What Every MLB Team's Most Optimistic Fans Are Saying Right Now
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Some of Major League Baseball’s biggest fans aren’t shy about expressing their opinions, no matter how crazy they might be at times.
So, in this article, instead of ranting about what I think the entire time, I’ve collected a series of thoughts from Twitter and the comments section here at Bleacher Report to see what you, the fan, have been saying about your favorite team.
But don’t think that you’re off the hook just yet. After showing what some fans think, I’m going to throw my two cents into the conversation, analyzing whether the fan is right, wrong, insane or just hopeful.
Let’s not waste any more time and jump right into what fans are talking about.
*All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts.
What They’re Saying: O’s Back in October
I recently wrote an article depicting what has gone wrong with Baltimore’s once-dominant bullpen. Commenter Daniel Forte chimed in on the Orioles’ chances of making the postseason:
The Orioles will be in the postseason. You can bank on it. The main reason will be the pitching depth they have throughout the organization. The starting pitching is becoming very solid, and they’ll fix the bullpen problems. They are perhaps the most potent offense in the game.
My Thoughts: Possible, But Needs Work
The Orioles have played fine through the first chunk of the season, and they’re very much in the playoff race. But if Baltimore wants to lock up a spot in the postseason, some work has to be done.
Yes, the starting rotation has been getting better, but Baltimore can’t put too much pressure on Kevin Gausman just yet. Baltimore should really trade for a legitimate No. 1 pitcher and could decide to closer to the July 31 deadline.
The offense is very good, but it’s up for debate as to whether it can carry the team into the postseason, especially if the rotation is just so-so and the bullpen doesn’t get any better. There are some questions that need to be answered before we “bank” on anything.
Boston Red Sox
What They’re Saying: Cy Buchholz
At what point do we just start calling Clay Buchholz "Cy"? #RedSox— Chris Hallenbrook (@CHallenbrook) May 23, 2013
My Thoughts: If He Stays Healthy…
There’s been a lot to like from Clay Buchholz this season, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to let up anytime soon. He’s 7-0 through 10 starts with a 1.73 ERA in 72.2 innings of work. But is he Cy Young material?
Through this point in the year, I’d go with yes. But the only way he’ll be in the running for the award given to the top pitcher is if he stays healthy, which by no means is a guarantee.
Buchholz was recently scratched from a start due to irritation in his collarbone area, according to MLB.com. He is, however, expected to take the mound on Friday after a few days of rest, according to The Boston Globe. As long as this doesn’t develop into a nagging issue, Buchholz could certainly earn his fair share of Cy Young votes.
New York Yankees
What They’re Saying: Bronx Bombers Will Be Fine
B/R’s Kenny DeJohn recently wrote an article asking whether the Yankees can win if CC Sabathia isn’t at his best throughout the rest of the season. Commenter Lee Kelley had this to say on the matter:
We’ll be fine. This stretch won’t continue like AJ [Burnett’s] did. Guys like Grandy, Tex, Pettitte, and Youkilis should be back relatively soon and couple that with CC getting back to at least decent form and we should be alright.
My Thoughts: One Would Assume So
The Yankees have played extremely well considering how many key players have been sidelined with various injuries this season. But Sabathia hasn’t been his usual self. Through 11 starts, he’s 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 72.2 innings of work.
But as Kelley mentions, a lot of New York’s talent is going to be returning to the team relatively soon—within the next month or so, I’d say. One would assume that once the Yankees get their “regulars” back, they’d start playing even better.
The Yankees have a very well-rounded team where if one player struggles, he isn’t going to ruin the entire season. Whether Sabathia goes undefeated the rest of the year—which would obviously help New York’s playoff hopes—or doesn’t win a game, the Yankees should be just fine.
Tampa Bay Rays
What They’re Saying: Moore is a Monster
B/R’s Ethan Grant recently wrote an article that talked about what Matt Moore has done this season and how rare his accomplishments are. Here’s what commenter “Glencross Just Lost” had to say:
Look up the word boss in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Matt Moore.
