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Showing posts from March, 2023

Giants start '23 with predictable narrative

 The Giants opened their 2023 season on Thursday in New York and it can't come as much of a surprise as to how things turned out. Facing one of the best starting pitchers in the game on a cold day in the Bronx, you knew runs would be tough to come by and they were indeed. The Yankees beat the Giants 5-0 backed by a dominant outing from Gerrit Cole and a couple of clutch big flies. Logan Webb pretty much matched Cole pitch for pitch, but unfortunately for Webb, he was the one who had to face Aaron Judge. The guy who flirted with the idea of joining the Giants this winter, and actually was reportedly coming to San Francisco for a few minutes, fittingly homered in his first at-bat against them.  Webb really made just two mistakes all afternoon and both ended up leaving the ballpark. Judge's blast to center, then Gleyber Torres just back-spun a ball over the short porch in right field to make the game 3-0 in the fourth. Neither of those balls are laving the yard if this game is in

Giants set to head to NY for opener

The exhibition part of MLB's schedule officially ended Tuesday, and the Giants have to fell pretty good about a lot of things that transpired in Arizona. We saw the emergence of Casey Schmitt, who both impressed with the bat and the glove during the Cactus League. He's going to be in San Francisco sooner than later. Rule 5 pick, Blake Sabol, also raked this spring, and has ensured his spot on the opening day roster. With Joey Bart's continual struggle to make consistent contact, Sabol could eventually find himself as a regular behind the plate. It will come down to how well he can handle the position, but that bat plays, and the Giants look intent on giving him a legitimate shot. Another young guy who's had a quietly impressive spring is shortstop Will Wilson. The 24 year-old hit .321 with 2 home runs, 13 RBI and a robust 1.079 OPS. Much has been said about Brett Wisely and Isan Diaz as the next line of defense in the middle infield, but I think Wilson has to be looked

2023 NL West Preview

 Finally, after going division-by-division for the rest of the league, we end up with the NL West. Of course we all know about the big moves made by the Padres and the expectations there. The Dodgers didn't have as flashy of an offseason but they still are the division favorites in many people's eyes. The Giants, while not adding the stars they wanted, also improved and should be a better team than they were a year ago. The D-Backs are slowly creeping back into the picture, piling up young position playing talent and just waiting for their pitching to catch up. The Rockies are the only team in this division who don't have much of a shot at being a .500 ball club. First Place, San Diego Padres Lineup: 1. SS Xander Bogaerts 2. LF Juan Soto 3. 3B Manny Machado 4. RF Fernando Tatis* Jr. 5. 1B Jake Cronenworth 6. DH Matt Carpenter/Nelson Cruz 7. 2B Ha-Seong Kim 8. CF Trent Grisham 9. C Austin Nola Rotation/Closer: 1. RHP Yu Darvish 2. LHP Blake Snell 3. RHP Joe Musgrove* 4. RH

2023 NL Central Preview

The NL Central again looks like the Cardinals' to lose. If the Brewers pitching staff is healthy though, they should absolutely push for a postseason spot. The Cubs did a lot this winter, but still lack the overall depth to really push for October this year. The Pirates and Reds each have some bright spots on their rosters but have a long way to go until they're legit competitors again. First Place, St. Louis Cardinals Lineup: 1. 2B Tommy Edman 2. C Wilson Contreras 3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt 4. 3B Nolan Arenado 5. LF Tyler O'Neil 6. RF Lars Nootbaar 7. 2B Brendan Donovan 8. DH Nolan Gorman 9. CF Dylan Carlson Rotation/Closer: 1. RHP Jack Flaherty 2. LHP Jordan Montgomery 3. RHP Adam Wainwright 4. RHP Miles Mikolas 5. LHP Stephen Matz CL: RHP Ryan Helsley The Cards lost their leader with Yadiar Molina retiring, but they did a pretty good job at replacing him behind the plate with Contreras. They have two MVP-candidates in the middle of their order and some young studs like No

