Saturday, June 23, 2018

NHL trade review: Flames, Hurricanes make blockbuster trade

            The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Adam Fox, plus forward Michael Ferland from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Noah Hanifin and forward Elias Lindholm.

            For the Hurricanes, they need a big shake up. New owner Tom Dundon said he'd chance things around town, and he did just that with this move. Hamilton has a $5.75 million cap hit at three years left. I think he could still be on this contract when the Canes are a competitive team. Ferland is a bottom six winger with one year left at $1.75 million. Fox is still unsigned, but could be a big time prospect. He could do the Jimmy Vesey move- wait out college and become a UFA. Hanifin, a former 5th overall pick, and Lindholm, a top 9 forward, are both RFAs.

           Hamilton, 25, scored 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points in 82 games for the Flames this past season. In his NHL career for the Flames and Boston Bruins, Hamilton has scored 64 goals and 165 assists for 220 points in 423 games.

           Ferland, 26, scored 21 goals and 20 assists for 41 points in 77 games this past season. In his NHL career, all in Calgary, Ferland has scored 42 goals and 47 assists for 89 points in 250 games.

           Fox, 20, scored six goals and 22 assists for 28 points in 29 games for Harvard last season.

           For the Flames, I don't get this trade too much. Hanifin is a very young defenseman with high upside, but is an even. I've always felt that Lindholm is overrated. He's never proved to be a top 6 player in the NHL. They give up two good defenseman and a bottom six six forward for a good defenseman and average forward.

           Hanifin, 21, scored 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 79 games in 2017-18. In his career, all in Carolina, Hanifin has scored 18 goals and 65 assists for 83 points in 239 games.

           Lindholm, 23, scored 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 81 games in 2017-18. In his NHL career, all in Carolina, Lindholm has scored 64 goals and 124 assists for 188 points in 374 games.

          I think the Hurricanes win this trade. Hamilton is a little better than Hanifin, and you could make a case for Ferland being better than Lindholm. Plus, Fox is a really good prospect. That is why they win the trade.

Friday, June 22, 2018

NHL trade review: Avalanche acquires Grubauer, Orpik

             The Colorado Avalanche have acquired goalie Phillip Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2nd round draft pick in the 2018 NHL draft (47th overall).

               For the Avalanche, Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier could be on the move, and that would leave the team without a goalie. Grubauer is a current RFA, and 26 years old, young for a goalie. They take on the cap hit of Orpik, but his $5 million cap hit only lasts for one season. They only give up a second, pretty good for a fringe goalie.

              Grubauer, 26, had a 2.35 GAA and .923 SV% in 35 games for the Caps this past season. In his NHL career, all in Washington, Grubauer has a SV% of .923 and a 2.29 GAA in 101 games.

              Orpik, 37, scored 10 points, all assists in 81 games for the Caps this past season. In his NHL career, for the Caps and Pittsburgh Penguins, Orpik has scored 16 goals and 169 assists for 185 points in 982 games.

             For the Caps, Ilya Samsonov, the top goalie prospect, is ready to play next season. Plus, they have Braden Holtby as their starter. They wanted to send Grubauer somewhere where he can start. Also, they unload Orpik's contract. This frees up cap space to sign top defenseman John Carlson, a pending UFA. They get a second round pick, which is pretty good to unload a big contract.

           I think this is an even trade. The Caps get the cap space they need, and the Avs get their goalie. That's why it is an even trade.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NHL trade review: Hoffman flipped, traded to Panthers

                    The Florida Panthers have acquired forward Mike Hoffman and a 2018 7th round pick from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2019 2nd round pick, and a 4th and 5th round pick, both in 2018.

                    For the Panthers, their expansion draft blunders last year left them without two scoring wingers in Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith. Hoffman would definitely help them. They give up some picks, but none of them are big picks, except for next year's second.

                   Hoffman, 28, scored 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points in 82 games for the Sens this season. In his NHL career, all in Ottawa, Hoffman has scored 107 goals and 123 assists for 230 points in 342 games.

                  For the Sharks, Hoffman was acquired this morning from the Ottawa Senators. They traded Mikkel Boedker for him, freeing up $4 million in cap space. This gives them room to make a run for John Tavares in free agency. Even if it's not him, it's good to have the space to sign other players, or to use it for a trade. They got a better return from the Panthers then the Sens got from the Sharks, which is a plus. The picks could be valuable to them if they want to trade up. In all, it's a really good move for them.

                  I think this is an even trade. The Sharks get picks and free up cap space, and get a better deal than the Senators got. The Panthers get the winger they need. That's why it's an even trade.

NHL trade review: Hoffman to Sharks

                The San Jose Sharks have acquired winger Mike Hoffman, D Cody Donaghey and a 5th round draft pick in 2020 from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Mikkel Boedker, defenseman Julius Bergman and a 6th rounder in 2020.

               For the Sharks, they are taking a big risk here. Recent allegations against Hoffman's fiance have started a lawsuit where defenseman Erik Karlsson's wife is asking for an order of protection against Hoffman's fiance, Monika Caryk. But, Hoffman is a good player, and they get him for much less than they regularly would. They move up a round in 2020, and exchange prospects. Hoffman has two years left of control, so he isn't a rental.

               Hoffman, 28, scored 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points in 82 games for the Sens this season. In his NHL career, all in Ottawa, Hoffman has scored 107 goals and 123 assists for 230 points in 342 games.

              Donaghey, 22, scored no points in one AHL game last season, and nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 54 ECHL games last season, his first professional.

              For the Sens, they need to blow up and start over. The whole situation they are in (see above) caused them to either trade Hoffman, or Karlsson. Karlsson is their best player, so Hoffman was the easy choice to trade. Boedker scores about ten goals less than Hoffman a year, and has the same amount of years left as him. The only part of this trade where they really win is the defensemen. Bergman is a level higher than Donaghey. That's their advantage.

             Boedker, 28, scored 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 74 games for the Sharks this past season. In his NHL career for the Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, Boedker has scored 109 goals, 179 assists and 288 points in 618 games.

             Bergman, 22, scored 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 65 AHL games last year. In his AHL career, Bergman has scored 16 goals and 45 assists for 61 points in 190 games.

            I think the Sharks win this trade. It's simple. Hoffman is way better than Boedker. Bergman is better than Donaghey, but the NHL players favor the Sharks, and that's what matters.

Monday, June 18, 2018

MLB trade review: Nats acquire Herrera

               The Washington Nationals have acquired RHP Kelvin Herrera from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, OF Blake Perkins and RHP Yohanse Morel.

               For the Nats, they are once again in the playoff race, but the Braves and Phillies are pressuring them this year. They once again need a reliever, and Herrera should be a good fit. He is coming off a rough 2017, but is having a spectacular 2018. Sean Doolittle will probably remain Nats closer, and Herrera will be the set-up man. The prospects they give up aren't spectacular because he is a rental, but still pretty good.

               Herrera, 28, has a 1.05 ERA, a .81 WHIP, 22 strikeouts and 14 saves in 25.2 innings for the Royals this season. In his MLB career, all in Kansas City, Herrera has a 2.75 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 438 strikeouts and 57 saves in 441.1 innings.

              For the Royals, they are rebuilding, after losing Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain in free agency and trading Jon Jay to the D-Backs. Herrera is a rental, and would have no influence on the Royals future. They get three prospects, including the Nationals' 10th and 11th best prospects in Gutierrez and Perkins.

              Gutierrez, 23, has a .285 batting average, 12 homers, 177 RBIs and 55 stolen bases in 1741 Plate Appearances in his minor league career.

