2014 MLB Team Preview: St. Louis Cardinals

By Chris Patton
PSDC Writer

A lot of things have changed in St. Louis since the Cardinals won the 2011 World Series. Albert Pujols and David Freese are in Anaheim. Lance Berkman and Chris Carpenter have retired. Tony LaRussa works for MLB and awaits enshrinement in Cooperstown this summer. Carlos Beltran has come and gone in that time.

This kind of turnover would be a clear sign of a rebuilding process for many teams. But, General Manager John Mozeliak has built a fortified organization from top-to-bottom that has been able to withstand superstar departures.

In 2012, first-year manager Mike Matheny got the team within one win of a return trip to the Fall Classic. Last year, the Redbirds made it back to baseball’s grand stage before falling in six games to the Boston Red Sox.

With a young, deep pitching staff (starters and the bullpen), along with a solid lineup, the Cardinals figure to be playing into October yet again. [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Chicago Cubs

By Bobby Roberts
AmericasWhiteBoy.com

The Chicago Cubs are in the middle of a long-term rebuilding plan. They are building the team through the draft and their farm system is now one of the best in baseball. Many of those prospects are still a year away, so many Cubs fans are already looking ahead to the 2015 season.

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Expect the Cubs roster to looks drastically different by the end of the season. Jeff Samardzija may even be traded before the All-Star Break.

New manager Rick Renteria takes over a team of mostly cheap role players keeping seats warm until Javier Baez, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant are ready to appear in the Majors.

Can Starlin Castro regain his All-Star form? Will Anthony Rizzo make a leap forward and become a better all-around hitter?

Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Chicago Cubs.

[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…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: New York Mets

By Matthew Cafaro
PSDC Writer

New York Mets
Founded: 1962
Division Titles: 5
National League Pennants: 4
World Series Titles: 2 (1969, 1986) 

2013 Record: 74-88, 3rd Place in the NL East 
Key Losses: Johan Santana, Shaun Marcum, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Harvey*
Key Additions: Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon, Chris Young

I want to point out that last year I predicted the Mets would finish with a record of 74-88. Which they did. Exactly so. So we now know something about me: I’m good at guessing how this particular baseball team would finish the 2013 season. Why couldn’t I have this power with guessing lottery numbers? Or NCAA brackets? Oh well. On to this year’s preview!

The 2013 New York Mets were a revelation in starting pitching talent. From some of their young pitchers, like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, greatness was expected and delivered. Speaking as a Braves fan, I was not expecting Dillon Gee’s ascension, which was a not-so-nice surprise for New York’s division rivals. Alas, the Mets’ pitching success was undone by a spate of injuries, the hardest to swallow being Harvey’s need for Tommy John surgery with the feared prognosis that he would not pitch at all in 2014.** [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Boston Red Sox

By Bobby Roberts
AmericasWhiteBoy.com

Boston went from worst to first to win the World Series. It’s hard to believe that this time last year, we were still talking about ‘chicken and beer’. Manager John Farrell turned around the team at a ‘wicked’ fast rate.

Photo Credit: WEEI

Photo Credit: WEEI

The Red Sox now have a target on their backs. They will get the best effort from their opponents in every game. The Yankees and Rays are extra hungry to knock off the defending champs.

Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks, players who have yet to live up to their hype, will be asked to play everyday. Is Boston asking too much?

Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Boston Red Sox.

[Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: San Francisco Giants

By Keith Alrick
PSDC Writer

Four years ago, the Giants surprised a lot of people and won the World Series. The next year they disappointed a lot of people by missing the playoffs. They followed the disappointment up by again surprising us, and winning another World Series. Of course the cheers wouldn’t last for long as they once again followed up the championship by missing the playoffs. This clearly means you should throw down on the Giants to win the World Series this year at 16/1.

