Sunday, March 3, 2013

2013 Baseball Preview

if the game of Baseball could be summed up in one picture this is it

First things first i haven't been up on my baseball as of late but seeing as spring training has started and the baseball season is about to get underway, the giants are getting ready to defend their title, i'm feeling the need to flex my baseball knowledge. All you guys are about to see if i been doing my work at the gym or not. I'm not going in depth on each team because that is some shit i need to get paid by the hour if i'm going to dive in to that so ima give a top 5 players at each position. ya heard. YAWK YAWK YAWK

Giants look to make themselves a dynasty this year

Disclaimer before i start this list off. I'm going off of normal stats like batting average, homers, RBI, and all that good shit. The only sabermetric stat i understand is that the higher someone's WAR is the better they are apparently. Also i'm looking into a players whole body of work so someone who has been doing it consistently for a while will get the nod over someone who jumped on the scene in the last couple years. 


Breakout Player: Carlos Santana
My breakout player lists are the guys I believe that will or have the potential to break into that group of top 5 at their respective positions very soon. Carlos Santana, shout out to the real Carlos Santana. A talented switch hitting catcher who has a chance to the a force from behind the plate offensively A shredded knee derailed his promising rookie year in 2010 but has rebounded nicely the last two years and this upcoming season he should be ready to go full bore. He is turning 27 at the beginning of the season so he should be in his prime right now and I’m expecting him to take off and put everything together. He is a patient hitter evidenced by the differential between his .252 batting average vs. his .365 OBP so if he can put more contact on the ball he can easily raise his average about 30 points. I don’t know how he is defensively but since he is turning 27 and he hasn’t moved positions yet I’m assuming that means he is at worst serviceable in the squat. 

5. Joe Mauer
Goddam how far the mighty have fallen. Two years ago Joe Mauer would be at the top of this kind of list but right after he signed a more or less $183 million deal injuries have started to wrap their ugly head against the even uglier sideburns of Joe Mauer's face. He actually played a lot last year and flew under the radar mainly because his power numbers went down although he was never much of a big home run guy. About half his starts came from somewhere other than behind the plate explaining why he was able to stay off the DL. Only hit 10 home runs but was still able to post 85 RBI. His strength is driving the ball and putting it into play evidenced by his .319 average and 31 doubles. Also the sign if a good hitter is to get on base by in other ways from a hit and he did so at a clip of .416. This is probably what we're going to see from Mauer for the rest of his career give or take a few more homers i believe. I was thinking he made the wrong choice to forgo playing college ball at Florida State under Bobby Bowden right up until he signed that mega deal. Never would have got that money with the Shield.

4. Matt Wieters
This big ass dude has the potential to be a monster behind the plate. He is already one of the top fielding backstops in the league but i don't feel he will break through offensively. What we saw from Wieters last year is going to be what we get from him the rest of his career. The area i feel he would improve on is the home runs and run production bu that is about it. His OBP (on base percentage) and slugging percentage were not impressive at all for someone who has his combination of size and skill set. However he is one of the cornerstones for the Orioles to build on in order for their success of last year to continue. His main job however should be to control the pitching staff but an increase in offensive production would obviously help give his team a solid middle of the order bat.

3. Brian McCann
 I hope this dude right here is not going to be injury prone the rest of his career because we would be getting robbed of a baseball talent. I don't know what it is about him but everytime i happened to watch a Braves game, which i never actually go out of my way to, he does something right. Whether its behind the plate or moving the runner over, or getting the 2 out hit, McCann just does what works. He only played in about 120 games last year but still wound up with 20 homers. When healthy he is a top 2 offensive catcher and the dude has something like 3 or 4 Silver Sluggers to his name.

2. Yadier Molina
The youngest Molina brother has for a while now been considered the top defensive catcher in the game but over the last few years he has developed into a serious middle of the order threat for the Cards and his production last year helped ease the loss of Albert Pujols. He hit .315 with 22 homers and 76 RBI while only striking out 55 times so he is always a threat to put the ball in play. Molina also has on his resume that he is becoming one of the top clutch performers in the game. It all started in the Cardinals championship run of 2006 when he hit the game winning home run in Game 7 of the NLCS. He then added to his postseason credentials of 2011 and even last year despite not winning the whole thing. Molina's is getting up there in age so hopefully he doesn't catch the injury bug.

1. Gerald Dempsey Posey III
Is there any other choice? The reigning MVP has had the best start to a career combining individual and team success of anyone in any sport that i grew up watching. In his first 3 years of Major League Ball he has won the Rookie of the Year, MVP, a Silver Slugger Award, 2 time World Series champion in which he has recorded a hit on every world series game, the Hank Aaron Award, Comeback Player of the Year and probably other shit i'm missing. He also won Player of the year in college so there are less awards in the game of baseball that Gerald has yet to win versus what he has already won. Add in the fact that he is a premier defensive catcher who controls the best pitching rotation top to bottom including the bullpen a Gold Glove should be in the future soon although Gold Gloves don't really mean anything. Dude can probably win Cy Young if Sabean lets him try it out on the mound. Remember that 2012 was Buster's first full year in the majors. He came up at the end of May in 2010 and his season ended around the end of May in 2011 thanks to Alpha Male Asshole Scott Cousins. In the two years that Posey has been healthy the Giants have won the championship and were in 1st place at the time of his injury in 2011. Not a coincidence. Could make an argument for Posey as best player in baseball based on the position he plays, talent, production, and what he means to his team.

