Sunday, December 30, 2018

NHL trade review: Blackhawks acquire Caggiula, Garrison for Manning

               The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired F Drake Caggiula and D Jason Garrison from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for D Brandon Manning and D Robin Norell.

                For the Blackhawks, they get a winger in Caggiula that can improve their bottom six. They give up a bottom pairing defenseman in Manning, but get back a veteran in Garrison, who's at the stage of his career where he's a depth defenseman.

                Caggiula, 24, has scored seven goals and four assists for 11 points in 29 games for the Oilers this season. In his NHL career, all for the Oilers, Caggiula has scored 27 goals and 22 assists for 49 points in 156 games.

                Garrison, 34, scored one point, a goal, in 17 games for the Oilers this year. The best year of his career came in 2011-12 with the Florida Panthers, when he scored 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points in 77 games. In his NHL career for the Oilers, Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks, Garrison has scored 49 goals and 111 assists for 160 points in 555 games.

                 For the Oilers, I don't understand this trade. I get why they are acquiring a player like Manning, a tough defenseman to improve their bottom pair. I don't get why they are getting Manning specifically. Manning broke the collarbone of Oilers star Connor McDavid, who later called the play "classless". They had a feud the next season, and it doesn't make sense to bring in the enemy of your star.

                 Manning, 28, scored one goal and two assists for three points in 27 games for the Blackhawks this year. In his NHL career for the Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, Manning has scored 12 goals and 34 assists for 46 points in 234 games.

                  Norell, 23, has scored three points, all assists, in 28 games for Djurgardens IF in Sweden this year.

MLB trade review: Blue Jays acquire Richard

from ESPN

              The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired LHP Clayton Richard from the San Diego Padres in exchange for OF Connor Panas.

              For the Blue Jays, they need a left-handed starter after trading LHP J.A. Happ to the Yankees at the trade deadline. Richard was the opening day starter for a bad Padres rotation this year, and had a bad 2018. It can't help him to move from pitcher friendly Petco Park, a national league ballpark, to the American League and the hitter friendly Rogers Centre, that also has Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards and Fenway Park (he's a lefty, too, which is bad at Fenway) in the division.

               Richard, 35, had a 5.33 ERA, 4.68 FIP and 108 strikeouts in 158.2 innings for the Padres in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2010 with San Diego, when he had a 3.75 ERA, 3.81 FIP and 153 strikeouts in 201.2 innings. In his MLB career for the Padres, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox, Richard has a 4.46 ERA, 4.39 FIP and 802 strikeouts in 1239.1 innings.

               For the Padres, they get rid of the aging Richard coming off a terrible year, and open up a rotation spot for their young pitchers. They get Panas, a prospect, in the process.

               Panas, 25, had a .232 batting average, nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 407 Plate Appearances for AA New Hampshire in 2018.

NHL trade review: Panthers acquire Wideman for Petrovic

               The Florida Panthers have acquired defenseman Chris Wideman and a third round pick in 2019 from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Alex Petrovic.

                For the Panthers, I like this trade. Wideman and Petrovic both play bottom pair roles, and they get a pick as well. The funny thing about this trade is that Wideman played on the Ottawa Senators earlier this year before a trade to Edmonton. Like current Panthers winger Mike Hoffman, Wideman was on the Senators, traded to a western team (Hoffman was traded to San Jose this offseason), then flipped to Florida. Wideman hasn't had a full season since 2016-17, when he had a good 125 shots.

                Wideman, 28, has scored two goals and five assists for seven points in 24 games for the Oilers and Senators this year. In his NHL career for those two teams, Wideman has scored 16 goals and 29 assists for 45 points in 180 games.

                 For the Oilers, I don't understand this trade. After making a good deal to acquire Wideman, a puck moving defenseman, from Ottawa a month ago, they flip him and give up a decent pick, for a tough defenseman that doesn't shoot that much. It would be a much better deal for them if they didn't give up the pick. The one excuse for them is that Petrovic is two years younger than Wideman.

                 Petrovic, 26, has one point, an assist, in 26 games for the Panthers this year. In his NHL career, all in Florida, Petrovic has scored five goals and 44 assists for 49 points in 254 games.

                  I think the Panthers win this trade. They get a defenseman who's arguably better than the one they give up, and get a third round pick in the process.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Ranking all MLB first basemen

          Previously, I ranked all catchers that had 300 Plate Appearances in 2018. After that, I wanted to continue the series with the next position, first base (1B). The requirements I set to be on the list were simple: 450 Plate Appearances in 2018, and at least 50% of games played at first place. That left us with 26 players. Starting off the list is a player coming off one of the worst seasons imaginable.

          26. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
Once known as a big time power hitter who hit 53 home runs in 2013 and 47 in 2015, Davis flopped on his face in 2018, having such a terrible season on such a terrible O's team. Davis has always had a high K rate, but his 36.8% was way worse than anyone else on the list. He only hit 16 home runs, and his -3.1 WAR speaks for itself. A .296 slugging percentage could make a statistician throw up. Even worse is his .539 OPS. A .168 batting average was also awful. No power, and no average. A bad, bad season.
           25. Ryon Healy, Seattle Mariners
A player I was excited for entering 2018, Healy failed to expand on the promise he showed in 2017, barely dropping his home run total to 24, but drastically dropping his batting average to .235, and his OPS from .753 in 2017 to .689. He had a negative WAR (-0.8) as well. On the catchers list it wouldn't be terrible, but not good coming from a power position.

           24. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels
This one hurts. Pujols is a no-doubt hall of famer, and if I was ranking these players by their career, he would be number 1. But in a year where there wasn't any first basemen putting up terrible numbers outside of Davis, and a year where the aging Pujols has completely cooled off, he's number 24. He didn't hit 20 home runs, capping off at 19, the batting average was low (.245), the OPS was unimpressive (.700) and the WAR was negative (-0.2). It was a tough 2018 for the 38 year old.

            23. Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
While Bell's WAR (0.9) was higher than some players ahead of him on the list, he falls because of mediocrity. Nothing on Bell's 2018 line is very impressive. The homers are average at 12, so is the batting average at .261. His strong point is a .768 OPS. While others players higher than him have a worse WAR, they have at least one category that stands out more.

             22. Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros
Gurriel falls under the same category as Bell. At a power position, a player that lacks power. With 13 home runs, only Bell and Joey Votto hit less home runs among players on the list. Gurriel's .291 batting average is his one number that pops out. That is what puts him at 22.

              21. Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies
Say what you want about RBIs being a team stat, you still need to be good to have lots of them. Desmond ranked 4th among first basemen with 88, and hit a solid 22 home runs. But, he's brought down by his .236 batting average and .729 OPS, limiting him to number 21.

              20. Brandon Belt, San Fransisco Giants
Just qualifying for the list with 456 Plate Appearances, Belt hit just 14 home runs in 2018, and hit .253. His stat that makes him special is his WAR, which was at 2.1. His .756 OPS wasn't bad either.

              19. Justin Bour, Los Angeles Angels
The newest Angel, Bour was brought down by not playing full time after a late season trade to Philadelphia. The rest of 2018 he was rotting on a bad Marlins team. He hit 20 home runs in 2018, but has power for more. The .745 OPS will get better on a better team, and so will the 49 RBIs.

               18. Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
Mancini hit 24 home runs in 2018, which is top 10 among first basemen. Playing on an awful Orioles team, Mancini still drove in 58 runs. He has power, which is the most unteachable thing. Candidate for a better 2019.

