Pictured: Francisco Lindor
Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images North America

Chicago White Sox

The safest prediction to make for the White Sox is that 2019 cannot be as miserable as 2018, even if the franchise manages to lose 100 games again.

It couldn’t be. Not after relief pitcher Danny Farquhar nearly died in the dugout with a blood clot on his brain in April. And 2017 top draft pick Jake Burger ruptured his left Achilles tendon in spring training before tearing it a second time in May. And top pitching prospect Michael Kopech was shut down for Tommy John surgery in early September after making four impressive starts in the big leagues. And the team’s aggressive rebuilding push was stalled when other top prospects Zack Burdi, Dane Dunning, Alec Hansen, Micker Adolfo and Luis Robert lost significant development time to injuries. The Sox needed more than a talent infusion — they needed an exorcism.

Add that backdrop to a team that set the major league record for strikeouts and lost 27 of its first 36 games, and the Sox have to be better this season, especially with the additions of Ivan Nova to the starting rotation, Alex Colome to the bullpen, catcher James McCann and first baseman Yonder Alonso.

But the primary improvement must come from the team’s young veterans as well as the touted arrivals from the farm system. 

Cleveland Indians

The Indians will dip their big toe into the uncertain waters of rebuilding this season. It’s not a total rip-it-down-to-the-studs rebuild, but the signs are there. Besides that, they’ll try to do the hardest thing in baseball — win while turning over big chunks of the roster. Thank goodness for the AL Central.

Manager Terry Francona’s team has won three straight division titles and is favored to win a fourth in 2019, but the cast of characters has changed. Free agents Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Donaldson and Rajai Davis are gone. Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso, Yan Gomes and Yandy Diaz were traded so the Indians could reduce the payroll.

What remains is a finely tuned starting rotation led by two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and two of the best young position players in baseball — Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. The bullpen has closer Brad Hand and little else. The outfield is an empty page of players such as Bradley Zimmer, Tyler Naquin and Leonys Martin coming off injuries and/or life-threatening illnesses. The final story in the green pasture of Progressive Field is a long way from being written.

The Indians have posted six straight winning seasons. In that time they’ve made four postseason appearances, won three division titles, one pennant and reached Game 7 of the World Series. A seventh consecutive winning season is in order, and so is another trip to the postseason, but this is the most vulnerable the Indians have been since they shocked baseball by winning 92 games in 2013 after losing 94 games the previous year. If a hot team emerges from the rubble of the rebuilding AL Central, they’ll have a chance to beat the Indians.

Detroit Tigers

Four years after their last playoff appearance and 20 months after the trade of Justin Verlander signaled a new direction, the Tigers are deep in the throes of a difficult rebuild as the 2019 season approaches, having nearly halved their payroll from the free-spending days of just a couple years ago. Longtime designated hitter Victor Martinez, who retired, is the latest glory-era cornerstone to disappear into the sunset, but the Tigers are still hamstrung by the $55 million — roughly half their projected 2019 payroll — they will pay this year to untradeable veterans Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann. The meager pickups the Tigers made this winter — lefty Matt Moore, shortstop Jordy Mercer, righthander Tyson Ross — are best viewed as stopgaps or potential trade chips in July. On the heels of consecutive 98-loss seasons, this should be another tough year at Comerica Park.

Kansas City Royals

Speed and defense (along with a shutdown bullpen) were at the heart of the Kansas City Royals’ surge, culminating with the 2015 World Series championship. The club hasn’t finished above .500 in the three seasons since, matching the second-most losses in franchise history in 2018 (104). But GM Dayton Moore has made it clear that nothing has changed philosophically for Kansas City, which plays in a relatively cavernous ballpark and still covets athleticism — the fuel for its speed and defensive preference. The Royals largely sat on the sidelines during free agency, but the addition of former Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton — one of the league’s fastest players and best defenders — reinforced Moore’s vision for victory as the rebuild enters its second year.

Minnesota Twins

In almost every way imaginable, 2019 will mark the dawn of a new era in Minnesota. New manager Rocco Baldelli takes over a team missing the on-field and off-field cornerstones of its last half-decade. The front office tandem of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine has a hand-picked skipper, a new-age coaching staff and a roster they’ve begun to reshape in a manner more affirmatively characteristic of their approach to the game. 

Joe Mauer’s retirement and various expiring contracts left the team tremendous payroll flexibility, and they used it to collect players whose price tags made them undesirable to other teams, despite good talent. Betting on talent, in the absence of consistent production, will define 2019 and could set the direction of the franchise in years to come.

Posted in MLB, Top Fantasy Picks

MLB InGame Showdowns

Another two games are set for InGame action.  A maximum of 5 swaps are allowed in this contest with play time of 5 consecutive minutes necessary before a starting player can be benched. Each entry will receive 2 Power Multiplier which can be applied to any starting player to receive 2x points for a duration of 15 minutes respectively. Check out the matchups previews below and play.

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Giants at Nationals Preview

Max Scherzer is bidding to win his third consecutive National League Cy Young Award and is threatening to turn the race into a runaway as he goes for his major league-leading 11th win on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the visiting San Francisco Giants. Scherzer has won nine consecutive decisions, including a 10-strikeout effort at San Francisco on April 25.

