The Phillies shirt winner is…

It’s time to give away another baseball shirt!

In previous giveaways…

Last week, Stephen D won this Dustin Pedroia shirt.

In week two, I gave away this Brandon Phillips shirt which was won by Matt Jackson.

The first winner of this Matt Wieters shirt was Joey Orr.

Here’s your winner:

I would’ve like to give away more shirts, but the best I did was 558 views in a day.  My ultimate goal is to average 1000 a day, I guess I’ll just have to keep blogging daily to attract more readers.

There’s only 39 days until opening day, and 6 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies).

Check back tomorrow for a new giveaway!

2012 Topps Baseball Card Scans

I’ve been posting a blog a day leading up to opening day, and one of the more popular entries was back on February 2nd when I reviewed the 2012 Topps set.  I’ve decided to follow that post up by showing my readers every single card in the 2012 Topps series one baseball card set.  I’ve scanned all of the cards.  Yes, it took a long time – I did several cards a day, not all at once – I would’ve gone crazy if I had to scan 330 cards in one sitting.

What is the coolest overall card?  I’m picking Kyle Blanks – that picture is pretty glorious.
The creepiest card?  How about Chris Carpenter – it looks as if Albert Pujols is a split second away from planting a kiss on him.
Best action shot?  I’ll go with Jayson Werth’s card.  That slide on his card was about the only thing that went right for him in 2011.
Ugliest card?  Jered Weaver.  That expression makes me cringe.

