Mike Trout’s GOAT Potential: A rumble with the legends of the game

With the Hall of Fame induction vote finished, it only makes sense to take stock of our current MLB stars. No single player currently embodies the talent and qualities of a HOF candidate quite like Mike Trout. The debate rages on about the Angels’ inability to harness this generational talent into team success. However, Trout’s numbers speak for themselves and he only continues to improve year after year.

Mike Trout’s GOAT Potential

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

This MLB writer wasn’t fortunate enough to watch many of the past greats live performances, and can only admire the stats and the stories. Only now are childhood heroes like Jim Thome and Chipper Jones surfacing for induction into the hall. That said, the statistics remain, and it’s fascinating to compare the old-time sluggers to the players of today.

For this analysis, we take a look at modern day master Mike Trout against the best there ever was. The idea here is to predict Trout’s career in order to place him on par with the legends of the game. There will of course be some assumptions to follow, but those will be documented and explained throughout the analysis.

Without further ado, let’s nerd out.

 

Introducing first, fighting out of the present day, standing 6’2″, weighing in at 230 pounds, THE CHALLENGER, MIKE TROUT:

 

Mike Trout Career Totals

BA OBP SLG OPS H HR RBI
6 Year Totals 0.306 0.405 0.557 0.963 917 168 497
162 Game Avg. 0.306 0.405 0.557 0.963 183 34 99

 

Trout has been in the league 6 years and has consistently posted outstanding numbers while casually collecting two MVP awards. While the above takes into account more classic hitting statistics for comparison, Trout’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) numbers are even more impressive. Trout continues to carve a legacy against the greats by already leading this statistic every year, at every age (An outstanding analysis by Neil Paine can be found here). His current career WAR sits at 48.5 through six seasons while averaging a WAR over eight.

To put this in perspective, the site FanGraphs defines WAR as follows:

  1. Scrub 0-1 WAR
  2. Role Player 1-2 WAR
  3. Solid Starter 2-3 WAR
  4. Good Player 3-4 WAR
  5. All-Star 4-5 WAR
  6. Superstar 5-6 WAR
  7. MVP 6+ WAR

In other words, Trout averages MVP caliber play. Even taking into consideration his sub-par rookie numbers after his midseason call-up in July 2011, the man is incredible.

Introducing next, fighting out of days of baseball past, standing at the greatest of all time, and weighing in at baseball’s finest, THE CHAMPIONS, THESE GUYS:

 

Legends Career Statistics

Years Played BA OBP SLG OPS Hits HR RBI’s
Barry Bonds 22 0.298 0.444 0.607 1.051 2935 762 1996
Ted Williams 19 0.344 0.482 0.634 1.116 2654 521 1839
Hank Aaron 21 0.305 0.374 0.555 0.928 3771 755 2297
Willie Mays 21 0.302 0.384 0.557 0.941 3283 660 1903
Babe Ruth 22 0.342 0.474 0.69 1.164 2837 714 2214

Argue with me if you must about the names on this list, but these guys could hit a baseball.

 

The Comparison

In order to get apples to apples, we have to extrapolate Trout’s numbers over a period befitting of one of the greats. As demonstrated in the above table, each one of these players spent nearly two decades in the majors. An average of their time spent comes out to 21 years.

Now the big assumptions in calculating future Trout are as follows:

  • Maintains his current averages as it relates to the ratio-statistics
  • Will play to his 162 game average
  • Have at least a 21-year career

 

Mike Trout’s GOAT Potential

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

 

Obviously, there are some red flags here. The chances of Trout never getting injured, sitting for any extended period of time, or experiencing general regression in his later years are minimal. On the flip side, Trout hasn’t even reach what would be considered a “baseball prime” in terms of age. With that in mind, it’s entirely possible we have yet to see career highs from Trout in any of these categories.

With those assumptions in place, the math becomes relatively simple. Take Trout’s six-year career numbers, and add them to 15 additional years of the 162-game average statistics (15+6=21 years).