              Perkins, 21, has a .239 batting average, 11 homers, 99 RBIs and 57 stolen bases in 1336 career minor league Plate Appearances.

             Morel, 17, has a 8.10 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and five strikeouts in 3.1 innings in rookie ball this season.

            I think this is an even trade. The Nats get the reliever they need, and the Royals get the prospects. That's why it's an even trade.

Friday, June 15, 2018

NHL trade review: Habs, Coyotes, swap Domi and Galchenyuk

            The Arizona Coyotes have acquired center Alex Galchenyuk from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Max Domi.

            For the Coyotes, Galchenyuk has just missed 20 goals in two consecutive seasons, scoring 19 this year with 51 points. But in in 2015-16, Galchenyuk scored 30 goals, just six under Domi's career totals. He is also locked up, at $4.9 million. Arizona could be good within three seasons, and Galchenyuk could be a key top six center for them.

             Galchenyuk, 24, scored 19 goals and 32 assists for 51 points in 82 games for the Habs this season. In his NHL career, all in Montreal, Galchenyuk has scored 108 goals and 147 assists for 255 points in 418 games.

             For the Canadiens, they save some cap space with this trade. Galchenyuk has a $4.9 million cap hit, and Domi is currently an RFA. He might sign a bridge deal, but even if he signs long term, he will likely get less than $4.9 million. Domi doesn't have as good career numbers as Galchenyuk, but is a year younger, and could have more control, depending on the contract he signs with the Habs.

           Domi, 23, scored nine goals and 36 assists for 45 points in 82 games this past season. In his NHL career, all in Arizona, Domi has scored 36 goals and 99 assists for 135 points in 222 games.

           I think the Coyotes win this trade. Galchenyuk has better career numbers than Domi, is locked up, has a pretty low cap hit, and is just a year older than Domi. That's why they win this trade.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

NHL Trade review: Kings reacquire Budaj, Andreoff to Lightning

              The Los Angeles Kings have acquired goalie Peter Budaj from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Andy Andreoff.

               For the Kings, the only NHL goalie on the books for 2018-19 besides starter Jonathan Quick was Jack Campbell, who only played five games last season and had mediocre numbers in the AHL. Budaj is a rental and a veteran that has been the Kings' backup before, and was really good when Quick was injured in 2016-17. While he had a rough 2017-18 season, he's shown that he's better than that, and that he can be more reliable than Campbell.

              Budaj, who turns 36 in a week, had a .876 SV% and a 3.76 GAA in eight games for the Lightning last season. In his NHL career for the Lightning, Kings, Montreal Canadiens ans Colorado Avalanche, Budaj has a .904 SV% with a GAA of 2.69 in 365 games. 

               For the Bolts, they currently have 13 forwards on the roster besides Andreoff, but Chris Kunitz is a UFA, three others are RFAs, and some of them (hint, hint, Cory Conacher and Adam Erne) have never played more than 60 games in a season. While they are thin on goalies, Louis Domingue can be their backup, and they can sign a third goalie for the AHL squad. Andreoff can be a fourth line winger or center for the Bolts this year.

                Andreoff, 27, scored three goals and six assists for nine points in 45 games for the Kings this past season. In his NHL career, all in Los Angeles, Andreoff has scored 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points in 159 games.

                I think this is an even trade. The kings needed a backup goalie, and the Lightning needed a depth forward, and they got what they needed.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

MLB trade review: Brewers acquire Miller for Choi

              The Milwaukee Brewers have acquired INF Brad Miller in exchange for 1B Ji-Man Choi.

              For the Brewers, I don't 100% understand the trade. But, With Eric Thames, Ryan Braun and Jesus Aguilar ahead of him on the depth chart, there isn't much need for Choi. While both have been assigned to AAA, I think Miller can be up relatively soon. Miller is currently a second baseman, with first and shortstop being primary positions in the past. Right now, he would be the third second baseman, behind starter Jonathan Villar and Eric Sogard, and the second shortstop, behind the struggling Orlando Arcia. But, Hernan Perez can also play second, and Tyler Saladino and Nick Franklin are hurt, and could place ahead of Miller on the depth chart.

              Miller, 28, has a .256 batting average, five homers and 21 RBIs in 174 Plate Appearances for the Rays this season. In his MLB career for the Rays and Seattle Mariners, Miller has a batting average of .240, with 73 homers, 260 RBIs and 33 stolen bases in 2425 Plate Appearances.

             For the Rays, Miller has been very disappointing the last two seasons since a 30 homer 2016 season. He was finally DFA'd earlier this week. Like Miller, Choi was assigned to AAA. He is currently the third 1B on the depth chart, following starter C.J. Cron and prospect Jake Bauers. The 22 year old Bauers was just recently called up, going 3 for 16 in his short MLB stint. He has options, and unless he quickly heats up, chances are he's going back down eventually. Which could lead to a Choi promotion as the backup 1B.

            Choi, 27, has a .233 batting average, with two homers and five RBIs in 32 Plate Appearances for the Brewers this year. In his MLB career for the Brewers, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, Choi has a batting average of .191, with nine homers and 22 RBIs.

              I think this is an even trade. Both teams get some depth in case something goes wrong. But, as most depth trades are, there's nothing too special about it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

MLB trade review: D-backs acquire Jay

              The Arizona Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Jon Jay from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for LHP Gabe Speier and RHP Elvis Luciano.

               For the D-backs, A.J. Pollack's injury has caused some problems for them. David Peralta, Chris Owings and Jarrod Dyson are the only outfielders on the roster, and Owings also plays middle infield. Getting a rental 4th outfielder until Pollack returns will help. Also, Jay could just start in center or right, with Owings and short some games, though Daniel Descalco and Nick Ahmed will play mostly at short (and Ketel Marte and short and second). The don't give up much, just two low leveled pitching prospects.

               Jay, 33, has a .307 batting average, one homer, 18 RBIs and three stolen bases in 266 Plate Appearances for the Royals this season. In his MLB career for the Royals, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals, Jay has a .290 batting average, with 34 home runs, 305 RBIs and 54 stolen bases in 3742 Plate Appearances.

               For the Royals, they are one of the worst teams in the league. To hold on the rentals would make no sense. Jay is by no means an all-star, so the price of return makes sense. They are both low leveled prospects, and are risks.

               Speier, 23, has a 3.08 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 193 strikeouts in 234 innings in his minor leagues.

               Luciano, 18, hasn't pitched in 2018, but had a 2.84 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 66.2 innings in 2017, his only professional season.

              I think this is an even trade. The Diamondbacks get the rental they need, and the Royals get the prospects they need. That is why this is an even trade.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

MLB trade review: Mariners acquire Colome, Span from Rays

             The Seattle Mariners have acquired RHP Alex Colome and OF Denard Span from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHPs Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero.

              For the Mariners, injuries to their core players, like CF Dee Gordon (we'll get into that later) and 2B Robinson Cano's 80 game suspension have tried to stop the M's from being contenders. This trade shows that they aren't out of it yet. In a division with the Astros and Angels, two very good teams, it will be hard for the team to make the postseason. Colome was the Rays closer, but with Edwin Diaz as the team's closer, Colome will probably be the set up man for Seattle. With Gordon out, Span will temporarily be the starting center fielder, then go to 4th outfielder when everyone is healthy. Span is a pending free agent, and Colome is under team control through 2021.

