2019 MLB Pre-Season Award Predictions

As of a few days ago, professional sites started putting out their 2019 MLB Pre-Season Awards in loo of Opening Day. This gripe will have to be saved for another day but honestly, I understand the Phillies made some good moves this off-season. But the Nationals have arguably the best starting rotation, the favorite for 2019 Rookie of the Year (spoiler), two candidates in the Top 10 of MVP considerations and made improvements themselves with depth and their bullpen. I don’t understand how the NL East is so split. I could see it being close and favoring the Nationals more often than not, but some that I have seen have been way too heavily on the Phillies. They have a great starter in Nola, backed by a great lineup but I still don’t believe the Phillies did enough to surpass Washington’s complete team.

Below are predictions from three major sites in the sporting world. Though all three sites have similar data, ESPN has the best interactive article so let’s pinpoint on that. They have a panel of 31 experts, that will vote, that range from former players to baseball insiders. Because we focus in on the Washington Nationals, let’s stick to the National League.

ESPN.com Predictions

MLB.com Predictions

NBCSports.com Predictions

RendonSoto

NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP

Listed for the National League MVP are nine players who are viable candidates. Two of those nine are Nationals (Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon). Soto was second in Rookie of the Year voting last year but as a 20 year old, he will have to prove he won’t hit a “sophomore slump.” Rendon is one of the best all around ball players in the Majors. He’s quite but handles himself with class and shows his work ethic out on the diamond. Though, I do not think either will win the award outright, they both should be proud to be recognized in this magnitude. Out of the 31 experts, two have selected Rendon or Soto to be the NL MVP. Might not seem like a lot, but in comparison, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant only received two each. After 34,000 fan votes, the two Nationals players combined for 4% of the votes.

Serone’s Prediction: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

Scherzer2

NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG

National League Cy Young voting has six viable candidates for the award, led by Jacob deGrom of the Mets & Max Scherzer of the Nationals. Scherzer has been in the Top 5 of voting dating back to 2013. He won it with the Detroit Tigers back in 2013 and since being traded to the Nationals he was 5th, 1st, 1st, and 2nd in voting. deGrom, though winning it last year, has yet to be in the top six in voting. I understand Scherzer’s age is increasing, yet he has not shown any signs of slowing down. Out of the 31 experts of ESPN, Scherzer had 18 of the votes while deGrom was tied with Aaron Nola of the Phillies with five each. After 30,000 fan votes, the 3-Time Cy Young winner only received 28% of the votes. Even with his pedigree he only manages that small number?

Serone’s Prediction: “Mad Max” Scherzer (Nationals)

Robles

NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

National League Rookie of the Year voting was almost as similar to the Cy Young as they come. I think all Nationals fans have heard of Victor Robles. He has been our prized possession for years now, developing from a teenager in the minors to now our everyday center fielder. This may be Mike Rizzo’s favorite player on the Nats because of the sole fact that he was coveted by so many teams being a Top 4 prospect in all of the Majors. Out of the 31 ESPN experts, almost half (15), voted for the youngster to take home the award. Coming in second, tied with five each were Pete Alonso (#51 MLB Prospect) of the Mets and Nick Senzel (#6 MLB Prospect) of the Reds. And with that, after 23,000 fan votes, Robles received 23% while Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres got almost 30%. I wasn’t even aware that the Padres had that many fans.

Serone’s Prediction: Victor Robles (Nationals)

 

 

BREAKING: Bryce Harper signs with Philadelphia Phillies

And there it is. Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies. Now let me start by saying this whole article may be an overreaction to what has just transcribed a few hours ago, so I apologize if some of my thoughts are irrational.

I have loved baseball my entire life. The sound of the lawn mower cutting those last few blades of grass in the outfield. The smell of the freshly manicured ball field dousing your senses. The subtle noise of the crowd chatter in the background. Honestly, there is nothing like going to a baseball game. You can like whatever sport you want. But baseball is in a class of its own.

Fast forward to 2009. In comes Stephen Strasburg throwing lightning and hearing the thunder of the crowd. I was there against the Pirates when he threw for 14 K’s and electrified this city. Then it happened. The following year, we drafted BRYCE HARPER. The golden boy had landed in D.C.

BryceHarperYoung.jpg

The anticipation of Harper grew and grew. Strasburg was one thing, but the hype for him was not compared to the intrigue an everyday player who was labeled “the chosen one” brought to the table. After a couple of years, the Nationals surprised us all and headed to the post-season. Then this happened:

Every year since 2012, we have been one of the favorites to win the World Series. Yet, we have been one of the most disappointing teams year in and year out since that year. Missing the playoffs multiple years, and not making it passed the National League Division Series in four tries, even though having one of the best “on paper” rosters in the league was heart wrenching. Yet, one thing remained, Bryce Harper.

