The fall of “Captain America”

By, Connor Green

This Captain America could never save cities from the brink of destruction and he does not have a shield strong enough to knock out his enemies, however the baseball world has its own “Captain America”. That man is New York Mets third baseman, David Wright, Wright has been playing baseball for twelve seasons and has made his mark on the franchise. Once an all-star and gold-glove caliber player, Wright spends most of his time now on the DL (designated list) now and has drastically decreased in his abilities.

David has the most RBI’s (runs batted in) in New York Mets history with 970 and has had five seasons with over 100 RBI’s. Wright earned the nickname “Captain America” during his stint on the United States Olympic team and has had countless memorable moments in the spotlight both in New York and during the Olympics. David was named the Mets “captain” and has been on the New York Mets his entire career and has become an icon for all die hard Mets fans.

Throughout the many losing seasons, the miserable losses, the heartbreaking defeats David Wright has always been there, providing momentary relief to all Mets fans who could barely stand to watch anymore. Wright was the Mets, he was the lifeblood of a team that struggled to even remain in contention by the midway point in the season. Wright has seven All-Star appearances (his latest was 2013), two Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers. Wright has been with the Mets through the good times and the bad, he has only been to the playoff’s twice in his lengthy career (last year it was the World Series), but even throughout the bad times (and there was a lot of those) Wright was the perfect embodiment of a captain leading his team both throughout his actions on and off the field.

In 2013 the Mets agreed to extend David Wright’s contract for seven years, 122 million dollars. Under contract Wright will be a Met through his age 37 season and will likely retire a Met. Wright has struggled tremendously this year with a .226 batting average (although his .350 OBP is still above average) and now will be sent back to the sidelines with yet another injury. This was not what the Mets had envisioned when they gave him that lengthy, expensive contract extension and although as a Mets fan I am saddened by what has come of David Wrights career, he is still and will always be a legend in my eyes. Wright has shown loyalty found rarely in the sports world and has put together an amazing career highlighted by remarkable plays in the field and walk-off hits.

Wright may be on the decline, but any true Mets fan should remember him as both the spiritual and physical leader of a team that really needed guidance. Wright gave thousands a reason to watch the struggling Mets and even though the Mets have new stars now Mets fans need to always show respect to the once great player. Oh, and one more thing…LETS GO METS.

 

Big Papi putting on a big show in final season

 

Baseball fans remember back in 2014 the “retirement tour” for future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees. It was one of the “Captains” worst seasons of his prestigious career in which he hit for a .256 average (lowest of his career with over 200 plate appearances) and managed to end his season with a horrific 0.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Jeter also played below average defense in his final year and it was a dismal season for an otherwise fantastic player. That is sadly usually how retirement goes in the sports world, even for legends, the end is usually nowhere as glamorous as one might imagine it too be.

That stigma is not true, so far, for the Boston Red Sox famed designated hitter known as “Big Papi” aka David Ortiz. Ortiz is now forty years old, but is playing some of the best baseball of his career and has been one of the many reasons the Red Sox find themselves atop the American League East (29-20). The Red Sox also currently have the best winning percentage in the American League (.592, only behind the Chicago Cubs, .702, and the San Francisco Giants, .608).

Papi is also finding much individual success in his final season (although some speculate his retirement now) currently leading the MLB in RBI’s (runs batted in) and posting an incredible .339 batting average. Ortiz is living the dream finale right now and with the help of great young hitters like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts everything is looking up for the likely future Hall of Fame star.

In comparison to Jeter’s final season Ortiz’s WAR right now through 49 games is 2.4, which is 2.2 more than Jeter finished with in his final season.

 

Author: Connor Green

19-Year-Old to Make Pitching Debut for Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers open up a series with the Mets tonight with an unfamiliar name on the mound. Julio Urias, who signed with the Dodgers at the age of 16, is scheduled to make his debut tonight Julio Uriasagainst Jacob deGrom.

The Dodgers announced Thursday that Urias would start in place of Alex Wood who is suffering from triceps soreness in his throwing arm.

Urias will be the youngest pitcher to pitch in a Major League Baseball game in over a decade. In 2005, Felix Hernandez debuted with the Mariners at 19 years and 115 days old.

Urias, who is 19 years and 298 days old, will be the youngest Dodger pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela made his debut in 1980.

