The Hangover: Sam’s preseason Power Rankings

The Hangover: Sam’s preseason Power Rankings

Ranking teams before the season even starts is just dumb. Exhibit A: most people thought the Padres were going to be good last year. Exhibit B: if you look at my preseason power rankings last year, only three of my top ten teams made the playoffs. Then again, I also said this last year about the Red Sox: “I don’t believe that any member of the rotation will  both end the season with an ERA lower than 3.45 and pitch +175 innings. I don’t believe Hanley will be worth positive defensive value or that he will go the season uninjured.” BAM.

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30. Atlanta Braves (last season’s preseason ranking: 23)
I already talked about how amazing their off-season trades were. This team is rebuilding in the right way. Best case: A bonus last place finish and the first pick of the draft. Worst case: Freddie Freeman gets hurt but they still finish ahead of four other tanking teams.

29. Philadelphia Phillies (30)
I hate to admit it, but the Phillies aren’t as fun to beat up on now that Papelbon is off their roster. Still, remember how this time last year he said he was expecting to pitch for them in the 2015 postseason? What an a-hole. Best case: Young talent excels and sets them up well for two years down the road when they have almost no money on the books. Worst case: Somehow Jonathan Papelbon rejoins the team.

28. Cincinnati Reds (20)
Between Raisel Iglesias and Anthony DeSclefani, this rotation could actually be really fun to watch. Best case: Fanbase finally realizes why it’s not a bad thing that Joey Votto walks so much, shows him appropriate level of respect/devotion. Worst case: Fanbase continues to not understand why it’s not a bad thing that Joey Votto walks so much, lusts after Pedro Alvarez and his home runs from afar.

27. Colorado Rockies (29):
While I agree with just about the entire internet that the Rays won the McGee/Dickerson trade, Buster Olney outlines perfectly why it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed. Best case: CarGo is a monster, gets traded at the deadline. Worst case: CarGo remembers his body is incapable of playing more than 110 games of baseball in any given year.

26. Brewers (24):
I’m as excited as anyone about Orlando Arcia joining a terrific crop of young shortstops in the majors, but Jonathan Villar is more than just a placeholder: he could steal 30 bases. Best case: I’m really getting tired of tanking teams who desperately want to finish last. Worst case: Jonathan Lucroy isn’t good anymore and no one wants him ever.

Myers2
Mugshot.

25. Padres (14):
Will Myers shouldn’t be forgotten just yet. He’s on my “probably won’t but actually maybe could” breakout list this year. You can go ahead and forget about Matt Kemp though. Best case: I literally don’t even know. Worst case: The pointlessness of last offseason’s spending spree starts to really reverberate.

24. Angels (4):
Shame on you, Angels, for having Mike Trout and doing nothing with him. It’s like if Oscar Isaac was only allowed to perform in Michael Bay films. Best case: the AL West stays even enough to allow the Angels to catch up after a big mid-season acquisition. Worst case: Trout loses out on yet another deserved MVP award because of his team’s mediocrity.

23. Tigers (8):
Jordan Zimmerman just finished the worst year in his career and is transferring to the AL. And, while there’s always talk about how good this lineup is, remember they finished 10th in the AL in runs scored last year. Best case: Verlander and Miggy are tricked into thinking its 2012, and the Tigers overcome a still horrible bullpen to win the AL Central. Worst case: new contract Justin Upton looks like new contract BJ Upton, the rotation is horrible, and they stumble to last place.

22. Red Sox (12):
Most writers have this team a lot higher, even in the top 10. But the Red Sox could win 100 games and I’d still think they were a joke. Price is awesome, but I maintain that they don’t just need a number one, they need a numbers one through five. Best case: Big Papi has a glorious final season and gets the honor of losing in the wildcard game to a team that isn’t spending 75 million dollars on a backup third baseman. Worst case: I don’t judge baseball teams just by their year to year performance and I’m actually wondering if there is a worse case than having a 75 million dollar backup third baseman.

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Travis Who?