1 Ryan Braun

2 Trevor Cahill

3 Jaime Garcia

4 Jeremy Guthrie

5 Desmond Jennings

6 Nick Hagadone RC

7 Mickey Mantle

8 Mike Adams

9 Jesus Montero RC

10 Jon Lester

11 Hong-Chih Kuo

12 Wilson Ramos

13 Vernon Wells

14 Jesus Guzman

15 Melky Cabrera

16 Desmond Jennings

17 Alex Rios

18 Colby Lewis

19 Yonder Alonso

20 Craig Kimbrel

21 Chris Iannetta

22 Alfredo Simon

23 Cory Luebke

24 Ike Davis

25 Neil Walker

26 Kyle Lohse

27 John Buck

28 Placido Polanco

29 Active Leaders*

30 Derek Jeter

31 Brent Morel

32 Detroit Tigers PH

33 League Leaders*

34 Derek Holland

35 Eric Hosmer

36 Michael Taylor RC

37 Mike Napoli

38 Felipe Paulino

39 James Loney

40 Tom Milone RC

41 Devin Mesoraco

42 Drew Pomeranz

43 Brett Wallace

44 Edwin Jackson

45 Jhoulys Chacin

46 Peter Bourjos

47 Luke Hochevar

48 Wade Davis

49 Jon Niese

50 Adrian Gonzalez

51 Alcides Escobar

52 League Leaders*

53 St. Louis Cardinals WS

54 Jhonny Peralta

55 Michael Young

56 Geovany Soto

57 Yuniesky Betancourt

58 Tim Hudson

59 Texas Rangers PH

60 Hanley Ramirez

61 Daniel Bard

62 Ben Revere

63 Nate Schierholtz

64 Michael Martinez

65 Delmon Young

66 Nyjer Morgan

67 Aaron Crow

68 Jason Hammel

69 Dee Gordon

70 Brett Pill RC

71 Jeff Karstens

72 Rex Brothers

73 Brandon McCarthy

74 Kevin Correia

75 Jordan Zimmermann

76 Ian Kennedy

77 League Leaders*

78 Erick Aybar

79 Austin Romine RC

80 David Price

81 Liam Hendriks RC

82 Rick Porcello

83 Bobby Parnell

84 Brian Matusz

85 Jason Heyward

86 Brett Cecil

87 Craig Kimbrel

88 Javy Guerra

89 Dontrelle Willis

90 Adron Chambers RC

91 Active Leaders*

92 Active Leaders*

93 Skip Schumaker

94 Logan Forsythe

95 Chris Parmelee RC

96 Grady Sizemore

97 Jim Thome RB

98 Domonic Brown

99 Michael McKenry

100 Jose Bautista

101 David Hernandez

102 Chase d’Arnaud

103 Madison Bumgarner

104 Brett Anderson

105 Paul Konerko

106 Mark Trumbo

107 Luke Scott

108 Albert Pujols WS

109 Mariano Rivera RB

110 Mark Teixeira

111 Kevin Slowey

112 Juan Nicasio

113 Craig Kimbrel RB

114 Matt Garza

115 Tommy Hanson

116 A.J. Pierzynski

117 Carlos Ruiz

118 Miguel Olivo

119 Active Leaders*

120 Hunter Pence

121 Josh Bell

122 Ted Lilly

123 Scott Downs

124 Active Leaders*

125 Adam Jones

126 Eduardo Nunez

127 Eli Whiteside

128 Lucas Duda

129 Matt Moore RC

130 Asdrubal Cabrera

131 Ian Desmond

132 Will Venable

133 Ivan Nova

134 Stephen Lombardozzi RC

135 Johnny Cueto

136 Casey McGehee

137 Jarrod Saltalamacchia

138 Pedro Alvarez

139 Scott Sizemore

140 Troy Tulowitzki

141 Brandon Belt

142 Travis Wood

143 George Kottaras

144 Marlon Byrd

145 Billy Butler

146 Carlos Gomez

147 Orlando Hudson

148 Chris Getz

149 Chris Sale

150 Roy Halladay

151 Chris Davis

152 Chad Billingsley

153 Mark Melancon

154 Ty Wigginton

155 Matt Cain

156 League Leaders*

157 Anibal Sanchez

158 Josh Reddick

159 Active Leaders*

160 Kevin Youkilis

161 Dee Gordon

162 Max Scherzer

163 Justin Turner

164 Carl Pavano

165 Michael Morse

166 Brennan Boesch

167 Starlin Castro RB

168 Blake Beavan

169 Brett Myers

170 Jacoby Ellsbury

171 Koji Uehara

172 Reed Johnson

173 Ryan Roberts

174 Yadier Molina

175 Jared Hughes

176 Nolan Reimold

177 Josh Thole

178 Edward Mujica

179 Denard Span

180 Mariano Rivera

181 League Leaders*

182 Michael Brantley

183 Addison Reed RC

184 Wilin Rosario

185 Pablo Sandoval

186 John Lannan

187 Jose Altuve

188 Bobby Abreu

189 Alberto Callaspo

190 Cole Hamels

191 Angel Pagan

192 Active Leaders*

193 Kelly Shoppach

194 Danny Duffy

195 Ben Zobrist

196 Matt Joyce

197 Brendan Ryan

198 Matt Dominguez RC

199 Adam Dunn

200 Miguel Cabrera

201 Doug Fister

202 Andrew Carignan RC

203 Jeff Niemann

204 Tom Gorzelanny

205 Justin Masterson

206 David Robertson

207 J.P. Arencibia

208 Mark Reynolds

209 A.J. Burnett

210 Zack Greinke

211 Kelvin Herrera RC

212 Active Leaders*

213 Alex Avila

214 Mike Pelfrey

215 Freddie Freeman

216 Jason Kipnis

217 Texas Rangers PH

218 Kyle Hudson RC

219 Jordan Pacheco RC

220 Jay Bruce

221 Luke Gregerson

222 Chris Coghlan

223 Joe Saunders

224 League Leaders*

225 Michael Pineda

226 Ryan Hanigan

227 Mike Minor

228 Brent Lillibridge

229 Yunel Escobar

230 Justin Morneau

231 Dexter Fowler

232 Active Leaders*

233 St. Louis Cardinals PH

234 Mark Teixeira RB

235 Joe Benson RC

236 Jose Tabata

237 Russell Martin

238 Emilio Bonifacio

239 League Leaders*

240 David Wright

241 James McDonald

242 Eric Young

243 Justin De Fratus

244 Sergio Santos

245 Adam Lind

246 Bud Norris

247 Clay Buchholz

248 Stephen Drew

249 Trevor Plouffe

250 Jered Weaver

251 Jason Bay

252 Dellin Betances

253 Tim Federowicz RC

254 Philip Humber

255 Scott Rolen

256 Mat Latos

257 Seth Smith

258 Jon Jay

259 Michael Stutes

260 Brian Wilson

261 Kyle Blanks

262 Shaun Marcum

263 Steve Delabar RC

264 Chris Carpenter PH

265 Aroldis Chapman

266 Carlos Corporan

267 Joel Pineiro

268 Miguel Cairo

269 Jason Vargas

270 Starlin Castro

271 John Jaso

272 Nyjer Morgan PH

273 David Freese

274 Alex Liddi RC

275 Brad Peacock RC

276 Scott Baker

277 Jeremy Moore RC

278 Randy Wells

279 R.A. Dickey

280 Ryan Howard

281 Mark Trumbo

282 Ryan Raburn

283 Brandon Allen

284 Tony Gwynn

285 Drew Storen

286 Franklin Gutierrez

287 Antonio Bastardo

288 Miguel Montero

289 Casey Kotchman

290 Curtis Granderson

291 David Freese WS

292 Ben Revere

293 Eric Thames

294 John Axford

295 Jayson Werth

296 Brayan Pena

297 League Leaders*

298 Jeff Keppinger

299 Mitch Moreland

300 Josh Hamilton

301 Alexi Ogando

302 League Leaders*

303 Danny Valencia

304 Brandon Morrow

305 Chipper Jones

306 Ubaldo Jimenez

307 Vance Worley

308 Mike Leake

309 Kurt Suzuki

310 Adrian Beltre

311 John Danks

312 Nick Hundley

313 Phil Hughes

314 Matt LaPorta

315 Dustin Ackley

316 Nick Blackburn

317 Tyler Chatwood

318 Erik Bedard

319 League Leaders*

320 Matt Holliday

321 Jason Bourgeois

322 Ricky Nolasco

323 Jason Isringhausen

324 Active Leaders*

325 Chris Schwinden RC

326 Kevin Gregg

327 Mark Kotsay

328 John Lackey

329 Allen Craig WS

330 Matt Kemp

There’s only 40 days until opening day, 7 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 1 more day to win a Phillies shirt.

Also, 36 consecutive days of postings!

Ryan Braun suspension revoked; Frank Coonelly arrested

The baseball world has been abuzz recently due to Ryan Braun’s suspension being repealed by an independent arbitrator.  In case you missed it, Braun tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and was facing a 50 game suspension.  His sample had ridiculously high levels of synthetic testosterone, a banned substance.  Braun and his lawyers argued successfully and won the first ever PED suspension appeal in MLB history.

The are two possible reasons for Braun’s positive test:
1)  Braun is a cheater and actually did take illegal substances
2)  Someone tried to frame Braun by tainting his sample and framing him.

Braun said he’d bet his life that it was #2.

The arbitrator agreed.  Because the collector took the sample on a Saturday and didn’t mail it to the lab until a Monday, it was argued that during the 48 hour that a third party tampered with his sample.  MLB disagreed because the seal on the sample wasn’t broken, making it thereby impossible that it was tampered with.

At any rate, Braun will be back in the NL Central in 2012 for the entire season, terrorizing pitchers.  Or will he?

Braun will face increased pressure to follow up his MVP season with a similar performance.  He has doubters all over the game right now.  If his performance trails off, everyone will assume that he cheated and got off – a la OJ Simpson.  Unfortunately for Braun, he no longer has Prince Fielder batting behind him, which helps him because pitchers may be more likely to pitch around him.  Also, Braun is going to be mercilessly tortured on the road.  Can you even imagine that insults that will be hurled at him in the left field bleachers.  Here’s some advice – if the Brewers are in town and you have children, don’t sit in left field.