              Colome, 29, has a 4.15 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 23 strikeouts and 11 saves in 21.2 innings for the Rays this year. In his MLB career, all in Tampa Bay, Colome has a 3.21 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP, 265 strikeouts and 95 saves in 294.1 innings.

              Span, 34, has a .238 batting average with four homers, 28 RBIs and six steals in 173 Plate Appearances for the Rays this year. In his MLB career for the Rays, San Fransisco Giants, Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins, Span has a batting average of .282 with 64 homers, 460 RBIs and 182 stolen bases in 5628 Plate Appearances.

              For the Rays, they unload two players, but I think they could have gotten more for them, especially Colome. Moore is a younger pitcher with a very small amount of MLB experience . Romero is a young, lower leveled prospect.

              Moore, who will turn 24 a week from the day of the trade, hasn't played in the majors this year. Last year, his only year, featured Moore with a 5.34 ERA, with a WHIP of 1.15 and 31 strikeouts in 59 innings.

            Romero, 20, has a 2.45 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 44 innings for Class A this year.

Friday, May 25, 2018

MLB news: Red Sox DFA Ramirez

           The Boston Red Sox have designated 1B Hanley Ramirez for assignment, and activated all-star 2B Dustin Pedroia off the 10 day DL.

           Ramirez, who was signed through next year after signing a four year, $88 million deal with the Sox back before 2015. After hitting .330 in April, Ramirez has hit .163 in May, which leads to the DFA. The Sox are still responsible for the $15.25 million left on his contract, but now don't need to pay the $22 million he was owed for 2019. Ramirez was signed along with 3B Pablo Sandoval in that offseason between 2014 and 2015, was brought in to revamp the Red Sox, putting the world in shock. Unfortunately for Boston, both were terrible, especially Sandoval, who never put a full season together in Boston. Ramirez had his hot moments, but overall was pretty bad. Former Red Sox teammate and current hot hitter Mitch Moreland is now the starting 1B. Pedroia will once again be the starting 2B, leaving Eduardo Nunez without a position. Nunez, who is known to play pretty much all positions, could get some reps at first, and possibly platoon with Moreland.

           Ramirez, 34, has a .254 batting average with six homers and 29 RBIs in 195 Plate Appearances for the Red Sox this year. In his MLB career for the Red Sox, Florida/Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers, Ramirez has a batting average of .290, with 269 homers, 909 RBIs and 281 stolen bases in 7070 Plate Appearances.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MLB news: Castillo suspended 80 games

           Chicago White Sox catcher Welington Castillo has been suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), a PED that is in violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The 31-year old veteran catcher released the following statement through the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Player's Association):

              "I was recently notified by Major League Baseball that I had tested positive for EPO, a substance that is prohibited under MLB's Joint Drug Agreement. The positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made. I take full responsibility for my conduct. I have let many people down, including my family, my teammates, the White Sox organization and its fans, and from my heart, I apologize. Following my suspension, I look forward to rejoining my teammates and doing whatever I can to help the White Sox win."

            Castillo, a first year White Sox player, was signed by the club this offseason to a two year, $15 million deal with an $8 million option for 2020. He was brought in to help young pitching prospects like Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Carson Fulmer develop. The White Sox are struggling mightily this year, and are tied with Kansas City Royals for last in not just the AL Central, but the MLB as well. When Castillo returns from the suspension, there will be 35 games remaining in the season. An 80 game period is a long run, and could give the 4 catchers on the 40 man right now (Omar Narvaez, Kevin Smith, Alfredo Gonzalez and Dustin Garneau) a chance to shine, or prospects that are a little lower down, like Zack Collins and Seby Zavala a very small chance, but still a chance, to be called up to the show.

             Castillo, 31, has a .267 batting average, six homers and 15 RBIs in 123 Plate Appearances for the White Sox this year. In his career for the White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, Castillo has a batting average of .259, with 86 homers and 298 RBIs in 2392 Plate Appearances.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

NHL news: Isles hire Lamoriello, Wild hires Fenton

             With the Stanley Cup playoffs coming to an end, many teams that either missed the playoffs or were eliminated from the playoffs are making coaching changes, or we'll be talking about today, front office changes. Two teams made big decisions earlier, like the New York Islanders, who hired former Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello as president of hockey operations. The big GM, or general manager spot for the Minnesota Wild now belongs to former Nashville Predators AGM Paul Fenton.

             For the Isles, Lamoriello is a highly experienced executive who has built two teams already. His tenure with the Devils, a 28 year one that lasted from 1987 to 2015, is the third longest tenure for a GM in NHL history, behind Conn Smythe and Art Ross, who both have big time trophies named after them. He built the Devils, a team that never had a winning season before his hiring, to three Stanley cup victories. After resigning in 2015, Lamoriello went to the Maple Leafs, and created the Auston Matthews,, Mitch Marner and William Nylander trio that they currently have. With John Tavares about to be a free agent, the time is perfect to hire a great executive like Lamoriello, who's son, Chris is already AGM of the team.

               For the Wild, Fenton, who had a decent NHL career, including one 32 goal season (he played for the Hartford Whalers, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks), was recently the assistant general manager of the Nashville Predators, last year's Western Conference champions. He also was the GM of the Milwaukee Admirals, the Predators' AHL team. There isn't much beyond that for Fenton, but he was a finalist for other teams' GM job, like the Carolina Hurricanes, but stayed with the Predators until their elimination in the playoffs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MLB trade review: Mets, Reds swap former all-stars

            The Cincinnati Reds have acquired RHP Matt Harvey from the New York Mets in exchange for C Devin Mesoraco.

             For the Reds, they get Harvey, a player who has struggled to be productive the last three years, and make another all-star appearance since starting the game for the hometown Mets in the 2013 game. Partying and breaking team rules have been recent issues for Harvey, who was DFA'd after declining an AAA option. Going to a weak Cincinnati team pushes Harvey out of the New York spotlight, which could help him regain success.

            Harvey, 29, has a 7.00 ERA with a 1.55 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 27 innings this season for the Mets. In his MLB career, all for New York, Harvey has a 3.66 ERA, with a 1.19 WHIP and 612 strikeouts in 639.1 innings.
            For the Mets, they were clearly done with Harvey after his last partying incident, in Los Angeles. They said they were confident they would be able to trade him, and they did. With catcher Travis d'Arnaud out for the year, catching help is needed. Mesoraco, a 2014 all-star, has never played a full season. The closest he has come to one was in '14, where he hit 25 homers in 440 Plate Appearances. But, health has always been an issue for him. He lost the catching job to defensive sensation Tucker Barnhart, so the trade feels right.
             Mesoraco, 30, has hit .220 with one homer and three RBIs in 45 Plate Appearances this season. In his MLB career, all in Cincy, Mesoraco has a batting average of .234 with 48 homers and 162 RBIs in 1345 Plate Appearances.

              I think this is an even trade. Both players clearly need a change, and get one here. I think that Harvey has more upside, but Mesoraco has a better chance to help his team.

Friday, May 4, 2018

NHL trade review: Hurricanes, Coyotes swap Martinook, Kruger

        The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired F Jordan Martinook and a 4th round draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Marcus Kruger (With 10% of his $3 million contract retained) and a third round pick in an unusual trade during the playoffs.

         For the Hurricanes, the get rid of Kruger's big contract (for a 4th liner). I think he's the better player, but Martinook isn't a big drop-off either. The lose a round in the draft, but free up cap.

         Martinook, 25, scored six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 81 games for the Coyotes last year. In his NHL career, all in Arizona, Martinook has scored 26 goals and 39 assists for 65 points in 247 games.

