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Affichage des articles du juillet, 2019

NL All-Stars vs AL All-Stars

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Last year, the National League snapped a 14-year regular-season streak of being beaten up by its little brother, going 158-142 in interleague play (not counting the World Series, which went the AL’s way). For the first time since 2003, the Senior Circuit was the superior league. It was also, in most respects, the more entertaining one. Last year’s AL had no notable upsets; the four preseason favorites made it to the playoffs without too much trouble. The A’s exceeded expectations, but they weren’t without their preseason supporters, and they didn’t top any teams that were widely considered contenders. The Indians ran away with the Central (which was the second-weakest division ever), the Red Sox held a fairly commanding lead down the stretch in the East, and although the A’s and the Mariners made the West closer than it looked this time last year, the Astros were never in serious trouble. One of the AL’s only sources of September suspense was the Orioles’ and Royals’ race to the bott…

Colorado Rockies

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Winners of 91 games last year, one shy of the franchise record, the Rockies are coming off back-to-back appearances in the postseason for the first time in their 26-year history. But after losing the wild-card game in 2017 and getting swept in the Division Series last year, they're aiming to go deeper into October this season as well as win the NL West for the first time. The young starting pitching that was such a strength last year and led the National League in innings will again be counted on heavily. The team hopes to remove a major uncertainty, possibly before the start of the regular season, by signing third baseman Nolan Arenado to a long-term contract. He avoided arbitration with a deal for $26 million this season, the largest ever for an arbitration-eligible player. Arenado can be a free agent after the season. But Rockies owner Dick Monfort said he was very optimistic the team will be able to sign Arenado, who turns 28 in April, to a deal that will …

San Diego Padres

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There's a buzz about baseball in San Diego again, and it's because of a star and a sensation. The Padres signed third baseman Manny Machado to a franchise-record 10-year, $300 million contract in the offseason. In spring training, sizzling 20-year-old shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. proved he's ready for his Majors debut. Those two will lead a club looking to shed its streak of eight straight losing seasons, presenting a left side of the infield that the Padres will embrace for years to come. The addition of Machado and Tatis, if nothing else, has brought the Padres back to relevancy after 50 seasons of mainly futility. Team MVP: Manny Machado


The four-time All-Star with two Gold Gloves returns to third base, relinquishing shortstop to Tatis. Machado is far from beloved around the league after his antics in the playoffs, but he's a savior to Padres fans even if he's a villain elsewhere. Machado should hit the finish line with offensive sta…

St.Louis Cardinals

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The Cardinals built on a team with depth by adding Paul Goldschmidt and are looking to reward their fan base with their first postseason trip since 2015. They had a remarkable playoff run, appearing in 12 of 16 postseasons from 2000 to 2016. They are projected to finish 2019 in second place, just two games behind the Brewers and a solid five games ahead of the Cubs, good enough for a wild-card spot and a playoff run late into the season. What’s New The big offseason splash has been the addition of Paul Goldschmidt on Dec 5. The first baseman has been one of the most prolific and consistent offensive players over the past seven seasons, with a career .930 OPS and averaging over 4.9 WAR with his bat. Goldschmidt hits just about any pitch type well - he was one of the best against sliders, batting .362/.435/.560., and above average against four-seamers, two-seamers, sinkers, sliders, curveballs. He hit just average off of changeups.


Lefty reliever Andrew Miller came t…

Atlanta Braves

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The Braves are the defending NL East champions, but they have convinced few people with their offseason moves—or lack of—that they are going to repeat. Look around at the picks: Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, or some combination of the three that does not include Atlanta as No. 1. The Braves added a veteran bat, Josh Donaldson, but he gave no indication in spring training he was back to 2015-16 form. Ace Mike Foltynewicz and veteran Kevin Gausman are injured, and rookies Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have been thrust into the starting rotation. To the chagrin of fans, Atlanta will remain 17th in payroll in baseball, just as they were in 2018. If the kid pitchers do not perform it will be time to open the vault holding all the money from the organization’s real estate deals around Sun Trust Park. Team MVP: Freddie Freeman


Freeman, 29, has been the team MVP and will continue to be the ‘guy’ with above average defense and three consecutive seasons hitting over .300…

Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros opened spring training with precious few roster spots up for grabs, the clearest indication of the franchise stability at the foundation of their three postseason appearances over the previous four seasons, including a World Series pennant in 2017. And, even with the departures of several revered contributors (Dallas Keuchel, Marwin Gonzalez, Charlie Morton, Brian McCann, Evan Gattis), the Astros are among the favorites to with the 2019 World Series. General manager Jeff Luhnow has built a sustainable winner, and manager A.J. Hinch seemingly has the perfect disposition to steward a clubhouse of young veterans. And while there are new faces to integrate (left fielder Michael Brantley, left-hander Wade Miley, catcher Robinson Chirinos and utility infielder Aledmys Diaz), the Astros’ title hopes rest on the right arms of starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, a deep bullpen, and the health of their four core stars: Jose Altuve, Alex Br…

Detroit Tigers

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The Detroit Tigers have lost 98 games in each of the last two season and their record might not be any better this year. The Tigers finished third in the American League Central last season but that was deceiving as the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals lost in triple digits. Detroit, meanwhile, enters its second season of a major rebuilding program and was hit with the bad news late in spring training that right-hander Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, will likely need Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. Coming up through the farm system are a bevy of pitching prospects. Included is right-hander Casey Mize, the first overall pick in last year’s amateur draft from Auburn. However, few of them figure to reach the major leagues this year. Team MVP: Nicholas Castellanos


Right fielder Nicholas Castellanos is likely in his final season with the Tigers as he is eligible for free agency in November and does fit the youth movement at 27. He had th…

Baltimore Orioles

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The first part of the rebuilding of the Baltimore Orioles begins this season. There’s a new man in charge in the front office (Mike Elias), a new man in charge in the dugout (Brandon Hyde), and a plan in place to give the Orioles a minor league system that will funnel players to the majors, just as Elias helped the Astros do. This first year could be ugly at times, so Orioles’ fans should expect to see a lot of players who won’t accomplish much. What will be interesting is to watch how fast the front office changes things with regards to the farm system, analytics and in other areas. Elias has been here before and knows what to do – the question is how long it will take to do it. What’s New Well, just about everything. The Orioles have effectively cleaned house in so many ways, really starting with the moves former GM Dan Duquette made at the trading deadline. When Elias took over for him, the former Houston executive made it known that the Orioles were going to re…