21. Athletics (18):
I’m not convinced this team will be good, but I’m not as eager to dramatically write them off as most. Last year’s negative 35 run differential was not that awful. Best case: They sniff the second wild-card slot but fall just short. Worst case: Worst team in the American League.

20. Twins (27):
Sano, Buxton, Park, Berrios should make for an awfully fun team. Best case: Buxton reminds people that he was mentioned in the same conversation as Trout, Harper, and Correa not that long ago. Worst case: season goes poorly enough that fans fastforward through gameplay to get to old Joe Mauer head and shoulders commercials.

19. White Sox (13):
Wow I was ready for the off-season to be over when the media spent an entire 48 hours talking about Adam LaRoche’s son. Though that story did give me decent evidence to back up my hunch that Chris Sale is the absolute worst. Best case: Rodon reaches his potential and leads them to a wild-card spot. Worst case: Rodon never reaches his potential and the Curse of Adam LaRoche’s Son dooms the other Chicago team.

18. Marlins (17):
This is the NL team most caught between tanking and contending. If Ozuna can recover his form, Stanton can stay healthy, and Yelich takes a step forward, the Marlins could challenge the Pirates for best outfield in the majors. Best case: The NL East is actually a three team race (at the top, I mean). Worst case: The NL East is actually a three team race… at the bottom.

17. Orioles (7):
The Blue Jays demonstrated last year that you can play baseball like a 2003 video game team and still make the playoffs, so I guess there’s hope for the Orioles? Best case: Pedro Alvarez ends up being the best signing of the offseason and the Orioles mash their way to a wildcard. Worst case: Last place in the AL East.

16. Mariners (10): This could be King Felix’s last chance to be a legitimate ace for a playoff team. Enough is enough already. Best case: King Felix starts a wildcard game. Worst case: the Mariners disappoint the entire baseball world once again.

15. Rays (15): Last year I ranked the Rays 15 and said “If Alex Cobb can come back quickly and avoid the DL the rest of the season they could make a run at the wildcard yet” so I’m questioning whether there is such a thing as time passing. Best case: the increase in depth translates to an increase in production and an underrated rotation takes the Rays to first place in the AL East. Worst case: Longoria continues to drop off into irrelevancy, Archer plateaus, Cobb’s recovery isn’t smooth, and the Rays start and end in the basement of the AL East.

14. Yankees (21):
People keep talking about how good this rotation could be, but I’m going to make a dramatic call akin to last year’s Red Sox prediction: barring a midseason acquisition, no Yankees starter will finish with better than a 3.80 ERA and +175 innings pitched. Best case: I’m entirely wrong about their rotation and they win 94 games and the World Series. Worst case: I’m entirely right and they finish last in the AL East. Notice how I think just about every AL East team could finish in last place?

13. Diamondbacks (28):
If Paul Goldschmidt is the underrated star of MLB, then David Peralta is the most underrated fantastic supporting piece. Dude had an .893 OPS last year. That Pollock injury is tragic. Best case: Greinke, Miller, and Corbin are good enough to give the NL West crown to a non-California team for the first time since 2011. Worst case: Arizona remains a team of stars and spare parts, finishing just short of the wild-card in a competitive NL field.

12. Indians (6): I get that the Mets rotation is really amazing, but Kluber/Carrasco/Salazar could be pretty incredible as well, especially with a full season of Lindor’s defense to back them up. Best case: If that trio performs to their abilities, this team could win the World Series. Worst case: Their bad luck continues and they miss out on the playoffs.

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Nope.

11. Giants (9):
I want to rank this team a lot lower. If people are going to point out how Jeff Samardzija’s horrible year (4.96 ERA, 4.23 FIP) was an outlier in his career, then I’m going to point out that his ace-like 2014 (2.99 ERA) is an outlier too. And his career ERA (4.09) is a lot closer to the bad outlier than it is to the good one.  That $90 million contract is absurd. Best case: it’s an even year in the 2010s, so I guess I have to say World Series. Worst case: I’m entirely right about Samardzija’s contract, Madison Bumgarner goes the way of fellow Giants Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, and this team ends under .500.