        For the Coyotes, they get Kruger, a solid 4th line center who can fit into their team well and a better draft pick for a bottom six winger. Obviously Kruger is overpaid, but I think they can make it work.

        Kruger, 27, scored one goals and five assists for six points in 48 in his first year in Carolina, this year. In his career between the Canes and Chicago Blackhawks, Kruger has scored 34 goals and 77 assists for 111 points in 446 games.

        I think the Coyotes win this trade. They get a better player and better pick, but take up a little bit of cap, but not too much. That's why they win this trade.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The best current NHL player by jersey number 1-98

           I know, you've probably seen a lot of these around the internet. But I looked around, and a lot of the articles I found with the same idea were missing numbers for no reason. Since 99 is forever retired by Wayne Gretzky, as no one stepped on the ice this season wearing numbers 69, 80 and 84. this should be a 95 section list, and is. Also, if this hits big, say 200 pageviews, I'll do one for the MLB at the end of the season. Finally, a lot of credit goes to, where I found pretty much all of this info. So, let it begin. The top player to suit up in 2017-18 per jersey number, NHL.

          #1: Roberto Luongo    Other: Mike Condon, Semyon Varlamov, Keith Kinkaid
          #2: Duncan Keith        Other: Nick Leddy, Matt Niskanen
          #3: John Klingberg      Other: Keith Yandle, Seth Jones
          #4: Tyson Barrie          Other: Cam Fowler, Ryan Ellis, Justin Schultz, Niklas Hjalmarsson
          #5: Aaron Ekblad         Other: Mark Girodano, Noah Hanifin
          #6: Brock Boeser          Other: Shea Weber, Jake Muzzin, Collin Miller
          #7: Jordan Eberle          Other: T.J. Brodie, Kyle Turris, Brent Seabrook
          #8: Alex Ovechkin        Other: Drew Doughty, Joe Pavelski, Zach Werenski
          #9: Taylor Hall              Other: Artemi Panarin, Filip Forsberg, Mikko Koivu
          #10: Brayden Schenn    Other: Alex Wennberg, Corey Perry
          #11: Anze Kopitar         Other: Mikael Backlund, Jonathan Huberdeau, Zach Parise
          #12: Josh Bailey            Other: Eric Staal, Patrick Marleau
          #13: Johnny Gaudreau  Other: Mat Barzal, Cam Atkinson    
          #14: Jamie Benn           Other: Sean Couturier, Mattias Ekholm, Tomas Plekanec
          #15: Jack Eichel            Other: Ryan Getzlaf, Artem Anisimov
          #16: Aleksander Barkov Other: Mitch Marner, Max Domi
          #17: Wayne Simmonds   Other: Ryan Kesler, Jaden Schwartz
          #18: James Neal             Other: Ondrej Palat, Bryan Little
          #19: Jonathan Toews      Other: Nick Backstrom, Joe Thornton, Reilly Smith
          #20: Ryan Suter              Other: Sebastian Aho (CAR), Brandon Saad, Chris Kreider
          #21: Kyle Palmieri          Other: Vincent Trocheck, Brayden Point, Derek Stepan
          #22: Kevin Shattenkirk   Other: Daniel Sedin, Nino Niederreiter
          #23: Oliver Ekman-Larsson Other: Sean Monahan, Sam Reinhart
          #24: Matt Dumba             Other: Travis Hamonic, Kasperi Kapanen
          #25: James van Riemsdyk Other: Mike Green, Jonas Brodin
          #26: Blake Wheeler          Other: Jimmy Vesey, Thomas Vanek
          #27: Alex Pietrangelo      Other: Anders Lee, Ryan McDonagh, Dougie Hamilton, Nikolaj Ehlers.

           #28: Claude Giroux        Other: Damon Severson, Elias Lindholm    
           #29: Nathan MacKinnon Other: Marc-Andre Fleury, Leon Draisaitl, Patrik Laine
           #30: Matt Murray            Other: Henrik Lundqvist, Ben Bishop
           #31: Carey Price              Other: Martin Jones, Frederik Andersen
           #32: Jonathan Quick        Other: Antti Raanta, Kari Lehtonen
           #33: Dustin Byfuglien      Other: Henrik Sedin, Zdeno Chara, Viktor Arvidsson, Cam Talbot
           #34: Auston Matthews     Other: James Reimer, Jake Allen
           #35: Pekka Rinne             Other: Cory Schneider, Steve Mason, Jimmy Howard
           #36: John Gibson             Other: Mats Zuccarello, Jussi Jokinen
           #37: Patrice Bergeron      Other: Connor Hellebuyck, Yanni Gourde, Brian Elliott
           #38: Ryan Hartmen         Other: Boone Jenner, Nikita Scherbak
           #39: Logan Couture        Other: Anthony Mantha, Toby Enstrom
           #40: Tukka Rask             Other: Carter Hutton, Devan Dubnyk, Michael Grabner
           #41: Paul Byron              Other: Mike Smith, Craig Anderson
           #42: David Backes          Other: Joel Ward, Tyler Bozak
           #43: Nazem Kadri           Other: Conor Sheary, Tom Wilson
           #44: Morgan Reilly         Other: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Josh Morissey, Calvin de Haan
           #45: Sami Vatanen          Other: Jonathan Bernier, Lukas Sedlak
           #46: David Krejci           Other: Jared Spurgeon, Pontus Aberg
           #47: Alex Radulov          Other: Hampus Lindholm, Sven Baertschi, Torey Krug
           #48: Tomas Hertl            Other: Vinnie Hinostroza, Matt Grzelcyk
           #49: Victor Rask             Other: Ivan Barbashev, Sam Girard (on Colorado)
           #50: Corey Crawford      Other: Adam Pelech, Antoine Vermette
           #51: Frans Nielson          Other: Jake Gardiner, David Desharnais
           #52: Sean Kuraly            Other: Michael Amadio, Jonathan Ericsson, Martin Marincin
           #53: Shayne Gostisbehere Other: Bo Horvat, Jeff Skinner
           #54: Charles Hudon         Other: Adam McQuaid, Oskar Lindholm
           #55: Mark Scheifele         Other: Colton Parakyo, Rasmus Ristolainen, Johnny Boychuk
           #56: Eric Haula                Other: Magnus Paajarvi, Marko Dano
           #57: Tyler Myers              Other: David Perron, Trevor van Riemsdyk
           #58: Kris Letang               Other: David Savard, Anton Slepyshev
           #59: Roman Josi               Other: Jake Guentzel, Jake Dotchin
           #60: Markus Granlund      Other: Collin Delia, Carson Soucy
           #61: Rick Nash                 Other: Mark Stone, Justin Braun
           #62: Carl Hagelin             Other: Denis Malgin, Andrej Sustr
           #63: Brad Marchand         Other: Tyler Ennis, Jesper Bratt, Evgeni Dadonov
           #64: Mikael Granlund       Other: Tyler Motte, Nail Yakupov
           #65: Eric Karlsson             Other: Andre Burakovsky, Danny DeKeyser
           #66: Josh Ho-Sang            Other: None
           #67: Max Pacioretty          Other: Rickard Rakell, Michael Frolik
           #68: Mike Hoffman           Other: Jaromir Jagr, Melker Karlsson
           #69: None, last worn by Andrew Desjardins in 2011-12
           #70: Braden Holtby           Other: Tanner Pearson, Joonas Korpisalo
           #71: Evgeni Malkin           Other: William Karlsson, Nick Foligno, Dylan Larkin
           #72: Sergei Bobrovsky      Other: Patric Hornqvist, Anthony Beauvillier
           #73: Tyler Toffoli               Other: Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Pirri
           #74: John Carlson              Other: Jake Debrusk, Jaccob Slavin
           #75: Ryan Reaves              Other: Jaycob Megna, Brandon Halverson
           #76: P.K. Subban              Other: Brady Skjei
           #77: Victor Hedman           Other: T.J. Oshie, Jeff Carter, Oscar Klefbom
           #78: Beau Bennett              Other: Filip Chlapik, Maxim Mamim
           #79: Michael Ferland         Other: Justin Auger, Nathan Walker
           #80: No one, last worn by Matt Tennyson in 2015-16.
           #81: Jonathan Marchessault Other: Phil Kessel, Kyle Connor
           #82: Nathan Beaulieu          Other: Jordan Oesterle, Justin Kloos
           #83: Trevor Daley               Other: Ales Hemsky, Jay Beagle, Matt Nieto
           #84: None, last worn by Mikhail Grabovski and Phil Varone in 2015-16
           #85: Mathieu Perreault       Other: None
           #86: Nikita Kucherov         Other: Teuvo Teravainen, Nikolay Kulemin
           #87: Sidney Crosby            Other: Vadim Shipachyov, Liam O'Brien
           #88: Patrick Kane               Other: Brent Burns, David Pastrnak, Andrei Vasilevskiy
           #89: Alex Tuch                   Other: Mikkel Boedker, Pavel Buchnevich, Sam Gagner
           #90: Ryan O'Reilly             Other: Marcus Johansson, Vladislav Namestnikov, Jason Spezza
           #91: Steven Stamkos          Other: John Tavares, Tyler Seguin, Vladimir Tarasenko
           #92: Ryan Johansen            Other: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jonathan Drouin, Gabriel Landeskog
           #93: Jakub Voracek             Other: Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Bennett
           #94: Sam Girard (on NSH)  Other: Andrei Mironov
           #95: Matt Duchene              Other: Justin Bailey, Henrik Borgstrom
           #96: Mikko Rantanen          Other: None
           #97: Connor McDavid         Other: None
           #98: Mikhail Sergachev       Other: Jesse Puljujarvi
           #99: Retired forever by Wayne Gretzky

