Results tagged ‘ Padres ’

Fastest & Slowest Starts to the 2013 MLB Season

We’re just over a week into the 2013 MLB regular season, and I wanted to post a blog, just like last year, on the fastest and slowest starts to the season for both entire teams and individual players. While it’s a small sample size, the list gives you an idea of what’s been taking place so far this season. Some of the players and teams are performing nearly as well as expected, but others are putting on performances that I never would’ve predicted them to begin the season with.

FASTEST STARTS TO THE SEASON

Teams:

1) Braves (6-1)

2) Diamondbacks (5-2)

3) Rockies (5-2)

4) Red Sox (5-2)

5) Athletics (5-2)

6) Rangers (5-2)

7) Reds (5-2)

8) Mets (5-2)

The Braves currently lead all of baseball with a win percentage of .857. Justin Upton has been making a major impact, hitting six home runs in the first seven games, and I fully expected the Braves to have a season long performance like the one they’re currently starting out with. The Diamondbacks, Rockies, Red Sox and Mets are all surprising me, so far, as I expected them to all have poor seasons, and while it’s still very early, at the moment, they’re making things interesting. As far as the Athletics, Rangers and Reds go, it’s not a shock that they’re doing so well. Though I thought the Rangers would have a bit of a struggle this season, without Josh Hamilton, they seem to be doing just fine. It should be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

Players:

1) Adam Jones (.500)

2) Jed Lowrie (.500)

3) Carlos Santana (.500)

4) Michael Cuddyer (.478)

5) Carl Crawford (.450)

6) Jean Segura (.450)

*Minimum of 20 AB’s

Adam Jones is the only player on the list of fastest start players that I’m not surprised with. Having recorded a 32 homer, 82 RBI season, in 2012, Jones is in the prime of his career, and is set to have another fantastic season. For Jed Lowrie, Carlos Santana, Michael Cuddyer, Carl Crawford and Jean Segura, they better enjoy the hot start while it lasts, because I don’t see any of them having an all that spectacular year. But as with anything in baseball, there’s always the chance for me to be proven wrong.

SLOWEST STARTS TO THE SEASON

Teams:

1) Astros (1-6)

2) Marlins (1-6)

3) Padres (1-5)

4) Pirates (2-5)

5) Brewers (2-5)

6) Phillies (2-5)

7) Cubs (2-5)

After beating the Rangers, 8-2, on Opening Night, the Astros have done nothing but go down hill, ever since. With 155 games left to play, and just 94 losses away from 100, it’s likely the Astros’ season will end with yet another year of 100+ losses. The Marlins, Padres and Pirates are all teams that have the potential to win now, but it’s likely to be a year or two before they start to become big time contenders in their divisions. The Brewers and Phillies are the only teams that surprise me, somewhat, on this list, but they just haven’t performed well so far this year. And as for the Cubs, they’re just being themselves; destined to make it 105 seasons without a World Series title.

Players:

1) Jeff Keppinger (.048)

2) Ryan Hanigan (.050)

3) Aaron Hicks (.067)

4) Pedro Alvarez (.080)

5) Neil Walker (.083)

*Minimum of 20 AB’s

No one on this list surprises me, other than Neil Walker. Walker is arguably the best player on the list, but he hasn’t been able to find his groove so far this season. I look for him to get things going, however, and record another season like he has the past few years–10-15 homers and 65-80 RBI’s, with a high 200’s batting average. For Jeff Keppinger, Ryan Hanigan, Aaron Hicks and Pedro Alvarez, it will be interesting to see if they get their acts together, or if this is a sign of things to come for them this season, as things can certainly only go up.

Keep in mind, while those are the players and teams with the fastest and slowest starts to the season, there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, and anything can happen. Only time will tell if the current trends will last; that’s why they play 162 games.

National League Predictions for 2013

Last year was the first time I ever made actual predictions as to how the MLB standings would look at the end of the regular season. To say I did poorly would be an understatement, but this is a new year, and with it comes a new shot at getting the predictions right. So I’m up for the challenge once again.

Unlike 2012, when I posted both my American League and National League predictions in the same blog entry, this year I’m doing separate posts for each league. I did my American League predictions on Thursday (if you’d like to check them out, CLICK HERE), so today, as the title states, I’m giving my 2013 National League standings predictions, starting with the NL East:

EAST

1. Braves

2. Nationals

3. Phillies

4. Marlins

5. Mets

With all of the offseason additions, including both Justin Upton and B.J. Upton, the Braves have a really good chance to win their division, in the minds of many baseball fans, myself included. Their starting rotation is somewhat of a question mark, being good, but not great, however, I think the lineup they currently possess will be more than enough to get the job done. This will be the first season in more than a decade in which Chipper Jones isn’t in the dugout, but I think it’s going to be an exciting year for Braves fans nonetheless.

