Archive for February 2011

Sweet Spot Blog: NL Central has got some upgrades on the mound

February 28, 2011

Via Sweet Spot Blog:

In 2010, the NL Central finished the season with only six of the top 40 starting pitchers based on ERA. Three of those pitchers belonged to one team, the St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia.) The other three were Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez (Houston Astros) and Johnny Cueto (Reds). This means the Cubs, Pirates and Brewers were without a starter in the top 40 ERA’s in the league by the end of 2010. The potential was there, but it was never realized. Fast forward to 2011 …

The Brewers made the first move this offseason when they picked up Zack Greinke in a trade with the Royals. They gave up little for what will be their staff ace. FanGraphs projects Greinke’s 2011 stats to be about 14-15 wins and an ERA in the mid 3.00’s. The Brew Crew did not stop there, acquiring Shawn Marcum, who cobbled together a nice 2010 for Toronto in the tough AL East after missing all of 2009. These two additions, along with future Cy Young candidate Yovani Gallardo make the Brewers a contender for the NL Central crown in 2011.

The Cubs’ offseason answer to their pitching staff questions came in a trade with Tampa Bay. Matt Garza was acquired in exchange for a slew of prospects. While the big question is how Garza will fair in Wrigley, it goes without saying he is an upgrade, and makes a fine middle-of-the-rotation addition. FanGraphs projects something like 11 wins and a high 3.00 to low 4.00 ERA. He gives the Cubs a very solid top three along with Ryan Dempster and a “newly cured” Carlos Zambrano. What if Randy Wells can get his 2009 form back? Any Cubs fan can tell you that 2010’s failure came from a lack of offense. If this staff gets even a hint of support, the NL Central is well within reach.

We can’t discuss the Cubs without touching on the Cardinals. Year in and year out the Cardinals seem to have pitching, or at least starting pitching. Yes, Wainwright is gone for the 2011 season, and while this is a big blow, I don’t see it being the end of their 2011 season. Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan are unbelievable at squeezing water from a stone. Duncan got production from Todd Wellemeyer for crying out loud. Every year the duo of La Russa and Duncan seems to pull a starting pitcher out of a hat. I am sure somebody will fall in place to pick up at least some of the wreckage left behind by Wainwright’s injury. They still have Carpenter and Garcia to lean on. Let’s also not forget the sinkerball pitcher, Jake Westbrook, who I am sure Duncan will turn into a Cy Young candidate before long. Oh yes, the Cardinals are still in the hunt … even when they lose their best pitcher.

The sneakiest staff might be Houston’s. Rodriguez and Myers will once again anchor this staff. Don’t count out J.A. Happ, as he fit in nicely coming over from the Phillies in a trade last season. While I don’t see the Astros contending this year, mostly because of their offensive woes and bullpen, these three guys make for a nice base to a starting staff. Rodriguez and Myers were both in the top 40 ERA’s for starting pitchers last year, and Happ has the stuff to be included in that conversation someday, too.

Alongside these teams sit the Cincinnati Reds. Youth would be the operative word here. The potential in this starting rotation is enormous for 2011 and beyond. Yes, Bronson Arroyo is 33, but after that you have Edison Volquez (28), Cueto (25) , Homer Bailey (25) and a fifth starter in Travis Wood (24) or Mike Leake (23). There is also the tease that Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman (22) might one day become a starter. With the exception of Chapman and possibly Wood, all of these pitchers have seen significant success at the major league level in a starting role. The only thing keeping the Reds from a return to the playoffs is the fact that every team in the division upgraded with exception to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The NL Central has always had a few good pitchers sprinkled about its rosters. What’s new to the past decade is the depth of each team’s starting staff, not to mention the potential for more in the future. While the Astros, and more so the Pirates, have some ground to make up in this category, the remaining four teams are finding strength and depth from their starters.