           Hope you guys all enjoyed this article. If you disagree, comment below your opinion, and share with your friends, and follow me on Twitter @Carterhudblog.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

MLB news: Yankees acquire Cole

             The New York Yankees have acquired RHP A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash considerations, and have DFA'd RHP David Hale.

             Lacking pitching depth to go behind sort starts, Cole is a starter/reliever they need, and they get him for a decent price. Cole was the 5th starter for the Nats after injuries, and could be a bargain for the Yanks.

             Cole, 26, has a 13.06 ERA with 10 strikeouts and a 2.13 WHIP in 10.1 innings for the Nats this year. In his MLB career, all in Washington, Cole has a 5.32 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 110 innings.

             Hale, 30, made his Yankees and season debut yesterday, pitching two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. In his MLB career for the Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves, Hale has a 4.43 ERA, with a 1.46 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 180.2 innings.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MLB news: Braves sign Bautista

                  The Atlanta Braves have signed 3B/RF Jose Bautista to a minor league deal, after not signing through Opening Day. And yes, that is correct. He is being signed as a third baseman, his original position, to fill their need at 3B.

                   Bautista is an experienced veteran, who has made six consecutive all-star teams, from 2010 to 2015. He has hit thirty homers four times, leading to three silver sluggers. He is a good player to add to the Atlanta locker room, or the Gwinnett one (AAA).

                   Bautista, 37, had a .203 batting average, with 23 homers and 65 RBIs in 686 Plate Appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017. In his MLB career for the Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Kansas City Royals, Bautista has hit .250, with 331 homers, 927 RBIs and 66 stolen bases in 6845 Plate Appearances.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

MLB news: Yanks call up Robinson, DFA Peterson

           The New York Yankees have selected the contract of OF Shane Robinson from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, signing him to an MLB deal. Also, U Jace Peterson was designated for assignment.

           Injuries to outfielders Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney have put a big hole in what was supposed to be a very strong Yankees OF depth chart. Plus, Giancarlo Stanton hasn't been able to hit his stride yet. So, with Stanton in left, Brett Gardner in center and Aaron Judge in right, it seems like a very good outfield. But, manager Aaron Boone prefers to put someone else on left and Stanton as the DH. So, with Robinson, a more natural outfielder than Peterson, a normal 2B, it makes more sense to bring him up.

           Robinson, 33, has a .226 batting average, six homers, 64 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 795 career Plate Appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels.

           Peterson, 27, went 3 for 9 in two games with the Yanks this season. In his MLB career for the Yanks, San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves, Peterson has a .234 batting average, with 15 homers, 98 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 1288 Plate Appearances.

NHL news: Sharp officially retires

           After a 15 year career, winger Patrick Sharp has officially retired from the NHL.

           After a career at the University of Vermont, Sharp was selected in the 3rd round (95th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2001 NHL draft. Sharp, a Winnipeg native, made his debut with the team the next season. After two and one half seasons with the team, Sharp was traded midseason to the Chicago Blackhawks with Eric Meloche for a 3rd round draft pick and Matt Ellison. That began the success of Sharp's career. Sharp went on to spend 10 seasons in Chicago, scoring twenty goals seven times and thirty four times. He also won three cups with the team. But a huge cap crunch forced Chicago to trade many of their better players. Michael Frolik, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Brandon Saad and Sharp are prime examples of that. Sharp was traded with defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt. Currently, only Johns remains with the organization they moved to after the trade. Sharp spent two seasons in Dallas, and saw age creep up on him in his second Dallas season, which he managed to appear in just 48 games. As a 36 year old free agent, Sharp decided to return to Chicago for an 11th season there, on a one year, $800,000 deal. After that season, which was this season, he announced his retirement.

            In all, for the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers, Patrick Sharp scored 287 goals and 333 assists for 620 points in 939 games. That's a pretty solid NHL career.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

MLB news: #PinstripePride acquires Thompson, Asche

            With injuries to outfielders Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney, the New York Yankees looked to the recently DFA'd pile to boost their depth. So, the team went out and claimed OF Trayce Thompson off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and acquired LF/3B/DH Cody Asche from the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later (PTBNL) or cash. Asche signed a minor league deal with the Royals this offseason, and isn't required to be added to the 40 man roster, while Thompson is, and was added while RHP Ben Heller was moved to the 60 day DL. Both were assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA). 

            Thompson, 27, hasn't played this year in the MLB. In his three year MLB career for the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, Thompson has hit 19 homers and 50 homers, plus six stolen bases and a .233 batting average in 452 Plate Appearances. His brother, Klay Thompson, is an NBA star for the Golden State Warriors, and his father, Mychal Thompson, was the first overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.

             Asche, also 27, has a .234 batting average, 32 homers and 159 RBIs in 1349 Plate Appearances in his MLB career for the White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

MLB trade review: Angels, Braves swap Schimpf, Perez

         The Los Angeles Angels have acquired 2B/3B Ryan Schimpf from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for C Carlos Perez.

         For the Angels, starting second baseman Ian Kinsler was recently placed on the 10 day DL, leaving Kaleb Cowart as the starter, and Nolan Fontana as the backup. Schimpf adds more depth at second base behind Cowart, and Kinsler when he returns. With Martin Maldonado and Rene Rivera ahead of Perez on the depth chart, and Perez out of options, the time came to trade him.