1st Base

Breakout Player: Eric Hosmer
Now I don’t know much about my man right here but I have heard he is the player to watch among all the young talent that Kansas City possesses. He suffered through a slump last year which I attribute to teams making adjustments to him and being the young player that he is did not know how to counter it because it was the first time he actually struggled at the sport. If he can adjust to the adjustments than we will know that Hosmer does indeed have a chance to break into the group of elite first basemen which is not an easy thing to do since the position has the most studs compared to the other positions.

5. Paul Konerko
Next to pitchers, 1st base was the toughest position to select only 5 players. There are a lot of quality players at this positions and not solely offensive juggernauts. These are guys who can pick it almost as good as they can swing the bat which is saying something considering the numbers put up at the position. The first guy is Mr. Consistency Paul Konerko. He edges out Edwin Encarnacion on the fact that my boy Eddie’s 43 homer breakout 2012 might be an aberration so he needs to prove he is consistent. Konerko on the other hand seemingly has been playing forever yet for some reason I don’t think anyone knows what year he actually came up. A former world champion who has in my opinion compiled the most impressive resume no one talks about over the 15 years. He has compiled over 400 homers, 2,000 hits, and amassed over 1300 RBI in addition to being a six time all star. Yeah his numbers dipped last year but Konerko is so respected by his peers that he still was selected to the all star game by them anyway. Every year he is going to give you a .300 avg with around 25 homers and 80 RBI. Also having been team captain since 2006 he brings leadership to a clubhouse that has gone through some changes the last several years as they look to make they’re way back to the top. He is the circa 2003-06 Jason Richardson of baseball.

4. Prince Fielder
Fuck stats dawg. I just realized I ain’t really flexxin my baseball knowledge when I’m regurgitating shit like that so ima just call it how I see. How’s this for a stat Prince Fielder is going to make over $200 million because of the contract he signed with Detroit last winter. Now I’m not no businessman or anything like that but if I’m going to give someone $200 mil they better be the best motherfuckin player on the planet. That’s where Detroit fucked up. Prince is exactly what his name is. He’s a Prince, he ain’t no king. He should have been developed into a king a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong the fattest vegetarian in history can straight up hit and is underrated as fuck at first because he’s so goddam fat but he needs to be getting 50 homers every years driving in at least 130 to be anywhere close to justifying that contract. The tigers done fucked up but in about 3 or 4 years they’ll just end up dumping his contract on to the Dodgers so they’re not too worried for the long term I guess. The tigers have a short window of opportunity to win a championship and I believed they realized it and panicked when signing Prince. It’s not like I’m knocking the dude because 30 homers, 108 RBI, and a .313 avg is nothing to sneeze at but that’s some shit for a $150 million man to be making. Miguel Cabrera is probably looking at him like so if this baby hippopotamus is making this much how much am I going to be making on my next contract. I like Prince as a player he just ain’t justifying the contract.

3. Adrian Gonzalez
Say wassup to the least threatening slugger in the sport. Don’t let looks deceive you though ‘cause the essé can flat out rake. Now you don’t even know how happy I was when the brotha left san diego for boston because I don’t remember him ever making an out against the Giants. So I’m like aight the dude will be gone for 8 years, only times I’m ever going to have to worry is maybe every 3 years for a couple games in interleague play, or if both teams make the world series so I can live with that. But nah 1 year later the arch nemesis comes right back to the division and worst of all goes to the dodgers super team. Anybody else wondering how the Magic got so rich? Didn’t the dude get AIDS 20 years and he’s still alive but Eazy-E died like right after he found out he had that shot, RIP Eric Wright. The reason why Gonzalez is such a good hitter is that he drives the ball using the whole field. If he wasn’t as big or strong he’d be one of those guys that hits like 70 doubles a year and his balls would always seem to find the gap. Well since essé does have power he hits 30-40 homers a year in addition to his 40-50 doubles. Essé in my opinion is the best opposite field power hitter in the game today. On the real though him and matt kemp are the only dodgers I would wouldn’t be mad at if they were on the giants. Juan Uribe too since he a g.

