it and who you’re rooting for.

But instead of talking about the events that have taken place so far this year, I decided to make a list of different categories and beside them name the player(s) that leads that particular category. I’ve done lists like these for the past several years, and they have been well received, so I decided to do it again.

The following lists are categorized into hitting and pitching, but not AL or NL:

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – HITTING

Most Games Played – Edwin Encarnacion, Kevin Pillar and Corey Seager (80).

Most At-Bats – Mookie Betts (345)

Most Hits – Jose Altuve (111)

Highest Average – Jose Altuve (.357)

Highest OBP – Jose Altuve (.432)

Highest SLG – David Ortiz (.672)

Most Runs – Mookie Betts (67)

Most Doubles – David Ortiz (31)

Most Triples – Adam Eaton (7)

Most Home Runs – Todd Frazier and Mark Trumbo (23).

Most RBI’s – Edwin Encarnacion (70)

Most Base On Balls – Bryce Harper (64)

Most Strikeouts – Chris Davis (107)

Most Stolen Bases – Jonathan Villar (26)

Most Caught Stealing – Jonathan Villar (9)

Most Intentional Base On Balls – Bryce Harper (14)

Most Hit By Pitch – Derek Dietrich and Brandon Guyer (15).

Most Sacrifice Flies – Chris Carter (7)

Most Total Bases – Manny Machado (184)

Most Extra Base Hits – David Ortiz (50)

Most Grounded Into Double Plays – Dustin Pedroia (14)

Most Ground Outs – Adam Eaton (132)

Most Number Of Pitches Faced – Paul Goldschmidt (1,535)

Most Plate Appearances – Mookie Betts and George Springer (370).

MLB LEADERS (AL and NL) – PITCHING

Most Wins – Chris Sale (13)

Most Losses – Chris Archer (11)

Best ERA – Clayton Kershaw (1.79)

Most Games Started – Eleven players tied for most (17).

Most Games Pitched – Hector Neris (42)

Most Saves – Jeurys Familia (27)

Most Innings Pitched – Clayton Kershaw (121)

Most Hits Allowed – Dallas Keuchel and Mike Pelfrey (118).

Most Runs Allowed – Dallas Keuchel (64)

Most Earned Runs Allowed – Dallas Keuchel (61)

Most Home Runs Allowed – Chris Young (22)

Most Strikeouts – Max Scherzer (148)

Most Walks – Francisco Liriano (54)

Most Complete Games – Five players tied for most (3).

Most Shutouts – Clayton Kershaw (3)

Best Opponent Avg. – Marco Estrada (.168)

Most Games Finished – Jeurys Familia (37)

Most Double Plays Achieved – Martin Perez (19)

Most Wild Pitches – Sonny Gray (11)

Most Balks – Matt Andriese (4)

Most Stolen Bases Allowed – Noah Syndergaard (28)

Most Pickoffs – Four players tied for most (4).

Most Batters Faced – Dallas Keuchel (468)

Most Pitches Thrown – Madison Bumgarner (1,814)

Who I’d Like to See in the 2016 Home Run Derby

The 2016 MLB Home Run Derby is exactly one month away, and I’m already excited. Although the official All-Star game is the must-see event in the mind of many baseball fans of what has become a three-day spectacle, for me, the Home Run Derby is the most thrilling of all the events.

With the rules of the derby being changed last year back to just eight players, and with hitters going up against a clock instead of ten outs, many baseball fans had a negative reaction to the change, but I truly liked it. I feel that it made things more fun to watch overall, and should do so again this time around. This year, the derby is taking place at Petco Park in San Diego. Not known as a hitters’ park, it should be interesting to see how the derby goes, but the players I chose each have no trouble hitting a ball out of any ballpark.

I picked my players based on four specific chriteria per league: I chose the current league leader, a rookie, an under-the-radar power hitter, and a personal selection. By choosing guys with a lot of power, but also by selecting a wide range of players, I think the players I went with for the American League and National League would make for a fantastic 2016 Home Run Derby.

American League

Mark Trumbo: After having a somewhat subpar season by his standards in 2015, Trumbo has exploded back onto the scene this season, becoming the first player to reach the 20-homer mark in early June. Having the most home runs in the American League, in addition to his tremendous power and ability to hit numerous blasts, Trumbo was the easiest pick of the American League half of things.

Nomar Mazara: This time last year, the majority of baseball fans had never even heard of Nomar Mazara. However, more and more fans are hearing of him now. Mazara holds unbelievable power, and should have the platform to show it off at the home run derby this year. Being a rookie, it would certainly bring interest into the derby, as fans look to see how the young star-in-the-making fares.

Khris Davis: Baltimore’s Chris Davis has been known for his power for quite some time now, but the Athletics’ own Khris Davis (with a ‘K’) isn’t far behind in that department. Originally a member of the Brewers, Davis has been on a tear ever since switching teams, and has shown off his power on numerous occasions this season. I feel that he needs to be one of the players in the derby this year.

Nelson Cruz: There are a lot of different ways this pick could have gone, and I spent a great amount of time debating it in my mind, but I wound up landing on Cruz. Known simply as the ‘Boomstick’, Cruz carries a ton of power in his bat, and would be some major competition for the National League side to compete with. Playing his home games at Safeco Field, Cruz is used to hitting at pitcher-friendly parks, and would do well at Petco.

National League

Nolan Arenado: There’s no doubt that Arenado has power to burn, tying for the most homers in all of baseball last season with 42, and well on his way to reaching that mark yet again. By playing in Colorado, Arenado doesn’t get the attention that he would if he were to be playing in a larger market, but he’s leading the National League in homers yet again and it would be a disservice to the event if Arenado didn’t participate.

Corey Seager: When Corey Seager came up at the final portion of last season and put on a hitting show, you could immediately tell that all of the hype was warranted, which hasn’t always been the case historically. This season, he’s done nothing but improve upon that hype, in this still his rookie year. Having a three-homer game earlier this season, the power is definitely there for Seager, and I think he’d do well in the derby.

Wil Myers: Injuries have plagued Myers over the course of his career, but without putting a jinx on him, it looks like Myers in on the verge of a major breakout season. Although he was once a consensus top-five prospect, I don’t feel he’s getting the attention he deserves. The derby would allow for that, in addition to his participation giving the hometown fans someone to root for, like Todd Frazier in Cincinnati last year.

Yoenis Cespedes: A home run derby without Cespedes just wouldn’t be the same after seeing what he’s capable of in previous derby spectacles. For that reason, I chose him as my fourth pick to take part in the derby. While Cespedes has struggled at time this season following a red hot start, he has the ability to put on an absolute show for both number of homers and distance in which he hits them, making him worthy of selection.

So, those are my picks for who I’d like to see in the 2016 Home Run Derby down at Petco Park on July 11th. Odds are that not all of them will be selected, but I truly hoped the majority of them are in the derby. It would make the Home Run Derby very exciting to watch, in my opinion.