Last season, Braun’s WAR – wins above replacement was a 7.7, so his suspension would’ve cost the Brewers about 3 wins – that’s a big margin for an NL Central that is going to be tightly contested between the Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds.

On another front, the Pirates organization was embarrassed when news that president Frank Coonelly was arrested on December 22nd for driving under the influence of alcohol.  His blood alcohol content was .16 – twice the legal limit.

The owner of the Pirates, Robert Nutting expressed extreme disappointment – but Coonelly isn’t likely to be disciplined.

To Mr. Coonelly’s credit, he did own up to his mistake and took all of the blame.  My problem with it is that he could’ve seriously injured someone else due to his lack in judgment.  It also doesn’t set a very good precedence for the president to be DUI, while young players would be disciplined for a similar infraction.

I’m hoping that Mr Coonelly learns his lesson and gives up drinking altogether.    I do not think he should be fired.

The main problem I have with his situation is that the Pirates kept it hush-hush for two months.

What are your thoughts on Frank Coonelly?  Should he be disciplined?

And,
What do you think about Ryan Braun winning his appeal?  Do you think he was guilty and got off on a technicality or that he was actually clean?  I’d be interested in hearing.

There’s only 41 days until opening day, 8 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 3 more days to win a Phillies shirt.

Also, 35 consecutive days of postings!  (Just made it today – putting this one up at 11:50pm)

2012 AL West Predictions & Preview

I’ve posted predictions for the AL East and AL Central recently, and I’ll wrap things up by offering my predictions for 2012 for the AL West.  The AL West is an interesting division because it now contains two of the elite teams in all of baseball, the Rangers and the Angels.  It will be interesting to watch these two teams battle it out all year long.

I’ll be using the 2012 Major League Baseball Yearbook & Fantasy Guide as a reference to give you each player’s 2012 statistical projections.  If you see a roster error, please leave a comment so that I may fix it.

1st Place:  Los Angeles Angels (My prediction 97-65)
The Angels are going for it in 2012, and made it known to the rest of baseball by signing Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson.

Besides having the best hitter in the game in Pujols, they also have Jered Weaver headlining their rotation.  Weaver went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA last year.

He is joined in the rotation by Wilson, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and a fifth starter – likely Jerome Williams.  It’s a very strong rotation – one of the top rotations in baseball.

The Angels also have some excellent young players in Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout.

If aging veterans Bobby Abreu, Vernon Wells, and Torii Hunter still have something left to contribute, this team could push the 100 win mark.

2012 Statistical projections:
C Chris Iannetta .235-12-48
1B Albert Pujols .307-40-109
2B Howie Kendrick .280-17-71
3B Alberto Callaspo .285-6-47
3B Mark Trumbo .252-20-63
SS Erick Aybar .288-9-57
LF Peter Bourjos .268-9-34
CF Vernon Wells .234-25-70
RF Torii Hunter .271-25-90
DH Bobby Abreu .252-11-66
DH Kendrys Morales .297-17-56

SP Jered Weaver 17-9, 2.81 ERA, 224 IP, 217 K
SP Dan Haren 16-11, 3.48 ERA, 233 IP, 199 K
SP CJ Wilson 16-8, 3.02 ERA, 220 IP, 200 K
SP Ervin Santana 15-12, 3.49 ERA, 214 IP, 163 K
SP Jerome Williams 10-9, 4.31 ERA, 142 IP, 102 K
RP Jordan Walden 3.05 ERA, 35 saves, 65 IP, 73 K
RP Scott Downs 2.19 ERA, 2 saves, 62 IP, 43 K

2nd Place: Texas Rangers (My prediction: 95-67)
The Rangers have come close to winning the World Series the last two seasons.  I believe that they are good enough again to make it back to the playoffs, although I think the Angels will squeak past them to win the division.  The Rangers are very solid offensively.

Mike Napoli is probably the best offensive catcher in the major leagues having belted 30 home runs last year.  Additionally, he can play first base and DH to keep his bat in the line up.

Ian Kinsler hit 32 home runs last year and ranks #2 of all second basemen in the MLB Yearbook magazine.

Adrian Beltre smashed 32 homers and knocked in 105 runs last year.  This is his age 33 season, so he probably has another decent year or two before age starts to slow him down.

Then there is Josh Hamilton.  Hamilton, a recovering drug and alcohol addict, went through a much-publicized relapse this offseason when he had a few drinks at a bar.  He played through pain last year and smacked 25 HR despite missing time with injuries.

The Rangers also have Nelson Cruz, another power threat who hit 29 home runs.  Cruz isn’t the greatest defender and his misplay of David Freese’s triple in the World Series ended up costing the Rangers than championship.

As for the Rangers rotation, they are solid.  They can move Neftali Perez to a starter spot with Joe Nathan on board, and they also brought in Yu Darvish, Japan’s best pitcher.  It’ll be interesting to watch how Darvish does.  Most people predict he’ll fare better than Daisuke Matsuzaka did with Boston several years ago.    This is the majors though, so don’t expect him to put up ridiculous numbers like in Japan.  (Career 76-28, 1.72 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 1024 IP, 1083 K)

2012 Statistical Projections:
C Mike Napoli .306-29-73
1B Mitch Moreland .258-17-60
2B Ian Kinsler .261-28-72
3B Adrian Beltre .285-27-88
SS Elvis Andrus .275-4-57
LF David Murphy .284-10-43
CF Josh Hamilton .309-30-107
RF Nelson Cruz .276-37-105
DH Michael Young .327-13-98

SP Colby Lewis 13-11, 4.18 ERA, 202 IP, 179 K
SP Alexi Ogando 14-9, 3.34 ERA, 189 IP, 148 K
SP Neftali Feleiz 13-8, 3.27 ERA, 182 IP, 147 K
SP Derek Holland 15-7, 4.10 ERA, 200 IP, 168 K
SP Matt Harrison 13-12, 3.97 ERA, 190 IP, 141 K
SP Yu Darvish 14-9, 3.83 ERA, 183 IP, 167 K
RP Joe Nathan 3.09 ERA, 29 saves, 55 IP, 62 K
RP Koji Uehara 2.70 ERA, 4 saves, 57 IP, 77 K

3rd Place: Seattle Mariners (My prediction 73-89)
After the Angels and Rangers, the Mariners and Athletics will be left to battle things out for the third spot in the division.  I’m going to give the edge to the Mariners, because I don’t think their offense can be as bad as it was in 2011 again.  They only averaged 3.43 runs per game last year, worst in major league baseball.  It led to a 67-95 record.

