Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zero ERA Club

Every season More Hardball tracks the last man standing when it comes to not allowing an earned run. Through the first month of the season, there are 5 relief pitchers to rack up a minimum of 10 innings pitched without surrendering a run.  More are close to joining, but have yet to meet my arbitrary requirement of innings. 

Zero ERA Club:
Dellin Betances/NYY - 12.1 IP
Will Harris/HOU - 12 IP
Andrew Miller/NYY - 11.1 IP
Aroldis Chapman/CIN - 10.2 IP
Adam Ottavino/COL - 10.1 IP

On the verge of joining the group- Ken Giles/PHI, Jason Frasor/KCR, Huston Street/LAA, David Robertson/CHW, Wade Davis/KCR, Brad Ziegler/ARI, Pedro Strop/CHC, Yohan Pino/KCR, and Carson Smith/SEA.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Three Things We Know After The Start of the MLB Season

When a season is 6 months long, it might seem a bit ridiculous to start making projections this early. After all, more than 150 games still remain for all the teams in Major League Baseball. With that being said, there are millions out there in daily fantasy baseball leagues trying to identify not only players poised for a breakout year, but World Series sleepers. Here are 3 early trends that probably will hold up for the entire season.

Kris Bryant Hype Will Only Grow
The Chicago Cubs actually have some pretty solid talent on the roster in 2015. Jon Lester is their new ace, and they have young performers in daily fantasy baseball leagues like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo poised to be possible All-Stars. However, the most talked about player on the team is not even in Chicago at the moment. Bryant was controversially sent down to the minor leagues after an outstanding spring training. Basically, the move was made due to the fact that it saves Chicago money in the long run. Between billboards near Wrigley Field and minor league updates on ESPN, the hype isn’t going away.

Kansas City Is Here To Say
A lot of people around baseball saw the Kansas City Royals as a nice story in 2014. They were able to put together a pretty good run in the playoffs last year, making it all the way to the World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants. However, not a lot of people really gave them the credit they deserved. The winter wasn’t especially kind to them, as they did lose their ace pitcher James Shields, but they have been able to stay competitive early on this year. In fact, they are the best team in baseball through the 1st few games. The American League Central looks to be pretty good, but Kansas City is not a one-hit wonder.

Aging Hitters Still Have Value
Performance enhancing drugs allowed older players to stay relevant for longer period of time. No one is going to say that they are officially gone from the game of baseball, but testing has certainly limited things a bit. Once that became the norm, older players started to regress pretty early. However, people should not be so quick to write off guys in 2015. Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler are just a few guys well into their 30s performing at a high level. Their injury risks might be a little bit higher, but they still have value for their teams.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Carson Smith & Paulo Orlando Updates

More Hardball has recently focused in on the early beginnings of Carson Smith and Paulo Orlando's careers. 

Smith, a tall right-handed reliever for the Seattle Mariners, has a pristine 0.00 ERA through the first 16 MLB appearances, dating back to late last season.  He's pitched 15 innings, racked up 19 strikeouts, notched 1 win and 5 holds, to go along with a tidy 0.73 WHIP.  Impressive.

Orlando, a 29 year old Brazilian rookie outfielder for the Kansas City Royals,  has 7 hits in 7 games.  Nothing special, right?  Wrong.  Of those 7 hits, 5 of them have been for triples.  That's ridiculous!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Triple Shot of Paulo Orlando

I pride myself on knowing every baseball player on every MLB team.  To my surprise when reading the box scores this past week a new name popped up, Paulo Orlando.  The Brazilian outfielder from the Kansas City Royals is a 29 year old rookie this season and is making quite a splash.  His first 3 hits of his MLB career have been triples.  Yep, he's 3-8, with 3 triples and 3 runs scored.  That's quite impressive.  If he continues to get at bats, I imagine triples will continue to come, as he averaged 7 a season in the minors (63 in 9 seasons) and has some speed (200 SB).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Carson Smith - You Can't Score On Him!

Here at More Hardball the sample size does not matter, be it large or small.  For example, Mariners relief pitcher, Carson Smith, has only 12 MLB innings to his name.  Yet, here I am doing a featured post on him.  Why?  Good question...