                17. Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox
Moreland's .758 OPS is good, and his .433 Slugging % is pretty good. His 459 Plate Appearances brings him down, since he could have hit 20 home runs opposed to his 15 in more than 500 Plate Appearances.

                 16. Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres
What a difference a year makes. After signing a big deal in San Diego, Hosmer disappointed, hitting just 18 home runs, with a .720 OPS. His best number was his .302 BABIP. I think he still has a lot of potential and is still in his prime, and has put up good seasons before, so it may be biased by that, but I'm ranking him at 16.

                 15. Yonder Alonso, Chicago White Sox
Alonso hit 23 home runs in 2018, and showed that his 2017 wasn't a fluke. While his .250 batting average isn't special, his .283 BABIP shows that he could have gotten unlucky. He also drove in a solid 83 runs.

                 14. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Abreu's power dropped off in 2018, hitting just 22 home runs. But, he still had a .208 ISO, and a .798 OPS. His 1.2 WAR drags him down compared to other players, though. His .473 Slugging % was also pretty impressive.

                  13. Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays
Smoak's 25 home runs in 2018 was enough for the Jays to pick up his option for 2018. He also had an OPS of .807, the first player on the list with a .800 OPS. His 1.7 WAR is lower than most of the players higher up on the list, and that brings him down.

                   12. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
Back in Cleveland, I think Santana will play better. But that's not the reason why he's this high up. The reason is his 24 home runs, 86 RBIs, and .766 OPS. He had a higher walk rate (16.2%) than strikeout rate (13.7%), being one of the two first basemen to do so, and a 1.9 WAR.

                   11. Jose Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals
Currently, the Cards have three of the top 11 first basemen. Martinez has a case to be a top 10 player, with his 2.3 WAR, .305 batting average and .821 OPS. He also had a .351 BABIP, which is either good or bad, depending on if you look at it as a luck stat or a good contact stat. He gets slightly brought down by his teammates.

                    10. CJ Cron, Minnesota Twins
Cron should not have been DFA'd by the Rays this offseason. In his one season in Tampa, Cron hit 30 home runs, with an OPS of .816. His OPS was carried by a really good slugging percentage of .493. He also had a really good .240 ISO. It was a breakout 2018 for Cron.

                     9. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Rizzo hit 25 homers again in 2018, with 101 RBIs. His K rate was at just 12%, and he had a slugging of .470. Add that to his OBP of .376, and you have a .846 OPS. Plus, a .359 wOBA. A .283 batting average wasn't bad either.

                     8. Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers
Like Cron, Aguilar had a big breakout year in 2018. But, Aguilar's campaign was better. He hit 35 home runs, tied for second among first basemen, and drove in 108 RBIs. What brings him down is a 25.3% K rate, and a 3.1 WAR, the worst among the top eight.

                     7. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
It may come as a surprise to see Votto all the way down at number seven. The reason is because in 2018, Votto lost his power. He hit just 12 home runs, among the bottom of first basemen. What carries him to number seven is his classic Joey Votto stats. He had a good walk rate of 17.3%, which topped his K rate. He had a .417 OBP, leading first basemen, and a decent 3.5 WAR.

                     6. Matt Olsen, Oakland Athletics
 Another breakout player, Olsen hit 29 home runs, sixth among first basemen. A .207 ISO was also good. What limits him to number six is his 3.4 WAR, and .788 OPS. But, Olsen is a good power hitter and a good fielder.

                     5. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bellinger rebounded off his rookie of the year winning 2017 by hitting 25 home runs, with a top five WAR of 3.6, and a .470 slugging percentage, and a .345 wOBA. He also had a first basemen leading 4.1 BsR.

                      4. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
There was a point in 2018 when it looked like Carpenter could win MVP. In the end, he wasn't a finalist. He led first basemen with 36 home runs and 111 runs, and was the only 100 run scorer in the latter. He also had a 5.0 WAR, and a .523 slugging percentage, capped off by a .897 OPS.

                      3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
I'm a big Freeman fan. He led all first basemen in WAR, at 5.2, tied with the number two player. He also had a 18.7% K rate, much lower than the two ahead of him. He also led his position with a .309 batting average, plus a .388 OBP and .505 Slugging %.

                        2. Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers
The biggest surprise of the 2018 season, Muncy hit 35 home runs in 2018, with a .391 OBP and .582 Slugging %, which added up to a .973 OPS. Plus, a .319 ISO. Muncy's numbers are worthy of number one, but what just held him back is his 27.2% K rate, which is higher than all players on the list except for Davis.

                          1. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
One of the newest Cardinals, Goldschmidt has been a consistent force throughout the years, and had a good 2018. He hit 33 home runs, with a .290 batting average, a .389 OBP and a .390 wOBA, and a .922 OPS. Those numbers were good enough to be the number one first basemen in baseball.

Friday, December 21, 2018

MLB trade review: A's get Profar

         The Oakland Athletics have acquired U Jurickson Profar in a three team deal. The Texas Rangers received LHPs Brock Burke, Kyle Bird, RHP Yoel Espinal, INF Eli White and international slot compensation. The Tampa Bay Rays received RHPs Emilio Pagan, Rollie Lacy and the 38th overall pick in 2019.

           For the A's, they get Profar, a player that can play seven positions, specializing in the infield. The main piece they give up is Pagan, a depth reliever. Profar isn't the player he was supposed to be, as he was once the 1st overall prospect in baseball, but he can play the infield.

          Profar, 26, hit .254, with 20 home runs, 77 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 594 Plate Appearances for the Rangers in 2018. In his MLB career, all for the Rangers, Profar has a .240 batting average, 32 home runs, 130 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 1312 Plate Appearances.

         For the Rangers, they get Burke, a lefty formally ranked as the Rays' 14th best prospect, in their very deep prospect pool, plus three more players. It's quite the haul for a player with just one full year of experience.

         Burke, 22, had a 3.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 158 strikeouts in 137.1 innings for High-A Charlotte and AA Montgomery.

         Bird, 25, had a 2.39 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 75.1 innings for AA Montgomery and AAA Durham in 2018.

         Espinal, 26, had a 2.25 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 64 innings for High-A Charlotte and AA Montgomery in 2018.

        White, 24, had a .306 batting average, with nine home runs, 55 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 578 Plate Appearances for AA Midland in 2018.

         For the Rays, they mainly get a reliever in Pagan. They also get a high draft pick. The pick is the reason why they gave up three players for two.

         Pagan, 27, had a 4.35 ERA, 4.92 FIP and 63 strikeouts in 62 innings for the A's in 2018. In his career for the A's and Seattle Mariners, Pagan has a 3.85 ERA, 4.18 FIP and 119 strikeouts in 112.1 innings.

        Lacy, 23, had a 2.97 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 109 innings for Single-A South Bend, and High-A Myrtle Beach and Down East.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

MLB trade review: White Sox acquire Alonso

From Getty

                    The Chicago White Sox have acquired 1B Yonder Alonso from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for OF Alex Call.

                    For the White Sox, they non-tendered DH/1B/3B Matt Davidson, who played a role similar to what Alonso would likely play. Alonso could play first base to give Jose Abreu a rest in the field, and DH regularly. Another interesting point has to do with family. Alonso is the brother-in-law to one of the best free agents out there, Manny Machado, who the White Sox are reportedly one of the top teams in his sweepstakes. Alonso has 20 home run power, and would replace Davidson well.