Chone Figgins underperformed last year, hitting on .188 with 1 homer.  The Mariners paid him $9.5 million last year.

Ichiro Suzuki also underperformed, only hitting .272 with 5 HR.  It was the first year in his major league career that he didn’t hit over .300 and collect at least 200 hits in a season.  Maybe he pressed too much, trying to ignite an offense that was powerless.  At any rate, manager Eric Wedge has pledged to bat Ichiro Suzuki third this season while moving Chone Figgins to the leadoff spot.

The Mariners also finally acquired a big bat, albeit a prospect bat in Jesus Montero. No Mariners player hit over 20 home runs last year.  Montero has that kind of power.  He hit 21 homers in AAA in 2010, and 22 split between AAA and the Yankees last year.  Prior to 2011, he was ranked as the #3 prospect in the MLB.

I think that the Mariners will see a small improvement in 2012, because they can’t be that bad for two years in a row?  Can they?

As a side note, I also I can’t wait to go here:

And stay here.  I love Washington state.  It’s on my list of places to live after I finally get sick of Pennsylvania.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C Miguel Olivo .236-11-59
1B Justin Smoak .258-22-80
2B Dustin Ackley .271-9-55
3B Chone Figgins .255-2-28
SS Brendan Ryan .243-3-51
LF Trayvon Robinson .241-8-48
CF Franklin Gutierrez .241-4-33
RF Ichiro Suzuki .287-6-46
DH Mike Carp .276-15-56
DH Jesus Montero .292-14-51

SP Felix Hernandez 14-12, 2.97 ERA, 234 IP, 218 K
SP Jason Vargas 9-12, 4.22 ERA, 181 IP, 114 K
SP Blake Beavan 9-12, 4.48 ERA, 175 IP, 91 K
SP Charlie Furbush 8-13, 4.07 ERA, 166 IP, 115 K
RP Brandon League 3.21 ERA, 32 Saves, 67 IP, 52 K
RP George Sherrill 3.99 ERA, 1 save, 48 IP, 44 K

4th Place:  Oakland Athletics (My prediction: 68-94)

The Oakland Athletics looked to be in full blown rebuilding mode for 2012, trading away their ace pitcher Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals and their closer Andrew Bailey to the Red Sox.  However, they surprised everyone in baseball when they swooped in and signed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to a six year contract.  Cespedes figures to have every change to earn a spot as a starter on the opening day roster.  I just want to see him take some batting practice.  He looks like he could be a beast in BP.

The Athletics also raised eyebrows when they signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league contract.  Ramirez, if he performs well, will likely make the team after serving a 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs.  Personally, I don’t think Ramirez has anything left and will be a bust.  Luckily for the A’s, they will only lose about $330,000 on the deal if he fails miserably.

If Manny wasn’t enough, the A’s also have another potentially washed up pitcher in Bartolo Colon, also trying to make the squad.  Colon was out of baseball before having a medical breakthrough surgery on his elbow with stem cells to rejuvenate his career.

It might be just me, but I think it will be a tough year for the A’s, although they will have lots of media attention with Ramirez and Cespedes.

2012 Statistical Predictions:
C  Kurt Suzuki .244-14-53
1B Daric Barton .250-4-39
2B Jemile Weeks .305-3-50
3B Scott Sizemore .249-10-51
SS Cliff Pennington .290-9-64
LF Michael Taylor .253-9-58
CF Collin Cowgill .254-10-45
RF Josh Reddick .264-14-76
OF Yoenis Cespedes .273-18-74 (rotochamp prediction)
DH Brandon Allen .240-12-39
DH Manny Ramirez .273-12-42 (rotochamp prediction)

SP Brandon McCarthy 12-10, 3.36 ERA, 212 IP, 158 K
SP Guillermo Moscoso 11-13, 3.56 ERA, 167 IP, 98 K
SP Dallas Braden 9-10, 3.79 ERA, 145 IP, 92 K
SP Jarrod Parker 8-9, 4.08 ERA, 141 IP, 115 K
SP Tyson Ross 7-9, 3.99 ERA, 122 IP, 89 K
SP Bartolo Colon 6-9, 4.20 ERA, 143 IP, 116 K
RP Brian Fuentes 3.25 ERA, 28 saves, 53 IP, 42 K
RP Grant Balfour 2.72 ERA, 1 save, 60 IP, 57 K

So, to review, I’ve got:
1) Angels
2) Rangers
3) Mariners
4) A’s

I think it’ll be a two tiered race though, with the Angels/Rangers battling for first, while the Mariners and A’s duke it out for third.

How do you think they’ll finish?

There’s only 42 days until opening day, 9 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 4 more days to win a Phillies shirt.

Ballhawking: Stadium Leaders

This post deals with the realm of ballhawking.  Using the database on mygameballs.com, I decided to make a list of  ‘stadium owners,’ or the person that has snagged the most amount of baseballs at each ballpark.  There’s obviously probably some regulars that don’t document their baseballs – for example, I’m sure that someone has to have snagged more than 32 balls at Target Field –  they just haven’t become mygameballs.com official yet.