With Bryce Harper, anything was possible. Eyes were always on Washington D.C., because we had the rights to arguably one of the Top 5 players in all of baseball. Other cities didn’t get that type of recognition because Harper was an icon at his young age. The hair, the Sports Illustrated Body Issue (see below), the sound bites, and above all else, the monster bombs he hit over countless fences. You never knew what could happen because ANYTHING was possible with this guy.

HarperBodyIssue

So here we stand as a franchise, poised to make a deep run this year and for multiple years to come. The average age of the core group for this team is only 22.25 years old (Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Carter Kieboom). That takes into account over half your outfield and infield with only those five guys. Mike Rizzo has built this team for the future and it has started to come to light. The only question, where was the face of our franchise going to end up?

The Nationals offered a “fair” offer at first. (Nationals Initial Offer For Bryce) The Lerners, Rizzo, and the city wanted Bryce back, at first. Then, rumors swelled and the debates began as time passed. “Where will he go?” – “Does he want to stay in D.C.?” – “Is he only in it for the money?” – “Doesn’t he want to win?” These were just some questions that arose in the beginning portion of this Free-Agency period.

But, the vitriol start to arise with the fan base after Bryce turned down Washington’s initial offer. People’s rationale started to decline. Everyone did not understand that if they were in his situation, with his talent, upside and prowess, we would want to get fair market value as well. Now I am not going to say I was happy Bryce was shopping with other teams, because I honestly wasn’t thrilled about the idea. Yet, I saw the bigger picture about how our team was constructed and decided to let the whole Harper thing fizzle out.

After over four months of discussions, four months of back and forth’s, four months of almost pure torture, Bryce Harper has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Did we expect him moving on? Yes. Did we expect other teams in this sweepstakes? (i.e. Yankees, Cubs, etc.) Yes. Would we have rather him go to any other team besides one within our division? YES.

SERONE’S TAKE:

Okay, here is my view on what this whole process has boiled down too. I wavered so much during these last four months debating in my head the pros and cons to having or losing the face of our franchise. But then it happened. It actually happened. The Phillies were the last team in the running to swoon over “our guy.” Now I could honestly care less about how much money yada yada yada. I am more so hurt by the fact he decided to take the job in Philadelphia, the city in which dreams are shattered because of their fan base. Take a look at some examples of what I am talking about.

NHL PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

(Fans throw TRIBUTE BRACELET OF LONG TIME OWNER on ice and at players)

NFL PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

(Fans pelt opposing fans with countless snowballs for many minutes)

MLB PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

(Fans throw Duracell Batteries and Trash at JD Drew)

Who would ever want to play in front of these fans? I literally hate when Philly fans try to say things like: “Oh we are just passionate people!” or “We love our teams!” No, no you don’t. I am a diehard Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and Wizards fan and you don’t see me throwing beer on a Houston Astros fan or a Miami Dolphins fan. You don’t see other fan bases doing these things year in and year out. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some good fans out there but the majority ruins it for everyone. Would you ever wear a rival jersey in one of their stadiums? Would you ever jump in a pool with piranhas? They are classless and literally will scold you until you break down. I am not sure if Bryce was only in it for the money or not but wanting to play for these fans and that city over ANYONE OR ANYWHERE else is a gut-wrenching blow.

It is free-agency, I get it. But you have to think of your legacy at some point, right? I loved watching Bryce. Every at-bat was something to get excited for. But now, it is over. He has pulled an Anakin Skywalker and turned over to the Dark Side. We are Obi-Wan Kenobi and he is Darth Vader.

The D.C. hero has now become possibly one of the most hated sports figures for all of our nations capital. He went from Washington D.C’s sports “Mount Rushmore,” to our evil Thanos. The rivalry has been ignited once more, now with even more despise and more hatred. I loved Bryce as a baseball icon, but now he is gone and we have to deal with it. Enjoy your next 13 years Bryce. My last thought comes from one of the best movies of all time. There is only one thing left to do now. (Clip Rated: R for Strong Language)

 

Let’s Go Nats!

Agent Zero ready to set Big 3 League on FIRE

gil

Today’s current crop of Wiz fans may have forgotten just how dominant Gil was in his prime. The man would also have THRIVED in today’s social media dominated NBA with his wild thoughts and antics. This guy was a WEIRDO.

Don’t sleep on the Big3 league. Old studs, reignited by competition again, trash-talk, etc.

I will be SHOCKED if Gil doesn’t put at least 50 shots per game.

Also let’s not forget this man was getting paid long after he stopped playing for the Wiz.

All hail Hibachi.