 

 

 

 

Do that, and the chart now looks like this:

Years Played BA OBP SLG OPS Hits HR RBI’s
Barry Bonds 22 0.298 0.444 0.607 1.051 2935 762 1996
Ted Williams 19 0.344 0.482 0.634 1.116 2654 521 1839
Hank Aaron 21 0.305 0.374 0.555 0.928 3771 755 2297
Willie Mays 21 0.302 0.384 0.557 0.941 3283 660 1903
Babe Ruth 22 0.342 0.474 0.69 1.164 2837 714 2214
Future Trout 21 0.306 0.405 0.557 0.963 3662 678 1982

The Conclusion

Interestingly enough, this analysis doesn’t have Trout leading a single statistical category. Even so, he has numbers that rival the greats in literally every major hitting metric. Furthermore, this analysis doesn’t take into account WAR or fielding statistics which both add additional firepower to Trout’s case. GOAT may be some ways off, but most well-rounded is certainly in play as long as the performance continues.

It’s clear Trout still has a long way to go and a lot to prove if he wants to be considered among this outstanding group. That said, Trout is well on pace to rival the greats, and as anyone who’s watched him will tell you, the best is likely yet to come.

 

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2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

We’re back with the Game Haus’ fourth installment of 2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four. In recent news, the Mariners decided to spite my previous ranking by making a plethora of moves and trades to shore up their rotation heading into the season. While Seattle undoubtedly improved it was the Braves and the Rays that both left that exchange with a promising future. In the meantime, teams all across the league continue to avoid arbitration and extend their players with a multitude of contracts being signed. Finally, with less than a month remaining before pitchers and catchers report, several worthy veterans remain on the open market.

The rankings must go on! This week takes a look at teams 15-11. Now we’re talking competition. Each one of these teams has enough pieces for a solid 2017 campaign. While most wouldn’t place these teams in the top tier, any of these organizations could make a wild card run. As we all know, if you are still in the running in October, anything can happen.

 

15. Detroit Tigers

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

Record: 86-75

Many pegged the Tigers as sellers this offseason, but that sale never really came. Detroit returns in 2017 sporting much of the same core it’s competed with the last several years. Last season, Justin Verlander reclaimed his ace status and Michael Fulmer emerged as an extremely promising second option. Add that to a lineup chalk full of seasoned veterans led by Miguel Cabrera, and you’ve got yourself a shot. The Tigers should find success given the largely depleted AL Central, but will it be enough to match the Indians?

 

14. New York Yankees

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 84-78

No one would accuse Yankees GM Brian Cashman of being dormant this Winter. Not only did the Yanks clean up last trade deadline, but also managed to reclaim star closer Aroldis Chapman. Blue Chip prospects like Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres came over during the Yankees closer sale, but aren’t even part of the young core already on the field.  Didi Gregorious, Aaron Judge, and breakout star catcher Gary Sánchez have already emerged, and are expected in the 2017 lineup. The real question facing the Yankees is whether Masahiro Tanaka and company can bounce back from a tough 2016. Rotation aside, the Yankees may be a bit young for a serious run, but lookout for the pinstripes very soon.

 

13. Colorado Rockies

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 75-87

Admittedly this feels a bit high up in the rankings for a Rockies team with 87 losses in 2016. That said, one can’t help but be impressed by the lineup Colorado has assembled. The surprise signing of Ian Desmond alone gives the Rocks a sizable infield boost. Pair that with young players like Trevor Story and potential NL MVP candidate Nolan Arenado, and you’re looking at serious potential. Like many teams, the question mark hangs over a young rotation that did show promise in 2016. Coors Field will never be a pitchers dream, but if just one of those young pitchers can establish themselves as an ace, look for Colorado to do some damage in 2017.

 

12. Toronto Blue Jays

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 89-73

The Blue Jay’s had an AL leading 3.78 ERA in 2016, and that whole rotation will be returning. Tack on a presumably healthy Francisco Liriano, and you have one of the more dangerous rotations in the MLB. The rotation is set, but now Toronto must cope with the loss of star slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Further adding complexity is the loss of Michael Saunders from the lineup. Jose Bautista will be staying in Toronto. However, losing both Encarnacion and Saunders leaves a considerable gap for the Jays to fill. The offseason signing of Kendrys Morales certainly helps soften that blow by adding a solid DH. The Blue Jays may have a different dynamic than in years past, but expect them to be competitive regardless.

