Aaron Sanchez’ Improving Pitch Mix

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez works against the Boston Red Sox during first inning MLB baseball action in Toronto on Friday, May 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez works against the Boston Red Sox during first inning MLB baseball action in Toronto on Friday, May 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

In the second half of last year, the Toronto Blue Jays called upon prized pitching prospect, Aaron Sanchez, to pitch out of their bullpen and boy did he ever impress. In 33 MLB innings, he only surrendered 14 hits and 4 earned runs along with 9 walks and 27 strikeouts. He relied on a sinker, fastball, curveball and occasional changeup mix, but last September, he essentially became a two pitch pitcher … Continue reading→

Jason Heyward is Overrated

heyward2Jon Heyman of CBS Sports recently wrote of a scout telling him that “They (the Cardinals) will rue the day they made that trade.” of Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. Those comments were issued after Heyward’s poor start to the season hitting just .248/.301/.352 after 28 games although he’s picked it up of late going 7 for 15 earlier in the week during the Cubs series. However I found the scout’s comments interesting and I too have often thought of the right fielder as one that is overrated… Continue reading→

New York Yankees Not To Be Discounted

Rays at YankeesMany people have discounted the New York Yankees this year citing various reasons such as their aging, Derek Jeter-less lineup, and well past his prime CC Sabathia. Yet in this writer’s eyes, they always seem to be competitive no matter what and produce lots of runs in their home ballpark especially via the long ball. Except maybe that hasn’t been entirely true of late… Continue reading→

Rangers Not Getting The Same Josh Hamilton They Knew

josh hamiltonIn a shocking development, estranged Angels’ slugger Josh Hamilton is rumoured to be close to being sent to his old team, the Texas Rangers.  Hamilton, who is currently on the DL recovering from shoulder surgery, has put himself and the Angels club through quite the turmoil this past offseason having admitted to suffering a relapse to his drug and alcohol addiction. The whole Angels’ organization including owner, Arte Moreno have been vocal about their displeasure with Josh’s conduct and as such, his future with the team was up in the air… Continue reading→

Seven Rookie Relievers Who Could Impact 2015

castroEvery year it seems some players come out of nowhere to have a grand impact on their teams’ success just like Brandon Finnegan and Hunter Strickland did last year down the stretch for the Royals and Giants, respectively. However the following seven rookie relievers, who by the way have made their team’s opening day rosters, have a far greater chance of making a significant impact for their team’s 2015 season than those aforementioned simply because they’re starting Day 1 in the big leagues.

Without further ado, here’s the list in no particular order … Continue reading→

My Personal Predictions for 2015

AL East

Yankees – they always hit in Yankee Stadium, and if they’re healthy, their whole pitching staff can be really good.

Blue Jays (WC)  – I hope I’m wrong because I’d love to have the Jays win the East, but there’s just so many unknowns about this team (CF, 2B, SP, RP), it makes things unpredictable. They could conceivable finish anywhere from 1st to 4th. I like 88 wins though.

Red Sox – This is another team that could be a lot higher. I like what they’ve done and they have depth galore, but that SP I’m not a huge fan of. Porcello though could have a monster season.

Orioles – I’m probably underestimating them here because their offense shouldn’t be much different than last year despite the players who left (e.g., is Snider really that much worse than Markakis?). They have solid pitching throughout.

Rays – Good starting rotation and terrific OF defense will still play. As always, can they hit enough though?

AL Central

Indians – They could have a scary good pitching staff, and why not pick another sleeper team that could go all the way?

Tigers – Ageing core with potential for injuries. SP not as good. Not this year Detroit, sorry.

Royals – Shouldn’t be as good as last year especially without Shields. I expect a drop off, but maybe by not that much.

White Sox – Much improved team, but still is it enough? Will they gel? Having Rodon contribute could make their staff very strong and push them much higher in the standings.

Twins – Do they have any hope especially without Ervin? Not with those pitchers pencilled into the back of their rotation.

AL West

Angels – Should still be the team to beat once Richards get back. And they have Trout.