The Nationals had a breakout season last year, bringing playoff baseball back to Washington D.C. for the first time since 1933, and all signs point to them having another great season. The only reason I have them finishing behind the Braves is that their lineup isn’t quite as lethal, although their pitching staff can compete with nearly any team in baseball. Stephen Strasburg isn’t going to be on an innings limit, as he was last season, and the loss of that stress should allow for him to thrive. I fully see the Nat’s making the playoffs yet again in 2013.

For the Phillies, I’m still yet to be convinced that they’re going to do much of anything this year. Unlike last year, the Phillies should have a healthy Ryan Howard for the entire season, who will undoubtedly improve their lineup, but with Roy Halladay struggling a bit in spring training–given it’s just spring training–and the remainder of the rotation being merely decent, I can’t see them finishing any higher than third; being that the Braves and Nationals are in the division. But the Phillies certainly have the potential to prove me wrong.

Adding tons of big name players to their roster in the offseason of 2011, everyone thought it would help the Marlins win a few more games than they did the previous year. But things didn’t go as planned for the Marlins, as they finished 2012 with even fewer wins than in 2011, and in a questionable move, decided to redo nearly the entire team during this past offseason. With the loss of so many players, combined with the way the remainder of the team–with the exception of Giancarlo Stanton–played last season, they aren’t predicted to do much in the coming year.

The only team I’m predicting to do worse than the Marlins are the Mets. Although they resigned their superstar third baseman, David Wright, for the next seven years, they traded away their 2012 Cy Young award winner, in R.A. Dickey. While that move alone isn’t going to be the make or break point for the Mets, I don’t see them winning an awful lot of games this year. I do, however, like their chances down the road, as some of their key prospects are knocking on the door. As soon as next season, I can see the Mets making some noise in the NL East.

CENTRAL

1. Reds

2. Cardinals

3. Pirates

4. Brewers

5. Cubs

After an extremely successful 2012 season, in which the Reds finished first in their division on 97 games won, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to have an equally impressive, if not slightly better, 2013. They have the same basic roster, which includes one of the best closers in all of baseball, however, the one major difference is a healthy Joey Votto, which is why I see the Reds having an even better season this year. If they acquire the speedy Billy Hamilton, who stole 155 bases in the minors last year, towards the end of the season, I could see them going very deep into the playoffs, as well.

The Cardinals are a team that’s good enough to give the Reds a run for their money, but I’m not predicting for them to win the division. The Card’s have an extremely good pitching staff, when it comes to both starters and the bullpen–though their stellar closer, Jason Motte, is expected to begin the year on the disabled list–,however, their lineup isn’t quite as good as the Reds. It’s certainly going to be fun to watch to see how it all plays out, but regardless, I don’t see them being good enough to earn even the second wild card spot, as I feel the Nat’s and Giants are going to have better seasons.

This is going to finally be the year for the Pirates, in my mind. They started off incredibly last season, with their All-Star, Andrew McCutchen, leading the way with a batting average in the high .300’s, however, when McCutchen began to struggle following the midsummer classic, the rest of the team followed suit. If the entire team can rally together and play to their full potential, for the entire season, while I don’t see them making the playoffs, I could easily see them finishing with a winning record for the first time since 1992.

If it wasn’t for Ryan Braun, the Brewers arguably wouldn’t have won nearly as many games last season, which is why I feel they’re bound to flip spots with the Pirates in the coming year. Their pitching staff isn’t what you would expect out of an above .500 ball club, but it gets the job done, nonetheless. Even so, their lineup is missing a few key components–some of which just aren’t there, and some players that are injured–for the Brewers to have any sort of a chance at a playoff run, as far as I can foresee.

All signs point to the Cubs’ streak of 104 seasons without a World Series title continuing yet another season, with there not being much chance for a successful season in 2013. They have some good, young prospects working their way up the ranks, but until they make it to Wrigley field, a few years down the road, all the Cubs can do is make it through another subpar 162 game season.

WEST

1. Dodgers

2. Giants

3. Padres

4. Diamondbacks

5. Rockies

It’s pretty much going to be either the Dodgers or Giants winning the NL West division, and if the Dodgers can play to their fullest potential, I have a good feeling they’re going to win their division. They have one of the best rotations in all of baseball, which includes former Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw, along with Zack Greinke and newcomer Hyun-Jin Ryu, from Korea, and that, combined with one of the best lineups in baseball, should be enough to prevail them past the 2012 World Champion Giants, in the NL West division.

With the Dodgers winning the division, I have the Giants coming in a close second. Coming off their second World Series title in three years, the Giants are one of those teams that doesn’t have an incredible team, but make the very most of what they have. Last season, Tim Lincecum really struggled to find his groove, posting a career worse 5.18 ERA, but I see Lincecum having a bounce-back 2013 season. While a healthy Lincecum will help keep the Giants in the running for the division title, I still predict them coming up just short.

The Padres made some noise towards the end of last season, and I look for them to play more of the same type of intensity baseball for the entire 2013 season. They don’t get a lot of recognition, just because of who they are, not having made the playoffs since 2006, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t possibly be the shockers of the 2013 season. While I don’t see them finishing higher than third, with the Dodgers and Giants in the division, I’m predicting they’re going to be a lot better than most people are expecting.