My Thoughts: Yep
Matt Moore has been remarkable this season. I’m not sure if he’s actually in the dictionary—I doubt it, in all honesty—but there’s still time for Merriam-Webster to make a few changes by the time the season comes to an end.
Through 10 starts, Moore is 8-0 with a 2.21 ERA in 61 innings. For a little bit of a comparison, he went 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA in 31 starts just a year ago. He’s always showed great promise, and it finally looks like he’s ready to become an ace.
The Rays traded James Shields over the offseason, and I’d be willing to bet that some Tampa Bay fans have forgotten all about it since Moore has been so outstanding. Moore might not finish the season undefeated, but his “boss” status will likely still be intact.
Toronto Blue Jays
What They’re Saying: High Hopes for Kawasaki
Munenori Kawasaki WILL make more all star games than ichiro in his career #straighttothebank— Paul Thompson (@10plusERA) May 26, 2013
My Thoughts: Just No
Munenori Kawasaki is a funny guy, but he’s not a great baseball player. Sure, he hasn’t been in the league for very long—this is just his second season in the majors—but he’s shown that he’s not an offensive threat and is only a fair fielder.
This season, Kawasaki is hitting .238/.333/.307 with no home runs, 14 RBI and 13 runs through 38 games. His merely a replacement player who is getting playing time because Jose Reyes is still on the disabled list. Once Reyes is back, Kawasaki is probably out of a job.
Ichiro has been named to the All-Star team 10 times throughout his career. To say that Kawasaki would top him—meaning 11—is nearly impossible. As much as I love hearing Kawasaki speak about how he’s from Japan and is Japanese, he probably won’t ever play in an All-Star Game.
Chicago White Sox
What They’re Saying: Beckham’s Return Will Be Key
B/R’s Matthew Smith recently wrote about the impact that Gordon Beckham will have on the White Sox once he returns from the disabled list. Here’s what commenter Todd Thorstenson said about the topic:
No doubt, the return of Beckham should give the White Sox a boost. He will definitely improve the defense significantly, but he should actually help the offense as well, which isn’t anyone would have thought.
My Thoughts: Absolutely
Gordon Beckham has been limited to just seven games this season. Although Beckham was never much of a hitter before 2013, he was actually having a pretty good seven-game stretch.
Beckham was hitting .316/.333/.316 at the time of the injury. But his return isn’t so much about what he can do; it’s about getting Jeff Keppinger—his immediate replacement—out of the lineup as soon as possible.
Keppinger, whom the White Sox got over the winter, is hitting .211/.217/.251 with one home run and 14 RBI through 43 games this season. He currently has the lowest WAR of any position player on the White Sox, according to FanGraphs. That’s how bad he’s been. No wonder fans want Beckham back.
What They’re Saying: Is Ubaldo Back?
Well, Ubaldo Jimenez looked pretty darn good today.
— Josh Bresser (@JoshBresserBRM) May 27, 2013
My Thoughts: Unlikely, But Give It Time
Jimenez hasn’t been good at all since he was traded to the Indians just a couple of years ago. He went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA in 31 starts last season and didn’t get off to a great start this season, either.
Through 10 starts in 2013, Jimenez is 3-3 with a 5.57 ERA. The tweet, though, came after his most recent start, which was actually not bad. He went seven innings against the Reds and only allowed two earned runs.
But I don’t think that this most recent start is going to turn Jimenez’s career in Cleveland around. Sure, it was good, but he’s really only had three good starts this season. Before pitching against the Reds, he gave up six runs in four innings against the Tigers. There’s still time for him to bounce back, but it hasn’t happened yet.
What They’re Saying: Twice as Nice for Cabrera
Is it possible that Miguel Cabrera will get ANOTHER triple crown??? It sure does look like it right now... #fb
— Ryan LaRue (@PhilRyanLaRue) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: Don’t Bet Against Him
Cabrera is one of the most lethal offensive stars this game has seen in a while. He had a spectacular season a year ago, winning the AL Triple Crown—a rare feat in this day and age. He’s off to another great start. But can he win it again?
