Category Archives: MLB

Winners and Losers of MLB Trade Deadline

Winners:

Los Angeles Dodgers:

Acquired: Yu Darvish, Tony Watson, and Tony Cigrani

Going into the final hour of the trading deadline, the Dodgers were set to be the biggest loser of the trading deadline. However, in short order they were able to acquire two solid lefty arms for the bullpen and solidify their rotation by adding perennial All-Star Yu Darvish to the top of the rotation. The two lefties, Watson and Cigrani, are nice pieces and will help provide incremental improvements to the club, but the addition of Darvish will potentially bring a championship back to the City of Angels for the first time since 1988. The Dodgers are currently the favorite to win the World Series, but they were still searching for starting pitching depth, especially with the recent injury to Kershaw. Behind Kershaw, the Dodgers have a slew of solid arms, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Brandon McCarthy, but none of these starters have shown an ability to stay healthy for a extended period of time. In an effort to back up the words of the owner, Magic Johnson, who stated that they would win the title this season, the Dodgers went out and acquired the best starter on the market, Yu Darvish. Darvish brings to the table an electric arm that can dominate opposing lineups unlike any other pitcher on their roster, besides Kershaw. Since entering MLB in 2012, Darvish has been a four time All-Star for the Rangers and continuously ranked near the top of the league in strikeouts. A move to the weaker National League West should only inflate his already solid strikeout numbers. The Dodgers will not need these three hurlers to win the NL West, but if they hope to defeat the defending World Series champion, Chicago Cubs, and the best offensive team in baseball, Washington Nationals, these three will prove vital to their success.

New York Yankees:

Acquired: Sonny Gray, David Robertson, Jaime Garcia, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier

The Yankees did not wait until July 31 to make one of the biggest moves of the deadline as they acquired David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Todd Frazier from the White Sox on July 19th. The deal has already provided dividends for the club as they have reclaimed first place in the AL East and won nine of their last eleven games. Although they were forced to lose former first round picks Blake Rutherford and Ian Clarkin, Rutherford did not have a future with the club as he is blocked by Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge and Clarkin is a major question mark due to past injury history. Even though Todd Frazier was the biggest name in the deal, Robertson and Kahnle will provide the most benefit to the club. Robertson and Kahnle have both put together nice seasons as they have ERAs under 3.00 and high strikeout totals. Without great starters that are able to give Joe Girardi length, the Yankees will need to rely on Robertson, Kahnle, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman to close out close importnat games in September and October. Along with enhancing the bullpen, the team bolstered the starting rotation with the addition of Sonny Gray. Although Gray is not a legitimate ace on a championship team, he will give the team quality innings and should be able to compete against opposing twos and threes. The Yankees were attracted toward Gray because he has postseason success and has an ERA under 2.00 over his last 6 starts. Unlike Darvish, the Yankees were so engaged in the Gray discussions because he is not a free agent until after the 2019 season, which fits with the team’s youth movement. The team is definitely not complete, but the addition of a very good starting pitcher and good bullpen pieces should push the team into serious October baseball for the first time since 2012. To make matters better for the club, they were able to keep their top flight prospects, Gleybar Torres, Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and Estevan Florial.

Losers:

Houston Astros:

Acquired: Francisco Liriano

Although the Astros made a deal by acquiring Liriano, he is not going to make a big enough impact to significantly improve the team. The Astros were looking at Zach Britton, Brad Hand, Lance Lynn, and Yu Darvish but decided to not make a deal at the deadline. Although some of the best trades are the ones you do not make, the Astros could have used either a starter or a relief pitcher and possessed the necessary prospects and financial willpower to consummate a deal. The team has the best offense in the American League, but everyone knows that pitching wins in the postseason. Recently, the team has experienced trouble in the starting rotation as Lance McCullers is returning to the DL and Dallas Keuchel has just returned, but lasted 3 innings in his first outing. Even just the addition of a specialist like Brad Hand could have significantly helped the team. Last season, the Indians and Cubs showed the importance of having a shut down reliever in the postseason and it will likely be a deciding factor again this postseason. Although the Astros will win their division and make the playoffs, their lack of action at the deadline may be the difference between winning the pennant and going home in the ALDS.

