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Posted on: March 8, 2010 2:37 pm
 

Preseason Power Rankings

 

1.  Yankees

The best got better this off season, upgrading CF with the acquisition of Curtis Granderson and adding another solid pitcher to their rotation with Javier Vasquez.  The World Series is theirs to lose.

 

2.  Angels

The Angels have quietly been one of the best teams in all of baseball in recent years and this year should be no different with their core players returning along with new additions Joel Pineiro and Hideki Matsui.

 

3.  Phillies

The NL champs return largely in tact with a new ace Roy Halladay at the top of their rotation.  They should be one of the best offensive teams in 2010.

 

4.  Red Sox

The Red Sox upgrade at SS with Marco Scutaro and strengthen their rotation with John Lackey.  They are doing their best to keep up with the Yankees but it may not be enough.

 

5.  Dodgers

The Dodgers retained all of their arbitration eligible players keeping together a group of emerging stars that has gelled well since the 2007 season.  If Manny Ramirez can find his 2008 form the Dodgers should contend for the NL pennant.

 

6.  Cardinals

The Red Birds resigned the top free agent position player Matt Holliday, keeping protection in the lineup for Albert Pujols. 

 

7.  Mets

The Mets were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball last year, however with key players returning from injury and off season additions Jason Bay and Kelvim Escobar the Mets look like they should be back in good form. 

 

8. Rockies

The Rockies have been the little team that could over the past few seasons.  They have done more with less than most other teams.  They have one baseball’s best short stops in Troy Tulowitzki and a very consistent pitching staff.

 

 

9. Mariners

The Mariners enter the 2010 season with arguably the best pitching 1-2 punch in all of baseball with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, and off season free agent acquisition Chone Figgins, along with the incomparable Ichiro gives them a very speedy top of the lineup.  The Mariners could surprise a lot of people this season.

 

10. Rays

While the Rays feature some of the league’s best young talent with players such as Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, and Jason Bartlett, they will need their pitching to be stronger this season if they hope to compete.

 

11.  Twins

The Twins have one of the top three players in the game at a position that is the thinnest of any in the game.  They have five other batters that will hit above .280 and the amount of left handers in their lineup will give most team fits.  But none of that will matter if the pitching rotation cannot hold up their end of the bargain. 

 

12.  Braves

The Braves will again be relying on their pitchers to keep them competitive, as they don’t quite have the bats that their fellow NL East teams have.  Like the Rockies, the Braves don’t have a lot of household names in their rotation but they produce consistent outings and give the team a chance to win.

 

13.  Giants

Another team with a very strong 1-2 punch in their rotation, the 2009 wild card runner up has improved offensively with 1B Aubrey Huff and OF Mark DeRosa.

 

14.  Tigers

The Yankees got Curtis Granderson and the Tigers ended up spending $13 million on Johnny Damon for the last leg of his career.  That’s why the Yankees are the Yankees and the Tigers are the Tigers.

 

15.  White Sox

The South Siders lost a little power by letting Jermaine Dye go, but Juan Pierre should be a suitable replacement.  If Jake Peavy can stay healthy they should contend for the AL Central.

 

16. Rangers

A young team with a lot of talent the Rangers could find themselves contending for the AL West.

 

17.  Cubs

The Cubs suffered from a lot of injuries and underwhelming performances from key players.  With Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano healthy again the Cubs have reason for optimism.  But then again, Cubs fans are optimistic every year.

 

18.  Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks will need Brandon Webb to resemble his old self if they are to compete, but a few off season moves should help their offense.

 

19.  Marlins

The Marlins are unimpressive on paper, outside of a few players, but the perennial team of prospects always seems to keep themselves in the playoff hunt deep into the season even with one of baseball’s lowest payroll. 

 

20.  Brewers

The Brewers lost Ben Sheets but added a few reliable leftys with Doug Davis and Randy Wolf. Combined with the offensive upside of a lot of their young players the Brew Crew has the potential to make a run in 2010.

 

21.  Reds

The Reds probably won’t be winning the World Series this year, but with young players like Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Johnny Cueto they should at least be fun to watch.

 

22. Indians

Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo will be the highlights on this team with low expectations.

 

23.  Blue Jays

The Blue Jays enter the 2010 season with Shaun Marcum as their ace, a far cry from Roy Halladay, who at least gave them a chance every fifth day.  The Jays are nothing more than a sparring partner for the Yankees and Red Sox.

 

24.  Orioles

Miguel Tejada will be one of the few veterans on a team that features youngsters Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.  The Orioles should finish considerably better than the 64 wins they had in 2009.

 

25. A’s

The bright side for A’s fans is there are not a lot of players left that Billy Beane can trade away.  On the other hand, Rajai Davis better hope that he’s renting.

 

26. Astros

The Astros will need Roy Oswalt to pitch like he used to if they hope to compete.

 

27.  Padres

Look for Adrian Gonzalez to be wearing a Red Sox uniform by August.

 

28.  Nationals

This probably won’t be the year that the Nationals climb out of the NL East basement, and unfortunately like the AL East there are a few teams in the division that can spend far beyond the Nationals’ means, but with Ryan Zimmerman developing into one of the better third baseman in the game, Stephen Strasburg in the pipeline, and a few reliable veterans on the team don’t be surprised if the Nats make a run in the not too distant future.

 

29.  Royals

The Royals have Zack Greinke and uh...and uh…and uh…another long season ahead of them.