Photo Credit: US Presswire

Photo Credit: US Presswire

The Giants offseason strategy has been to do the exact opposite of their rival. The Dodgers have spent the last two years acquiring as much talent from outside of the organization as possible. They have spent more than anyone. In contrast, the Giants biggest offseason move was signing Michael Morse. The Giants tend to have steady and perhaps boring offseasons but it is hard to argue with the overall results. [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

By Bobby Roberts
AmericasWhiteBoy.com

All the moves Arizona made last offseason didn’t do much for their record. They finished the season 81-81 in back-to-back seasons. They even traded their ace Ian Kennedy at the trade deadline.

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Photo Credit: MLB.com

This offseason, they once again completed one of the biggest offseason trades. They landed outfielder Mark Trumbo and closer Addison Reed, but had to give up one of the top outfield prospects Adam Eaton.

The NL West is improved with the Dodgers becoming a powerhouse and the Giants have all their guys back from injury. It will be difficult for Arizona to hang with those clubs.

Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

[Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Detroit Tigers

By Ryan Haidinger
PSDC Writer

Over the past three seasons the Tigers have averaged 92 wins per year, made the ALCS three times and appeared in the World Series in 2012. For most organizations this would be cause for celebration, but in Detroit it sparked a significant rebuild. The Tigers expect to win the World Series in 2014 but they will go about it in a drastically different way than in years past.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Gone are the days of slow pitch softball in Detroit when base runners stood still waiting for a home run to score them. This year’s Tigers will be much more aggressive on the base paths and in the field, in hopes of returning to their third World Series in nine years. [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Miami Marlins

By Keith Alrick
PSDC Writer

Off of the top of your head how many Miami Marlins players can you name? I’d be surprised if it’s over five. Most people should be able to name Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez. After that it is a strange list of players that you either have never heard of or didn’t know they play for Miami now. For example, everyone knows Rafael Furcal, but did you know he is now the starting second baseman for the Marlins? A lot of people got to know Jarrod Saltalamacchia during the Red Sox title run last year, and now he is now the starting catcher in Miami. Being the Marlins, they also have names on their roster that seem completely fake. Heading that list would be their starting third baseman, Ed Lucas. The hope is that a few of the young guys that no one knows yet will develop into legitimate players.

[Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Seattle Mariners

By Tony James
PSDC Writer 

There are 240 million reasons for Seattle fans to have hope for this 2014 Seattle Mariners team. Of course, everyone is buzzing about the signing of Robinson Cano, the coup of the offseason for the Seattle front office. Although spending that kind of money for a 32-year-old player is debatable, Seattle’s front office is hoping this move will get fans buzzing and have them showing up at SafeCo again.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

2013 Win/Loss Record: 71-91, 4th Place, A.L. West, 25 games back [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Chicago White Sox

By Chris Patton
PSDC Writer

The Chicago White Sox have been a mixed bag in the first two years of Robin Ventura’s tenure as manager. In 2012, fresh off a disastrous final year under Ozzie Guillen, the South Siders led the AL Central for much of the season before fading in September and finishing three games behind eventual World Series participant, Detroit.

After overachieving that first season, many people (myself included), thought Ventura had a special way with his squad and could keep them in contention during 2013. That line of thinking was way off as the Sox struggled all year long and ended up 30 games behind the Tigers. [Read more…]

2014 MLB Team Preview: Kansas City Royals

By Keith Alrick
PSDC Writer

One of the best stories from last season was when the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a 21-year playoff drought. The Royals will be looking to one up that story this year by breaking a 28-year playoff drought. This is where most people tell you how cheap gas was and what movie made the most money 28 years ago to put it in perspective. I hear that Google can give you that answer. The exciting part for Royals fans is that they appear to be moving in the right direction. Last season they finished with a winning record for the first time since 2003. That was nice, but after 28 years of no playoffs nice isn’t enough. The expectation has to be to end the drought this year. And fine, gas prices were $1.20 and “Back to the Future” topped the box office.

[Read more…]