Where does Ryan Zimmerman rank among MLB 1st Basemen?

zimmerman.png

In November of 2018 Will Leitch of MLB.com wrote an article about the Top 20 First Basemen and ranked Ryan Zimmerman #15. This put Zim in front of guys like Josh Bell, Justin Bour, and Brandon Belt. This astounded me. I remember the pretty incredible 2017 campaign for Zim wherein he batted .303 in 144 games. But here we are in 2019, and the 34-year-old is coming off an 85-game .264 average season with one year left on his Nats contract.

It has been chronicled heavily on the podcast( Click here to download) of Mike and I’s disdain for the rope that the Nats give to Zim. So it begs the question: Is Zim the worst first baseman starting in the MLB this upcoming season? Or am I just a know-nothing jilted fan talking out of my ass? Let’s take a look.

The first thing to do is start with the nerds. Let’s take a look at the projections:

2019 projections

As you can see the bottom is what Ryan did in 2018, and the five lines above that are possible projections by various sources. The consensus appears to be that he will have a pretty similar season to 2018 numbers-wise, obviously a bigger sample size with him in theory playing more than 85 games in 2019.

Personally, I like Composite’s projections, so let’s use them as an example:

.266 avg, 21 HR, 57 R, 68 RBI in 406 at-bats.

I want to start in the NL East, and look around the other first basemen inside the division. This is based on MLB.com’s projected depth-chart as of today:

Braves-Freddie Freeman

Phillies-Rhys Hoskins

Marlins-Pete O’Brien

Mets-Todd Frazier (but really Pete Alonso)

Immediately place Freddie Freeman and Rhys Hoskins WAY above Zim in pretty much any sort of category. Now we are left with Pete O’Brien (who sounds like the guy that helps me with my taxes) and the shell of Todd Frazier with one of the top Mets prospects Pete Alonso waiting on the wings.

Here’s the Pete Alonso mixtape in case you were wondering:

Don’t bother looking up Peter O’Brien, just know that he may one of the few Zim has beat. So far the only first baseman I would rank lower than Zim is O’Brien.

Current Ranking of Zim: 4th (of 5 Teams)

Now let’s dive into more of the National League starting with the NL Central:

Cubs-Anthony Rizzo

Reds-Joey Votto

Brewers-Jesus Aguilar

Pirates-Josh Bell

Cardinals-Paul Goldschmidt

The Central is LOADED with First Base talent. Immediately place Rizzo and Goldy above Zim. Votto is up there too, especially for Fantasy Baseball owners. That leaves a non-household name in Aguilar, and Bell.

Aguilar has CRAZY pop, 35 dingers last year, and in 2018 really broke out. His potential immediately vaults him above Zim.

Bell is an interesting case because I would put him in a similar boat to Zim, and the projections do as well. Bell underachieved last year coming off a pretty solid 2017. I think the power numbers will be better than Zim, as well as the average.

Current Ranking of Zim: 9th (of 10 Teams)

I’ll zip through the NL West

D-Backs-Jake Lamb

Rockies-Daniel Murphy

Dodgers-Max Muncy

Padres-Eric Hosmer

Giants-Brandon Belt

Murph and Muncy are easily placed above Zim. Hosmer is probably looking at a 20+ bombs .270+ avg season as well, so put him up there too.

Jake Lamb had solid power numbers in 2016 and 2017, and last year wasn’t able to do much only playing in only 56 games due to injury. His power should be back, so he should double (maybe triple) Zim’s homer numbers. Belt is very very close to Zim. I will actually give Zim the SLIGHT edge for Zim because I think he can beat Belt out this year.

Current Ranking of Zim: 13th (of 15 Teams)

The American League! Let’s go to the AL East, where things may surprise you a bit.

Orioles-Chris Davis (You could make a case for Mancini)

Red Sox-Mitch Moreland 

Yankees-Luke Voit

Rays-Yandy Diaz

Blue Jays-Justin Smoak

For all the hype the AL East gets, the position of First Base isn’t loaded here. I would put Zim above Chris Davis, but lower than Mancini. Moreland and Yandy Diaz aren’t great options either.

Let’s go ahead and say Mancini represents the O’s in this scenario. Zim ranks higher than Diaz and Moreland to me.

Current Ranking of Zim: 16th (of 20 Teams)

On to the AL Central:

White Sox-Jose Abreu

Indians-Jake Bauers/Carlos Santana

Tigers-Miguel Cabrera

Royals-Ryan O’Hearn

Twins-CJ Cron

The ghost of Miguel Cabrera is still better than the ghost of Ryan Zimmerman, so I’ll give him the edge.

The Cleveland situation is a tad unfair because the Indians plan to platoon between Bauers and Santana, but Santana is still better numbers-wise than Zim.

As for Ryan O’Hearn and CJ Cron, O’Hearn is young and projecting for a .250-type season. Cron is coming off a 30 bomb year that earned him a spot with the Twins after being released on waivers by Tampa Bay. So put Zim over O’Hearn, but slightly behind Cron.