         Schimpf, who will turn 30 in 10 days, hasn't played in this short season. In his two year career, all for the San Diego Padres, Schimpf has a .195 batting average, 34 homers and 76 RBIs in 527 Plate Appearances. This marks the third time Schimpf has been traded since the end of the 2017 season. The Padres traded him to the Rays, who traded him to the Braves, and now the Braves have traded him to L.A.

          For the Braves, Schimpf didn't crack the roster. He was just extra depth. Perez will slot above Chris Stewart as the third catcher. The Braves could go with three catchers, so Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki can pinch hit.

          Perez, 27, hasn't played in this short season. In his MLB career, all for the Angels, Perez has a .224 batting average with 10 homers and 55 RBIs in 595 Plate Appearances.

          I think this is an even trade, since both teams get depth players at a needed position.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Washington Nationals 2018 season preview

          With a 97-65 record, the Washington Nationals won the NL East in 2017, making the playoffs once again. Once again though, it was an NLDS exit for them, as the Chicago Cubs eliminated them. The team didn't need too much, but there was some work to do. Let's take a look at what they did this offseason.

         Notable additions: 1B Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero, RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Jeremy Hellickson.

         Notable subtractions: LF Jayson Werth, 1B Adam Lind, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Oliver Perez, RHP Joe Blanton, C Jose Lobaton, OF Chris Heisey.

          What they did well: Nothing.

          What they did bad: Nothing, once again. They didn't do anything.

          Sneaky sleeper: With Joe Ross out, A.J. Cole will secure the 5th rotation spot. Now 26, Cole had a decent 3.81 ERA in 11 appearances, eight starts in 2017. That's pretty decent for a spot starter.

           Incoming outbreak: The backup infielder, Wilmer Difo stole 10 bases and hit .271 in 365 Plate Appearances. Plus, he's only 25. If someone goes down, then Difo to the rescue!

           Unsuspected slump: Since 2013, Matt Wieters hasn't been too good. In his first season in D.C., Wieters only hit 10 homers, and had a weak .225 batting average. With the addition of Montero, Wieters now has a better backup, which can't be good for his job.

            Blue-chip Bopper: Since I don't like Bryce Harper, let's talk about Trea Turner instead. Turner. At just 24, Turner stole 46 bases last season, and could break 50 this year. He also hit .284. His 11 homers is nothing to write home about, but Turner is still very good.

           Astounding ace: Baseball's best healthy pitcher, Max Scherzer won another Cy Young in 2017, with a 2.51 ERA in 200.2 innings, with 268 strikeouts. The man with a blue and green eye could capture a third Cy Young this season.

          Here's their projected lineup.

 SS Trea Turner (R)
 2B Daniel Murphy (L) (currently on 10 day DL)
 RF Bryce Harper (L)
 3B Anthony Rendon (R)
 1B Ryan Zimmerman (R)
 CF Adam Eaton (L)
 LF Michael Taylor (R)
 C Matt Wieters (S)

       Here's their projected rotation.

 RHP Max Scherzer
 RHP Stephen Strasburg
 LHP Gio Gonzalez
 RHP Tanner Roark
 RHP A.J. Cole

  Brandon Kintzler (R) is their closer, with Sean Doolittle (L), Ryan Madson (R), Trevor Gott (R), Matt Grace (L), Shawn Kelley (R) and Enny Romero (L) in the bullpen (Sammy Solis, L, is currently on roster, but will probably be replaced when Murphy returns).

 C Miguel Montero (L), INF Wilmer Difo (S), OF Brian Goodwin (L) and OF/2B Howie Kendrick (R) are on the bench.

 Finally, for my prediction, I think the Nationals, a really good team, will make the playoffs in 2018.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Toronto Blue Jays 2018 season preview

         In a disappointing season for Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and just about half the team, the Toronto Blue Jays finished 4th in the AL East with a 76-86 record, missing the playoffs. With Baustista facing free agency again, and the roster not looking sharp, the Jays had their work cut out for them this offseason. Let's take a look at what they did.

         Notable additions: RHP Seung-Hwan Oh, OF Randal Grichuk, INF Yangervis Solarte, SS Aledmys Diaz, RHP Tyler Clippard, LHP Jaime Garcia, RHP John Axford, OF Curtis Granderson, INF Gift Ngoepe, RHP Sam Gaviglo.

        Notable subtractions: RF Jose Bautista, 2B Ryan Goins, SS Darwin Barney, C Miguel Montero, OF Ezequiel Carrera, RHP Dominic Leone, Tom Koehler.

        What they did well: The Diaz and Solarte trades were nice. All their free agent signings are coming off rough seasons, but it's not like they got any big deals.

         What they did bad: Leone looks like he has a high ceiling in St. Louis, and is already auditioning for the closing role.

         Sneaky sleeper: He's starting the season in AAA, but Teoscar Hernandez played very well after coming over in the midseason Fransisco Liriano deal. He hit .261 with eight homers in just 95 PAs, opening up many eyes that thought he would be the starting RF (included mine). He wasn't but he'll get his chance this season.

         Incoming outbreak: For years, Yangervis Solarte bounced around the San Diego infield, playing multiple positions. He'll probably do the same for Toronto, but I think the 30 year old will be more successful.

         Unsuspected slump: Well, since Troy Tulowitzki is already injured, I'll go over to Devon Travis. Travis had a promising start to his career, but has had injuries in his path since, stopping him from really doing anything productive. In just 50 games last season, Travis hit just .259, stealing four bases. That's very low for his standards.

          Blue-chip Bopper: An upcoming free agent, expect even more Josh Donaldson trade rumors as the year progresses. In his three year career in Toronto, Donaldson has bashed 111 homers with 300 RBIs, plus hitting a decent .285 batting average. He's a superstar, even though injuries are starting to linger for him.

          Astounding ace: One of the few good things of the Blue Jays 2017 season was Marcus Stroman. Stroman had an ERA of 3.09 in 201 innings, showing everybody he's their official ace. Expect bigger things coming forward from Stroman.

           Here's their projected lineup.

 2B Devon Travis (R)
 CF Kevin Pillar (R)
 1B Justin Smoak (S)
 3B Josh Donaldson (R)
 DH Kendrys Morales (S)
 SS Aledmys Diaz (R)
 LF Curtis Granderson (L)
 RF Randal Grichuk (R)
 C Russell Martin (R)

           Here's their projected rotation

 LHP J.A. Happ
 RHP Marcus Stroman
 RHP Aaron Sanchez
 LHP Jaime Garcia
 RHP Marco Estrada

   Roberto Osuna (R) is their closer, with Aaron Loup (L), John Axford (R), Danny Barnes (R), Tyler Clippard (R), Seung-Hwan Oh (R) and Ryan Tepera (R) in the bullpen.

   C Luke Maile (R), INF Yangervis Solarte (S), INF Gift Nogoepe (R) and OF Steve Pearce (R) are on the bench.

   Finally, for my prediction, I think the Blue Jays, a team lacking lots of skill, will miss the playoffs in 2018.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Texas Rangers 2018 season preview

        In a very forgetful year, the Texas Rangers tied with the Seattle Mariners for third in the AL West with a 78-84 record. They missed the playoffs, and traded Yu Darvish at the trade deadline. With the team facing a serious decision, the team had some moves to make. Let's take a look at what they did in the offseason.