The Nationals leveled the series with a 7-5 victory Saturday, sparked by the return of leadoff hitter Adam Eaton, who scored twice in his first game since April 8. Bryce Harper became the first player in the NL to reach 19 homers, ending a seven-game drought in which he struck out 14 times and failed to register an extra-base hit. The Giants were unable to overcome an early five-run deficit in Saturday’s setback but they have amassed 14 runs and 26 hits in the series. Catcher Nick Hundley had a three-run homer and RBI double as San Francisco lost for only the second time in its last nine games.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, NBCS Bay Area (San Francisco), MASN2 (Washington)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants LH Derek Holland (3-6, 4.91 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Max Scherzer (10-1, 1.95)

Holland has failed to pitch beyond five innings in seven of his 12 starts and lasted only four innings last time out, settling for a no-decision after giving up two runs and four hits against Arizona. His road ERA (4.50) is a more than a run lower than at AT&T Park (5.55) but he also has served up seven homers in 38 innings away from home. Eaton is 2-for-5 against Holland, who will make his first career start versus Washington.

Scherzer won his third straight start with eight overpowering innings against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, striking out 13 and allowing two runs on five hits. It marked the ninth time he has recorded at least 10 strikeouts, including 12 in eight scoreless innings at Baltimore on May 30. Scherzer has split eight career decisions against the Giants, but he has shackled Andrew McCutchen, who is 4-for-25 with 14 strikeouts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Washington placed RHP Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

2. McCutchen has five two-hit contests during a six-game hitting streak.

3. Nationals RHP Brandon Kintzler will undergo an MRI exam after exiting Saturday’s game due to forearm tightness.

Royals at Athletics Preview

The Oakland Athletics will try to bounce back from a shutout loss and claim another series win over the visiting Kansas City Royals when the teams complete a four-game set Sunday afternoon. Danny Duffy and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout in the Royals’ 2-0 win in the third game of the set Saturday.

It was Kansas City’s second win in six matchups with Oakland – all of which have taken place in June. Alex Gordon slugged a solo homer to back Duffy’s dominant effort as the Royals snapped a six-game losing streak. They’ll aim for their first winning streak of the month behind right-hander Brad Keller, who opposes Sean Manaea for the Athletics. Matt Chapman had three of Oakland’s four hits in Saturday’s loss and is 10-for-22 in the six matchups with Kansas City this month.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FS Kansas City, NBCS California (Oakland)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Brad Keller (1-2, 2.12 ERA) vs. Athletics LH Sean Manaea (5-6, 3.59)

Keller is making the most of his opportunity in the rotation, allowing two runs over 7 1/3 innings over back-to-back starts. That comes after 21 relief appearances in which he posted a 2.01 ERA. The 22-year-old, who is facing Oakland for the first time, has allowed two runs on seven hits in 12 2/3 innings during day games.

Manaea failed to get through six innings in each of his last four starts after doing so in seven of his first nine. He is winless during the four-game slump while sporting an ERA of 7.58 and the 26-year-old gave up at least four runs in three consecutive home starts. Manaea threw five innings and combined with three relievers in a four-hit shutout at Kansas City in their only prior matchup in 2016.

WALK-OFFS

1. Royals RF Jorge Soler (toe) was out of the lineup and is day-to-day.

2. Athletics 2B Jed Lowrie is 0-for-12 with five strikeouts over his last three games.

3. Oakland is 25-18 when the opposition starts a right-hander, compared to 8-14 against lefties.

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Posted in MLB

MLB InGame Showdowns

Another two games are set for InGame action.  A maximum of 5 swaps are allowed in this contest with play time of 5 consecutive minutes necessary before a starting player can be benched. Each entry will receive 2 Power Multiplier which can be applied to any starting player to receive 2x points for a duration of 15 minutes respectively. Check out the matchups previews below and play.

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Royals at Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers racked up the runs during a confidence-building series against the New York Yankees and look to continue the production when they open a four-game series versus the visiting Kansas City Royals on Thursday. Texas belted seven homers and produced 23 runs while winning two of three from New York, including Wednesday’s 12-10 triumph.

Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman each homered and were among four Rangers – Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jurickson Profar were the others – to drive in three runs in Wednesday’s slugfest. Guzman went deep in each game of the series, going 5-for-10 overall in the set, while Profar has collected six RBIs over his last two contests. Kansas City posted a 5-2, 10-inning victory on Wednesday to take two of three from St. Louis and win a road series for the first time this season. “We needed that,” Royals catcher Sal Butera told reporters after delivering the tiebreaking two-run single in the 10th. “We fought hard all three games and guys did a great job on both ends, and our bullpen did a great job.”

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FS Kansas City, FS Southwest (Texas)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Danny Duffy (1-6, 6.88 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2017: 5-2, 4.67)

Duffy is having a poor season, and things really have unraveled over his last two starts as he has given up 14 runs and 15 hits – four homers – while issuing eight walks in just 7 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old already has served up 14 homers in just 51 frames after allowing a total of 13 over 146 1/3 innings last season. Duffy is 1-2 with a 3.25 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers.

