Saturday, March 30, 2013

Now for some useless predictions

It's been quite a week for Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated's baseball preview edition, which arrived in my mailbox on Friday. He also signed a record contract that could earn him as much as $202 million over the next eight years.

I can't blame the Tigers for locking up Verlander long-term. The guy is the best pitcher in baseball, bar none. But being a White Sox fan, I'm in the business of trying to jinx Verlander. Accordingly, he's pictured here on this blog with my season predictions. Hopefully, in combination with his appearance on the SI cover, this will cause him to have a crappy season and give the Sox a fighting chance in the AL Central.

Now, for some predictions. Mind you, I'm really bad at this. But hey, we're on the eve of a new season, and what's a baseball blog without some useless prognostication?

AL East
1. Rays
2. Blue Jays
3. Yankees
4. Red Sox
5. Orioles

AL Central
1. Tigers
2. White Sox
3. Indians
4. Royals
5. Twins

AL West
1. Rangers
2. Angels
3. A's
4. Mariners
5. Astros

AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
AL Cy Young: David Price, Rays
AL Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers, Rays

NL East
1. Nationals
2. Braves
3. Phillies
4. Mets
5. Marlins

NL Central
1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Brewers
4. Pirates
5. Cubs

NL West
1. Giants
2. Dodgers
3. Padres
4. Diamondbacks
5. Rockies

NL MVP: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
NL Cy Young: Matt Cain, Giants
NL Rookie of the Year: Shelby Miller, Cardinals

AL Wild Card: Angels over Blue Jays
NL Wild Card: Dodgers over Reds

AL Division Series:
Tigers over Angels
Rays over Rangers

NL Division Series:
Nationals over Dodgers
Giants over Cardinals

Tigers over Rays

Nationals over Giants

World Series:
Nationals over Tigers

Come October, we'll come back to this entry and laugh about how wrong I was. Guarantee it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago?

White Sox left-hander John Danks will have to start the season on the disabled list with a shoulder problem, leaving the team with a hole in its starting rotation.

Manager Robin Ventura had two options to pick from to plug that gap, Dylan Axelrod (pictured) or Hector Santiago. I've read a lot of comments from fans saying they'd prefer Santiago, but Ventura has given the Axelrod the nod.


Well, it's because Axelrod has been more effective in his career as a starter than he has been as a reliever. The samples sizes are small, but you can see a clear difference in performance:

Axelrod as a starter: 4.50 ERA, 1.39  WHIP, .263 batting average against, .761 OPS against, 21 BBs in 56 IP.

Axelrod as a reliever: 5.93 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, .298 batting average against, .844 OPS against, 9 BBs in 13.2 innings.

Throughout his minor-league career, Axelrod worked as a starting pitcher and that's just where he is more comfortable. He's not effective as a reliever, whereas Santiago is.

I like relievers who are capable of missing bats. Santiago can do just that. He has 81 strikeouts in 75.2 career innings. Axelrod has 59 Ks in 69.2 innings. Which pitcher is more likely to relieve with the bases loaded and record a critical strikeout to get out of trouble? Without question, it's Santiago.

Even Santiago agrees he's better suited for the bullpen (for now), while Axelrod is better suited for starting.

" (Axelrod) has done it for so long, and I've gotten half a season at it two years ago, and last year four starts at it," Santiago told's Scott Merkin. "All around, he's been equipped for a starting role and I'm getting back and building up to it. I understand completely."

"I'm a better out-of-the-'pen guy than he is," Santiago added. "Going out there, I've done it more times than he has. The situation fits us both best."

I agree. I'm not a huge Axelrod fan. He's not a long-term solution in the rotation. The Sox need Danks back. But this is the best choice for the team in the short run.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Welcome to my new blogging home

I don't see any reason to start this blog off with a big introduction. For starters, I'm sure the only people reading this will be my friends and family anyway. The main purpose of this post is to get this damn blog off the ground.

For those of you who don't know, I am no longer employed by Sun-Times Media. My blog on the STM site has been inactive since November, due to circumstances beyond my control. Now that I've moved on, I'm free to start my own blog. That's exactly what I'm doing here. Here is my inspiration for the title:

Yes, this is a baseball blog. We'll be talking baseball here, every day or close to every day. I'll share my insights on the news of the day and provide my analysis on the White Sox and other MLB teams. Hopefully, it will be an educational experience for us all.

Welcome, and please bookmark me!