Tag: Baseball

Trout underpaid as result of faulty statistic

The ink has yet to dry on Mike Trout’s  $430 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels, and yet people are already saying he is underpaid.

downloadIt was surprising to see the Angels spend big money on Trout, especially after their last two big signings were flops. Albert Pujols never lived up to the numbers he was projected to have. Josh Hamilton was just unable to stay sober to let his talents match his contract. Most recently Shohei Ohtani had surgery on his arm midway through his rookie year.

The Angels have had bad luck with free agency and have not made the playoffs since 2014. They have not won a playoff series since 2009.

Trout, 27, is considered the best player in baseball, hands-down. His resume includes two American League MVPs, seven All-Star appearances and six Silver Slugger awards.

Baseball, like most major sports, has fallen victim to the analytics and what they show. That’s how players are valued now. The latest trend in analytics for Major League Baseball is wins above replacement (WAR). Trout’s WAR percentage is 64.9 , which puts him in some very infamous company that includes Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby and Jimmie Foxx. Babe Ruth is 13th on the list, with a WAR percentage of 45.4, according to FanGraphs, a website for statistics for Major League Baseball and Minor League baseball, with statistical analysis, graphs, and projections.

 Those are some of the all-time great players in Major League Baseball history. The gamehas changed and evolved, so let’s compare Trout to some modern players. In his first season in 2013, Trout played more than 150 games. His war was 54.1. In second was Josh Donaldson with 35.7. Trout averages 9.0 WAR a season, meaning he alone is worth nine victories a season.  Two other players have only done this once, Bryce Harper in 2015 and Mookie Betts in 2018. They both were MVP seasons.

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WAR is valued at $9 million a game, on average. But that number goes up with division games and playoffs, making WAR value more than $35 million for a division playoff game. These numbers are not universal, because not all teams are valued the same.

So if Trout moved to another team in a big market, his value could easily double or triple. The truth of the matter is that his value cannot be truly measured. Until the Angels make a deep playoff run with this once- in-a-generation talent, that won’t be known.

The money spent on Trout does not leave a lot of room for the franchise to add more big-name players around him. Time will tell if it is worth it to pay all that money for one player, or if teams are better off building from their farm system. 

WAR is not a perfect statistic and can be manipulated by changing the criteria. But it’s clear to say that Trout may be underpaid when he’s $70 million shy of being paid half a billion dollars to play a game.

Major league roster changes make for more predictable baseball season

The clinking of cleats, the popping of leather and the crack of the bat can only mean one thing that: Major League Baseball is back.

With Manny Machado recently signing with the San Diego Padres, very few big free agents are left. So it’s time for some predictions for the divisions and how I believe the 2019 MLB season will shake out.
American League East
The Boston Red Sox will be looking to defend their World Series title. After afranchise-record 108 games won last year, they went 11 -3 in the postseason. But there are questions about their bullpen after star closer Craig Kimbrel recently signed with the Atlanta Braves. It leaves space for up-and-coming closers such as Matt Barnes. the addition of Nathan Eovaldi could give them a very dangerous starting rotation again.

The biggest challenge for the Red Sox to repeat will be the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees added James Paxton to their starting rotation, and having J.A. Happ for a full season elevates their rotation to be just as dangerous as the Red Sox. The new contract signed by Zack Britton, arguably the best closer in baseball a year ago, and the arm of Adam Ottavino will probably give the Yankees the best late-inning bullpen in baseball. Gary Sanchez will be healthy and have a bounce-back year. With Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, the Yankees will challenge the Red Sox for the division crown.

The Tampa Bay Rays are the long shot to win the division. With Blake Snell and the addition of Charlie Morton, the Rays look to have another strong rotation in the AL East.
The Toronto Blue Jays are rebuilding but still have a number of top prospects to keep their fans entertained. Their fans should be very excited about Vladimir Guerrero Jr and what he’ll bring to their franchise, much like his father did.

The Baltimore Orioles lost 115 games last season. but without much hope they are rebuilding. The only bright spot is the number of draft picks they have as compensation   for  Machado and much of what they traded away at the All-Star break.

My prediction is the Red Sox lose the division for the first time in three years to the New York Yankees, but the Red Sox claim the wildcard spots.

AL Central

The Cleveland Indians have won three consecutive American League Central titles, and that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. Their starting rotation is very much still intact, with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. This will be the key to their success this season. The loss of Michael Brantley in the outfield hurts them, but between Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, their offense should be able to put up enough runs to support their stellar pitching staff.

The Minnesota twins took a step back after a wild card loss in 2017. With Joe Mauer retiring, they’ll be looking to replace veteran leadership. If Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano perform like they did in 2017,the Twins are likely in for another wildcard round.