Kansas City Royals:

Acquired: Melky Cabrera

A few weeks ago, the Royals were looking to be sellers at the deadline, but as they say no one can predict baseball. They played a great few weeks and now sit as one of the Wild Card teams. The Royals have the talent to make serious damage in the AL on offense. The team has many of the same players, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, and Salvador Perez, that led them to back to back World Series appearances and the one World Series Championship 2015. However, the team could have become one of the legitimate favorites in the AL, if they had acquired a starting pitcher like they did in 2014 when they dealt three pitching prospects for James Shields. The Royals no longer have a great farm system or the payroll to accept large salary, but they could have traded for a solid rotation piece like Lance Lynn. Lynn would have been a great addition along with Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas to form a good, but not great three headed monster. This team will be able to compete with the AL elites, but without a solid rotation it is hard to see them making a serious run. In addition, this would have been the perfect year to go all in because they will likely lose their best players, Cabrera, Hosmer, Cain, Moustakas, Vargas, and Escobar, this offseason.

 

3 Best Picks to win the World Series based on Vegas Odds

Favorites:

Chicago Cubs (+450)

If someone is a betting man, they should bet on Chicago Cubs right now. The Cubs’ stock will never be lower, which is great for potential bettors. After losing six straight on the road in California, Chicago returned home to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to get above .500 and are only a game back of first place. The team will obviously make the playoffs and once they make the postseason, they will star. Even though the Astros are 11 games better in the loss column, this team still has the most talent in the MLB. On offense, they possess stars such as reigning MVP Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Javy Baez, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber. Although Rizzo, Russell, and  Schwarber have struggled this season, they have done nothing, but hit since they have entered the MLB. However, the difference between this team and the Stros is their starting pitching and experience. The Astros have never made it out of the ALDS and the Cubs have won a World Series and possess four solid starting pitchers. Although none of them have succeeded this season, they have too much talent and past success to not turn it around. Lester is the only pitcher with a below 4.00 ERA among the four starters, Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, and Lackey. Hendricks’ season last year may have been a flash in the pan, but the other three have top end potential. Lester is a great pitcher and becomes even better when the calendar turns to September and October. In the postseason, Lester owns a 2.63 ERA. Lackey is a similar pitcher, even though he is aging and is not a true ace. In October, Lackey possesses a 3.27 ERA and he has been pitching for winning teams his entire career. Lastly, Arrieta is in a contract year and he will be motivated to return his Cy Young form if he wants to make max money this offseason. Along with their starting rotation, the relief staff is nasty. Wade Davis is one of the great closers in the MLB and Carl Edwards Jr. and Mike Montegomery have been incredible in the setup role.

Boston Red Sox (+750)

In terms of the American League, I would choose the Red Sox to win the pennant over the Houston Astros and reach the World Series. Like the Cubs, the Red Sox were one of the favorites to start the season, but began the year slowly. As of late, they have played better baseball and have pulled their record to five games above .500 and second place in the division. Even though the Yankees have started well, the Red Sox have one of the most talented rosters in MLB. On offense, they are as skilled as the Cubs with Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley, Betts, Ramirez, Pedroia, and Pablo Sandoval have experienced either injuries or a down season, which is a reason why the Red Sox are in their current location. The lineup is so vaunted because they have players that hit for power, high average, and speed. In terms of pitching, the rotation is still finding themselves, but they have the potential to be dominant. Chris Sale has been everything that the Red Sox expected when they dealt two of their top prospects for the lefty. Sale is in the competition for the league lead in ERA, WHIP, wins, and strikeouts. Along with Sale, Price, a legitimate ace, has just returned from injury, Drew Pomeranz has pitched well lately, and Porcello should be able to improve on his 4.24 ERA. In the bullpen, the team has been absolutely dominant. The trio of Craig Kimbrel, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly each have over 20 games pitched and have an ERA under 1.50. The team is going to make a big run soon so bettors should take advantage of this position, like with the Cubs.