Having finished with a record of 81-81, exactly .500, in 2012, I don’t see the Diamondbacks improving at all in the coming season, especially with the offseason trade of Justin Upton to the Braves, as well as promising young pitching prospect, Trevor Bauer, to the Indians. By losing a couple of players who would’ve likely made a noticeable impact for the D-back’s in the coming season, I see them finishing next to last in the division. Both their pitching staff and lineup are decent, but I just can’t bring myself to place them any higher in the standings for my predictions.

Playing in one of the best hitters ballparks in all of baseball, with the high altitude, doesn’t help out the Rockies when their pitching rotation is one of the weakest in all of baseball. Although they’ll have their star short stop, Troy Tulowitzki, back healthy–Tulowitzki only played in 47 games last year–along with veteran, Todd Helton, the Rockies’ lineup isn’t nearly strong enough to overcome their below average pithing staff. Therefore, I’m predicting a second straight last place season, in the NL West division, for the Rockies.

Leave a comment below with whether or not you agree with my predictions.

The Electronic Autograph

If you’re one of the millions of people around the world who falls under the category of “baseball fan”, odds are that you’ve found yourself seeking the autograph of your favorite player at one time or another. Even if you wouldn’t classify as an autograph collector, surely even the slightest of fan would jump at the chance to acquire their idols’ signature.

But getting an autograph from your favorite major leaguer isn’t always as simple as heading out to the ballpark after dinner. If you find yourself residing in one of the many states that lacks a Major League Baseball team, getting autographs in person can be a difficult and costly task.

Of course, there’s always the option of mailing an autograph request to the ballpark, but you can’t always guarantee that the player you admire will be able to take the time, during their hectic 162-game season, to sign your enclosed item; especially if they happen to be everyone’s favorite player, and receive hundreds of letters every month.

Too many times have I sent off one of my most cherished baseball cards, to one of my favorite players, only to be disappointed in the end when daily trips to the mailbox resulted in the same outcome: No autograph.

Until recently, the only other option remaining for a person looking to obtain an authentic signature they so greatly desired was to scour the internet for the most economically priced example they could find; usually still costing a couple hundred dollars. And even then, nothing connects you to the player personally. It’s just one of the thousands of autographs the player has signed over the years. Nothing all that tremendously special.

That’s why I was so intrigued the first time I heard of the latest in sports memorabilia technology: The electronic autograph; Egraph, for short. Costing anywhere from 25-115 dollars, depending on the player, an Egraph is an electronic autograph, produced by the player of your choice on their own personal iPad. The best part being that it’s guaranteed to be returned, in 2-3 weeks, and in addition, comes along with an audio message, recorded by the player themselves, just for you.

You can’t get much more of a fan-to-player interaction than that.

HOW IT WORKS

The first step in creating your Egraph is to select which player you’d like to receive an Egraph from. With roughly 200 players (current and former greats) and managers–with more being added all the time–it’s not an easy choice. Undoubtedly making this the most difficult portion of the entire process.

After deciding on a specific player, and choosing which background photo you’d like the autograph to appear over, the only thing left to do is to make the decision of what you would like inscribed on your photo.

You have the choice of typing exactly what you want the player to write, or you can choose for them to create their own response. As is the case with the entire Egraph process, it’s up to you. But in the end, no matter what you decide, you really can’t go wrong.

As stated earlier, no two Egraphs are alike. They’re made by the player specifically for you. Take for example my own personal Egraph, created by Mets’ third basemen, David Wright:
Screenshot (2)

CLICK HERE to listen to David Wright’s audio message.

Wright could make a thousand more Egraphs and would never again make one exactly like the one you see above. That’s what makes Egraphs such an ingenious idea. It allows you to connect with the games’ greats in a personal way that hasn’t been possible up until now; and I can only see it taking off in popularity from here.

If you’d like to purchase an Egraph, head to Egraphs.com, or simply click the Egraph ad on the right sidebar to be taken to the site.

Fastest and Slowest Starts to the 2012 MLB Season

I realize that we’re JUST over a week into the 2012 MLB season, but I just thought I’d post an entry with the teams and players that are off to the best and worst starts in all of baseball. Some of the names on the lists are no surpise, however there a few that really stand out to me. I never expected the year to begin the way it has for certain players, and certain teams.

FASTEST STARTS

Teams:

1) Dodgers: 7-1

2) Nationals: 6-2

3) Rangers: 6-2

4) Diamondbacks: 5-2

5) Mets: 5-2

6) Tigers: 5-2

The Dodgers are a team that is better than advertised. They have a great lineup, including guys like Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and speedy Dee Gordon, as well as an underated starting rotation. While it’s well known that Clayton Kershaw is the Dodger’s Ace, other guys are beginning to step it up, none more than Aaron Harang, who struck out 9 in a row (a new Dodgers record) in last night’s game against the Padres.

