Thursday, April 6, 2017

USA Today’s Week One MLB Power Rankings

Ladies and gentleman we are barely three games into the 2017 regular season and the USA Today is already updating their weekly MLB Power Rankings. This is the first official set from the actual season as the first batch was a preseason ranking and the New York Yankees are on the way up.

The biggest rise of the week went to the New York Yankees who rose two spots from the 18th spot overall in the league to 16th overall. Good job Baby Bombers! The biggest fall of the week went to the Miami Marlins who fell two spots from a week or so ago dropping to the 21st spot from 19th overall. Obviously this early in the season these mean little to nothing, remember people… sample size, but it’s still good to see the Yankees trending in the right direction regardless.

The Top Five teams in the league according to the rankings are the Chicago Cubs at the #1 spot followed by the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals. The New York Mets are 9th, the Toronto Blue Jays are 10th, the Baltimore Orioles are 12th, the Seattle Robinson Cano’s are 14th, the Tampa Rays are 19th and the San Diego Padres currently occupy the 30th spot in the league. For the complete rankings head over to the USA Today to check out their post. 

Things to Do on a Yankees Off Day

So the New York Yankees are off again today leaving me with a burning question… what in the world are we going to do with ourselves to pass the time? Here are a few suggestions for you if you find yourself in the same conundrum.

Go outside. I know it sounds crazy but vitamin D deficiencies are no joke.

Read a book. I plan on picking up the “Thirteen Reasons Why” series as I have begun watching the show on Netflix.

Speaking of Netflix…. Netflix and chill. Or just chill. Cardio is healthy for you and it’s something I am a firm believer in doing as often as humanly possible. Especially in the rain.

Listen to some new music. There’s plenty to choose from. I have been on a Ed Sheeran kick here lately, and it was a Weeknd kick before that and I played the absolute hell out of J Cole’s album “For Your Eyez Only” before that but there is so much more that I am sure I’m missing out on. The Chainsmokers are releasing an album tomorrow I believe, which means it’s probably been on the internet for weeks now and I just missed it, and so much more I could name. Music is a release. 

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: The MVP’s

Here we are finally, the big one. The Most Valuable Player Award in Major League Baseball is considered the highest honor an individual position player can achieve and there is only one for each league. Who wins it for the American League and the National League? Well my American League pick won’t shock many as it’s probably the consensus and the popular pick but that National League pick though… that one could turn some heads. I mean it shouldn’t but it still might anyway. Read on to see what and who I am talking about.

American League MVP: Mike Trout

There isn’t much explanation that needs to go into this one. Mike Trout is arguably the best player in the American League right now followed closely by the Boston Red Sox’s outfielder Mookie Betts, who I honestly considered putting here… but rivalries, and is fresh off winning the award in 2016. Trout is still young and shows no signs of breaking down or slowing up his game so I’m simply going to keep picking him until he gives me a reason not to. I know this isn’t the risqué pick by any means but sometimes the safe pick is the best pick because it’s a safe pick for a reason.

National League MVP: Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado has been one of the best young hitters and third baseman in the National League for a few seasons now but somehow there are still people out there that don’t know about him. Is that because he plays for a rebuilding team that’s west of the Mississippi River in the Colorado Rockies? Maybe but it certainly isn’t his production that’s doing it. Arenado, now just 25-years old, heads into 2017 fresh off his fourth straight Gold Glove Award at third base for Colorado as well as his second straight season in which he led the National League in home runs. The Rockies will live and die by the bat of Arenado next season and they will ride him all the way to an MVP Award and quite possibly an NL West Division crown or at the very least a trip to the postseason as a Wild Card. I didn’t predict they would but I won’t be the one to bet against them either. 

Can We Have a 2013 Off-Season “Do-Over”?…

In a recent interview, GM Brian Cashman indicated that the Yankees should have traded 2B Robinson Cano at the trading deadline during his last year in 2013.  

I still don’t get the math…  

I would gladly take 10 years at $240 million for Cano’s continued production (despite the injuries in his first couple of years with the Seattle Mariners) over 7 years at $153 million for Jacoby Ellsbury.  Cano is still considered among the best at his position (a few notches below Houston’s Jose Altuve), whereas Jacoby Ellsbury is not on anybody’s top ten list (except maybe for prospective Disabled List candidates).  Ellsbury and Cano are linked because the Yankees opted to sign the former the year they wouldn’t budge from their offer for Cano and he subsequently signed with the Mariners with Jay Z’s help.  

A few more years of high productivity will place Cano into Hall of Fame consideration.  It’s too bad that he won’t do it in Pinstripes.  I don’t entirely blame the Yankees because there was fault by Cano too, but I do think they could have found common ground.  The Yankees never valued Cano like they did for the former Core Four players even though he remains a middle of the order bat.  

The ascent of Gleyber Torres to second base in the Bronx is probably the only thing that will ever ease the pain of Cano’s loss for me (assuming, of course, that Torres gets moved to second).  

