Cleat Geeks

Baltimore Bird Feed; Contend Or Frustration in 2018?

For many Orioles fans, this has been a painful year plus. With a fizzle to the end of 2017 to a relatively dormant off-season from Front Office, many were left to wonder what the future would hold?

In the last few weeks and months, there have been some signs of “improvement.” The recent addition of Alex Cobb was a pivotal move in a rotation that desperately needs help. If he can muster 12-13 wins, that could be the difference between contention and frustration.

Image result for alex cobb

Photo by;

There are many bright spots on this team, some short term and some potentially long term. The addition of Andrew Cashner certainly bolsters the rotation, though contrarians question his true value. Gausman and Bundy need to keep progressing and Tillman simply needs to return to form. If all that happens, this staff will keep the team competitive!

On the offensive side, Beckham gave the team a spark last season and is a dynamic talent, when in prime form. Schoop is one of the best at his position, Machado is obviously a marquee talent and will likely end his tenure this season in Baltimore. Mancini, Jones, Trumbo, Davis, the addition of Rasmus (although Walker would have been my choice) and others make for a solid line-up.

We are in a division that added both Stanton (NYY) and Martinez (Red Sox) and those teams continue with solid pitching. So, factoring in the changes these teams made, can The Orioles compete?

I will say this. I have doubted the Orioles for three straight seasons. I will not do that in 2018.


We’ll talk next week. Until then, Go O’s!


Will Zack Godley Be The D-backs Opening Day Starter?

With ace Zach Greinke unavailable for Opening Day next Thursday, most have speculated that next in line, 26-year-old, Robbie Ray would be the obvious choice to take the ball for the Arizona Diamondbacks in place of the 34-year-old, aging ace, Greinke. Not so fast.

Considering the fact that Robbie threw yesterday, his normal schedule (one more spring training start on Sunday) would line him up to start next Friday, the second game of the season for the D’backs. This was all but confirmed by manager Torey Lovullo after Ray’s start yesterday:

In that case Zack Godley – Who set career high’s in innings pitched, wins, whip, k/9, WAR and so on – would be on regular rest and the next most obvious choice to start Opening Day. With a week to go before the start of the Major League season, I project the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks to be Godley, Ray, Grienke, Patrick Corbin and Taijuan Walker.

It also is worth noting that the baseball schedule is different this year. Most west coast teams have an opening day, a day off, then they complete the first 3 game series of the season. MLB does this in case their opening day gets rained or possibly snowed out. Then, it is relatively easy for the team and MLB to simply push the opening day back a day. But, the Diamondbacks are the only west coast team that does not have to worry about that. It does not snow in Arizona unless you go to the higher elevations, very rarely rains in Phoenix, and even if one of them does happen Chase Field has a roof. But, that means the opening week schedule for the Diamondbacks is sort of weird, yet that may be a blessing for them at the same time.

Image result for chase field

Photo by; Wikipedia

The baseball season for the Diamondbacks starts on Thursday March 29th. They play the Colorado Rockies Thursday, Friday and Saturday then have Sunday off (which just happens to be Easter Sunday). Monday starts the second series of the season, also at Chase Field when the Dodgers come to town on Monday and Tuesday nights and Wednesday afternoon. They then subsequently make their first road trip of the year to St. Louis and Bush Stadium for the Cardinal’s home opener. And for the same reasons as explained above they play on that Thursday, have Friday off then round out that series on Saturday and Sunday. To project the schedule even further, they play Saturday and Sunday both day games, play two night games and another day game in San Francisco, then another day off, after-which they start a weekend series in Los Angeles with another day off before opening a six game home stand. Why mention all of this as it relates to pitching? Technically, the Diamondbacks could use a four man rotation and not need Greinke until they return home on the 17th of April, 19 days into the season.

Royally Yours: Opening Day Preview

Opening day is less than two weeks away and the Royals 2018 roster is starting to come together. Danny Duffy was named the opening day starter against the Chicago White Sox. Last season the Royals lost the opening day match-up to the Minnesota Twins 7-1. Duffy was the opening day starter last season and received a no-decision in the game. Last season Duffy had an ERA of 3.81 and a record of 9-10.

Image result for danny duffy

Photo by; KMBC-TV

The Royals will face their former pitcher James Shields on opening day. Shields was a member of the Royals from 2013-2014. He was the Royals ace during the 2014 postseason run. He started two games in the World Series and lost both starts. Last season Shields had an ERA of 5.23 and a record of 5-7.


The infield has taken shape with the signings of Lucas Duda and Mike Moustakas. Duda should be the primary first basemen for the Royals to start the season. Whit Merrifield will make his first opening day start at second base. Alcides Escobar will likely start at shortstop but could be pressured by Adalberto Mondesi as the season progresses. Moustakas will return to play third base for the seventh year in a row. The Royals have a lot of experience in the infield but the lineup could change if younger prospects play well in the minor leagues.

Image result for lucas duda royals

Photo by; USA Today

Alex Gordon, Jon Jay and Jorge Soler should be the Royals starters in the outfield. Jorge Bonifacio should make an impact later in the season after he serves his 80-game suspension for a positive PED test. Gordon is the only permanent starter returning to the outfield. Soler played in 35 games but was eventually overtaken by Bonifacio. Jay played in 141 games with the Chicago Cubs. The Royals outfield does not have a lot of experience working together but they should play better as the season goes on.

Image result for Jon Jay royals

Photo by; The Athletic

The Royals are 3-7 over the last 10 seasons on opening day. They have had eight different opening day starters during that period. Duffy will be the 11th Royal to start opening day in consecutive years. James Shields was the last Royal to do it from 2013-2014. The Royals have played the White Sox eight times on opening day. They have a win-loss record of 4-4. Their last opening day match-up was in 2015 when the Royals won 10-1. Opening day is an important time for the Royals to figure out the foundation of their team for the 2018 season.

