Featuring Colin Hecht & Trevor Utley
By Trevor Utley featuring Josh Souza, Colin Hecht, Matt Sieczkiewicz, Andrew daSilva, & Andrew Sanford
Before each baseball season myself and my friends would make our picks for the upcoming baseball season. This year we actually documented our selections on the site so that at the end of it all we could not only mock each other for such horrible prognosticating skills, but you the reader could do the same. So take a trip down memory lane with us and let's recap the sheer stupidity we exuded during Spring Training.
ALL STAR SELECTIONS
We'll get this one out of the way early because this was entirely a solo mission on my part. We may expand it to include everybody next year just so I don't feel like an even bigger idiot than I already do. If you went through any of the 30 Teams in Under 30 Days articles ahead of the 2015 season, you would have seen my picks for All-Stars from each team at the bottom of each article. I was looking to improve from my performance from last year in which I hit on 45% on the American League All-Stars and 37% on the National League All-Stars. I know that isn't setting the bar very high, but even that low leap was too much for me to handle.
I regressed significantly to 36% for the AL and 33% for the NL. While there was plenty of pats on the back for nailing sneaky selections like Tampa Bay closer Brad Boxberger and Yankees set-up man Dellin Betances, there were ten times as many "What the fuck were you thinking?" picks made. Here are some of the best gems from the NL:
Somehow the American League was so much worse...
Now that my individual shaming has been completed, let's go on to the group humiliation portion of the article! Between the six of us we were able to only get three awards picked correctly. It was a parade of failure as you scrolled down to each successive block of embarrassing forecasts. Well, here's the first float now!
I'm just going to say now that Sanford picked Joe Kelly for every award. So when you see me completely ignoring his input over the next several paragraphs, that is why. American League MVP was an award that we all went all in on. It was Mike Trout or bust for the BYC boys and Josh Donaldson made sure we all suffered the bust half of that equation.
On the National League side, Josh was the only person with the vision to see Bryce Harper morph from a floppy haired doofus to a floppy haired doofus with an MVP trophy on his mantle. Colin had a big swing and a miss with Yasiel Puig. A freak injury wiped out what would have been a solid pick for Matt and Andrew in Giancarlo Stanton. My pick of Andrew McCutchen placed fifth in the voting. Light golf clap for myself.
In all the years we have been making picks as friends, we've never learned not to trust the Seattle Mariners. Again King Felix did the majority of us in. The other non-Joe Kelly selection made was Corey Kluber by Andrew. Kluber couldn't quite recapture the magic of his 2014 Cy Young win, but was better than his 9-16 record suggested. Our two guys finished with 13 combined Cy Young vote points, which would have been good enough for fifth.
Me and Colin got burned by Johnny Cueto's trade in the NL Cy Young, but that is shame on us for not thinking that a guy who had been on the trade block for five years wasn't finally going to get shipped in his contract year. The other three actual pickers made respectable misses in Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. I don't think Jake Arrieta or even Zack Greinke came up in any of our preseason conversations. Boo us.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Rookie of the Year is always one of the hardest awards to project and in the AL this year it was no different. There was such an influx of rookies that not one of us picked the same guy to take home the prize. Not one of us picked the right guy, Houston's Carlos Correa, either. Well at least the majority of us had that puncher's chance. Josh's pick of Francisco Lindor even finished second to Correa. Colin though...oh Colin, Colin, Colin...he picked Mookie Betts, a player ineligible to win the award. Yup that about wraps that up.
The National League ROY was much easier. Just pick a Cub. The majority of us for once actually picked the right one as Kris Bryant took the league by storm, made the All-Star Team and won the award unanimously. Point at laugh at Andrew! Not the one that picked Joe Kelly, the one who went against the grain and picked the wrong Cub Jorge Soler. MUAHAHHAHAHA! It's nice to laugh at someone else's terrible picks for once.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
We continued the time honored preseason picks tradition of picking a Manager of the Year that ends up being fired. Just a week after the season ended, Mariners' manager Lloyd McClendon (whom three of us picked to win Manager of the Year) got the axe. Can't trust the Mariners...blah blah blah...we never learn...yada yada yada. Colin actually came the closest for once with his pick of Toronto manager John Gibbons. He finished fourth in the voting and even got a first place vote! Way to go Colin! We strive for mediocrity!
The NL Manager of the Year picks showed that the two NL fans in the lot didn't know as much about the NL as we thought we did. While the three AL fans all picked correctly with Joe Maddon, the two NL fans watched their pick Matt Williams get a pink slip after Washington failed to make the postseason. Oh Washington, you and your miserable 2015 is going to feature very heavily in this next segment.