…This division will be very interesting because there will be three teams in the race for first and then the Astros will be competitive and then the Pirates will try to ruin teams playoff chances. But overall, the pitching in this division is sick. I think right now the Brewers have a one up because of their three #1 starters in Gallardo, Grienke, and Marcum. Second is the Reds with their young core listed above and then Third is the Cardinals who recently lost Wainwright for the year. But fans, do not give up on the Cardinals. They always find a way to win. They might find another Jeff Weaver, Joel Pineiro, or even a Jeff Suppan. You don’t know. Maybe for the Cubs, Zambrano and Garza can win 20 each and become super stars. You can never just predict what can happen in any given major league season. Look at the Padres last year. You know? That is why it is so interesting to see how it will be. I am excited to watch the Brewers and Reds this year because I know they basically have the same team and strategy over the past few years. Hey, we might even have a Dontrelle Willis sighting in Cincinnati…

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Carlos Beltran will make a switch from CF to RF this season

February 28, 2011

If you are a Mets fan or a fan of reading good baseball information then definitely check out Adam Rubin who reports now for ESPN New York. He also reported for the local New York newspapers but has done a lot of New York Mets work.

Via ESPN NY:

Photo courtesy of New York Post: Anthony J. Causi

Carlos Beltran approached Terry Collins early Monday morning upon arriving at the New York Mets‘ spring-training complex and told his manager: “I need to talk to you.”

Beltran then informed his manager he wanted to initiate the long-debated move from center field to right field.

“I came today thinking in my heart, ‘I still think I can play center field,’ ” Beltran said. “But, at the same time, this is not about Carlos. This is about team.”

At 8:20 a.m., Angel Pagan was summoned into the manager’s office with Beltran and Collins for a five-minute meeting.

Pagan, who capably played center field in Beltran’s absence during the first half of last season as Beltran recovered from Jan. 13, 2010 arthroscopic knee surgery, then was informed he would be playing center field with Beltran in right field, rather than the opposite alignment.

Beltran said the preemptive move avoids a last-minute switch on the eve of the season and prevents weeks of media discussion about the potential move in between.

“In order for me to play center field, I need more time,” Beltran said. “I want to be on the same page with everyone here. I want Terry to have his time and to come to the ballpark ready to play the lineup without thinking where he is going to play Pagan, where he’s going to play me. At the same time I’m thinking about Pagan coming to the ballpark and preparing himself and focused to play baseball. I don’t want to create any distractions here. Like I said, I want to play right. I think it’s best for the team. I think it’s going to be best for me also, best for my knee. It’s going to be less active than playing center field.”

during spring training baseball Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Pagan, a fellow Puerto Rican, said: “I feel really fortunate to be passed this torch from the player I always looked up to. I think having him right next to me is going to be a great plus for me. I’m going to keep looking up to him and keep trying to pick his brain. He’s one of the best center fielders out there, and I’m trying to be like him.”

Beltran, 33, is in the final season of a seven-year, $119 million contract. He has started three games in right field in his career, all in 2000 for the Kansas City Royals.

Beltran said he consulted with agent Scott Boras, his wife Jessica and former Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, who endorsed the move to prolong his career. He plans to enter Grapefruit League play in a week, after testing his right knee running the bases, and pledged to be ready for Opening Day.

Collins implied at the start of camp that he preferred Beltran play right field this season, but the manager said he respected the veteran enough to let him have an opportunity to demonstrate he can play center field in Grapefruit League games if that was his wish.

“I am impressed with the way this whole thing has been handled,” the first-year manager said.

Beltran underwent surgery to clean out an arthritic right knee last January. That began a feud with the organization, which maintained it had not approved the procedure. When Beltran returned for the second half, he had decreased mobility.

Beltran joins other high-profile center fielders who have moved to right field, including Mike Cameron and Torii Hunter. Cameron’s move actually came with the Mets after Beltran originally signed as a free agent with the organization.

“It’s going to be less active,” Beltran said about playing right field. “I’m looking forward to saving my knees for the long run.”

New York Mets' David Wright congratulates teammate Carlos Beltran on a catch in far center field for the out on Houston Astros' Luke Scott to end the 14th inning (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Third baseman David Wright was among the teammates praising Beltran’s selflessness.

“Any time you get a guy that’s accomplished what Carlos has accomplished, and done the kind of things that Carlos has done in this game, to be that guy that really sees the big picture and sees what’s best for this team and does something like that, it makes you want to go out there and really play united and play as a team,” Wright said. “That probably takes a lot coming from a guy that’s really accomplished what he’s accomplished. Carlos wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I just think it’s a very selfless act.