Here’s the list:

Stadium Owners (mygameballs ID)
Angel Stadium of Anaheim – Rob McCoy 992 (bbshagger)
AT&T Park – Scott Mystery 40 (mysteryCA)
Busch Stadium – Wayne Peck 48 (waynepeck)
Chase Field – Zack Hample 73 (zackhample)
Citi Field – Zack Hample 363
Citizens Bank Park – Zack Hample 250
Comerica Park – Zack Hample 37
Coors Field – Rockpile Ranter 126 (ranter)
Dodger Stadium – Jose Mannywood 348 (mannywood)
Fenway Park – Zack Hample 43
Great American Ballpark – Rocco Sinisi 356 (roccosinisi)
Kauffman Stadium – Garrett Meyer 326 (garrett37)
Miller Park – Shawn Bosman 997 (shawn77)
Minute Maid Park – Donny Haltom 162 (dhaltom)
Nationals Park – Aaron King 386 (aaronk)
New Yankee Stadium – alexk  178
Oakland Coliseum – Rick Gold 721 (jqfc)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards – Zack Hample 495
PETCO Park – Leigh Barratt 569 (padreleigh)
PNC Park – Erik Jabs 1,155 (erikj)
Progressive Field – Erik Jabs 255
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington – Dirk Elliot 237 (ballguy)
Rogers Centre – Zack Hample 82
Safeco Field – Max Van Hollenbeke 140 (mvanholl)
Target Field – Zack Hample 32
Tropicana Field – Mike Calabro 106 (mike357)
Turner Field – Zack Hample 143
US Cellular Field – Rick Crowe 251 (onabounce)
Wrigley Field – Zack Hample 38

Current Stadium Owners Top 3:
1)  Erik Jabs 1,155 PNC Park
2)  Shawn Bosman 997 Miller Park
3)  Rob McCoy 992 Angel Stadium

Rather cool to see that I have the most balls snagged at any one current park.  Of course this doesn’t include old stadiums such as Shea or Yankee stadium.

Who owns your stadium? Is there someone that’s legendary that you know that doesn’t put their stats on mygameballs? You should tell them to get on that.

There’s only 43 days until opening day, and 10 days the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 5 more days to win a Phillies shirt.

2012 AL Central Predictions & Preview

I posted a blog post several days ago about the AL East and my projections.  I chose the Yankees to win the division, with the Rays finishing second and earning one of two wild card spots.  Today, I’ll offer my predictions about the AL Central.

I’ll be using the 2012 Major League Baseball Yearbook & Fantasy Guide as a reference to give you each player’s 2012 statistical projections.  If you see a roster error, please leave a comment so that I may fix it.

1st Place:  Detroit Tigers (My prediction 95-67)
The Detroit Tigers made a big splash over the winter by landing Prince Fielder to be their every day first baseman.  The Tigers took a hit when they lost Victor Martinez for the season, but the signing of Fielder more than made up for that.  Reigning MVP and Cy Young Award Winner Justin Verlander will anchor a decent rotation from top to bottom.  If I’m any other team in the Central, I’m not too happy about having the Tigers in my division.  The Tigers were offer a few interesting story lines to follow.  First, everyone will watch Prince Fielder to see how well he transitions from the NL to the AL.

Second, Miguel Cabrera has slimmed down from about 300 pounds to 260?  Giving him a better chance to perform adequately at third base this year.  The last time he played third base regularly was in Florida in 2007, and he put up less than average defensive metrics.

And the third story line to follow is how Justin Verlander follows up on his MVP and Cy Young award season.
The Tigers will be a fun bunch to watch.

2012 Statistical projections:
C Alex Avila .287-18-76
1B Prince Fielder .292-43-129
2B Ryan Raburn .272-18-63
2B Brandon Inge .220-7-36
3B Miguel Cabrera .346-31-108
SS Jhonny Peralta .282-18-83
LF Andy Dirks .251-10-45
CF Austin Jackson .263-10-49
RF Brennan Boesch .268-12-43
DH Delmon Young .278-15-60

SP Justin Verlander 21-6, 2.87 ERA, 235 IP, 237 K
SP Doug Fister 10-13, 3.24 ERA, 203 IP, 129 K
SP Max Scherzer 13-10, 3.85 ERA, 189 IP, 183 K
SP Rick Porcello 13-10, 4.51 ERA, 186 IP, 107 K
SP Jacob Turner 8-7, 4.34 ERA, 133 IP, 98 K
RP Jose Valverde 2.44 ERA, 39 SV, 66 IP, 65 K
RP Joaquin Benoit 2.47 ERA, 1 SV, 66 IP, 73 K

2nd Place: Cleveland Indians (My prediction 83-79)
After the Detroit Tigers, choosing among the Indians, Royals, and Twins was rather difficult.  I see all of them as strong contenders for the second spot in the division, but I’m going with the Indians in hopes that their young players can continue to progress rapidly and Ubaldo Jimenez bounces back.

The Indians have a lot of questions as players such as Shin Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, and Grady Sizemore try to bounce back from injuries and poor seasons.  What will become of Roberto Hernandez aka Fausto Carmona and his fate with the team after being arrested for using false identification?