 

11. St. Louis Cardinals

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 86-76

The Cardinals are just solid. At this point, it’s basically their thing. The team continuously churns out seasons on the better side of 85 wins. Continue packing Busch Stadium with loyal red birds’ fans, and they continue their war against the top team in the MLB. The Cards have great depth and flexibility throughout their lineup bolstered by the poaching of center fielder Dexter Fowler. At this point, this question is the broken record of baseball, but again we’re asking, “What about that rotation?” Adam Wainwright is the perennial staple for this staff, but a slow decline the past few years is concerning. However, if Wainwright reclaims some former glory and Michael Wacha can bounce back from an injury-wrought 2016, the Cards may just have enough in the tank to cause trouble for the Cubs.

*Logos courtesy of MLB.com*

Link to Previous Rankings

Part 1: Here

Part 2: Here

Part 3: Here

 

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Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?

Not even two days after I wrote this: “In recent news nothing of any real note has occurred”. And this: “Not much has changed for Seattle, and they haven’t been tied to any deal of significance”.

The Mariners went out and traded for Drew Smyly to accompany Yovani Gallardo in anchoring the back of their rotation. The Braves then traded Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons to Seattle for Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows. Finally, nothing short of 14 other transactions occurred around the MLB including contract agreements, designations, and releases.

Baseball God’s 1, Ignorant MLB writer 0.

Not that any of these signings are blockbusters, but clearly teams are still active before the start of spring training. The question remaining for most fans is whether or not their team will be the one to land one of the remaining big names. Suitable homes for Jose Bautista, Matt Wieters, and Mark Trumbo continue to be the source of speculation around the league. There is a risk and reward argument to be made for each. Today, The Game Haus breaks down likely landing spots for these veteran players.

Jose Bautista

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?
POS: OF
2016 Slash Line:
.234/.366/.452

Player Profile

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?What do two stints on the disabled list, regressing performance, and a controversial attitude get you at age 36 in the MLB? Apparently a long wait in free agency. Given the multiple injuries Bautista endured during the season, he still managed a strong finish to the year.

Clearly Bautista can still swing the lumber. He managed 22 home runs after missing 46 games. However, his regressing defense and propensity for providing opposing teams plenty of “bulletin board material” may make teams weary to engage in any sort of multi-year commitment.

Ideal Landing Spot: Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays are Joey Bats’ true home, and probably one of the few places that can still stand him. Personality issues aside, the loss of Edwin Encarnacion, and the potential departure of Michael Saunders leave significant holes in Toronto’s lineup. Simply put, in one off-season the Jays are at serious risk of losing much of the run support that has made them contenders. Besides, Jays fans love those bat flips.

 

Matt Wieters

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?
POS: C
2016 Slash Line:
.243/.302/.409

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?

Player Profile

Matt Wieters is the “Mr. Reliable” of the remaining free agent class. He will provide consistent offensive production, strong defense, and veteran leadership to whomever signs this four-time all-star. Unlike others on this list, Wieters’ offensive numbers don’t jump off the page. Teams’ interest in him will likely be based around his defensive proficiency and ability to manage a pitching staff. Wieters’ 2016 was a down year statistically, but given his track record he shouldn’t have trouble finding a suitable home.

Ideal Landing Spot: Arizona Diamondbacks

Up to this point, Wieters has been closely linked to the Angels despite an earlier off-season trade for Martin Maldonado. However, the diamondbacks present an interesting option and could benefit greatly from Wieters’ veteran presence. Arizona has a young rotation anchored by Zack Greinke, and Wieters presents a significant upgrade over Jeff Mathis. 2017 looks like a toss-up between the two teams in terms of upcoming performance. That said, if Wieters is looking for a multi-year deal, the D-Backs long-term outlooks appear a bit more positive than the Angels.