10. Rangers (26):
The 2015 Rangers were actually the best story of 2015 by far. Add in a nearly full year of Yu Darvish, and they could finally snag that ring. Best case: World Series winners. Worst case: 2016 is the bad kind of surprising, and they end up 4th in the AL West.

9. Cardinals (5):
I don’t want to question the best run organization of the last decade, but the Cardinals did hand over their two top performers (in terms of WAR) to division rivals. Also: that .210 opponents batting average with RISP is probably not sustainable. Best case: the Cubs are the 2016 Nationals and we head into October wondering why ever bet against the Cardinals. Worst case: Finally, hard evidence that October can exist without Cardinals games.

8. Dodgers (2):
Clayton Kershaw isn’t a fan of defensive shifts. I guess you don’t have to understand how analytics generally make you a better player when you’re already the best player in the universe. Best case: They finally justify their astronomical payroll and win the World Series. Worst case: Zack Greinke defeats them in the wild-card game.

7. Pirates (3):
I don’t get paid to write about baseball so I also don’t have to apologize for being a huge Pirates fan. So: The narrative about how the Royals are always undervalued by projections is nice, but the Pirates are actually more undervalued. Over the past 3 seasons, the Royals have outperformed FanGraphs by 30 wins while the Pirates have outperformed it by 33. Note: FanGraphs has projected 77 wins for the Royals and 83 for the Pirates. The Pirates should have a huge chip on their shoulder after winning 98 games and not being even included as an afterthought in off-season narrative of “are the Cubs or the Cardinals the better team in the NL Central this year?” Best case: They finally win the division and get to avoid the biggest joke in Major League Baseball, the wildcard play-in game. Worst case: Honestly, after having  two incredible seasons cut short by running into two different pitchers enjoying some of the most dominant streaks of pitching of all time (Arrieta’s second half run and Bumgarner’s 2014 postseason run), I actually think missing out on the playoffs entirely would be more palatable than another wildcard game.

5. Astros (25):
A full year of Correa and a healthy George Springer should make the Astros the most fun team in the AL. Best case: AL MVP, AL Cy Young, and World Series rings cluttering up the trophy shelf. Worst case: The narrative around Correa sets the bar too high for a team that is still young.

4. Blue Jays (19):
I am a big fan of good pitching, elite defense, and smart analytics. I am also a big fan of watching one team go against the trend by hitting a billion home runs. Best case: Jose Bautista signs a reasonable extension and then hits an ALCS-winning home run that hits Goose Gossage in the head just hard enough to make him forget that he’s the absolute worst. Worst case: The entire team is revealed to be on steroids???

3. Royals (22):
Last year’s Royals were the perfectly designed team to take on the Mets, but I don’t think they win that series against any of the other NL playoff team. Best case: Ian Kennedy isn’t a joke, Alex Gordon is more than just a feel good story, and they make it back to the World Series for the third year in a row. Worst case: the bullpen magic dries up, Yost is exposed for the phony I think he is, and they end up fourth in a deceptively even AL Central.

2. Mets (16):
My brother’s girlfriend got me a Noah Syndergaard shirt for Christmas which left me wondering what she was even doing with a dude who drafted Bartolo Colon to his fantasy team. Putting aside my love for Thor, DeGrom, and yes even Colon: for all the talk about the strength of this rotation, don’t forget three teams finished 2015 with better ERAs. Best case: They return to the World Series and sweep with four no hitters. Worst case: Remember all the talk about the historically good Phillies rotation, circa 2011? Or all the the talk about the historically good Nationals rotation, circa 2015?

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Literally cubs playing with cubs.

1. Cubs (11):
To take it for granted that by adding Heyward, Zobrist, and a full year of Bryant, the Cubs are going to win +100 games is to ignore just how good (and lucky) a team had to be to get to 97 wins in the first place. I’m not saying they don’t win the NL Central, but the Cards/Pirates/Cub all played EXTREMELY well last year and their eventual order is more likely to be determined by factors we haven’t even thought of yet. Best case: It’s a bummer that the expectations have been set to “World Series or bust” when they should be focusing on winning the most competitive division in baseball. Worst case: Even half of their sophomores slump, and the Cubs are this year’s Nationals.