Mariners (WC) – They’re the sexy pick right now by a lot of people, but I have to see how their new additions hit in Safeco. Pitching could be the best in the division.

Athletics – Still will have good pitching in that ballpark, but they’ve got some big holes in that lineup.

Astros – They’re making some gains offensively and have key additions in that bullpen, but I still think they’re years away from their youth becoming stars and uplifting their team to playoff glory.

Rangers – The poor Rangers. Already the injury bug has hit them.

NL East

Nationals – Clearly the best team in baseball. Only injuries and/or lack of performance will prevent them from going far into the playoffs.

Mets – That starting staff is going to be special even with Wheeler out. It should carry the team into contention.

Marlins – They could conceivably finish second here, but they need their SP to be good until Fernandez gets back. Did they get Stanton enough protection? Not sure they have with Morse.

Braves – I don’t get what they’re doing by rebuilding and signing Markakis. Their offense will still be brutally bad. At least they finally traded Kimbrel – no use have a great closer on a rebuilding club.

Phillies – Oh boy. They can’t even trade their ageing stars.

NL Central

Cardinals – They’re a complete organization with tons of depth and talent. I will pick them to finish first every year until they don’t.

Pirates (WC) – St. Louis is still the class of this division, but there’s a lot to like in Pittsburgh. I just don’t like their SP as much as the Cards.

Cubs – They’re going to be good. Just not yet. Give them a season to gel and for the youngsters to grow. Do you see similarities here with the Jays?

Brewers – What’s happened now – so many people are down on the Brew Crew? They were doing so well to start last year and then plummeted. They too could be better than they were at the end of ’14.

Reds – Just a few years ago they were favoured to contend with largely the same guys. And now? They could still rebound and surprise if they’re healthy.

NL West

Dodgers – New regime with money and smarts. I think they’ll be okay despite early injuries.

Padres (WC) – Even with the Kimbrel trade, they marginally upgraded an already deep bullpen. This team will certainly be  better than 2014, but offense in that park and their team defense may hold them back.

Giants – No way, it’s an odd-numbered year.

Rockies – If only they had pitching.

Diamondbacks – I really don’t get this organization. For that reason, they’re last.

World Series Prediction: Dodgers over Indians

AL Rookie of Year: Steven Souza, Rays

NL Rookie of Year: Kris Bryant, Cubs

AL Cy Young: Sonny Gray, Athletics

NL Cy Young: Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels

NL MVP: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

 

No Reason Castro & Osuna Can’t Be Successful

TOR_Osuna_Castro (2)There’s something about putting two 20 year olds in the bullpen that might appear foolhardy. “They need more experience,” someone might say. “They aren’t quite developed yet,” people may retort. However, what the Blue Jays have on its hands are two young studs in Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna that have risen more quickly than ever imagined.

Castro has spent just over two years in the minors … Continue reading→

Baseball Hot Corner: 2015 MLB Predictions

ball mlb logos (2)For this year, instead of asking just a few writers to give their picks of the standings along with their explanations of those picks, I decided to poll all the writers on Baseball Hot Corner (BHC) and summarize the results. I simply asked each writer to give me their predicted order of finish in each division along with their picks for the wild cards and World Series winner as well as for the annual awards.

Here is what we said:

AL East: Boston led the way with 8 first place votes. Toronto was the team with the second most picks to finish in first with … Continue reading→

Kyle Drabek Claimed by White Sox

DC_Spring_Training27.jpgKyle Drabek, who had been competing to join the Blue Jays’ bullpen when the team headed north, has been claimed on waivers by the Chicago White Sox. It isn’t entirely clear at present if Drabek will join Chicago’s bullpen or try to be snuck through waivers again by them since he’s out of options. David Robertson, Zach Putnam … Continue reading→

Current & Future Cuban All-Stars

rusney castillo4 (2)As the last instalment of this four part series I’ve written on both current and future Cuban all-stars, I’m covering outfielders and designated hitters. For previous instalments, check out Part 1 (1B & 2B), Part 2 (SS, 3B, C), and Part 3 (SP & RP). To continue reading this series over on Baseball Hot Corner, click here.