 

30.  Pirates

The Pirates have been one of the worst teams in baseball for nearly two decades.  They have not had a winning season in 17 years, the longest losing season streak of any team in the four major sports.  They have finished last in their division 10 times.  They trade away any and all of their top players and prospects at every trading deadline.  This year should be more of the same.  But Pittsburgh has won two Super Bowls and a Stanley Cup within the last five years so I guess there has to be some cosmic balance.

Posted on: July 21, 2009 11:25 am
 

The All 25 and Under Team

The All 25 and Under Team

The past decade has not been a bright spot in baseball’s history.  A large number of the games biggest names are either admitted or suspected steroid users.  Players who have achieved some of the games greatest milestones such as Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mark McGwire, will most likely not be admitted to the Hall of Fame.  Thankfully there is an emerging group of stars in baseball that will have never played during the steroid era, and we can enjoy watching them and celebrate their accomplishments without doubting their authenticity. I present to you the All 25 and under team.

C Brian McCann, 25:  Playing a defensively oriented position, McCann provides consistent offensive numbers.  He has a career batting average of .297 and SLG of .499.  There isn’t a team in baseball that wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to have a catcher with that type of production.

1B Prince Fielder, 25:  Already a two time All Star and recent home run derby champion, he has emerged as one of the premiere power hitters in the game today.  Just how much power you ask?  His SLG % for the season is .615, a ridiculous number, and.546 on his career.  He’s also not too shabby with the glove either, having a career fielding percentage of .991.

2B Dustin Pedroia, 25:  Pedroia hit the ground running when he entered the league, earning the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year.  One of the top second baseman in the game today, he has a career batting average of .311.  Last year his 54 doubles, .326 batting average, and high energy attitude earned him the 2008 AL MVP.   

3B Evan Longoria, 23:  There are a few other third basemen that you could argue should be here, but in total Longoria provides the best all around choice.  He currently has a batting average of .280, 19 home runs, and an OPS of .892.  His fielding percentage also ranks in the top half of starting MLB third basemen.  

SS Hanley Ramirez, 25:  This is not even close.  Not only is he the best shortstop among 25 and under players, but he is arguably the best shortstop in baseball period. He leads the NL in batting average this season with .345, has an OBP of .408, and an OPS of .969.  In short, Hanley Ramirez is really good and it will be exciting to watch him for years to come.

LF Ryan Braun 25:  Braun is in only his third full season but has already been an All Star starter twice.  He has hit over thirty home runs in each of his two prior seasons and is on pace to do it again this season.  His rookie year he had 34 HR and 97 RBI in only 113 games and he’s continued to show why he’s one of the top outfielders in the game today.

CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 25:  This position was a tight race between Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, and Adam Jones, but ultimately the speed of Ellsbury won out.  He has 41 stolen bases already this season, second in the AL, and a very respectable .293 batting average. 

RF Justin Upton, 21:  Upton, in only his second full season, is the youngest player on the list.  He’s batting .292 with a .524 SLG %, an OPS of .887, and has 13 stolen bases.   He’s not quite there yet defensively but at only 21 he’s got time to develop that part of this game.

Starting Pitcher Tim Lincecum, 25: Currently has a 2.27 ERA, and at only 25 he has already won baseball’s highest pitching honor as the 2008 NL Cy Young winner and is the front runner to repeat again in 2009.

Relief Pitcher Jonathan Broxton, 25:  One of the best closers in the game today, Broxton has a microscopic WHIP of .94 and has struck out 71 in only 43.2 innings, showing his utter dominance on opposing batters.  Eric Gange who? 

Posted on: July 15, 2009 11:31 am
 

25 Reasons Baseball is Better than Football

1. Baseball players who are not on the field are in the dugout leaving the fans with a view of the game.  Football players who are not on the field are standing on the sidelines leaving the fans with a view of their backsides.
2. Baseball on the radio is far more enjoyable than football on the radio. 
3. Baseball has a statistic to analyze every aspect of the game and determine the effectiveness of the players. 
4. Baseball players are required to play offense and defense.
5. Baseball parks are characters; football stadiums are clones.
6. There are only two ballparks that use artificial turf, next year there will be one, and none in the United States. 
7. Baseball requires the leading team to give the opposition a chance to comeback.  Football allows the team to sit on the ball and run the clock out.
8. The baseball season is broken into mostly three game series.  It’s like having a micro playoff series twice a week.
9. Baseball’s playoffs are decided by a series, ensuring the better team will always prevail. 
10. Baseball is built on accuracy; if a pitch is off by the slightest amount it can cost a team the game.  Football is built on force.
11. Baseball is a game of anticipation; football is a game of instant gratification. 
12. Vin Scully.  Anybody in football come close?
13. The baseball season has two distinct acts and a short intermission in between the two.  The football season just runs together.  
14. Baseball still uses wood bats. 
15. The oldest football stadium is 52 years old.  The oldest ballpark is 97 years old.
16. Baseball has a two seam fastball, four seam fastball, splitter, changeup, curveball, slider, sinker, and knuckleball; Football has a spiral. 
17. Baseball requires runners to be within a six foot base path.  Football requires them to be within 160 feet between the sidelines.
18. Football has TV timeouts.
19. You get to keep score in baseball.
20. A baseball game can be infinite.  A football game is limited to 60 minutes.
21. In baseball once a player goes out of the game they don’t get to come back in.
22. Baseball has Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  There is no song dedicated to football.
23. When a player signs a five year contract in baseball, they do not come back the next year and demand a new contract threatening that they will hold out of spring training.
24. Baseball’s records can be retrieved from memory; football’s records need to be retrieved from an almanac.  
25.  People actually watch baseball’s All Star game.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com