Bibens-Dirkx is being recalled to make his seventh career start in the rotation spot typically filled by Matt Moore, who went on the disabled list with a knee injury. The 33-year-old was 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in eight turns for Triple-A Round Rock, registering 32 strikeouts against eight walks over 38 2/3 innings. Bibens-Dirkx, who didn’t face the Royals last season – his first in the majors, recorded a porous 5.97 ERA over 12 home appearances (three starts) in 2017.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Rangers served up 12 homers in the series against the Yankees.

2. Texas 3B Adrian Beltre (hamstring) took batting practice Wednesday for the first time since being injured on May 13 but remains unlikely to return until early June.

3. Kansas City C Salvador Perez started at first base for the first time since 2013 in Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals and belted his eighth homer of the campaign.

Mets at Brewers Preview

Off to the best 50-game start in club history, the Milwaukee Brewers look to keep rolling when they open a four-game series against the visiting New York Mets on Thursday. Milwaukee surged to the top of the National League Central by winning 10 of 13 contests and opened its 10-game homestand with a three-game sweep of Arizona.

The Brewers, who outscored the Diamondbacks 14-4 and are poised to welcome back 17-game winner Kyle Davies and outfielder Ryan Braun from the disabled list on Thursday, are trying not to get too far ahead of themselves. “This is the Cubs’ division until someone says otherwise,” Milwaukee third baseman Travis Shaw told reporters. “But we feel like we’re in a good spot now. We’re playing good. We’ll try to keep it going this weekend.” New York, which had ripped off four straight victories before dropping its last two to Miami, won two of three from the Brewers last month as part of its 12-2 start to the season. Thursday’s matchup marks the start of a rugged eight-game road trip for the Mets, who will play four each at division leaders Milwaukee and Atlanta – the teams with the two best records in the NL.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets LH Steven Matz (1-3, 4.42 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zach Davies (2-3, 4.24)

After putting together back-to-back solid outings, Matz turned in a clunker last time out versus Arizona as he lasted only four innings while giving up four runs and six hits – including two homers. He allowed one run in each of his previous two turns, including a 2-0 loss to Colorado in which he worked a season-high six frames. Matz defeated Davies and Milwaukee on April 13 despite yielding four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Davies has been out since April 29 due to rotator cuff inflammation but was pitching well at the time of his injury, surrendering four runs over 18 innings in a span of three starts. He was rocked in two of his first three turns to open the season, including a 4 1/3-inning outing against the Mets in which he was tagged for five runs and two homers. Asdrubal Cabrera is 5-for-9 versus Davies, but Jay Bruce has recorded just one hit in 15 at-bats.

WALK-OFFS

1. Brewers 1B Jesús Aguilar drove in three runs on Wednesday, giving him nine RBIs in his last five games.

2. Mets RHP Jeurys Familia suffered his fourth blown save on Wednesday.

3. Braun (back), who has been out since May 13, was in a 3-for-29 rut at the time of his injury.

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Posted in MLB

Royals at Red Sox Preview

The grand slam is back in vogue in Boston after a year off, and it has become a big part of why the Red Sox won a club-record 19 games in April. The Red Sox hope to carry that success into May starting Tuesday when they host the second of a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals.

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MLB IG Top 3(Bucs v Nats ,Royals v Red Sox) PLAY NOW!!!

Boston managed to go all season without hitting a grand slam and settled for an American League-low 168 homers overall in 2017, but the Red Sox tallied six in April alone while rolling to a 19-6 mark during the month. Xander Bogaerts became the first Boston hitter to hit his second this season in Monday’s 10-6 triumph, sending a bases-loaded offering from Jason Hammel over the Green Monster in the third inning to give the Red Sox a lead they would not relinquish. Kansas City raced out to a three-run lead in the opener before Boston got to the plate and scored its most runs in almost two weeks, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the club to build upon its first winning streak of the season. Whit Merrifield finished with a pair of RBI doubles for the Royals, who continue to rank last in the majors in runs.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FS Kansas City, NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Jakob Junis (3-2, 3.34 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Chris Sale (2-1, 2.31)

Junis could not keep the ball in the park during Thursday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, surrendering all six of his runs via the career-high five homers he allowed over 5 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old had been mostly dominant over his first four outings, going 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA despite a rough outing on April 14 when he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 frames. J.D. Martinez (1-for-5) is the only Boston hitter to face Junis, who is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his two road starts this season.

Sale did just enough to get the win Thursday at Toronto, working around a pair of solo shots among the three runs and four hits he permitted over six innings. The six-time All-Star’s ERA is the highest it has been through six turns since 2015, although he has still managed to post a .203 batting average against and 0.97 WHIP. Alcides Escobar is 24-for-70 with a homer in his career versus Sale, who is 10-10 with a 2.99 ERA in 32 appearances (21 starts) against the Royals.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Red Sox’s six grand slams are tied with the 1996 Montreal Expos for the most ever by May 1.