I’m an Indians fan, so I hope things turn out well for them this year.  I think they’ll definitely be competitive and I can’t wait to attend more games at the Prog.  Hopefully there’s a lot to celebrate this year in Cleveland.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C Carlos Santana .245-24-73
1B Casey Kotchman .300-10-43
1B Matt Laporta .269-16-72
2B Jason Kipnis .256-21-63
3B Lonnie Chisenhall .272-14-46
3B Jack Hanrahan .246-7-35
SS Asdrubal Cabrera .272-19-75
LF Michael Brantley .262-7-61
CF Grady Sizemore .262-17-63
RF Shin Soo Choo .282-18-75
DH Travis Hafner .274-15-62

SP Justin Masterson 10-12, 3.85 ERA, 215 IP, 164 K
SP Ubaldo Jimenez 14-11, 3.95 ERA, 201 IP, 192 K
SP Derek Lowe 12-15, 4.75 ERA, 186 IP, 131 K
SP Josh Tomlin 7-9, 5.31 ERA, 141 IP, 73 K
SP “Fausto Carmona” 10-14, 4.20 ERA, 210 IP, 123 K
SP Kevin Slowey 6-12, 5.37 ERA, 134 IP, 93K
RP Chris Perez 3.02 ERA, 27 SV, 60 IP, 49 K
RP Vinnie Pestano 2.81 ERA, 3 SV, 64 IP, 87 K

3rd Place: Kansas City Royals (My prediction: 82-80)
The Royals haven’t had a winning season since 2003, when they placed 3rd in the Central.  They are stocked with young talent that could possibly lead to them being much more competitive in 2012.  There have been several baseball columnists that have chosen the Royals as the break out or surprise team of 2012.  They will be playing in front of more people this year, as the All Star game has spiked season ticket sales.  Eric Hosmer, taken 3rd overall in the 2008 draft right after Pedro Alvarez looks to be on the path to stardom.

My main concern is their pitching staff.  Luke Hochevar looks to be their ace, but he hasn’t really proven himself as a front line pitcher yet, even though he was the Royals #1 draft pick in 2006.

I’m hoping the Royals can put together a winning season in the year they host the All Star game.  And, as a side note, I’m likely going to Kauffman stadium this summer for one game.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C Salvador Perez .262-11-63
1B Eric Hosmer .298-22-89
2B Johnny Giavotella .265-6-46
3B Mike Moustakas .283-14-86
SS Alcides Escobar .251-4-44
LF Alex Gordon .292-24-84
CF Lorenzo Cain .266-3-42
RF Jeff Francouer .282-18-78
DH Billy Butler .297-19-94

SP Luke Hochevar 12-12, 4.62 ERA, 206 IP 140 K
SP Bruce Chen 11-10, 4.39 ERA, 170 IP, 121 K
SP Jonathan Sanchez 11-10, 4.68 ERA, 167 IP, 174 K
SP Felipe Paulino 7-12, 4.42 ERA, 155 IP, 128 K
SP Danny Duffy 9-10, 4.92 ERA, 155 IP, 145 K
RP Joakim Soria 3.92 ERA, 33 SV, 60 IP, 64 K
RP Jonathan Broxton 3.63 ERA, 5 SV, 69 IP, 87 K

4th Place:  Minnesota Twins (My prediction: 75-87)
The Twins had a disastrous 2011 campaign in which they posted a record of 63-99.  Joe Mauer, who had just signed a 8 year $184 million mega contract prior to the 2010 season, suffered through injuries along with former AL MVP Justin Morneau.
Morneau only had 4 HR last year in a partial season.  Just another reason the Twins had to hang their heads in ’11

These are not the results that ownership expected in the first couple seasons of their beautiful new home, Target Field.

2012 Statistical Predictions:
C Joe Mauer .310-11-81
1B Justin Morneau .300-17-78
2B Alexi Casilla .259-2-26
3B Danny Valencia .258-13-69
SS Jamey Carroll .288-0-19
LF Ben Revere .266-0-51
CF Denard Span .265-3-34
RF Josh Willingham .252-27-88
DH Ryan Doumit .286-14-59

SP Carl Pavano 12-12, 4.20 ERA, 217 IP, 112 K
SP Scott Baker 9-7 3.87 ERA, 144 IP, 126 K
SP Francisco Liriano 13-10, 3.79 ERA, 188 IP, 179 K
SP Brian Duensing 13-14, 4.78 ERA, 194 IP, 140 K
SP Nick Blackburn 8-11, 4.78 ERA, 151 IP, 71 K
RP Matt Capps 3.70 ERA, 29 saves, 66 IP, 43 K
RP Glen Perkins 2.85 ERA, 4 saves, 66 IP, 68 K

5th Place:  Chicago White Sox (My prediction: 72-90)
The White Sox have some talent, but most of their players have really been a disappointment.  There’s Jake Peavy, former Cy Young award winner of 2007, who hasn’t done much since.

Then, there’s Adam Dunn, nicknamed the Big Donkey.  He was nothing more than a big goat in 2011, despised by the White Sox faithful for hitting .159 with 11 home runs.  That’s right .159!  The White Sox might as well forfeit their use of the DH and hit pitchers than this guy.  What makes things worse is that Dunn signed a 4 year, $56 million contract prior to 2011.  So White Sox fans, you could have three more years of this.

The league has figured out Alexei Ramirez, who set all of his career highs in home runs, RBIs and batting average during his rookie season in 2008.

Sorry, but it might be a long summer at US Cellular Field.

2012 Statistical Projections:
C AJ Pierzynski .283-9-48
1B Paul Konerko .278-31-101
2B Gordon Beckham .234-10-46
3B Brent Morel .277-15-54
SS Alexei Ramirez .271-15-68
LF Alejandro De Aza .286-8-52
CF Alex Rios .244-15-56
RF Dayan Viciedo .276-16-49
DH Adam Dunn .212-21-65

SP John Danks 11-11, 4.07 ERA, 186 IP, 146 K
SP Gavin Floyd 11-12, 4.21 ERA, 188 IP, 151 K
SP Jake Peavy 7-7, 4.61 ERA, 109 IP, 97 K
SP Philip Humber 8-15, 4.15 ERA, 174 IP, 135 K
SP Chris Sale 11-8, 3.78 ERA, 155 IP, 160 K
RP Addison Reed 2.65 ERA, 24 saves, 54 IP, 77 K
RP Matt Thornton 3.09 ERA, 7 saves, 58 IP

In closing, I think the AL Central will be:
1) Tigers
2) Indians
3) Royals
4) Twins
5) White Sox

What are your picks?