Through 50 games, Cabrera leads the majors in batting average, is hitting .373, is three home runs behind Chris Davis of the Orioles with 14 home runs and has a lead of 10 over Davis in the RBI department with 57.
While it would seem nearly impossible to win back-to-back Triple Crowns, there does seem like there’s a chance that Cabrera does it. If he stays healthy the entire year and keeps swinging the bat like he has been, there’s no reason why he couldn’t do it again.
Kansas City Royals
What They’re Saying: Gordon Deserves More Credit
Alex Gordon is so good. Most underrated player in MLB
— Mike5754 (@Mike5754) May 27, 2013
My Thoughts: Couldn’t Agree More
Gordon is easily the best player on the Royals, and Kansas City has to hope that he continues to hit well for at least the next couple of seasons. This year, he’s gotten off to another good start, which has some fans questioning why people don’t talk about him more.
Through 49 games, Gordon is hitting .333/.374/.495 with six home runs, 31 RBI and 32 runs. But while those numbers are solid, I don’t think people talk about him because there are players who are considerably better and because he plays for the Royals, which isn’t a major market in baseball.
If Gordon were putting up those types of numbers each year with, say, the Red Sox or the Rangers or the Tigers, then he’d be all the rage. But since he’s been with Kansas City his entire career, that hurts his case. He definitely deserves more credit, though.
What They’re Saying: Praise Pedro
Pedro Florimon has been a nice surprise for the @twins.
— Paul Dier (@PaulDier) May 27, 2013
My Thoughts: Can He Keep It Up?
The Twins probably had no idea what they were going to get from Florimon this season, but as Paul Dier says, he’s been surprisingly good. While he isn’t the best shortstop in baseball, he’s still young and has some good tools already.
Through 38 games this season, Florimon is hitting .255/.331/.364 with a pair of home runs, 17 RBI, 14 runs and six stolen bases. He’s not going to hit for power or much consistency, but he’s been a great defender and has pretty good speed.
Florimon, however, has never played an entire season. He has less than 100 games of experience and still has to prove himself. The Twins have a somewhat bright future—and I mean in the next five years, possibly—and Florimon has the opportunity to cement himself at shortstop for the long run.
What They’re Saying: Positive Strides
B/R’s MLB lead writer Zach Rymer recently wrote about how the new Astros president, Reid Ryan, the son of Nolan Ryan, who is the president of the Rangers, would affect the rivalry between Houston and Texas. Commenter Harvey Shearer had this to say:
They may have the worst team in baseball, but the moves they have been making the last 2-3 years have all been positive.
My Thoughts: Draft-Wise, Sure
The Astros know that they have the worst team in baseball, but they’re working toward a goal of being a strong, competitive club in the near future. They have built up their minor league system through the draft, and the future looks bright.
In the minors, Houston has Jonathan Singleton, Delino DeShields, Carlos Correa and George Spring, among others. If Jose Altuve is still around by 2015, the offense for the Astros might not be half bad. In fact, it could end up being pretty good.
The Astros also have the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming MLB draft, which should mean adding another big name to their already solid list of top prospects. No matter whom Houston decides to take at No. 1, he’s sure to become another piece of the puzzle for the Astros.
Los Angeles Angels
What They’re Saying: Trout > Cabrera for MVP
There's Miguel Cabrera... THEN THERE'S MIKE TROUT!!! MVP!
— Jesse Santangelo (@Jazzy_Sange) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: It’s Still Early
Cabrera and Trout are both having good years, but it’s still pretty early to be talking about who is going to win the MVP this year. Last season, Cabrera topped Trout despite a very good season, and he could easily do it again.
Trout, though, has the better overall game. Cabrera is just more of an offensive threat, whereas Trout plays stellar defense and has great wheels on the base paths. That’s where Trout has the advantage. But will the advantage be big enough to potentially win?
I thought that Trout should’ve won last season, but he obviously didn’t. Considering that many voters are still stuck in their old ways and won’t take things like WAR into consideration, I think it’ll be tough for Trout to top Cabrera if the MVP race is similar to that of last season.