MLB: Best Hitters of Each Decade

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols might be the best right-handed hitter ever. It’s hard to prove, but very possible. Unfortunately, there’s just nothing productive to be done with such a debate. In that contest, Pujols would square off (primarily) with Hank Aaron, Rogers Hornsby and Jimmie Foxx.
Those players could not all be more dissimilar, but not only in their approaches or the composition of their numbers. If it were that easy, one could safely choose the one over the others. However, each man played in such different eras that no direct comparison is possible.
Pujols’ prime came in an offense-friendly era, one of the best ever. Aaron played through three distinct phases of the historical run-scoring cycle. Hornsby dominated the National League in the 1920s unlike any player has ever dominated any league, but by general acclaim, they were weak opponents upon whom he trod.
Image result for baseball wallpaperAaron had to deal directly with scrutiny based on the color of his skin, playing (as he did) shortly after baseball became an integrated game. Hornsby never had to face an African-American pitcher, but also never got to play regular night games.
Comparisons across eras in baseball call into question variables utterly impossible to quantify. Lining up the best hitters of all-time is an exercise in vapid punditry, and no one needs it.
It is possible, though, to figure out who were the best batters on individual eras, to find the proper order in which to place (say) Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez and John Olerud, because those men performed under the same basic conditions and against essentially the same competition as one another.
That’s the exercise in which we now partake. Here are the three best hitters of each decade of MLB history from the 1900s- the 2000s.

The 1900s: Ancient Times

The first decade of the 20th century was not terribly different from the last decade of the 19th, as far as hitters were concerned. The bats they swung still seemed big as railroad ties, so home runs were very few and far between.
Only those fielders confident enough to withstand jeers about their manhood wore gloves remotely akin to those in use today. Overflow spectators often took in games from behind rope lines in the deepest reaches of the outfield.
In that environment, coordinated athletes won the day. Pure hitters who made superb contact thrived, so long as they didn’t dully chop the ball. Speed was also key. For those reasons, the defensive positions we now consider premium were also (in those days) the most critical offensive slots.

3. Sam Crawford

Decade Stats: .307/.355/.447, 1,677 hits, 390 walks, 362 strikeouts, two home-run titles, two triples and one doubles title, 146 OPS+

A Few Words: Crawford was as steady as could be found in the 1900s, a right fielder mostly who hit for power (relative to his time) and could run. He would go on to lead the league four more times in triples during the 1910s, and finished with 309. That remains the career record, and is unlikely to be threatened for years.

2. Nap Lajoie

Decade Stats: .346/.388/.487, 164 OPS+, four batting titles, three OPS+ titles, three doubles titles

A Few Words: The above does not even tell the full story of Lajoie’s dominance. He played mostly second base, shortstop and first base. In 1901, he hit .426/.463/.643, and led the league in all three categories. He would repeat that feat in 1904. In 1901, he also led the league in home runs, runs scored, doubles, RBI, hits, total bases and adjusted OPS+.

Image result for honus wagner

1. Honus Wagner

Decade Stats: .352/.417/.508, 487 stolen bases, 372 doubles, 175 OPS+

A Few Words: Eternally famous because of a baseball card, Wagner lives most vibrantly in the minds of those who wish they had been alive to see him dominate as the league’s best hitter and a stellar defensive shortstop. He led the league in batting seven times out of 10 seasons, the same number in which he led in doubles. He won four of the rate-stat Triple Crowns of which Lajoie won two.

The 1910s: Ball’s Dead, Party’s over

In retrospect, it wasn’t high technology, but advances certainly came for defenders after 1910. Gloves developed much faster than bats or balls, so although great hitters still found ways to dominate, run scoring absolutely plummeted.
President William Howard Taft inadvertently gave rise to the seventh-inning stretch during the Dead Ball Era, which leads one to wonder whether Taft (if alive today) would be among those insufferable baseball pseudo-fans who consider that “nothing happens” unless one team manages at least six runs.

3. Shoeless Joe Jackson

Decade Stats: .354/.422/.510, 454 walks, 206 strikeouts, 170 OPS+, two triples titles, one OBP title, one slugging title, one OPS title

A Few Words: Perhaps no historical ballplayer’s story is more familiar. Jackson went down with the ship in the Black Sox scandal of 1919-20, but prior thereto (and even in his final year before being banned for life, 1920) he was one of the best hitters in baseball history to that point. His batting average stands third-best ever.

2. Tris Speaker

Decade Stats: .344/.428/.485, 166 OPS+, 367 doubles, 702 walks, 227 strikeouts, four doubles titles

A Few Words: The presence of the man who looms next on the list kept Speaker from leading his league as often as he otherwise might have done, but in 1916, he hit .386/.470/.502, leading the league in each category. He won the 1912 MVP award after leading the league in doubles, home runs and on-base percentage.

Image result for ty cobb baseball

Photo by; Detroit Athletic

1. Ty Cobb

Decade Stats: .387/.457/.541, 192 OPS+, eight batting titles, six on-base titles, five slugging titles, eight OPS+ titles

A Few Words: Cobb’s sheer dominance is remarkable. He performed sensationally in literally every possible aspect of offense. He was both an elite base-stealer and an elite power hitter. He both hit for average and drew walks. He seemed capable of making opponents wither in his sight.

The 1920s: Ruth Roars, Runs Rise

Babe Ruth’s timing was impeccable. He converted from primary pitching duties to full-time outfield work just as the game turned as hitter-friendly as it had ever been, and then some. Part of Ruth’s mystique has always been that he achieved 10 and 20 times more than players had before, and he did, but take note of the way the game swung and allowed him the chance to do so.