                     Alonso, 32, hit .250, with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs in 574 Plate Appearances for the Indians in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2017 with the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, where he had a .266 batting average, 28 home runs and 67 RBIs in 521 Plate Appearances, earning his only all-star appearance. In his career for the Indians, A's, Mariners, San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, Alonso has a batting average of .265, with 90 home runs and 389 RBIs in 3438 Plate Appearances.

                     For the Indians, they recently acquired two first basemen in Carlos Santana and Jake Bauers, making it easier to trade Alonso. While they trade him to a division rival, a thing many teams try to avoid, they get a prospect for him, and they most likely would not have needed him in 2018.

                     Call, 24, had a batting average of .248, with 12 homers and 58 RBIs in 505 Plate Appearances for High-A Winston-Salem, and AA Birmingham.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

MLB news: Indians get Santana, Mariners get Encarnacion in three team deal

from Getty

             The Cleveland Indians have acquired 1B Carlos Santana, 1B/OF Jake Bauers and traded DH Edwin Encarnacion to the Seattle Mariners in a three team trade. The Tampa Bay Rays, who traded Bauers, received 3B Yandy Diaz and RHP Cole Sulser in the deal.

              For the Indians, they wanted to get rid of Encarnacion's contract, but they also take on Santana's deal. It isn't like Encarnacion was worthless, he hit over 30 home runs in his two seasons in Clevland. I wouldn't understand the trade for them if they didn't get Bauers, but they did. Bauers can play first if Santana is playing DH, or right field. They give up Diaz, a backup infielder, as well. Santana also spent the majority of his career with Cleveland.

                Santana, 32, had a .229 batting average, with 24 homers and 86 RBIs in 679 Plate Appearances in 2018 for the Philadelphia Phillies. The best year of his career came in 2016 with the Indians, when he had a batting average of .259, with 34 home runs and 87 RBIs. In his MLB career with the Phillies and Indians, Santana has a .247 batting average, with 198 home runs and 673 RBIs in 5461 PA.

                 Bauers, 23, debuted with the Rays in 2018 with a .201 batting average, 11 home runs, 48 RBIs and six stolen bases in 388 Plate Appearances.

                 For the Mariners, I don't understand this trade. They get rid of Santana's contract, but take on Encarnacion's. I think it could be because Encarnacion only has one more year left on his contract. They could have at least gotten a prospect.

                  Encarnacion, who will be 36 by the start of 2018, hit .246 with 32 home runs and 107 RBIs in 579 Plate Appearances in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2012 with the Toronto Blue Jays, when he had a .280 batting average, 42 home runs and 110 RBIs in 644 Plate Appearances. In his career for the Indians, Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, Encarnacion has a batting average of .264, 380 RBIs and 1156 RBIs in 7459 Plate Appearances.

                  For the Rays, they give up a young first baseman for a farm arm and a depth infielder. Confused? Me too. I honestly have nothing else to say here.

                   Diaz, 27, had a .312 batting average with one homer and 15 RBIs in 120 Plate Appearances for the Indians in 2018. In his MLB career, all for the Indians, Diaz has a .283 batting average, that one homer and 28 RBIs in 299 Plate Appearances.

                   Sulser, 28, had a 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 95 strikeouts in 60.2 innings for AA Akron and AAA Columbus in 2018.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

MLB news: Phillies sign McCutchen

From the New York Post

              The Philadelphia Phillies have signed OF Andrew McCutchen to a three year, $50 million deal.

               After trading Carlos Santana to the Mariners, LF Rhys Hoskins will move back to first base, opening a spot for left field. It was seen that the Phillies would sign either McCutchen or Michael Brantley, and they chose McCutchen. The former MVP is now a shell of his former self, but he still makes solid money here.

               McCutchen, 32, had a .255 batting average, 20 home runs, 65 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 682 Plate Appearances for the New York Yankees and San Fransisco Giants in 2018. The best year of his career was in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, when he had a .327 batting average, 31 home runs, 96 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. In his MLB career for the Yankees, Giants and Pirates, McCutchen has a .287 batting average, with 223 home runs, 790 RBIs and 185 stolen bases in 6511 Plate Appearances.

MLB trade review: Reds acquire Roark

From District on Deck

         The Cincinnati Reds have acquired RHP Tanner Roark from the Washington Nationals in exchange for RHP Tanner Rainey.

         For the Reds, they have been reportedly engaged in trade talks for a starter, with the Yankees' Sonny Gray being the name seen most, plus they've been trying to re-sign Matt Harvey. Roark has had good seasons before, and they are willing to pay the number north of $10 million Roark is expected to earn in arbitration. The big hold back is that Roark is coming off two tough years in 2017 and 2018.

        Roark, 32, had a 4.34 ERA, 4.27 FIP and 146 strikeouts in 180.1 innings for the Nationals in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2016, when he had a 2.83 ERA, 3.79 FIP and 172 strikeouts in 210 innings. In his MLB career, all for the Nationals, Roark has an ERA of 3.59, with a 3.91 FIP and 732 strikeouts in 935 innings.

         For the Nats, after signing Patrick Corbin to a $140 million deal, the Nats needed to get rid of some contracts, and a rotation spot. Like I mentioned before, Roark is expected to make $10 million in 2019, and wasn't worth that much to them. They get Rainey, a player that just made his MLB debut at the end of 2018. Fun fact: Rainey is the only other Tanner R. in MLB history, besides Roark.

         Rainey, who will be 26 by the start of 2019, allowed 19 runs in seven innings (24.43 ERA) with seven strikeouts.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

MLB trade review: White Sox acquire Nova


     The Chicago White Sox have acquired RHP Ivan Nova from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for RHP Yordi Rosario and international pool money.

     For the White Sox, Nova is an experienced starter that can help at the back end of their rotation, that is expecting full seasons from Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito. He has one more year left on his contract, and they don't give up too much for a back-end starter.

     Nova, who will be 32 by the start of 2019, had a 4.19 ERA, 4.57 FIP and 114 strikeouts in 161 innings in 2018. The best year of his career was in 2013 with the New York Yankees, when he had a 3.10 ERA, 3.47 FIP and 116 strikeouts in 139.1 innings. In his MLB career for the Pirates and Yankees, Nova has an ERA of 4.26, with a 4.33 FIP and 840 strikeouts in 1141.2 innings.

     For the Pirates, they are making this trade to clear up a rotation spot. This trade could help them get the pitcher to fill that spot. The international pool money could go to Yusei Kikuchi, the Japanese LHP that was posted this offseason. They also get a young prospect in Rosario.

     Rosario, 19, has a 3.43 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 160 strikeouts in 162.2 innings in rookie league in his career.

Friday, December 7, 2018

MLB trade review: Phillies acquire Alvarez

                 The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired LHP Jose Alvarez from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for RHP Luis Garcia.

                   For the Phillies, it would make no sense not to make this trade. They get a 29 year old lefty coming off the best year of his career, who will help improve their bullpen. They trade a 31 year old who is worse than the player they are getting. It's a great trade for them.

                   Alvarez, 29, had a 2.71 ERA, 3.05 FIP and 59 strikeouts in 63 innings for the Angels in 2018, the best year of his career. In his career for the Angels and Detroit Tigers, Alvarez has an ERA of 3.69, a 3.64 FIP and 246 strikeouts in 275.1 innings.

