This week’s questions…
1) From CBS.com… “The Futures Game kicks off the All-Star break festivities every year on Sunday… the event has been around since 1999…”
Some players who have participated in a Futures Game are Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Alfonso Soriano, Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano, Joey Votto, Carlos Correa, Aaron Judge, Miguel Cabrera. Jose Bautista, Zach Britton, Manny Machado, Joe Mauer, And Adam Wainwright.
The format of the game is a team of minor league prospects from the United States and a team of prospects from other countries in the World who then compete against each other… or is team USA vs team World.
The Futures Game was played this past Sunday but probably wasn’t seen by very many baseball fans… (1) because there were 14 MLB games that were being played while it aired on MLB network and (2) many fans aren’t aware it was being played or that it even exists because MLB doesn’t give the game as much promotion as it does the HR Derby.
A) Did you watch the Futures Game, or if you didn’t, did you know it exists or was being aired by MLB network?
B) If, MLB promoted this game in a better way do you think it is something that could become a larger part of the MLB All-Star break/festivities?
IMO, I think it should be during the time slot the HR derby is done in-lieu-of the HR Derby. I personally don’t care for the HR Derby format or the selection criteria.
The game does need better promotion. I kind of discovered it by accident and at first I thought it was the Triple A All-Star game. Not sure how they could do it but if it was promoted the right way, and made available on a channel that more people get rather than MLB, I think it could be a very popular game. But playing and broadcasting showing the game on the last day games are played through MLB before the All-Star break ain’t doing it a hell of a lot of good.
Steve: I watched a little bit of the Futures Game, but did not pay too much attention to it. Then again, typically on Sunday I have the MLB Network on all day, so I kinda cheated knowing it was on. As far as promotion goes, they need to air it on ESPN because there is a larger market for promotion, and not everyone has the MLB Network to even watch the game. Put it on ESPN and you solve all your problems.
2) As the All-Star break begins, the LA Dodgers are 61-29 (on pace for a 110-win season) and the Houston Astros are 60-29 (on pace for a 109-win season.) If both teams continue on their present pace, and were to survive MLB’s postseason tournament and make it into the World Series, then in your opinion who would win and why?
Joe: Me being a Yankee fan, I have seen more Houston games than I have LA games by virtue of the fact Houston plays in the AL. And, from what I have seen so far, I wouldn’t bet against Houston regardless of who they play. There team is in a word… impressive.
Plus, unless it is the Red Sox in the World Series for the AL, I always root for the AL… with one exception: which is, if the Yanks ain’t in it and the Mets are then I root for the Mets. NY loyalty takes precedence. Having said all that… I’ll take Houston in 7 games.
Steve: I would predict a great series. I would give the Dodgers a sight edge because this year good pitching beats good hitting all day long. We saw it in the All Star game with the pitchers dominance.
The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw who has been more dominant than ever, Alex Wood is off to a tremendous start at 10-0, and they have a pretty good bullpen at that. The Astros have an amazing lineup and do not have an easy out. The pitching rotation has been good, but the Dodgers have the edge. I would say Dodgers in 7, but it would be a fantastic series.
As the season breaks for its annual All-Star game the following questions deal with who, in your opinion, are the first-half award winners…
3) AL and NL MVPs? Why?
Archie: Just for media coverage and hype alone the two outstanding Rookies of Judge and Bellinger are the first to come to mind. I know it is hard for a Rookie to win MVP but they are doing some amazing stuff at the dish and IF they keep it up it will be hard for the them to NOT win their respective League MVP award.
Bryce Harper is still putting up numbers for the Nats that carries MVP quality but he is competing with teammate Daniel Murphy, I can see where they will cancel each other in that market.
Joe: In the NL it’s close but I think three players are catching my attention more than all the others.. Bryce Harper, Paul Goldscmidt and Joey Votto. All three have impressive numbers and have been in the top ten or better… like the top three… in most of the offensive categories if not at times being the league leader. It’s so close between these three that my deciding criteria is to give it to the HR leader not only between the three but of the entire NL… Joey Votto.
In the AL.. who else… the Yankee wunderkind.. Aaron Judge. His numbers have either lead the league or been in the top three for most of the first half in HRs, RBIs, Runs and BA.
