Category Archives: Matt Kemp

2017 MLB Season Preview: Atlanta Braves

2017 MLB Season Team Preview Atlanta Braves Bartolo Colon funnyThe Atlanta Braves have made some interesting moves. The team has mostly relied on young talent over the last few seasons while rebuilding, but they turned the page and acquired some veterans who were once All Stars.

The Braves now have two former Cy Young winners in their rotation (Bartolo Colon & R.A. Dickey) and have acquired two other former All Stars since just before last seasons’s trade deadline (Matt Kemp & Brandon Phillips).

Both of the former Cy Young winners are over the age of 40, but if they can get 175 innings out of each of them, they will be worth their salary to mentor their young talent.

Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Atlanta Braves.

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2016 MLB Season Preview: San Diego Padres

Alexei Ramirez San Diego Padres 2016 season mlb preview america's white boyThe San Diego Padres aren’t destined for great things in 2016. Their roster needed a lot of massaging to make it competitive. GM A.J. Preller tried to add some low-cost pieces this offseason to do just that.

The Padres are expected to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline. They do have some pitchers that could net them some decent prospects. I expect Tyson Ross to garner the most attention from teams this season. A bidding war could bump up the price.

How will San Diego’s new bullpen work out this season?

Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the San Diego Padres.

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2015 MLB Team Preview: San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres 2015 MLB team preview bad tattoo shirtless funny weirdSan Diego was quite busy this offseason. Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko are the only starters from last season that will be in the starting lineup for San Diego. They’ve traded a lot of youth to acquire players like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers, but they now have a team that could make the postseason.

The Padres are in the unfortunate position of being in the same division as the Dodgers and the defending World Series champions, the Giants. San Francisco doesn’t look as opposing, but the Dodgers might be the best team in the Majors. The road to a postseason berth will be a difficult one.

Can San Diego contend this season or will they face the same growing pains the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays faced after completing so many offseason trades?

Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the San Diego Padres.

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What the Heck are the Padres Doing This Offseason?

San Diego Padres Swinging Friar MLB mascot 2015The San Diego Padres aren’t trying to use a slow-build process to rebuild their team. New general manager A.J. Preller is charging out of the gate. He was a scouting director for the Texas Rangers for the last decade. During his time there, Texas used their farm system to trade for MLB-ready bats and arms.

He appears to be trying to use the same method in San Diego.

The Padres have already traded for former All-Stars Matt Kemp & Justin Upton, former top prospects Wil Myers & Will Middlebrooks and acquired underrated talents like Derek Norris and Brandon Morrow.

Can the San Diego Padres instantly contend with the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West or will they need a year to tinker with their current roster?

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2014 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

Hot Sexy Alyssa Milano Los Angeles Dodgers Fan 2014 MLB Team PreviewThe Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t look like a very good team early in the season. Manager Don Mattingly actually looked like he was about to be canned. They called up Yasiel Puig and suddenly became the best team in baseball.

The Dodgers have deep pockets and have been throwing money at players since they signed their lucrative TV deal. They signed Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal and have a half dozen players making more than $15 million this season.

Can Yasiel Puig repeat last season’s breakout season? Will Matt Kemp be moved before the end of the season?

Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Los Angels Dodgers.

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2013 MLB Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

forsaleThe Los Angeles Dodgers are officially all-in on competing for a World Series win in 2013. The Magic Johnson-led ownership group are working on finalizing a TV deal that’s upwards of $7 billion dollars over the course of the deal. They have the money to sign every major free agent and they started with signing pitcher Zack Greinke.

Will the ex-Boston group of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett bounce back from an ugly 2012 season?

Is Don Mattingly a lame duck manager or will the Dodgers sign him to a new deal soon?

Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Continue reading

2012 MLB: What We’ve Learned So Far…

If Matt Kemp was the MVP of April, the May award would go to either Giancarlo Stanton, Melky Cabrera, or Carlos Gonzalez. Their bats started to heat up as the degrees raised on the thermometer.