New York’s new “Ace” in the staff

 

Last year the New York Met’s reached the pinnacle of success in baseball, they won the NLCS and appeared in their first World Series since 2000. The only problem was that the Mets lost the championship to the Kansas City Royals, however the Mets still a bright future ahead of them, largely due in part to their set of dominant, young starting pitchers. Coming into this season the Mets “big three” set of starting pitchers was Matt Harvey, Jacob Degrom, and Noah Syndergaard

The Mets are currently in second place in the NL East with a record of 26-19, which has them trailing the Washington Nationals by a game-and-a-half. The Mets “big three” seems to have shifted with the simply awful performance thus far by Matt Harvey, also known as the “Dark Knight, who currently holds a 6.08 ERA (earned run average) and a 3-7 record.

Syndergaard and Degrom have performed very well this season, especially Syndergaard who has the 4th lowest ERA in the National League, and Bartolo Colon, the Mets forty three year old pitcher, has also performed adequately so far. With Wheeler still sidelined by injury the Mets still needed to replace the production that Harvey has been lacking, and the Mets found it in an unlikely source, another young pitcher, Steven Matz. Matz currently has the highest win total among Mets pitcher with an impressive 6-1 record coupled with an incredible 2.81 ERA that has the young lefty turning heads. With Harvey facing unprecedented struggles pretty much all season, Matz and Colon both picked up their games and have helped the Mets rotation keep it’s high level of play.

Steven Matz will be pitching today against the NL East leading Washington Nationals, starting at 1:05 P.M. ET (Eastern Time) the Mets look to close in on the Nationals division lead tonight with the help of their young “ace”.

 

By Connor Green

Phillies Troubles

The Philadelphia Phillies have been on a straight downfall ever since the start of the 2012 season. The five year span from 2007 to 2011 were some of the best years in the Phillies history. Those five years included 5 NL East titles, 2 World Series Apperances, and a World Series Championship. Ever since the end of the 2011 season, the Phillies have been in a “rebuilding mode.” With their 26-48 record so far this season, the Philadelphia Phillies currently own the worst record in Major League Baseball. Their offense is beyond dreadful. They are last in the MLB with total runs scored this year, with 244 runs, resulting in 3.3 runs per game. On the other side of things, the Phillies currently hold the second worse ERA in the MLB with a team ERA of 4.58. The only team who has a worse ERA in the MLB are the Colorado Rockies who currently hold a 4.91 ERA.

With both the offense and pitching/defense doing badly at the moment, trades are possibly upcoming for the Fightins. Cole Hamels and Jonathon Papelbon could possibly be heading out of South Philly by the trade deadline. Hamels currently holds a 5-6 record with a 3.26 ERA. After a tough outing on Wednesday against the Yankees, his starts are most likely limited with the Phillies. Papelbon, on the other hand, is doing very well for the Phillies this year, currently 13 for 13 in save opportunities. Papelbon, who has voiced his disliking in Philly multiple times, could be on his way out. The Phillies fans hope that the Phillies can turn their season around quickly, led by Maikel Franco and his late hitting outburst.

MLB Injury Report

The Yankees have placed OF Carlos Beltran on the 7-day Concussion DL. Beltran suffered two small facial fractures when his own batted ball bounced off of the L-screen and hit him in the face. The eight time All-Star is hitting .216/.271/.401 on the season, with 9 HRs and 28 RBI.

The Cardinals have placed C Yadier Molina on the DL due to a torn thumb ligament. The six time All-Star, who’s hitting .287/.341/.409 on the year, is due to miss 2-3 months.

The Reds’ 2B Brandon Phillips was placed on the DL with a torn thumb ligament, and is due, like Molina, to miss 2-3 months.

Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees has a partially torn UCL. Tanaka, who owns a 2.51 ERA with a 1.01  WHIP, will attempt to rehab the injury, instead of undergoing surgery.

Angels’ P CJ Wilson was placed on the DL with a sprained ankle. Wilson, who owns a 4.33 ERA this season, is due back in late July.

 

2014 MLB Season Predictions

The MLB season is upon us, the Dodgers and Padres are playing right now as I’m typing this article, and boy oh boy did I miss it. Baseball is a very unique game, it’s very relaxed. Nothing beats coming home after a long day of work or school and sitting down, popping open a nice cold bear or coke and watching baseball. It also is one huge sign that warmer weather is soon to be upon us and that we are almost down with the cold. Out of all the big three sports, football, basketball, and baseball, I think that baseball is the hardest to predict. Sure, you will season a suprise team make the playoffs in the NFL or NBA, but you rarely see a random team catch fire and win their respective league/association. With all that being said, I’m going to try to predict what will transpaire this season in the MLB. I’m going to give you the standings for each devision and the playoff picture, along with the world series winner all here today.

AL East- I think that it is the toughest division in baseball, three teams that I think could win it all along with another that could make a deep run.