Current Ranking of Zim: 20th (of 25 teams)

Our last division is the AL West:

Astros-Yuli Gurriel

Angels-Albert Pujols/Justin Bour

Athletics-Matt Olson

Mariners-Ryon Healy

Rangers-Joey Gallo

Here’s a fun shift the Astros did on Gallo

Gallo, Olson, and Gurriel are easily picked higher than Zim on any sort of fantasy or real life rankings. Pujols and Bour will probably share some time at first, but gotta think Bour will get more actual starts there and Pujols nears the end of his career.

Honestly, the only guy you could put lower than Zim here is Healy. A strong 2017 lead into a mediocre 2018 for Healy.

So after all of that here is where we stand:

Final Ranking of Zim: 24th (of 30 teams)

Looking through the Nats pipeline, there isn’t a lot of excitement at the first base position either once you get past Zim and Matt Adams. I was wrong, Zim is not the WORST first baseman in the MLB, but it still doesn’t look great.

Let’s take a look at a player on the list of Nats Non-Roster Invitees: Tres Barrera

C-Tres Barrera

tres

Per FederalBaseball.com, the 24-year-old Catcher (drafted in the 6th round in 2016 by the Nats) is “solid defensively”, handles pitchers well, and leads the defense.

In 2018, Barrera hit .263, with 6 bombs, 24 RBI, and 68 hits in 259 AB’s. Barrera currently sits 14th in the Nats prospect list per MLB.com (list was from 2018, new prospect list comes out this month). The consensus seems to be his bat has pop, but sometimes pulls the ball way too much and doesn’t have much self-control at the plate.

As you can tell in this video, he’s a strong dude with a lot of raw power, the question will be if he can be consistent and work his way up through the Nats ranks.

Overall this seems to just be a good experience builder for Barrera, don’t expect him to be on the big squad for a few years, if ever.

Let’s take a look at a player on the list of Nats Non-Roster Invitees: Henderson Alvarez

RHP-Henderson Alvarez

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If you recall, and likely you don’t, the Nats signed Alvarez to a minor league deal back in November of last year. Alvarez, 28, pitched in 2018 with the Phillies.

He had a 4.30 ERA in 14 2/3 innings for Philly. His last GOOD season was in 2014 where he went 12-7, 2.65 ERA in 187 innings pitched (per Federalbaseball.com).

A lot of old glory years for this guy, including a no-hitter:

This is purely one of those low-risk invites that could lead to some depth pitching-wise if needed. The guy throws a Fastball, Sinker, Curve, Slider, and Changeup, mainly relying on his Fastball and Sinker.

Basically, this is a guy who’s promising career was derailed by injuries, and now has a chance to showcase himself with a Nats spring training squad. My guess is the Nats could stash him somewhere in AAA and wait for the inevitable injury bug to strike the rotation at some point and have Alvarez give the team a few starts.

Overall, nothing to be too excited about, but keep an eye on Alvarez’s numbers here in Spring as he hopes to climb his way back to the big time.

UPDATED: League says NOPE no travel for Beal

UPDATE: Sam Dekker weighs in:

Here is a look at the play everybody’s been talking about:

 

I don’t care what the league says, there is literally no way in the world that wasn’t a travel. I love Brad, but you can’t possibly watch that play and think “nope, that is clean”.

Episode 19 – (Bruce Allen, “KFC Food Review”)

Breaking down the first Bruce Allen presser in over 588 days took us a bit but we took down each question asked by reporters down in Mobile, Alabama. For our next food review we went with the KFC Limited Time “Famous Spicy Chicken Bowl” for only $3. You cannot beat a deal like that, plus the fact it was one of the best fast food items we have every had in our over 27 years of existence on planet earth. Take a listen…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Bruce Allen Presser Breakdown – (28:20)
  • Capitals Half-Way Point – (1:34:33)
  • Wizards Coming Around?  – (1:43:26)
  • Food Review “KFC Famous Spicy Bowl” – (1:54:03)
  • “What Grinds Our Gears/Pine-Pony Express” – (2:05:31)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

The First Unofficial Redskins Depth Chart

One thing to note here: On the Redskins official website , Kelley is actually listed as the third RB, followed by Perine. Byron Marshall was placed on IR earlier this week, allowing the Skins to sign Josh Keyes who played for the Houston Texans this offseason.

Adrian Peterson of course gets the nod for RB1 with everyone else where they were expected to be except for one player. Danny Johnson will be returning kickoffs.

I’m excited for this team. Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson are officially off the injury report. Fingers crossed that it stays that way for the foreseeable future. That may be wishful thinking but the injuries last year were brutal – 22 players on IR, Trent Williams did not practice all year, Norman out multiple weeks with broken ribs. My optimism may be at an all time high for this squad. HTTR.