        Notable additions: LHP Mike Minor LHP Matt Moore, RHP Jesse Chavez, RHP Doug Fister, RHP Tim Lincecum, C Juan Centeno, 1B Tommy Joseph, RHP Edinson Volquez, RHP Shawn Tolleson, OF/P Anthony Gose, INF Darwin Barney, RHP Kevin Jepsen, LHP Jon Niese, OF Destin Hood.

       Notable subtractions: OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Andrew Cashner, 1B Mike Napoli, RHP A.J. Griffin, RHP Tyson Ross, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP Jason Grilli, LHP Dario Alvarez.

       What they did well: Moore and Fister were much needed additions to their rotation. Plus, Mike Napoli is out of town.

        What they did bad: Nothing, besides released Bartolo Colon.

         Sneaky sleeper: Jonathan Lucroy had a horrible season until his midseason trade to Denver, but his backup, Robinson Chirinos had a pretty good season. Despite driving in just 38 batters, Chirinos still mashed 17 homers, pretty good for a catcher.

        Incoming outbreak: The main part of the Darvish trade, Willie Calhoun, one of baseball's top prospects, probably won't start the season with the team, but the 2B/LF has a very good chance to play a lot this season. After playing in 13 games last season, Calhoun will open many eyes this season, trust me.

         Unsuspected slump: Once one of baseball's best aces, Cole Hamels is slipping. With a weak 4.20 ERA in 148 innings, Hamels is starting to fall into the "average" group right above the "below average" group.

          Blue-chip Bopper: This would be where I write my Adrian Beltre paragraph. But, that is a Nomar Mazara. It always seems like Mazara has an insane start, slows down, and finishes with average numbers, like 20 homers and a .253 batting average, which he yielded in 2017.

          Astounding ace: Hamels again. They don't have anything better.

          Here's their projected lineup.

 CF Delino DeShields (R)
 SS Elvis Andrus (R)
 RF Nomar Mazara (L)
 3B Adrian Beltre (R)
 1B Joey Gallo (L)
 2B Roughned Odor (L)
 C Robinson Chirinos (R)
 DH Shin-Soo Choo (L)
 LF Ryan Rua (R)

          Here's their projected rotation.

 LHP Cole Hamels
 LHP Mike Minor
 RHP Doug Fister
 LHP Martin Perez
 LHP Matt Moore

 Keone Kela (R) is their closer, with Tony Barnette (R), Alex Claudio (L), Matt Bush (R), Jake Diekman (L), Jesse Chavez (R) and Jose Leclerc (R) in the bullpen.

 C Juan Ceteno (L), U Jurickson Profar (S), OF Drew Robinson (L) and OF Carlos Tocci (R) are on the bench.

 Finally, for my prediction, I think the Rangers, a team in need of pitching, will miss the playoffs in 2018.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 season preview

        In a surprising but rebuilding season, the Tampa Bay Rays finished 3rd in the AL East with an 80-82 record, missing the playoffs. With decisions to make on franchise players Chris Archer and Evan Longoria, the Rays had some moves to make in 2018. Let's take a look at their offseason.

       Notable additions: 1B C.J. Cron, LHP Anthony Banda, RHP Dan Hudson, OF Denard Span, OF Carlos Gomez, U Rob Refsnyder, 3B Christian Arroyo, 2B Joey Wendle, RHP Dustin McGowan, RHP Evan Scribner, LHP Vidal Nuno.

       Notable subtractions: 3B Evan Longoria, 1B Logan Morrison, LF Corey Dickerson, RF Steven Souza Jr., RHP Jake Odorizzi, RHP Brad Boxberger, 1B Lucas Duda, OF Peter Bourjos, OF Colby Rasmus, C Derek Norris, RHPs Tommy Hunter, Steve Cishek.

       What they did well: They got a really good deal on Longoria, receiving back Arroyo and Span in a package.

       What they did bad: Souza, Morrison, Dickerson, Odorizzi, Duda and Boxberger for Nick Solak, Banda, Jermaine Palacios, Tristan Gray and Hudson. Boo!!!!

       Sneaky sleeper: Though he played in just half the season, Mallex Smith left a pretty good impact on the Rays, hitting .270, and swiping 16 bags. With Dickerson and Souza out of the picture, Smith will get his big shot in 2018.

       Incoming outbreak: Oh wait, Smith again. Okay, I won't be lazy. It's Jake Faria. When manager Kevin Cash announced the Rays would go with a 4-man rotation, with Matt Andriese going to the pen, he all but confirmed Faria's presence in the opening day rotation. Faria, 24, had a 3.43 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 86.2 innings in his first career season, 2017. Expect bigger things from Faria moving on.

       Unsuspected slump: The reason Denard Span was in the Longoria trade? The Giants didn't want him anymore, and were happy to dump him off to Tampa. Span hasn't stolen 20 bases since 2014, or hit .300 in a full season since then. Though his power numbers are spiking, Span wasn't the same player he has always been in San Fransisco.

       Blue-chip Bopper: With Longoria out of town, that will go to Wilson Ramos. Ramos is one of baseball's most underrated catchers, hitting 11 bombs in less than half a year. It's not great but it's the best they have.

       Astounding ace: They have a horrible offense, but Chris Archer is still around. One of baseball's top pitchers, Archer had another rough year, finishing with a 4.07 ERA. But, his 3.63 ERA in his career is very good. Archer is still a star.

       Here's their projected lineup.

 LF Mallex Smith (L)
 CF Kevin Kiermaier (L)
 C Wilson Ramos (R)
 3B Matt Duffy (R)
 2B Brad Miller (L)
 1B C.J. Cron (R)
 DH Denard Span (L)
 RF Carlos Gomez (R)
 SS Adeiny Hechavarria (R)

            Here's their rotation.

 RHP Chris Archer
 RHP Jake Faria
 LHP Blake Snell
 RHP Nathan Eovaldi

  Alex Colome (R) is their closer, with Matt Andriese (R), Sergio Romo (R), Jose Alvarado (L), Yonny Chirinos (R), Andrew Kittredge (R) and Dan Hudson (R) in the bullpen.

  C Jesus Sucre (R), INF Daniel Robertson (R), 2B Joey Wendle (L) and U Rob Refsnyder (R) are on the bench.

  Finally, for my prediction, I think the Rays, a bad team, will miss the playoffs in 2018.uj

Monday, March 26, 2018

St. Louis Cardinals 2018 season preview

          With one of the league's worst bullpens, the St. Louis Cardinals missed the playoffs in 2017 by finishing 3rd in the NL Central with an 83-79 record. With breakout star Tommy Pham and defined ace Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals still have a squad. Let's take a look at what they did in the offseason.

           Notable additions: CF Marcell Ozuna, RHP Luke Gregerson, RHP Dominic Leone, RHP Bud Norris, RHP Miles Mikolas.

           Notable subtractions: RHP Lance Lynn, RF Stephen Piscotty, LF Randal Grichuk, SS Aledmys Diaz, RHP Seung-Hwan Oh, RHP Trevor Rosenthal, LHP Zach Duke.

           What they did well: The Ozuna trade was pretty good for them, as they didn't give up top prospects Tyler O'Neill or Jack Flaherty. No top 100 prospects were lost as well.

           What they did bad: They lost Lynn, Piscotty, Grichuk and Diaz for just Leone and some not great prospects.

            Sneaky sleeper: The Grichuk trade was the best trade they made that they were sellers in. Why? They received Dominic Leone, who could start the season as closer if Gregerson's injury keeps him out. Leone had a 2.56 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 70.1 innings for Toronto last season, and St. Louis sees him with his full potential. He's only 26, by the way.