The talent really drops off after the Twins in the Central. The Chicago White Sox didn’t end up signing  Machado or Bryce Harper. But their top prospect, Eloy Jimenez, will be the key to their offense. The addition of Kelvin Herrera should help mold a young pitching staff.

The Kanas City Royals have a longer rebuild because of a poor farm system depleted by their World Series runs in 2014 and 2015. Kansas City is probably slightly better than the Detroit Tigers, but it would not surprise me if both teams lose more than 100 games.

My prediction is the Cleveland Indians will win their fourth  division title. The Twins will hang around for a little but, will  settle for a wild card.

AL West.

The Houston Astros  had back-to-back 100 win seasons and have won two consecutive division titles. The Astros lost Morton to free agency and are likely to lose Dallas Keuchel, who is still unsigned. Lance McCullers Jr. is out for the season, which leave lots of questions about the starting rotation that will still be anchored by veteran Justin Verlander and Cole Garrett. A high-powered offense got even stronger by adding Michael Brantley, and starting shortstop Carlos Correa should have a bounce-back year after being injured in the second half of last season.

The Oakland Athletics shocked the league baseball with their 97 wins and a wildcard spot last season. Matt Chapman ,Matt Olson, Chris Davis and Steven Piscotty lead the lineup that caught most teams by surprise. The big question for the Athletics will be  Mike Fiers in the rotation.

The Los Angeles Angels seem hell-bent on wasting a generational talent in Mike Trout. They have done the bare minimum again in adding Matt Harvey to the rotation and signing  catcher  Jonathan Lucroy. However, it seems they will be around a 500-team again this season. With Mike Trout being a free agent in 2020, I would be looking for him to seek success with another franchise.

The Seattle Mariners have not made the post-season since 2001, and it seems that streak is likely to continue. They are mainly focused on rebuilding the farm system and cutting down the payroll, so it will be a long season for the Mariners as they start to rebuild.

The Adrian Beltre era has come to an end for the Texas Rangers, and that doesn’t seem like there’s much of a bright future in Arlington. Don’t be surprised about anyone on the trading block this season.

My prediction is that the Astros will win their third consecutive title, but the Athletics  have  the best chance to dethrone the them.

The AL championship game will be a repeat of the 2017 season, with the Yankees and Astros meeting up and the Yankees winning in six games.

National League

National League East

The National League East could be the most competitive division in baseball with the Atlanta Braves and their roster of young talent who seem to be the front runners of this brutal division. Ronald Acuna Jr, and Ozzie Albies will lead the offense, along with rising superstar Freddie Freeman. The young pitching rotation will be the key to Atlanta’s success. The question is, can they hold everyone else in place in this brutal division?

The Washington Nationals lost Bryce Harper to free agency, but not everything looks so dim. Patrick Corbin, Geo Gonzalez, and Tanner Rogue will be the keys to the team. Brian Dozier playing second base will add to the offensive production and a more balanced lineup.

The New York Mets did the most in the off-season, signing Robinson Canó from the Mariners and adding Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowery. The question is, can the Mets stay healthy? It all comes down to the health of their starting rotation. For the past few seasons, it seems that they  have  been cursed.

The Philadelphia Phillies won the off-season with sign of Harper. But that’s not the only big-name they are after, as they are also after Dallas Keuchel. The team spent a lot of money on Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, and David Robinson.  These guys will anchor the Phillies this season and put together a really good team.

The chaos of the Miami Marlins continues in 2019, with their biggest contribution to the MLB season being the trading of All-Star catcher JT Realmuto. With new owners in place for only the second season, it will take quite some time for the Marlins to turn the corner.

My prediction is with the Phillies signing Harper, they will be the team to beat, with Atlanta finishing second and taken a wild card spot.

The NL Central was a three-way race last year between the Cubs, Cardinals and Brewers, and it looks like much of the same this season.

The Cubs still have the most talented roster in the division with a full season from Cole Hamels and a healthy Yu Darvish, look for the Cubs to have the strongest rotation in the Central. Chris Bryant and Wilson Contreras should have bounce-back seasons, making them the most dangerous lineup in the National League.

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The St. Louis Cardinals madethe biggest move in the division, this year by adding All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He’s expected to have very similar numbers to former first baseman Albert Pujols. The addition of Andrew Miller should strength on the bullpen as well.

The biggest turn around for baseball last year was the Milwaukee Brewers. The only big move they made was adding Yasmany Grandal, a switch-hitting  catcher from the Dodgers.