Sleeper:

St. Louis Cardinals (+2500)

For my sleeper pick, I chose a team that was over +1000. Although there were many good options such as the first place Yankees, the Cardinals are the team with high odds that have the best chance of winning. The Cardinals just have a championship pedigree that never seems to dissipate even when stars leave the squad. The Cardinals have been mediocre this season as they are three games below .500, but still only 2.5 games out of first place. Although it is unlikely that they will win the division due to the Cubs, they are only 6 games out of a wild card position. The Cards will make up this ground because they have started to play better lately, the Diamondbacks will not continue this success, and there are over 100 games left in the season. The offense has been sluggish all year for the Cardinals, but their stars are too good to not turn around. Aledmys Diaz, Yadier Molina, Dexter Fowler, Randal Grichuk, and Matt Carpenter are all batting below .260, which is consistently below their career averages. Each of these batters have experienced great success in the past and their averages will climb closer to the .300 mark by the end of the season. However, the team will succeed because of the strength of their staff. The staff has experienced mixed results, but they have an incredible combination of talent, experience, and youth. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha have top notch talent and have shown the ability to dominate teams even in October. Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and Mike Leake are consummate professionals. Wainwright is a former ace that still possesses the ability and knowledge to retire professional hitters. Lynn and Leake are both having superb years as they each have ERAs under 3.00 and WHIP below 1.10. The team’s bullpen does not stack up well when compared against the elites, but the combination of Trevor Rosenthaul and Seung Hwan Oh are a solid 8th and 9th inning duo. Although the team does not have the talent of teams like the Astros, Cubs, or Red Sox, they are a good long odd bet because of their solid offensive ability, pitching strength, and knack for October success.

3 Biggest Surprises and Disappointments

  1. Houston Astros (38-16)

The Houston Astros have by far the best record in the MLB and they are on set to have a better record than the Chicago Cubs’ did last season. Last year, the Astros had a down year, but this year they seem to have everything. The Stros have the best offense in baseball as they rank top 2 in the entire MLB in runs, hits, home runs, average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. Houston do not show any signs of declining because they possess stars such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann. Along with the offense, the bullpen has been as good as expected. They are deep and talented, which has helped the starting staff. The combination of Ken Giles, James Hoyt, and Will Harris has been able to shut down opponents with thier high 90s fastballs and plus secondary options. While the offense and bullpen has been no surprise, the pitching is what makes this team a surprise and the overwhelming favorite to win the title. The team owns the second best ERA in the entire MLB. The rotation is led by ace Dallas Keuchel, who owns 1.81 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 8 wins, and the early leader for his second Cy Young in three years. Behind Keuchel, they have quality starters such as Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton. The pitching staff will likely not continue at this current pace, but the offense and relief pitching will keep them as title contenders.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks (33-22)

Before this season, nobody believed that the Diamondbacks would be this good at this point in the season. Arizona has achieved contributions from all of their players, but most importantly from their two stars, Paul Goldschmidt and Zach Greinke. Goldschmidt has placed himself in the MVP discussion once again with his 12 home runs, 39 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and .303/.429/.564 slash. Along with Goldschmidt, the rest of the offense has been dangerous especially Chris Owings, David Peralta, Brandon Drury, and Jake Lamb. In terms of pitching, Greinke has been a Cy Young contender once again with 6 wins, 3.24 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 84 punchouts. However, Arizona is in their current position because they have been given similar performances from Robbie Ray and Taijun Walker all season long. Although it is high unlikely that they will continue at this current pace and win the NL West, they should be able to compete for one of the Wild Card positions due to the lack of talent in the NL.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (29-25)