There’s only 44 days until opening day, and 11 days the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 6 more days to win a Phillies shirt.

Philadelphia Phillies Shirt Giveaway

This week’s giveaway is a Philadelphia Phillies T-Shirt.  It is the fourth in a series of weekly giveaways leading up to opening day.  I’ve been posting everyday (30 consecutive so far) leading up to opening day, and giving stuff away to thank my readers.

To date,
I’ve given away a Matt Wieters shirt to Joey Orr,
a Brandon Phillips shirt to Matt Jackson,
and a Dustin Pedroia shirt to Stephen D.

The shirt(s) I’m giving away this week are…

A Ryan Howard Nike shirt.

This shirt not only is very colorful, but also is the perfect shirt to wear when sitting near the Phillies dugout.  Ryan Howard will probably end up with the third out ball in about half of the innings.  Simply stand up in this shirt and raise your glove.  He’ll see the shirt and have to hook you up.

I’m also giving away this Philadelphia Phillies shirt:

It features the ‘classic print’ design, which is one of my favorite Majestic shirts designs.

Or, how about a Roy Halladay shirt?

That’s right, it says Doc-tober, and I think you can figure out why.

How about a clever Hunter Pence shirt?

Get it?  Pence-ylvania… Pennsylvania.

The winner of this weeks entry gets their choice of any of those four shirts.  I can get you pretty much any size you want, as the local sports store has many different sizes in stock.

I post blog entries every day.  All you have to do is leave a comment or retweet my blog link on twitter.

So, again,  to enter:
1)  Leave a comment.
You can enter up to seven times per week simply by leaving a comment.  Non-pertinent, spam, or inappropriate comments will not be accepted.  If you comment multiple times on the same blog entry, it still counts as one entry.  For example, if you commented on three different blog posts from this week, you’d have three entries.  If you’d comment three times on the same blog posting, it would could as one.

2)  Retweet (RT) my posts on Twitter
You can find me on twitter under 333greystreet.  Simply retweet my daily posts of my blog link and I’ll count that as an entry.  My blog is connected to my twitter so that I automatically tweet once I post a new entry.  Each day, I’ll search who’s retweeted me and enter those users into a hat along with the commenters.  By the way, you do not need to retweet my every tweet, only the tweets that announce a new blog post and url.  For example, if I tweeted, ‘Rerun of the Pirates Opening Day 2011 on tonight,’ if you retweeted it, it wouldn’t count as an entry.

At the end of the week on Sunday, I’ll have Olivia, Amy or I will choose a name from a hat and announce the winner.

Also, I’ve decided to giveaway more shirts this week based on the performance of my blog.  For each day that my blog gets over 1,000 views, I’ll choose another Phillies shirt winner at the end of this week.  So, I could possibly be giving away seven Phillies shirts this week.

Why spend $25 in a store or $15 on ebay when you can get them for free here?

Since my blog began in 2008, I’ve had four days that I’ve had over 1,000 views, with my busiest day coming back in April 2011 when I had 11,441 views.

That’s because of THIS VIDEO that I shot.

So far this month, I’ve had a few days where I’ve been between 600-700 views, but haven’t been able to break that elusive 1,000 barrier in a day yet this year.

Maybe all of the Phillies fans out there will change that.  Maybe a Phillies player will tweet this giveaway to Phillies fans and make me honor my offer and give away a bunch of shirts.  I hope so.

Anyhow, my question is, in an NL East consisting of the Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Nationals, and Mets, where do you think the Phillies will finish?

If you have them finishing first?  How far do you think they go in the playoffs?  If they’re not winning their division, who is?

I think the Phillies are too good of a team to not win the division.  The Marlins and Nationals are much improved and will be major players this year, so I don’t think the Phillies will win 102 games again this year, but they’ll be in the mid 90’s and well on their way to another shot at the World Series.

There’s only 45 days until opening day, and 12 days the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies).

Dustin Pedroia Jersey Shirt Winner

The winner of the Dustin Pedroia shirt as been announced!

Watch the video to see who won!

Congratulations!

Previous giveaways were for this Brandon Phillips shirt which was won by Matt Jackson.    The first winner of this Matt Wieters shirt was  Joey Orr.

I’ll have near gear to give away tomorrow.  I think I’ve narrowed down to a National League team since this past week was an AL giveaway.

46 days until opening day, 13 days the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies).

Finally! Pitchers & Catchers report to Spring Training

If you’re a true baseball fan, then you get excited each winter when you hear the phrase ‘pitchers & catchers.’  It signifies the end of a long off season and the beginning of a new baseball season.

Today, pitchers and catchers from the Orioles, Twins, Athletics, Cubs, Reds, Phillies, Pirates, Cardinals and Giants reported to spring training.  In addition to the pitchers and catchers, often times position players will show up as well to get some early work in and shake off the rust from the winter months.

I love Spring Training.  I’ve gone to Florida for Spring Training for five years in a row, starting in 2007.   The winters in Pennsylvania are often very gloomy, so heading down to Spring Training really brightens my mood.  I’m not in Florida right now, but I did find some pictures to cheer you baseball fans up from the winter doldrums.

Baseball is back!

New Pirates first baseman Casey McGehee hasn’t played much first in his career, but is already practicing the position in Spring Training:

Pedro Alvarez has been a bust so far in his young major league career.  He’s still young, and the third base job is his to lose.  If he does lose it, McGehee will move to 3B.  Here’s Pedro working on his fielding:

New Pirates pitcher Erik Bedard delivers a pitch while pitching coach Ray Searage does his best not to distract him by not saying anything:

Neil Walker does some soft tossing with Pedro Alvarez:

In the Phillies camp, Roy Halladay pulled into Spring Training in a car from about a hundred years ago:

And Jonathan Papelbon did some long tossing.