3. Harry Heilmann

Decade Stats: .364/.433/.558, 156 OPS+, 397 doubles, four batting titles

A Few Words: In all four of his league-leading seasons, Heilmann hit north of .390. He fell just 76 hits shy of 2,000 for the decade, playing mostly right field, and exclusively for the Detroit Tigers. They called him ‘Slug,’ because he was big and strong (for that era) and played a more muscular sort of game than most in baseball at the time.

2. Rogers Hornsby

Decade Stats: .382/.460/.637, 250 home runs, 405 doubles, 2,085 hits, 1,195 runs, seven batting titles, eight OBP titles, eight slugging titles, nine OPS+ titles

A Few Words: In October, 1871, Peshtigo, Wisc. bore the brunt of a firestorm started by small blazes and high, cold winds. Over 1,500 people died, making it the most deadly fire-related disaster in United States history, by a landslide. On the same day, Chicago burned. Few remember the Peshtigo Fire.
Fifty years later, baseball made its answer to Chicago and Peshtigo. While Babe Ruth so thoroughly dominated the American League as to capture the very imagination of the nation, Rogers Hornsby carved out a clear case as the more dominant player in his league. He simply couldn’t measure up to Ruth’s fame, as Ruth did his damage in a more alluring way, and did it in New York.
From 1920 through 1925, no player other than Hornsby led the National League in batting average, on-base percentage or slugging average. His cumulative line for that stretch was .397/.467/.666. He dominated every phase of offensive baseball in a way not even Ruth really matched, though certainly, Ruth was ultimately the better batter.

Image result for babe ruth baseball

Photo by; CBS Boston

1. Babe Ruth
Decade Stats: .355/.488/.740, 467 home runs, six on-base titles, nine slugging titles, nine OPS+ titles, eight home-run titles

A Few Words: Ruth joined the Yankees in 1920, gave up pitching nearly for good and became immediately the most dominant player of his generation. He eclipsed a .500 OBP four times in the 1920s alone. He was all about personality, charisma and carousal, of course, but the story in his stats is salacious enough.

The 1930s: Ruth Passes the Torch

In the 1920s, Babe Ruth defined baseball. He also meshed neatly into the fabric of a society run wild and cutting loose. When the decade ended in financial disaster and Ruth began to decline, the country needed a baseball star who could better meet the eye of the common man. Players drew admiration once again for that which they overcame en route to their success, not only for being rich, famous and successful. Before the decade was over, the whole league would learn to love a man who had happily labored without rest in Ruth’s shadow for five or six years before he got his due.

3. Joe Medwick

Decade Stats: .338/.374/.552, 145 OPS+, three RBI and doubles titles (1936-38)

A Few Words: Best remembered as the last NL player to win the standard Triple Crown, Medwick burned bright and hot during a brief peak in the late 1930s. He had an astounding 64 doubles in 1936, then won the Triple Crown in 1937 with a league-leading 180 OPS+. In total, he averaged 44 doubles per year for his 17-year career.

2. Lou Gehrig

Decade Stats: .343/.453/.638, 347 home runs, 180 OPS+, three home-run titles, four on-base titles, three OPS+ titles

A Few Words: Gehrig became a legend through his remarkable comportment as his health deteriorated, and (in stark contrast with Ruth) for his earnest effort to show up every day in better shape and more ready to play than he had been the day before. He ought also to be remembered, though, for his amazing athleticism and baseball skill. He won the Triple Crown in 1934, and also led the league in OBP and slugging. On two occasions, he scored more than 160 runs in a single year.

Image result for jimmie foxx baseball

Photo by; The Sports Post

1. Jimmie Foxx

Decade Stats: .336/.440/.652, 415 home runs, two batting titles, two on-base titles, five slugging titles, five OPS+ titles, 173 OPS+, four home-run titles

A Few Words: Foxx was neither an athlete in a league with Gehrig nor a pure talent the likes of Ruth, but blended the two aspects of baseball prowess as well as either Yankees icon. His occasional willingness to trade a strikeout or two for walks was well ahead of its time, but nonetheless, Foxx won three MVP awards during the decade.

The 1940s: War Baseball

World War II pulled the United States from its deep economic depression largely because the entire nation invested and involved itself in the war on some level. Baseball marched on, pursuant to Presidential request, but many players spent large chunks of the decade abroad, serving the country. Another reason not to compare players across eras is the inability to account for the 2,000 prime plate appearances Ted Williams gave to his country, or the 1,800 Joe DiMaggio gave, or the 700 Stan Musial gave.

3. Joe DiMaggio

Decade Stats: .3256/.404/.568, 162 OPS+, 180 home runs, two MVP awards

A Few Words: DiMaggio’s loss of service time due to actual service time hurt even worse than Williams’, in a sense, because DiMaggio was never an especially healthy player, and the games he lost (though he must be projected to have lost fewer, in total) represented a larger slice of his career. His hitting streak in 1941, though, captivated the country like no player had done since Ruth chased down 60 home runs in a season.

2. Stan Musial

Image result for stan musial

Photo by; Missourinet

Decade Stats: .346/.428/.578, 172 OPS+, 302 doubles, four OBP titles, four slugging titles, four OPS+ titles, three batting titles, four triples titles, five doubles titles

A Few Words: Musial lost the least time to the war of any of the decade’s superstars, mostly because he was not initially approved as a draftee. He never played as though he had any physical restriction, though, simultaneously leading the league in doubles and triples four times. Consistency and preparation made up for any lack of athleticism Musial might have had.

1. Ted Williams

Decade Stats: .356/.496/.647, 234 home runs, 994 walks, 312 strikeouts, 200 OPS+, seven OBP titles, six slugging titles, six OPS+ titles, four batting titles, four home-run titles, two MVP awards

A Few Words: Again, Williams gave away what (historically and statistically) ought to have been his very best years in order to fight in World War II. From 1941-48, his OBP never dipped below .497, though of course, he missed three of those campaigns. Other than 1940, his sophomore season and first as a regular, Williams was the best hitter (by far and away) in baseball every season he played during the decade.

