The Yankees look to get back to yet another World Series while the Rangers are in uncharted territory.
From 1996 through 1999, the Joe Torre-led Yankees and the Johnny Oates-piloted Rangers faced off in three American League Division Series, the first three times the latter franchise had ever reached the postseason. The Yankees won nine of those 10 games, holding the Rangers to a lone run apiece in their 1998 and 1999 sweeps. Times have changed, however, and while the Yankee machine has simply kept rolling, racking up four pennants and two world championships while missing the playoffs just once since their last meeting, the Rangers endured a dark decade before reemerging as AL West champions thanks to the shrewd deal making of general manager Jon Daniels and the fruits of their well-stocked farm system.
The Twins and Yankees meet yet again in the first round of the postseason but Minnesota has home field advantage this time.
As they did last year as well as 2003 and 2004, the Twins run squarely into the Yankee juggernaut in the first round. Unlike those other three meetings, they have home field advantage this time around, as they won the AL Central going away thanks to a league-best 48-26 second-half record. The defending world champion Yankees, who held the majors' best record for most of the season, were forced to settle for the wild card due to a sluggish 13-17 showing against a very tough schedule in September and October. Despite the relative temperatures of the two clubs, it's important to remember that late-season records aren't predictive of October success—or failure.
Lima Time as a standard for evaluation, reinforcing the Red Sox, the Tigers slip by an Inge, and more.
Using a pitcher's rate of SNLVAR, Kazmir's season has been a disaster of massive proportions, one that rates about 4.8 on the Keough scale, something that for the moment suits my purposes for describing starting pitcher inadequacy, using Matt Keough's appalling 1982 season as a baseline for starting pitcher-related terrors visited upon a team's unhappy fans over a full season. This isn't really especially fair of me, in that Keough doesn't hold the single-season low for a starter with 30 starts in a campaign, but 1982 was a horrifying disappointment, and the man was beaten with a regularity that made me think that he was the drum, and the entire American League was Keith Moon.
A look back and a look ahead to who could the top prosects in the senior circuit next year.
One of the most frequent questions I get, be it via e-mail, chats, or the comment sections in the articles, is which player on (insert team here) has the best shot at moving into the Top 101. That's a much different question from who is the best prospect not in the Top 101, as the focus need to move solely to growth potential. Building on last year's "Future Top Dogs" series, let's keep that category in this year's version, while also taking an honest look at last year's prognostications.
Looking ahead to who could top next year's prospects lists in the junior loop.
One of the most frequent questions I get, be it via e-mail, chats, or the comment sections in the articles, is which player on [insert team here] has the best shot at moving into the Top 101. That's a much different question from who is the best prospect not in the Top 101, as the focus needs to move solely to growth potential. Building on last year's "Future Top Dogs" series, let's keep that category in this year's version, while also taking an honest list at last year's prognostications.
Is this the year for Bert Blyleven or Jack Morris? And what of Lee Smith?
In a tradition as old as my Hall of Fame ballot analysis series itself predating even the JAWS acronym, we come to the pitchers on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame mere hours ahead of the announcement of the voting results. As with last year, it's a short list, featuring three holdovers and four newcomers. Among this group, Bert Blyleven remains the standout. Now in his 13th year on the ballot, he's polled above 60 percent in each of the past two years. While the work done by statheads here and elsewhere to boost his candidacy has gotten through to the voters, he's running out of time.
Checking out who's in the pool at first, second, third, and short.
There are currently 170 free agents. John Grabow was the 171st, but that was before signing with the Cubs right after the list became official. Over the next couple of days, I'll cover every single one of the 170, with the infielders coming first. Players are listed by position, and ranked within their position subjectively by how good a value I think each can be as a free agent.