Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

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.

DJ4K – Derek Jeter’s Quest To 4,000 Hits?

As I sat on my couch last night, watching MLB Network, a very valid questions was posed by the network analysts of whether or not Derek Jeter has a shot of getting to 4,000 hits, or better yet, the even bigger milestone of passing the all-time hit leader, Pete Rose. Rose, who had a total of 4,256 hits in his career, is currently over 1,000 hits ahead of Jeter, who has 3,088 hits to show for his 17-year career. No chance of him getting over 1,000 hits before he retires, right? Well, although it’s an uphill climb for Jeter, the idea of Jeter getting at least to 4,000 hits isn’t out of the question. When you compare Jeter to Rose, in terms of hits through 2,426 games, Jeter is 22 hits ahead of Rose. A pace I feel he can keep up.

Jeter recorded 162 hits this past season alone, and if he can keep up an average of at least 150 hits a season, he could get to 4,000 hits in 6-years time. That’d put him at 4,000 career hits by his 24th season; or age 43. Though Jeter is already considered old (by baseball standards) Rose didn’t retire until age 45. Add two extra seasons onto Jeter’s career and you end up with roughly 20 hits more than Rose had in his career. I’m not saying that it’s extremely likely that Jeter will pass Rose, I’m just saying that it’s more likely than people are giving Jeter credit for. Jeter does an incredible job in his at-bats of fouling off tough pitches for one he can loop over an infielders head for a base hit. It’s this skill that I feel will lead him to a 4,000 (or more) hit career.

So, do you agree, or disagree with me? Do you think Jeter is on track to a 4,000 hit career? Maybe even more? Let me know:

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

Upcoming Blog Entries

Now that school is out, I’m going to be blogging a lot more now. Not an every day thing, but probably at least every other day or so.

Some blog entries will be random ones, about things going on in baseball, and some will be on hot topics. I’m not really sure yet.

But what I am sure of three upcoming blog entries:

The first will come sometime next week, as I’m going to do a Q and A with Alex Meyer on Monday, and form it all together in a blog entry sort of like Neiko Johnson’s. Unlike Neiko, Alex has already been drafted. (To the Nationals.) But I’m sure that Neiko will sign with a team soon. [Update....I was right. He signed with the Astros earlier today!]

The second entry that I’m sure of, is one on the June 21st Yankees @ Reds game. I’m showing up at 1:00 (for a 7:10 game) to try and get autographs from the Yankees players as they enter the stadium. I’m also taking my glove to BP for the first time EVER. And lastly I’m going to try and get the Yankees lineup cards from Girardi. It will definitely be an interesting/long blog entry, due to all that’s going to go down. So check back sometime after the game.

And the last entry that I’m one hundred percent sure I’m going to do is on the Louisville Slugger Factory. I’ve never been, so that should be nice.

Other than the three things listed above, I have no idea. The entries will be about whatever baseball related thing that I’m thinking about at the moment.

Lastly, in the unlikely event that you want to follow me on twitter, I’ll be posting links to my entries, and updates about random things that are going on. If you’re still reading and DO want to follow me, you can do so by clicking HERE.

That’s all ’til Monday……..

Mudcats Vs. Smokies 4/21/11 AA Game

My dad and I arrived at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, at around 6:30. The gates had been open for 15 minutes, and there were already several dozen cars in the parking lot.

I was worried that batting practice was already going on, and that I had missed a chance at a baseball or two. But I didn’t hear any cracks of the bat. What? I walked inside the stadium only to find that there was indeed NO batting practice going on. I was upset that there was no BP, but at the same time happy to find out that my ears hadn’t failed me.

I could of tried to get a player to throw me a baseball, but there are large nets that go all the way from foul pole to foul pole. So instead, I wandered around with my dad.

Before we took our seats we stopped by a concession stand where my dad bought a BBQ sandwich and drink. NINE DOLLARS! (Is anything cheap any more? I mean with gas soon to be like 20 dollars a gallon, who can afford this kind of stuff?)

I almost forgot to mention that tonights promotion at Five County Stadium was “Thirsty Thursday”. AKA, 12 oz. soda and beers were just a dollar. (Finally affordability!!) Guess what I got to drink on this fine Thirsty Thursday….. (Really……go ahead…….guess.)

(A) Soda

(B) Beer

(C) Neither

If you said (A), sorry……you’re incorrect.

(B)? I’m only 15 years old, so…………

That leaves us with (C). (The correct answer.)

That’s right. After complaining about everything being SO expensive, I passed up on a dollar soda. Sue me!

