Saturday, March 24, 2018

TGP 2018 Predictions: 2018 MVP’s

And for my grand finale, the American League and National League Most Valuable Player Awards!!!! But really, in all seriousness the MVP Awards in both leagues are the big one, the award that every player wants and the award that only a select few get to obtain during their Major League tenures. We all grew up pretending to be the batting champion, the World Series MVP that came up with the big hit in Game 7, and the perennial MVP and that feeling undoubtedly doesn’t change as you grow older and your dreams begin to come to fruition. The childhood dreams of being the league’s MVP is about to come true for these two men.

Will Aaron Judge get robbed again? Will he get robbed by one of his own teammates in Giancarlo Stanton or Gary Sanchez? Will Judge truly get robbed by someone who can’t even see over the counter at McDonalds? In all seriousness, no he won’t in my opinion. That doesn’t mean I think he will win it either, although I do foresee a special kind of productive season for him once again here in 2018. No, I like to go bold and a little bit against the grain in these decisions. With that in mind I am going to go with Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays as your 2018 AL MVP. Now I know what you are thinking, Dan… MVP’s generally don’t go to a player on a losing team. No, they don’t. But Donaldson is in the final year of a contract with a team that doesn’t look likely to contend even for a Wild Card here in 2018, which means there is a huge possibility that the Blue Jays third baseman will be traded at or before the July 31st trading deadline. If Donaldson were to be traded to an American League team where his stats don’t have to be started over I truly think the Toronto right-hander will win the award and head into free agency fresh off a huge statistical season.

Remember when Miguel Ozuna hit over .300 and smashed 37 home runs in a season? It feels like it was forever ago, but it was just last season with the Miami Marlins. Now that Ozuna has some protection in the lineup and is on a team in the St. Louis Cardinals that is expected to contend here in 2018 I think a lot more people will start to know and recognize the name, and just what he brings to the table. Ozuna could easily surpass 40 home runs here in 2018 with an average around .285. Sprinkle in 100+ RBI and a nice OBP and SLG percentage and ladies and gentlemen, we have an MVP in the making. It is a bold prediction, mainly because it isn’t Bryce Harper or Paul Goldschmidt, but that’s what I do. Bold predictions, and sometimes they come true. Stay tuned.

That’s it. Prediction Season is over here on The Greedy Pinstripes. I hope you enjoyed, and we will see you after the season concludes to check in on some of these predictions to see how well I did. Until then, ciao and enjoy your day.

Let's Put the Red Sox in the Rearview Mirror...

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Losing to Boston is ALWAYS unacceptable…

It was just a meaningless Spring game but I hate, really despise, losing to the Boston Red Sox. The game proves nothing regarding the American League East or the nineteen games the two teams will play in the regular season. Yet, I do not enjoy watching the Red Sox walking off the field in celebration under any circumstances. TGP’s Daniel Burch, who has been in fine prediction mode lately, feels that the Yankees will win the AL East by four games over the Red Sox. I hope he’s right. I would love nothing better than the Red Sox Nation in full anxiety and dread at the end of the season despite their flashy new toy (J.D. Martinez).

On Friday, the Red Sux (oops, sorry for the typo) blanked the Yankees, 5-0, behind starter Brian Johnson. Johnson, 27, a lefty, pitched 4 2/3 innings and held the Yankees, which featured Aaron Judge batting leadoff for the “Stripers” (Boone’s word, not mine), to only two hits while striking out five. After the game, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Johnson had made the Opening Day Roster and will be in the starting rotation. Johnson has been solid all Spring (and is out of options) but beating the Yankees convincingly certainly helps one’s case.  

The scare of the game occurred when Johnson hit Brandon Drury with a pitch in the fifth inning. The ball came in high and inside, striking the Yankees third baseman above the left elbow. He seemed to shake it off and took first base. But after Neil Walker ripped a ground rule double to left, moving Drury to third, he departed the game for a pinch runner after realizing the arm was swelling. Test results after the game proved negative so hopefully Drury will be back within a few days and will not miss Opening Day.  

Photo Credit: The New York Post (Charles Wenzelberg)
Later in the day, Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants showed how quickly you can lose one of your star players. MadBum took a liner off the hand which broke the fifth metacarpal of his pitching hand and will miss 4-6 weeks. It reinforced how lucky the Yankees were in not losing Drury for an extended period. No time frame for Drury was given but for now he’s day-to-day. This morning, Drury said that he is feeling better but will take a rest day. His plan, assuming all goes well, is to resume baseball activities tomorrow. His intent is to be ready for Opening Day.  

The Yankees play split squad games today against the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves and the scheduled third base starters are Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade, respectively. Drury had been scheduled for the Blue Jays game but the Yankees pulled Andujar out of Minor League camp to make the start.

The Yankees continued reducing the roster yesterday in the ‘March to 25’. Luis Cessa, who has certainly lost my support (as if that matters to Aaron Boone), was optioned to Triple A and left-handed reliever Wade LeBlanc was provided his release. With the elimination of competition for a bullpen role, Chasen Shreve responded by giving up a two-run homer yesterday to Boston’s Sam Travis and allowed three total runs while on the mound for one inning of work even if one of those runs was charged to Tanaka. Shreve’s fault; not Tanaka which proves the fallacy of ERA. Hopefully Shreve rises to the occasion for the regular season and matches the performance of his stellar bullpen mates and doesn’t become the pitching staff’s weakest link. LeBlanc wasn’t unemployed for long as he was picked up by the Seattle Mariners today, signing a Major League contract. The M’s lost former Yankee David Phelps earlier this week when it was announced that he’d need Tommy John surgery.