           Incoming outbreak: In 2016, Alex Reyes came to the bigs hot, with a 1.57 ERA in 46 innings. Tommy John surgery kept him out of all of 2017, but he'll return in early May, where we will see him breakout.

           Unsuspected slump: Last season, we saw some regression from Matt Carpenter, who yielded a weak .241 batting average. His OBP was still .384, but Carpenter isn't the same player he was in 2015.

           Blue-chip Bopper: I guess Marcell Ozuna, but their one weakness is no one is really a star.

           Astounding ace: Carlos Martinez took the realms as their ace with a 3.64 ERA, plus 217 strikeouts in 205 innings. Especially with Adam Wainwright's decline, Martinez is the new ace in town.

           Here is their projected lineup.

 CF Dexter Fowler (S)
 RF Tommy Pham (R)
 1B Matt Carpenter (L)
 SS Paul De Jong (R)
 LF Marcell Ozuna (R)
 2B Kolten Wong (L)
 C Yadier Molina (R)
 3B Jedd Gyorko (R)

            Here's their rotation.

 RHP Carlos Martinez
 RHP Adam Wainwright
 RHP Michael Wacha
 RHP Luke Weaver
 RHP Miles Mikolas

   Luke Gregerson (R) is their closer, with Dominic Leone (R), Tyler Lyons (L), Bud Norris (R), Matt Bowman (R), Brett Cecil (L) and John Brebbia (R) in the bullpen.

  1B Jose Martinez (R), INF Greg Garcia (L) and INF Yairo Munez (R) are on the bench.

  Finally, for my prediction, I think the Cardinals, an aging team, will miss the playoffs in 2018.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Seattle Mariners 2018 season preview

         In another season filled with injuries, the Seattle Mariners tied for third in the AL West with a 78-84 record, missing the playoffs. With ace James Paxton finally breaking out, the Ms had some moves to make. Let's take a look at what they did.

        Notable additions: CF (?) Dee Gordon, 1B Ryon Healy, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Juan Nicasio, RHP Nick Rumbelow, RHP Chasen Bradford, LHP Dario Alvarez, RHP Mike Morin, OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

        Notable subtractions: 1B Danny Valencia, CF Jarrod Dyson, C Carlos Ruiz, RHP Sam Gaviglo, RHP Yovani Gallardo, RHP Emilio Pagan, 1B Yonder Alonso.

       What they did well: Despite a horrible farm system, the M's were able to get good deals on both Gordon and Healy, with Pagan being the only roster player going out.

       Sneaky sleeper: Injuries limited Mitch Haniger to just 96 games in 2017, but he was solid in them, with 16 homers and a .352 OBP. If Haniger can stay healthy all year in 2018, watch out for him.

       Incoming outbreak: He will probably start the season on the DL, but watch out for Ben Gamel when he returns. Gamel hit .275 with 11 homers in his surprise rookie season, and also can leadoff with his speed. This could be Gamel's year.

      Unsuspected slump: It's not a secret anymore. King Felix, aka Felix Hernandez isn't very good. Felix had a 4.36 ERA last season, below league average. He is still treated like an ace, but isn't.

      Blue-chip Bopper: Either Nelson Cruz, who hit 39 homers and drove in 119 runs while batting .288, or Robinson Cano, who drove in 97 and hit .280. I'll go with Cruz, who has been dominant in the last couple of seasons.

     Astounding ace: Injuries limited James Paxton as well in 2017, but he was amazing in his 136 innings, striking out 156 batters with his 2.98 ERA. The Maple Leaf has a great chance to show everybody his potential this season.

     Here's their projected roster, starting with their lineup.

 CF Dee Gordon (L)
 SS Jean Segura (R)
 2B Robinson Cano (L)
 DH Nelson Cruz (R)
 3B Kyle Seager (L)
 C Mike Zunino (R)
 1B Ryon Healy (R)
 RF Mitch Haniger (R)
 LF Guillermo Heredia (R)

        Here's their rotation.

 RHP Felix Hernandez
 LHP James Paxton
 LHP Ariel Miranda
 RHP Mike Leake
 RHP Erasmo Ramirez

  Edwin Diaz (R) is their closer, with Nick Vincent (R), Mark Rzepczynski (L), Juan Nicasio (R), James Pazos (L) and Dan Altavilla (R) in the bullpen.

 1B Dan Vogelbach (L), C Tuffy Gosewisch (R), OF Ichiro Suzuki (L) and INF Taylor Motter (R) are on the bench.

 Finally, for my prediction, I think the Mariners, a really good team, will just barely miss the playoffs due to pitching in 2018.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

San Fransisco Giants 2018 season preview

       In a disappointing season plagued by injuries, the San Fransisco Giants finished last in the NL, last in the NL West and second to last in the MLB with a 64-98 record. But, the Giants still felt like contenders, but had to do some retooling. So, let's take a look at what the Giants did this offseason.

       Notable additions: OF Andrew McCutchen, 3B Evan Longoria, OF Austin Jackson, LHP Tony Watson, LHP Derek Holland, SS Andres Blanco, 2B Josh Rutledge, OF Gregor Blanco, INF Chase d'Arnaud, INF Alen Hansen.

       Notable subtractions: CF Denard Span, 3B Christian Arroyo, LHP Matt Moore, RHP Matt Cain, RHP Kyle Crick.

       What they did well: The McCutchen trade was an absolute steal.

        What they did bad: The Longoria trade wasn't.

        Sneaky sleeper: You won't normally see someone with no MLB experience here, but Steve Duggar is their biggest sleeper. Duggar has a serious shot at the Giants CF spot, assuming McCutchen plays LF. At 24, the Giants really like Duggar, and I think he can be a late round fantasy bargain.

          Incoming outbreak: The stats show that Ty Blach had a bad year. He had a 4.78 ERA in 163.2 innings. But, his 1.35 WHIP wasn't horrible. I believe that Blach can have a better year.

          Unsuspected slump: For years, Evan Longoria was a star on a lowly Rays team. But, he's now on a Giants team that has many players better than him. I think Longoria will take a step back this season.

          Blue-chip Bopper: Gary Sanchez is making a run for his best catcher spot, but Buster Posey is still a star. He had a .400 OBP, leading the team by far. Posey is very good, and I think most people forget that.

          Astounding ace: Though him and Jeff Samardzija will both be missing from the projected roster due to injuries, Madison Bumgarner is their ace by far. Bumgarner had a 3.32 ERA in just 111 innings, showing everybody he's still good. "Mad Bum" will be sidelined for about two months once again, but he'll come back hungry.

          Here's their projected roster, starting with their lineup.

 CF Steve Duggar (L)
 LF Andrew McCutchen (R)
 1B Brandon Belt (L)
 C Buster Posey (R)
 3B Evan Longoria (R)
 2B Joe Panik (L)
 RF Hunter Pence (R)
 SS Brandon Crawford (L)

           Here's their rotation.

 RHP Johnny Cueto
 LHP Ty Blach
 RHP Chris Stratton
 LHP Derek Holland
 Trade for a 5th starter?

  Mark Melancon (R) is their closer, with Sam Dyson (R), Tony Watson (L), Hunter Strickland (R), John Osich (L) and Cory Gearrin (R) in the bullpen.

 C Nick Hundley (R), OF Gorkys Hernandez (R), OF Austin Jackson (R) and 2B Kelby Tomlinson (R) are on the bench.

 Finally, for my prediction, I think the Giants, a contending team, will miss the playoffs in 2018 due to pitching.