                  For the Angels, I really don't understand this trade for them. Garcia is coming off a terrible 2018 at 31 years of age, but I think his one and only strength was his really good 2017. The Angels are hoping they can get him back into that form.

                 Garcia, who will be 32 by the start of the season, had a 6.07 ERA, a 3.51 FIP and 51 strikeouts in 46 innings for the Phillies in 2018. The best year of his career was in 2017, when he posted a 2.65 ERA, a 3.12 FIP and 60 strikeouts in 71.1 innings. In his MLB career, all for the Phillies, Garcia has a 4.12 ERA, a 3.88 FIP and 223 strikeouts in 244.2 innings.

                 I think the Phillies win this trade. It's simple. Alvarez over Garcia, and he's about to be three years younger than the latter.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

MLB trade review: Cardinals acquire Goldschmidt

from NBC

            The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired 1B Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for RHP Luke Weaver, C Carson Kelly, INF Andrew Young and a draft pick after competitive balance round B.

             For the Cardinals, this is a major trade. 2018 MVP candidate Matt Carpenter will move to third base, while Goldschmidt, a six time all-star will play first. Goldschmidt has hit 30 home runs four times, and while he has never won an MVP, he was the runner-up in 2013 and 2015. They give up Kelly, a big catching prospect not needed with Yadi Molina catching, and Weaver didn't have a spot in their rotation.

              Goldschmidt, 31, had a .290 batting average, 33 home runs, 83 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 690 Plate Appearances for the D-backs in 2018. The best season of his career came in 2013, when he had a batting average of .302, with 36 homers, 125 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. In his MLB career, all in the desert, Goldschmidt has a .297 batting average, 209 home runs, 710 RBIs and 124 stolen bases in 4708 Plate Appearances.

               For the D-backs, they are officially rebuilding, and they are starting with their biggest and best piece, Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is a free agent at the end of the year, and I think they got a decent haul for him. Weaver has potential to be a top-3 starter, and Kelly looks like he could be their starting catcher for years to come. They get an extra prospect in Young, and a draft pick.

               Weaver, 25, had a 4.95 ERA, 4.45 FIP and 121 strikeouts in 136.1 innings in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2017, when he posted a 3.88 ERA, with a 3.17 FIP and 72 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. In his MLB career, all for the Cardinals, Weaver has a 4.79 ERA, with a FIP of 4.10, with 238 strikeouts in 233 innings.

                 Kelly, 24, had a .114 batting average and three RBIs in 42 Plate Appearances in 2018. In his MLB career, all for the Cardinals, Kelly has a batting average of .154, with 10 RBIs in 131 Plate Appearances.

                Young, 24, had a .289 batting average, 21 home runs and 58 RBIs in 503 Plate Appearances for High-A Palm Beach and AA Springfield in 2018.

                I think this is an even trade. The Cardinals get a superstar while the D-backs get a good return to kick off their rebuild.

Monday, December 3, 2018

MLB trade review: Phillies acquire Segura

             The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired SS Jean Segura, RHP Juan Nicasio and LHP James Pazos from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for SS J.P. Crawford and 1B Carlos Santana.

             For the Phillies, they wanted to improve their situation at shortstop after Crawford's disappointing 2018. They were in on Manny Machado, and since they traded Santana, they still could be. Machado can play third and move Maikel Franco to first. Segura is a fast infielder that can lead off and get on base. They get two relievers as well to improve their bullpen. Nicasio pitched 1.1 innings for the Phillies in 2017, before being flipped in a trade.

             Segura, 28, had a .304 batting average, 10 home runs, 63 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 632 Plate Appearances for the Mariners in 2018. His best all-around season was with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016, when he had a .319 batting average, hit 20 home runs, 64 RBIs and stole 33 bases. In his MLB career for the Mariners, Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels, Segura has a .287 batting average, 64 home runs, 316 RBIs and 171 stolen bases in 3822 Plate Appearances.

              Nicasio, 32, had a 6.00 ERA, 2.99 FIP and 53 strikeouts in 42 innings for the Mariners in 2017. The best year of his career came in 2017 with the Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. That year, he had a 2.61 ERA, 2.98 FIP and 72 strikeouts in 72.1 innings. In his MLB career for the Mariners, Phillies, Pirates, Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies, Nicasio has a 4.64 ERA, a 3.91 FIP and 622 strikeouts in 671.2 innings.

               Pazos, 27, had a career year in 2018, with a 2.88 ERA, 3.60 FIP and 45 strikeouts in 50 innings for the Mariners. In his MLB career for the Mariners and New York Yankees, Pazos has a 3.54 ERA, 4.01 FIP and 116 strikeouts in 112 innings.

               For the Mariners, they wanted to trade Segura as part of their rebuild. But all they got is a former top prospect after a terrible year, and a first baseman with a big contract. I think they could have gotten a better return for the three players.

               Crawford, who will be 24 by the start of 2018, hit .214, with three homers in 12 RBIs in 138 Plate Appearances in 2018. In his MLB career, all for the Phillies, Crawford has a .214 batting average, three homers and 18 RBIs in 225 Plate Appearances.

               Santana, 32, had a .229 batting average, with 24 homers and 86 RBIs in 679 Plate Appearances in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2016 with the Cleveland Indians, when he had a batting average of .259, with 34 home runs and 87 RBIs. In his MLB career with the Phillies and Indians, Santana has a .247 batting average, with 198 home runs and 673 RBIs in 5461 PA.

                 The Phillies win this trade.  They get a star shortstop and two useful relievers for an unproven former top prospect and a decent first baseman with a hefty contract.

MLB trade review: Mets acquire Diaz, Cano

from NY daily news

               The New York Mets have acquired RHP Edwin Diaz, 2B Robinson Cano and $20 million in cash from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for OF Jay Bruce, RHP Anthony Swarzak, RHP Gerson Bautista, OF Jarred Kelenic and RHP Justin Dunn.

               For the Mets, they are looking to be competitive again, and this is a move that will help them. At 24, Diaz set the Mariners record for saves in 2018 with 57, and has years left of control. Cano is coming off a PED suspension, and is 36 with 5 years left on his contract, but is still a good hitter. They give up a lot of players, but only Kelenic, the 6th overall pick in 2018, and Dunn, a AA pitcher, are useful pieces.

               Diaz, 24, had a career season in 2018, with a 1.96 ERA, 1.61 FIP, 124 strikeouts and 57 saves in 73.1 innings. In his MLB career, all for the Mariners, Diaz has an ERA of 2.64, a 2.56 FIP, 301 strikeouts and 109 saves in 191 innings.

               Cano, 36, had a .303 batting average, .374 OBP, 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 348 Plate Appearances in 2018 for the Mariners in 2018. The best year of his career was in 2010 with the New York Yankees, when he had a .319 batting average, .381 OBP, 29 home runs and 109 RBIs in 696 Plate Appearances. In his MLB career for the Mariners and Yankees, Cano has a .304 batting average, a .355 OBP, 311 home runs and 1233 RBIs in 8841 Plate Appearances.

                For the Mariners, they are in rebuild mode. Trading Cano was necessary, and they had to trade Diaz to start a rebuild. They get two good prospects in Dunn and Kelenic, and Bruce and Swarzak, who they can flip.