2. Kansas City is 6-for-23 with runners in scoring position over the last two games after beginning the season 38-for-214 in such situations.

3. Boston’s 21 wins are tied for its most through 28 games since 2002.

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Posted in MLB

What each American League Central team should be hoping for in 2018

Cleveland Indians – “Win the whole f—— thing”

At the outset of spring training, Francisco Lindor refused to characterize his club’s 2017 campaign as a successful season “because we didn’t finish.” It’s hard to disagree with him. After falling one win shy of a World Series triumph in 2016, the Indians waltzed to a second straight division title, riding a historically dominant pitching staff to a 102-60 finish and home-field advantage in the American League Division Series only to be ousted by the New York Yankees in five games. Disappointing, to be sure, but it’s not like there’s somebody to blame for the Indians’ early postseason exit, or for their close-but-no-cigar finish the year before; even if they were the majors’ best team in 2016 or 2017, after all, the correlation between regular-season dominance and postseason success is tenuous in baseball, as randomness has lots of room to maneuver in a best-of-seven series. Often, in fact, the best team doesn’t win.

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Still, at this point, there is no solace in a division title. Merely winning the AL Central won’t cut it anymore, and a pennant won’t suffice either, frankly. They have to win it all. For this group, that’s all that remains. In all likelihood, the Indians already squandered their best chance of a championship in their current competitive window – without Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce, both of whom left via free agency this winter, it’s hard to imagine Cleveland being better in 2018 than they were the two seasons prior – but they’ll still nab a third successive AL Central title relatively effortlessly this year, at least. Come October, they’ll be there again; they just have to finish this time.

Minnesota Twins – Deuces wild

Following a disastrous 59-win season in 2016 that cast a pall over the viability of their rebuild, the Twins were vindicated last year, clawing their way to a wild-card berth on the back of breakout performances from burgeoning stars like Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, and Miguel Sano (with considerable contributions from veterans Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer).

And now, based on the offseason they just had, the Twins expect to be a regular contender in 2018 and beyond, having augmented their increasingly impressive core – comprised of the five players mentioned above, plus 25-year-old Max Kepler and newly suspended shortstop Jorge Polanco – with a glut of useful free agents, including Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn, and Addison Reed, as well as Jake Odorrizi, whom they acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay. Anything less than a second straight trip to the wild-card game would surely be a disappointment, then, not only because the Twins are appreciably better, talent-wise, than they were last year, but because the shrinking middle class in the American League has trimmed the list of legitimate wild-card contenders down to four teams, at most.

Chicago White Sox – Baby steps

The White Sox aren’t ready to compete just yet, but their roster is increasingly upside-laden these days, as highly touted youngsters like Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito – both of whom debuted with Chicago late last year – are poised to become everyday contributors in 2018, with the likes of Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Alec Hansen, and Dylan Cease not far behind. As exciting as it is, however, to see the club’s rebuild start to bear fruit, it’s important to remember this is still a development year for the White Sox, notwithstanding the fact that certain service-time clocks have started ticking.

Clearly, the White Sox expect to at least be on the fringes of the postseason picture by next summer, having elected not to trade either Avisail Garcia or Jose Abreu this offseason (they’ll both be eligible for free agency following the 2019 season), but it was only eight months ago, after all, that the club traded away Jose Quintana, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to further bolster their farm system. Pump the brakes, in other words; the White Sox are firmly in the growing-pains stage of their renaissance. And, with that in mind, a successful 2018 season would see continued growth not only from the shiny, new additions to the big-league club and the soon-to-be studs working their way up the minor-league ladder, but also from the already-established youngsters on Chicago’s active roster, like Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson, who took steps backward last year.

Detroit Tigers – Unload Miggy

After the venerable-but-increasingly-unplayable Albert Pujols, no player in the majors has a more unmovable contract than Miguel Cabrera, the soon-to-be 35-year-old who put up a .728 OPS in 2017 and still has six years and $184 million left on his deal, not to mention complete no-trade rights. For the Tigers, who ceded halfway through the 2017 campaign and decided to rebuild, that’s a huge problem. More than anything, with their competitive window currently closed and their farm system in dire straits, the Tigers desperately need the 11-time All-Star to rebound this season so they can at least try to liquidate him, converting the money still owed into some prospect capital (they don’t have any consensus top-50 prospects, and didn’t have any position players crack the recent top-100 lists at FanGraphs or Baseball Prospectus).

In the rapidly evolving baseball economy, it should be noted, wherein bat-only players in their mid-30s wield little value, Cabrera’s contract looks especially bloated – even if the Tigers eat all the money left on his deal, they won’t get a particularly noteworthy return – but they’re on the hook for the money, regardless, and there’s really no compelling reason to hang onto him. By the time the Tigers are ready to contend again, after all, Cabrera will be dangerously close to 40, with an annual salary that could impede the front office’s ability to augment the core of young talent that, ideally, they will have graduated through their minor-league system. Cabrera, for what it’s worth, said he played hurt last year, so perhaps restored health in 2018 can help the two-time MVP at least approximate the version of himself that averaged 5.3 WAR per season over the previous decade. If he can, the Tigers should do everything in their power to move him, because merely unburdening themselves from that albatross of a contract will make their 2018 season a success.