After a 15 minute walk around the stadium we finally took our seats in the FRONT row. (Section 106-Row A-Seats 4 and 5, to be exact.) After the national anthem (which included a few bombs bursting in mid air–AKA fireworks) it was finally my favorite time of any ballgame. GAME TIME!!!

The Smokies half of the first wasn’t much to write home about. As they went down 1, 2, 3. The Mudcats however scored 2 runs on 3 hits. (Two of which were doubles.)

The Smokies finally got on the board in the top of the third inning by scoring 2 runs. The mudcats didn’t answer in the bottom half, but scored a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The Smokies then made things interesting by getting within 2 runs in the seventh. The score was 5-3, with the Mudcats on top, going into the eighth inning.

And that is were things stayed. As the final score was 5-3. THE MUDCATS WON!!

I tried for a baseball from the bat boy after the game, but failed in doing so. (No baseballs for me.) But hey…..I got a souvenier cup. (Cue a sarcastic, “OH BOY!”)

HIGHLIGHTS AND PHOTOS

So, I promised photos in my last entry, and here they are…….

(Sorry about the netting.)

Remember in my last entry when I said that a lot of past and present MLB players have come from the Carolina Mudcats? (Tim Wakefield, Miguel Cabrera, etc.) Well anyway, here’s an example:
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Who’s that you ask. That’s Fred Lewis. A player for the Cincinnati Reds, who is down in the minors for rehab. (I think.) Did you notice his red batting helmet? Everyone else on the team had a black helmet, but he had a Cincinnati Reds batting helmet with the number 15 on it. See Fred Lewis in the majors below:
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Here’s a better perspective of the view from our seats:
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Not bad, eh?

I’m going to let you guess what the next picture is:
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Give up? It’s the Carolina Mudcats mascot, a mudcat. (How original.) Muddy the Mudcat to be exact. In the photo above he’s about to race the kid around the bases. Guess who won. Yep. The kid. (I personaly think the whole race was rigged.)

That wasn’t the only action that took place inbetween innings. There was a T-shirt toss. (No I didn’t get a shirt.) A sack race. And of course the Seventh inning stretch. (That’s always a crowd favorite.) Now for more pics.

Five County Stadium has many unique design features to it. Here are two of them:
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The first picture is of the General Admission seats. (Notice that they’re green.) The second picture is of the right field wall. It is dramatically short, and very close. This makes it VERY easy for a lefty to hit a homer. Oddly enough, no lefty even came close. Hmmm.

There’s also a restaurant:

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I guess that’s for the people who want to eat in warmth (yes it was freezing cold) and enjoy a ballgame at the same time.

The most action packed thing that happened all night was in the bottom of the seventh inning. After striking out, Mudcats right fielder, Denis Phipps, was ejected from the game for throwing his bat to the ground in fustration. I think the home plate umpire jumped the gun. I mean, give the guy a warning. Don’t just give him a “YOU’RE OUTTA HERE!” (That umpire had problems all night with making good decisions on calls. And the crowd let him know it. It was quite hilarious actually.)

Here’s Denis after the ejection was made:
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He was a bit mad at the call. (I don’t blame him.)

And here’s the “necessary” discussion between the home plate ump. and a Mudcats coach over the call:
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All in all it was a GREAT game. And I had a GREAT time. This was my first Mudcats game in over 5 years. It was good to be back. I might have to go back very soon. Hmmmm……

Through The Mail Autographs

Starting next week, I am going to mail out some items to several baseball players, with the hopes of autograph success. I haven’t decided exactly who yet, or how many players I’m going to send things to…..but I am going to send out at least a few.

I have no idea what to expect…….Will they sign at all? How long will it take? But I am looking forward to finding out the answers to these questions.

I am not going to send out items to the TOP players, such as Derek Jeter, (Basically the entire Yankee team), Albert Pujols, etc.
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I’ll probably just send out items to the less popular players.

I’ll post an entry of the autographs I get (if any) at a later time. So stay tuned……

In other autograph news, I am planning on going to the June 21st game between the Reds and the Yankees. (It is in Cincinnati, Ohio.) I am planning on arriving at Great American Ballpark at around 1:00 for a 7:10 game. Why? For autographs……of course. I am going to stand at the Yankees entrance from around 1:00 to around 4:00. Then try my luck during BP for autographs. I know it sounds stupid to arrive at 1:00 for a 7:10 game. But the way I see it, I REALLY want an autograph. So why not give my self the best opportunity to do so?

If there is anyone reading this that has ever tried and succeeded (or failed) at getting an autograph by mail, I’d love to hear your story.

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