                Bruce, 31, had a .223 batting average, .310 OBP, nine homers and 37 RBIs in 361 Plate Appearances for the Mets this year. The best year of his career was in 2012, with the Cincinnati Reds when he had a batting average of .252, a .327 OBP, 34 homers and 99 RBIs in 633 Plate Appearances. In his MLB career for the Mets, Reds and Cleveland Indians, Bruce has a .247 batting average, .318 OBP, 286 home runs and 875 RBIs in 6167 Plate Appearances.

                 Swarzak, 33, had a 6.15 ERA, 5.48 FIP and 31 strikeouts in 26.1 innings for the Mets in 2018. The best year of his career came in 2017 with the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, when he had a 2.33 ERA, 2.74 FIP and 91 strikeouts in 77.1 innings. In his MLB career for the Mets, Brewers, White Sox, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians, Swarzak has a 4.30 ERA, 4.15 FIP and 433 strikeouts in 587.2 innings.

                  Bautista, 23, allowed six runs in 4.1 innings (12.46 ERA) with three strikeouts in 2018, his first major league season.

                  Kelenic, 19, had a .286 batting average, .371 OBP, six home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 254 Plate Appearances in rookie league this year, his first professional season.

                  Dunn, 23, had a 3.59 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 135.1 innings for High-A St. Lucie and AA Binghamton.

                  I think this is an even trade. The Mets get two stars, and the Mariners get the prospects they need.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

All 2019 non-tendered players

Cincinnati Enquirer

             It's non-tender season again. Every year, teams decide to cut ties with players that are in need of a new contract. They decline to offer a player with less than six years of MLB service time, making them a free agent. A club will need to tender the player a contract more than what they earned the following season. The player can decline the offer, but the team just needs to offer the contract, whether the player accepts or not. This year had many quality players hit the free agent market. Here they are, by the team that non-tendered them.

Baltimore Orioles: INF Tim Beckham, C Caleb Joseph
Boston Red Sox: None
New York Yankees: None
Toronto Blue Jays: INF Yangervis Solarte
Tampa Bay Rays: None
Chicago White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia, 3B Matt Davidson
Cleveland Indians: None
Detroit Tigers: C James McCann, RHP Alex Wilson
Kansas City Royals: OF Bubba Starling, RHP Jason Adam, RHP Andres Machado, 1B Samir Duenez
Minnesota Twins: OF Robbie Grossman
Houston Astros: C Chris Herrmann
Los Angeles Angels: RHP Blake Parker, RHP Matt Shoemaker
Oakland Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers, RHP Cory Gearrin, RHP Kendall Gravemen
Seattle Mariners: None
Texas Rangers: RHP Matt Bush, RHP Ricardo Rodriguez, LHP Zac Curtis, RHP Adrian Sampson
Atlanta Braves: None
Miami Marlins: None
New York Mets: INF Wilmer Flores
Philadelphia Phillies: 1B Justin Bour, LHP Luis Avilan
Washington Nationals: None
Chicago Cubs: INF Ronald Torreyes, RHP Justin Hancock, RHP Allen Webster
Cincinnati Reds: OF Billy Hamilton, OF Aristides Aquino, C Juan Graterol, OF Jordan Patterson
Milwaukee Brewers: 2B Jonathan Schoop, LHP Xavier Cedeno, LHP Dan Jennings
Pittsburgh Pirates: None
St. Louis Cardinals: None
Arizona Diamondbacks: RHP Brad Boxberger, RHP Shelby Miller, U Chris Owings
Colorado Rockies: LHP Sam Howard
Los Angeles Dodgers: None
San Diego Padres: None
San Fransisco Giants: RHP Hunter Strickland, OF Gorkys Hernandez

Friday, November 30, 2018

MLB trade review: Nationals acquire Gomes


              The Washington Nationals have acquired C Yan Gomes from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for RHP Jefry Rodriguez, RF Daniel Johnson and a player to be named later.

               For the Nationals, they are attempting to re-shape their catcher depth chart. They signed Kurt Suzuki, who will platoon with Gomes, who has decent power and a good arm. They don't give up any top prospects or major roster players and get a catcher, a position they need. Gomes made his first all-star team in 2018.

              Gomes, 31, had a batting average of .266, a .313 OBP, 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 435 Plate Appearances in 2018 for the Indians. The best season in his career can with the Indians in 2014, when he had a .278 batting average, an OBP of .313, 21 home runs and 74 RBIs in 518 Plate Appearances. In his MLB career for the Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, Gomes has hit .248 with a .295 OBP, 87 home runs and 308 RBIs in 2422 Plate Appearances.

               For the Indians, I don't understand why they are trading Gomes. In a terrible AL Central, they can win the division for years. They traded their top catching prospect in Fransisco Mejia and now their starting catcher. That leaves them with backup Roberto Perez. It would make sense though if they signed either Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos or Robinson Chirinos in free agency. The return is probably what the return for a player like Gomes should be.

              Rodriguez, 25, made his MLB debut in 2018 with a 5.71 ERA, 5.97 FIP and 38 strikeouts in 52 innings for the Nats.

                Johnson, 23, had a .269 batting average, .327 OBP, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 415 Plate Appearances in 2018 for the rookie league Nationals and AA Harrisburg.

                 I think the Nationals win this trade. While it is an even trade, I don't get why the Indians are making the trade in the first place.

MLB trade review: White Sox acquire Colome for Narvaez

Tampa Bay Times

          The Chicago White Sox have acquired RHP Alex Colome from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for C Omar Narvaez.

           For the White Sox, I don't get this trade. With four years of control, Narvaez would be with the team at the end of when they are expected to start being competitive. Colome has two years left, and the White Sox aren't expected the contend in that window. It would make more sense to trade a young catcher for a decent reliever if the team was expected to compete in 2019.

          Colome, who will be 30 be the start of the season, had a 3.04 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 72 strikeouts and 12 saves in 68 innings for the Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. The best year of his career was with the Rays in 2016, when he posted a 1.91 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 71 strikeouts and 37 saves in 56.2 innings. In his MLB career for the Mariners and Rays, Colome has a 3.12 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 314 strikeouts and 96 saves in 340.2 innings.

          I love this trade for the Mariners. Ranked 12th in my ranking all catchers post, Narvaez broke out while Welington Castillo was suspended. With 4 more years of control, Narvaez will still be on the team by 2021, the year the Mariners are aiming to contend in. Narvaez will replace Mike Zunino, ranked as the 14th best catcher, who was recently traded to Tampa Bay.

          Narvaez, 26, had a .275 batting average, .366 OBP, nine home runs and 30 RBIs in 322 Plate Appearances for the White Sox in 2018, the best season of his career. In his MLB career, all in Chicago, Narvaez has a batting average of .274, with a .366 OBP, 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in 734 Plate Appearances.

          I think the Mariners win this trade. They get a young catcher with 4 years of control for a decent reliever with two years of control. The White Sox won't be good with Colome, at least until his current contract is over, and the Mariners could be good with Narvaez.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

MLB news: Padres sign Richards

                The San Diego Padres have signed RHP Garrett Richards to a two year, $15 million deal.

                For the Padres, Richards is a good pitcher that can never stay healthy. He's already undergone Tommy John surgery, and has been hurt every year since 2015. But, when healthy, he's showed he can be a frontline starter. A love this deal for the Padres if Richards can stay healthy. Mike Trout's former roommate, Richards isn't much of a strikeout pitcher, but has a good career ERA.