“Like I said, baseball players have a lot of pride. To be able to kind of swallow that pride and look at what’s best for the team and make that decision, says a lot about what Carlos is trying to accomplish here.”

This is great news for Carlos Beltran and the Mets. It is great because now Carlos will play a position where he can play and have less of an injury risk while, Angel Pagan will play center field. He needs to stay healthy for the Mets to be relevant and it looks like he has realized that it is not about himself but the team. I think this is key because the Mets have always been about getting the big stars who make their decisions on what they need to do. I think Beltran is trying to change that dynamic of the culture on this team and realize that he is a leader and will need to lead by example. He also wants to play a lot more baseball in his career and when he saw how good Tori Hunter and Mike Cameron have been the past two years, he thought it would be a great idea. I think this makes him more confident and it will allow him to be healthy and be the 30 homer 110 rbi Beltran that we saw back in the early years of 2000’s. This is a huge move for the team and it will make them even better. Beltran has now become a teammate but now a mentor to Angel Pagan…

I wish I could apply for this job!

February 28, 2011

Via ESPN:

How does “The Voice of Wrigley Field” sound as a new job title?

The Chicago Cubs announced Monday they are searching for a new public address announcer at the Friendly Confines, and they are opening the job search up to anyone, posting the ad on jobs site careerbuilder.com.

Candidates are invited to send in their applications — including an audio or video sample — by March 7. Finalists will be chosen for live auditions at Wrigley Field by March 14 with a final decision to be made by March 25.

The online job ad says experience working as a public address announcer in college or professional sports is preferred, but candidates “of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.”

“This is a dream opportunity for someone to be the voice at Wrigley Field and to leave a lasting impression on more than 3 million fans each season,” said Wally Hayward, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer of the Cubs.

The new announcer will replace Paul Friedman, who held the position for 16 seasons. Friedman left the Cubs to become Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Business Development at Chicago Public Radio.

The Cubs open the season at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1.

I kind of wish I was out of school because then I would apply for this job. It would be a pleasure and an honor to at least apply for that job. To be part of all the history of Cubs baseball and the famous broadcasters there would be a life changing experience. Unfortunately I have one more year in school before I can look to go into the business but it sure would be a ton of fun. Maybe in the future…

Maybe this will be me in the future with an organization.

Carmelo Anthony savior to the Knicks season?

February 24, 2011

Here is an article from ESPN and it states from a New York Knicks perspective of why this deal could backfire and not be what they wanted right now.

Via ESPN Commentary:

The New York Knicks just figured out a way to give up everything but the coasters for a borderline franchise player and still be a couple of years away from being ready to compete for an NBA championship.

In this case, a three-team, nine-player trade isn’t worth what some are going to try to make you believe. The Knicks gave Denver a king’s haul of three starters (Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari), a raw (but promising) 24-year-old 7-footer (Timofey Mozgov) and their 2014 first-round draft pick, yet the assumption will be that acquiring Carmelo Anthony will put New York right there with the Miami Heat in challenging the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy.

But instead, the Knicks didn’t get a savior in Anthony, they got a big piece of bait. And in the process, they relinquished some of their most encouraging talent.

Yes, Anthony gives Amare Stoudemire a bona fide partner, one who can be a big help in matchups against the superstar-heavy Celtics and Heat. He finally gives the Knicks the relevancy they’ve craved.

But let’s briefly allow the facts to intrude on the fantasy. The Knicks already are the second-highest-scoring team in the NBA, and they just traded away half their roster for another offensive-minded player.

Right now, New York is slightly better than a .500 team, and it likely will stay that way for the rest of the season because the trade leaves it with a thin bench, an aging point guard (Chauncey Billups, who comes along with Anthony from Denver) to run a fast-paced offense and a nonexistent defense.

 Supposedly, one of the biggest reasons Anthony was worth getting at any cost was that it’s assumed he’ll coax Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard to come to New York when they become free agents next year.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

But while we don’t know what the salary cap will be in the next collective bargaining agreement, it’s very likely the Knicks will have limited payroll space if the cap is anywhere near what it is now. No matter how trendy it becomes for stars to join up with other stars, as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did in Miami, I can’t see any quality superstar giving the Knicks the kind of discount they might need to complete a Heat-like triumvirate.