 

Mark Trumbo

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?
POS: OF
2016 Slash Line:
.256/.316/.533

Player Profile

Crushing an obscene 47 home runs the year you’re up for free agency certainly doesn’t hurt one’s ability to collect a paycheck. Trumbo’s league leading ability to hit the long ball is matched only by his swing and miss potential. He ranked tenth among all players in strikeouts last season. This fact coupled with sub-par outfield performance makes Trumbo a risk, despite his career year in the home run category. Baseball aficionados will undoubtedly claim “regression to the mean” in Trumbo’s future. Even so, he has hit at least 20 home runs a season all but once in his career, and should make a valuable power addition to any team.

Ideal Landing Spot: Baltimore Orioles

The Rangers and Rockies have been linked to Trumbo. Given the Ian Desmond signing in Colorado and the Rangers interest in Mike Napoli, neither seems likely. Trumbo fits the power driven mold and positional needs for Baltimore perfectly. The Orioles can’t hope to come close to Trumbo’s production with Seth Smith currently slotted in right field. Trumbo isn’t there for defense, but does provide flexibility in right and at first when Chris Davis fills the DH role. Regression should be expected, but given the alternative, Baltimore needs to pay the man.

*Credit to sources http://mlb.mlb.com/home (Photos) and http://www.baseball-reference.com/ (Statistics)*

 

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2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Three

Round three of The Game Haus’ 2017 MLB Rankings. In recent news nothing of any real note has occurred. This is spite of the ever swirling trade rumors and non-stop speculation that plagues these dreary months. Although there is little to get our baseball starved brains excited, as die-hard baseball fans, we must press on.

To pull us out of the dregs, this week we’ll tackle ranks 20-16. At first glance many of these rosters are recognizable but don’t exactly jump off the page. This group is an interesting mix of teams that appear to be in decline, and teams that are few pieces short of making a splash. Regardless, this spot in the rankings often has one or two surprise contenders playing spoiler at years end.

 

20. Arizona Diamondbacks

2016 Record: 69-93

2017-MLB-Rankings-Sizing-up-the-Season-Part-Three

Rest in peace 2016 Diamondbacks. A 93 loss season isn’t what Arizona had in mind heading into last season, and it cost the front office their jobs. Injuries certainly played a factor in the overall result and a “healthy” roster should give D-Backs fans some optimism.

There is enough talent in the field to do some damage between the return of A.J. Pollock, the pop of Jake Lamb, and the overall dominance of Paul Goldschmidt. The real question facing Arizona is whether Zack Greinke and the rotation can hold down their end of bargain. The acquisition of Taijuan Walker won’t hurt their chances and adds a solid young arm for depth. If the injury bug stays away the D-Backs should look for a much more successful season in 2017.

 

19. Atlanta Braves

2016 record: 68-93

2017-MLB-Rankings-Sizing-up-the-Season-Part-Three

The Braves are undoubtedly a team to watch heading into next season. Freddie Freeman led the charge for this group leading the team in batting average, home runs, on base percentage, hits, and runs batted in.

Despite a slow start, the Braves finished the season strong and have an impressive battery of talent waiting in the wings. Infield breakout star Dansby Swanson should continue to develop while backed by pitcher Mike Foltynewicz and a number of other young arms.

The youngsters won’t have to do it alone as the team has also acquired veterans R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon to help anchor the rotation. The Braves appear poised to take a big step forward next season and may be a serious contender sooner than some may guess.

 

18. Baltimore Orioles

2016 record: 89-73

2017-MLB-Rankings-Sizing-up-the-Season-Part-Three

Someone get some gravy to go along with those 253 mashed taters. If the Orioles do decide to pass on resigning Mark Trumbo, they may experience a drop in pop. That said, there is no shortage of remaining power to go around. The mix of Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and MVP contender Manny Machado, in long ball friendly Camden Yards, can’t look good to opposing pitchers.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, that field works both ways. Outside of a solid Chris Tillman and a developing Kevin Gausman the Orioles appear to lack the arms they need. Based on last year alone the Orioles probably deserve more respect. However, until they make a play to shore up the rotation, their October aspirations seem limited.