The Hangover: Top 5 Moves of the Off-Season

The Hangover: Top 5 Moves of the Off-Season

In the Hangover, we take a look at baseball’s more serious topics– in the sober light of day.

The first thing you’ll probably notice missing from my best moves of the off-season list is any free agent signing worth $100 million or more. That means no Greinke, no Price, no Heyward, and certainly no Chris Davis. There’s a pretty simple reason for all this. If you’ve been paying attention to free agency contracts post steroid-era, you’ll have noticed the deals have been getting more massive, despite the fact that all evidence points to the fact that most baseball players can’t really play baseball very well late into their 30s without needles and pills and creams and things like that. So the foundation behind these mega-deals is that teams are counting on the value derived from the player in their first two or three years being so high that it’s worth later paying them for half a decade of mediocre play. But even that logic is looking pretty fundamentally flawed lately. We can look at it anecdotally: Pujols dropping 3.3 points in WAR between the first and second years of his mega-contract, Cano’s WAR dropping 3 points between those two seasons. Or we can look at it statistically: as David Schoenfield noted in an excellent ESPN piece, of 38 players who signed in the last five off-seasons for +$50m, in the first season of their contracts nine players improved in terms of WAR and seven performed below league replacement. Yeah: it’s almost as likely that they became REPLACEMENT LEVEL as it is that they improved in the FIRST year of their massively long contract. It’s insanity. So, as much as I actually do like the David Price signing, I can’t include it on my list of best off-season moves. Without further ado, what I can include:

Braves trade Shelby Miler to Diamondbacks for Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, and Aaron Blair (ESPN: 2nd best move; CBSSports: not ranked)

Dansby the Mansby
Dansby the Mansby

Shelby Miller was a hugely undervalued pitcher at this time last year (though I had the savvy to draft him in one of the final rounds of my fantasy draft), and he ended the season pitching a 3.02 ERA over 205 1/3 innings. So make no mistake, the Braves gave up a lot of cost-efficient talent in handing over Miller (well, Miller AND a single A reliever). But oh the value they got in return. The major leaguer of the group, Inciarte, has been worth over 8 WAR over 250 career games and is signed through 2020. The THIRD piece of the deal is a AAA pitcher who could join the rotation this year and who was ranked 60 on BA’s top 100 prospect list. But the real prize is Swanson, the number 1 pick in the 2015 draft who’s shown skill and maturity in his first professional games. The best way to put the acquisition of Swanson into its proper context is this: this off-season has seen a lot of attention brought to the fact that many teams have judged it strategically worthwhile to completely tank their ENTIRE SEASON in an attempt to get the #1 draft pick the following year. By that logic, The Braves, who are arguable one of those teams, just fast-forwarded an entire year by nabbing Swanson. Filthy.

2. The Cubs sign John Lackey to a two year, $32m contract (ESPN: 3rd best move; CBSSports: 2nd best move)

There's a new sheriff in Chi-town.
There’s a new sheriff in Chi-town.

The length of this deal pretty much mitigates the very real risk that John Lackey could stop being good at pitching any minute. But until that actually happens, there’s this: he’s averaged over 200 innings the last three seasons and he had a 2.77 ERA last year. Meanwhile the Royals signed Ian Kennedy for 70 million over five years and Jeff Samardzija got 90 over five. All that plus the fact that the Cubs are taking Lackey’s wins away from a division rival, in a division where 97 wins only bought you third place last year. Huge.

3. Marlins hire pitching guru Jim Benedict away from the Pirates (ESPN: not ranked; CBSSports: not ranked)

Jim Benedict fixing all of AJ Burnett's problems.
Jim Benedict fixing all of AJ Burnett’s problems.

