Results tagged ‘ Joey Votto ’
As I begin writing this, we’re only 21 hours away from the first pitch of the 2013 MLB season. Last year left a sour taste in my mouth (as it did for everyone who isn’t a San Francisco Giants fan), so I’m looking for a chance to change that.
It doesn’t matter which team you find yourself rooting for, everyone feels like this year could be the year (unless you’re an Astros or Marlins fan, you might want to wait a few more years) that they’re team finally wins it all. I normally always try to do a prediction blog before the season begins, and that’s what I’m going to do. If normal predictions bore you, check out my other BLOG where I’ve made a few more wild predictions.
Without further ado:
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Although I do love the diehard Athletics (and I really do hope they support the A’s like they did during October last year), I just don’t see them being able to pull of a repeat this year. This isn’t to say I don’t think they’ll be in contention, but I think they’re looking at a Wild Card. The only thing I can realistically see preventing the Angels from winning their division is if the starting rotation falls apart.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers- The Tigers went to the World Series last year and there’s really no reason why they can’t find themselves back in the hunt again this year. On paper, the Tigers have only gotten better (Torii Hunter in right field instead of Brennan Boesch, Victor Martinez instead of Delmon Young at DH and a full season of Omar Infante at 2B). A lot of critics say that the Tigers will struggle without a proven closer, but I don’t think that will be a big enough issue to keep them from winning their division.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays- If there’s a division that puzzles me, it’s without a doubt the AL East. Realistically, every team in the division has a legitimate argument that they could win the division. You can’t say that with really any other division, and that’s what makes predicting this so difficult. My thoughts are that the Yankees are falling apart (age and injuries), Boston has to prove they can turn it around with a new coach and Baltimore will likely take a step back compared to last year. You’re probably thinking, ‘What about the Blue Jays?’ No, I didn’t forget about them. The bulk of the players they traded for were from Miami, and the Marlins were pretty terrible last year. I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to win in Toronto, either.
Wild Cards: Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers- The Blue Jays are obviously talented and if they can stay healthy (especially Jose Bautista, Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow), there’s no reason why they won’t find themselves playing in October. They have the offensive weapons, but their pitching needs to improve.
I think Oakland will start off strong, but slowly fade as the Rangers surge in the second half. The Rangers have a ton of talent, and I’m worried about whether or not the Athletics can do it again. The Athletics and Rangers both will benefit from playing the Astros a lot more, that’s why I can’t see two Wild Cards coming from the AL East.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers- Hard to bet against Magic Johnson and the newly revamped Dodgers. They’ve spent enough money to win their division (in theory), and I don’t think the San Francisco Giants or Arizona Diamondbacks will be able to slow them down enough to pass them in the standings.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds- I think the Reds are under appreciated and it’s only a matter of time before everyone figures it out. They have a lot of young core talent which compliments their solid rotation. Oh yeah, their closer can also throw 105 MPH.
NL East: Washington Nationals- Although the Atlanta Braves added the Upton brothers to their outfield, I still think they’re going to go through too many stretches of not scoring runs. Don’t believe me? Look at the Detroit Tigers last year, when they had a similar type of team. When you’re relying on power, you often go through stretches where you’re not scoring runs.
Wild Cards: San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves- Hard to count out the defending World Series champions, especially when you consider the fact they haven’t lost any real significant pieces from their 2012 team. The Braves have enough pitching and offense that they should be able to beat up on the Mets and Phillies, squeaking out a Wild Card in the final week of the season.
AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Victor Martinez
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Roy Halladay
AL Rookie of the Year: Nick Castellanos
NL Rookie of the Year: Jedd Gyorko
World Series: Detroit Tigers over the Washington Nationals in 6 games
A lot of families bond doing various things, for mine, it usually revolves around baseball.
It’s not uncommon for my mom and her brothers to have what we affectionately refer to as a ‘Tigers Party.’ Simply put, we get together and watch the Tigers play. It’s the perfect combination of two things I love dearly, my family and baseball.
Tonight, we’re having the party at my parent’s house. It’s fun being able to answer questions about the Cincinnati Reds, since no one else in my family really knows that much about them.
I’ll chalk that up as one of the positive experiences of my quest to watch 500 baseball games this year. It really does force me to learn and research about players on every team, and not just my beloved Tigers.
Rick Porcello will be getting the start for the Tigers tonight, who is coming off one of his best starts of the year. In his last outing, Porcello held the Yankees to just one run in six innings. It’s going to be hard to do that against the Reds, who have one of the best left-handed hitters in all of baseball, in Joey Votto.
One thing that does bode well for the Tigers is the fact that Cincinnati’s stadium, the Great American Ball Park is notorious for being very friendly to hitters, allowing 78 home runs already this year. If Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder can pull a few fly balls, they should be able to score enough runs to get the Tigers a win.
In 2011, the San Diego Padres finished with a record of 71-91, which was tied for the fifth-worst record in all of Major League Baseball, and second worst in the National League. Is there any reason to think that the 2012 Padres will fare any better?
After a very disappointing season, the Padres traded away Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso and two minor-league prospects. In doing so, the Padres lost the ace of their rotation, but in return got a quality pitcher (Volquez) as well as Alonso, who if it wasn’t for Joey Votto, would have been the starting first baseman for the Reds.
