”You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” – Joe DiMaggio
It’s that magical time of the year again when we get to celebrate Opening Day! The day that some of us countdown to, plan a dinner party, meet at your favorite watering hole to cheer on your team. Even some of us will be sitting in the stands cheering our team on.
We will cheer for our favorites, the players we feel like we know, call them by their nickname. Though with every new season comes with new players, so let’s get those introductions out of the way so we can bring them into the baseball team family.
Catcher – #21 – Jonathan Lucroy
Right Fielder – #25 Stephen Piscotty
Pitcher – #52 – Ryan Buchter
Pitcher – #15 – Emilio Pagan
Pitcher – #36 – Yusmeiro Petit
Those of us who have sat through the long winter months trying to keep busy with Basketball, Football, Hockey, Soccer, Winter Olympics and whatever else you can to fill the void of the empty days of 9 inning games … We no longer need to wait. It’s like the night before Christmas, except we get to cheer, scream, and go with the roller coaster of the baseball season. It’s the day before OPENING DAY! I don’t know about you all, but I will definitely be bringing out all the baseball shirts, getting my orange and black together, because tomorrow is OPENING DAY! I mean, can you not understand how exciting this is??!!! OPENING DAY. Yes… OPENING DAY has finally arrived.
So during the dark days of no baseball, there was a lot going on. So here are some of the highlights so you know the new faces on the team:
Pitcher- #70 Julian Fernandez
Pitcher – #45 Derek Holland
Pitcher – #56 Tony Watson
Infield – #10 Evan Longoria
Center Field – #16 Austin Jackson
Center Field – #22 Andrew McCutchen
Our first podcast and we talk Tim Lincecum and what’s going on with Timmy. Does he have any shot at returning to the Giants or who else is interested?
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San Francisco Giants Pitching Rotation Preview
It’s March 1st and the first spring training games are about to begin this week and so the possibilities of what the starting pitching line-up might look like. The signing of free-agents Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija into the pitching rotation make for a strong 5 man rotation.
- Madison Bumgarner – Well we all know that Mad Bum is the hero of the bull pen and has helped the team through some amazing game wins!
- Johnny Cueto – If Cueto’s arm stays strong then the team has “..one of the most deadly one-two punches…”
- Jeff Samardizija – he is due to have a great season after last year in the American League, but now that he’s returned to the National League where he saw his best pitching statistics, the Giants will be in good shape having Samardizija as Number 3.
- Jake Peavy– A veteran with already pitching 14 MLB seasons, but he is a strong 4th place pitcher.
- Matt Cain– Cain would have been the number 5 spot, but due to being out with injury, Chris Heston makes the most sense and he’s shown he can step in and pitch a good game.
2016 ZIPS Projections
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The Oakland Athletics Rotation will undoubtedly start with Sonny Gray on Opening Day. Behind him the likely contenders include some combination of Chris Bassitt, Jesse Hahn, Rich Hill and Kendall Graveman. Bassitt and Hahn looked really good when healthy last year with Bassitt compiling a 3.56 ERA, and Hahn a 3.35 ERA. Graveman was more up and down but had a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts. Rich Hill at 36 coming from the Red Sox had a very effective 4 starts with a 1.55 ERA but comes with same questions of health and durability that the youngsters have. While the foursome may not inspire confidence that this will be a set it and forget it rotation all have tremendous upside and teamed with Oakland’s new bullpen could be more effective then people envision. Throwing 5 or 6 good innings could be enough.
Given the inevitable injury and/or underperformance the A’s do have some options.
An interesting wild card is former Ace, Jarrod Parker whom is throwing off a mound after missing the last 2 years with injury. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from Parker who has just started adding changeups back to his repertoire.
In Mid-May, Henderson Alvarez, whom the A’s signed in the off-season will be healthy and should take one of the rotation spots from any underperforming youngster. Swing-starts should initially go to Felix Dubront.
The A’s top pitching prospect is 6 foot 5 left hander Sean Manaea. Manaea was 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA in 7 starts with 51 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 41 and 2/3 Innings Pitched at Double A Midland after being acquired in the Ben Zobrist trade. He will likely start the year in AAA but could be pushing for a spot in the rotation late in the year if there are injuries or underperformance.
ZIPS Projections for 2016 (no particular order)
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Before the acquisition of Khris Davis, the likely candidates for the A’s outfield included some mix of Mark Canha, Coco Crisp, Billy Burns, and Josh Reddick.
Coco Crisp, 36, was a non-factor last year and his injury history along with a neck injury that if it needed surgery would have required retirement makes him tough to project. Crisp whom years ago wasn’t happy the A’s pushed him out of Center Field has been the consummate professional saying:
“I’m comfortable with Khris Davis coming here,” Crisp told the Mercury News by phone Wednesday from his home in Southern California. “He’s a great athlete, and I’m happy we went and got him. This gets us closer to our goal, which is a green-and-gold ring. He’s going to help us.”
