MLB Southern California Teams Predictions and Analysis, 2019

Posted: March 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

Padres

Adding Manny Machado adds excitement and misplaced hope.  The Padres offense will sparkle during the 2019 season only to lose 8-6, 9-5 and similar scores of wasted runs.  Yes, I need pitching and lots of it before turning the corner to Happy Street near Petco Park.

Offense:  Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers and Mr. Machado likely smack 25 to 30 dingers each and drive in at least 85 rbi per.  Hunter Renfroe should join them.  Manuel Margot, Luis Urias (he should land the starting shortstop job and is the proud recipient of my #1 offensive player in the Pads minor league system) and Ian “Old Man” Kinsler will benefit from improved pitch selection with runners on base.  The catching duo of Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia will not last long.  Eventually, Mr. Mejia becomes the full-time catcher as 2019 progresses.  Franmil Reyes will make a case for playing time and press either Wil Myers or Hunter Renfroe as the year unfolds.  Or the Padres package him in late July to an unforgiving land such as Baltimore or Miami.

Pitching:  The reason why third place is the best outcome in 2019.  Joey Lucchesi (or lefty #1) had a decent 2018 and holds promise, but not as a #1 starter.  Robbie Erlin (lefty #2) pitched better than Mr. Lucchesi, yet, he too, is not a #1 starter.  Matt Strahm (lefty #3.  Yes, we have theme among starting Padres pitchers) likely emerges from the bullpen to start, though I lobby for his role as a closer.  Eric Lauer is also a lefty.  That’s all I have on behalf of Mr. Lauer, though I once spent a night in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio.  A nice place.  Bryan Mitchell appearing as a potential starter on any team is a sign of debacle.  Chris Paddack, Logan Allen and Jacob Nix will get a long look during 2019.  The bullpen is led by Kirby Yates (not a bad choice), Brad Wieck, Adam “Human Rain Delay” Warren ann Aaron Loup (when not the fifth starter during bad times).

Note:  Until Andy Green is fired, the Padres will continue to languish from unrealized offensive production and poor pitching management as nine innings flutter by.  Why a 205-281 manager is retained for a fourth year is inexplicable.  Mr. Green needs to move on.

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Angels

Behold, Arte Moreno again spends enormous, spectacular, incredible amounts of money on a single player.  But, this guy’s name is Mike Trout.  I’m fine.

Offense:  Mike Trout, Mike Trout, Mike Trout.  Yes, he’s the best baseball player of my lifetime.  When he first arrived in 2011, he caught my eye.  2012, I was sold.  Speaking of best players, Andrelton Simmons is the best shortstop on the planet.  Yes, even better than Ozzie Smith (blaspheme is some circles).  His glove, arm and brain are unsurpassed at the #6 spot on the field.  Plus, his obp has increased each year since 2015.  Albert Pujols will have a serviceable year, again, in 2019.  Guess how many times Albert drove in 100+ runs during his seven years in Anaheim?  C’mon.  You can do it.  No, not ever.  No, not twice.  Four seasons.  You didn’t know, did you?  Sure, bashing Albert for the money paid is in vogue (I do so), but he is more productive than given credit, less the injury years of 2013 and last year.  On behalf of his bat, the less he plays first base, the better.  Kole Calhoun had an awful, absolutely awful, 2018.  I’m of the opinion he is done. He can’t hit a fastball.  Michael Hermosillo is right field’s heir.  Justin Upton is Albert Pujols in the outfield.  He’ll do well enough.  Justin Bour will hit 20 home runs and drive in 75.  Yawn.  David Fletcher owns second base.  Zack Cozart played a mere 58 games last year after a breakout year in 2017.  2019 will prove 2017 to be the rule or the exception.  Jonathan Lucroy and Jose Briceno share the catching duties.  Why?  Mr. Briceno threw out 44% of base runners last year.  Mr. Lucroy should catch on Sundays only.  Shohei Ohtani will take turns at dh with Mr. Pujols until he returns to the mound.  Yes, he is the real deal both at the plate and on the mound.

Pitching:  Once, Mr. Ohtani returns, the Angels starting staff becomes deep enough.  Until his return, Matt Harvey, Andrew Heaney, and Tyler Skaggs shoulder the load.  Jaime Barria should be the #5 starter, thus pushing Nick Tropeano and Trevor Cahill into the bullpen or Salt Lake City.  Said bullpen is shallow.   Cam Bedrosian, Noe Ramirez, Justin Anderson and, let’s say, Ty Buttrey make for a wobbly path to Cody Allen.

Note:  Hiring Brad Asmus was dumb.  He’s gone at year’s end.  If Billy Eppler admits a mistake sooner rather than later.

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Dodgers

Complain all you want, but Dave Roberts is arguably the best manager in the N.L.  He takes a lot of talent, keeps that talent happy (or happy enough), slogs through the inevitable late summer stall and delivers the playoffs or better.  So there.

Offense:  An outfield rotating between Joc Pederson (strikes out far too often, though 2018 was an improvement), A.J. Pollock, Cody Bellinger (no, I’m not sold on the first base change), Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo (#1 in my rating of the Dodgers minor league system) protects against injury.  Speaking of injury, Corey Seager returns in 2019.  Shortstops and Tommy John surgery are close cousins to pitchers and Tommy John surgery.  Wait and see.  Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy complete the infield.  Austin Barnes and the returning Russell Martin form a passable defensive duo with little bat.  Will Smith is a year away before he becomes the starting catcher.

Pitching:  Injuries Are Us.  Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill are on the shelf.  Gonna be a sloooooooooooow start to 2019 for Dodger fans.  Prepare to lose winnable games through May.  At least.  Hyun-Jin Ryu is the #1 starter.  Kenta Maeda follows.  Candidly, these two are good, but do not replace the above mentioned.  Given the lack of depth, the rush job of Julio Urias continues.  Kenley Jansen’s long term health continues to be a question.  Joe Kelly, if healthy (there is that word again), could take the closer spot, though he is better served as the eighth inning guy.  Ross Stripling will spend time as both a starter and reliever.  Scott Alexander, Dylan Floro and Pedro Baez will be plenty busy until the starting rotation can get to the fifth inning on a regular basis.

Note:  The Dodgers run out of luck during the N.L. playoffs.  Philly and whomever emerges from the N.L. Central battle for the World Series spot.

 

 

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