The Cincinnati Reds added  Alex Wood and Sonny Gray to the starting rotation. The speedy Billy Hamilton could be fun to watch, along with top prospect Nick Senzel . The Reds lost 95 games last year, but they were a feisty team that didn’t catch the breaks. Look for them to have a breakout season and make a lot of noise in the Central.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are picked last, with their lack of offense still being an issue. It will be hard for them to compete in this heavy offense  division.

My prediction is the Brewers win the division again, but will be challenged by the Reds .
NL west

The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the NL West six consecutive times and even made  back to back World Series. With a healthy Justin Turner and Corey Seager,  you can expect them to remain there. Clayton Kershaw has been the anchor of the Dodgers pitching rotation for the past 10 years. This may be one of the last times you get a Cy Young performance from him.

The Colorado Rockies took the Dodgers down to the wire last season. The Rockies offensive  explosion with Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado and David Dell should be boosted by the addition of Daniel Murphy, making them one of the best lineups, top to bottom, in the National League. If they can get consistent pitching, look for the Rockies to throne the Dodgers.

The Arizona Diamondbacks started the off-season by trading arguably the best hitter away. Zack Grinke  and Robbie Ray are top pitchers. But without much bullpen hope, it looks like they may struggle if they don’t get max innings out of these two guys . Ketel Marte looks to follow his breakout season with another one.

The Padres signed Machado for $300 million for 10 years. That will be the highlight of this team for the next 10 years. This deal is very similar to the Alex Rodriguez deal the Rangers made back in the early 2000‘s when he left the Seattle Mariners. It does not leave much chance for the Padres to improve.

The San Francisco Giants have sometough decisions to make with all-star Madison Bumgarner coming up on free agency. It’s time to make some choices about the stud pitcher who has helped lead them to several World Series titles.

My prediction is that the Rockies do over throw the Dodgers but the, Dodgers win the wild card.

The Dodgers make their third consecutive  World Series, but lose in six games to the Yankees.

Shriners Classic brings baseball, patient awareness together

by DOMINICK PUENTE//Editorial Assistant

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With college sports growing, the Shriners Hospital for Children has used college baseball as a platform for spreading news about their hospitals along with stories about their patients.

A 17-year Astros Foundation tradition returned to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. This classic has been known as one of the top collegiate baseball tournaments in the nation.

Since 2001, this college baseball event has featured 29 different NCAA Division-I baseball programs. Every team attending the classic is by invite only.

Featuring a Big 12 Conference versus Southeastern Conference format, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech competed against LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

Throughout the history of the College Classic, the foundation has hosted the number one team in preseason polls six times in tournament history, including two eventual College World Series Champions.

This baseball classic is a perfect way to incorporate sports with trying to contribute to society and spreading love for the sport of baseball.

Shriners’ hospitals have been helping families and disabled kids for years, even allowing some of those children to meet teams and make new friends in the process.

Although the tournament was meant for bringing in top-seeded teams to compete against each other, the Shriners organization has gone out of their way to put their kids and their families first despite the troubles they are constantly facing in life.

As for the baseball aspect of tournaments such as the Shriners Classic, it is a great opportunity to bring some of the best teams and talent together to see them compete. I do not believe ranked opponents should only play at the end of the season in the College World Series or in conference play.

Playing against ranked opponents will make any team better and prepare teams for conference play and possibly a title run.

I understand that scheduling ranked opponents in the beginning of the season can hurt the morale of a team, along with not knowing the exact pitching rotation or the hitting lineup and defensive positions.

However, having more of these types of tournaments where top-tier teams play against one another in mid-season will prepare those participating teams for later down the road.

Putting your team against tough competition will make a team stronger and understand what is needed to prepare for achieving the goal of winning a World Series.

Having more tournaments will improve the overall quality in teams, but also incorporating organizations such as the Shriners is a great way to bring more people, love and attention to the sport and foundations.

Although the main objective may be to play baseball, these tournaments can be a platform for Shriners and others to get news out about what they are trying to accomplish and grab the attention of people who are lend a helping hand in any form.

Having tournaments such as the Shriner’s Classic is a way to bring more people to watch the sport of baseball by matching up ranked opponents against each other. In turn, that brings more viewers to the sport of baseball and allows those viewers to receive the message that Shriners is putting out about supporting and donating to their cause of helping patients in need.

Platforms to send messages are constantly being used in social media and other sports. Baseball can be used to send messages. By creating these types of tournaments with wonderful causes, it will send positive messages throughout the country.

American pastime hits home for student

by SHELBY MORGAN//Staff Writer

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

No, not Christmas. I’m talking about baseball season. Spring training is in full swing in Arizona and Florida, and opening day is just weeks away. The weather is warmer, the grass is greener, the days are longer, and all is right in the world again. From March to October, the world is a better place.

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