The 1950s: More War, and a New Era

As the 1940s became the 1950s, things got hairy again. While the United States’ citizenry insisted on settling into a normal rhythm and transitioning to new, suburban life, the government sent more troops away to war, this time in Korea. Williams gave more time up to serve; he was joined this time by the likes of Willie Mays and others.
Therein was another, more welcome change. African-Americans flowed into the league fairly freely after about 1951, and for the following 25 years, they would largely outperform their white counterparts. Still, thanks to the longevity of two true greats, the 1950s’ top three hitters remained (narrowly) and all-white club. Hank Aaron, Mays, Ernie Banks and Roy Campanella all were magnificent, but as of the end of the decade, none had yet entered this strata from a purely offensive perspective. Still, change was afoot, and good change it was.

3. Stan Musial

Decade Stats: .330/.421/.568, 160 OPS+, four batting titles, two OBP titles, two OPS+ titles, two slugging titles, three doubles titles

A Few Words: Musial became a legend in the 1940s, but an icon, and an ambassador for the game in the 1950s. For each of the first three years of the new decade, Musial led the league in batting average. Then, as age made him a bit less able to leg out hits and turn doubles to triples, he led the league in walks in 1953. Alas, if Musial had been a bit slower, he might have turned some 68 of his 177 career triples into doubles, and would hold the career doubles record as a result.

2. Mickey Mantle

Decade Stats: .311/.425/.569, 172+ OPS, 280 home runs, four OPS+ titles, three walks titles, three home-run titles, two MVP awards

A Few Words: Almost from the first time Mantle stepped onto an MLB field, he was the best player there. He had no equal anywhere in the league when he was healthy, from his debut in 1951 until his retirement. He frequently struggled to stay healthy, but was by far the most polished and gifted baseball player of his era. He drew tons of walks despite not being the sort of genius at the bat that other players of his time worked hard to become. Pitchers simply feared him too much to throw many strikes.

1. Ted Williams

Related image

Decade Stats: .336/.476/.622, 227 home runs, 184 OPS+, three OPS+ titles, five OBP titles, three slugging titles, two batting titles

A Few Words: Injuries and a second tour of military duty slowly zapped Williams of his gift, and made it hard for him to stay on the field at times. He still walked three times as often as he struck out, though, and still got on base roughly 48 percent of the time. His elevation over the heads of other hitters was dizzying. He earned three MVP awards in the 1950s, but received none. He also earned five in the 1940s, winning just twice. Hell hath no fury like a sportswriter disdained.

The 1960s: Power Up

Whereas all previous great hitters had been tremendous batters for average and/or on-base skills, the 1960s (in a fairly appropriate nod to the more vulgar, manic trends of popular culture at the time) saw the rise of the true power hitters. These were neither precise classical musicians (like Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx) nor jazz singers (like Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Tris Speaker). These men played rock-and-roll.
They may not have swung for the fences, per se, but they had little interest in singles. League-wide batting average fell from a local maximum of .266 in 1950 to .258 in 1961, but home runs per game rose from 0.84 to 0.95 in that span. Among the elite sluggers, it was even more noticeable: Contact remained important, but unlike Williams and Musial, this new breed of slugger wanted to mash the ball, and did not mind swinging and missing every now and then. Roger Maris briefly became their poster boy, but he faded quickly after 1961.
Of course, the downward bend of offense after about 1964 makes it hard to measure who did best and win in the 1960s, but to be sure, Mays deserves a second straight honorable mention despite missing this list.

3. Mickey Mantle

Decade Stats: .282/.415/.542, 171 OPS+, 256 home runs, two OBP titles, two slugging titles, four OPS+ titles

A Few Words: Mantle simply dominated the league until he could no longer stay on the field. Injuries beyond his control and wear and tear perfectly within it tore him apart, but even as he broke down, he put up better numbers than even most elite hitters could have hoped to have put up at their best. His patience and sheer strength served him well as his legs broke down and speed disappeared from his game.

2. Hank Aaron
Decade Stats: .308/.376/.565, 375 home runs, 162 OPS+, three home-run titles, two slugging titles, five total bases titles

A Few Words: Aaron repainted the picture of the consistent slugger. Stan Musial had blazed the trail of the impossibly steady featured hitter, but Musial never had homer-first power. Aaron hit home runs as consistently, smoothly and apparently easily as Musial hit doubles. He also stole 204 bases in the 1960s; speed was underrated as part of his game.

1. Frank Robinson

Image result for frank robinson reds

Photo by; Bleacher Report

Decade Stats: .304/.402/.560, 166 OPS+, four OPS+ titles, four slugging titles, two OBP titles, full 1966 Triple Crown (average, OBP, slugging, homers, RBI), two MVP awards

A Few Words: Some of the most telling statistics about Robinson are less traditional than those. He led the league in being hit by pitches five time in the decade in question, a testament to his position in the batter’s box but also to his general attitude and to pitchers’ unwillingness to relent against him.
Robinson wore a total of 113 plunkings in the 1960s. He also drew 143 intentional walks during the decade, and led the league four times in a row 1961-64. Pitchers simply didn’t want Frank Robinson at home plate, but they often found they could do nothing to stop him.

The 1970s: Power Down
Though the true nadir of pitching preeminence passed in the winter between 1968 and 1969, MLB teams continued to score and homer at lower rates than they had in the early 1960s as late as 1976. Great hitters of the 1970s didn’t hit for power as a primary tool, but rather, to keep opposing pitchers honest. Contact became a valuable tool again, though speed and walks mattered more.