Kansas City Royals – Lose

Make no mistake: the Royals didn’t re-sign Mike Moustakas because they hope to be competitive in 2018. They brought him back so they can swap him for a prospect or two at the trade deadline, and same goes for newcomers Lucas Duda and Jon Jay. They’re investing in their future, in other words, and it makes sense, because their present is … yeesh.

Ravaged by the losses of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas to free agency, the denuded Royals may well be the worst team in the American League in 2018, and with their farm system floundering, too – their prospect reserve was gutted over the past few seasons to help bolster the big-league club – the best thing Kansas City can do this season is lose. A lot. The compensatory draft picks they’ll receive for losing Hosmer and Cain will help expedite the process of revitalizing their farm system, but a last-place finish in 2018 – and the resulting first overall pick in the 2019 draft – would be a massive boon for a club without a single prospect on MLB.com’s Top 100 list. And, in the meantime, if they can get something of value at the trade deadline for any of the aforementioned one-year placeholders – who cost the Royals a grand total of $13 million, mind you, considerably less than the value of the qualifying offer they gave Moustakas in November – that’s gravy.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report

All 30 MLB teams will be in action for a second straight. You know what that means! The big fantasy score is in your grasp.  Better pick early, as there is three games scheduled early. Among them is a matchup between the Angels and White Sox. Chicago sends ace Chris Sale to the mound, while L.A. counter with Garrett Richards. Sale could be the first pitcher this season to reach win number four. Later in the evening, Detroit battle the World Series Champ Royals in their hometown. Jordan Zimmerman will have the start for the Tigers, and will attempt to keep his shutout streak going. The righty has yet to allow a run in his 13 innings of play this season.  He will face off against  Ian Kennedy, who also is having an solid start this fantasy baseball season. Things will come to a clash later tonight when D-Backs Zack Greinke and Giants Madison Bumgarner will throw down in what looks like a continued  rivalry from Greinke’s days as a Los Angeles Dodger. Here is the top 20 players Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report.

Fantasy baseball Upon the pitching matchup programed today, there is one in particular that looks like a potential mismatch. Cleveland’s Danny Salazar has been rock solid giving up a single run and striking out 16 in his two starts. He’s matched up versus Mariners young-blooded pitcher Taijuan Walker, who has been pretty decent as of now. It will be interesting to see if  Salazar can hold Seattle’s big bat at bay, despite the fact that the Emerald City team scored 77% of their runs on the road, which they will be at Wednesday. That’s triple more of what they made at home, in which they rank last in the league. On the batting front,  Bryce Harper has not missed a beat since his MVP season, last year. He knocked one out of the park on Tuesday to bring his total to 7 since opening day. His hot streak his not something to not take lightly.

 

Posted in MLB

MLB Baseball Fantasy Preview

New York Mets vs Kansas City Royals

It’s that time of the year where the highly anticipated MLB season will freshly begin. The New York Mets will be travelling to Kauffman Stadium where they will face the defending MLB Champions, Kansas City Royals. FanPicks is proud to bring you this MLB Baseball Fantasy preview. Come play in our MLB Grand Slam Contest where you can win up to a $1 million this week at FanPicks.

MLB Baseball Fantasy Preview

Edinson Volquez will be the starter for the Royals as they defend World Series championship at the expense of the same New York Mets.

He had a 13-9 record with a 3.55 ERA the past campaign. During the World Series, he actually started the first game and in Game 5 against the Mets. He didn’t earn the wins as the bullpen of the Royals really helped. He was 8-4 on home starts with a .348 ERA.

Greg Holland’s loss as a reliever to the Royals will be compensated by the addition of Joakim Soria. Soria had 24 saves with a 2.53 ERA for the Pirates last year.

Speaking of the Royals’ relievers, the unit is minus Greg Holland, who is now a free agent. That said, the addition of Joakim Soria should soften the blow of Holland’s loss. Soria had 24 saves and a 2.53 ERA for Pittsburgh last season.

Kansas City will be hoping that their offense remains productive on offense. They may lack in power but for some reason, they’ve been mastering in putting the balls in play. They showed it especially against the Mets during the World Series. They were 2nd last in The AL with only 139 runs but 2nd in the major for batting average with runners in scoring position explaining their success.

 

Matt Harvey will be the starter for the New York Mets this Opening Day.

The Mets have questionably the best rotation in the MLB. Harvey was 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA last season. He made 4 playoffs appearance last year and went 2-0 with a 3.04 ERA. Harvey has a 5-5 record on 12 road starts last year with a 3.42 ERA.

For their offensive weapons, the Mets can count on the bats of Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright and Curtis Granderson. Cespedes arrived during the middle of the season in New York after a trade and literally transformed the Mets’ offense into a feared one. His 17 home runs in 57 games were quite impressive. He was very calm in the World Series going 3 for 17 only.