2023 NL East Preview

 The NL East has three legit World Series contenders in which makes it the best division in baseball. Here's how we see this division breaking down over the year. First Place, Atlanta Braves Lineup:  1. RF Ronald Acuna 2. 1B Matt Olson 3. 3B Austin Riley 4. C Sean Murphy 5. CF Michael Harris 6. 2B Ozzie Albies 7. DH Marcel Ozuna 8. LF Eddie Rosario 9. SS Vaughn Grissom Rotation/Closer:  1. LHP Max Fried 2. RHP Charlie Morton 3. RHP Spencer Strider 4. RHP Kyle Wright 5. RHP Ian Anderson CL: RHP Raisel Inglesias The Braves did lose Dansby Swanson this winter, but added one of the better backstops in the game to help fill that void in the lineup. I also think Grissom is about to blossom as the next big Braves homegrown talent. Acuna has MVP potential at the top of the lineup and I think he's primed for a career year now fully healthy. Riley and Olson comprise one of the best corner infield duos in the game and Michael Harris is one of the best young hitters out there. This lineup

2023 AL West Preview

Most of the AL West improved this offseason and it should make this one of the better divisions in baseball. Houston again looks like the clear front-runners, but the Mariners look good after a postseason run last year. The Rangers finally have some pitching, and the Angels hope everyone can stay healthy and they can show Shohei they're ready to compete. First Place, Houston Astros Lineup: 1. 2B Jose Altuve 2. DH Michael Brantley 3. 3B Alex Bregman 4. LF Yordan Alvarez 5. 1B Jose Abreu 6. RF Kyle Tucker 7. SS Jeremy Pena 8. CF Chas McCormick 9. C Martin Maldonado Rotation/Closer: 1. LHP Framber Valdez 2. RHP Christian Javier 3. RHP Lance McCullers 4. RHP Luis Garcia 5. RHP Jose Urquidy CL: Ryan Pressly Baseball's reigning champions are back and primed for a run to repeat. The lineup looks even scarier now that Abreu's plugged into the middle of it. Watch for Pena to build off his big postseason and develop more consistency over the course of the regular season. McCormick

2023 AL Central Preview

The AL Central looks pretty open. Not the best division in baseball, but they have a trio of teams that are capable of winning 90+ games if things go right.  The Guardians are the reigning division champs and made a couple moves this winter that strengthened them. The Twins had a really good offseason as well. The White Sox have more talent then both those teams but that talent did not translate in 2022.  Here's how we see this division breaking down in 2023: First Place, Cleveland Guardians Lineup: 1. LF Steven Kwan 2. 2B Andres Gimenez 3. 3B Jose Ramirez 4. DH Josh Bell 5. SS Ahmed Rosario 6. 1B Josh Naylor 7. RF Oscar Gonzalez 8. C Mike Zunino 9. CF Myles Straw Rotation/Closer: 1. RHP Shane Bieber 2. RHP Triston McKenzie 3. RHP Cal Quantrill 4. RHP Aaron Civale 5. RHP Zach Plesac CL: Emmanuel Clase The Guardians upgraded their lineup this winter with the addition of Josh Bell. They have a nice balance of proven bats mixed with players on the rise. Kwan looks like a potential b

2023 AL East Preview

 Spring training is cruising along quickly. We're over 10 games into the schedule now and the WBC is about to kick off this week.  With opening day quickly approaching, now just a little over three weeks out, I wanted to start a little overview of both leagues. With the balanced schedule this season, every team will play one another at some point so it's more important than ever to really know both leagues.  We'll start off in the AL East. Here's a glimpse at all teams in the division and a prediction as to how I think it will shape up for the 2023 season. First Place, Toronto Blue Jays Lineup: 1. LF George Springer 2. SS Bo Bichette 3. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 4. 3B Matt Chapman 5. DH Brandon Belt 6. C Alejandro Kirk 7. RF Daulton Varsho 8. 2B Whit Merrifield 9. CF Kevin Kiermaier Rotation/Closer: 1. RHP Alek Manoah 2. RHP Kevin Gausman 3 RHP Chris Bassitt 4. RHP Jose Berrios 5. LHP Yusei Kikuchi CL: RHP Jordan Romano The Blue Jays were a playoff team a year ago and