3. Joe Morgan
Decade Stats: .282/.404/.455, 140 OPS+, 488 stolen bases, two OPS+ titles, four OBP titles, two MVP awards

A Few Words: Morgan drew walks, then wrought havoc on the bases. He hit home runs when they needed hitting, but preferred to slash and run. From 1972-77, his OBP was .429 on the strength of 118 walks per year, on average. He also averaged 60 steals over those six years.

2. Willie Stargell
Decade Stats: .287/.374/.555, 156 OPS+, 296 home runs, two OPS+ titles, two home-run titles

A Few Words: This is the exception that proves the rule. The 1970s belonged to non-lumbering sluggers, and only Stargell (among all the star sluggers who played during that era, from Johnny Bench to Tony Perez to Reggie Jackson and onward) were healthy enough and consistent enough to overcome that and put up a well-rounded stat line. He was nearly 40 when the decade ended, but he made the decade count. He earned two MVP awards during the decade, receiving neither, then got the 1979 award, which he did not deserve.

1. Rod Carew

Image result for rod carew

Photo by; Twins Daily

Decade Stats: .343/.408/.454, 142 OPS+, six batting titles, four OBP titles, two triples titles

A Few Words: Carew ranks among the best batters for average of the past 50 years in MLB. That’s tepid praise, since he didn’t draw many walks or have very much power, but it remains true. Carew simply succeeded by cranking out huge volumes of singles and doubles.

The 1980s: Individualism, Ho!

If the 1980s were all about individualism and the counter-culture, MLB’s best hitters of the decade were strange fits to their time. They were largely clean-cut, not rebels, just smart and talented hitters. They never got along all that well with the press, though.
However, they did buck a destructive day-to-day trend in baseball. The best hitters of the 1980s were third basemen who went about things their own way, playing plodding baseball at a time when the game prized speed more than ever before. In an AstroTurf world, these were natural-grass men, and their approaches to offense were much more methodical than chaotic or aggressive.

3. George Brett

Decade Stats: .311/.392/.521, 150 OPS+, three OPS+ titles, three slugging titles

A Few Words: That 1980 season Brett had was pure magic. He hit .390/.454/.664 and ran away with the MVP award. That was the turning point of his career; Brett would emphasize power at the expense of some of his speed and batting average in ensuing years. It worked. He averaged 54 extra-base hits per year for the decade.

2. Wade Boggs

Decade Stats: .352/.443/.480, 150 OPS+, five batting titles, six OBP titles, two doubles titles

A Few Words: His batting line over eight seasons in the decade looks like something out of the Dead Ball Era, and that’s what it felt like when Boggs took the plate. He had modest power, even average power at times, but he made his living by simply slicing the ball the other way. His on-base skills were so good it didn’t matter much whether he had real power. Even with a career high of 24 for home runs, he led the league in intentional walks six consecutive times.

1. Mike Schmidt

Image result for mike schmidt phillies

Photo by; Minor League Ball

Decade Stats: .277/.385/.540, 153 OPS+, 313 home runs, six OPS+ titles, five home-run titles, three OBP titles, four slugging titles, three MVP awards

A Few Words: Schmidt was a good player in the 1970s, but matured into a great one and even a legend only as the 1980s dawned. By cutting down his swing at certain pitches very slightly, he was able to strike out less often, make better contact and collect many more hits.

The 1990s: Steroids!

The dark specter of steroid use began to take hold of the game in the 1980s, but it was drowned out by coverage of cocaine and other recreational drug use. That was sexier; audiences immediately understood it was wrong, illicit and interesting. It also spoke to a wider cultural problem. Steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs did not seem to do so.

For that reason, use of such drugs ran rampant throughout the 1990s. Home run and runs per game rates spiked to historically anomalous levels. Things went crazy. The luxury afforded by this format, though, is to refuse to concern oneself with how a given player might have benefited from such drugs. Everyone had access to these things in the 1990s, so everyone gets equal treatment, whether they used or not.

3. Frank ThomasImage result for frank thomas white sox

Decade Stats: .320/.440/.573, 301 home runs, 169 OPS+, three OPS+ titles, four OBP titles, four walks titles, two MVP awards

A Few Words: Big as a house and with a swing smoother than those of many smaller men, Thomas was completely intimidating in the batter’s box. He could have hit more home runs, but chose to operate as a high-average, terrifying line-drive hitter.

2. Mark McGwire

Decade Stats: .268/.411/.615, 405 home runs, 172 OPS+, four home-run titles, two OBP titles, three slugging titles, four OPS+ titles

A Few Words: The 1998 home-run race held the entire baseball world in its grip. McGwire struggled early on in the decade with injuries and strikeouts, but at a certain point, was simply too big and strong to be pitched to effectively, and began drawing walks where many of those strikeouts had been.

1. Barry Bonds

Decade Stats: .302/.434/.602, 179 OPS+, 361 home runs, 343 stolen bases, four OBP titles, three slugging titles, four OPS+ titles, three MVP awards

A Few Words: This is the Bonds too few people remember. Prior to any suspicious bulk-up, he was already (by a fair margin) the best payer in baseball. He drew walks, hit for massive power, had devastating speed and could square up the ball regularly. For the entire decade, he averaged 36 home runs and 34 stolen bases per year.

The 2000s: No Steroids

When finally it all became too much, the story of MLB’s sordid relationship with performance-enhancing drugs began to come out in the summer of 2002. It would unfold over most of the rest of that decade, and as Ryan Braun can tell you, it’s still not over. However, the league did not suddenly stop scoring runs. Many great sluggers remained, even if they now carried with them a certain taint.

3. Manny Ramirez

Decade Stats: .317/.419/.599, 160 OPS+, 348 home runs, three OBP titles, two slugging titles

A Few Words: Prior to the 2010 season, Ramirez was about as reliable as any slugger in baseball. He was certainly mercurial and often a distraction, but he prepared relentlessly, had an unmatched gift of a swing and consistently produced insane numbers.