 

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Posted in MLB

Major League Baseball Fantasy Draft News October 17th 2015

Chicago Cubs versus New York Mets Game 1 MLB NLCS Fantasy Preview 10-17-2015

The NLCS begins on Saturday October 18th as its Game 1 between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. Fantasy baseball draft GMs can tune to TBS TV at 7:30PM Eastern Time to track the results of their roster picks.

The Mets qualified for the NLCS after disposing of the LA Dodgers in five games. They win a deciding fifth game at Dodgers Stadium on Thursday by the score of 3-2. The Cubs were able to dispose of the St Louis Cardinals in four games as Chicago earned the 6-4 victory in the series clincher on Tuesday at home in Chicago. The Cubs and Mets have met seven times during the regular season with Chicago winning all seven games. The Cubs pitching staff put on a dominating effort limiting New York to one run or fewer in five of the seven games.

Chicago Cubs LF:

Chris Coghlan

The Cubs don’t have much history facing Harvey over their careers. Coghlan stands out as he is 3 for 8 life time against the Mets starter with two RBIs.

Chicago Cubs P:

Jon Lester

On the year the Cubs left hander is 11-12 with an ERA of 3.34 and WHIP of 1.12. He had a start in the NLDS at St Louis and went 7 1/3rd innings and gave up three earned runs in a 4-0 road loss at St Louis.

New York Mets RF:

Curtis Granderson

New York Mets 1B:

Lucas Duda

The Mets first baseman is 2 for 6 life time against Lester with a home run.

Curtis Granderson has a long history against Lester in his career. In 44 at bats Granderson is batting .273 with two homers and four RBIs.

New York Mets P:

Matt Harvey

The Mets right hander on the season is 13-8 in his 29 starts with an ERA of 2.71 and WHIP of 1.02. He worked Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers and allowed two earned runs and seven hits over five innings in a 13-7 home victory to the LA Dodgers.

Toronto Blue Jays versus Kansas City Royals Game 2 MLB ALCS Fantasy Baseball Preview 10-17-2015

This will be Game 2 of the ALCS series. It was the Kansas City Royals behind a great six innings no run performance by Edinson Volquez as they posted the 5-0 victory to take 1-0 lead in this best of seven series. The outstanding Royals bullpen shut out the power hitting Blue Jays the rest of the way to their victory.

Toronto Blue Jays RF:

Jose Bautista

Not too much history for Blue Jays hitters battling Ventura. Jose Bautista stands out with a 3 for 5 against Ventura with a homer and RBI.

Toronto Blue Jays P:

David Price

The Blue Jays left hander is 18-5 on the year with an ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 1.08. He faced Texas twice in the ALDS and allowed a total of eight earned runs and eleven hits over ten innings of work as he went 1-1 in those two playoff games.

Kansas City Royals RF:

Alex Rios

The KC Royals have had good success hitting David Price with a Team Batting average of .293. Royal’s right fielder Alex Rios has crushed Price by batting .400 against him with two homers and ten RBIs in 30 at bats.

Kansas City Royals P:

Yordano Ventura

The KC right hander is 13-8 in his 28 starts on the season with an ERA of 4.08 and WHIP of 1.30. Ventura faced the Astros twice in the playoffs and allowed a total of six earned runs and eight hits over seven innings of work.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball ALDS Preview – Houston Astros vs Kansas City Royals

It’s the MLB playoffs and cash draft contests are getting hotter than ever. Fantasy Baseball brings us closer together, as we watch our Fantasy Teams battle in the field of glory. One series that will begin Thursday is the ALDS between the Houston Astros (86-76) and the Kansas City Royals (95-67). The Astros won their ALWC game against the Yankees with stellar pitching from Dallas Keuchel. It was 10 years ago that they have made their last division series, and that was in the national league. The Royals on the other end want to get back to the World Series after losing it last year to the San Francisco Giants. Both team met eachother in the regular season 6 time with Houston winning 4 games. Let’s get to the matchups:

Potential Pitching Matchup:

Schedule Houston Astros Kansas City Royals
October 8 7:30 PM ET at Kauffman Stadium RHP Collin McHugh (19-7, 3.89 ERA)*

Away this season (7-4, 4.05 ERA)

 

RHP Yordano Ventura (13-8, 4.08 ERA)*

Vs Astros this season (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

At Home this season (7-5, 3.84 ERA)

October 9 3:30 PM ET at Kauffman Stadium LHP Scott Kazmir (7-11, 3.10 ERA)*

Vs Royals this season (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Away this season(1-4, 3.38 ERA)

RHP Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA)*

At Home this season (3-3, 4.50 ERA)

October 11 4 PM ET

at Minute Maid Park

LHP Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA)*

Vs Royals this season (1-1, 3.17 ERA)

At Home this season (15-0, 1.46 ERA)

RHP Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA)*

Vs Royals this season (0-0, 9.00 ERA)

Away this season (5-5, 3.61 ERA)

October 12 TBD

at Minute Maid Park

 

RHP Lance McCullers (6-7, 3.22 ERA)

Vs Royals this season (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

At Home this season (4-1, 1.86 ERA)

RHP Kris Medlen(6-2, 4.01 ERA)

Away this season (5-0, 1.20 ERA)

October 14 TBD

at Kauffman Stadium

RHP Collin McHugh RHP Yordano Ventura
(*)Confirmed

Series Fantasy Value Picks:

P Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros – Season: 20-8, 2.48 ERA, 216 Strikeouts

Keuchel is unbeatable at Minute Maid Park. It will be hard to believe he will ever lose again there. Until that day comes, he will be an obvious pick every time he pitch there. Game 3 of the series will be his next start.