The only other teams on the list that are a surprise to me are the Nationals and the Mets. While the National’s are a team that I feel is going to be extremely good in a couple of years, I never saw them having this kind of start to the season. As far as the Mets go, they continue to amaze me.

Individual players:

1) Paul Konerko: .435 average

2) Ryan Sweeney: .429 average

3) Matt Kemp: .419 average

4) Josh Willingham: .417 average

5) Miguel Cabrera: .414 average

Paul Konerko is off to an unbelievable start. He’s really swinging the bat well, and while it’s still early, I think he can keep it up. Now I’m not saying he’s going to end the year with a batting average exceeding .400, but I am saying that I think he’ll continue to rack up hits. Ryan Sweeney is another guy who’s really impressed me so far this season. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up, or if it’s a little bit of early luck. Matt Kemp, Josh Willingham and Miguel Cabrera are all guys that I fully expected to do well this season. So there’s no real shock for the number 3 through 5 guys on the list.

SLOWEST STARTS

Teams:

1) Padres: 2-6

2) Red Sox: 2-5

3) Twins: 2-5

4) Angels: 2-5

5) Pirates: 2-5

The San Diego Padres are a team that I was hoping/thinking would have a decent season this year, but so far, they’re proving to be the same team from last year. The thing that gets me with the Padres is that they have a fantastic starting lineup, including guys like Cameron Maybin, Orlando Hudson and newcomer Yonder Alonso, as well as a decent pitching rotation, but it seems like they can only get one or the other to perform well on any given night. If they can figure out a way to have both their pitching and hitting come through at the same time they can be a really good team.

The Red Sox are another team that I thought would have a better year than they’re having. After starting out 0-6 last year, I thought they’d have a bounce back year, but their current record of 2-5 isn’t living up to expectations, and I don’t see things getting any better for them. Jacoby Ellsbury was injured in yesterday’s game while sliding into second base. He is expected to miss a minimum of 6 weeks. Not good news for Red Sox fans.

Of the remaining teams on the list, the Angels are the only team that surprises me. With the addition of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the Angels were predicted by many to dominate their division. So far the only dominant aspect of their games has been the other team. I look for things to turn around for them, however, once King Albert starts getting hot.

Individual players:

1) Ike Davis: .043

2) Neil Walker: .048

3) Marlon Byrd: .083

4) J.P. Arencibia: .083

5) Ryan Raburn: .091

*Minimum of 20 at bats.

There’s really no one on this list that stands out in my mind. All of them are players that perform differently from year to year. While I don’t see them getting hot and working their average up to the .300 mark any time soon, I also don’t see their streak of bad luck continuing. They’ll all bounce back.

Like I said several times, I realize that it’s still VERY early in the season. Over 150 games still remain, and things will no doubt look a lot different for both the teams and players on the above lists. Teams and players that are off to fast starts now could hit a wall and end up having a terrible year, and just the opposite for those off to a slow start. That’s why they play 162 games.

My 2012 MLB Predictions

After watching several Spring Training games to try to get a feel for how teams will perform this season, I finally feel I can post my MLB predictions blog entry that I’ve had on hold for the past month. I’ve never attempted to make predictions for an entire year of Major League Baseball, but I’m going to give it a shot. I’ll probably be way off, but who knows, I might get lucky.

I’m going to start off by giving my predictions for each division, starting with the AL East:

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1- New York Yankees

2- Tampa Bay Rays

3- Boston Red Sox

4- Toronto Blue Jays

5- Baltimore Orioles

Reasoning: I have the Yankees just edging out the Rays for the number one spot in the American League East. Both are going to be great teams this year but I think the Yankees have a slightly better team than the Rays. As far as the Red Sox go, I don’t see them having a repeat year from last. They’re bound to do much better this season. I don’t see them doing better than the Rays however, who are really getting their team together. I’ve got the Blue Jays finishing fourth in the AL East. While they have a decent pitching staff and power slugger Jose Bautista, as well as several young stars, I don’t think their team is quite there yet. Give them a few more years, and I think they’ll be a real threat in the division. As far as the Orioles go, I don’t see them doing any better than last year. They didn’t make any drastic changes to their team to warrant a belief that they’ll move up even one spot.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL 

1- Detroit Tigers

2- Cleveland Indians

3- Kansas City Royals

4- Minnesota Twins

5- Chicago White Sox

Reasoning: If you had asked me back when the 2011 season ended if I thought there was a team that could beat out the Detroit Tigers for the number one spot in the AL Central, my answer would’ve been yes. Now that the Tigers have Prince Fielder, and the transition for Miguel Cabrera from first to third base seems to have gone smoothly, I’d say there’s no chance of any team coming close to the Tigers. With their Ace Justin Verlander leading the way, I could easily see the Tigers winning 100 or more games this year. I have the Cleveland Indians finishing second in the division. I feel that they’re a good team, but not good enough for the number one spot. The number three spot goes to the Kansas City Royals. I feel that it’s just a matter of time before this team really starts to leave its mark. They have a great team, as well as several great prospects still in the minors. I think the Royals will be good enough for the number two spot in a couple years. I would’ve placed the Twins higher on the list had it not been for the great ammount of uncertainty. The Twins have a decent team, however their star players Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau didn’t have their best stuff last season due to injury. I’m not sure they can beat out the Royals for numbethird in the AL Central. As far as the White Sox go, they’re good engough for dead last on my list.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST 

