MLB RT 16 APRIL 2014
1. What player has surprised you the most through the first 13 games of this young season?
ARCHIE: There are actually two that really hit home for me on this nature. The first is Justin Upton. Even he came out of the gate hot last season I did not expect his early season numbers this season. The second and biggest surprise to me is Chase Utley. I felt he was going to tank it for the year give all the injuries he has sustained over the past few seasons. However, he is leading all of MLB with OPS of 1.393. Pretty damn good for someone that was supposed to slump this year.
JOE: Carlos Gomez… I felt he was going to be good but so far out of the gate he has a slash line of .345/.391./.633 wit h4 HR, 10 runs and 9 RBI. And, Jose Bautista… I have been predicting his demise for a while, so, frankly, I am surprised he is doing as well as he is right now… maybe I was wrong. But right now he has a slash line of .267/.459/.641 2it h5 HR, 12 runs, 10 RBI and 16 walks.
STEPHAN: I really have not seen any major surprises, but the one that sticks out right now is Ben Zobrist of the Rays. He is hitting .280, 3 HR so far in this young season. Zobrist is not known much for his power at the plate, but so far he has started off strong, and has been tough in clutch situations. He has become more plate disciplined, and is waiting for better pitches to hit. Hitting in front of Longoria is going to give him some positive at bats, and by having a solid 1-2 punch and the 2-3 hole, the Rays are going to be very good.
SANDY: Alexei Ramirez (White Sox), he currently holds a .415 Average. .466 OBP, with 3 HRs and 12 RBR’s. He has never hit for a .300 avg in his career and his previous high OBP was .333 in 2009. He most likely will not maintain those stats, but he may have the best year of his career if he can stay close.
2. MLB.Com does a weekly “power ranking” of teams: Who is your top ten in order?
ARCHIE: This becomes tough when you try to combine offense, defense and pitching. Having said that, I have always noticed that good pitching does not always reward a team with wins and vice versa; good hitting does not always reward you with wins as well. For a combination of reasons, bias included, here is my top ten.
7. Blue Jays
10. White Sox
JOE: I always find this tough to do, but in April it’s really not an easy task, but, here goes… Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland As, Los Angeles Dodgers, St Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox.
1. Oakland Athletics 10-4
2. Atlanta Braves 9-4
3. Milwaukee Brewers 10-4
4. Los Angeles Dodgers 9-4
5. Detroit Tigers 6-4
6. Washington Nationals 8-6
7. St Louis Cardinals 9-5
8. San Francisco Giants 9-5
9. Toronto Blue Jays 8-6
10. Chicago White Sox 8-6
The A’s are starting off on fire, just where they left off the regular season last year. The Braves are finding ways to win games, when they seem dead in the water. This reminds me of their 1995 World Series team. The Brewers are off to a hot start and their pitching is coming along better than expected. The Dodgers, Tigers, Nationals, and Cardinals are going to be in contention all year long. The Giants are looking like geniuses with the way Tim Hudson is pitching. The Jays are off to a better start, and if the pitching can come together, they will be a tough draw in the East. Finally the White Sox at #10, they are 8-6, but they lead MLB in total offense.
SANDY: Athletics, Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Whit Sox, Giants, National, Blue Jays, Mariners.
3. What Rookie has caught your eye early as someone to contend for the ROY honors?
ARCHIE: I am casting a sharp eye on Chris Owings. This 22 year old short stop for the D-Backs has 16 hits in 50 Abs and has 4 stolen bases already. A .370 OBP is pretty darn good for a rookie infielder.
JOE: So, far the leader in the AL is probably Jose Abreu 1B, CWS… he has already done major damage to me in one of my early fantasy baseball game matches. The SOB.
Honorable mention goes to Mashiro Tanaka P, NYY
In the NL it’s probably Kolten Wong 2B, STL.
Honorable mention goes to Chris Owings, SS, D’backs.
STEPHAN: I honestly don’t pay much attention to rookies this early in the season. I will say that I was really excited about Billy Hamilton of the Reds, but he has really underachieved so far. I think right now, the front runner has to be Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees. He is showing so far that he can compete in the big leagues.
SANDY: Nick Castellanos – Stats: .269 Avg, .345 OBP, 1 HR, 4 RBIs. Its still early and he has only played in 7 games, but looks like he colds improve with more playing time. The rookie class doesn’t seem to impressive yet, but again its early.
4. How should the HOF address the steroid era?
ARCHIE: I guess a better question would have been how should the BBWAA handle the whole era, but then we have seen what they think of it. As for the HOF itself, I don’t see as how they can do much about it as far as the displays and such. At some point however, I still look for a “section” to be built that goes from like the Mid 90’s through 2005 with some kind of “label” that may or may not read “Steroid Era”. That does not mean to say we have seen the last of steroids and PEDs, it just means the numbers have settled somewhat since congress stepped in. (The bastards)
JOE: Exactly how it is being done. The people who vote are doing as good a job as can be done in my estimation. It’s not perfect but I think it is the best system that there is to handle a very difficult situation. Let the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), which is usually over 570 folks who have a vote, handle the debate. To me that is a large enough sample group of varying opinions that we should trust to sort out the BS and hopefully do the game of baseball and the Hall, itself, justice. So far I think the writers have done a pretty decent job. I don’t always agree with some of the BBWAA choices for entry into the Hall but so far those players who were supposedly involved with PEDs that have HOF eligibility have not done very well in the tabulation of the writers. I think that sort of says it all.
STEPHAN: The Hall of Fame should do absolutely nothing. They should make their own decision based on merits for each individual performer. In my own personal opinion; if you are only suspected of steroids, but never proven to take them; the voters should keep that under consideration. However, if they are proven cheaters, like McGwire, Palmiero, Canseco, etc… They should never have a place in the Hall of Fame. Bonds and Clemens should be considered because they are not proven to have take steroids and their merits are strong enough to be inducted.
SANDY: If there is evidence or proof of PED use the player doesn’t get in the HOF, but the hall of shame would be appropriate.
5. Should MLB expand to Mexico?
ARCHIE: Not just no but Hell No! I understand that MLB would like to expand their horizons into the international market but Mexico is NOT the answer. The country is in too much turmoil to risk the adventure at this point.
JOE: No. Just the way I feel about it. I have varying reasons which I don’t have the time and space to discuss here but just the power and viciousness of the drug cartels in México, alone, makes the situation too volatile and unstable for a MLB franchise in that country.
STEPHAN: No, they have a Mexican League already in Mexico. I think they need to keep it in the United States. It would not be a big eye teaser for some to play in Mexico. I would not object to playing a series or two in Mexico, but thats where it should draw the line. I could see many complications with franchising a team south of the border.
SANDY: No, baseball is America’s pastime and should be played here.
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