 

17. Seattle Mariners

2016 record 86-76

2017-MLB-Rankings-Sizing-up-the-Season-Part-Three

The offseason saw the Mariners trade decent pitching for decent hitting in the Taijuan Walker for Jean Segura deal. Outside of that, not much has changed for Seattle, and they haven’t been tied to any deal of significance since. With an aging roster and little to celebrate in the farm system, Seattle appears poised for regression in 2017.

Bright spots remain with Robinson Cano discovering a massive resurgence of power and an improved batting average over 2015. Furthermore, King Felix remains atop the rotation with two extremely solid pieces in Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton right behind him. The Mariners are a coin flip for 2017 in terms of performance but safe money doesn’t see Seattle seriously contending in the short term.

 

16. Kansas City Royals

2016 record: 81-81

2017-MLB-Rankings-Sizing-up-the-Season-Part-Three

2017 appears to be the final year for Ned Yost’s small ball contenders. The Royals have leveraged a scrappy lineup and dominant bullpen for the last several years. Unfortunately for Kansas City, many of those core components are seeing their contracts expire at the end of this year.

The trade for Jorge Soler procured a bit of youth, but given Soler’s struggles, it’s hard to determine short term impact. The Royals were another team that suffered from ill-timed injuries in 2016. Given a healthy lineup this year should see improvement for KC, but it likely won’t be enough to unseat the top of the AL central.

All logo images courtesy of MLB.com.

 

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Ranking the Farm: Top 100 Rookies and Prospects by Team

Ranking the Farm

If you are a dynasty fantasy baseball guru, you’re probably already familiar with the future generation of the MLB found here. This list is issued and updated by MLB.com to analyze and rank the top 100 rookies and prospects across Major League Baseball. Many recognize blue-chip prospect names such as Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito.

These young stars were involved in major trades this winter and many expect them to contribute in 2016. However, the White Sox haven’t been the only team building their farm system. The rest of the league also looks to cement their future with their own crop of top-tier talent. With this in mind, The Game Haus takes a shot at ranking the farm to determine which clubs have set themselves up for success.

SEPTEMBER 6: Yoan Moncada #65 of the Boston Red Sox (Now White Sox) (Getty Images)

For this ranking, a quick analysis was completed based on the positional ranking provided on MLB.com. First, a value was given based on ranking. For example, Yoan Moncada is worth 100 points at number one, Bradley Zimmer is worth 75 points at number 25, etc.

Second, these values were summed by the number of prospects on each team. Finally, an average is calculated by the number of prospects to give a general sense of prospect quality. Note: Rankings are based on overall sum, not on average.

 

Top 100 Farm Rankings by Team:

*Disclaimer* There are still moves to be made as the rumor mill continues to churn. This could affect the analysis completed here as teams continue to solidify their position heading into spring training. However, this should provide a high level snapshot of each team’s current farm system and how they stack up around the league.

Team Rank Team Team # of Top 100 Sum Score Average Score
1 Milwaukee Brewers 8 406 50.8
2 New York Yankees 6 405 67.5
3 Chicago White Sox 6 396 66.0
4 Pittsburgh Pirates 5 354 70.8
5 Atlanta Braves 7 327 46.7
6 Philadelphia Phillies 4 270 67.5
7 Colorado Rockies 5 254 50.8
8 Boston Red Sox 3 251 83.7
9 San Diego Padres 4 236 59.0
10 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 224 37.3
11 Cincinnati Reds 4 205 51.3
12 Houston Astros 5 204 40.8
13 Tampa Bay Rays 3 171 57.0
14 Cleveland Indians 5 170 34.0
15 Chicago Cubs 4 164 41.0
16 Minnesota Twins 4 143 35.8
17 New York Mets 2 136 68.0
18 Oakland Athletics 4 134 33.5
19 St. Louis Cardinals 3 133 44.3
20 Washington Nationals 2 117 58.5
21 Seattle Mariners 2 114 57.0
22 Toronto Blue Jays 3 67 22.3
23 Miami Marlins 1 64 64.0
24 Texas Rangers 1 45 45.0
25 Detroit Tigers 1 35 35.0
26 San Francisco Giants 2 25 12.5
27 Arizona Diamondbacks 0 0 0.0
28 Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0.0
29 Kansas City Royals 0 0 0.0
30 Los Angeles Angels 0 0 0.0

Top 3 Analysis:

The Brewers are a team that has been rebuilding for a number of years. The Yankees were incredibly active at the 2016 trade deadline and it has paid dividends heading into 2017. The White Sox are largely considered to have won the winter meetings, securing top talent via offseason trades. The top three on this list utilized different methods, but all three are well positioned for the future.