2. Joey Votto
My Canadian brotha right is another one of the momeber of the $200 million club. Fuck A-rod for setting the bar that high in dollar terms to play a sport for a living. This moose is considered one of the top pure hitters, whatever the hell that means, in the game today and for good reason. He always puts the ball in play and never has a bad swing. According to a story with Tom, or is it Todd, Verducci, Votto claims to have never pulled a ball foul which is pretty goddam asinine if you ask me. Most hitters have to pull a couple balls foul just to get a feel for their swing but Votto I guess has come out the womb using the opposite field.  If he fully recovers from his knee injury he is still just barely young enough that he can almost kinda justify the contract but he would need to be putting up monster numbers over the next 8 or 9 years. Is it just me or does he look like he may have a couple bodies in the crawl space of his house?

1. Albert Pujols
Number 1 no question without a doubt it should be unanimous. Pujols has been the best hitter in the league over his career and once Bonds fell off after 04, Albert has firmly taken the reigns. Another one the $2 bill mil boys the contract is going to doom the Angels unless they’re the ones that run the National Reserve. He’s going to be 42 by the time his contract ends and although he hasn’t disproved the notion he is a robot, we can only assume he will decline if he is indeed human. If anyone had any questions if Pujols really has been the most dominant offensive force just peep last year. A .285 avg, 30 homers, 105 RBI, 173 hits, and 50 doubles all the while being non existent the first month of the year. That is a “down” year for Pujols, or as I like to call it a “Prince Fielder” type year. Not only that but he has two rings, multiple MVP’s, gold gloves, and is an All Star every year. The contract he had before was 7 years for $100 million and that was considered a bargain. Ponder that fact for a second.

Second Base

Breakout Player: Dustin Ackley
Aight I admit the only thing I know about Dustin Ackley is that he plays for the Seattle Mariners and my boy has his bobblehead. It's not like there are a bunch of up and coming 2nd basemen so I could have pretty much picked a name out of a hat. Also fuck Chase Utley that’s the last time he gets mentioned here.

why do leagues think they are honoring Latin America just by adding "Los"
5. Jose Altuve
I know you guys may be thinking why in the world is there a 5’5 midget from the Houston Astros on this list. Because he can actually play and his talents are getting wasted in Houston. This dude is the prototypical number 2 hitter and I was surprised to find out he was born in 1990. So a 90’s baby made the all star team last year, that’s respect. And if you’re thinking Altuve made the team because everyone needs a representative, wassup Moises Alou 05 all star, get your facts straight. Due can hit and probably uses his height to his advantage at the plate.

4. Marco Scutaro
Let me make this clear I love Marco Scutaro but if anyone is trying to make the case for him as top 2 or 3 at the position you’re blinded by his hot streak last year. Now remember how I said Altuve is the prototypical #2 hitter, scratch that, Marco is. Not only does he barely strike out, he barely swings and misses. So he is always a good option for hit and runs or if the team needs a sac fly or some shit. Although he was the best hitter on the planet down the stretch last year he was just hot at the right time. Don’t get me wrong the man has had a criminally underrated career in part because he was a late bloomer. It would be ridiculous for us to expect a 37 year old Scutaro to continue his hot streak into the upcoming year. He is, however, a clutch player. If you need a big hit and Scutaro comes, opposing fans should just concede that Marco is going to do something positive. I remember back in his A’s days when ever they had a walk off win Scutaro always seemed to be the guy scoring the run or driving it in.

3. Ian Kinsler
One of the 3 second basemen in the league who I feel could legitimately produce in the middle of a lineup, shout out dan uggla. Whenever he swings it looks like he tries to hit a homerun everytime and it’s not an act, dude got pop in his bat. He has been one of the main cogs of the Texas Ranger resurgence over the last 3 years…personally I think they missed their chance in 2011 and will fall back to mediocrity.

2. Brandon Phillips
One of the few showman the game of baseball has in the sport. Everything he does from his batting stance to the tilted hat to the eye black to the wristbands to the flashy glove work Phillips is trying to put a show on for the fans every night and for that I salute him. He is just being him and putting his personality on display which very few people who are outgoing do. He can back it up too at the plate, on the basepaths, and in the field. I actually believe he could be part of the 20-20-20-20 club (homers. Steals, doubles, triples) if he batted lefty but as a right hander he can’t get that same jump out of the box a lefty can. A late bloomer who is like a brawnier version of jimmy rollins.

1. Robinson Cano
Unquestionably the number 1 2nd basemen in the game today. This was one of the easier choices in the whole thing as he is head and shoulders above all other second basemen in terms of offensive production. And if you think Cano may not be that great of a defensive player don’t take that away from him as a player overall. Think about it, if your team was a 2nd baseman away from a championship who do you want…a defensive specialist like Darwin Barney (who? Crickets) or Robinson Cano who you going to take? Just a great offensive season last year finishing shy of 200 hits, just shy of 100 RBI, hit 33 homers, and racked up 48 doubles which all added up to an 8.2 WAR *shoulder shrug* very good I guess.


