Meaningless Predictions

It’s that time of year where anybody who posts anything on the internet feels the need to give you their 2008 baseball predictions. However here at AllSwings we like to go off the beaten path, not just giving you the regular “who will win what division, wild card, World Series, etc.”, but some more in depth predictions you just can’t find anywhere else. So without further adieu, lets get through the regular ones first.

AL East:

Bosox too deep. Yankees good, but too old and young at the same time (haha). Blue Jays got better but not good enough. Red Sox take this division with 97 wins. Tampa Rays will scare people but don’t have the depth. Baltimore…who cares.

AL Central:

Tigers=big hit happy body! Cleveland=most well rounded team in baseball. Minny=too young…but on the right path. White Sox=past their prime. Kansas City=Kansas City. Cleveland takes this division again this year…way too strong all around; 95 wins for them.

AL West:

Easiest division to forecast. Halos win the division, but its a bit closer than you’d think (Escobar really hurts them). Seattle pulls in 2nd, Oakland 3rd and Texas 4th. Halo’s get 92 wins, with Seattle nipping at their heels.

AL Wild Card:

Seattle! Seattle quietly made some ballsy moves this offseason, and I think having The King and Bed-tard at the top of the rotation is as good a 1-2 punch in baseball. If they can just get Sexson to hit at least. 250 this team can do some serious damage.

NL East:

Phillies have many question marks. New York Santana’s have the best pitching by far. Braves are getting lots of dark horse pub, but I’m not buying it. Florida and Nationals suck (but will be good, and soon). New York Santana’s take the division with 92 wins.

NL Central:

Brewers have the O but lack pitching depth (and lets see how well Gagne does). Cubs are an intriguing team and have made some nice additions this offseason. They’ll win the division with 89 wins. Cardinals will be a scrappy bunch but they don’t seriously scare anyone. Pittsburgh should be in AAA ball. Buster Olney best summed up Houston’s chances at the playoffs: “Roy Oswalt and pray for rain.”

NL West:

Now THIS is a division. Padres again have the arms but not the bats. With the departure of the Dragon Slayer I don’t see the Rockies doing it again this year. Dodgers will raise eyebrows but again will not have enough. The Diamondbacks are a frightening team with the best pitching in this division. They win the division with 91 wins.

Wild Card: Phillies! Best offense in the National League, with Myers back in the rotation and will have a very good year. I peg the Philzors at 90 wins.

World Series: Tribe over Cubs, with Steve Bartman pitching a scoreless 9th in game 7.

Milton Bradley Award (player due for awful karma based injury): I’d say Paul Lo Duca, but now that he’s off HGH and on the Nationals thats karma enough. I’ll say Elijah Dukes…beating your spouse isn’t looking kindly upon by baseball gods.

Scott Kazmir Award (player who was in an awful trade): Ladies and Gentlemen, the Mets keep it in the family with Lastings Milledge! Talk about a retarded trade…Lastings is a five tool monster who has the potential to be a super-duper star. Enjoy Brian Schneider and Ryan Church, because the Nats will enjoy Milledge for years to come.

Reverse Jack Elliot Award (New Japanese player most likely to have an impact): Gotta be Fukudome. Don’t look now, but the gap is narrowing between Japanese baseball and American baseball, and this guy can play. Had a dinged up 2007, but in 2006 hit 31 dingers with a .351 average and 104 RBI’s in generally bigger parks than American ones.

Brady Anderson Award (player with most precipitous fall-off): Curtis Granderson. I hate to say it cuz I love the guy but I think he struggles this year. That broken finger/knuckle he has will hamper him greatly (take it from somebody who’s had a very similar injury, your grip and strength is greatly compromised for a long time).

Hooked on Phonics Award (player who can’t read): Well…I think we all know who that is.

Play ball Mofo’s!

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It’s Now Official

Raising illiteracy awareness

wrightilliterate2.jpg

Rehab 101

…where 101 = the number of Mets who will be injured at the end of Spring Training.

This injury thing is now getting ridiculous and there isn’t a clear reason why the Mets are suddenly feeling the warm hug of an injury all over them.
A little less than a year ago I was talking to a guy who trained people for marathon running and asked him his thoughts on the influx of hamstring and leg related injuries the Yankees were experiencing. Running, and the stretching that usually goes along with it, helps loosen up the muscles in the legs, which in turn aids the quick reflex muscles that baseball players use much more than any muscles needed for running long distances. The new training went with the brilliant plan of deemphasizing running in their workout regimen and thus it began to have an effect on the players. Problem solved. The Mets on the other hand seem to have trouble with senior citizens (Moises Alou, Orlando Hernandez, Carlos Delgado) and bad luck (everyone else).

I’m not so worried about Alou, as Endy Chavez or Angel Pagan can take over and do a decent job at the plate. They can also perform much better interpretations of a gas particle than ol’ Moises. Of course Chavez is also currently injured. Omar Minaya is inspecting his tradable options (i.e. no propsects) and any place holders that are available from other teams. So far nothing stellar.

The good news is that the healthy backups and backups of the injured backups have been performing better than expected. This could mean a whole variety of absolutely nothing considering that it is Spring Training, but it is a positive nevertheless. Additionally, Mike Pelfrey has been pitching well in his couple starts, which allows the Mets to breath a sigh of relief over El Duck before beginning to panic over their lack of reliable backup starters. Hooray!