AUGUST 28: Lucas Giolito #44 of the Washington Nationals (Now White Sox) (Getty Images)

Farm systems are clearly comprised of far more than a team’s top ranked prospects. These rankings do not take into account an organizations draft, or many of their Low / High / Single “A” ball players still working through the minors.

Several of the players factored in here have already made an MLB debut.  Many more will compete for a contributing roll in 2017 and will almost certainly be seen by the 2018 season. While not comprehensive, the above is a strong depiction of those organizations who have impact players waiting in the wings.

Where is your team positioned heading into the future?

 

 

 

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2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Two

Welcome to the second installment of The Game Haus’ 2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season. Since the initial ranking, a number of small deals have continued to occur across the MLB. However, none of these deals have yet to include some of the larger trade candidates still being named by the rumor mill.

Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, and Brian Dozier still remain a heavy topic of conversation. Both free agent sluggers Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo are also still available in free agency. That fact would make Quintana the most likely candidate for movement until the slugger market dries up.

This week’s rankings include five teams who wouldn’t quite be considered rebuilding, but rather retooling. Recently, many of these clubs have reestablished a young core and are now looking to grow and mature that base. These clubs stand further back in the rankings, in large part, due to their youth. However, if their front offices stay on course, these teams could be the “look out” contenders in 2-3 years.

All logo images courtesy of MLB.com.

25. Milwaukee Brewers

2016 record: 73-89

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Two The Brewers are an organization with a number of young players beginning to emerge, with even more on the way. The Brewers are among the top rated farm systems in the MLB with several of those top prospects already in Triple-A. Last year’s emergence of young players such as Zach Davies, Jonathan Villar, and Keon Broxton represent a strong core to build around. The dark cloud over the Brewers continues to be the curious case of what to do with Ryan Braun. At age 33, Braun posted a very respectable slash line of .305/ .365/ .538, while adding 30 home runs to the mix.  The Brewers just need to find a partner willing to roll the dice on that kind of production. If so, the Brewers may quickly become one of the younger, more formidable teams over the next few years.

 

24. Tampa Bay Rays

2016 record: 68-94

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Two The Rays have been a tricky team to predict. One can’t help but feel as though they have under performed given their talent. Part of it is due to a struggling Chris Archer and an Alex Cobb who simply can’t seem to stay healthy. The Rays did manage the solid pickup of Wilson Ramos, who can provide stability behind the plate while adding pop to the lineup. At just 31 years old, Evan Longoria continues to be one of the quietest super stars in the game. All the signs point to an improved Rays team in 2017, but it may be a long road to get the top of the highly competitive AL East.

 

23. Philadelphia Phillies

2016 record: 71-91

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Two The signing of Clay Buchholz provides stability and veteran leadership to one of the most promising young pitching staffs in baseball. Buchholz may even prove to be a valuable trade piece at the deadline. Regardless, the Phillies are one of a few teams I expect to a make a surprise leap forward in 2017. The addition of Howie Kendrick alone won’t make up for an offence with the worst run differential in baseball. Another year for this young team to mature with some solid veteran additions definitely shows promise.

 

22. Miami Marlins

2016 record: 79-82

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Two There is simply no filling the void left by Jose Fernandez. Pitching will be an area of need. However, a fully healthy Giancarlo Stanton alongside a continuously emerging Christian Yelich makes for a nasty outfield 1-2 punch. Add that to a solid young infield and you have the makings of a pretty strong lineup. Unfortunately for the Marlin’s, the Phillies and Braves aren’t going to be the punching bags of past years. The Nationals and Mets will likely both be contenders or at least in the hunt. This could leave the Marlins in a much more competitive situation then they’ve faced in years past.