1B Kendrys Morales – Kansas City Royals – Season: .290 AVG, 81 Runs, 22 HR’s, 106 RBI’s

Morales leads the team in RBI’s. He was exceptionally good in September hitting .323 with 7 home runs and and 22 runs scored. The Royals will rely on him to produce more points for them during the post-season.

2B Jose Altuve – Houston Astros – Season: .313 AVG, 86 Runs, 15 HR’s, 66 RBI’s

Altuve finished once again as the leader in the league for stolen bases with 38. There is no better second basemen right now than Altuve. He is on top of his game at the plate and on the field. Cash Draft managers will want him on their team every day.

SS Carlos Correa – Houston Astros – Season: .279 AVG, 52 Runs, 22 HR’s, 68 RBI’s

Correa showed that he’s a true fantasy option at shortstop this year. He is the favorite to win the A.L. rookie of the year award. The 21 year-old is sitting comfortably third in the lineup, and with Altuve and Springer in front of him, the RBI’s will keep coming.

3B Luis Valbuena – Houston Astros – Season: .224 AVG, 62 Runs, 25 HR’s, 56 RBI’s

Valbuena knocked a suprising 25 dingers this year. There has been quite a few shakeups this year at third base with Jed Lowrie getting so play time at the end of the season. But power is never a bad thing and Valbuena will deliver them, especially at hitter friendly Minute Maid Park.

OF Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals – Season: .308 AVG, 101 Runs, 16 HR’s, 72 RBI’s

Cain is a fabulous hitter with a lot of speed. At home, he holds a batting average of .337 with 55 runs, 9 homers and 46 RBI’s. The center fielder had great performances against the Astros this season. He has a .389 average against them.

Series Prediction: Houston Astros in 4 Games

 

Posted in MLB

Kansas City Royals vs Detroit Tigers – 5/10/15 MLB Fantasy Sports, Baseball Picks, Odds & Predictions

MLB Cash Draft PicksFrom Sunday Night Baseball for mock draft managers to play in one day leagues will feature the AL Central divisional game between the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. Fantasy players can tune to ESPN TV at 8PM Eastern Time from Detroit.

Kansas City holds a ½ game league in the AL Central standings over Detroit after their defeated Detroit on the road 6-2. This Royals team has been delivering offensively as the club is first in batting average and second in runs scored. The team pushes across 5.12 runs per game and is hitting 2.95. Six Royals players with at lead 21 games played is hitting over .300 on the season. They also pitch well as the team has an ERA of 3.35 good for sixth best and a WHI of 1.15 ranking fifth in all of baseball.

Detroit is still a good hitting club with a team batting average of .276 ranking second in all of baseball. The team is 15th in the league in team ERA at 4.02. The team suffered an injury to starter Justin Verlander who is currently on the DL with a triceps strain.

Cash Draft Contest

Kansas City Royals CF: Lorezno Cain leads the club in hitting at .339 on the year. He has 3 homers and 13 RBI’s. Cain will carry an eight game win streak into Sunday. He has five hits in his past ten games.

Kansas City Royals 3B: Mike Moustakas is second on the club with a .327 batting average. He is a career.241 hitter in his tenure with the club. Due to a family emergency Moustakas will return on Monday.

Kansas City Royals 1B: Eric Hosner leads the Royals with five home runs and 25 RBI’s on the year. He is hitting .322 on the campaign and has hits in six straight games. Hosner has multiple hit games in three of his past six contests.

Kansas City Royals C: Salvador Perez is a very good hitting catcher with .306 season average and his career average is .287. Perez has 4 four homers and 18 RBI’s. He is a free swinger with just two walks in 111 at bats so his on base percentage is just .316.

Kansas City Royals DH: Kendrys Morales has had troubles in the recent season finding a team to play for. The 31 year old is hitting .306 on the year with four homers and 23 RBI’s. He has hit in four straight games.

Kansas City Royals SS: Alcides Escobar has multiple hits in three of his past four games. He has lifted up his batting average to .303 with a homer and 10 RBI’s.

Kansas City Royals P: Chris Young gets the nod on Sunday as Jason Vargas was send to the DL with an elbow injury. Young has one start in seven appearances and it came on May 1st against Detroit where he allowed no runs and no hits in five innings.

Detroit Tigers 1B: Miguel Cabrera leads his club with batting average of .333 season to date. He has posted 6 homers and 2 RBIs on the year. He has an on base percentage of .436 as he has drawn 20 walks.

Detroit Tigers 2B: Ian Kinsler had a four hit game on Friday. His average is .306 with 14 RBIs on the campaign. He has five multiple hit games in his past ten appearance.