The Reds pitchers did some light stretching and for me, might just be the favorites to win the NL Central:

In Giants camp, jerseys for Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, and Matt Cain are ready to go for the first day of workouts:

And Matt Cain addressed the media:

The defending World Series champion St Louis Cardinals reported to camp and new manager Mike Matheny fielded a bevy of questions from the media:

While their pitchers worked out on a practice field:

And Yadier Molina showed up to camp with a brand new tattoo.  I guess he’s not counting on winning the world series in 2012, because I don’t see place to fit ‘2012’ on that trophy anywhere.

The hapless Cubs were ready to go as Theo Epstein and Dale Sveum held a media session.  The Cubs have so many problems with bad contracts.  Will these guys be able to save this sinking ship?

And Bryan LaHair signed autographs for a young fan at Fitch Park:

The Oakland Athletics had some buzz in camp as news swirled that they may sign ex-slugger and major distraction Manny Ramirez.  In the meantime, the jerseys were hung with care in the clubhouse:

And Tommy Milone warmed up on the A’s spring training field.

The Twins will try and rebound off of a horrific season in which they lost 99 games.  Carl Pavano lounged in the clubhouse and explained exactly how they would turn things around:

And finally, the Orioles reported to their spring training home to try and figure out how to perform better this year than the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.

Is anyone else excited for the 2012 season?

47 days until opening day, 14 days the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 1 day left to win this Dustin Pedroia T-Shirt.

Pirates/Yankees AJ Burnett Trade

Earlier today, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired AJ Burnett from the New York Yankees for $13 million in cash and low level prospects Diego Moreno and Exicardo Cayones.  The Yankees will also cover the other $20 million that is owed to Burnett over the final two years of his current contract.

AJ’s best years may be behind him, but I like the move.  It was a good trade for both the Yankees and the Pirates.  There is no loser in this deal.  The trade allows the Yankees to go out and sign a DH with the money the Pirates are sending in the deal – likely Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon, or Eric Chavez.  The Pirates deepen a rotation that flopped in the second half of the season last year.

The move gives the Pirates six legitimate starting pitchers in their rotation.

Here’s the Pirates rotation candidates along with their 2011 stats:
Charlie Morton 3.83 ERA, 29 GS, 171 IP, 110 K
James McDonald 4.21 ERA, 31 GS, 171 IP, 142 K
Jeff Karstens 3.38 ERA, 26 GS, 162 IP, 96 K
Kevin Correia 4.79 ERA, 26 GS, 154 IP, 77 K
Erik Bedard  3.62 ERA, 24 GS, 129 IP, 125 K
AJ Burnett 5.15 ERA, 32 GS, 190 IP, 173

So, who comes out of the rotation?  Charlie Morton may not be ready for opening day, as he is coming off of a hip injury.  Assuming he is ready, I think that Kevin Correia is the odd man out.  Correia was a surprising All Star for the Pirates in 2011, but his season drastically changed when he was awarded a spot on the All Star team.  In the first half, he was 11-7 with a 4.01 ERA, a WHIP of 1.28 and a opponents avg/slug of .270/.414.  In the second half, he was 1-4 with a 7.23 ERA, a WHIP of 1.74 and an opponents avg/slug of .338/.597.  He was shut down at the end of August with a strained oblique.  Because of Correia’s contract, I think he would probably fill the role of a long man in the bullpen and be the go to guy if a starter went down.

Will AJ Burnett be successful in Pittsburgh?  I think he will be.  First, he will be out of the spotlight and will be able to focus on pitching.  He also will be close to his home, a mansion in Monkton MD, which is 4.5 hours from Pittsburgh.

AJ chose Pittsburgh in part because of its proximity to his home – he even nixed a trade that would’ve sent him to the playoff likely Angels for Bobby Abreu because he didn’t want to play 100 games on the West Coast.

Secondly, AJ will face a much weaker offense division than in the AL East.  I looked into AJ’s career stats against the current players of each team in the NL Central:
Brewers vs AJ:  .252 BA, .325 OBP, .324 SLG, 1 HR, 111 AB
Cardinals vs AJ: .263 BA, .365 OBP, .343 SLG, 2 HR, 99 AB
Cubs vs AJ: .160 BA, .263 OBP, .230 SLG, 2 HR, 100 AB
Astros vs AJ: .375 BA, .474 OBP, .438 SLG, 0 HR, 16 AB
Reds vs AJ: .192 BA, .261 OBP, .269 SLG, 0 HR, 78 AB

Those are impressive stats.  Too bad Jason Michaels has owned AJ Burnett, or the Astros stats would be lower.  Since the Astros will be playing with minor league caliber players in 2012, I’m not too worried about how he fares against them.

Thirdly, AJ will pitch half of his games in PNC Park, which typically surrenders home runs at a pace near the bottom of baseball.  One reason is because of the Pirates offense, but another is that its a rather large field.

So, what did the Pirates give up?  Besides the cash, not much.  There’s Diego Moreno, a pitcher who throws 98 MPH, but was suspended from the Pirates minor league team for unprofessional conduct for making out with a fan during a game in the bullpen.

His career line in 5 minor league seasons is 11-9, 2.41 ERA, 116 G, 194 IP, 212 K.  When left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, he went ignored by the other 29 teams in the MLB.

The other prospect is Exicardo Cayones, who is basically a reincarnation of Rafael Belliard, except he plays the outfield.  He has no power whatsoever.

His career line in 3 minor league seasons is .272 avg, .372 obp, .380 slg, 1 HR in 558 plate appearances.  He would be more valuable if he were fast since he seems to be able to get on base, but he only has 14 career steals in 28 attempts in the minors.

Kudos to Neal Huntington for not giving in to the Yankees original request of AJ Burnett for Garrett Jones.

Great trade.

What’s everyone else think of this deal?

48 days until opening day, 1 day until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, and 2 days left to win this Dustin Pedroia T-Shirt.

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