2k15 divisiOnal preview – NL East

Posted in 2015 predictions on March 17th, 2015 by The Wayward O

Atlanta Braves – One of MLB’s more significant year-over-year makeovers (make-unders?) here. Even the remaining outfielder from the forgettable 2014 vintage has changed his name. The rotation and bullpen are decent, with some young arms. But predictions of a power outage resulting from trades of Evan Gattis, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward seem legit. Can catcher Christian Bethancourt wield the bat at all? Dude has yet to hit a major league home run. Nick Markakis and Jonny Gomes may help stave off irrelevancy.

Miami Marlins – Where the Braves cycled down, the Fish geared up. Mat Latos and Dan Haren augment a rotation that should see Jose Fernandez return at some point. Dee Gordon is coming off a great year in L.A. and will produce. They’ve also added known professional baseball players Martin Prado and Mike Morse. Will Giancarlo Stanton have another MLB-caliber year? That contract makes Blog kind of dizzy. Blog will be seriously considering retirement options by the time it runs its course.

New York Mets – David Wright yelled at Noah Syndergaard and threw his lunch away! Then Zack Wheeler popped his UCL! Good thing they didn’t trade ol’ Dillon Gee! So much Met madness this March! Addition of Michael Cuddyer is a nice plus. Can 2nd-year catcher Travis d’Arnaud add to the offensive alchemy? Blog thinks they’re going to be decent, maybe good even, with more home run pop then the Flushing faithful are accustomed to.

Philadelphia Phillies – Blog happened to watch the Phillies on Monday. They looked undermanned and listless. Their pitching staff looked especially undermanned and listless, with Cole Hamels seemingly sleep-walking ahead of an oft-rumored trade to [YOUR TEAM HERE]. Last month the Inquirer quoted Phils’ bench coach Larry Bowa as saying “There’s nothing in the contract that says you’re going to be playing on a team that is over .500.” Oy. Ryan Howard looks like he’s having a nice spring though. Can he play well enough for a team in need of a bat to take a look?

Washington Nationals – The lone team to finish above .500 in this division last year, the Nats are coming back and they’ve got Max Scherzer to boot. They have a few injuries to fret about – the Denard Span thing could be a headache – but they have viable options. Can Ryan Zimmerman match the production of departed first baseman Adam Laroche? Can Tanner Roark close? Tanner Roark was born to close! The Nats are the best team in the NL this spring and they’re hungry — so look out!

Predicted order of finish:
Marlins *

* wild card mix

2k15 divisiOnal preview – NL Central

Posted in 2015 predictions on March 16th, 2015 by The Wayward O

This division has a lot of Tonys and Anthonys in it. More than the usual amount of Tonys and Anthonys. Pirates are the clear favorite. Ranking the pig-pile below seems a little tougher this spring because of the Cubs’ improved outlook. Here’s a prediction: Not seeing a Wild Card berth from out of this division this year.

Chicago Cubs – There are reasons for hope — maybe not hype — on a team that has of late re-established itself as a basement dweller. Offseason moves included bringing Jon Lester, Miguel Montero and Dexter Fowler on board. They join a mix of talent at various stages of development including bomb-hittin’ Anthony Rizzo. Blog sees fate of Cubbies tied closely to prospects of No. 2 starter Jake Arrieta, who last year seemed to shake off years of inconsistent results and channel his big talent. Whose this Kris Bryant kid? Is he awesome or what?

Cincinnati Reds – Depending on injuries and the performance of a couple youngish starters (Tony Cingrani and Anthony DeSclafani) the Reds project anywhere from last to pushing for first. Jay Bruce is looking for his mojo again after a putrid 2014. Joey Votto is a good bounce-back candidate. Not loving the ancient Marlon Byrd in left but Skip Schumaker is on the club for a depth — and he’s talking playoffs! Will they make the playoffs? If you put a gun-shaped sausage to Wayward O’s head and demanded an answer, Wayward O would have to say no.

Milwaukee Brewers – Pink eye? Gross! Kyle Lohse playing role of ace? Yikes! If you squint – and if Matt Garza doesn’t strain anything or whatever – then a playoff push is not completely out of the question. Here’s a positive: Blog likes Adam Lind at first base a lot more than Mark Reynolds at first base. Oh Adam seems to have pulled something too. Not high on the Crew this spring. If they did make the playoffs, somehow, the no-handshake thing could be a fun, you know, thing.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Viable, even swashbuckling, starters. Maybe the best outfield in the National League depending upon how well young Gregory Polanco fares. Good depth everywhere. The transitioning of Pedro Alvarez over to first base appears to be working. Fans will be watching Jung Ho Kang’s progress carefully to see if he can crack an already-talented infield picture. If you want to be a worry wart you can ask: Is Mark Melancon the answer at closer? Hey, if he’s not they can do a deal. Proceed with confidence!

St. Louis Cardinals – The perennial contenders appear poised to be in the mix again with a good-if-not-great starting rotation; known professional baseball players Jon Jay, Matt Holliday, Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina coming back; and a resurgent Jayson Heyward joining the outfield. But are Adam Wainwright’s finest days behind him? He’s got a mean case of the gimps right now. To Blog’s lights they look like about a 90-win team again, which isn’t likely enough. And that’s if Waino — and Lance Lynn — get right and stay right.

Predicted Order of Finish:

2k15 divisiOnal preview – NL West

Posted in 2015 predictions on March 15th, 2015 by The Wayward O

Blog’s back! with a question for every team. Spring training is in full swing. Ligaments are fraying, rosters are evolving and bloggers are bolging. The balance of power is shifting in this division! It’s a tough one to handicap.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Moved their putative ace, Wade Miley, to Boston and appear to view the trade as a full-employment ticket with Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster filling in a troublesome rotation. Can they get a full season out of their exciting center fielder A.J. Pollock and a bounce-back year from Mark Trumbo? That will decide if they can crawl out of the basement behind what could be a dynamic offense. In other news they’ll be selling a massive desert (dessert? you pick) Churro Dog for Snakes fans needing to augment calorie intakes after consuming the behemoth, bacon-armored corn dog that debuted in 2014.

