Archive | March 2014

Baseball is back!

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Don’t let the weather fool you on this late March day.  They played a baseball game in Milwaukee last night.  It didn’t really count towards anything being an exhibition game, but it was a good warm up for the season.

In just two more days opening day will commence throughout baseball.  It feels like it has taken forever for opening day to come this year.

It’s nice to see the Brewers made some much needed upgrades around Miller Park.  They finally upgraded the big box CRT tv’s around the stadium.  It hurt my eyes to look at those.  Another big change was the renovation of the Toyota Territory.  It used to be a private seating area right above the visiting clubs bullpen in right field.  They’ve now made it public.  Putting tables, chairs, and stools that lineup along the side of the railing.  It’s an amazing view and if you’re ever going to a game with a standing room ticket I would recommend heading straight to this area.

To finish up my predictions from my previous post.  Here are my picks for rookie of the year and Cy Young finishes for both leagues.

AL Rookie of the Year:  Jose Abreu
I’m expecting a huge year for the Cuban import.  He’s been regarded as a better hitter than Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes who have both seen success in the majors so far.  He’s hitting in a great ballpark in Chicago for power hitters.  His main competition for the award will probably be Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts is still super young and I’d expect him to really shine in seasons to come.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
After having a down year he would be an easy favorite to bounch back to his usual self.  He showed “he still had it” with his performances in the playoffs.  He underwent core muscle surgery in the offseason and his spring numbers have been nothing but excellent.

NL Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton
I’ve already talked about how much I like Billy Hamilton.  He’s been working on his bunting this spring and his speed will get him a lot of infield singles.  Once he gets on base he’ll change the entire dynamic of the game.  Pitchers in the minors have tried a lot of different things in an attempt to stop Hamilton from stealing 2nd and they have yet to truly be successful.  Okay, Hamilton is on my fantasy team so of course I want him to do well.  Even if that wasn’t the case, I’d still be in awe of his performance this season.

NL Cy Young: Homer Bailey
This might be another overhype on my part due to Bailey being on my fantasy team but it’s no secret he’s a favorite of many to have a good year.  Bailey was a much talked about prospect who just couldn’t perform to his expectations.  He got bounced back to the minors early in his career and he seems to now be figuring it all out.  He’s shown his stuff can be really good throwing a no hitter in each of the last 2 seasons.  This will be the year he just dominates.


Tristan Wischer

2014 MLB Season Predictions

AL East: New York Yankees

The last time the Yankees had a big offseason was 2009 with the big signings of CC Sabathia, A. J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.  They also traded for Nick Swisher which paid off greatly.  This offseason was another busy one for the Yankees.  They’ve added Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, and Carlos Beltran.  They still have some weaknesses in the infield with losing Robinson Cano, but I think they’ll manage to get by.  A skinny CC should be the ace of the rotation, but if not…Tanaka, Nova, Kuroka, and Pineda should be more than fine.

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

They managed to unload the contract of Prince Fielder and received Ian Kinsler in return.  MVP Miguel Cabrera will return back to 1st base.  They lost Jose Iglesias which will hurt them greatly, but I’m sure they’ll figure something out.  With the move of Cabrera to 1st, Nick Castellanos will get his shot at 3rd base and should prove to be a nice offensive contributor.  Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson should handle their positions and contribute nicely to the offense.  New addition Rajai Davis will add some speed to the lineup, however he’ll most likely sit versus righties with Andy Dirks Don Kelly manning the other side of that platoon.  I love their offense and they have some really good pitching (Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez).  They also added Joe Nathan to be their closer which was one of their weaknesses in 2013.  I’d expect the Indians, White Sox, and Royals to be competitive, but just not enough to unseat the Tigers.