What They’re Saying: Donaldson for MVP
Great game A's. Go Oakland! @bringerofrain20 for MVP!— Conrad White (@conradwhite23) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: No Chance
Let me preface this by saying that Donaldson has been red hot to start 2013. Through 52 games, he’s hitting .330/.404/.560 with eight home runs, 33 RBI and 28 runs while playing well defensively for Oakland.
But there’s no way he’s an MVP candidate, no matter how early in the season it is. There are so many more candidates who have a better resume than Donaldson this season, and it really isn’t even a discussion. There are probably 10 pitchers in the AL who, right now, would top him in the voting.
It’s great that he’s been surprisingly good for the A’s this season, but he shouldn’t expect any hardware to come of it. Sure, he could easily represent Oakland at the All-Star Game, but he’s still a ways away from winning the MVP.
What They’re Saying: Franklin Is Essential
I think Nick Franklin could either make or break this team.
— Blake McKinney (@shakeandblake34) May 29, 2013
My Thoughts: Probably Won’t Matter
Dustin Ackley had to go. He was horrible to start the season and hasn’t turned out to be the player that Mariners thought he would be by now. Sending him to the minors was absolutely the right decision, and calling up Nick Franklin makes things interesting.
Franklin could now become the second baseman of the future in Seattle. He has a great skill set that he’s hoping to flaunt at the big league level. But no matter how well he plays this season, I doubt his production has much of an impact on where the team finishes in the standings.
There are many more flaws that the Mariners have outside of second base that still need to be fixed. While Franklin could catch fire, I doubt that he’d be able to carry the team to a postseason berth. But, hey, crazier things have happened, right?
What They’re Saying: Darvish Has Been Unreal
Yu darvish has 105 strikeouts already.... Are you kidding me?— Jordan Baker (@jordan_baker13) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: Couldn’t Agree More
Darvish has been unbelievable this season, and it’s tough to put into words what he’s already been able to accomplish. He’s 7-2 in 11 starts with a 3.03 ERA and 105 strikeouts on the season. Let’s put into perspective how crazy that is.
The Twins’ starting rotation collectively has just 124 strikeouts this season. That means that Darvish is just 19 strikeouts away from topping an entire team’s set of starting pitchers. That’s just nuts.
Darvish has struck out at least 10 batters on five occasions this year. In three of those starts, he reached 14 strikeouts. He’s been effective with his entire repertoire of pitches and can throw each for an unhittable strike whenever he wants. He might be the best pitcher in baseball.
What They’re Saying: Gattis for ROTY
Evan Gattis for Rookie of the Year! #elosoblanco— Ben Bradford (@benbradford16) May 29, 2013
My Thoughts: Definitely a Candidate
The Braves have had the opportunity to figure out ways to keep Evan Gattis in the lineup this season, no matter who had to sit or where he had to play. And it’s worked out ridiculously well for Atlanta, who’s easily one of the best teams in baseball to this point.
Gattis has started his major league career very hot. Through 41 games, he’s hitting .271/.332/.624 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI. That’s pretty good for the first 41 games of his career. He could certainly reach 30 home runs this season if he keeps hitting like he has been.
But will Gattis end up with some hardware to put on his mantle when the season comes to an end? Right now, it’s tough to say that Gattis isn’t a candidate for Rookie of the Year. As long as he stays healthy and keeps hitting well, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be in the running.
What They’re Saying: Outfield Will Be Cool Soon
I honestly can't wait to see Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna play at the same time. This is exciting!
— Armando Velez (@Mandoman12) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: Future is Bright
The Marlins might be horrible now, and they could certainly use a new owner, but there is a bunch of great talent within the organization that is bound to make Miami a contender eventually. When that’ll be, though, I have no idea.
But what I do know is that the Marlins’ outfield is going to be very fun to watch in the coming weeks and years. Giancarlo Stanton should be back soon after straining his hamstring back in April, and once he returns, he’ll be playing alongside of Marcell Ozuna, one of the top prospects in the organization.