Crisp comes into spring feeling more healthy this year although his comments don’t inspire total confidence.
“My neck is my neck, and for now it’s fine. My level of confidence is good.”
Now with Khris Davis targeted for LF, Crisp will have to either spell Davis, or Burns primarily with the chance he could also spell Butler at DH or Davis could shift to DH, and Crisp to LF in such a scenario. This all comes with the caveat of health and that Butler finds a way to right his swing for 2016.
For his part Crisp has indicated he is focused on coming to Mesa for Spring Training and having fun again in 2016.
How do you see the OF, and DH situation playing out for the A’s? Where will Mark Canha play? Will Butler rebound? How much time does Crisp get?buy cialis online overnight
Online Sports Book Bovada has their futures bets odds for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. Well we do not endorse gambling it’s interesting to look at the Spring Training odds for the local teams. As you can imagine expectations are high for the Giants and not so high for the A’s.
- Giants +800
- Athletics +7500
+800 means bet $100, to win $800, while +7500 reflects winning a whooping $7500 if you bet $100. There is only one team laying worse odds than the Giants because of high expectations to win the World Series, the Chicago Cubs who are +400. Conversely only the Padres and Rockies come in at +10000 and +15000, longer odds than the Oakland A’s.
In summary, High expectation for the Giants, low expectations for the A’s. Not a big surprise.
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Today is the day… FAN FEST. To me it’s like baseball season has officially started. And it being Valentine’s Day… for us that are in LOVE with the Giants, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day.
So here is a quick run down if you plan on trekking out to the field today.
Fan fest is from 10am to 3pm
The field will be open to walk on, play catch or to just get a view of what the players have. There will be current players and coaches talking about the 2016 season and there will to ask you San Francisco Giants some questions of your own!
And if you haven’t gotten a chance to get your picture taken with the world series trophies, here is you opportunity. They will be on display for your viewing and picture pleasure.
Welcome to the 2016 season!
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No sooner then I finished my off-season review, the Oakland Athletics added another bat, LF, Khris Davis. They traded minor league prospects, P Bubby Derby and C Jacob Nottingham. Nottingham was acquired in the Scott Kazmir trade and had a good bat, but was a couple of years away. The A’s had to designated pitcher Sean Nolin to clear roster space. Davis comes with four seasons of control.
Khris Davis, 28, played 121 games in Left Field. He had 392 ABs and hit 27 homers, while compiling a .247/.323/.505 line of AVG/OBP/SLG for a 828 OPS. He is not a well regarded outfielder.
Here are Khris Davis’ projected 2016 Numbers via ZIPS:
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- Signed Henderson Alvarez (Starting Pitcher) to 1 year/$4.25 million ($1.6 million in additional incentives)
- Traded 3B/IF Brett Lawrie for 2 minor leaguers
- Signed John Axford (Relief Pitcher) to 2 year/10 million
- Traded Evan Scribner for minor leaguer
- A’s signed Ryan Madson (Relief Pitcher) to 3 years, 22 million
- Acquired 1B Yonder Alonso and lefty reliever Mark Rzepczynski in exchange for Drew Pomeranz and Jose Torres
- Acquired Jed Lowrie in exchange for a minor leaguer
- Acquired Reliever Liam Hendriks in exchange for Jesse Chavez
- Signed Rich Hill, Left Handed Starter
The A’s off-season begun with promoting Billy Beane to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and David Forst to General Manager. The team went into the offseason with the key goal of trying to improve chemistry and bolster a bullpen that led to a 19-35 record in 1-run games and was 28th in MLB with a 4.63 ERA. The health of closer Sean Doolittle should be step one in a resurgence for that unit but adding Hendriks, Madson, and Axford can’t hurt as well.
Chemistry is something that Billy Beane has frequently said was created by winning. The A’s chemistry was so bad in 2015 that even for Beane it was a focus. The club brought back Mark Kotsay as a bench coach, traded for Jed Lowrie and jettisoned Brett Lawrie with chemistry in mind.
2015 was a disappointing year after the A’s came so close in recent years. It stung for Oakland fans watching Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes lead their clubs deep in the playoffs. Oakland goes into 2016 with a much improved minor league system (Top 10 Prospect List) that should have reinforcements on the way. The team also made a number of moves that should make the A’s more watchable, at least in 2016.
ZIPS 2016 Projections for Oakland Athletics Newcomers:
For those unfamiliar an ERA- of 100 is average, and below that is good. 86 is 14 percent better than average, and 110 would be 10 percent above average. ZIPS likes Madison and Hendricks quite a bit but is far less optimistic on Hill, Alvarez and Axford.
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