21. Los Angeles Angels

2016 record: 74-88

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Two The only offseason move of significance for the Angels has been the trade for second baseman Danny Espinosa. While this move provides a nice boost in their lineup, few around the league feel this changes the Angels 2017 outlook. Smaller moves like signing outfielder Ben Revere and trading for catcher Martin Maldonado also represent decent additions. However, they really aren’t game changers. If the Halos can stay healthy, they have enough in the tank to compete, but not to contend. The real question for this organization will be whether or not they sign Mike Trout for the “king’s ransom” that this once in a generation talent commands.

If you are interested in part one, you can find it here.

 

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The MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement: The Good, The Bad, and The Boring

Of all the topics in baseball, this lacks the awe inspiring wonder of a walk-off home run. That being said, the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement is a major part of off-season news and deserves its due coverage. In order to keep it light, we won’t tackle every detail of the agreement. Instead, we’ll pick a few highlights in each section to save you the same fate as this guy.

MLB-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement

(Photo courtesy: osports.yahoo.com)

Overall, the consensus coverage of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is that neither side’s worlds were shattered. This may be the most important message of the agreement for fans everywhere. Short term, this will ensure another five smooth seasons of baseball. Hopefully there will be no bad blood between either side moving forward in the long term. Let’s break it down; The good, the bad, and the boring.

The Good

MLB-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement

(Photo courtesy: CNN/Elsa/Getty Images)

The All-Star Game

  • Quick Facts:
    • World Series home field advantage is no longer tied to the outcome of the game.
    • Bonus money; to the tune of an additional $20,000 to each player on the winning team.
    • More bonus money; Home Run Derby player prize money has increased.
    • Fans and players still vote, but the commissioner’s office, not the managers, now determine the final roster spots.

 

  • Impact:
    • Hallelujah! The MLB is inching closer to getting this thing right. There can’t be many left defending the home field portion, especially after last year’s impact. A little cash incentive on the other hand may be enough to get the competitive juices flowing between the MLB’s top tier talent.

 

Overall Schedule and Disabled list

  • Quick Facts:
    • Season extended to include four additional rest days.
    • 15 day disabled list decreased to 10 days.

 

  • Impact:
    • Fans and fantasy baseball aficionados alike have to be feeling good about this one. Additional roster flexibility for teams, and the opportunity for some additional rest days for players. 15 days is a long time to deactivate a player with a minor injury or soreness. Hopefully this provides more incentive to keep guys healthy without worrying about the length of their DL stint.

Luxury Tax Threshold

  • Quick Facts:
    • Threshold will scale from $189 million in 2016 to $210 million by 2021.
    • Overage penalties scale up to 50% depending on number of overages.
    • Surtaxes also included, scaling up to 45%.

 

  • Impact:
    • Another step closer to a more even playing field across the league. This won’t completely discourage the “money bags” teams around the league, but it may give the “money ball” teams a better shot.

 

The Bad

MLB-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement

(Photo courtesy: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

International Draft

  • Quick Facts:
    • Still no international draft.
    • Hard cap has been placed in the vicinity of $5 million to sign international players.

 

  • Impact:
    • The simple fact is the whole international system needs to be cleaned up. International players who get signed to mega-deals certainly benefit, but the rest of the system suffers. Some players have argued wage suppression only benefits the owners. Some owners have argued over the general equality of the entire system. Regardless, this hard cap seems like an odd purgatory, where wage suppression exists and the international system still doesn’t play by the same rules.

The Boring

MLB-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement

(Photo courtesy: CSN Chicago/MLB.com)

Rapid Fire (Requires little explanation):

  • No change to regular season roster size.
  • No change to post season roster size.
  • Smokeless tobacco banned if your first season is 2017 and beyond.
  • Additional drug testing requirements.
  • Small minimum salary increase to account for cost of living.
  • Pension and disability benefits improved.
  • Clubhouses to provide additional amenities.
  • Clubs agree to play a few games a year internationally.