Recent news over Mike Hampton’s return to the familiar friend called injury will soften the blows to the Mets, but the fact remains that most of the Braves and Phillies are healthy and waggling wood and balls (obligatory testicles tag) in the sunny oasis of Florida. Brad Lidge is the main Phil out at the moment, but he is progressing better than expected and shouldn’t miss too much more time. Many injured Mets are also expected back before Spring Training gives way to 2008, but they will have still missed a significant amount of valuable warm-up (yes, so will Lidge and Hampton).

Quick List of Players who are injured or have missed most of Spring Training so far:
Carlos Delgado – 1B, hip
Carlos Beltran – OF, knees
Ryan Church – OF, concussion
Moises Alou – OF, Hernia
Endy Chavez – OF, hamstring, ankle
Luis Castillo – 2B, knee
Ruben Gotay – 2B, ankle
Marlon Anderson – OF, INF, sternum
Damion Easley – INF, ankle
Brian Schneider – C, hamstring
Duaner Sanchez – RP, taxi accident over a year and a half ago
Orlando Hernandez – SP, foot, that thing where you can’t remember stuff because you’re old

And finally this tidbit:

Minor league catcher Sean McCraw, standing in a area seemingly protected by the batting cage, nonetheless was struck in the shin by a batted ball that probably would have damaged his leg if not for a shinguard. The impact startled all who witnessed it, including Church.

“I think I feel another concussion,” Church said.

The balls are in on it.

You Need To Watch This

Best. Commercial. Ever.  I strongly urge everybody to go over to ESPN.com’s fantasy baseball home page and watch all of these videos.  They’re all hilarious.

Memo to Cole Hamels and Prince Fielder: Eat My Ass

So I was enjoying my morning dump with the sports section of the Philadelphia Inquirer today and first thing I see is the Flyers lost but were pleased with their performance. Well not me. I demand victories over the god damn Rangers. Second thing is Cole Hamels is unhappy about his salary, and in the sidebar so is Prince Fielder. Jesus it’s starting to get ridiculous out there in Major League Baseball. Just kidding…it’s been ridiculous for a while now. But all the young stars bitching and moaning about how they’re so underpaid (even ones not arbitration eligible)…put a cork in it will you?

Let’s start off with Princess Fielder. Had a great year last year–50 dingers, lots of RBI’s, blah blah blah. Last year he made $415k; only his second year in the league. The Brew Crew Management gives him a salary boost up to $670, which you’d think would make him at least sort of appeased. Technically the Brewers don’t have to give him any raise at all…I mean lets face it, it’s only his second year in the league and he still has consistency to prove. Players moaning over salary is nothing new, but when you’ve been in the league less than 2 years and groaning over that much money…seriously shut your trap.

Which brings us next to Cole Hamels. When healthy he pitched very well last year. And he might actually have a bit of a bone to pick with Phillies management–Kyle Kendrick has a bit over 100 days more experience than Hamels and is making only $55,000 less. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see Hamels is the drastically better pitcher. Bottom line is he’s still 24 years old making half a million dollars (with monster paydays right around the corner).

What it comes down to is both these guys could go to their respective organizations and say “I’d like to get some security, forego a few years of free agency, and get paid now.” Take a look at what Jose Reyes, David Wright, and most recently Troy Tulowitzki and Curtis Granderson have done. They all decided they enjoyed where they were, wanted the peace of mind to make multi-millions now, and didn’t want a contract squabble every 12 months (although with David Wright I think Minaya pulled a fast one on him and told him if he signed this “piece of paper” he’d give him a new coloring book.)

On a more serious note, best wishes and hopes go out to Davey Lopes with his battle with prostate cancer. Brilliant baseball mind and a great coach. I’m not worried though; rumor has it Chase Utley and Shane Victorino plan on out hustling the cancer until it is in permanent remission. Then Burrell will do bicep curls until it’s hypnotized by his amazing muscles, at which point ManChild will hit it 500 feet and eat 4 Subway sandwiches.

Andy Pettite’s Judgement Day

While Roger Clemens surged into Congress to defend himself against the allegations leveled at him concerning steroidal abuse, Pettite took a different route. Initially coming off as humble and sheepishly guilty, comparable to a kid who finally comes forward to tell Mom and Dad that he broke the cookie jar, Pettite will escape any stigmas that Clemens will now have to absorb. However, Pettite’s words during his apology, kind of threw me a curve ball.

“I know in my heart why I did things. I know that God knows that. I know that I’m going to have to stand before him one day. The truth hurts sometimes and you don’t want to share it. The truth will set you free. I’m going to be able to sleep a lot better.”

Can we pause for one second? Since when was God pissed at Andy? “And Thou shalt not use HGH, quoth the Lord” (Leviticus 14:2). Pettite is referring more than anything to his cheating, and I am glad he came forward. However, I am always made uncomfortable when people invoke God for forgiveness, as if God was at the moment was sitting in His easy chair (divine throne), a heartbroken Yankees fan. Like alcoholism, “God” is a good word to utter if you want forgiveness. So while Clemens chugs through the US government’s resources (hoping that “shock and awe” will force people to forgive him), Andy Pettite is the opposite: so humble that people will forgive him of his primary sin: making us question the game we love.