3rd Base

Breakout Player: Pedro Alvarez
Did anyone else have a quieter 30 homer season than Pedro last year? Ima chalk that up to it being his first full year in the majors plus he plays for the Pirates where you literally have to be an elite player to get any love. Freddy Sanchez won a batting title there and no one gave a shit about him. Alvarez has potential to become a feared slugger at the hot corner. The Pirates have a very good core in Alvarez, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Garrett Jones so you can’t sleep on them offensively. But with them being the Pirates they’ll still find a way to screw things up. I still can’t believe they took on a washed up Matt Morris who was owed like $10 million in exchange for Rajai Davis. It’s not like Rajai was a stud or anything but they took on Morris’s contract for no reason. It wasn’t like the Pirates were in contention or anything, I don’t know maybe they were just trying to secure the top pick for the draft.

* I screwed up and didn’t include Manny Machado (who also plays shortstop) from the Orioles. My bad Manny do your thing this year bruh.

5. Pablo Sandoval
Now before anyone scolds me for hometown bias for picking the Panda make your own goddam blog. If el gordo can stay healthy the whole year he is going to prove why he deserves to be considered an elite 3rd basemen. People only think of him as a free swinger which he is but the reason why he is a free swinger is because that shit works for him. Yeah it’s frustrating when he is swings and misses at three straight curveballs in the dirt but he makes up for it by hitting a homerun in the world series off a pitch thrown at his shoulders, whattup Detroit. His offensive prowess also happens to take shine off of his vastly underrated defensive game. He has improved so much at the hot corner which is especially amazing considering he came up through the minor league system as a catcher. I don’t know how a man that big can move his feet as quickly as he does but he gets them going. Another important stat is that he owns Justin Verlander. This past year against him if you include the All Star Game he is 3-3 against him with 2 home runs, 1 triple, and 5 RBI…ownage. Just don’t get too fat Pablo.

4. Chase Headley
Remember how Alvarez had a quiet 30 homer year. Raise your hand if you knew Chase Headley had 31 home runs and 115 RBI. If you raised your hand your either a die hard Padre fan or a goddam liar. I bet even people that check the box scores every day were like “nah that must be a typo” or “dam they spelled Adrian Gonzalez’s name wrong plus he doesn’t even play in San Diego anymore.” Not to mention the dude is a Giant killer too so he can hurry up and hit free agency since everyone knows the Padres aren’t going to be able to pay the man. It’s funny how the Padres almost took the division from the Giants during the 2010 season thus failing to sabotage a world series championship. What a difference a couple years make.

3. Adrian Beltre
Before last year I had always viewed Beltre as the human aberration. “Dude hit 48 homers one year” yeah but that was in a contract year and he became a bust with the Mariners. “But he hit 28 home runs and drove in 100 in 2010” yeah but look 1) it was another contract year and 2) he was playing in Boston where the Green Monster is, Cody Rhodes had like 30 homers last year homie, shout out to Cody Rhodes. “Well 2011 he signed with a new team hitting over 30 homers and driving in 100 again.” Aight now that’s impressive but he is with the Rangers where he has offensive support and a small ballpark, just wait till next year. “Well in 2012 he hits more homers than the previous year and drove in another 100.” Alright you finally got me Beltre he has put up 3 straight years of what a 5 hitter should be putting up maybe he finally is becoming reliable and consistent. All this is in addition to his stellar glove work that has rewarded him with a couple gold gloves. Thank god the dodgers couldn’t re-sign him back then.

2. Evan Longoria
Even though he only played in 74 games last year Longoria has built up his reputation since he came into the league in 08 to the point where he is still considered one of the premier 3rd basemen. It’s not a coincidence that the year Longoria joined the team the Rays took off into perennial contenders for the AL East crown versus the financial juggernauts in Boston and New York. Credit also deserves to go to Joe Maddon but Longoria is the leader out on the field for Tampa. I expect him to back strong this year especially since he should be fresh after missing most of last year. The total package over at third, shout out to Lex Luger.

1. Miguel Cabrera
Another easy choice for top spot. The impressive thing is Cabrera’s versatility. For the first time in a while he manned the hot corner because Prince signed in Detroit but before that he has had experience playing the outfield with Florida. As long as he doesn’t wet the bed, shout out to Stephen A. Smith, and embarrass himself over at third the Tigers will be happy. When you win the first triple crown in 45 years you’re a pretty good hitter. Remember when I said Adrian Gonzalez is the best at using the whole field, well Cabrera is right up there with him. He has power to all fields but he doesn’t just swing wildly for homers. He drives the ball, takes what the pitcher gives him, and finds the whole in the defense to get the ball down. He is still in the prime of his career and is going to take the undisputed title of most feared hitter from Pujols real soon.


Break Out Player: Elvis Andrus
When Elvis isn’t getting tattoos and is actually on the field he is the most exciting and best defensive shortstop the game has to offer. Now he opened my eyes last year. I thought he was doomed to be an all glove no bat player until he cranked out 180 hits last year. He has improved at the plate every year and if he continues his progression towards 200 hits and with his combination of speed and on base prowess he would be in the running for top leadoff man. However he may not be at short anymore with super prospect Jackson Prufar coming up.