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP AND WORLD SERIES SELECTIONS
The Royals proved 2014 was no fluke as they returned to the World Series and won the whole damned thing. None of us picked Kansas City to even LOSE in the ALCS. The Indians, Orioles, Angels, Red Sox, and those pesky Mariners all factored into our choices coming out of the AL, but the champs didn't even get a sniff. The only thing you are sniffing right now is the putrid stench coming from said choices.
The Mets came out of left field this year to take the National League, besting the Cubs and Dodgers on their way to the Fall Classic. So of course the kid who picked Joe Kelly to win every award was the only one to choose the Mets to win the National League. We'll ignore that he had them beating the Marlins in the NLCS and give credit where it is due. Colin and Matt both at least had playoff teams in those Cubs and Dodgers, although they each picked them to win it all. Myself, Josh, and Andrew though fell victim to the Nationals hype machine. Not only did we pick the Nats to take the NL, we picked them to win the whole shebang. I can't even make fun of Sanford's Red Sox pick right now I feel so downtrodden.
I miss baseball. I am already looking forward to making horrendous picks next spring. At least I have our EPL picks to hang on to in the mean time. Oh wait, I picked Manchester City to finish outside the Top 4? FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!
By Trevor Utley
Since yesterday's technological mishap, I've become incredibly paranoid about writing this piece again. In fact, this is being typed in a word document and also being transferred onto a NotePad. The computer NotePad not pen and paper, yet some of you know my affinity for writing every inane detail down. To avoid the near psychological break I underwent yesterday, I am just going to combine all five articles into little blurbs and be done with it. Opening Day's already come and gone so you already know who's down what and where with the four teams left. I've already been proven way off base with some of my other 26 previews. Without further adieu, or catastrophic mental meltdown, the top four of 30 Teams In Under 30 Days as well as our picks for the 2015 MLB awards, pennants, and World Series champions.
#4- Los Angeles Dodgers: My beloved boys in blue are the class of the NL West. They'll win the division going away and showed yesterday that they have a pretty damn resilient team even with that pesky Matt Kemp going all ghost of Christmas past on them. I swear to you I had Jimmy Rollins listed as an All-Star before that three run home run gave me a chub in the middle of my weeping. In the end, how far the Dodgers will advance will depend on whether or not old #22 can stop being #2 come postseason.
LAST YEAR'S RANKING: #3 (DOWN 1)
PREDICTED RECORD: 94-68
PREDICTED ALL-STAR REPS: Clayton Kershaw (starting pitcher), Zack Greinke (starting pitcher), Adrian Gonzalez (first baseman), Jimmy Rollins (shortstop), Yasiel Puig (outfielder)
#3- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: They may have lost on Opening Day, but it was to King Felix so don't read too much into it. The Angels flipped the switch in the middle of last year and I think it will have a carry-over effect into 2015. Mike Trout will probably finish Top 3 on the AL MVP ballot for the next ten years barring a contraction of Ebola or a fling with a Kardashian. Garrett Richards will be even better than last year when he recovers from surgery. It is World Series or bust this year. Scroll down to see if I busted them or not.
LAST YEAR'S RANKING: #9 (UP 6)
PREDICTED RECORD: 95-77
PREDICTED ALL-STAR REPS: Mike Trout (outfielder), Garrett Richards (starting pitcher), Albert Pujols (first baseman), Huston Street (relief pitcher)
#2- Baltimore Orioles: We all slept on the Orioles last year and all ended up looking like fools. If I am going to look like a fool, I'd rather it be because I overrated a team rather than underestimating them. The Orioles have already started their baseball bashing ways and none of yesterday's three homers even came from Chris Davis or Adam Jones. There is a good chance when you drafted your fantasy baseball team, you bypassed every Oriole outside of the aforementioned duo or Manny Machado. The Orioles will be living the real life fantasy though as they cruise to the division title once again.
LAST YEAR'S RANKING: #19 (UP 17)
PREDICTED RECORD: 95-77
PREDICTED ALL-STAR REPS: Adam Jones (outfielder), Travis Snider (outfielder), Zach Britton (relief pitcher)
#1- Washington Nationals: By process of elimination you knew this was going to be Washington. Everybody picked Washington. Why should my dumb ass be any different? They have an All-Star team for a starting rotation. They have a dynamic lineup. They also trotted out Dan Uggla as their Opening Day second baseman. The Giants had Dan Uggla on their team last season. The Nationals are winning the World Series.