If I had to chose between Stanton, Cabrera, and Gonzalez, I would have to go with Stanton. He hit a grand slam that hit the scoreboard. It made a large portion of the scoreboard go black. If the Miami Marlins want to keep a left-field scoreboard, they may want to move it deeper into the park.

May is a month when teams start getting an idea if their roster needs tweaked. Players start getting called up from the minors and veterans begin to get “designated for assignment.”

Here are some things that we learned in May…

Jamie Moyer is a bad ass. Yes, a middle school pitcher could beat him on the radar gun, but you have to respect what he has done. The Colorado Rockies released him last week, but he set the age records for wins and oldest person to get an RBI. I hope a team gives him an opportunity to pitch at age 50 next season.

– No one can hit Ernesto Frieri. The Los Angeles Angels reliever did not allow a hit during the entire month of May. He has registered 30 strikeouts in 14 innings and saved his first game. He currently shares the role of closer with Scott Downs. I have a feeling that Frieri will have that job by himself if he keeps this up.

– Aroldis Chapman? (see: Ernesto Frieri)

– Matt Kemp’s hamstring pisses him off. He spent nearly the entire month of May on the disabled list. He came back, but re-injured his hamstring and will be out the entire month of June. Kemp was so mad that he had a mini-tirade in the dugout.

– Bryan LaHair falls back down to Earth. He was the only Chicago Cubs offense in April. He looked to have a stranglehold on the first-base job and block Anthony Rizzo from being called up. He is now stuck in a platoon with Jeff Baker and sits when the Cubs face a left-handed starting pitcher.

– Alfonso Soriano found the Fountain of Youth. He reduced his bat weight by an ounce and a quarter and his power has returned. He hit eight home runs in the last 30 days. The Cubs are hoping that he can keep this up so they can finally trade him.

– Justin Smoak can be called “The Smoak Monster” once again. He started the season off horribly, but he had seven home runs and a .280 average in the month of May. He now has a .241 average, which is much better than hitting around the Mendoza line.

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are really, really good. No one thought they would hit this well so early in their careers. Harper is a ball of energy and is a threat with his bat and his cannon of an arm. Trout looks like he could turn into a 30/30 guy. He will definitely have over 30 stolen bases this season, since he has nine in only 127 at-bats.

Mark Trumbo ate Albert Pujols. Going into the season, analysts had written off Trumbo. They thought that he could end up in a platoon with an outfielder and spell Pujols at first-base. Trumbo currently has a line of 10/27/.331 and Pujols has a line of 8/23/.238. Pujols hit all of those homers in May, so he is headed in the right direction.

Jared Weaver and Roy Halladay are human. Both pitchers started off the year very hot. Weaver pitched a no-hitter earlier this season and Halladay had a few games in which he has no-hitter stuff. They both landed on the disabled-list at the end of May. Weaver will only miss a couple starts, but Halladay’s season is at risk. He is having a second opinion on his shoulder and could need surgery.

– The Pittsburgh Pirates have a talented pitcher? James McDonald came out of nowhere and has been phenomenal. In May, he had 39 K’s in 35 innings with an ERA of 1.54 and a WHIP under 1.00. His BABIP doesn’t do him any favors by showing that he has had a bit of luck. His K/BB is currently at 63/19, a rate that he needs to keep up if he wants to continue his early success.

– The AL East is too close too call. In the month of May, every team in the division were either 15-13, 15-14, or 14-14. You can’t get any closer than that.

– Will Middlebrooks made Kevin Youkilis expendable. Middlebrooks is a younger version of Youk, but with more power. The Boston Red Sox will get a nice return for the “Greek God of Walks”.

– The Chicago White Sox are showing that they could be a playoff team. They went 18-11 with a +34 run differential in the month of May. Davan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham, and Paul Konerko all lead a stat category for their position in May. The 2012 roster is almost a mirror image of last year’s team. They are responding to a new message and probably grew tired of Ozzie Guillen’s method. Robin Ventura is getting the most out of the team.

– The NL East is as close as the race in the AL East. The Washington Nationals are currently leading, but only 3.5 games separate them from last place. I can see this race still being a three or four team race at the trading deadline.