5. Starlin Castro
First of all Castro does not get enough credit for the recent trend in calling up prospects like Trout, Harper, and Machado up at such a young age because Castro came up at the age of 20 and proved he can hit major league pitching right away. Anyway Castro is a very good young player that the Cubs have locked up for 7 years. I don’t think you can build a franchise around him but he is definitely a stud up the middle of the defense for Chicago. He has the tools to succeed but he just needs to put it together. You don’t just rack up 200 hits as a 21 year old if you’re a scrub but with Castro dropping back to about 180 hits and losing 20 points on his batting average it leads me to believe he was relying on natural talent instead of making necessary adjustments. He has great speed to evidenced by his 12 triples and 25 steals but getting thrown out 13 times shows he is a runner still and not yet a base stealer. I’m expecting progression out of the kid this year so we’ll see.

4. Jose Reyes
I think it’s hella funny Reyes ended up in Toronto considering he was the biggest free agent last year and no top tier free agent has ever signed in Toronto except Roger Clemens and that was 15 years ago. But I don’t think he cares too much because he is still raking in $100 mil so I’m pretty sure he would play  in Kansas City for that money. Reyes has flashed the production in the past to show that he could be the best shortstop in the game it’s just he doesn’t have the ability to stay healthy. It surprised me that he played in 160 games last year but that could an aberration considering he has the ability to always wind up on the DL. If he can stay healthy again this year then he definitely moves up my list that no one cares about.

3. Derek Jeter
I admit I was a hater towards Derek Jeter for a long time but I have finally been converted. Eventually results and production just don’t lie. Was he worth that $189 million nah not even close but they’re the yankees so they could do whatever they want. He just sits atop the Yankee batting order year after year punching out hits. It’s weird for me, I do believe he is an overrated player but he does just enough to avoid the label. For example I do not think he powered any of the 5 Yankee championship teams to victory but he gets all the credit. He was in the mix a lot but he never dominated a series save for maybe the 2000 Subway Series. But legacy and production win out for Jeter here.

yes that is a mullet
2. Troy Tulowitzki
Alright now before anyone caps on me for putting injury prone Tulo over injury prone Reyes that just shows how much talent Tuolwitzki has. If he were to stay healthy I guarantee Tulo is the clear cut most talented/best production shortstop out there. He better return on Colorado’s investment on him because its not like Colorado goes out and spends a lot all the time. I still think he will end up too big for short and eventually end up at third like the man he is compared to the most, Cal Ripken, Jr.

bring back the braids
1. Jimmy Rollins
Not only do I hate to say this but it pains me to the utmost degree to say that Jimmy Rollins wins the top spot by default. Like I said if Tulo is healthy then he is easily the premier player at the position. And after Tulo there was no clear cut #2. No one is jumping out and making a name for themselves. My Oakland man Jimmy has put together an impressive resume over the years which includes the 2007 Most Valuable Player. He followed that up in 2008 with a World Series ring over the Tampa Bay Rays. They had a chance the following summer against the Yankees but Cliff Lee was the only one to show up for the team. The combination of production over the years to a still some bit of his prime left Jimmy before he goes into decline. At this stage of his career he is more of the gatekeeper.

Left Fielders

Breakout Player: Yoenis Cespedes
As good of a debut as A’s fans could have hoped for the Cuban import Cespedes. The A’s uncharacteristically went after one of the more prized free agents and were able to secure his services for 4 years in a deal that looks like it will be a bargain if Cespedes can continue improving. One of the more impressive physiques in the majors with the body type of an NFL running back. Not only does he have the strength to hit home runs with the donut weight still on the bat but that power has translated into game success to the tune of 23 home runs in his debut season stateside but he has the speed to go along with it. He uses that speed wisely as well evidenced by his 16 stolen bases on an 80% success rate swiping another 90 feet. 30/30 potential with an outside shot at 40/40. Just stay healthy Yoenis.

5. Carl Crawford
FYI Ryan Braun isn’t on this list because the dude is juicing I don’t care what excuse he comes up with. If Bonds isn’t in the Hall then Braun isn’t on my list. This is a bias pick right here I admit. When healthy and able to showcase his athletic ability Crawford is in the top 5 in the game in terms of overall skill set. How good of an athlete? Coming out of high school my man had offers to play basketball at UCLA and play quarterback at Nebraska. Who knows if Crawford is quarterbacking they might have stood a better chance against Miami in the Rose Bowl, highly doubtful though seeing as Miami was loaded. Shout out to Heisman winner Eric Crouch. He ended up choosing baseball, obviously, because he was drafted by Tampa Bay. Anyways I digress. Although his speed and baserunning  is the only plus tool he has, Crawford can do everything on the field. When he is healthy and swinging the bat right he can legitimately hit anywhere in the lineup but is best suited to the leadoff spot. That’s why it pains me to see him on the Dodgers. Hopefully his contract handicaps them but it appears new ownership has deep pockets. Get well soon Crawford I’ll be looking forward to seeing you play on a regular basis.