1- Texas Rangers

2- Los Angeles Angels

3- Seattle Mariners

4- Oakland Athletics

Reasoning: It was very difficult for me to decide between the Rangers and Angels for that number one spot in the AL West. Both have great pitching staffs, as well as great players in their line ups, but in the end I felt that the Rangers and Yu Darvish would just beat out the Angels by one or two games. I have the Mariners taking that number three spot. Although the Athletics signed cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes, as well as Manny Ramirez, I feel the Mariners are a better team when it comes down to it.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST 

1- Philadelphia Phillies

2- Atlanta Braves

3- Miami Marlins

4- Washington Nationals

5- New York Mets

Reasoning: Choosing between the Phillies and Braves for the number one spot was difficult. They both have injured players going into the season, however both have a good team even with the injuries. The only reason I picked the Phillies for first is their pitching rotation. The Braves have a good one as well, but I don’t think it’s as developed as the Phillies, who have their Ace Roy Halladay. The Marlins I have coming in third. While I feel they’ll deffinitely do better than last season–with the additions of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano–I don’t think they can compete with the Braves or Phillies in the very tough NL East division. Another team that I feel is going to do a lot better this season than last is the Washington Nationals. If Bryce Harper performs well once called up, and Stephen Strasburg can stay healthy, I think the Nationals stand a chance of beating out the Marlins for third in the division. For now, however, I’m still sticking with my prediction of fourth for the Nat’s, but give them a year or so and they’ll be a really good team. The Mets are last on my list, as I don’t feel they’ll do any better than last year, even with a healthy Johan Santana.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1- St. Louis Cardinals

2- Milwaukee Brewers

3- Cincinnati Reds

4- Pittsburgh Pirates

5- Chicago Cubs

6- Houston Astros

Reasoning: Depending on how healthy their star players can stay throughout the season, and how well the teams as a whole perform, I could see the Cardinals, Brewers or Reds placing first in the NL Central. They all have decent pitching rotations, as well as decent lineups. Since I couldn’t pick all three to put in the top spot however, I decided to go with the Cardinals after much debate. I’m not only choosing the Cardinals because they were 2011 World Champions, but also because I feel that even with the loss of their superstar Albert Pujols, they’re a good enough team to win the division. The second place team on my list, the Brewers, took a similar hit as the Cardinals, loosing their star player Prince Fielder. Without the loss of Fielder, the Brewers would run away with the  division, but I feel it’s pretty even between the top three teams the way it stands. The Reds are a team that’s good enough for the top spot, but I have them finishing third in the NL Central just for the fact that I don’t think they’ll put everything together to finish any better; but they might just surprise me. The Pirates, who I have finishing fourth, are a team similar to the Nationals. They’re getting better everyday, and have a bunch of star prospects still in the minors, including top prospect pitcher Gerrit Cole, but it’ll be a few more years before they’re good enough for third place or higher. They’re deffinitely a team to keep a close eye on in the future though. I have the Cubs finishing next to last just ahead of the Astros. Nothing stands out to me that makes me think they have a shot at cracking the 103 year World Series drought, none the less finishing any better than fifth. The good news for the Astros is that I think they’ll be no worse than last season. The bad news is they were terrible last season. But that’s nothing new. They’re good enough for last place.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1- San Francisco Giants

2- Arizona Diamondbacks

3- Los Angeles Dodgers

4- San Diego Padres

5- Colorado Rockies

Reasoning: After winning the World Series in 2010 the Giants had a terrible season last year. They were plagued with injuries to many of their stars, including Brian Wilson and Buster Posey, and while not injured, their Ace Tim Lincecum didn’t perform all that well. I look for the Giants to really dominate this coming season. I think Lincecum will have another stellar year, and I look for Buster Posey to have a bounce back year after being injured in 2011. Combine that with Wilson coming in to close things out, and I think you’ve got a team that’s good enough for first place in the division. The Diamondbacks, who won the division last season, are sure to have another fantastic season however I don’t think they’ll be quite good enough for the top spot. Matt Kemp and the Dodgers are sure to make a push at the number two spot. Kemp–who ended one home run shy of a 40/40 last season (40 home runs, 40 stolen bases)–made the bold prediction that he’ll record a 50/50 this year. While that seems a little far fetched, I still look for Kemp to help his team win a ton of games this year, and possibly end up winning the NL MVP, which he should’ve received after his 2011 performance. The Padres are another of my teams that I feel you should keep a close eye on. They’re not quite talented enough yet to finish any better than fourth (a step up from last season) but I feel that they’re really getting their act together. They made several great trades during the offseason, and their pitching staff is going to get better in the next couple of years. The Rockies in my opinion will finish last in the division. While they’re a good team, who also made some good trades during the off season, I feel that the Padres are going to be the slightly better team this year.