I’m not ready to call the Anthony trade a bad deal for New York, but I am saying it’s less than ideal. The Knicks’ reality is selling another fantasy.

For the Nuggets, this was a best-case scenario. They didn’t receive equal value for Anthony, but they got more than enough, including second-round picks in 2012 and 2013, which the Knicks had acquired from Golden State when the Warriors signed David Lee last summer.

Anthony, by the way, deserves credit for that. By making his intentions known to the Nuggets from the beginning, Denver had the opportunity to recoup its losses.

Just ask Cleveland how important a heads-up from a superstar can be.

I’m not suggesting the Knicks don’t need Anthony. Who can’t use a 25-points-per-game scorer who can fill up the basket from any spot on the floor?

 But I question their strategy. I’m just not convinced this is the best way for the Knicks to make themselves championship contenders.

And their own history proves it.

When they were consistent competitors in the 1990s, they put a terrific group of role players around their superstar, Patrick Ewing. Those Knicks teams had ferocious defenders who exuded toughness. The Knicks’ championship team in 1970, revered for winning the franchise’s first title, was built around Willis Reed and also had the NBA’s top-ranked defense.

Prior to the Melo deal, the Knicks seemed to be building their team in that mold. Felton and Chandler have become very solid players. Gallinari is finally proving why he was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft; he leaves the Knicks averaging a career-best 15.9 points per game. Of course, none of them have Melo’s star power or his individual offensive ability, but they are better pieces in a team’s whole than people realize.

The Melo deal is troubling because it seems as if New York is more concerned with restoring its reputation as a franchise that can attract big stars than setting up a viable long-range plan.

Remember, the Knicks were once convinced they would get James, too. Despite the now-infamous toast Paul made at Anthony’s wedding last year, which indicated he was open to joining Stoudemire and Anthony in New York, a lot can happen between now and the summer of 2012.

There’s no question it played to Melo’s advantage when James shunned New York for Miami. It made the Knicks desperate, and I’m not so sure they needed to be.

As special as Anthony is, he isn’t James. He doesn’t have the kind of game, leadership or charisma that can instantly transform a team. There’s a reason Anthony’s teams have been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs six times in seven years, including once by the Clippers.

But let’s not let those inconvenient facts spoil this for New Yorkers.

They’ve landed their bait.

…This is the greatest article I have read about the deal. It comes from my perspective of the deal but it also states that right now the Knicks gave up the future for a scorer. Is that the right thing to do? For me, it hurt a lot because you gave up 4, twenty to twenty-six year old kids who were coming into their own. They got 3 thirty year olds out of this deal. How bad is that? I am sorry but right now the Nuggets got the best out of that deal. They are ready to win while the Knicks are ready to form their Big three with Melo, Stoudemire, and CP3 in 2012. As a Knicks fan, I loved the team that I was watching for part of the season because they were a team to like. They only had one superstar and they played for the heart of the game…

…That is why I love the Nuggets now and everyone on this blog knows that I am a Memphis Grizzlies fan because they don’t have a superstar. I hate that word when it comes to the NBA. SUPERSTAR. What a bad word and I hate the meaning of it when you are talking about the NBA. Does anyone remember the #8 seed Warriors beating the #1 Mavericks in 2008. Who was a star on that team? How bout the 1999-2000 Knicks when they reached the Finals. Who was their star? I can’t stand that word and it makes me realize that the NBA is all about these great big market teams and then small market teams will literally have to will their own way to win. That is why if you love the game of basketball you root for teams like Thunder, Warriors, and Sacramento Kings. They don’t have stars but play as a Team and love of the game…

…This deal showed to New York and the NBA that we are all about the money and winning later in life when we get the best players in the league. This needs to change soon because I am sick of that. I love Carmelo and what he brings to the table but let’s see if the Knicks can be playing playoff basketball come the summer time…

Sweet Spot Blog: Rickie Weeks deal good for the Milwaukee Brewers

February 24, 2011

Another very good blog that baseball fans should go to. My main writer, Rob Neyer used to write for this blog buthas handed it down to the rest of the ESPN writers around the country.