Within the next couple of seasons, Stanton and Ozuna will be welcoming Christian Yelich to the big leagues, which should cement Miami’s outfield as one of the best in baseball. Just be patient, Marlins fans. Help is on the way.
New York Mets
What They’re Saying: Harvey is Best in MLB
Matt Harvey is the best pitcher in the league to me
— Tony Rosa (@LickHerTweet) May 29, 2013
My Thoughts: Tough to Disagree
It’s very fun to watch Harvey pitch every fifth day for the Mets. He’s pitched incredibly well this season and will be a big part of why New York is a contender in the coming seasons. But is Harvey the best pitcher in baseball right now?
Through 11 starts, Harvey is 5-0 with a 1.85 ERA in 78 innings of work. He’s averaging close to 10 strikeouts and fewer than two walks per nine innings, which are great averages. Opponents are only hitting .170 off of him, too. Overall, he’s been phenomenal and has given Mets fans something to root for.
At this point in the season, it’s tough to argue that Harvey hasn’t been one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2013. There have been a lot of players who have turned heads with hot starts, though. It’s not easy to name just one pitcher as the best in baseball when there are so many candidates, but he’s certainly in the top five.
What They’re Saying: Lee All Day, Every Day
Solution: Have Cliff Lee pitch every game.
— Mike Monteiro (@Mike_FTW) May 29, 2013
My Thoughts: Probably Not a Good Idea…
There’s no question that Cliff Lee has been Philadelphia’s best starting pitcher this season. He’s 6-2 through 11 starts with a 2.34 ERA in 80.2 innings of work. No other Phillies starter is really even close to those numbers.
While it may seem that the Phillies are only winning when Lee is on the mound, that’s not necessarily true. Philadelphia is actually 7-4 when he starts, which is good, but not so good that he needs to be on the mound each day.
Also, it’s probably not a good idea to throw Lee every day. I’m not a doctor or anything, but something tells me that his arm will be in shambles by the end of Week 1. It’s probably best if guys like Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick ensure that Lee is only pitching every fifth day. That’s just me, though.
What They’re Saying: Strasburg Will Be Fine
To all those worried about Stephen Strasburg, his last three starts have totaled 23 IP, 3 earned runs, and 20 Ks. He's fine
— Brian Foley (@brianfoley95) May 27, 2013
My Thoughts: Indeed, He Will Be
Stephen Strasburg hasn’t looked like the exact player that we saw a year ago when he went 15-6 with a 3.16. While it isn’t reflected in his win-loss record, he’s actually been better in some aspects of the game.
Strasburg’s ERA is considerably lower than it was a year ago, and he’s walking less batters as well. Sure, he isn’t striking out nearly as many opponents as he did in 2012, but averaging close to nine strikeouts per nine innings is nothing to scoff at, either.
Wins and losses can be deceiving because they don't tell you how well a pitcher actually did. Strasburg can allow one run and lose, or he can allow 10 runs and lose. It still only accounts for one loss, though. That’s why looking at ERA is much better, as it shows how well Strasburg actually has been in 2013.
What They’re Saying: Happy to Have Rizzo
1B Anthony Rizzo is a Stud guy can hit the ball. Pumped he's gonna be a Cub for the next several years
— Cameron Chaloux (@cam_chaloux) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: Who Wouldn’t?
Cubs fans don’t have much to root for this season, as it currently seems unlikely that Chicago will be making the postseason. But at least the Cubs have Anthony Rizzo, who continues to improve and should be in a Chicago uniform for many, many years to come.
Through 50 games this season, Rizzo is hitting .263/.324/.505 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI. The most games he’s ever played in a season is 87, coming last season, but he’s still close to setting a couple new career highs this year. He’s just five home runs short of his career high and 13 RBI short, too.
While Starlin Castro is a good, young player, the Cubs are building around Rizzo. He makes less than $500,000 this season, will make $1.25 million next year and then $5 million in 2015 and 2016. After that, he’ll make $7 million in each of the next two years, and the Cubs have a pair of $14.5 million options on him after that. A bargain, if you ask me.