That’s my predictions for how the standings will look at the end of the 2012 Regular season. You may agree with me, or you might think I’m insane for some of my picks, but that’s just how I see it ending.

Here’s a quick review of the teams I have winning their divisions:

AL East: New York Yankees

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

AL West: Texas Rangers

NL West: San Francisco Giants

Those are the teams that I have winning their divisions and moving onto the 2012 playoffs. Now moving onto my Wild Card Predictions. These are the teams I have recieving those:

AL Wild Card: Los Angeles Angels

NL Wild Card: Arizona Diamondbacks

Those are the teams I feel aren’t quite good enough to win their divisions, but will make it to the playoffs via a Wild Card slot. As you know, MLB is adding an extra Wild Card this season. So here are my picks for those:

Extra AL Wild Card Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Extra NL Wild Card Team: Atlanta Braves

If it comes out the way I predict, the Rays and Angels, and the Diamondbacks and Braves will have a one-game play off to see which will move on, and which one’s season will come to a dramatic end. It’s sure to be exciting.

I had originally planned on predicting all the way down to the World Series, but to be honest, there’s too much that can, and will, happen to have any success in doing that. I mean, when the Cardinals were 10 games back of the Braves for the Wild Card last year, who would’ve predicted that they’d go onto win the World Series? I will say this: I like the Tigers and Rangers chances.

So there you go. Those are my predictions for the division winners as well as the Wild Card, and extra Wild Card recipients. Only time will tell if they play out as I foresee.

Q and A With Josh Spence

Josh Spence made his Major League debut on June 24th of this year against the Atlanta Braves. Although the 23 year-old lefty from Australia is new to baseball on the Major League level, he’s already seemed to develop confidence on the mound. As former Padres pitcher Heath Bell put it: “He’s calm and cool like an iceberg.” Spence–LHP for the San Diego Padres–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:

1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball?

I first became interested in baseball at the age of 8. I started playing T-ball and it then progressed into baseball. No one in my family played baseball before me. I actually tried alot of other sports before baseball but once I picked up the bat and ball I never looked back.

2.) Did you always want to be a pitcher?

I didn’t always want to be a pitcher. I really enjoyed playing outfield in the leagues back in Australia, but naturally pitching took over. Now I just get my work in during batting practice, so hopefully one day I can sneak back out there. Haha.

3.) Describe your MLB debut. What was going through your head on that day?

My MLB debut is something I’ll never forget! Just running out from the pen, feeling the atmosphere of the crowd on a beautiful San Diego night was amazing. It was firework night and when the final out was recorded off it went. It was a “fairy tale” ending to my debut. It’s a strange feeling accomplishing something you’ve been working your whole life for firstly and secondly, doing it quicker than expected. Me I just need to work hard and keep my spot!

4.) This was your first season of MLB. What did you take out of it? What went well? And what do you feel you need to improve on in 2012?

It was a monster learning curve. If I told you what I learnt and what I need to work on I’d have to kill you ;). I will say this and is no secret: I need to cut my walks down. There were too many base on balls on my behalf and if I want to be successful in the future I need to do a better job to control that aspect of the game.

5.) Are there any pranksters on the Padres? If so, have you ever been pranked? Or do you do the pranking?

Obviously Heath Bell was the biggest prankster on the team, and yes I got pranked hard, but if you had of told me I’d be sharing a locker room with these superstars and that they’d treat me as one of their own, I would have told you you’re dreaming. Haha. It was an honor, in a nutshell, to be pranked.

6.) Favorite TV show?

I’m a sucker for Family Guy and Workaholics. But I don’t mind watching Pawn Stars and Storage Wars either.

7.) Favorite food?

Avocado!!!! If it’s got avocado in it I’ll eat it!

8.) Favorite thing to do on an off day during the season?

Play my Xbox. I love just relaxing on the couch and getting some gaming in.

9.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far?

Getting called up and the whole excitement is undoubtedly the favorite moment of my baseball career thus far.

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Big thanks to Josh Spence for answering my questions. You can follow him on twitter: @joshspence

Miami Marlins New Look

The Marlins’ new look began to take shape back on September 28, when the signing of Ozzie Guillen, as their new manager, was made official with a press conference. Things took off from there. Next came changing the team name from Florida Marlins, to Miami Marlins, which subsequently lead to a new logo, as well as new uniforms. But the biggest news thus far isn’t the new uniforms or manager, but the newest members of the Miami Marlins, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes. Reyes–who signed a six-year, 106 Million dollar contract–is sure to help the Marlins out tremendoulsy, with his great speed and hitting ability, while Bell–who signed a three-year 27 Million dollar contract–is sure to close out plenty of games. Both of these signings were great ones for the Miami Marlins, but all this money spent so far brings up a major question: Will the signing of Bell and Reyes increase attendance for the 2012 season?