LAST YEAR'S RANKING: #6 (UP 5)
PREDICTED RECORD: 98-64
PREDICTED ALL-STAR REPS: Max Scherzer & Stephen Strasburg & Jordan ZImmermann & Doug Fister (starting pitchers), Bryce Harper (outfielder), Ian Desmond (shortstop)
2015 BLEEDING YOUR COLORS AWARD WINNERS AND PENNANT SELECTIONS
Thanks to all that came along for another journey through the 30 Major League teams in under 30 days time. Special thanks to Josh Souza, Colin Hecht (even though he picked an ineligible ROY in Mookie Betts), Matt Sieczkiewicz, Andrew daSilva, and Andrew Sanford (who picked Joe Kelly for all he could) for making picks. Give those fine gentlemen a follow on Twitter. Check back throughout the 2015 Major League Baseball season for more from me, and hopefully others, here on Bleeding Your Colors. PLAY BALL!
Image Credits: All team logos (sportslogos.net); Trout, Kelly, Hernandez, Kershaw, Cueto, Puig, Stanton, McCutchen, Kluber, Soler, Bryant, Lindor, Betts, Sanchez, Harper, Scherzer (espn.com); Souza Jr. (statliners.com); Rodon (southsideshowdown.com); Francona (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com); Gibbons (jaysjournal.com); McClendon (seattlepi.com); Maddon (thebiglead.com); Williams (pixshark.com)
By Trevor Utley
So here we are at numero uno! The runner-up in last year's ALCS will be the best regular season team in the Major Leagues this year. They have the two time reigning MVP and the 2012 Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera, newly christened as the league's highest paid player ever. They have two of the last three AL Cy Young Award winners in Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (playing for a megadeal bigger than the $24 mill. a year deal he turned down already) as well as Anibal Sanchez who pitched to a 2.57 ERA last year. They have made the playoffs three straight years. They just can't get over the hump come October. So, they decided to shake it up. They traded Prince Fielder after just two seasons for Texas' Ian Kinsler, a player whose game is made for Comerica Park. The second baseman had spent his whole career in Texas but now hopes that his former mates go 0-162 according to an ESPN interview. He won't get his wish on that front but he'll get to play in a park quite conducive to his affinity for hitting doubles. Kinsler wasn't the only big name to land in Detroit this offseason from Texas. Joe Nathan will close games for the Tigers in 2014 and even at 39 is putting together superb campaigns. Getting to Nathan may be a bit of an issue though. The Tigers' middle relief is suspect to put it gently, with Al Alburquerque as its best option. Drew Smyly, the top lefty out of the pen (6-0, 2.37 ERA) in 2013 will move to the rotation. I think the deficits in their bullpen will be shielded however by the fact that the starters will go far into games, lessening the burden on new manager Brad Ausmus. The lineup and defense took a big hit in Spring Training with the loss of Jose Iglesias, who came over in a trade from Boston last year, due to stress fractures in both legs. This will put more stress on rookie Nick Castellanos on the left side of the infield who is more known for his bat than his glove. Alex Gonzalez will try to replace the slick fielding Iglesias. The outfield corps received a speed overhaul with the signing of Rajai Davis. The former Blue Jay stole 45 bases last year in only 108 games. He'll join Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson in the spacious Comerica outfield. Victor Martinez will continue to rake as a designated hitter and cleanup man for the second best offense in the Majors. All in all, I think the Red Sox are a better team than the Tigers but in the putrid AL Central they'll put together the only 100 win season in the Majors this year. Will that lead to a World Series title? You're just going to have to keep reading to find out!
PREDICTED RECORD: 100-62
PREDICTED ALL-STAR REPS: Miguel Cabrera, first baseman; Justin Verlander, starting pitcher; Joe Nathan, relief pitcher; Victor Martinez, designated hitter
AL MVP- Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
After twice running up to Miguel Cabrera, the Angels' playoff appearance puts Trout over the top.
NL MVP- Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
I think this is the year the 24 year old breaks through and puts himself into the upper tier of National League hitters.
AL CY YOUNG- Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Verlander will bounce back from a subpar 2013 to win his second Cy Young Award.
NL CY YOUNG- Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Did you expect anything else from me?
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR- Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
The Japanese import will beat out Boston's Xander Bogaerts in a close vote after winning at least 14 games.
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR- Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
The centerfielder will become the first person since Vince Coleman in 1987 to steal 100 bases in a season if given the playing time.
Image Credits: Tigers logo (sportslogos.net); Trout, Freeman, Verlander, Kershaw, Tanaka, Hamilton (espn.com)