Although the Brewers do not have the same record as other surprises such as the Yankees or Rockies, they are in first place in the NL Central over the World Series favorite Chicago Cubs and perennial powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers have been able to succeed because their young pitching has solid and they have received surprise contributions on the offensive side. On offense, they have received great production from first year Brewers Eric Thames, who has come from Asia and produced 14 home runs, and Travis Shaw, acquired from Boston and leads the team with a .292 average. In terms of pitching, Jimmy Anderson and Jimmy Nelson have both pitched to an under 4.00 ERA while striking out more than 8 batters per 9 innings. Although the Brewers have been surprising early on, they should not deviate from their plan and become buyers at the deadline. They are widely considered to have the best farm system in the league with outfielders, Lewis Brinson and Corey Ray as well as pitchers Josh Hader and Luis Ortiz, and they should look to add to their already strong system by trading either veteran stars Matt Garza or Ryan Braun. However, they have been having great success and they should be encourage by their young players’ progress.

Biggest Disappointments

  1. Chicago Cubs (25-27)

Without a doubt the biggest disappointment this season has been the play of the Chicago Cubs. The World Series favorite and defending champion are not even above .500 even though they possess the most talent in baseball. On offense the biggest culprits are Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell, and Anthony Rizzo. Schwarber has done nothing but hit over his short career, but this season he cannot even do that. He is currently batting .165, without hitting for much power and providing nothing on defense. Along with Schwarber, another young player, Addison Russell, has started slowly after tallying 100 RBIs last season. In 2017, he is batting a poultry .216 with 3 home runs and 19 RBIs. Lastly, the Cubs have come to expect more from Anthony Rizzo than he has produced this year. Although he is leading the team in home runs and RBIs, he bats .227, which is inexcusable for a player of his ilk and should be a perennial MVP candidate. Along with their lackluster offense, the pitching has been equally disappointing. None of the their four main starters, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Kyle Hendricks, have an ERA under 3.75. Three of those starters should be in contention for the Cy Young. However, the Cubs are lucky to be in the weak NL Central and should be able to win the division even with their early struggles.

2. Kansas City Royals (22-30)

How far the mighty have fallen. In 2014, the Royals were able to make the World Series and even won the title in 2015. However, this season, they sit as the worst team in the AL. The downfall of the Royals has been due to the loss of their star pitchers. Today, the team has very few consistent starters as Ian Kennedy is frequently injured or ineffective, Danny Duffy is hurt, Jason Hammel is a below average starter, and Nate Karns is not an MLB starter. Vargas has been pitching well for the club, but that will likely only help the team by improving his trade value. On offense, they still have many of their stars, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and Eric Hosmer, but they have not been able to produce. In addition many of the players, Moustakas, Escobar, Cain, and Hosmer, are set to become free agents, which means that they will likely to be traded at the deadline. If they can deal these starters plus Vargas and relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera, they can alter their fortunates quickly with smart deals that rebuild their farm system.

3. San Francisco Giants (22-33)

Before the season, the Giants were a dark house candidate to return to the World Series because of their championship pedigree and talented roster. However, the season has been an utter disaster, which started with the injury to Madison Bumgarner. Without Bumgarner, the rest of the pitching staff has faltered as none of their current starters, which include highly paid stars, Johnny Cueto, Matt Cain, Jeff Samardzija, and Matt Moore, possess an ERA below 4.37. Due the stats behind their baseball card, they can all turn around and become quality starters once again, but the odds are growing slighter by the day. In terms of their offense, the Giants have not had much consistency besides star backstop Buster Posey, who is batting .348. The other core players, Belt, Panik, Crawford, and Pence, are all batting under .260 and do not provide much else in terms of power or run producing ability. The future does not seem bright for the team, especially with the success of the other NL West teams, but they still should not break up the roster. Even if they do not make the playoffs this season, they should be confident that they can return to prominence the following season.