2. Albert Pujols

Decade Stats: .334/.427/.628, 172 OPS+, 366 home runs, three slugging titles, three OPS+ titles, three MVP awards

A Few Words: They don’t call him “The Machine” for nothing. Pujols is a baseball batting supercomputer, his swing as efficient as humanly possible for a man as lean as he, his strike-zone judgment nearly perfect. His last two seasons have shown slight signs of decline, but he has a chance to rejuvenate his career and try to make the 2010s list someday with the Angels.

1. Barry Bonds

Image result for barry bonds giants home run record

Photo by; KNBR

Decade Stats: .322/.517/.724, 221 OPS+, 317 home runs, 54 stolen bases, two batting titles, six OBP titles, four slugging titles, five OPS+ titles, four MVP awards

A Few Words: It’s important to remember that Bonds, though he probably cheated and used performance-enhancing drugs, was a baseball superhero already by the time he took his first dose of anything. He’s not clean and his numbers are not to be taken completely at face value, but he was one of the best ever fully five years before anyone suspects he began using.

SABERmetrics Sunday: Neil Walker’s Value

The New York Yankees had agreed to a one-year deal with switch-hitting second baseman Neil Walker. A veteran who has played in the majors with the Pirates, Mets and Brewers, Walker (32) is an underrated player that can bring some solid value to the Yankees. He has always been a decently productive guy who flies under the radar going back to his days in Pittsburgh.

Most of his value comes from his bat, he does not really light the world on fire with his defense. He has power capability solid on-base abilities. Lets look at what Walker did last year and some career batting numbers.

Image result for neil walker

Photo by;

2017 (Mets/Brewers):

.362 OBP (career-high) / .439 SLG / .801 OPS / 17.2% K / 12.3% BB (career-high) / 14 HR / 0.8 UBR / 114 wRC+ / 2.1 fWAR in 111 games 


.341 OBP / .437 SLG / .778 OPS / 17.4% K / 8.7% BB / 130 HR (14 HR average per-season) / 10.8 UBR / 115 wRC+ / 21.1 fWAR (2.3 average per season)

Image result for neil walker pittsburgh pirates

Photo by; CBS Pittsburgh

Walker is a solid player overall. His best season arguably was 2016 with the Mets when he posted a 3.7 fWAR and career-high 9.3 Ultimate Zone Rating defensively. He averages 14 home runs a year, but he has hit 20+ twice in 2014 and 2016. Last year’s career-high on base was greatly attributed to his career-high walk rate. The .341 career on-base is not incredible, but above average.

Neil Walker is the perfect bridge for Gleyber Torres, who will start in the minors this season. Walker can not only fill a gap, but be an offensive force on the team. With him playing at Yankee Stadium, surrounded by the lineup he has around him, it would not be surprising to see him put up some more career-best numbers with the bat. Walker tends to finish a season with a 40%-44% pull-percentage on batted balls, and the short porches can help him increase the home run numbers.

Watch out for the Yankees, they will be scary this year.

MLB Fantasy Forecast; Outfield Part 1

The outfield will be broken down into two parts, ranks 50-25, and 25-1. Not all players will have write ups.

50. Corey Dickerson

49. Bradley Zimmer

Image result for Bradley Zimmer

Photo by; The San Diego Union Tribune

Exciting player with power and speed, is an injury concern, bating average could be a weak spot

48. Randall Grichuk

Big time power threat at the Rogers Center/big time sleeper potential

47. Avisail Garcia

46. Michael Conforto

45. Kyle Shwarber

Image result for kyle schwarber weight loss

Photo by;

A cheap gamble, lots of power, lots of k’s

44. Michael Brantley

This guy will hit .310 in his sleep, double-digit steals and homers, huge knock here is the almost certain injury

43. Kevin Keirmaier

If he stays healthy he can get around 20 steals, double-digit homers and hit around .260

42. Odubel Herrera

41. Manuel Margot

He was projected to be better than the 17 steals and 13 homers of last season. Could be a good value play.

40. Ian Happ

39. Steven Souza

38. Adam Duvall

37. Joey Gallo

Image result for joey gallo

Photo by;

You just can’t ignore the power, 41 homers last year, but that bating average is destined to hurt ya pretty bad.

36. Brett Gardiner

Always around the 90 run mark, with decent power and speed, this year should see an increase in those numbers, especially if he hits at the top of the very powerful Yankee lineup.

35. Jay Bruce

34. Nick Castellanos

It seems like this guy is always on the breakout or sleeper potential list. Keeps trending up, but more people know about this guy, a mini breakout last season could lead to an even better 2018.

33. Adam Eaton

32. Gregory Polanco

Somewhat disappointing so far, the upside is still their, this could be a telling year, we know he has power and can run, we just haven’t seen enough of it

31. Nomar Mazara

Image result for nomar mazara

Photo by; WCCO

Already two seasons in the books for the 23-year-old. In almost the same amount of at bats as his rookie season, Mazara put up 101 RBIs compared to the 64 he had in 2016. This year has breakout potential written all over it.

30. Eddie Rosario

29. Ian Desmond

28. Domingo Santana

Playing time is the biggest issue here, all outfield spots seem to be taken, if he can DH and platoon to get to 400 plus at bats he’ll provide power and a decent average.

27. Ender Inciarte

26. Adam Jones

25. Billy Hamilton

Image result for billy hamilton

Because steals are so scarce Hamilton gets a major boost in the rankings. Don’t expect much else though.




Tribe Take: Early Struggles

The second big week for Indians preseason baseball took place this week, as the team continued its packed schedule of games out in Arizona. The team played every day, showing that much progress is needed, but bright signs were prevalent and can be used going forward.