                Richards, 30, had a 3.66 ERA, 4.13 FIP and 87 strikeouts in 76.1 innings for the Los Angeles Angels in 2018. His best career season was with the Angels in 2014, when he posted a 2.61 ERA, 2.60 FIP and 164 strikeouts in 168.2 innings. In his MLB career, all in Los Angeles, Richards has an ERA of 3.54, with a 3.62 FIP and 645 strikeouts in 744.2 innings.

Monday, November 26, 2018

MLB news: Twins claim Cron


              Today, the Minnesota Twins found Joe Mauer's replacement, claiming 1B C.J. Cron off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays.

               Less than a week ago, the Rays surprisingly DFA'd Cron, who in his first season in St. Petersburg, slugged out 30 home runs. It was a claim waiting to happen. And the Twins finally pounced. Cron will replace soon hall-of-famer Joe Mauer, who retired at the beginning of the offseason.

              Cron, who will be 29 by the start of the season, had a batting average of .253, a .323 OBP, 30 home runs and 74 RBIs in 560 Plate Appearances in his career season, 2018 with the Rays. In his MLB career for the Rays and Los Angeles Angeles, Cron has a batting average of .260, an OBP of .311, 89 home runs and 287 RBIs in 2035 Plate Appearances.

MLB news: Braves sign Donaldson, McCann

           The Atlanta Braves have signed 3B Josh Donaldson to a one year, $23 million contract, and C Brian McCann to a one year, $2 million deal.

           This all comes as a surprise to me. Well, at least Donaldson does. With Johan Camargo at third and Dansby Swanson at short, it seemed that the Braves didn't need Donaldson. The former MVP who missed most of 2018 due to injury, Donaldson's age and recent health issues likely would have limited him to a one year deal, and it did. He got a lot of money for one year, while not too much. A one year deal could be good for Donaldson. If he has a good year, he'd return to free agency next year as a 34 year old free agent, and could get more money, but still probably not a multiyear deal. This could mean that Camargo could shift over to shortstop, and a trade including Swanson could happen.

           Donaldson, who will be 33 by the beginning of the season, had a .246 batting average, .352 OBP, eight home runs and 23 RBIs in 219 Plate Appearances between the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays. His best MLB season was his 2015 MLB campaign. That year, he had a .297 batting average, .371 OBP, 41 home runs and 123 RBIs for the Blue Jays. In his MLB career for the Indians, Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics, Donaldson has a batting average of .275, an OBP of .367, 182 home runs and 551 RBIs in 3817 Plate Appearances.

           The McCann signing comes as less of a surprise. Since Kurt Suzuki signed with the Nationals, the Braves needed a catcher to platoon with Tyler Flowers. While there were better options out there, the Braves decided to go with the cheaper McCann, who is a Georgia native and played the first nine seasons of his career with the Braves, making seven all-star teams.

           McCann, 34, had a batting average of .212 with an OBP of .301, seven home runs and 23 RBIs in 216 Plate Appearances for the Houston Astros in 2018. His best career season was in 2008 with the Braves, when he had a .301 batting average, .373 OBP, 23 home runs and 87 RBIs in 573 Plate Appearances. In his MLB career for the Braves, Astros and New York Yankees, McCann has a batting average of .263, an OBP of .338, 270 home runs and 973 RBIs in 6534 Plate Appearances.

NHL trade review: Coyotes acquire Schmaltz for Strome, Perlini

           The Arizona Coyotes have acquired C Nick Schmaltz from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for C Dylan Strome and LW Brendan Perlini.

           For the Coyotes, they are giving up on their 2014 and 2015 first round picks. They get another 2014 first rounder, in Schmaltz, who enjoyed a breakout 2017-18 campaign. Schmaltz is more proven than Perlini and Strome, and is the same age as Perlini.

          Schmaltz, 22, has scored two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 23 games for the Blackhawks this season. In his NHL career, all in Chicago, Schmaltz has scored 29 goals and 62 assists for 91 points in 162 games.

          For the Blackhawks, while they are giving up a young player after he scored 21 goals and 52 points, they get two young players with potential. Perlini scored 17 goals last year, and could score 20 in the near future. Strome was the third overall pick in 2015 behind stars Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, but hasn't panned out.

           Perlini, 22, has scored two goals and four assists for six points in 22 games this season. In his NHL career, all in the desert, Perlini has scored 33 goals and 24 assists for 57 points in 153 games.

            Strome, 21, has scored three goals and three assists for six points in 20 games this year. In his NHL career, he's scored seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 48 games.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

5 most underrated MLB free agents

              The current MLB free agent class is primed to set records. With SS Manny Machado and OF Bryce Harper, two players that are primed to set the record for the highest deal ever, the most amount of money spent in an offseason could be in this one. But while there will be players getting money in the $200 millions, and probably more than $300 million, there will also be players that are expected to be getting under $20 million more than a tenth less than Machado and Harper will most likely get. So, without further to do, here's five underrated free agents, in no specific order.

               Lance Lynn, RHP
Coming off a year slightly shortened by Tommy John surgery, Lynn signed a one year deal with the Twins. He disappointed, with a 5.10 ERA in 102.1 innings. After a trade deadline trade to the Yankees, it didn't seem like it, but Lynn was amazing. His 4.14 ERA in 11 games (nine starts) won't wow many, but in the 54.1 innings in the Bronx, Lynn had a FIP of 2.17. To put that into perspective, if Lynn had a 2.17 FIP the entire season, he would have finished second in the league behind Jacob deGrom's 1.98. A 2.17 FIP would also be about 150th best all-time for a single season, tied with many, including Pedro Martinez in 2000, Roger Clemens in 1988 and Cy Young in 1910. His career 3.67 FIP is better than fellow free agent Dallas Keuchel's 3.72, who is projected to get a four year, $82 million deal by Really good for a player ranked as the 36th best free agent by MLBTR, who predicted a two year, $16 million contract to the Rays.

               Daniel Descalso, INF
A player not even ranked on MLBTR's top 50 free agent list, or their honorable mentions, Descalso has seen time at LF, 1B, and most 2B, SS and 3B during his nine year career, so versatility is a plus. In 2018, he hit 13 home runs, had an OPS of .789, and an OPS+ of 106. According to, Descalso had a WAR of 1.6 in 2018, double the WAR of second basemen Daniel Murphy, Brian Dozier, and Josh Harrison. Descalso can be a clutch pickup for one lucky team.

               Robinson Chirinos, C
I noted in my ranking all catchers article that Chirinos was underrated. Like Descalso, has Chirinos with a 1.6 WAR. They also note that there is 18 MLB catchers on the market. But, Chirinos hit 18 home runs in 2018, fifth among all catchers. It's also worthy to note in 2017, he had an OPS of .866 and an OPS+ of 120. His age, 34, could have him slated for a one or two year deal, but Chirinos would be a steal for a team in need of a catcher.

                Lucas Duda, 1B
Like Lynn, Duda is a big comeback option. Duda hit 87 combined home runs in 2014, 2015 and 2017, not including 2016, where he played in just 47 games due to injury. More injuries kept him to just 107 games between the Royals and Braves in 2018, where he hit 14 homers, but Duda has a career .789 OPS and a career OPS+ of 118. had him with a WAR of exactly 0.0, but with a weak 1B market, with top option Steve Pearce already gone, leaving Matt Adams, Mark Reynolds and Logan Morrison as the standouts, Duda can be a steal for a 1B thirsty team.

