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And here we are. Another MLB regular season has come to an end. The playoffs are in full swing, with the handful of remaining teams doing everything within their power to make it to the World Series.

However, the league’s individual honors aren’t predicated on playoff performance. These awards are for the regular season. And while there was a fair amount of up-and-down over the course of the year, a lot of these names are ones that aren’t the least bit surprising. There are arguments to be made – there always are – but I’m comfortable with the selections that I’ve made. As always with this sort of thing, your mileage may vary.

Here we go: 2019’s final Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 October 2019 16:24

Road to the 2019 World Series

Another long MLB season has come to an end. All 162 regular season games (and a couple of 163s) have been played. And as of this writing, just 10 remain with a chance to take home a World Series championship. Two-thirds of the league’s teams have packed it in and headed home for a long winter of wondering what might have been and awaiting the arrival of next spring and the ever-present hope that that season brings.

But now, it’s time to look ahead to what this postseason might have in store for us.

Rather than trying to put together a series-by-series breakdown, let us take a general look at the respective championship chances of all 10 remaining teams, ranking their World Series likelihoods in ascending order.

It’s all guesswork, obviously – heck, if I knew anything, I’d have gotten more than six out of the 10 playoff teams right in our MLB season preview back in March. I feel reasonably good about these new rankings, so this list will almost certainly turn out to be laughably inaccurate.

But hey – fortune favors the bold.

(Note: As of press time, the two wild card games had yet to be played. Thus, all four Wild Card teams are included on this list.)

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 02 July 2019 22:54

Red Sox Report Card - June 2019

With the actual halfway point of the MLB season behind us – and the unofficial halfway point that is the All-Star Game just a few days away – things are looking … OK?

June could have been worse; the team managed a 15-12 record over the span of the month. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to keep pace with the division leaders; July 1 saw the Red Sox behind both the Tampa Bay Rays and the division-leading New York Yankees, who held a double-digit lead over Boston.

Still, there were bright spots. The team’s offense performed admirably over the course of the month. But the pitching staff struggled to hold up their end, resulting in a stretch of results that were above-average, but only just.

It was a solid month, but solid isn’t going to cut it if the Red Sox want a chance to become the first back-to-back champions of the 21st century. Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports

Welcome to another season of Clubhouse Leaders!

Major League Baseball has by far the longest season in all of North American professional sports. MLB teams play 162 games over the course of six months before landing in October and the postseason. That lengthy stretch leaves room for a lot to happen – and a lot of changes.

We’ve hit the one-quarter mark of the 2019 season. Every team has 40 games or more in the rearview. That’s a significant chunk of baseball – enough for us to start looking at who the highest individual achievers for the season might be. Again, there’s a lot of baseball still to be played – 120 games worth, in fact – but we’ve got enough of a sample size to start thinking about which players might be in line to win MLB’s most prestigious individual awards.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 03 April 2019 13:06

Possible MLB milestones coming in 2019

Baseball is a game that has always held its own history in high regard. And one of the best ways to keep track of that history has been through statistical milestones, numbers that have come to act as a sort of distillation of greatness. Round numbers that represent on-field brilliance in an easy-to-understand way.

Granted, changes in the game are in turn changing these milestones. The way the game is played and the meaning of the numbers being tallied isn’t what it once was; the sabermetric revolution has altered how we look at these statistics. Still, there’s something undeniably special about those iconic career marks. While their relevance may fade someday, we’re not there yet.

Here are a few milestones that might be reached in 2018:

Published in Sports

The times have changed with regards to major league baseball and free agency. The last couple of years have seen a drastic alteration in how owners have approached the business. Teams are far more reluctant to offer up the big-money deals that once ruled the landscape; even the best players are getting waited out.

However, we could feel relatively confident that we wouldn’t get TOO deep into spring training before the market’s two shiniest stars – Manny Machado and Bryce Harper – would be signed to deals at or near the level they sought. In a game of contract chicken that was the biggest talking point of the entire offseason, both men held out for what they believed themselves to be worth.

Eventually, they found teams that shared that belief.

Published in Sports

We’re in mid-August and entering the home stretch of the Major League Baseball season. By the time you read this, teams will have roughly 40 games left until playoff time. It looks like there are some foregone conclusions, but also a few hard-fought races – particularly for some of the squads battling it out for the wild card bids.

The races for MLB’s individual awards are in a similar state. Some of these seem to be all but over, while others feature players going head-to-head with extraordinary performances. Take a look and see what kind of movement we’re dealing with here.

This is Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports

By the time you read this, the 2018 Major League Baseball draft will likely be in the books. The latest wave of players from the high school and college ranks will have been selected, from the blue-chip stars-in-the-making to the bench-riding organizational depth.

Next week, we’ll be doing a look at the entirety of the Boston Red Sox draft class, but for now, it seemed like it might be fun to introduce you to some of the guys from the very tip-top of this year’s crop. These first-rounders will be expected to make an impact at the big-league level.

Of course, that might not be for a few years. MLB is unique among North America’s big four pro sports leagues in that its massive minor league infrastructure (not to mention its service time rules) encourages extended development of players. In the NFL, NBA and to a lesser extent the NHL, top picks are expected to perform at the highest level immediately. Meanwhile, it might be a while before we see any of 2018’s baseball draftees in the bigs.

So there isn’t the urgency accompanying these guys that there is in other sports. So why not learn a little bit more about the players who made the top-10? For instance, it’s the first time in over a decade that the first five players selected all came from the collegiate ranks. Seven of the 10 are position players, with just three pitchers. And one of them is going to be playing football on Saturdays this fall.

Let’s check it out.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:52

Albert Pujols joins 3,000-hit club

One of Major League Baseball’s most exclusive clubs has a new member.

With an opposite-field single off Seattle Mariners pitcher Mike Leake on May 4, Los Angeles Angels first baseman/designated hitter Albert Pujols became just the 32nd player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. He’s the latest in a run of players to reach the mark – Alex Rodriguez in 2015, the just-released Ichiro Suzuki in 2016 and Adrian Beltre last season – though it’s likely that it’ll be a while before the club gets any bigger.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:40

Red Sox Report Card - April 2018

Well now – that’s a hell of a way to start the season.

The Boston Red Sox just had the best April in the team’s history, winning a record 19 games in April (along with two out of three in March). After this red-hot opening month, the team sits atop the American League East with a 21-7 record.

New manager Alex Cora has clearly reached this team in a way that the departed John Farrell never quite managed toward the end of his tenure. That new energy seems to have contributed to the big start (though we’ll see how everyone is feeling come the Fourth of July – or even Memorial Day).

There are a few players struggling, but overall, the team has performed as well as their record indicates. We’ll just see if they can keep it up.

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports
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