Colorado Rockies – One thing Blog of Team values in making pre-season predictions is a team’s continuity. The Rocks have this in both the starting rotation and at most positions. That’s a good thing. Can the Rockies challenge in this division? If they stay healthy — and, with respect to Tulo and CarGo, get healthy — then the answer is yes. In fact Blog is kind of penciling them in as one of 2015’s “surprise” teams but also is using jarring scare quotes to indicate this is a qualified consideration given the injuries and the fact that they play home games in outer space.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Last year the Dodgers were built for a World Series run. And they fell victim to the Medusa-gaze of October. This year Blog sees them as being marginally weaker overall and sees the division (San Diego and Colorado especially) as having closed the gap. It’s difficult, for example, to imagine middle infielders Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick matching the production of the departed Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon. Then again a couple more calm veterans might be good for the club’s notoriously unpredictable chemistry. They’ll need to find some magic at closer, from a spare-parts bullpen, if they want to stay on top. Will young Joc Pederson seize stardom in center field this summer at Chavez? ¡Vamos a ver!

San Diego Padres – The rotation, which had been in rebuild mode in 2014, now appears ripe to compete with the addition of James Shields at the top. They’ve gapped up their offensive potential by adding Derrek Norris, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. And young Wil Myers gets the keys in center field. Does Blog like what Blog sees here? Yes. Yes Blog does. Blog sees starter Andrew Cashner’s performance as being particularly important to their playoff hopes.

San Francisco Giants – Right now World Series Champs’ website has Yusmeiro Petit at 7th on the rotation depth chart. Don’t believe it. He’s the best thing they’ve got going this spring next to Madison Bumgarner, who famously logged huge innings totals last year. This is going to be a down year in San Fran, and not just because its an odd-number year. Not that 88 wins during last year’s regular season campaign was anything spectacular. In fact Blog sees them as being an injury or two away from last place. Will we ever see 2006/2012-vintage Matt Cain again? He and his brutal contract seem to have joined Tim Lincecum in the perma-zone of overpaid mediocrity. Garlic fries though. Garlic fries!

Predicted Order of Finish
Dodgers *
Rockies *

* wild card hunt

grading the 2k14 predictiOns

Posted in 2014 predictiOns on October 19th, 2014 by The Wayward O

Team is no longer playing the baseballs? That’s dumb. All Orioles players must play for free or cheap next year ok? Thnaks.

Every year Blog of Team predicts regular-season outcomes. Oftentimes Blog is eerily accurate. Less often Blog is fiendishly stupid. Let’s see how Blog did this year:

NL West: Blog correctly had Dodgers winning division but was a bit too bullish on the Padres, putting them ahead of Giants. San Diego kept the prediction interesting though, its brutal first half notwithstanding. Blog correctly had the ‘Backs and the Rocks at bottom of pig pile. Grade: B

NL Central: Blog predicted order almost exactly. However, Blog had Brewers in 2nd and Pittsburgh in 3rd, where in actuality Milwaukee would lag into 3rd behind Pirates’ 2nd place finish. Grade: A-

NL East: Order of finish prognosticated exactly. Blog probably shouldn’t have said nice things about Chris Young, however, not that it’s relevant. Grade A+

AL West: The only miss here for Blog was failing to foresee the Rangers’ complete collapse. As Texas’ injuries mounted, however, Blog took note. Otherwise picked division with dead-eyed accuracy. Grade: A-

AL Central: Blog said this division would finish Detroit, KC, Cleveland, Chicago, Minnesota. And it did just that. Grade: A+

AL East: This is a terrible division to handicap. It’s by far the most difficult. Really Blog’s prediction was inaccurate, since Baltimore blew away the competition going away. But Blog did hint at it at least. It’s silly to think about how excited Blog was about Steve Lombardozzi but the rise of Jonathan Schoop was only a winter’s tale at that point. Not long after this was penned, Schoop took Masahiro Tanaka deep on a chilly April night in the Bronx and he was on his way. Grade: Incomplete

Conclusion: If you had bet with Blog of Team this year, you would have made a shit-ton of money.

Editor’s note: Blog does not bother attempting to handicap October playoff rounds anymore because randomness is king and order is a far-off dream. Teams who wish to win World Series must accept this as true and simply be ready to push for playoff baseball as often as possible. More playoff bids = better chances.

what we have here nOw is a chance

Posted in octOber on October 5th, 2014 by The Wayward O

We worried for so many reasons

– we worried about a division that turned out to be a paper tiger
– we worried about injuries to key players
– we worried about too much down time
– and we worried about the prospect of facing a team like the Tigers

Now there are fewer things to worry about. But, on a shorter list, the bigger items are becoming more difficult to ignore.

Now we worry about expectations, which are the greatest mountain men ever climbed.

Because what we have here, now, is a chance to finally walk out of the wilderness after 31 years lost among the trees.

what team hath wrOught

Posted in octOber, washingtOn, win cOlumn on September 16th, 2014 by The Wayward O

If Team wins World Series, Blog will re-dedicate itself to actual wayward orioles as opposed to figuratively Wayward Orioles.

Image via MASN

The bunting is up. Captain Nicky will actually be playing in the post-season (C.C. Sabathia broke his wrist in 2012) and this vintage has pitching and a lot of heart.

They say the O’s haven’t clinched at home since 1969. So this really is a special night.

Congrats to the Washington Nationals, too.