The Padres didn’t go out and sign a bunch of free-agent talent, but rather decided to try to bolster their team by making several more trades. Through these moves, they were able to acquire a new closer (Huston Street) as well as outfielder Carlos Quentin. Both of these moves were made to address and improve their team, as they lost their closer Heath Bell to free agency, and desperately needed to find some way to improve their offense.
Unfortunately for the Padres, Quentin injured his knee before the season started and has yet to make an appearance for them. Once he returns from the disabled list, he will immediately make a dramatic impact on their lineup.
As much as I like to be optimistic, it’s hard for me to see a whole lot of upside with the Padres this year, especially after owner John Moores announced that he was putting the team for sale. It’s hard to imagine him willing to invest a lot of money into a team that he’s no longer going to be a part of, but hopefully the new owner(s) will be willing to spend the money to make the Padres competitive once again.
Fun fact: When the Padres initial owner went to sell the team in 1974, he almost sold it to Joseph Danzansky. Danzansky planned on moving the franchise to Washington D.C., but much to the surprise of everyone, the deal fell through. Instead, the Padres were sold to McDonald’s co-founder Ray Kroc, who had absolutely no interest in moving the team.
I always try to treat my fantasy baseball teams similarly to how I would if I was a general manager for a baseball team. Of course, that doesn’t include payroll, staffing, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, promotions…well, you get the idea.
What I can do however, is find ways to improve my team. So when I lost one of my two closers for the year (Ryan Madson), I immediately tried to find a replacement. Unfortunately, free agency left me only with Jonathon Broxton as a somewhat viable option. My next idea was to find a trade to bolster my roster.
When I looked at my team, I noticed that I have a very dominant pitching core. My biggest weakness is going to be home runs, and slugging percentage, and I’m okay with that. When playing a head to head league, I always suggest trying to build your team to be dominant in at least half the categories, while giving yourself a chance to win a few of the others.
Ultimately, I was offered a trade of David Price and Billy Butler for Joey Votto. After a bit of deliberation, I decided it was definitely going to make my team better in the long run. There’s no doubt that I’m losing a bit of value at first base, but a lot of people aren’t aware of how good Billy Butler is, and will be for quite a while. Throw in the fact I got a dominant starting pitcher in Price, I felt like there was no way I could turn this offer down.
Sure, Butler probably won’t hit as many home runs, or have as many RBIs as Votto, but the falloff isn’t that significant. I was already convinced my roster wasn’t going to be dominant in those categories, which I still will be competitive in, especially since no player on my team hit less than 10 home runs (David Freese in 333 at bats) last year.
I even did some number crunching, and if swap Votto’s offensive numbers with that of Billy Butler (and using all the 2011 statistics of all 14 of my position players), it comes out to: .282 batting average, 72 runs, 19 home runs, and 71 RBIs. If I can get a similar offensive production from all the players in 2012, I’ll consider myself to be in fine shape. Not to mention the fact having pitchers that include: Roy Halladay, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, David Price, Max Scherzer, Tim Hudson and Jose Valverde certainly won’t hurt much, either.
Sorry Votto, but you got to go.
Earlier today, I completed my first ever fantasy baseball auction draft for a 12 team head to head league. I heavily suggest you and your friends giving it a try sometime, as it adds a fun and competitive dynamic not found in a traditional draft. The concept is quite simple, even for first time participants. You start out with a certain amount of “dollars” to spend on your team (for us, it was 260 dollars). Instead of going in order to draft players, you rotate nominating players, in which all teams have the option of bidding on said player. The catch is you must be able to bid at least one dollar on every single player, and you cannot spend over your bankroll on your entire draft. This creates a challenge when you big top dollar on players early in the draft, but find yourself too low on funds to bid on players in the later rounds.
Here’s my team, and how much I bid on each player.
Catcher: Alex Avila-$13
First baseman: Joey Votto-$47
Second baseman: Ryan Raburn-$1
Shortstop: J.J. Hardy-$6
Third baseman: Placido Polanco-$5
Outfield: Curtis Granderson-$32
Outfield: Brennan Boesch-$7
Outfield: Drew Stubbs-$7
Utility: Corey Hart-$7
Utility: Carlos Beltran-$5
Bench: Jhonny Peralta-$1
Bench: Yadier Molina-$3
Bench: David Freese-$4
Bench: Neil Walker-$3
Starting pitcher: Roy Halladay-$42
Starting pitcher: Doug Fister-$15
Relief pitcher: Jose Valverde-$14
Relief pitcher: Phil Coke-$3
Pitcher: Rick Porcello-$6
Pitcher: Mat Latos-$12
Pitcher: Ryan Madson-$6
Bench: Max Scherzer-$4
Bench: Tim Hudson-$2
Overall, I really feel like my team is very solid all around, with enough star players to make a difference. My strategy going into the draft was to not spend more than 20 percent of my budget on any one player, and to not have more than three people combine to cost more than 60 percent of salary cap. I was able to get my three most expensive players for 46.5% of my budget. By doing this, I had plenty of money available in the later parts of the auction to outbid people who spent foolishly early on. If you do find yourself in an auction draft, I suggest using a similar strategy, as I thought it worked quite well.