Via Sweet Spot Blog:

After what felt like an eternity of negotiations, the Brewers and second baseman Rickie Weeks finally agreed to terms on a long-term contract Wednesday. Ken Rosenthal first reported the details of the new agreement, which potentially pays Weeks $50 million over the next five seasons. The fifth year essentially acts as an option, as the Brewers can opt out if Weeks isn’t a full-time player in 2013 and 2014.

At close to $10 million per season, the Brewers are paying for fewer than two Wins Above Replacement (WAR) yearly out of Weeks once we account for long-term salary inflation. Weeks produced a whopping 6.1 WAR in the 2010 season, and even though that kind of production may just be a career year, Weeks is a good bet to eclipse the 2 WAR total on a yearly basis. Both his walk rate (10.7 percent over his career) and Isolated Power (.176 for his career) are well above the league average, and these form the basis of his solid .355 career OBP and .429 slugging percentage.

The obvious comparison for Weeks is another second baseman: the Atlanta Braves’ Dan Uggla. Uggla also received a five-year contract extension this offseason, earning an extra $12 million for a total of $62 million. Uggla has the superior bat — a .263/.349/.488 career line against Weeks’s .253/.355/.429 — but a worse defensive reputation (which is saying quite a bit) and less speed on the bases. Uggla is also two years older; Weeks won’t turn 29 until September while Uggla will turn 31 during spring training.

So the $12 million lower price tag for Weeks seems like quite the bargain. However, I think it makes sense given Weeks’s tumultuous injury history. Although Weeks showed no signs of the wrist problems in 2010 that plagued his early career, it remains a worry for many Brewers fans. Last years was the first time that Weeks managed to play more than 130 games in a season — and only the third time in six tries that he competed in more than 100 games. There’s little doubt that Weeks’s extension would be much richer — and perhaps not contain the out clause on the final season — had he not missed more than 200 career games, including much of a 2009 season that looked primed for a breakout.

Overall, though, it’s hard to argue with this deal. The Brewers will be able to escape with relatively little damage should the injury problems strike again, and Weeks is quite likely to be worth much more than his contract while he’s on the field. Much like the deals the Brewers have in place with franchise cornerstones Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun, this deal gives the team the flexibility to continue to add talent while retaining a very good player for a long time.

Due to a lack of prospects, the Brewers are set up for the short-term. However, the core talent on the team right now is exceptionally young. Of the team’s regular players this season, only fourth starter Randy Wolf and setup man Takashi Saito are over the age of 30. Outside of Prince Fielder and Saito, every other player is under team control at least through 2012. Deals like the Weeks contract should allow the Brewers to stay competitive while rebuilding the farm system.

…Surprisingly, I disagree with this article for many reasons. Why did the Brewers give him a 5 year deal? He will be 32 at the end of the deal and that is old for a second baseman. He has only played 2 healthy regular seasons and last years was his most productive. I understand what Doug Melvin is trying to do by locking up his young guys, but why not Fielder, Grienke, Marcum, or Axford. I think this deal leaves a lot of question marks. I love Weeks as a player when healthy because he is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game and is a game changer every time he steps up to the plate. But with his poor defense and his injury risk, I don’t think it was worth that much. If he walks a lot more this year, hits a few more home runs, and drives in more runs, this deal will look like a steal for the Brew Crew. But before then, I still put this deal up for question rather than say it was the best thing for the Brewers…

Newly Acquired DH Vlad Guerrero brings what Orioles lacked last year

February 24, 2011

Here is a phenominal blog if you love to understand the game of baseball, basketball, and football. I suggest you visit it regularly if you want to become more knowledgable in the sports.

Via ESPN Stats and Info Blog:

How does Vladimir Guerrero have the potential to help the Baltimore Orioles? Let’s take a closer look.

Guerrero boosts the Orioles in multiple areas in which they were deficient last season. Baltimore slugged .358 against left-handed pitching, fourth-worst in baseball last season and the team’s worst since 1988.

In adding Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds, the Orioles netted three players whose combined slugging percentage vs lefties last season was .495. Guerrero slugged .536.

In all three spots in the lineup (DH, first base, third base), the Orioles have a player whose numbers vs lefties were better than the primary player used by Baltimore last season.