1. Boston Red Sox

2. Tampa Bay Rays

3. Baltimore Orioles

4. New York Yankee’s

5. Toronto Blue Jays

AL Central- The weakest division in the AL, I look for the Tigers to dominate this all year and cruse into the playoffs.

1. Detroit Tigers

2. Cleveland Indians

3. Kansas City Royals

4. Chicago White Sox

5. Minnesota Twins

AL West- This is going to be the divison that has the craziest playoff race, the A’s lost their ace in spring traning, the Rangers are all sorts of banged up, Seattle has signed Cano, and the Angels have spend about 1 billion dollars on signing players over the past three seasons.

1. Texas Rangers

2. Oakland A’s

3. Los Angeles Angles

4. Seattle Mariners

5. Houston Astros

Now on to the NL, personally I think the NL is a little bit weaker than the AL, but not like the East and West in the NBA.

NL East, I don’t think there will be any surprises here, I expect the Braves to win it, but if the Nats can stay healthy, look out Atlanta.

1. Atlanta Braves

2. Washington Nationals

3. New York Mets

4. Philadelphia Phillies

5. Miami Marlins

NL Central, the toughest division in the NL, hands down, three playoff teams last year and all of them are back at it ready to make another run this year.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

3. Cincinnati Reds

4. Milwaukee Brewers

5. Chicago Cubs

NL West, this division could produce some surprise teams for 2014, it’s pretty weak so I expect the Dodgers to smack everyone in this division but hey, the Padres didn’t do too bad last year, so they could be a nice surprise story this season too.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

2. San Francisco Giants

3. Arizona Dimondbacks

4. San Diego Padres

5. Colorado Rockies

 

On to the playoffs, I’ll start off with the wildcard game then I’ll make my way on from there.

AL Wildcard game, Oakland A’s vs Cleveland Indians, I think the A’s will win this based off of their fantastic pitching

NL Wildcard game, Pittsburgh Pirates vs Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh turns it on for these playoff games, they get the win.

 

AL divisional round,  Oakland A’s vs Boston Red Sox, Boston will win this in 4 games, too much chemistry on their team.

Al divisional round,  Detroit Tigers vs Texas Rangers, Ian Kinsler wants the Rangers to fail this year, and I think they will once they meet up with the Tigers.

 

NL divisional round, Pittsburgh Pirates vs St. Louis Cardinals, STL wins, making it four straight years of being in the NLCS.

NL divisional round, Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves, Dodgers win, too much fire power and Kershaw also gets two dubs here.

 

ALCs, Detroit Tigers vs Boston Red Sox, Tigers win, too much pitching and Cabrera shows that he is worth the fat contact that he just signed.

 

NLCS, Los Angeles Dodgers vs St. Louis Cardinals, I could see a little rivalry developing here, but the cardinals are too good, solid in every aspect of the game, plus a great bullpen.

 

World Series, Detroit Tigers vs St. Louis Cardinals, a rematch of the 2006 World Series, and I see the exact same result too, the Cardinals win it in six, overall the best team in baseball, perfect mix of young and old with a great manager that always keeps his cool in Mike Matheny.

Pre-Season MLB Power Rankings

We’re a few days away from opening day, a glorious day of sunshine and hotdogs. The MLB season is always crazy and full of ups and downs, out of the big 3 sports, it is the most unpredictable. In 162 games anything can happen and there are always going to be injuries (we’ll keep you up to date with those too) but right now we aren’t going to focus on those. It’s all about what each team is bringing to the table as of today with these power rankings.

1. St. Louis Cardinals- Almost everyone off of last years team is returning, minus Carlos Beltran. They have a great young pitching rotation and look out for Oscar Taveras, a young superstar in the making.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers- Clayton Kershaw is going to shut everyone down, a great lineup, the outfield is a bit of a mess but it’ll get worked out with time.

3. Boston Red Sox- A great bullpen with the scariest batting order in the MLB will prove to be a strength for the Red Sox as they look to repeat in 2014.

4. Atlanta Braves- In my opinion they have the best bullpen in the MLB, they struggle batting but their pitching and defense are bar none.

5. Detroit Tigers- A powerful pitching rotation with a dangerous lineup, overall the most talent in the MLB, but they always choke come October. Maybe new manager Brad Ausmus will fix some things.

6. Cincinnati Reds- The injury to Alrodis Chapman hurts, their bullpen will really lack in his absence. Hopefully for their sake he can get back on the field soon.

7. Pittsburgh Pirates- A young team with a great young pitcher in Garret Cole, look for them to make the playoffs again, but they need to make some deals to help out Andrew McCutchen.

8. Oakland Athletics- Losing your best pitcher for the season isn’t the way the A’s would’ve liked to start the season, hopefully some younger guys will step up and take them into the playoffs.