So, will the addition of Heath Bell and Jose Reyes to the Marlins spark baseball fans’ interests enough to get them to buy tickets and take a trip to the ballpark? The Marlins better hope so. I need not remind you of the scene that took place at a Marlins-Reds game in August of this past season. A mere 347 “fans” attended that game:

The Marlins needed to find a way to boost attendance levels, and I think they found it. With the additon of Guillen, Bell and Reyes–with talk of Pujols recieving a ten-year offer exceeding 200 Million dollars– combined with the new ballpark and uniforms, I think the 2012 attendance levels will be up, and stay up as long as the Marlins begin, and continue, to win. If not, I can very easily see the Marlins’ attendance going back to their well-known levels.

Please take a moment to vote in the polls below.

1) On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being AWESOME) how would you rank the Miami Marlin’s new uniforms?

2) On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being AWESOME) how would you rank the Miami Marlin’s new logo?

3) Lastly, do you think the Miami Marlin’s attendance levels will increase for the 2012 season?

 If you have any further comments, please feel free to leave one below.

Q and A With Casey Kelly

Today’s Q and A is on Casey Kelly. Top prospect for the San Diego Padres.

A top prospect for the San Diego Padres, Casey Kelly is doing his part to make it to the big leagues in a hurry. So far this season he’s recorded 105 strike outs through 142.1 innings pitched, for the San Antonio Missions.

Below’s Q and A is meant to help you better learn of what Casey Kelly likes:

1.) Favorite type of music.

“Rap.”

2.) Favorite song.

“Headlines. (By Drake.)”

3.) Favorite food.

“Chili dogs.”

4.) Favorite T.V. show.

“Entourage.”

5.) Favorite movie.

“Never Back Down.”

6.) Favorite book.

“Haven’t read a book in a while.”

7.) Favorite thing to do in free time.

“Hangout with family and friends.”

8.) Favorite time of year.

“Christmas time.”

9.) Favorite sport, besides baseball.

“Football.”

10.) Favorite player growing up.

“Charles Woodson.”

11.) Favorite shoe brand.

“Nike.”

12.) Favorite car.

“Range Rover.”

13.) Favorite subject, when in school.

“Math.”

14.) Favorite quote.

“Play to live. Live to play.”

15.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far.

“The day I got drafted.”

I hope this helped you to learn more about Casey Kelly of the Padres Organization.

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Big thanks to Casey Kelly for answering my questions.

You can follow Casey Kelly on twitter: @CaseyKelly23 

The next Q and A entry will be posted Saturday, September 17, on David Aardsma, of the Seattle Mariners.

PAST Q AND A ENTRIES: Brent Lillibridge, Daniel Hudson, Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner, Jeremy Guthrie, Bryan Harper, Casper Wells, Bud Norris, David Huff, Brandon McCarthy, and Shawn Kelley.

Q and A With Shawn Kelley

Today’s Q and A is on Shawn Kelley. Relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.

Though he’s only pitched in two games this season, he’s been effective in those 2.1 innings pitched. Giving up no hits.

Below’s Q and A is meant to inform you with what Shawn Kelley likes:

1.) Favorite type of music.

“Country.”

2.) Favorite song.

“Jason Aldean.”

3.) Favorite food.

“Steak.”

4.) Favorite T.V. show.

“Dexter.”

5.) Favorite movie.

“The Shawshank Redemption.”

6.) Favorite book.

“The DaVinci Code.”

7.) Favorite thing to do in free time.

“Fish [or] golf.”

8.) Favorite time of year.

“Fall.”

9.) Favorite sport, besides baseball.

“Golf, football and basketball. (Played all.)”

10.) Favorite player growing up.

“Griffey.”

11.) Favorite shoe brand.

“Mizuno. (Contractually obligated.)”

12.) Favorite car.

“My Jeep Wrangler.”

13.) Favorite subject, when in school.

“History.”

14.) Favorite quote.

(1.) “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” (2.) “Your opinion of me is none of my business.”

15.) Favorite moment of baseball career thus far.

“Playing with Griffey.”

I hope this helped you to learn more about Shawn Kelley of the Seattle Mariners.

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Big thanks to Shawn Kelley for answering my questions.

You can follow Shawn Kelley on twitter: @shawnkelley23 

The next Q and A entry will be posted Wednesday, September 14, on Casey Kelly, of the Padres Organization.

PAST Q AND A ENTRIES: Brent Lillibridge, Daniel Hudson, Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner, Jeremy Guthrie, Bryan Harper, Casper Wells, Bud Norris, David Huff, and Brandon McCarthy.

MLB’s Most Likeable Players-Fans Point of View

Question: What do Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Heath Bell, Brandon Phillips, David Ortiz, and Johnny Damon, all have in common?

Answer: They are all great guys who enjoy interacting with their fans, and giving back.