               Oliver Perez, LHP
The final option on the list, Perez has had a long, tough career that has seem him go through many struggles as a starter, and since 2012, a reliever. But at age 36, Perez had arguably his best season ever. In 32.1 innings, Perez had a 1.39 ERA, with 43 strikeouts with a 1.74 FIP. And according to, he had a 1.1 WAR, 7th best among free agent relievers, better than pitchers like Zach Britton, AJ Ramos, Andrew Miller, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera. His age will hurt him, and so will his inconsistency, but he can be a sleeper pick up for a team.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Ranking all MLB catchers

from Yahoo! Sports

             So, I wanted to start a series ranking all position players by position. And what better way to start than with the first fielding position besides the pitcher, the catcher. Unfortunately for catchers, their position is by far the weakest at batting, but requires strength at fielding. There were only 27 players that would qualify at catcher in your fantasy league with at least 300 Plate Appearances, and I'm going to be ranking all of them, almost. Not included on the list is Rangers' Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who made just 23 starts at catcher, and is mostly used as an infielder. Since it's 300 Plate Appearances as the limit, no 2018 World Series champions are on the list, among some other teams. You'll see an advanced stat called DEF a lot in the article. Here's what it means: [Fangraphs]. And credit to Fangraphs for the stats in the article. So, here we go, starting off with the one and only tie on the list.

               T25: Nick Hundley, Giants, Manny Pina, Brewers
Starting off with two catchers that don't have anything too special. At 31, Pina hit nine homers in 337 Plate Appearances, and had an OBP of .307. His DEF of 8.4 saves him. For Hundley, he hit 10 home runs in 305 Plate Appearances, backing up Buster Posey, then starting after his injuries. He isn't a great defender, and had an OBP of .298 in 2018. Nothing special displayed at the bottom of the list.

                24: James McCann, Detroit Tigers
 McCann's stock fell more than any catcher in 2018. He was terrible at the plate, with an OBP of .267. He had a DEF of 11.1, and his ability to hit more for power before than Hundley and Pina puts him slightly above them.

                 23: John Hicks, Detroit Tigers
While McCann hurt his stock, his teammate, Hicks, helped his. An OBP of .312 and a slugging % of .403 isn't the greatest, but compared to the catchers below him, it's pretty good for someone just qualifying, with just 312 Plate Appearances. He tied McCann with nine home runs, and showed that he could be better than their starter. What hurts him is his terrible DEF of -5.7

                 22: Russell Martin, Toronto Blue Jays
Martin has always been an above average catcher in power, and an above average defender. But, it all fell apart for Martin in 2018. Despite a .338 OBP, Martin batted .194, with his lowest home run total (10) since 2010.His DEF dropped way down to 2.7, and he had an OBP better than his slugging, with a terrible .325 showing in the latter. Martin hit rock bottom in 2018, and his past is keeping him at 22.

                 21: Jon Lucroy, free agent
Formerly a top catcher in the game, Lucroy signed a one year deal with the A's in Spring Training, then flopped at the plate. Like Martin, Lucroy had a .325 slugging %, and a weak .291 OBP. He still had a 11.0 DEF, which will have him staying at 21.
                 20: Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins
I think an argument for Garver to be lower on the list could be valid, as he had an OPS of .749, which is above league average, and pretty decent. Taking the Twins job from Jason Castro, Garver hit seven home runs in 2018, and his AAA numbers show that he could hit more in a full season. Someone to look out for in 2019.

                 19: Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres
Hedges has power for a catcher, no doubt. He's hit 33 homers in the last two seasons, with 14 in 2018. His weak .282 OBP hurts him, and he had a DEF of just 5.1, which is good, but ninth worst out of catchers on the list. He did have a decent slugging %  of .429. He has 20 home run power, and might hit it in more Plate Appearances in 2019.

                 18: Martin Maldonado, free agent
After a post 2016 trade to the Angels, Maldonado has gotten way more Plate Appearances, with over 400 in the past two years. He's combined for 23 homers since the trade. Traded mid 2018 to the Astros, Maldonado goes into free agency with a good chance of a multiyear deal. His DEF of 11.3 in 2018 and a combined DEF of 23.7 in the last two years will a selling point for him.

                  17: Jorge Alfaro, Philadelphia Phillies
Alfaro was one of the top catching prospects leading up to his rookie 2018 season. He wasn't so great, though. The Phillies had to trade for a player you'll see if you scroll down. He hit 10 home runs, and had an OPS of .731. But, he's young and had a DEF of 9.5. His K rate of 36.6% needs to go down.

                  16: Chris Iannetta, Colorado Rockies
In his first year back in Colorado, Iannetta hit 11 home runs after posting up 17 in his one year in the desert. He had a good .345 OBP, but what really brings him down is his .385 slugging and 3.4 DEF (compared to other catchers). He had a really good OPS of .865 in 2017 with the D-Backs, and that is what helps him place at number 16.

                   15: Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians
There could be a chance Gomes isn't on the Indians by Opening Day 2019. He has combined for 30 home runs the last two seasons, and is coming off a year with a .449 slugging percentage and a .762 OPS. 2018 was Gomes' best season since 2014, and it ranks him and number 15.

                   14: Mike Zunino, Tampa Bay Rays
The newest member of the Rays hit 20 homers and won Wilson's Defensive Catcher of the Year Award. He's also combined for 45 homers the last two seasons. So why isn't he top ten?. He has a very high strikeout rate of 37%. He also had a terribly awful OBP of .259 with a .201 batting average. He has power and a good glove, but nothing else.

                   13: Robinson Chirinos, free agent
 The Rangers could regret not exercising Chirinos' option. He isn't the best defensive catcher, but he has 20 home run power, something not many catchers have, hitting 17 and 18 bombs the past two years. The 18 in 2018 was sixth among catchers. He had an OPS of .757 in 2018, and quietly is one of baseball's most underrated catchers. He should get more money than people think he will in free agency.

                   12: Omar Narvaez, Chicago White Sox
Narvaez has never been a home run hitter. He had never hit more than two in any season, major league or minor, before. But, with Welington Castillo suspended, Narvaez hit nine, and had a batting average of .275. He doesn't strikeout much, with a 20.2% rate, which also happened to be a career high for him. He had an OPS of .795, despite his slugging rating being a little lower than players with an OPS of around .800, due to his lack of home runs. He's a good, young catcher.

                    11: Kurt Suzuki, Washington Nationals
Suzuki just signed a two year, $10 million deal with Washington. In his two seasons in Atlanta, Suzuki combined for 31 home runs, with 12 of them coming in 2018. Suzuki has a very low strikeout rate of 11.1%, and an OPS of .776. He's a player managers like. Gets on base, doesn't strike out, and can hit some homers.

                    10: Buster Posey, San Fransisco Giants
The main reason Posey is so high on the list is the countless amount of injuries. He might miss the beginning of 2019. The former #1 catcher in baseball is still really good, and in his prime (he's 31). He did have 448 Plate Appearances in 2018, more than most the catchers higher than him, and hit five homers, less than all catchers besides Lucroy. A .741 OPS is lower than the player 10 spots ahead of him, Garver, so his past really helps him sneak into the top-10.

                    9: Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds
Barnhart is one of the best fielders in baseball, and has a career DEF of 40.6, since 2014, when he debuted. He may not have the gold gloves to prove it, just one, but Barnhart is one of the most underrated fielders in all of baseball.