The 25 year old, 6'6" righty is having himself a helluva beginning to his career.  Over parts of 2 seasons he's appeared in 12 games, tossed 12 innings, struck out 17 batters, and allowed ZERO runs with a 0.67 WHIP.  That's pretty damn impressive.  He's averaging 12.8 K/9.

It took Carson only 3 minor league seasons to ascend to the Majors.  In Seattle's system, he averaged 11.2 K/9 and owned a 2.55 ERA in 155 innings.  This kid seems to have a bright future ahead of him, and before long the rest of baseball will be taking notice.

Monday, April 06, 2015

MLB 2015 Season Predictions

AL East:
Baltimore Orioles      88-74
Toronto Blue Jays     86-76
Boston Red Sox        83-81
New York Yankees  78-84
Tampa Bay Rays      68-94

AL Central:
Detroit Tigers           92-70
Kansas City Royals  87-75
Cleveland Indians    85-77
Chicago White Sox  82-80
Minnesota Twins     67-95

AL West:
Seattle Mariners        93-69
Los Angeles Angels  91-71
Oakland Athletics     85-77
Houston Astros         79-83
Texas Rangers          68-94

NL East:
Washington Nationals  97-65
Miami Marlins             90-72
New York Mets           81-81
Atlanta Braves            66-96
Philadelphia Phillies   59-103

NL Central:
St. Louis Cardinals     89-73
Pittsburgh Pirates       87-75
Milwaukee Brewers   80-82
Chicago Cubs            79-83
Cincinnati Reds         75-87

NL West:
Los Angeles Dodgers    95-67
San Francisco Giants     86-76
San Diego Padres           85-77
Colorado Rockies           68-94
Arizona Diamondbacks  66-96

AL Wild Card - Angels over Royals
NL Wild Card - Pirates over Marlins

ALDS - Mariners over Angels
ALDS - Tigers over Orioles
NLDS - Nationals over Pirates
NLDS - Dodgers over Cardinals

ALCS - Mariners over Tigers
NLCS - Nationals over Dodgers

WS - Mariners over Nationals

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Spring Training is Over!

Spring Training is over.  The 2015 MLB season officially begins tonight with the Cubs taking on the Cardinals.  Before we leave the Cactus and Grapefruit League action a faint memory, let's check in on the the statistical leaders.

Batting Average:
1. Jose Abreu/CWS - .508
2. Curtis Graderson/NYM - .442
3. Mike Trout/LAA - .441

1. Mike Trout/LAA - 22
2. Billy Burns/OAK - 21
3. Eric Young Jr./ATL - 17

1. CJ Cron/LAA - 11
2. 8 Players tied for 2nd with 8 apiece

1. Jordany Valdespin/MIA - 4
2. 8 Players tied for 2nd with 3 apiece

1. Kris Bryant/CHC - 9
2. Mike Zunino/SEA - 7
3. 8 Players tied for 3rd with 6 apiece

1. Eduardo Escobar/MIN - 20
2. Albert Pujols/LAA & Mark Trumbo/ARI - 19

Stolen Bases:
1. Eric Young Jr/ATL, Odubel Herrera/PHI & Dee Gordon/MIA - 7

1. Mike Trout/LAA - 1.362
2. Mike Zunino/SEA - 1.287
3. Curtis Granderson/NYM - 1.243

1. Jacob DeGrom/NYM, Daniel Norris/TOR & Taijuan Walker/SEA - 4

1. Kevin Graveman/OAK - 0.36
2. Taijuan Walker/SEA - 0.67
3. David Phelps/MIA - 0.95

1. Jason Marquis/CIN - 31
2. Angel Sanchez/DET - 30
3. Anthony DeSclafani/CIN - 29.2

1. Luis Garcia/PHI - 4
2. 6 Players tied for 2nd with 3 apiece

1. Angel Sanchez/DET - 31
2. Daniel Norris/TOR - 30
3. David Price/DET - 29

1. Taijuan Walker/SEA - 0.56
2. Jacob DeGrom/NYM - 0.73
3. Kevin Graveman/OAK - 0.75