– The St. Louis Cardinals are confusing. They have a +52 run differential but are only one game over .500. The Cincinnati Reds are looking like the team to beat, but don’t count out the Pirates. This is definitely a three team race.

–  The NL West will be won by either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Francisco Giants. The Arizona Diamondbacks aren’t getting as many balls fall as they did last year. The pitching staffs for the Dodgers and Giants look dominant. The NL Cy Young winner could be won by a pitcher in this division. Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, and Madison Bumgarner and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in the discussion.

The following pictures are a monthly treat for my female readers. I’m not a huge fan of this section of the post, but it has been a hit. Female sports fans have been very kind to this site, so here’s a little eye candy for the ladies…I hope you enjoy shirtless photos of Hunter Pence, C.J. Wilson, Ryan Braun, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Lance Berkman. (yeah, sorry about the Berkman photo)

Sorry about that guys! I promised a female reader that I would do this once every month during the baseball season. Shirtless photos are my limit…no one could handle seeing a nude photo of Berkman.

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2012 MLB: What We’ve Learned in April

The baseball season is only a month old and fans are already making instant judgments about their teams. They are either booking tickets for possible World Series games or looking ahead to 2013. You have already witnessed “Red Sox Nation” call for the head of their brand new manager after a small sample size of the season. No one can say that baseball fans aren’t passionate about their teams.

Baseball fans and analysts had some questions going into the 2012 season. How would Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder fare in the American League? Can the Red Sox bounce back from their late-season collapse in 2011? Is this the year that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals finally make the playoffs? I do my best to explain what we have learned so far this season and what to keep your eye on in May.

April is such an odd month because you can’t trust your team’s record or the players’ statistics. It is rare that a team ever leads their division from April to October. My favorite reaction is when a player gets a home run in the first game, you’ll always hear, “he’s on pace to hit 162 homers this season.” It is one of my pet peeves and I’m sure that I’ll hear it every year.

Here are some things that we have learned in April…

– Matt Kemp is really good. You already should have known that, but some analysts that he couldn’t match his stats from 2011. They are partially correct since he’s on pace to blow those numbers out of the water and contend for the triple crown.

– Stephen Strasburg is fully recovered from last season’s Tommy John surgery. He currently has a K/9 of 9.56, which means that he averages over nine strikeouts per nine innings. He may have had a higher K/9 at this point during his rookie season, but he should have increased velocity by June.

– This is not the year for the Royals or Pirates. These teams are stocked with young talent, but they are off to bad starts. In 2011, Pittsburgh was contending for the NL Central division at the trade deadline, but hit a wall and lost most of their remaining games. The Royals are 6-16 and the Pirates are fairing a little better at 10-13. A lot of people thought that the NL Central would be a coin flip this season, but the St. Louis Cardinals are off to a hot start and the rest of the division isn’t as bad as predicted.

– Bobby Valentine might survive the season. After the first two weeks, the fans wanted him out of Boston. The Red Sox have played well since and currently have a 11-12 record. It’s not great, as long as they stay within five games of first place, Valentine will stay out of the hot seat.

– Bryce Harper is a future star. He has only played a couple of games in the Majors, but everyone has seen flashes of what Haper will be in a few years. He has a good bat and a cannon for an arm. I’m excited to see what he does the rest of the season, even if the Washington Nationals send him back to Triple-A for awhile.

– Yu Darvish could end up being the best signing in the off-season. I am skeptical of pitchers coming from Japan and adjusting to Major League hitters. Dice-K started off hot, but the second time a team faced him, they started to figure him out. The Texas Rangers have a powerful offense, so he doesn’t need to be perfect to win games. As long as his ERA hovers around 4.00, he’ll win double-digit games by July. He already has four wins, so he’s on pace to have an excellent rookie campaign.

– The Cardinals might be a better team this year than in 2011. They lost Albert Pujols, but they added Carlos Beltran and they are getting more out of David Freese. Adding Lance Lynn to their starting rotation was a smart move. Chris Carpenter will probably miss the season and Adam Wainwright doesn’t look like himself. Pitching could be an issue later in the season, but they are currently 15-8.