                   8: Wilson Ramos, free agentRamos is the player mentioned earlier that the Phillies needed to trade for because of Alfaro's struggles. It makes sense. Ramos was the best rental available, and finished with 15 home runs, and a .845 OPS. That makes him the second best free agent catcher, and a player that will really help his new team.

                   7: Fransisco Cervelli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Another catcher that doesn't strike out (12.6% K rate), but doesn't have great power (career high 12 homers in 2018), Cervelli led all catcher in OBP in 2018 with a .378 number. He had a .809 OPS, and had a 9.3 DEF. One of the better all-around catchers in baseball.

                   6: Yasmani Grandal, free agent
The top catching free agent available, Grandal hit 24 home runs in 2018, and has hit 67 over the past three seasons. He's had a slugging percentage over .450 each year, and had an OPS of .815 in 2018. Plus, a 9.0 While I don't think he's worth $70+ million, a number that experts think he'll get, I think he's a very valuable catcher.

                   5: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees
Injuries really hurt Sanchez in 2018. His batting average was at .184, his OBP was under .300 (.291), and his K rate raised to 25.1. A .697 OPS was pretty bad as well. But, Sanchez still slugged out 18, after hitting 33 while healthy in 2017. He has an exceptional arm but the passed balls are a problem. He is still young and has really good power, and is still a top-5 catcher.

                  4: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
It seems weird, but with 20 home runs, Molina hit the 20 homer mark for just the second time in his career. His DEF dropped to 7.3, but that's still really good. A .750 OPS isn't bad either. He may be aging, but "Yadi" is still a really good catcher.

                  3: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
In more Plate Appearances in 2018, Contreras matched his 2017 RBI total, 50, and hit 11 less home runs, with 10. But, he is still a great defender, with a DEF of over 12.5 for the second straight season. Contreras is also young, and if he can get back to the 20 homer mark, he'll be a top-3 catcher again, no doubt.

                  2: Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
Perez hit 20 home runs for the 4th straight season, the most by any current catcher. In 2018, he tied his career high, with 27, which led all catchers. His .439 slugging percentage was really good, and 10.7 DEF was also exceptional.

                  1: JT Realmuto, Miami Marlins
Another player that likely won't be on their team by opening day, Realmuto is by far the most all-around catcher. He hit 20 home runs for the first time ever with 21. His 74 runs led catchers, and his 74 RBIs was tied with Molina for second. An OBP of .340 and an slugging percentage of .484 combined for an .824 OPS.

                   That's my list. If you disagree comment down below, or tweet me (@carterhudblog).

Thursday, November 22, 2018

NHL trade review: Oilers acquire Wideman

Image by Derek Leung/Getty Images

         The Edmonton Oilers have acquired defenseman Chris Wideman from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a 2020 6th round pick.

           For the Oilers, like this trade a lot. Wideman was fourth in defensive shots with 123 in 2016-17, when the Senators were a goal away from the Stanley Cup finals. A puck moving, right handed shot defenseman, Wideman showed that he can be a top-4 defensive on a good team. The Senators were an above average defensive team that year, finishing 11th in the league in goals against (214). He will most likely slide in above either Jason Garrison or Matt Benning in the depth chart.

           Wideman, 28, has scored two goals and three assists for five points in 19 games this year. His best career season was 2016-17, when he played in a career high 76 games, scoring 17 points and putting up 123 shots. In his NHL career, all in Ottawa, Wideman has scored 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points in 175 games.

            For the Senators, I don't understand this trade. While they clear up a spot for prospect Christian Wolanin to play, he is still in the AHL. They get a low return for a quality defenseman. Most people are thinking the trade has to do with the Senators' Uber scandal that went viral no more than a month ago. Wideman was the most visible player in the clip, was talking the most, and was arguably the most vulnerable, as the other six players included top prospects Thomas Chabot, Colin White and Alex Formenton (since sent to Juniors), new acquisitions Dylan DeMelo and Chris Tierney, and star Matt Duchene. Him being more expandable than the other could have helped send the message for Ottawa. That's one way that might have impacted the decision to trade Wideman.

Monday, November 19, 2018

MLB news: Nats sign Suzuki, Rangers sign Mathis

          The Washington Nationals have signed C Kurt Suzuki, and the Texas Rangers have signed C Jeff Mathis, both to two year deals.

           The Nationals could use Suzuki in a platoon with Matt Wieters. Suzuki brings a decent right-handed bat to the table. He nearly hit 20 home runs in 2017. He is most likely going to be their backup, though. Suzuki also spent two years with Washington in 2012 and 2013, despite struggling, hitting just .239 with eight homers.

            Suzuki, 35, hit .271, with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 388 Plate Appearances for the Atlanta Braves in 2018. His best career season came with the Braves in 2017, when he hit .283 with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs in 309 Plate Appearances. In his MLB career for the Braves, Nationals, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics, Suzuki has a batting average of .258, with 114 home runs and 619 RBIs in 5319 Plate Appearances.

              For the Rangers, Robinson Chirinos is a free agent, and Mathis is brought in as a backup. Also, they are rumored to be in on trade talks for pitcher Zack Greinke, who Mathis just recently caught in Arizona.

              Mathis, also 35, hit .200 with one homer and 20 RBIs in 218 Plate Appearances for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018. His best offensive season came with the Los Angeles Angels in 2008, when he hit nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 328 Plate Appearances. In his MLB career for the Angels, Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays, Mathis has a batting average of .198, with 48 home runs and 265 RBIs in 2694 Plate Appearances.

My interview with 5 time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky

Only the greatest athletes in the world get to represent their country in the Olympics. On top of that, they all dream of winning a gold medal. I was fortunate to be able to speak with someone with five of them.

At the age of 21, American swimmer Katie Ledecky has already won five gold medals and a silver. One of those golds came in 2012 in London, at the young age of 15. The other four gold medals and the silver came in Rio 2016. She also has won 14 World Championship gold medals, the most ever by a female swimmer. She is the current world record holder in three events, the 400, 800 and 1500 meter freestyle. She has broken her own records so many times she actually has 14 of them.

I had the privilege to speak with Ledecky, who's uncle, Jon, is a co-owner of the New York Islanders.

Me: How long have you been swimming?
Katie Ledecky: Since I was six years old. I'm 21 now, so 15 years.

Me: Did you play any other sports as a kid?
KL: I played basketball, soccer, I did Irish dancing. I did skate a little bit, but not seriously. Basketball, soccer and swimming for the three sports growing up.

Me: What's it like having your uncle as the owner of a professional sports team?
KL: It's awesome. When I was little I went to pretty much every Caps game, so I became a hockey fan really quickly. Now I'm a huge Islanders fan. I keep track of every game. My parents watch pretty much every game. It's fun to have a team to cheer for. I get to hear a lot of the stories about the team, different stories that my uncle has. It's a lot of fun to watch it and be a part of it, and to be able to come to some of these games when I get the chance.

Me: Will we see you in Tokyo (2020 Summer Olympics) in a few years?
KL: I hope so. It's very tough to qualify for the Olympics. There's the Olympic trials in June of 2020. That will decide if I get to go again. I'm training really hard for it. Hopefully I'll get to swim in a number of events in Tokyo and do really well.

Me: What are your goals for 2020?
KL: I'd like to bring home more medals for Team USA, and just do my very best. I have some time goals that I won't share, It's not just you, I won't share them with any one (laughs). I have some times in mind that I'd like to hit, and some places that I want to hit and achieve. So, hopefully it will go well.