4. Ryan Ludwick
Another pick that is sure to have people going WTF! Don’t trip I don’t know how he ended up here either. The pickings for the position are quality guys but no one stands out. Ludwick is here because he has impressed me over the last several years. He first was on my radar as a Cardinal when he hit a bunch of homers out of nowhere one year but I figured it was a fluke. Then a little while later he gets traded to San Diego and continued to produce middle of the lineup numbers. Then he gets traded to Cincinnati and along with Brandon Phillips were the only threats in the NLDS. He doesn’t look like he would be a good ballplayer at all but he is good in an awkward way. He looks out of place on defense but he can be counted on to make a diving play here and there. Just a guy doing his job day in and day out. Respect.

3. Matt Holliday
I’m telling you homie it’s slim pickens when this guy is number 3. Making $200 mil to put up 27 homers, 102 RBI with 132 strikeout. C’mon man. The reason the Cardinals couldn’t sign Pujols was because of the contract given to this Humpty Dumpty lookin dude. Putting up them Prince Fielder numbers. I’m afraid to see what kind of contract the next about average player is going to get. I don’t have any numbers but my money is on Justin Upton to get that contract. Fuck Matt Holliday.

2. Carlos Gonzalez
The Rockies lucked out when they were able to pick up Carlos from the A’s in exchange for Matt Holiday. He already has put up some big numbers and is really entering the prime of his career. There a couple problems that derail him from the top spot. 1) is injuries. He missed almost 30 games last year and it has been a problem in the past so hopefully my boy can stay healthy. 2) is he needs to hit better on the road. The home road splits are making it look like Gonzalez would only be an average player if he didn’t play half his games at Coors. If he can close the gap between how hits on the road versus at home there is no reason he won’t be seen as the best leftfielder.

1. Josh Hamilton
He will be making the change to the corner in Anaheim after patrolling Center for Texas since 2009. I wonder what goes threw Hamilton’s head if he ever looks back and wonders the things he could have down if he didn’t fall so far off the wagon at the beginning of his career. Him and Carl Crawford are the same age and were drafted in the same year. Look how long Crawford has been in the league and what he has been able to accomplish, just the thought is scary. I also believe the injuries he has accumulated are because he is older and his body cannot support his style of play in the outfield. If he can put up the numbers from when he has been healthy, especially the ones at the beginning of last year, then the 5 year $125 million contract will look like a bargain. But honestly it is more likely it is going to end up a disaster.


Breakout Player: Bryce Harper
How weird is it that I’m only a month older than this dude. Looking at where he is in life compared to mine is some sad shit but it is what it is. Within a couple years Harper will be in the top five list. Shortly after that he will be challenging for top player in baseball. I really believe he and Trout are the future of the league. It is not every year two players of this caliber come up at the same time and we should appreciate and enjoy this. Their careers will now forever be linked. Harper has all the tools. Only thing he has to work on in my opinion is driving the ball. We all know he has superman power swinging the bat but if he focuses on hitting lines drives and squaring the ball up, the force with which he swings the bat will ensure that he will still get his homers in addition to being a better hitter.

5. Michael Bourn
I was happy that the best defensive outfielder in the bigs did not get the huge contract that he wanted simply because he is not worth it. To me Bourn is a bit overrated as a leadoff man. Yeah he gets his hits but for some reason he isn’t someone that would strike fear in me. His offensive production has some fluky feeling to it that I can’t describe. Kind of like how I know Joe Flacco is an above average quarterback but is he elite, not a chance. The wins and the Super Bowl MVP are there but something about him just says he isn’t worth the money.

4. Adam Jones
the Orioles got lucky in signing Pacman, wrong Adam Jones, to an extension because after the year he put up last year combined with his age and skill set, he would have been due for a 9 figure salary. He emerged last year by flashing his 30 homer power and while only stealing 16 bases he has 30/30 potential. Jones came up with numerous clutch hits for his team last year and also appeared to take on the leadership role for the young club. Still only 27 years and really about to enter his prime so I’m expecting him to take it to the next level this upcoming year.

3. Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen is the rare talent that can actually get noticed in Pittsburgh. Right up until the all start break he was the leading candidate for MVP but a second half that wasn’t as good as his first half and a dominant performance by Buster Posey over the last 3 months led to the latter earning the award. In a way the Pirates’s second half slide mirrored McCutchen’s so as he goes the team goes. I don’t know how good his arm is but if it is good he flashed the potential to be a 5 tool player which is a description thrown around too loosely these days. The main thing that catapulted him into this next category was the ability to hit for average. If his .327 avg was not a fluke then the NL Central will have a problem on his hands. Only thing for me other than consistency is he has to become a better baserunner. He has stated that is his biggest priority right now which is a scary thought for any opponent. He is still a runner instead of a base runner and is looking to shed that label this year.