This won’t appear on anyone’s lists this year, but it’s this year’s equivalent of Joe Maddon going to the Cubs. While a huge amount of the success the Pirates have had fixing nearly worthless pitchers over the past few years belongs to their pitching coach Ray Searage, everyone in the Pirate’s organization knows what a loss Benedict is. Consider the following… JA Happ’s 2015 ERA  before he joined the Pirates and once he joined the Pirates: 4.64 vs. 1.85. Edison Volquez’s ERA in 2013 (with Padres and Dodgers) and his 2014 ERA (with Pirates): 5.71 vs. 3.04. AJ Burnett’s 2011 ERA (Yankees) and his 2012 ERA (Pirates): 5.15 vs. 3.51. Oh, also AJ Burnett’s 2014 ERA (Phillies) and his 2015 ERA (Pirates again): 4.59 vs. 3.18. Again, there are a lot of factors contributing to those numbers, but Brad Pitt could legitimately play Jim Benedict in a movie one day if we’re lucky. And now Benedict is with the Marlins.

4. Mets sign Yoenis Cespedes to a three year, $75m contract (ESPN: not ranked; CBSSports: best move)

If this image of Cespedes and Colon as Athletics isn't everything you've ever wanted, then I don't want to know you.
If this image of Cespedes and Colon as Athletics isn’t everything you’ve ever wanted, then I don’t want to know you.

This 75 million deal over three years is probably actually just a 25 million one year deal and that’s awesome when you consider what I wrote above about lengthy and expensive contracts. Cespedes doesn’t need to be the hero he was last year in New York; the rotation is already offering up four heroes and one Bartolo Colon. Even if Cespedes regresses majorly, he’ll be an upgrade over what the Mets would be starting otherwise and works as a symbol for the commitment the team is making to winning while they have this rotation locked up.

5. Niese/Walker swap, Pirates and Mets (ESPN: not ranked; CBSSports: not ranked)
MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Okay. So if I were to look at this trade as two individual moves, I’d probably rank the acquisition of Walker as around the ninth best move of the off-season, and the trade for Niese as maybe the sixteenth best move. But there’s something about this trade as a complete unit… It’s the sort of trade that is SO simple, SO mutually beneficial, SO not even a little bit sexy that you thought it could only take place in a 15 year old’s fantasy baseball league. This is the kind of trade I imagine was completed in exactly 5 text messages between two tipsy GMs at their niece’s ballet recitals. It makes so much sense it hurts, harkening back to a simpler time in life and in baseball when donuts were considered legitimate trade assets and HGH was just a random assortment of letters. Between Roy Searage and the team’s excellent use of defensive shifts, Niese is a solid candidate to become the next Pirates reclamation miracle. And, post-season heroics aside, Neil Walker is just a marginally better, less homophobic version of Daniel Murphy. What a time to be alive.

Honorable Mentions: Alex Gordon signs with Royals; Phillies get entire Astros farm system for Giles.

If I were to get into a bar fight with… Kevin Youkilis.

If I were to get into a bar fight with… Kevin Youkilis.

There are just some players, managers, and mascots that rub us the wrong way. “If I were to pick a bar fight with…” is our chance to fictionally kick their asses and give them what they non-fictionally deserve.

kevin-youkilis1
This guy.

Kevin Youkilis officially retired from baseball on October 30, 2014, after playing his last major league game in mid June 2013. But even though it’s been two years since I last had to watch his goofy-ass batting stance soil professional baseball, the hurt hasn’t gone away. And so: I want to get into a bar fight with Kevin Youkilis.

The hardest part would be tracking him down. It’s said he works in the front office of the Cubs. It’s said he’s considering opening a brewpub in California with his brothers. But I know that, just like with Sasquatch, Youkilis sightings are to be taken with a grain of salt.

YoukSas
These guys.