Game 1 of the week started off on Monday against the LA Dodgers, a team coming off a hot postseason run last year. And they looked to be in that same form once again, as a late 7 runs through the final two innings were plenty to put the Tribe away in 8-1 fashion.

Cincinnati was the opponent on Tuesday, and although this was a more closely contested match-up, the Tribe still struggled. A big 5th inning 4 run surge from the Reds rattled the Tribe, and their late comeback attempt fell short as they moved to 0-2 on the week with a 7-6 loss.

Image result for trevor bauer cleveland indians

Wednesday’s battle included a rematch of the 2016 World Series, and the Chicago Cubs were in to take on the club. Trevor Bauer had a rough outing, and Chicago took advantage, pouring on a total of 8 runs through the middle half of the contest. The margin was too high too soon, and the Tribe suffered another loss, this time 11-6.

Thursday was much better for the club, as a rematch from a few days prior occurred with the Dodgers coming to play once again. Francisco Lindor showed his stuff again, homering off of Venditte in the 6th, helping us cruise to a 4-1 bounce back win.

Friday showed more of the same play, as the Rockies fell to the Tribe, 8-5. A two run first inning and 4 run third from an all around offensive explosion from the Tribe was enough to put the Rockies away early, and never look back.

Saturday’s match-up was against the San Diego Padres, and the game was just about as closely contested as could be. The back and forth hitting efforts, and minimal defense, in the early going led up to a closely contest finish, as the Indians saw their second tie of the preseason.

Sunday was the busy day of the week, as they had two games going simultaneously, one against the Brewers and one against the Royals. For the Brewers game, it was a late three run 9th inning for Milwaukee that put away the Tribe in a 3-1 loss. The Royals game saw two Indians homers, by Barnes and Perez, as the Indians cakewalked to a 3-1 win.

This week was full of action, and was a good way for us to see that the rust is still coming off from the off-season, and much work is needed. It’s the preseason, so there is no reason to worry, as things will begin to shape up heading forward.

Royally Yours: Mike Moustakas Signing

Image result for 2007 MLB Draft mike Moustakas

Photo by;

On Saturday the Kansas City Royals signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year $6.5 million dollar contract. Moustakas has been the starting third baseman for the Royals since 2011. His presence this season will provide experience to a young, inexperienced team.


Moustakas was drafted by the Royals second overall in the 2007 MLB Draft. He was one of the Royals top prospects before making his MLB debut in June of 2011. Moustakas was a key part of the Royals rebuilding phase from 2011-2013. He played a big part in the postseason runs of 2014 and 2015. During the 2014 postseason he had four home runs. In 2015 he had a crucial home run in game six of the ALCS. Moustakas played an important part of the World Series win over the New York Mets in 2015. He had a .304 average during the series.


In 2016 Moustakas tore his ACL after colliding with outfielder Alex Gordon. He missed the majority of the season. He returned strong in 2017 and had the best season of his career. He broke Steve Balboni’s old home run record with 28 home runs. Moustakas was named to his second All-Star game and participated in the home run derby. It was the first time a Royals player competed in the event since Danny Tartabull in 1991. Moustakas was named the American League Comeback player because of his performance last season.

Image result for 2007 MLB Draft mike Moustakas

Photo by; USA Today

Moustakas was expected to be one of the most sought after free agents this offseason. It seemed unlikely when free agency opened that he could return to the Royals. The Royals gave him a $17.4 million dollar qualifying offer but he turned it down expecting to earn more in the open market. His market valued dropped throughout free agency and the Royals were able to sign him to a one-year $6.5 million dollar contract. The deal has an additional $2.2 million dollars in incentives for this season. The contract also has a mutual option for a second year. The contact benefits both Moustakas and the Royals. The one-year contract will give him the opportunity to increase his value in free agency if he plays well this season. If he plays poorly or gets injured he will have the second season to try and improve his value. The Royals benefit from this deal because they will get a player this season that needs to play well. They should expect another strong season from Moustakas.


Overall, the trade will help the Royals this season. They are still likely in rebuilding mode but the re-signing will add experience to the roster. The re-signing of Moustakas could have a big impact on the Royals success this season.

MLB Fantasy Forecast-3rd Base

A lot to like in the top 12. After that it starts to get a little murky. No shortage of power in this list.

12. Rafael Devers

Image result for rafael devers 2018

Photo by;

Hopefully Devers has shown the Sox enough to keep him up with the big club. He has an abundance of potential, but if he struggles at all they will be quick to send him down for more seasoning in the minors. Now that JD Martinez is slotted in the lineup there will be less pressure for guys like Devers to perform. Still a .280, 25 homer season is well within reach.

11. Travis Shaw

Image result for travis shaw brewers

Photo by; Journal Times

The move to Milwaukee increased power production in a big way. If he can eclipse 500 plate appearances, 30 homers and 100 rbi isn’t out of the question.

10. Kyle Seager

Image result for kyle seager mariners

Photo by Zimbio

This is as close to automatic as it gets. Over the last 4 seasons, Seager is at or above these numbers: 154 games,25 hrs,74 rbi. The bating average took an unusual hit which led to the .249 mark. A career average of .264 suggests that it will bounce back to more respectable levels.

9. Miguel Sano

Image result for miguel sano 2018

Photo by; Last Word On Baseball

In 3 separate seasons, Sano has yet to reach 120 games played. At only 25 years of age we have yet to see what he can do in a full slate. If he could play more, he has the capability to hit 40 homers and drive in over 100 runs.

8. Adrian Beltre

Image result for adrian beltre rangers

Photo by;

Beltre is creeping up on 40, but has only regressed slightly. The power has dropped a little but the soon to be hall of famer is still a nice option at third. He will be around .300 with 20 hrs and close to 90 runs and rbi if he can avoid injury.