2. Curtis Granderson
43 home runs is 43 home runs no matter how you look at it BUT an awful lot of Granderson’s homers end up in the right field seats of Yankee Stadium and that is a little suspicious. 26 of his bombs came at home which help further my claim but don’t get it twisted he still would get 25 no matter where he played. Granderson is a feast or famine type hitter as evidenced by his .232 avg and 195 strikeouts but despite that his bat will be missed after getting drilled in the wrist during spring training. If he isn’t hitting home runs it is not likely he is getting extra base hits neither. Taking out his home runs, extra base hits make up 22% of his hits. So he actually may be overrated but like I already said 40 homers is 40 homers and you can’t just take that away.

1. Matt Kemp
You wanna know how good Matt Kemp just remember that his 2011 season was so good that even after being plagued with injury after injury last year he is still is considered the top talent at the position. He finally put it all together in 2011 by nearly winning the triple crown and finishing as the runner up to roid freak Ryan Braun for MVP that year. He was one homer shy of a 40/40 season and talked about wanting to shoot for a 50/50 season. Usually when someone makes ridiculous claims like that, for example Chris Johnson saying he is going to rush for 2500 yards, we tend to say take that opinion and shove it up your ass sideways. But when Matt Kemp said this I don’t recall anyone saying he doesn’t have a shot it was more like “He actually could do it he is locked in at the plate and healthy.” I believe Kemp can steal 50 bags no problem it is just the last 10 or 15 so homers that will be his roadblock. He needs to get more disciplined as a hitter, shout to George Kontos for that nasty curveball and securing your postseason spot, and that is the only negative I see in his game offensively. Even though Kemp plays for the Dodgers I hope he is healthy because he is a great talent to watch.


Breakout Player: Jason Heyward
This was the hardest position to do along with first base. While first base had the many established veterans to choose from, rightfield has an abundance of young talent that has proven they belong in the majors. Theses guys are among the best not just because of their production at the plate but they can field the position just as well. Jason Heyward  just misses the cut because he has not progressed like people thought he would have after his amazing rookie year. He did bounce back after a terrible 2nd year and if he can put it together this year there is no reason to think he can’t be higher on the list. A good fielder who’s value comes at the plate. Like any young player Heyward needs to work on his plate discipline seeing as he has the tendency to be aggressive and not waiting for the right pitch. He is going to be a problem once he gets it together.

5B. Giancarlo Don’t Call Me Mike Stanton  
Giancarlo slugged his way onto the list there is no other way around it. Although he has a cannon for an arm he looks like a tight end running out there in the outfield. You know how you can tell tight ends are still good athletes when they’re running their routes or running with the ball but just because of how big they just don’t look as fluid as wide receivers. That’s how Stanton is when he is running in the outfield. That being said his value is no doubt at the plate. The man flat out can hit the long ball. After hitting 22 homers his rookie year he has put up back to back 30 homer seasons getting 34 in 2011 and 37 last year. Mind you he hit those 37 homers playing in only 123 games last year so just think how many he can put up playing the full slate of games. He is still a young guy so it is not surprising to see him strike out 140 times but the impressive part was despite that he still wound up with a .290 avg so he does put the ball in play and gets on base.

5A. Jay Bruce
The former number 1 prospect in the game is starting to live up to expectations. He isnt’t doing anything to change the game like that but he is starting to look like someone who can be the face of the franchise. The problem is the Reds already have Joey Votto for that and although it is a great problem to have two players like that something is telling me they won’t be able to keep Bruce once he hits the open market. He has the potential to hit 40 plus homers every year. This will be his 6th year I think and it will be a make or break year for him. Every year we say he is getting better but this is the season where we will see what he is all about. 6 years is more than enough time for Bruce to show what kind of player he will be for the rest of his career.

4. Jose Bautista
Another one of those guys that I thought were a fluke. After smashing 54 home runs in 2010 I was just like aight cool this just some Luis Gonzalez one year wonder shit right here he ain’t going to do it again next year. Lo and behold the next year he leads the majors in homers again. Okay so maybe this guy is forreal but I’m still a little skeptic. Last year despite playing in only 92 games, he still gets 27 homers. That number was still good for 5th among rightfielders and that is him playing in only a little more than half the games. Also has a cannon out in right field so take that for what it is.

3. Nelson Cruz
Don Omar over here was a late bloomer to the scene. It wasn't until he was 29 that he figured out how to hit major league pitching into the stands and to his credit has been once of the more consistent middle of the lineup bats in all of baseball. He gets bonus points for showing up in the postseason unlike some people, Josh Hamilton where you at. The thing I don’t like about him though and after finding this I probably should drop him down the list is that he is just an average hitter away from the Ballpark in Arlington. Over the last three years only 25 of his 75 home runs came away from home and has only produced 99 RBI in that time. C’mon Nelson you gotta get it done.