I’m guessing I’d find him in the most desolate lumberjack dive-bar in the Pacific Northwest. I assume he’s hiding out there because of its distance from Boston; Bostonians—once the only major demographic that could tolerate his presence— still haven’t forgiven him for his several week stint in pin-stripes. I’d strut in, a flask in one hand, a shard of a wooden bat in the other, and walk right up to his table. He wouldn’t be hard to spot because the flickering neon bar lights would reflect well off of his bald head. I’d pull up a chair—calm and collected—and hold eye contact for twenty seconds. Thirty seconds. Then, real slow, using only small words, because I know he’s accustomed to communicating through neandarthalic grunts, I’d say:

“You look like you could be Honey Boo Boo’s uncle.”

“You hold a baseball bat like you’re trying to produce milk from a 2 foot long wooden teat.”

“If they made an Entourage spin-off set in the Appalachian mountains, you might be considered for the supporting role of Douche Bag Hill-Billy #3.”

“I think I once saw you cry after striking out. Haven’t you even seen A League of Their Own?”

“EVERYONE was sad that Kevin Youkilis was coming and Brent Lillibridge is gone.”

“But seriously, if you haven’t, you really should watch A League of Their Own. I can loan you a copy. If you promise to get it back to me in like a week or two.”

Hooch
Hoooooch

My gracious offer to loan him a classic baseball movie aside, I’m sure he wouldn’t take my words kindly. I don’t know what his attack of choice is, but with a noggin like his I’d anticipate the head-butt. With the grace of an Andalusian matador I’d step aside and let him crash into the bar. Leaving him to be dazed for a bit, I’d break off a bar chair’s leg. Then, with the power exhibited by Marla Hooch in A League of Their Own (the one that the patriarchy deems ‘not hot enough’ to play but who still hits bombs), I’d bring it down on his back, finishing the job.

Minutes later, standing in the warm rain, I’d take the 2008 Red Sox roster out from my pocket and cross off “Youkilis, K.”

“Who’s next?”

Tagging Up: Zack “Hollywood” Greinke

Tagging Up: Zack “Hollywood” Greinke

An exercise in reactionary writing, we take on baseball’s hottest topics, but only after a few or more than a few cold ones. This is unedited. This is uncut. This may or may not have been written from a bathroom floor1.

Did know his name is actually Donald Zackary Greinke?
Did know his name is actually Donald Zackary Greinke?

THE PROMPT:

Compare Zack Greinke to the best characters2 in film. What Hollywood characters compare?

THE DRINKS:

First off I bought a Hudson Valleh bottle of whiskey which is more than I can afford and, with the help of friends, ai consumedit in its ENTIRETY.3

Then ber. They were marking my hand but then they stopped and suddenly I had more beers than marks and I BEAT THE STYSTM 4

THE RESPONSE:

This is terrible. I’m sorry. This is almost as meaninglyess as the silver slugger award.5 Like, what?!

that said:

By looks, I’m think he’s just off a rugged Mark Hamil/Luje Skywalker type. Are you telling me his scoreless stereak wouldn’t come in handy when trying to defeat his father/arch nemisis DARTH GOD DAMN VADER (is Bumgarner Vader? Or is it something larger, more insitutionlal, like the designated hitter? Mot ttha that gives him troublr). But he’s very Lu,e after the motorcycle crash. Piture the dodgers playing an expansion team on endor.6 Final score Dodgers 3- Ewoks 0. It was nasty.

They're a rag tag team with little veteran leadership-- but they've got heart.
They’re a rag tag team with little veteran leadership– but they’ve got heart.

But if we’re going for type he seems more strong and silent. I’m tempte to say Max in Mad Max (Tom Hardy version) b ut does he have the tesotoresone? Does he have the BALLS?7 If not Monsier Max, then maybe he can pull of like a b-movie Bruce Willis Character.

or , if he puts the charm on, Wesley from the Princess Bride.

Long live Wesley.