Steve: The AL inst even close. Give it to Aaron Judge. 30 HR at the break, which already breaks the Yankee rookie record. HR derby champion, and put on quite a show doing it. And, he is making the country take notice of the Yankees. He is proving to be the next franchise player for New York.
The NL is tough, but I am going with Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. He has 26 HR and is crushing the competition. However, let me say this, I think a sleeper will emerge as the MVP for the whole year and I go with Freddie Freeman of the Braves. I can’t say he is the first half MVP right now due to him missing a ton of games, but he was a leader on the field as he switched to third base to make room for Matt Adams who is killing the ball, and I think he is going to keep the Braves around the playoff hunt. I’m not saying they make it, but they will be closer than you may think.
4) AL and NL Cy Young winners? Why?
Archie: The CY in the NL is really tough right now. Flip a coin between Scherzer and Kershaw. Max has the slight edge at this point IMO. It is just as tough to choose in the AL. Between Kluber, Sale and Vargas with a slight edge going to Sale IMO.
Joe: In the NL it looked like Kershaw was beginning to show he was human after all but as the first half was nearing the All-Star break he cam on like a mad bull after a matador… Scherzer edges him in leading the NL in ERA and WHIP but by mere percentage points… the league leading 14 wins makes me take Kershaw.
In the AL I’ll grudgingly give it to the Red Sox dude… Chris Sale. He leads the AL starters in strikeouts while being second in wins, WHIP and ERA. If, Houston’s Keuchel hadn’t gotten DLed it would have been real interesting with his 9-0 record, o.87 WHIP and 1.67 ERA.
Screw it… I’ll give it to Keuchel.
Chris Sale has been the most dominant pitcher in the AL for the Boston Red Sox, so he gets my vote. 11-4 and leading the way in strikeouts, no brainer to me.
In the NL has to be Clayton Kershaw. 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA, he is dominating the league once again, however Scherzer is going to be a close second.
5) AL & NL Manager of the Year? Why?
Archie: NL for me right now has to be Craig Counsell. I don’t think ANYONE saw them being in first of the NL Central at the halfway mark. And it’s not because the other teams are doing bad, they do have 50 wins and do not show signs of slowing down.
I also think A.J. Hinch has done a phenomenal job at Houston. He has my vote for the AL.
No one expected either team to be in the playoff hunt forget about either be a division leader (Brewers) or threatening to be a division leader.
Steve: NL Manager of the year has to go to Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, despite the Dodgers running away with things in the National League, that was supposed to happen. The Brewers find themselves 4 1/2 games in front of the heavy favored Chicago Cubs, and perennial favorite St Louis Cardinals. Some picked the Brewers to finish last in the Central, and they may be well on there way to a post season berth. Counsell has done a great job with this team.
In the American League, sure you could go the easy route and say AJ Hinch, but again this was predicted by many that the Astros would be a World Series contender.
I say Joe Girardi of the Yankees, he has taken a group of young players and turned them into superstars. The Yankees could be headed to the post season, even though they have struggled before the break, I still think this team is fun to watch, and the nation for the first time is actually getting behind the New York Yankees.
Bonus question… Which player in the AL & the NL are the Least Valuable Players so far? Why?
… enough said.
Joe: Reliever and setup man Tyler Clippard for the Yankees. This guy has been a one man wrecking crew for Yankee leads in games and a big reason why the Yankees have fallen out of first place in the AL East.
Cubs Kyle Schwarber in the NL. He was suppsoed to be a big stick in their lineup and is presently batting just .178 and has already spent time down in the minors in 2017..
In the NL I go with Kyle Schwarber, sure he still can hit the long ball, but he is hitting well below .200, and even had to spend some time in Iowa. Schwarber was supposed to make the Cubs a more deeper threat in the NL, and now they find themselves in the middle of the pack, and would be lucky to make the playoffs at all.
Fred Lynn (Red Sox 1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners 2001) are the only two players who have been ever named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same year.
In 2017 two rookies are presently tearing it up in MLB… Cody Bellinger of the LA Dodgers in the NL and Aaron Judge of the NY Yankees in the AL.
Will 2017 be the year MLB sees rookies in each league sweep both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards?
There is a whole lot of baseball left and stuff can happen … time will tell.
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