2. Justin Upton
This is based off of talent and the couple very good years he has had. My man is mad inconsistent. He had good-very good years in 09 and 11 but had average-below average years in 10 and 12. For someone with the skill set that Justin Upton has an average year should be considered a disappointment. But if the trend continues he is going to have a very nice year in 2013 as he gets a chance to play with his brother in Atlanta. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes but I have no idea why Arizona had him on the trade block the last several years. He is still young enough to build around but maybe they saw something in him and felt he could not put the franchise on his back. I’m just happy he is out of the division.

1. Mike Trout
Yeah that’s how good his 2012 season was. And if you’re reading this saying he is a center fielder he won’t be this year. Look it up. Peter something is taking over in center which must mean he is an out of this world defender considering all the plays Trout was able to make last year. I’m not even going to go over the numbers because if you are reading this you are most likely a baseball fan and if you are a baseball fan you pretty much have his stats memorized with how much everyone talked about his year. But if you wanna check the stats anyway here you go. He has the body to hold up over the course of a full year (looking like a running back and shit) so there shouldn’t be any physical wear and tear, barring injury, so the main thing is being able to stay mentally fit. It is inevitable he will struggle since everyone has tape on him so how he reacts will be the thing to watch this year.


Honestly there are too many pitchers to really bottle them up into 5 so I’m not even going to go in depth because there are so many arguments you can make and it is all subjective. I’m also excluding relievers because there are just too many and relievers just seem very fluky to me with how they could just jump onto the scene one year.

Breakout Player: Aroldis Chapman
I really hope his transition to the rotation works out. The comparison I have heard the most is Randy Johnson and it makes sense. Tall lefty who has thrown the fastest pitch ever recorded to go along with a nasty slider. The reds will most likely Strasburg him this year. Only has 4 more years left on the contract he signed.

5. Clayton Kershaw
Got respect for this Dodger right here. Easily the most frustrating Dodger pitcher because it seemed like everytime not only would he outduel Lincecum, the score ends up being like 2-1 or 1-0. C’mon man. If Kershaw continues to put up the numbers then he will rise on the list because you’re about to see I value proven pitchers. Not saying Kershaw isn’t proven it is just the other four have been doing it on Kershaw’s level but for a longer period of time.

4. CC Sabathia
My man from Vallejo continues to be the workhorse year in and year out for the Yankees. He wasn’t afraid of the big stage and has been pitching some of the best ball since he signed there. Even though I love Zito for saving the Giants season in Game 5 of the NLCS, if they don’t sign him before the 07 season I believe the Giants are the front runners for Sabathia when he hit the open market. CC expressed a desire to play closer to home and to play in the NL because he enjoyed hitting. If they shelled out $126 million for Zito they surely could have offered $150 for CC.

3. Felix Hernandez
How weird is it that King Felix is still just 26 years old. If it seems like he should be way older it is because he has been in the league since 05 and really over the last several years has established himself as one of the premier pitchers. Apparently he likes it in Seattle seeing as he just re-upped for $175 million (I don’t know if that shit if official yet though) but i can’t blame him. If a team in Alaska is offering $175 million I’m booking the next flight. The key thing for Felix is that he has been able to stay durable so hopefully he keeps that up.

2. Matt Cain
I don’t care that he is the only one on the list without a Cy Young he is still Matt Fuckin Cain. If I need a pitcher to start one game, give me Cain over anyone including the number one guy on the list. He started all three clinching games for the Giants in the 2012 postseason and had a 0.00 ERA during the 2010 postseason. Yes 0.00 as in no one scored on Matt Fuckin Cain. And after flirting with so many no hitters and perfect games throughout his career he put up one of the most dominating pitching performances ever by striking out 14 Astros in his perfect game back in June. Remember how I said Brandon Phillips wears his emotions on his sleeve or something like that. Well Matt Cain does too. It’s just he feels no emotion on the field so that is why all you get out of him is a sniper like focus and a blank stare. Matt Fuckin Cain.

1. Justin Verlander
There’s no way I could make a case for verlander being the top pitcher in baseball after talking about Cain that way. So just watch the MLB Network and they’ll tell you all about it or check his stats. As long as he doesn’t face Pablo Sandoval, Verlander is the most dominant pitcher.

So now you guys know who to look out for this upcoming year. What I found out is that year to year lists like this don’t really change other than for a few players. It goes to show the disparities between great players and everyone else. Peace.

The Roots feat. Beanie Sigel

doesn't get much better than the Roots. off the album Things Fall Apart 

Damu The Fudgemunk- The Bright Side Remix

Damu is a throwback hip hop producer. You can hear the pete rock influence in his music. This track also happens to be one of the rare ones that Damu spits on himself. and if the samples sound familiar he got them from Smif N Wessun's Bucktown and Suzanne Vega's Tom Diner. Respect to Damu

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