  1. Actually made it to my bed/laptop for this one. But it was past 4:30 AM. 
  2. Just to be clear, this eliminates anything from the Fast and the Furious franchises. 
  3. Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t worry– it took a LOT of friends. 
  4. Fuck the mnan. 
  5.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Slugger_Award 
  6. Okay but that would be incredible, commish. 
  7. We’ll see come October. 
The Hangover: Checking in on our Preseason Predictions (Part 2)

The Hangover: Checking in on our Preseason Predictions (Part 2)

A few days ago, we checked in on the first part of our preseason predictions. Today we’re going to do the second half and figure out how things look for Miles and Sam’s picks coming out of the all-star break. Right now, Sam’s up 6-4. Note: all stats are based on Sunday afternoon and may not account for Sunday’s games.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” – Bartolo Colon

Biggest Surprise of the Season:

The Pick:

Sam: Bartolo Colon starts for the NL in the All-Star game.

Miles: After the first 2 weeks of the season, the Giants are nonfactors in the playoff race.

Judgement:

Well, it would actually be kind of a bummer if we got this, right? There’s sort of two ways to look at the Giants pick: on one hand, about 15 weeks in, the Giants are still factors in the playoff race as they sit only one game out of a wildcard spot; on the other hand, taken literally, after the first 2 weeks of the season the Giants were 4-10, and so not really a factor. Meanwhile, Colon finished the first half of the season with a 4.46 ERA so…. it’s cheap, but we’ll give it to Miles for the literal interpretation of “after the first 2 weeks.”

Point to Miles: Sam 6, Miles 5.

Rays All-Stars:

The Picks:

Sam: Evan Longoria, Chris Archer

Miles: Alex Cobb, Evan Longoria

Judgement: It ended up being Archer and Boxberger (baseball is a funny game) with Logan Forsythe almost sneaking in (baseball is a really funny game). Sidenote: Sam initially hated the 2014 trade that sent Alex Torres to the Padres (w/ Jesse Hahn) for Forysthe, Boxberger, and three other prospects, but it looks like a pretty decent trade by now.  We digress. Sam called Archer.

Point to Sam: Sam 7, Miles 5.

All-Star Snub:

The Picks:

Sam: Jordan Zimmerman

Miles: Brad Motherfucking Boxberger / Nolen Arenado / Kris Bryant

Judgement:

“Do I love relievers more than most baseball fans?” – Ned Yost

Wow, it’s too bad Miles didn’t take Ned Yost’s love for relief pitchers more into consideration, or he could’ve ended up sweeping the All-Star picks. As it is, however, all three of the “snubs” that Miles picked made the team, making Sam the automatic winner, even though Jordan Zimmer would hardly be considered a snub in the deep field that is NL starting pitchers.

Point to Sam: Sam 8, Miles 5.

Astros Final Record:

Sam: 79-83

Miles: 78- 84

Judgement:

We’re going to hold off on apologizing to the good people of Houston until the end of the year, as it’s been looking like things could get ugly real fast with the Astros. That said, they’ve so far exceeded either of our expectations and are on pace to win 87 games. The verdict here comes down to basic math.

Point to Sam: Sam 9, Miles 5

Phillies Final Record:

The Picks:

Sam: 63-99

Miles: 66-96

Judgement:

BAM. That’s more like it. The Phillies are on pace to win FIFTY-FOUR games. Oh frabjous day.

Point to Sam: Sam 10, Miles 5.

Giants Final Record:

The Picks:

Sam: 78-84

Miles: 81-81

Judgement:

Again, there’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but the Giants are currently on pace to win 85 games.

Point to Miles: Sam 10, Miles 6.

Alex Rodriguez:

The Picks:

Sam: .220/ 9 homers / 41 rbi

Miles: .268/ 13 homers / 49 rbi

Judgement:

We would apologize to A-Rod, but…. Regardless of his past, he’s currently hitting .278 and is on pace for 34 home runs and 92 rbis. Our bad. But Miles liked him a BIT more so…

Point to Miles: Sam 10, Miles 7.

Mookie Betts:

“I guess I’m not THAT surprised by my team’s performance so far in 2015. Cuz, I mean, like… Rick Porcello?” – Mookie Betts

The Picks:

Sam: .303/ 16 homers / 68 rbi / 22 steals

Miles: .267/ 8 homers/ 55 rbi / 23 steals

Judgement:

If you read ANY of Sam’s posts from the first month of the season, you would know he was wild on Mookie Betts. As it turns out, Betts is currently hitting .271 (good for Miles) and is on pace for 18 homers (good for Sam), 77 rbis (Sam’s closer), and 23 steals (perfect for Miles). Pretty even, but Sam was awfully close in steals (just not perfect) and MUCH closer in home runs. What a player, btw.