I know it was only one start but Jose Quintana did not fare well with his first Opening Day start for the Chicago White Sox.  He gave up 6 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in the loss to the Detroit Tigers.  One start does not a season make, but he is human.  Of course, if we base one start for the season, CC Sabathia should be the Cy Young Award winner!  Now, we know for sure that’s not going to happen.  I suspect that Quintana, the future Mr Astro or Brave, will be better the next time out.

David Schoenfield of ESPN identified his list of “Must Watch Players” on every major league team.  Surprisingly, he chose Greg Bird over Gary Sanchez.  Nothing against Bird, but I still find Sanchez to be the most intriguing player for his combination of offensive and defensive skills.  But Bird, in two games thus far, has showed more defensive prowess than I expected even if the bat has not come around to his Spring performance yet.  Schoenfield stated “he’s probably not the next Joey Votto, but maybe he could be?”.  No pressure.  It’s a little early to start comparing Bird to first base greats but I certainly feel that he has a chance to make a name for himself.  Maybe he’ll be the next Greg Bird?  I am confident that whatever version he turns out to be, it will be a good one.

Because of weather conditions, both Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green are scheduled to pitch in Tampa today in preparation for a possible start on April 16th as the fifth starter in the rotation.  Assuming that Bryan Mitchell is not the choice, the odds certainly favor Green considering he’s on the 40-man roster.  But if it was up to me, I’d make room to add Montgomery.  I think he brings so much more promise and potential to the rotation than Green does, and he adds the dynamic of being a second left-hander to go with CC Sabathia.

It has been reported that Derek Jeter is part of an ownership group interested in buying the Miami Marlins.  If successful, that would make him Don Mattingly’s boss.  One Yankees Legend reporting to another.  It would be odd, but Jeter has long desired to get into ownership.  Better that he does it in the National League and away from the Yankees.  

So, the Tampa Bay Rays series is over, and the Yankees depart Florida with a 1-2 record.  Masahiro Tanaka underperformed, CC Sabathia overperformed, and Michael Pineda pitched kinda like we’ve come to expect (3 2/2 innings, 8 hits, and 4 runs).  While he did strike out 6 batters, he was ineffective and continues to be the puzzle that is Michael Pineda.  Very disappointing.  Of course, Pineda wasn’t helped by Yankees offense.  The only run scored in the 4-1 loss was a second inning home run by Jacoby Ellsbury.  Outside of Ellsbury (3-for-4) and Chase Headley (2-for-3), the bats were very quiet.  The young Core of Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge was a combined 1-for-12.  So, even if Pineda had pitched a quality start, it was a night they probably would have still left with the loss.  

The Yankees now need to re-group as they head to Baltimore to take on the Orioles for a three game series that begins on Friday night.  Let’s hope that Luis Severino pitches more like Sabathia and less like Pineda.  The Yankees get another shot at the Rays next week when they open Yankee Stadium.  

Have a great Thursday!

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: Cy Young Winners

If you’re a pitcher coming up as a kid in Little League, as a High School player, a college player or even as a professional in the minor leagues your ultimate goal is always to reach the Major Leagues and win a Cy Young Award. There’s only one per league every single season so most pitchers will never get that honor but in my opinion these two men from the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively will reach that ultimate goal and have that ultimate honor bestowed upon them. Keep reading to find out who I’m talking about although I have a feeling by naming the teams that you already have an idea of who I am going to choose.

American League Cy Young Award: Corey Kluber

So I've already predicted that the Cleveland Indians would win the American League Central Division with the best record in the American League and I've already predicted that all those wins would equate into manager Terry Francona winning the AL Manager of the Year Award but who is going to carry the team to that over the course of a 162-game schedule? His name is Corey Kluber and he is an absolute animal on the mound. Kluber was one of the best starters last season, although he lost out on the award to 20+ game winner Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox, but he will not be denied in 2017 as he is set up to put up another strong campaign this season. 

National League Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw

I could go on and on about all the numerous reasons why Clayton Kershaw will once again find a way to get better and find a way to win another Cy Young Award for the National League but I have a better idea. Name a reason or two, and yes there are including his injury history as of late, of why he won't win the award at this point in his career. Leave them below in the comments section or drop us a line on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes. 

So it Seems the Mega Prediction Game Has Begun…

And I missed the first series. What a great example I am setting here, huh? My apologies, AGAIN. Life is complicated and life is hectic right now and my days of staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning just to update the blog are over. I’m sorry but they are, I’m getting too old for that stuff and too old for that stress.

Anyway we have run a Mega Prediction Game on the blog in every season of its existence and this year will be no different. The details and rules can be found on the prediction game tab at the top of the blog and that is also where you can play the actual game. I hope to see you all there.

I am the defending champion so I guess I should be at least participating in the game rather than being Kari’d every day all season long, huh? I’ll get right on that Kari because I love you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/6: Ron Blomberg

In 1973 the Yankees Ron Blomberg became the first designated hitter in major league history. In his first plate appearance the DH drew a walk off of Luis Tiant in a 15-5 loss at the hands of the bitter rival Boston
Red Sox.