Major League Baseball’s Review at the Two-Thirds Point

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Mike-Trout

Major league baseball is at the 2/3 mark of the 2015 season and begs for a review. These are the dog days, heading into mid-August with sellers selling and buyers hoping to rent their way to top of the heap. Re: Toronto Blue Jays. [Read more…]

Major League Baseball Quarter-Pole Report

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Memorial Day is roughly the quarter pole of the Major League Baseball season, and along with July 4 and Labor Day, holidays that not only mark progress for your favorite team, but offer All-American encouragement to eat copious amounts of food and to drink until death. So assuming you haven’t taken the last suggestion literally, you can read here my observations of the first quarter of baseball season. Please keep in mind I am a Cub fan so therefore distracted with visions of Bryant and Lester leading fantastic post season charges, culminating with topless women in the streets of Chicago. I may not be completely objective.

Kris-Bryant-Chicago-Cubs

One overriding observation from the beginning of the season is that in the wake of the retirement of Derek Jeter, the game is in good hands of youngsters such as Mike Trout, Joc Pederson, Anthony Rizzo, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant. It’s difficult for me to remember an era when such a plethora of young, accomplished star players has taken a toehold in the majors. Each of the names I mentioned is appointment viewing for fans. If you are more a fan of dominant pitching, Matt Harvey and a couple of his mound mates in New York should satisfy your appetite. Big free agent signees Max Scherzer and Jon Lester squared off yesterday at Wrigley with Scherzer getting the better of it. This time. Compelling matchups abound in baseball this year. Chris Sale of the White Sox faced off against reigning AL Cy Young winner Cory Kluber last week in one of the most fun and interesting pitching duels I’ve ever seen. Though the Indians lost 2-1, Kluber was dominant and left me to wonder, how the hell did he start the season 0-5 as he did? There hasn’t been a better time in recent history for baseball fans. Do yourself a favor and catch a few of these matchups. [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Washington Nationals

By Keith Alrick
PSDC Writer

The Nationals enter 2014 trying to make up for failed expectations a year ago. Last year they were the preseason favorites to win the National League. Instead, they hovered around .500 for most of the season. Those failed expectations cost manager Davey Johnson his job. Former big leaguer, Matt Williams, is taking his place. He spent the last four seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff. This team needed to switch something up because there is way too much talent on the roster to not make the playoffs. First-year managers don’t usually get rosters with this much ability so it will be interesting to see how Williams handles it. It’s hard to determine how a new manager will affect his new team but one thing is for sure, I don’t think the Nationals will sit their best pitcher if they make the playoffs this time.

[Read more…]

MLB All-Star Roster Review

By Garrett Franskousky
PSDC Writer

Earlier this afternoon we were treated with the usual pomp and circumstance that revolves around the announcement of the MLB All-Star rosters. As expected, there were the usual mistakes and blunders of the flawed system that’s currently in place. Fans tend to vote based on their favorite teams as well as name recognition and it’s led to some interesting outcomes over the years. For example, Derek Jeter received the second highest amount of votes for American League shortstops at one point this past year despite never taking an at bat this year. However, for the most part the fans did a decent job and the managers put deserving players to round out each of the rosters. You can find the full rosters here. After giving the rosters a look, here’s my take on some of the better selections and ones that left me scratching my head.

THE GOOD

Jose Fernandez

It’s about time this kid got some recognition. Since making the early jump to the big leagues, Fernandez has been absolutely fantastic. He currently has a 1.06 WHIP, an opposing batting average of .193 and an ERA of a 2.72. His fastball-curveball-changeup combo is absolutely filthy, as he’s averaging 9.13 strikeouts through every nine innings. This Cuban defector has all the stuff to make this the first of many All-Star appearances for him. [Read more…]

PSDC Random Stat of the Day

By Johnny Griffith
PSDC Stat Man 

So yeah, Opening Day didn’t go quite the way I’d hoped it would for my Yankees, but as a consolation prize I got to watch my pick for NL MVP swinging his BOOMSTICK for the Nats.

Bryce Harper homered in each of his first two at-bats in the Nationals’ Opening Day victory over the Marlins, becoming the first player in major league history under the age of 21 to hit two or more home runs in his team’s season opener. Previously, the youngest player to homer more than once in an opener had been Don Money, who was 21 years, 305 days old when he did it for the Phillies in 1969.

Harper is only the third player to hit two homers in an opener the season after winning the Rookie of the Year Award. Carlton Fisk did it for the Red Sox in 1973 and Raul Mondesi followed suit for the Dodgers in 1995. Harper is the first player since Garrett Jones in 2010 to hit home runs in each of his first two at-bats of a season and the first player in Nationals/Expos history to do that. Only two other players in franchise history hit a pair of homers in a season opener: Al Oliver in 1983 and Vladimir Guerrero in 2000.

*Source www.espn.com

2013 MLB Team Preview: Washington Nationals

By Matthew Cafaro
PSDC Writer

Washington Nationals
Founded: 1969*
Division Titles: 2
National League Pennants: 0**
World Series Titles: 0 

2012 Record: 98-64, 1st Place in the NL East

Key Losses: Edwin Jackson and John Lannan
Key Additions: Rafael Soriano, Mike Morse, Denard Span, President William H. Taft

It’s (the real) Opening Day! Happy Opening Day, everyone! And with Opening Day, I present my final NL East team preview. The team I believe will win the NL East this year, the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals ended our long national nightmare last year, and finally allowed perhaps the greatest President in our nation’s history to finally win their appropriated (straight stolen, son!) mascot race. And now, they’ve added William H. Taft to the race, which is a strange choice. Not because, historically, Taft is one of the least remarkable Presidents in American history and a great disappointment to the aforementioned Teddy Roosevelt. No, it’s strange because all of the other Presidents represented in the race (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and TR) are on Mount Rushmore, meaning there is a theme to Washington’s President Races, which is now completely ruined by adding Taft to the mix.

It’s not like the Taft family was protesting nightly, demanding his visage be added to the race. So the Nationals have ruined a good (stolen) idea by trying to add too much to it.

Anyways… Milwaukee’s Sausage Race is better. Well, unless you’re Randall Simon.

The Nationals have the best combination of pitching and hitting in baseball. Like the Braves, they will strike out often, but they should finish with a higher team OBP than the breathtakingly free-swinging lineup that Atlanta has put together. Jayson Werth should hit for more power than he did coming off his broken wrist last year, and he’s always good in the field. With the Braves’ Johnny Venters perhaps starting the season on the DL, Washington should begin the year with the best bullpen in baseball, with Soriano closing and Drew Storen setting him up. Don’t expect to score on this team after the seventh inning. The ascendant is Bryce Harper, he of the immortal, “That’s a clown question, bro,” can afford to be a cocky so-and-so that many, many fans in opposing cities will hate, because he’s quite possibly the most naturally talented young ballplayer to come into baseball since Mickey Mantle. Well, he and Mike Trout. And I don’t see any outfield drainage grates appearing out of nowhere to send Harper spiraling down into a booze-filled depression any time soon, so National fans don’t have to worry about his career trajectory matching the Mick’s.

[Read more…]