The other thing that comes with Guerrero is that Baltimore gets the same version of Guerrero when there are runners in scoring position as when there aren’t.

(AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron Jenkins)

Guerrero has hit .300 or better in those situations in 12 of the last 13 seasons. His .321 batting average with runners in scoring position is a near match for what he hit in those situations last year (.320) and his career batting average overall (.320).

The Orioles hit .246 with runners in scoring position last season, fourth-worst in baseball.

Guerrero also figures to maintain his power in a hitter-friendly park.

While Rangers Ballpark was slightly favorable to right-handed batters over the last three seasons, with a home run park factor of 114 (according to The Bill James Handbook), Camden Yards is even more friendly, boosting homers for righties by 21 percent in that span, tied with Coors Field for the fourth-highest mark in the major leagues.

Lastly, though this won’t necessarily impact wins and losses, Guerrero still possesses a “wow” factor to his home run hitting. According to data compiled by our video review crew for Hittrackeronline.com, Guerrero averaged a distance of 408.14 feet per home run. That was 12 feet better than the big league average and eighth-best among the 47 players with at least 25 home runs in 2010. New teammate Reynolds ranked second.

…Vlad is so valuable to so many teams in the league but for the Orioles this season, he will be the most valuable. I remember in 2001 when he was a free agent he was going to sign with the Orioles but decided to go to the Angels for a little more money and a chance to win a title. He wasn’t able to win a title, but this guy can flat-out hit the ball. With the lineup of Lee, Markakis, Reynolds, Jones, Scott, Vlad, and Wieters this team will score so many runs. Not to mention, with Vlad’s phenomenal average with runners in scoring position they should be able to win some late ball games if the pitching keeps them in games. He brings this veteran approach to the plate which he will teach the guys like Markakis, Weiters, and Riemold how to get on base without always having to swing for the fences and get a hit. His value to any ball club is tremendous and it will show with the Orioles this season. Look at what he did in Texas last year! This year he will play in another Little League ballpark and tear the cover off the ball… 

SB Nation: Does Pitching and Defense win championships?

February 24, 2011

More from my main man Rob Neyer about how pitching and defense can really make you a championship contender:

Via SB Nation:

Beyond the Boxscore’s Bill Petti wonders … Is it better to excel at preventing runs, or scoring them?

Petti comes up with the same answer that I’ve been seeing for a while. Even though the game is nicely balanced, it does seem to be ever so slightly better to prevent runs than to score them. Why? Maybe because playing longer, run-filled games is tiring. Maybe because you can’t lose when you give up zero runs, but you can lose when you score 10 runs. Or maybe something else. Anyway, after the jump Petti reminds us (or me, anyway) that the Giants winning the World Series probably wasn’t some crazy fluke …

Think about 2010. Many prognosticators argued that the Giants were lucky to make it past the Phillies and win the World Series against the Rangers. Upon closer examination, this makes no sense.

The Giants scored only 697 runs all season, but they only allowed 583–for those counting at home, that’s a run differential of 114. That differential was good for 4th in all of baseball and an expected record of 95-67. The Phillies, by contrast, scored 772 runs and allowed 640. They were expected win 96–only one more than the Giants. As for the Rangers, they scored 787 runs and allowed 687, good for the eighth best run differential in the majors. They were expected to win 92 games, four fewer than the Giants. All three teams had what could be considered elite pitching staffs, but the Giants had the best of the three.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be the best this year. But this does make me feel just a little foolish about so consistently picking the Giants to lose as they pitched their way to the World Championship last fall.

…I post this because I truly believe pitching and veteran players are key to a baseball team. When I look at this years teams, who do I see as dominate leaders? Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers, Twins. These teams can all play defense and also pitch the ball pretty well. Notice how the Giants made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season and made this amazing run to make the World Series with 3 phenomenal pitchers and a bullpen that could shut anyone down. They didn’t score many runs until they found the fountain of youth with Cody Ross in the playoffs. Notice the best teams in baseball will have the best pitching and defense. Who always ends up in last place. Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Mariners, and Orioles. Why? They have trouble playing defense and cause way too many errors. Not to mention, the pitching they have is very average if not below average. This is a good example and it gives you readers something to think about…