7. Anthony Rendon

Image result for anthony rendon

Photo by; DistrictonDeck

A big time cut down in strikeouts(117-82) led to a career year for Rendon, .403 on base, 301 avg, with 25 homers and 100 rbi. If he continues the great approach at the plate he could even better those numbers for his age 28 season.

6. Justin Turner

Image result for justin turner dodgers

Photo by; Dodgers Way

A career .300 hitter with a great eye at the plate. Reduced to just 130 games led to lower totals in homers(21) and rbi(70). Hitting in a very potent lineup should see the run production go up providing he can stay on the field.

5. Alex Bregman

Image result for alex bregman astros

Photo by; NY Daily News

We could have a very exciting player on our hands here. The breakout potential is high, as Bregman turned it on in the second half, and then went on to have a great post season. He has a rare combination at the position of power and speed, along with a great strikeout to walk rate. He could be the complete player and you may have to overpay to get him.

4. Josh Donaldson

Image result for josh donaldson blue jays

Photo by; Jeff Fannell

The injury bug limited Donaldson to just 113 games last season. He still managed 33 homers. But the strikeouts rates went up, which led to the .267 bating average. Playing for a new contract could elevate his play closer to his MVP type level of just two seasons ago.

3. Manny Machado

Image result for manny machado 2017

Photo by;

A really slow start contributed to the career low .259 bating avg. The other numbers were fairly consistent with what we are used to out of the 26-year-old. I can almost guarantee an uptick in bating average and good to great numbers across the board as he is in his prime years and playing for a new contract.

2. Kris Bryant

Image result for kris bryant cubs

Photo by;

Bryant had a better year last year then the 73 rbi suggests. All other counting stats were really good. He can get around 100 rbi along with every other stat category filled with the exception of stolen bases, which might get close to double digits.

1. Nolan Arenado

Image result for nolan arenado 2017

Photo by;

A rbi and homer machine that hits around .300, this is far and away the best option at third.

MLB Fantasy Forecast-2nd Base

 Not as deep as other positions, if you aren’t getting a top 5-10 guy, it could be weak spot to your lineup. Even still there are  players that will help you with average, run production, speed and in some cases power.

12. Ozzie Albies

Image result for ozzie albies braves

Photo by; Tomahawktake

In limited action last year Albies put up very respectable numbers for a 20-year-old. Ian kinsler, Ian Happ, Jonathan Villar, and Scooter Gennett are perhaps safer options, but Albies upside for speed and some power with a good average is very enticing and could be the breakout player of the year.

11. Yoan Moncada

Image result for yoan moncada white sox

Photo by;

It may be another year for Monchada to develop. The strikeout rate is a concern, but the potential here is so great that taking a chance may be worth it. The White Sox are a non-contender so they will give him a pretty long leash to figure things out.

10. Rougned Odor

Image result for rougned odor 2017

Photo by;

Lets hope we have seen the worst from Odur last season. A paltry .204 batting average isn’t going to help anyone. It wasn’t all bad as he managed to pop 30 long-flies, and steal 15 bases (great numbers for 2b). Even though Odur is a free swinger and doesn’t walk enough, the batting average should increase more towards respectability as he possessed the lowest bating average of balls in play at .224. A reduction in strikeouts would be welcome as well.

9. DJ LeMahieu

Image result for dj lemahieu

Photo by; BSN Denver

We pretty much know what to expect here. Solid contributions in most categories. Not a whole lot of power but double digits in homers and steals isn’t out of the possibility. Almost a lock for a .300 avg, and 90 runs.

8. Whit Merrifield

Image result for whit merrifield royals

Photo by; Kings of Kaufman

Came out of nowhere to lead the American League in steals last season. Sealing may have been reached at .275/15hr/65rbi/34steals type of season. Having said this, this is very repeatable for the third year pro.

7. Daniel Murphy

Image result for daniel murphy nationals

Photo by;

A career .304 hitter with good pop and good run production. Murphy profiles as one of the top pure hitters in all off baseball. The concern this year will be his health status heading into the new campaign. Knee surgery in the off-season has put his playing time in question.

6. Robinson Cano

Image result for robinson cano mariners

Photo by; CBS Ney York

We may not see the average hover around .320 anymore, but .290/25-30hr/90rbi/90runs is well within reach. For a second baseman that is really good production, you should feel safe with him.

5.Jonathan Schoop

Image result for jonathan schoop 2017

The Baltimore Wire

By next year I wouldn’t be surprised to see Schoop as top 3 option. Always blessed with lots of power we are now seeing Schoop be more selective at the plate. He went from a lowly .298 obp to a more respectable, .338. If he continues this trend we may have a new star at second.

4. Dee Gordon

Image result for dee gordon mariners

A new team shouldn’t affect Gordon too much, he’ll hit a top of a good lineup just like he did with the Marlins. No power but a nice 300 average with great run production and oh ya, he’ll probably steal you 50-60 bags.

3. Brian Dozier

Image result for brian dozier 2017

Photo by; Twins Daily

Lots of power and run production has been a constant to Dozier’s game for the last 4 years. An uptick in batting average has occurred over the last two seasons so it looks like .260 is more likely than .240. Dozier can even give you around 15 stolen bases.

2. Jose Ramirez

Image result for jose ramirez indians

CBS Cleveland

Perhaps the most underrated player, an all around great contributor across the board. We may not see close to 30 homers like last year, but .310, 15-20 hr, 90 runs, 80 rbi, 15 steals is nothing to sniff at.

1. Jose Altuve

Image result for jose altuve

Photo by; The Sporting News

The number two overall best player in fantasy is in his prime years. The new-found power over the last two seasons has made him even more valuable.


If you like this site or just simply want to school your friends because you got the information first.  

Join us on the field! Click on any of the links below.