– It’s impossible to hit homers at Wrigley Field in April. When the temperature hovers around 50 degrees, the ball dies in the outfield. The wind is usually blowing in and teams can’t drive the ball over the ivy. The Chicago Cubs only had nine home runs in April. They are at the bottom of the league and it’s bad when individual guys are leading your entire time.

– Bryan LaHair is not a 4-A player. The Cubs made a bold move this off-season and declared that LaHair would get a fair shot at being their everyday first-basemen. They traded for Anthony Rizzo this off-season and most assumed that LaHair would be keeping first-base warm. He is currently 2nd in many offensive categories behind Matt Kemp. He’s batting nearly .400 and slugging almost .800, so he has earned his spot in the starting lineup.

– When the Cubs trade Matt Garza, they will get a lot in return. He is currently 2-1, 2.76 ERA, and a K:B ratio 3.6. MLB added an extra wild-card spot in the playoffs this season. The commissioner did a Cubs a huge favor, since more teams will still be in the playoff race. The price for pitching will be at a premium and the price will be driven up. Detroit, Boston, and Los Angeles need pitching and they’ll have to give Chicago a king’s ransom to get Garza.

– Moving the walls in at Citi Field hasn’t solved the Mets offensive issues. The team has hit 18 home runs this season, but only 7 of those came at home. Lucas Duda is leading the team with four dingers and David Wright has regained his All-Star form, but the rest of the team needs to step up. Ike Davis is batting lower than the Mendoza line and isn’t looking like a future All-Star.

– Albert Pujols is still adjusting to the American League. He has yet to hit a home run and he’s not drawing as many walks. I don’t believe that he’s stressed out or that his skills are diminishing. It is difficult for a player to go from the National League to the American League. He is still adjusting to AL pitchers and to a new city. He’ll have a much better May and you’ll start to see his numbers multiply as it gets warmer.

– Terms like “Grady Sizemore shirtless” and “Tim Lincecum shirtless” still brings me thousands of hits a month. I thought that the Sizemore search queries would taper off, but it hasn’t happened. I am looking forward to weird Google searches that involve Bryce Harper, Evan Longoria, and Matt Kemp…it’s only a matter of time.

– The Yankees should have hired Don Mattingly as their manager. I’m not saying that Joe Girardi is a bad manager, but Mattingly has personally improved Kemp, James Loney, and Andre Ethier. I watched an interview during Spring Training about what he has done to help each of them. He seemed to be a better developmental manager and would work well with the new crop of Yankees that are bound to play over the next few seasons.

– Jake Peavy and Johan Santana are pitching like it’s 2008. The White Sox are looking very smart by signing Peavy. His career looked to be nearing its end, but he’s had his best month in a few season. Santana is also out to a great start because his pitches look alive. Peavy and Santana are great stories and I hope they continue to dominate.

– Philadelphia Phillies are really missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. They are Philly’s best two hitters and they have struggled this year. It doesn’t matter if you have the league’s best starting rotation, you need to score runs. It doesn’t help that Jimmy Rollins is off to a bad start. The NL East will be one of the most competitive races this year. Washington and Atlanta are legit contenders and this could turn into a two team race if the Phillies can’t manufacture more offense.

– The Tigers aren’t a lock to win the AL Central. On paper, Detroit is the best team…by far. They started off hot, but they are currently 12-11. Their starting rotation has been a mess with Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Adam Wilk all having an ERA over 5.50. Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson have been most of the team’s offense. Prince Fielder is a second-half player, so he’ll help carry the team down the stretch.

April was an exciting beginning to the 2012 season. I can’t wait for what transpires in May and to see which teams prove their worth. You’ll start to see the hitters catch up with the pitchers in May. Players who haven’t found power this season (Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Nelson Cruz), expect them to bounce back next month.

The following pictures are a treat to my female readers. You have all be very kind to this site and here’s a little eye candy for you. (The first photo is the funniest picture that I’ve seen in a long, long time)

By: TwitterButtons.com

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.