9. Texas Rangers- I love the trade for Prince Fielder, it shows that they want to win now and that they aren’t going to wait to pursue a World Series.

10. Tampa Bay Rays- If Price gets traded it’s going to be a long year for the Rays, if he doesn’t they have a great shot at winning the AL East.

11. Baltimore Orioles- Buck Showalter came in and made a huge change to his program, they are now feared, but they’re very young and that’s something that will hurt them in the AL East.

12. Cleveland Indians- The feel good story of 2013, aside from the Pirates, the Indians can do a little bit of everything, but they’re going to need someone to step up and lead them to the playoffs.

13. New York Yankees- The Yankees are old, very, VERY old. I’m not buying into them this year, maybe Jeter can pull of some magic in his last season and make one last run for old times sake.

14. Washington Nationals- If Strasburg can stay healthy they will have a great shot at making the playoffs like they did in 2013, but I’m starting to think he’s the Derrick Rose of the MLB.

15. Kansas City Royals- A team that is poised for a solid 2014, I don’t think they have all the pieces to make the playoffs, but they’ll be above .500.

16. San Francisco Giants- After the 2012 World Series the Giants just haven’t been the same, they look flat in spring training and their rotation is worrying me.

17. Los Angeles Angels- Bought not built, I guess the only club in the MLB that can buy wins is the Yankees. No chemistry at all, Pujols wasn’t all they hoped for and he’s way over the hill.

18. Seattle Mariners- The Cano signing was a start in the right direction, but Hernandez can’t do it all on the mound.

19. Arizona Diamondbacks- Trumbo is going to do great battnig behind Goldschmidt, if the Golden State Warriors have the Splash Brothers than the Diamondbacks have the Bash Brothers.

20. Chicago White Sox- Boring is the only word I could use to describe the White Sox, Chris Sale will lead them to a few victories though.

21. New York Mets- Maybe the Mets can get in the time machine and go back to 1969 and become the Miracle Mets once again, but lets be real, that won’t happen.

22. Milwaukee Brewers- Bruan should bounce back even with all of the hate that he is going to get this year, but he is their only offense.

23. Colorado Rockies- Gonzalez and Tulo are great, but the rest of their team is subpar.

24. Toronto Blue Jays- Another team that tried to buy their way into the playoffs, look how that turned out. It’s all about chemistry and the Blue Jays have none of that.

25. Philadelphia Phillies- Bye bye to Doc, it’s sad to see him go, but it’s also sad watching the Phillies play.

26. San Diego Padres- A young team that did a lot better than most thought that they would in 2013, a repeat performance will be very hard.

27. Miami Marlins- Giancarlos Stanton is a man, and I love Furcal at shortstop, but the Marlins just don’t have what it takes to win anything more than 80 games this season.

28. Minnesota Twins- Mauer moving to first is neat, but the Twins are bad, plan and simple.

29. Chicago Cubs- Rizzo is good, Castro is good, Samardzija is good, and they have a cool new mascot, that is it for my list of positives for the Chicago Cubs.

30. Houston Astros- If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all, so that’s what I’ll do here.

Fantasy Baseball 2014: Top 20 ShortStops

Shortstops are the type of guys that are going to win you roto leagues, a good balance of power and speed. Normally the shortstop of a team is going to be able to do it all, so hopefully this will be a strong spot for your fantasy team.
1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Ian Desmond
4. Jose Reyes
5. Elvis Andrus
6. Jean Segura
7. Everth Cabrera
8. Ben Zobrist
9. Starlin Castro
10. Asdrubal Cabrera
11. Alexei Ramirez
12. Jed Lowrie
13. J.J. Hardy
14. Andrelton Simmons
15. Jhonny Peralta
16. Erick Aybar
17. Jimmy Rollins
18. Jonathan Villar
19. Alcides Escobar
20. Zack Cozart

Fantasy Baseball: Top 20 3rd Basemen

3rd Base is normally a great position for hitter, almost every team in the MLB is going to have a guy that 3rd that can do some damage in the middle of the line up, so hopefully this won’t be too hard…
1. Miguel Cabrera
2. Adrian Beltre
3. Evan Longoria
4. David Wright
5. Matt Carpenter
6. Josh Donaldson
7. Ryan Zimmerman
8. Pedro Alvarez
9. Brett Lawrie
10. Manny Machado
11. Kyle Seager
12. Martin Prado
13. Pablo Sandoval
14. Chase Headley
15. Aramis Ramirez
16. Will Middlebrooks
17. Xander Bogaerts
18. Nolan Arenado
19. Todd Frazier
20. Chris Johnson