Like to hear some opinionating and some predicting? Then… welcome to MLBRT where the crew gives out both… opinions and predictions…
1) In your opinion is it realistic to predict that this is the year the Cubs win it all?
The Cubs have an amazing pitching staff, the offense is tremendous and they have a year under their belt of playing together led by Joe Maddon. That team is destined to go somewhere and I’ve even predicted that they’re make the World Series this year and lose. So, I don’t think that it’s unrealistic for somebody to say Chicago will win it all. They definitely have the talent and leadership in order to get it done.
The Cubs made it to the NLCS last season and have made some solid acquisitions this off-season.
Now, history is clearly not on their side but you can still say the Cubs can win it all this year
If, they get to the World Series then I give them an even chance to do it or maybe make them a slight favorite.
But, they are an improved baseball team from an appearance a year ago in the National League Championship Series. So, yeah, they should be considered one of, if not THE favorites to have another excellent season. Barring injuries to some key players, they should make the playoffs without problem, and if the pitching holds true to form, they could be looking at their first World Series berth since 1945.
However, the Mets, Giants, Dodgers, and Nationals will have something to say about it.
2) Commissioner Rob Manfred, under the new MLB domestic abuse policy, recently suspended Aroldis Chapman 30 games. Is the suspension too small, too big or just right?
Dan: That suspension was too big in my opinion. That’s a large amount of games to start off the season where he is forced to miss. I don’t have a problem suspending a player for a domestic violence incident, but can we charge the guy at least?
Frankly, according to law, he was never in the act of this. He wasn’t convicted. It’s unfair and too big of a punishment to force Chapman to sit 30 games for something he was never convicted of.
The police chose not to investigate, and that’s fine, but, there was a weapon discharged in the incident. For that alone, I felt Chapman warranted a suspension.
Joe: I think its was a brokered deal between Chapman/his agent, MLB and the players union. Why? It’s just long enough to be a serious suspension and he can till go free agent in 2017, if, he chooses not to resign with the Yanks. Bottom line: I think, its a fair deal and a just right suspension because it sends the initial message that MLB is taking domestic abuse serious.
Now, Jose Reyes is the case I’m looking at. He’s already on forced paid leave and, I think ultimately, he going to get some serious time off from the game after his trial, regardless, if he is found guilty or innocent. If, he is found guilty? Maybe a year off, no pay. Not guilty? I see, maybe, an 80 game suspension.
Steve: My opinion on this, is that you have to start somewhere. I applaud Chapman for owning up to this and accepting the suspension. He knew that he was in the wrong. So, as long as this is the precedent on this type of suspension, then, I would completely agree with it.
Now, if this happens again to someone else and they give him like 5 or 10 games, then, I will have a serious problem with this. As we stand now, I don’t have an issue with the amount of the season he was suspended. Again, I respect Chapman for owning up to this, and admitting he was wrong, then accepting the ban.
3) Carlos Beltran has recently said he wants to play 20 years in MLB which means he would need to play for another two years… which also means it probably won’t be as a Yankee as they have some minor leaguers banging on the door to play on the team… so the two-part question is (1) Can he find a team willing to take him on as a probable DH and (2) Is Beltran a hall of Famer right now or does he need to latch onto a team for at least one more year to pad his stats a bit?
Dan: Yes, I believe that Carlos Beltran will fit in nicely on a team as a DH. He doesn’t have the same range and fielding ability that he once had, but he’s still not bad in the field and can be used as a fourth outfielder. He batted .276 last season with 19 home runs and 67 RBI. His OPS+ was still quite a bit above league average at 122.
For the second question, yes, he’s a Hall of Famer right now. He never really hit any milestones, but for what it’s worth, he’s only 8 home runs away from 400. Add that with 1,443 RBI, a .280 career batting average and 121 OPS+ and I think he’s in. The Hall of Fame monitor is pointed towards the direction of him getting in, too. With a likely Hall of Famer having a score of 100, Carlos Beltran registered a score of 104.
While he lost his speed he once had, he managed to log 311 stolen bases compared to only caught 49 times. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, was elected to 8 All-Star games, grabbed 3 Gold Gloves and batted his way to 2 Silver Sluggers while also managing 1 top-5 finish in MVP voting. He looks like a Hall of Famer to me. I vote him in.
With that said, I do think if he wanted to extend his career he would find a team willing to sign him if the price was right.
Joe: Yes… someone will pick him up on a flyer to at least DH part time, especially if he has decent numbers in 2016 that are comparable to his 205 season… 133 games, 57 run scored, 67 RBIs, 34 doubles, 19 HRs with a slash line of .76/.337/.471.