 

This round of CBA negotiations clearly scored wins on both sides. To reiterate, the deal got done, there was far more good than bad, and it looks as though baseball has taken another positive step forward. With the paperwork out of the way, all that’s left to do is look forward to another exciting five years of baseball.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season

MLB 2017 Rankings

There’s less than 50 days until pitchers and catchers report for the 2017 MLB season, and less than 75 days until the first spring training game. Opening Day is less than 100 days away, but who’s counting? With the majority of big name free agents off the board, it’s time to look ahead to each team’s potential heading into 2017. In order to do that, we will examine each team by using a few factors that will help place them in the 2017 MLB Rankings.

Leading up to the start of the season, The Game Haus will take an in-depth look at all 30 MLB teams. As with most rankings, the initial placement is largely subjective and will be updated as the season progresses. For now, teams will be evaluated on the following:

  • 2016 Finish
  • Team Outlook: Offensive / Defensive / Pitching
  • Off-Season Moves / In-Season Trade Opportunities
  • Potential Impact / Wild Card Player(s) in 2017
  • Strength of Division

Each week, we’ll count down a series of teams until we reach the preseason pick for 2017’s World Champs. This week, we’re starting with “The Rebuilding Bunch”.

All logo images courtesy of MLB.com.

30. San Diego Padres

2016 Record: 68-94

San Diego Padres, MLB, Baseball, 2017 RankingsUnfortunately, the outlook isn’t very positive for the Padres heading into 2017. A recent series of “Win Now” moves had the Padres acquiring players like Matt Kemp and Craig Kimbrel, only to trade them away a short time later. The good news is that the Padres acquired young talent including Manny Margot and Javier Guerra from the loaded Red Sox prospect pool. It’s never a message a sports fan wants to hear at the start of a season, but it looks like the Padres are committed to a successful long-term rebuilding strategy.

 

29. Minnesota Twins

2016 Record: 59-103

Minnesota Twins, MLB, Baseball, 2017 Rankings2016 probably isn’t a year the Twins want to dwell on, but it sure was fun watching a second baseman smack 42 home runs. Brian Dozier was about the only bright spot of the 2016 season. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton both under-performed against expectations. However, both were top prospects and should improve with additional at-bats. Barring some unforeseen breakout by the rookies, it would be fair to assume that 2017 should be similar to last year’s campaign. Ideally, some of the recent changes to the front office will accelerate the rebuilding process and get the Twins heading back in the right direction.

 

28. Cincinnati Reds

2016 Record: 68-94

Cincinnati Reds, MLB, Baseball, 2017 Rankings“Everything must go” might as well be the tagline for the Reds front office. Franchise staples like Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton have continued to hold down the fort for Cincinnati, but even their days with the Reds appear to be numbered. All that effort has definitely netted several nice players. This includes Anthony DeSclafani who had a respectable 2016 and should continue to improve going forward. The Reds will likely continue their fire sale heading into next season, and given the prospect hauls traded at last year’s deadline, they should be very active in 2017.

 

27. Oakland Athletics

2016 Record: 69-93

Oakland Athletics, MLB, Baseball, 2017 RankingsBesides Sonny Gray, there isn’t much to get excited about for the Athletics. The A’s are still waiting on a few of their top prospects to surface, but there are only two currently playing in Triple A, so the wait could be significant. Most of the A’s trades have helped them acquire strong talent, but unlike the Reds, there isn’t much left to trade. The team did get a small breakout power display from Khris Davis who hit a very impressive 42 home runs last year. However, with the market saturated with power bats, the A’s may not find a market for him.

 

26. Chicago White Sox

2016 Record: 78-84

Chicago White Sox, MLB, Baseball, 2017 Rankings”Rebuild Mode” engaged. No more Chris Sale, no more Adam Eaton, and no more throwback jerseys cut to ribbons. While it’s fair to assume that 2017 will be a down year for the Sox, many around the league felt they cleaned-up at the winter meetings. They acquired a boatload of prospects from two strong systems. And with trade rumors swirling around Jose Quintana, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn may not be done yet. White Sox fans may be a bit disappointed this year, but can rest easy knowing how bright the future looks.

 

 

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