Point to Sam: Sam 11, Miles 7.

Michael Cuddyer:

Sam: (118 games played) .250 / 16 homers / 49 rbi

Miles: (18 games played) .308 / 6 homers/ 19 rbi

Judgement:

You might be wondering why we made predictions about Cuddyer. We are also wondering that. Regardless, Cuddy has already played 80 games, which would seem to automatically eliminate Miles. For funsies, though, he is also hitting .249, and is on pace for 14 home runs and 54 RBIs. Pretty good picks by Sam.

Point to Sam: Sam 12, Miles 7.

“Some punk ass kid named Miles totally undervalued me on his otherwise awesome baseball blog. Yeah, you’re right, it is funny.” – AJ Burnett.

AJ Burnett:

Sam: 216.2 IP / 3.59 ERA / 170 K, 51 bb

Miles: 96 IP / 4.76 ERA / 72 K, 39 bb

Judgement:

This is our first opportunity to publicly shame Miles based on how he felt about AJ. It won’t be our last. Let’s just let the numbers speak for themselves: Burnett’s on pace for 215.2 IP (GOOD FOR YOU SAM), has a 2.11 ERA supported by a 2.75 FIP (GOOD FOR YOU AJ), and is on pace for 180 Ks and 59 walks (GOOD FOR YOU SAM AND AJ). Digging deeper, his current K/9 ration is 3.05. Sam’s predictions would have that stat at 3.33. Miles thought it would be closer to 1.85.

Miles is a dick: Sam 13, Miles 7.

Kris Bryant:

The Picks:

Sam: 132 games played – .276 / 24 homers / 71 RBI

Miles: 119 Games played – .252 / 23 homers / 62 RBI / 43 Joe Maddon quotables

Judgement:

We’re too lazy to compile the data on Joe Maddon quotables, but here’s how everything else stacks up: Bryant is hitting .265 (essentially a draw, but if it has to be a tie breaker, Sam was slightly closer), and is on pace for 146 games (Sam), 22 bombs (Miles, but again essentially a tie), and 93 RBIs (Sam). Looks like he’s exceeding our expectations, but Sam was still closer.

Point to Sam: Sam 14, Miles 7.

Wil Myers:

The Picks:

Sam: .265/ 23 homers/ 65 RBI

Miles: .274/ 18 homers/ 78 RBI

Judgement:

Maybe our worst pick besides AL play-offs or manager of the year? I would say we couldn’t have planned on the injuries but oh wait yes we could have. Whatever. Hitting .277 and on pace (though these numbers are meaningless because of the time he’s missed) for 9 home runs and 33 RBIs. I’m throwing this category out.

Our first draw: Score remains Sam 14, Miles 7.

Steven Souza:

The Picks:

Sam: .275/ 17 homers/ 53 RBI

Miles: .249/ 26 homers/ 82 RBI

Judgement:

Again, injuries complicate things here just a little bit, but not enough that we shouldn’t see things through. Batting .210 (Miles), on pace for 26 homers (Miiiiilllllleeees) and 57 RBIs (Sam).

Point to Miles (finally): Sam 14, Miles 8.

Offseason Signing a Team Most Regrets:

The Picks:

Sam: Alex Rios. He will not be helping them back to another October.

Miles: A.J. Burnett. Dude is soooo washed up.

Judgement:

Ending our predictions on a good note. Miles specifically used the words “washed up” to describe a man who has since gone on to post the best numbers of his career, post some of the best numbers in the NL, and make his first career all-star game. Maybe Miles is washed up. Meanwhile, Alex Rios has been worth negative WAR while playing in only 46 games. Nice and clear.

Point to Sam: Sam 15, Miles 8.

FINAL SCORE: Sam 15, Miles 8.