What They’re Saying: MVP is Votto’s to Lose
My Thoughts: Wouldn’t Go That Far
There’s no questioning that Joey Votto is one of the top overall players in baseball. He’s off to another good start this season, which should come as a surprise to no one. He’s hitting .354/.477/.554 with nine home runs, 26 RBI and 43 runs through 52 games.
But I don’t think that Votto is the leading MVP candidate just yet. He’s had a great season so far, but there are a number of other candidates who will give him a run for his money by the time the season comes to an end.
For example, Bryce Harper is having a good year and will definitely be in the running for NL MVP. The same can be said for guys such as Justin Upton and maybe even Matt Harvey. While I’m not doubting that Votto could win his second career MVP award, I just don’t think that it’s his to lose right now.
What They’re Saying: Extend Segura
My Thoughts: Sounds Like a Good Idea
It finally appears that the Zack Greinke trade is working out for the Brewers, as Jean Segura has been on fire this season and looks to be quite the stud. Through 49 games, he’s hitting .365/.400/.569 with eight home runs, 22 RBI, 30 runs and 14 stolen bases.
Those types of numbers usually generate some buzz about a contract extension. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported a little over a week ago that the Brewers have offered Segura a long-term deal, but no extension has been accepted just yet.
While the Brewers have yet to be successful in extending Segura, it’s good that they’re at least trying to. If Segura doesn’t want to stay in Milwaukee for the next big portion of his career, then fine. But it wouldn’t be Milwaukee’s fault for not making it happen.
What They’re Saying: Marte Is Bound for Stardom
Starling Marte is the next big thing
— Mitch Renda (@Mitch_Renda_18) May 26, 2013
My Thoughts: Seems So
It appears that the Pirates now have two fantastic players in their outfield. Andrew McCutchen is already a star, and Starling Marte is quickly developing into one as well. He’s hitting .297/.359/.450 with five home runs, 18 RBI, 36 runs and 13 stolen bases through 50 games.
Marte had always been one of the top prospects in baseball before making his debut a year ago, but he’s showing that he’s capable of staying on a major league roster and also can play a great, well-rounded game for a Pirates team that needs additional talent.
The Pirates have yet to prove themselves in the playoffs in recent memory, but with Marte and McCutchen in the outfield, there shouldn’t be any issues making it to the postseason in the years to come. It’s not too early to say that Marte is bound for stardom.
St. Louis Cardinals
What They’re Saying: Miller Good, Kozma the Best
The Cardinals are so good. Pete Kozma is the best and Shelby Miller is a dreamboat.
— based zabs (@DonutEater4Life) May 25, 2013
My Thoughts: Yes and No
The Cardinals have been great in 2013 thus far, and that’s primarily because some individuals have been playing out of their minds. Shelby Miller and Pete Kozma are two of those players, but are both of them going to be great for a while or just a short stretch?
Miller is going to be an ace in this league. He’s 5-3 through 10 starts with a 2.02 ERA across 62.1 innings of work. He’s shown great command of all of his pitches and has Cy Young-worthy stuff. He’s striking out more than a batter an inning while limiting his walks as well.
While Kozma has been good too, I doubt he’s going to be a mainstay in St. Louis for as long as Miller will. He’s hitting .276/.335/.344 with a home run, 21 RBI and 19 runs through 49 games, playing in place of Rafael Furcal. I’m not sure what he’s the best at, though. I don’t even think he’s the best shortstop on the 40-man roster.
What They’re Saying: Corbin Is Awesome
Patrick Corbin=great pitcher— ConnorRoberts (@C_ROB_33) May 29, 2013
My Thoughts: So Far, So Good
It would be tough to argue against the opinion that Patrick Corbin has been dominant on the mound this season. While still in just his second year in the big leagues, he looks like a seasoned veteran who has won several Cy Young awards.