AL West: Oakland Athletics

If the Texas Rangers didn’t have as many starting pitching problems as they’re going to open the season with they would have been my pick.  Oakland has their own starting pitching problems but I believe in Billy Beane and his ability to find efficient starting pitching.  I would expect a big breakout from Sonny Gray after he showed what he was capable of in the 2013 playoffs.  Scott Kazmir should hopefully be able to replicate his comeback numbers of 2013.  After those two there’s a lot of question marks, but pitching in the O.co Coliseum will help any pitcher out.  Oh yeah, they have an awesome offense also.  Yoenis Cespedes struggled in the spring with his shortened swing, however I’m a believer in him and this could be his breakout year.  Josh Donaldson seems legit.  Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, and Brandon Moss will be solid contributors to the lineup.  Texas will threaten with their dangerous lineup, but I think injuries will do them in this year.  The Angels will be there also, but I don’t think Mike Trout will be able to carry that team by himself.  You would look to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton but I wouldn’t trust it.

AL Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays

The AL East is always a dangerous division.  I’d expect Boston to continue their success after a World Series victory.  It would be great for Grady Sizemore to make the ultimate comeback, but even if he doesn’t, that lineup will be tough for any opposing pitching staff to get through.  Tampa Bay has one of the greatest managers in baseball (Joe Maddon).  He’ll change his lineup every day to get the most out of his players and sneak in to the 2nd Wild Card spot.  A healthy David Price and Evan Longoria will anchor this team, along with a full season of AL Rookie of the Year, Wil Myers  I feel like the Baltimore Orioles will be right there challenging for the last Wild Card spot, but to just fall short.

NL East: Washington Nationals

Everyone seems to believe this will be the year Bryce Harper will fulfill his potential and put up the numbers that everyone has been expecting him to.  I’m all on board.  With Harper leading the offense and one of the best pitching rotations in baseball (Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister) I’d expect this team to dominate.  Atlanta will be the 2nd strongest team in this division but like the Rangers in the AL, they’ve seen a couple of their pitchers go down to injury already.  That rotation is going to be a mess after losing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy for the season.  Ervin Santana will help, but just won’t be enough.  The offense should be good, but who knows what you’ll get with the Upton brothers.

NL Central: Cincinnati Reds

This is going to be a fun year for the Reds.  Everyone was teased with the speed of the dangerous Billy Hamilton last September.  They’re giving him the starting center fielder job and the lead off spot.  I’m excited to see what he can do.  The haters will attack his lack of ability to get on base, but they’ll be proven wrong when he gets on base and ends up at 3rd base every time.  I’m expecting an easy 100 stolen bases from him.  The pitching rotation performed as good as you can hope for last season.  I’m expecting Homer Bailey to improve on his long awaited breakout season he had last year and be a contender for the Cy Young.  Aroldis Chapman suffered a scary injury but it seems like he’ll be able to come back, and lets hope he does after a frightening injury of being hit with a line drive right in the face.

NL West: Colorado Rockies

Everyone would pick the Dodgers here, right?  Perhaps I’m just pulling for them to fail.  Puig can’t be controlled, Kemp is too big of a question mark, and how long until Hanley Ramirez gets hurt?  The starting rotation is good, but if anything happens to Clayton Kershaw they’re in a load of trouble.  Troy Tulowitzki will have a healthy season!  I swear, it’s going to happen.  A healthy Tulo and CarGo and you’ll have success.  Pitching will always be their weakness with playing half of their games at Coors Field but I’m hopeful.  We’ll see what adding former MVP Justin Morneau will lead to.  Adding anyone to play in the offensive environment of Coors Field usually lands to big things.  I figure that the Giants, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers will take each other out and the Rockies will get their shot to have a magical year.

NL Wild Cards: St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers

The St. Louis Cardinals are really good on handling their entire system.  If they lose a player, another 3 pop up from the minors to replace them.  I’m expecting a really close battle between the Reds and Cardinals with the Reds getting the slight edge.  The Cardinals will have a more than good enough record to make it in the playoffs on a Wild Card spot.  As mentioned in the previous blog, I really like the Brewers chances in competing this season.  I’ve gushed about the offense already.  After signing Matt Garza I liked this rotation a lot more.  If he can stay healthy, I’d expect to see nice results.  Yovani Gallardo will have a bounce back year.  Kyle Lohse will get to start the season on time after signing late last offseason and put up 2012 numbers.  Marco Estrada will have a breakout year and impress a lot of people.  Wily Peralta will capitalize on his rookie campaign.  The bullpen will perform effectively and will have an all-star closer in Jim Henderson.  Of course, any of these things not happening will hurt the Brewers in a big way which is why I have them as the 2nd Wild Card team.  Without being a homer, I’d expect the Brewers to be a winning team and be a threat in the playoffs.