Detroit Tigers LF: Yoenis Cespedes has slugged four homers and driven in 17 RBIs on the year. His average is just .217 the past seven days.

Detroit Tigers DH: Victor Martinez is hitting 60 points behind his career mark as he has a .245 batting average with just one homer and 15 RBIs. He has raised his average from .203 by going 7 of 15 in his past four games.

Detroit Tigers 3B: Castellanos has hits in eight of his past ten games. Unfortunately only one multiple hit game during the span. Castellanos is hitting .222 on the year with two homers and 11 RBIs.

Detroit Tigers Pitcher: Shane Greene started great by allowing just one earned run in his first three starts of the year. Problem is the following three starts Greene has allowed 20 earned runs, 6 walks and 23 hits working 11 innings.

Baseball Best Real Money League Fantasy Picks

P: Chris Young (Royals)
2B: Ian Kinsler (Tigers)
1B: Eric Hosner (Royals)
CF: Lorezno Cain (Royals)
C: Salvador Perez (Royals)
3B: Mike Moustakas (Royals)

Posted in MLB

Kansas City Royals vs LA Angels- 4/10/15 MLB Fantasy Sports, Baseball Picks, Odds & Predictions

MLB Cash Draft Picks

We are now into Series 2 from the Major League Baseball season. MLB Draft managers have a bit of data collected from in season play but the season is still very young and there is tons of money to be made. One of the attractive matchups for Friday April 10th has the LA Angels at home playing the Kansas City Royals. Tune in at 10PM Eastern Time from Anaheim with MLB Network providing the TV broadcast nationally.

The Kansas City Royals were the surprise of Major League Baseball a season ago as they made a World Series appearance and falling short of the crown by losing to 2014 champs the San Francisco Giants. The team opened the season with a three game home stand facing the Chicago White Sox and pulled off the three game series sweep by scoring a total of 21 runs in the three games. That’s an average of 7 runs per game by KC. The Royals pitching staff limited the White Sox to just a single run in two of the three games.

The LA Angels opened up the season on the road to defend their AL West division title from a year ago. They opposed the Seattle Mariners and lost game one by the score of 4-1. The Angels then won the next two games to win their opening series of the season. They got good pitching performances by allowing three runs total in their final two games of the series.

The pitching matchup for Friday will pit KC left hander Jason Vargas a former Angels squaring off with LA left hander Hector Santiago.

Kansas City Pitcher: Jason Vargas completed a successful 2014 campaign with an ERA of 3.71 in 30 starts. In his 14 starts on the road as season ago Vargas had an ERA of just 2.73 in 85 2/3rd innings of work. In his one start at Angels Stadium he allowed one earned run and three hits over 6 1/3rd innings pitched.

Kansas City Royals Shortstop: Alcides Escobar is off to a nice start as he is hitting .500 on the year and hast two doubles on the season He had a three hit game on April 8th against the White Sox.

Kansas City Royals Catcher: 24 year old Salvador Perez began the year with a multiple hit performance in two of his first three games this season. He has a home run and four RBI’s on this round season with no strike outs. Over his career Perez had hit .286.

Kansas City Royals Centerfielder: Lorenzo Cain torched Chicago White Sox pitching in their opening series by going 5-12 with four runs scored and four RBI’s. Cain is a lifetime .280 hitter. The Royals are a free swinging team that is prone to the strikeout.

Kansas City Rightfielder: Alex Rios had two multiple hit games in his first three games this season. His three run homer have on opening day has accounted for his only RBI’s this season. Rios tailed off from home run pace as he clubbed just three for the Royals last season and was also injury prone.

Kansas City Royals First Base: Left hander Eric Hosner is hitting .357 to start the year. The 25 year old had two multiple hit games to start the year and has a home run and four RBI’s. He has a hit in all three games this year. In his youth Hosner has battle consistency issues.

LA Angels Pitcher: Veteran Hector Santiago was casted off by the Chicago White Sox organization. He was just looking to make the Angels in 2014 and really struggled in his first seven games tallying an ERA over 5 runs. The Angels had faith and Santiago was able to turn around and find good form as he was demoted into the bullpen. He earned a starting spot on the Angels with a good summer.

LA Angels Center Field: Mike Trout is hitting .273 to start the year with a home run and two RBI’s. He has hit Vargas as Trout has a batting average of .400 with a home run against him. As good as Trout has been he still strikes out 26% of the time.

LA Angels 2B: The replacement for Howie Kendrick who was traded to the LA Dodgers is 27 year old Johnny Giavotella. He is hitting .444 but all singles and no RBI’s on the season. He had a three hit game on Wednesday.

LA Angels 1B: Albert Pujols is 2 for 11 to start the year. His two hits produced a home run with two RBI’s. He is 35 years old has declined much but will have a lot of RBI opportunities with the talent around him.

 

MLB Mock Draft Manager Picks for Daily Fantasy Leagues:

P: Jason Vargas (KC)
1B: Erick Hosner (KC)
C: Salvador Perez (KC)
SS: Alcides Escobar (KC)
DH: Kendrys Morales (KC)
CF: Mike Trout (Angels)

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Posted in MLB