In 10 starts in 2013, Corbin is 8-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 68.1 innings. He’s averaging 7.4 strikeouts and 2.6 walks per nine innings, which is more than respectable for a 23-year-old pitching in the big leagues.
The Diamondbacks look like contenders at this point in the season, and if they’re going to make the playoffs, it’ll likely be on the back of Corbin. Arizona has a very special pitcher on its hands, and everything is looking great so far. Let’s hope that he’s able to keep up the good work.
What They’re Saying: Hoping for the Playoffs
My Thoughts: Don’t Count On It
I’ll admit that I didn’t think that the Rockies would be this close to the front of the NL West through the first 50 or so games of the season. They are still somewhat in the hunt and could potentially be contenders by the time the All-Star break rolls around.
But I wouldn’t count on Colorado making the postseason. While many players have exceeded expectations thus far, I don’t think there’s enough gas in the tank to play well all season long. The NL West is a tough division to play in, and it’s going to be a tight race this year.
There are four legitimate teams in the division this year, including the Rockies, in my opinion. But the chances that both wild-card teams come from the NL West are slim. I doubt that the Rockies can finish in second place, and even if they do, it’s unlikely that they make it into October.
Los Angeles Dodgers
What They’re Saying: Forget Wins and Losses
Wins/loss record is such a useless stat in evaluating a pitcher. Clayton Kershaw has a whip of .87 and an ERA of 1.68 and is 5-3.
— Dustin Rivera (@dustinjrivera) May 28, 2013
My Thoughts: Smart Guy
I talked about wins and losses briefly earlier in this article, but Clayton Kershaw’s year is a great reason to bring it up again. Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, but his win-loss record shows that he’s not even close.
Kershaw is 5-3 on the year through 11 starts. Just five wins in 11 starts? That’s not even half! Who cares? The left-hander’s ERA is at 1.68 through 80.1 innings. That shows that he’s considerably better than his record. He could lose 1-0 or 2-1 each game, but that doesn’t make him a bad pitcher.
Kershaw is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and is constantly striking batter after batter out without walking many. This year, he’s averaging 8.6 strikeouts and 2.4 walks per nine innings. If you couldn’t see his win-loss record—or if it didn’t exist—you’d agree that he’s great. No one cares if he’s 5-3.
San Diego Padres
What They’re Saying: The More Headleys, the Better
Can we clone Chase Headley
— John(@Friar_Faithful) May 17, 2013
My Thoughts: Nice Try, But No
Chase Headley is pretty much the only thing that the Padres have. Sure, they have a couple of fine players, but he’s the only true star on the roster. But I don’t think science or technology is at the point where we can clone people yet. I could be wrong.
Headley is an outstanding defensive third baseman, but his offensive is lacking this year. He’s hitting just .259/.365/.415 with four home runs and 15 RBI through 37 games in 2013. He was injured to start the year, but now that he’s healthy, he should be more productive than he has been.
But maybe fans want to clone him because they think that if they do, the cloned Headley will have a different contract. I doubt that Headley sticks with San Diego past this season no matter how much money it throws at him. Padres fans better root for him while they still can because he’ll be gone this time in 2014.
San Francisco Giants
What They’re Saying: Posey Will Be Best C Ever
Buster Posey will be the best catcher to ever play the game
— Maxwell Branman(@MaxTheChosen1) May 26, 2013
My Thoughts: Let’s Not Rule It Out Yet
Buster Posey is a rare talent. He’s done an outstanding job behind the plate for the Giants the last couple of years and is definitely one of the best players in the game. But will he end his career as the best catcher to ever take the field?
Hmm. It appears that Posey is on the right track for now, but he’s still a long ways away from getting that title. There are a lot of great catchers ahead of him at the moment such as Johnny Bench, Gary Cater, Mike Piazza and Yogi Better, among others.
Posey won the Rookie of the Year back in 2010 and won his first—of what could be many—MVPs a year ago. If he continues to play at the level he’s played at throughout his young career, he could certainly be in the conversation by the time it’s 2020. Then again, he has to stay healthy, and San Francisco could always swap him out from behind the plate to preserve his career.