I’ll be getting my first bit of a real baseball game on Friday between the Royals and Brewers.  It might be an exhibition game, but it will have to do.

 

Tristan Wischer

First Inning

Welcome to the first blog post for The Wisch List.  I’ve been an avid baseball fan for many years and this will be my forum for any related thoughts when it comes to baseball.  I’m from Milwaukee so therefore my favorite team is the Brewers, however I’m a fan of MLB as a whole.  I’ll give you my thoughts and discuss any popular trending news in baseball.

The MLB season has started with a couple games in Australia.  The season will  start stateside on Sunday with Sunday night baseball between he Dodgers and Padres.  The official opening day will be Monday.

Opening day is one of my favorite days of the year.  It’s a form of tradition I can really appreciate.  It truly is a happy celebration marking the return of another exciting season of baseball.  It really should be marked as a national holiday.  I’m ready to get the grill fired up and get some warm weather our way.

I’m a huge Brewers fan, but I’m also a realist.  Best case scenario, they’ll be a wild card team.  That pitching staff just isn’t dominant to be considered a front runner to win the division.  I love the offense and that’s going to keep them competitive.  Braun is returning from his PED suspension and I’d expect him to return to his typical stat line.  Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura should continue to expand on their breakout seasons.  Lucroy is solid.  Aramis Ramirez will hopefully be healthy enough to contribute for an entire season.  Khris (Krush) Davis is looking to have a monster year after hints last season of being a big time power threat.  1st base was terrible last season.  I have confidence in Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay being productive enough to not have that position be a liability.  Like I said, they should be more than fine offensively.

I love to go on road trips to see the Brewers.  Throughout the years, I’ve seen them in Minneapolis, Chicago (only south side so far), Cincinnati, St. Louis, Washington DC, San Diego, New York (Mets), and Seattle.  I’ll still see other stadiums even if the Brewers aren’t playing.  I’m able to add Atlanta and New York (old and new Yankee stadium, and Shea Stadium) to that list.  This year I’ll see the Brewers in Boston, Chicago (Wrigley), and hopefully Pittsburgh.

I’ve always enjoyed baseball video games my entire life.  I started with R.B.I. Baseball on NES.  I can still recall using Bret Saberhagen as my pitcher.  I couldn’t even begin to explain why that was.  The next big franchise I would play would be Ken Griffey Jr. MLB Baseball for Super Nintendo.  I was about 9 but I still remember being so deep in to that game that I would keep standings for the team I was playing with.  From there it was a bit of a gap until Triple Play Baseball.  I always played with the Montreal Expos.  Again, another unexplained quirk of my youth.  From there I saw a big black hole for baseball video games.  I attempted to play 2k sport’s MLB 2k franchise.  I bought that game for years but never really enjoyed playing it.  I finally found a new love for baseball video games when I finally got a PS3 and played MLB 13: The Show.  For the time, it was perfect.  All of that is changing after seeing what they’re coming out with this year when MLB 14: The Show comes out.  The amount of detail they’ll be able to do on a PS4 will be unreal.

For almost the last 10 years I’ve been incredibly heavy in to fantasy baseball.  I’ve been in the same keeper league and have been able to get some really great friendships out of it.  I’ve been so much more aware of player personnel and I would say fantasy baseball helped with that.

Let’s end this first blog with some predictions, even though we’re technically 2 games in to the season.

AL East: New York Yankees

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: Oakland Athletics

AL Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays

 

NL East: Washington Nationals

NL Central: Cincinnati Reds

NL West: Colorado Rockies

NL Wild Cards: St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers

 

That’s all for now.  I’ll dive in on why I made these picks with the next post.

 

Tristan Wischer