10 Spring Training Thoughts
Fri, Feb 26, 2016
It is never too early to start talking some baseball. Very soon, March Madness will have come and gone, the Masters will be played and Major League Baseball will be in full swing (pun intended). Here are 10 quick betting thoughts to look forward to in the weeks to come.
1. Even Year = Giants World Series Title
Come on, can the Giants really win their 4th title in 7 years, all in even years? You better believe they are primed to make a run. With the additions of Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, this team looks loaded. They bring back a great lineup, rotation depth and timely hitting. Factor in their experience and superior managing, this team looks like they are sizing rings already.
2. Mike Trout
Trout might be the best player ever when his career is over. He is on an unprecedented pace and is only entering his 5th season. He will either win the MVP or finish runner-up. The bad part is the Angels are wasting his talent. They have stopped spending money after a few bad investments and they lack talent everywhere as a result. For a possibly once in a lifetime talent, it is a shame he is not playing in October every year.
3. Bryce Harper
Speaking of generational talents, Bryce Harper has lived up to the hype since he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16. He can do it all. He rubbed some people the wrong way early on in his career, but nobody can deny how bad he wants it. What will he do for an encore to his first MVP?
4. Un-balance of Power
Even though the Royals won the World Series last year representing the American League, the National League is much stronger. At the top they have the Mets, Nationals, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Giants, Dodgers and Diamondbacks all competing for the NL pennant. Who is the favorite in the AL? Last year had a few surprise teams, such as the Astros and Rangers. This year, it can be the same story with surprise teams. A dark horse nobody is talking about? The Baltimore Orioles.
5. Bullpen Success
The Royals have proven in their consecutive World Series appearances that locking down late innings is key. You can live with a mediocre pitching staff and rely on timely hitting and locking down the late innings. They have shown these other teams how to be successful in October. All of the main contenders this year have an above-average bullpen.
6. Barry Bonds is Back!
Barry Lamar Bonds is the Marlins’ new hitting coach. That is exciting! The best hitter ever (we know, we know) is passing his knowledge onto the young Marlins team. As bad as they always seem to be, let Barry put on a uniform and swing for the fences. If Bernie Mac can do it in Mr. 3000, then Barry certainly can.
7. Big Papi’s Swan Song
David Ortiz made headlines this week by saying he wants a curtain call at Yankee Stadium. Seriously? Aside from the Fenway Fans, who is going to really miss Big Papi? He is not a Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera or Cal Ripken. Take your hometown applause and retire gracefully.
8. Young Guns
Baseball is being flooded with superstar young players. Trout, Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, Jose Fernandez, the entire Mets pitching staff, and the list goes on and on. These guys are coming up younger than ever and better than ever. Is it supreme confidence or supreme skill? We are witnessing history with the amount of great, young talent. Enjoy it.
9. Red Sox Revival
Last year was not what the Boston Red Sox anticipated. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were horrible in their first year in Beantown. Can they turn it around this season? David Price and Craig Kimbrel will help. A lot of early money is being put on the Sox to win the World Series. Me? Not so optimistic. I think this team is vastly overrated and will flame out in the division race.
10. This is the Cubs year! Not…
The hype surrounding the Cubs is huge. They signed Jason Heyward in the offseason (bad move). They sign John Lackey to help fortify their pitching staff (good move). The Cubs have great talent all over the field. But here’s the thing. Jake Arrieta is not having a year like last year. Their bullpen is not great. And the key factor. THEY. ARE. CURSED. Something crazy will happen. Bartman Part 2. Joe Maddon will channel his inner Pedro Cerrano and bring in a live chicken to sacrifice in the dugout. The curse does not end this year. All the money on the Cubs to win the World Series is wasted, and as usual Vegas wins.