So, in honor of their general awesomeness, I decided to ask six fans (one for each player) the same three questions, to see their opinions on the coolest guys in baseball. Here’s what they had to say:

CURTIS GRANDERSON

Big thanks to Curtis Granderson fan Alexandra, for answering my questions.

1. What is it about Curtis that makes him such a likeable guy?

His personality and the way he plays the game. He plays with his heart and has fun with it. He’s a great guy on and off the field.

2. Since becoming a fan is there anything that Curtis has done on, or off, the field, that has stood out to you?

His Grand Kids Foundation and how he donates thousands of dollars worth of baseball gear to schools around New York every year.

3. On a scale of 1-10, rank Curtis in terms of fan friendliness/likeability. (With 10 being highest.)

Definitely a 10. He’s a very humble guy. Every one likes him even more after meeting him. He loves his fans.

ICHIRO SUZUKI

Big thanks to Ichiro Suzuki fan Luke, for answering my questions.

1. What is it about Ichiro that makes him such a likeable guy?

I think many people like him because he is a good guy who is always smiling. He also has a lot of talent, plays hard and plays the right way.

2. Since becoming a fan is there anything that Ichiro has done on, or off, the field, that has stood out to you?

I believe he helped get donation stuff going when the Earthquake tore apart Japan. I believe he’s just a really good guy.

3. On a scale of 1-10, rank Ichiro in terms of fan friendliness/likeability. (With 10 being the highest.)

I would say he is about an 8. Really friendly guy.

HEATH BELL

Big thanks to Heath Bell fan Zack, for answering my questions.

1. What is it about Heath that makes him such a likeable guy?

He’s basically a four-year-old in a grown man’s body. He’s happy and friendly, and he doesn’t behave like everyone seems to think that a professional athlete should.

2. Since becoming a fan, is there anything that Heath has done on, or off, the field, that has stood out to you?

He donated more than $200 to my charity fundraiser two years ago for Pitch In For Baseball. That was way above and beyond anything I ever expected from him.

3. On a scale of 1-10, rank Heath in terms of fan friendliness/likeability. (With 10 being the highest.)

I’d say somewhere around 14.

BRANDON PHILLIPS

Big thanks to Brandon Phillips fan Neiko, for answering my questions.

1. What is it about Brandon that makes him such a likeable guy? 

Brandon is a very caring and supportive person. He shows he cares about his family, friends, and fans, which makes him likeable.

2. Since becoming a fan is there anything that Brandon has done on, or off, the field, that has stood out to you?

The fact that Brandon has become a worldwide known baseball player, and has interacted more with his fans. That shows the person he is.

3. On a scale of 1-10, rank Brandon in terms of fan friendliness/likeability. (With 10 being highest.)

I would say 10 because once you really get to know him he’s the most fan friendly and likable player in the MLB.

DAVID ORTIZ

Big thanks to David Ortiz fan Jordan, for answering my questions.

1. What is it about David that makes him such a likeable guy?

He’s shown to be a generally nice guy from what I’ve seen from games. A gentle giant of sorts. Reference being an MLB fancave video where he is wearing his jersey walking around New York, looking for hugs.

2. Since becoming a fan is there anything that David has done on, or off, the field that has stood out to you?

I was watching a Sox v. Yanks game on ESPN back in May. Next to the dugout was a father wearing a yanks hat, and a son wearing a sox hat. He put his bat up, noticed the boy wearing a sox hat in yankee stadium, and pulled his bat back out and handed it to the kid. Awesome in my book.

3. On a scale of 1-10, rank David in terms of fan friendliness/likeability. (With 10 being the highest.)

Giving that kid his bat gives him a 10 in my book.

JOHNNY DAMON

Big thanks to Johnny Damon fan Teresa, for answering my questions.

1. What is it about Johnny that makes him such a likeable guy?

J D loves baseball. Would have stayed in Boston for less $$ but was forced to the Yanks. Success did not change him. He’s remained someone his mom could be proud of. Never whined, when not given the media attention he deserved. Just played ball.

2. Since becoming a fan is there anything that Johnny has done on, or off, the field, that has stood out to you?

I became a J D fan when he donated his hair to Locks of Love to help a child (while in Boston).

3. On a scale of 1-10, rank Johnny in terms of fan friendliness/likeability. (With 10 being highest.)

While in Boston a 10. Yanks a 5. Back up to an 8 these days.

So there you have it. Six different opinions, on six different players. I hope this entry has helped to turn you into a fan of all six players. When it comes down to it, they’re all GREAT guys.

Please leave a comment, and rate this entry………

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Big thanks to ALL who helped me out in answering my questions. I appreciate it. So, to thank you, I’ll give you shout outs to your twitter accounts:

Alexandra– Twitter….. @TeamGrandy14

Luke– Twitter….. @LGNation34

Zack– Twitter….. @zack_hample

Neiko– Twitter….. @ThisIsNJJ

Jordan– Twitter….. @RoundDozerMan

Teresa– Twitter….. @golfergirl88

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