As for his Hall cred… first I’m going to say this about Beltran… every time I look at his stats he surprises the hell out of me. The dude presently stands at 1449 Runs scored, 1443 RBIs, 503 doubles, 392 HRs, with a slash line of .280/.355/.490. If, he comes close to his 2015 season, then, he goes over 400 HRs, gets close to 530-plus doubles and makes it to 1500 runs and RBIs. That’s Hall of Fame stuff. In fact, to quote CBS.com’s Matt Snyder: “Only 32 players in MLB history have more than 1,500 runs and RBI. They are all either in the Hall of Fame, headed that way (Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols) or have a PED cloud hanging over their head (Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, etc.).”
Steve: Let me start off by saying that Beltran will find at least one or two teams that will pick him up. He is on the downward of his career, but still, should have another competitive season or two in him. Look for Beltran to return to the National League possibly with the Nationals, or another team that could be in contention next season.
As for him being a hall of famer? Yes, he is a Hall of Famer right now, maybe not first ballot, but, he definitely had a HOF type career.
4) The Cleveland Indians have been all over the prediction boards… from winning their division to finishing about third… what’s your prediction for The Indians in 2016?
According to two prediction agencies (PECOTA & FanGraphs), the Indians are both projected to finish 1st (PECOTA – 90-72, FanGraphs – 84-78. They have an amazing starting rotation with Kluber (while having a down year, his WHIP was actually lower than his Cy Young Award winning season back in 2014. They’re a strikeout machine as a rotation finishing number 1 in league in strikeout percentage (24.2) and they led the American League in WHIP & FIP. Salazer & Carrasco both throw an average of 94+ MPH. Every start was in the top ten in strikeout percentage last season. They added Tommy Hunter as a relief pitcher, they also added Rajai Davis in the outfield with a bat & his speed while grabbing Mike Napoli as a good power-hitting back-up who can also play DH.
They’re young, too. With Francisco Lindor finishing 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting last season and who is ready to begin leading this team at shortstop. This team has the making & tools to finish 1st in the Central.
The AL Central is a division that is up for grabs but I think the Tigers can win the division. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Indians are the winners of the Central but I don’t think it’s likely.
Joe: In that AL Central… versus Detorit, much improved in my opinion,and, KC… last year’s winner of it all? in my opinion, they finish third and will have to fight off and improved Chicgao White Sox team to do it.
HOWEVER, with Terry Francona managing that team I wouldn’t be surpised if late in the season they still be hanging around for a wild card. I think Francona is that good of a manager.
Steve: I’m one of them folks who don’t believe any of the hype surrounding the Indians… they just need too many players to have real good years to surprise me and have a decent chance to win their division. Me? I think it shakes out like this: Royals, Tigers and then a fight between the Indians, White Sox and Twins for third. But, if I had to pick a surprise in that division? Then, I’d go withe White Sox.
5) Will the there be any players who will win 20 games or hit 50 HRs in MLB this 2016 season?
Dan: I think that we’ll see 1 pitcher reach 20 wins but I don’t see any hitters making it to the 50 home run mark. I think the highest we’ll see is 45 (actually 43, but I rounded it up) with most of the high power hitters falling in the high-30s mark. I feel as if batting is starting to go down in such with power numbers and the pitching is seemingly getting better. Look at what Arrieta & Zack Greinke did last season. I can see something breaking out in the pitching world and he’ll hit 20 wins.
50 home runs? Nope. Don’t see that happening.
Joe: Twenty games I’m not so sure but if I had to guess I’d say maybe 1 or 2 with Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) being my leading candidate… then pick anyone else out these outside chances to do it… Madison Bumgarner (Giants), Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Felix Hernandez (Mariners), Zack Greinke (D’backs), somebody from the Mets and my real longshot but I just got a gut feeling this may be his breakout year… Nathan Eovaldi (Yankees). I’m not picking anyone but Kershaw to win 20… the only thing that would stop him from doing it is an injury… but I think any one of the rest got a chance if everything breaks right for them.
Fifty HRs… if any does hit 50 it’s going to be any of these players… Bryce Harper (Nationals), Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) if he can stay healthy, Chris Davis (Orioles) and Mike Trout (Angels). Anyone else who even comes close will be someone having a real breakout year.
Steve: It is so hard to predict if a player will hit 50-plus HR or a pitcher winning 20 games. There usually is a player every year that just has a breakout season. Take Keuchel for instance, no one expected him to be a 20 game winner and wrap up the CY Young Award last year.
As for 50 HR, this feat seems more difficult to achieve as of late. If, there is anyone that can do it, it will be Giancarlo Stanton of Miami. Only problem for him to do this, is he is going to have to stay healthy, and that is something he has not been able to do for the past two seasons.
I could see Arrietta, Greinke, and Kershaw, all vying for the 20 game winners, with some outsider coming out of nowhere and shocking the baseball nation. I think we will see 1 or 2 twenty game winners, but I will put the smart money on no one hits 50 HR.
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