In the latest roster move, the Yankees optioned Domingo German to Triple A which probably means RHP Jonathan Holder has made the Opening Day roster as the 13th man. I hope so. I am pulling for Holder to emerge as a key weapon in the pen. With David Robertson due to hit to free agent market after the season (which I absolutely hate to see), young guys like Holder will need to step up. D-Rob presents a dilemma. Do you trade him at the deadline or do you let him walk away at the end of the year for nothing? If the Yankees are in the heart of a pennant race (which we expect them to be), D-Rob is critical for mission success in October.  But conversely, he could bring in quality prospects as a rental for another contending team in need of relief help in July. If other young arms like Holder prove that they can be this year’s Chad Green, Robertson might be expendable (which tortures me to write). I do not envy GM Brian Cashman for the decisions ahead.  

Congratulations to Miguel Andujar! An-DU-jar received the James P Dawson award for the best rookie in camp this year. When the calendar flips to October this season, there’s no doubt that the 2018 Yankees will have been powered, in part, by the young Andujar. In other words, I fully expect him to make a significant contribution for the team this year even if he doesn’t get to travel to Toronto next week for the start of the regular season. 

Photo Credit: Associated Press 
There are some ex-Yankees that I continue to pull for and RHP Bryan Mitchell is no exception.  However, it was very painful to watch last night’s exhibition game between the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers. Joey Gallo hammered two home runs off Mitchell, who gave up seven runs over four innings. Mitchell was saved from the loss when the Padres erased the seven-run deficit by scoring nine runs. Not pretty for the former Yankee but he is still expected to be part of the starting rotation for the Padres this year. Hopefully the regular season will be much kinder to him. It was weird watching Chase Headley in Padres gear (and sporting a beard like Mitchell) with his familiar batting swing but there’s no doubt I prefer Brandon Drury and Miguel Andujar at third for the Yankees. Sorry Chase, I appreciate your contributions to Pinstripes but I am glad you are in the land of Sunny and 74 degrees.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images North America (Patrick Smith)
After today, the Yankees have only two Spring games left. Today’s split-squad game against the Blue Jays represents the final game at Steinbrenner Field. Tomorrow, the Yankees travel to Port Charlotte to face the Tampa Bay Rays. On Monday, they go to Atlanta to face the Braves at SunTrust Park and the Spring schedule will be done. The roster of 25 will make their way to Ontario for Thursday afternoon’s opener against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The road to the World Series begins now. We got this.

Photo Credit: Associated Press (Lynne Sladky)
Go Yankees!

TGP 2018 Predictions: 2018 Cy Young Award Winners

Cue the music, it is time for the big awards to be predicted and subsequently handed out as just two major awards remain here in Predictions Season. The AL and NL MVP Awards, which we will cover at a later date, and the hardware we will be handing out today for the American League and National League Cy Young Awards. The AL and NL Cy Young Awards go out to the best pitcher in each respective league and, again I am not saying this to incite a riot or really spark a debate, for that reason it is these awards that should, but don’t, disqualify a pitcher from winning either the AL or NL MVP Award. If a hitter could win the Cy Young Award, then sure. If not, then it just shouldn’t be allowed. My opinion only, just like these predictions are my opinion only as well. Leave your thoughts, comments, debate, banter and opinions in the comments section below or shoot us a line on Twitter by tweeting @GreedyStripes. Thanks in advance!

Will it finally be time for Luis Severino to shine? Will Masahiro Tanaka regain his dominance despite a lackluster spring? Is Sonny Gray finally going to get some run support here in the Bronx? Not likely. Not with the amazing bullpen that these young men have behind them and the undoubtedly short leash that they will all be on with new manager Aaron Boone presumably wanting to make a statement in his first season as an MLB manager. Boone will want as many wins as possible, and that in turn may mess with the win/loss records and peripherals of the Yankees starters much like it did under former manager Joe Girardi. With that said a New York Yankees pitcher will not win the 2018 American League Cy Young Award in 2018, but I truly believe that a member of the *pukes* Boston Red Sox will in Chris Sale. Sale had a down season in 2017 by many standards including a year where he did not record a victory against the New York Yankees. With the power of JD Martinez backing him in his starts and a few key bullpen pieces coming back from injuries and such for Boston I do not expect the Red Sox to go down quietly here this season, and I expect a much better campaign out of Sale. Unfortunately.

I wanted to go with Max Scherzer in the National League, I mean I do have his team heading to the World Series and all in these set of predictions, but I wanted to go a little outside of the box with my predictions. With that in mind I am going to go with a member of those Philadelphia Phillies I predicted to do so well this season. No, I am not going with Aaron Nola. I said I wanted to go outside of the box. Instead, I am going to go with Jake Arrieta. Arrieta’s velocity is down and his peripherals are not trending in the right direction, but a change of scenery and a change into a more pitcher-friendly ballpark should only help the right-hander. Plus, in a simple world anyway, Arrieta should draw some easier matchups on paper with Nola being the “ace” of the staff, but really this is just a gut feeling I am having. Go with your gut, win a prestigious award, and look like a wizard in the making.