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)

 

 

Game 1 Recap: Nats get blanked on Opening Day

Game 1

Well, this is not great…

Only Game 1, yada yada yada, super long season, yada yada yada.

Bottom line is, the Nats seemingly carried issues they had last season with scoring runs into the very first game of this season. Not a HUGE deal, but a noticeable one.

The Good

-Scherzer was brilliant: 7.2 IP, 2 Hits, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 12 K’s. He also gave up his obligatory solo homer.

-I sometimes forget just how solid Trea Turner was for a turbulent Nats team last year. He started off this season in a great way. The shortstop went 2 for 4, with 3 stolen bases.

Besides that…there wasn’t much to be super excited about…

The Bad

-Anthony Rendon continues to be stymied by deGrom. 0 for 4 on the day including 5 runners Left on Base

-Speaking of that, the Nats 3-4-5 combo of Rendon, Soto, and Zimmerman went a combined 0 for 11 on the day, stranding 9 total runners.

-The Nats ran themselves into a bad 5-4-2-5 double play in the 3rd inning that should have been an easy scoring opportunity.

Overall

Look, it’s a long season. Opening Day is no indication of how the season may go (I mean look at my Detroit Tigers, they got an almost no-no from the skeleton of Jordan Zimmermann and a 10th inning homer from a rookie, THAT won’t hold up over 162 games).

What I didn’t like is the familiarity in this game to last year’s team. Lack of production on offense, wasted strong starting pitching, and really no production from the new guys yet.

Don’t freak out, but I think its perfectly fine to be disappointed in that Opening Day showing.

Next Game

Saturday

Nats (0-1) vs. Mets (1-0)

1:05 PM Start

Noah Syndergaard vs. Stephen Strasburg

Nats Opening Day Lineup Analyzed

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Here is what Davey is going with for Opening Day tomorrow:

  1. RF Adam Eaton
  2. SS Trea Turner
  3. LF Juan Soto
  4. 3B Anthony Rendon
  5. 1B Ryan Zimmerman
  6. 2B Brian Dozier
  7. C Yan Gomes
  8. P Max Scherzer
  9. CF Victor Robles

Martinez specifically wants this lineup to put runs on the board, and having the speed combo of Robles, Eaton, and Turner in a sequence is perfect for that.

Before you get too excited and jacked up for the first game let’s remember who this lineup is facing: Jacob deGrom.

Let’s take a quick look at how that lineup has done vs. deGrom in their careers:

Eaton: 3 for 10, 2 RBI, 4 K’s

Turner: 7 for 25, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K’s

Soto: 1 for 3

Rendon: 2 for 23, 1 RBI, 6 BB’s, 7 K’s

Zimmerman: 5 for 24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8 K’s

No data for Dozier it looks like, or Gomes

Robles: 1 for 5, 3 K’s

Not terrible surprisingly enough, except for Rendon. The only worry spot for me continues to be the production from the first base position. Zim gets the nod for opening day, but will we see Matt Adams get more and more opportunities to replace the veteran? Can the Nats finally get production from the catcher position as well? Something they have been missing since the departure of Wilson Ramos?

Overall, I like this lineup. A lot of speed, some great contact hitters, and hopefully a bomb every now and then. Let’s see who gets off to a nice start in the opening day series.

We Must Evolve the Game

improve the game

We’ve heard it all by now.

Baseball is boring

The games take too long

Nothing ever happens

Jayson Stark, a prominent writer for The Athletic and analyst from MLB Network, recently participated in a roundtable discussion on the most under the radar topic regarding baseball.

Stark: I think it’s the never-ending challenge of creating a sport, in the 21st century, with more action. Every time I bring this up, baseball fans overreact to it, in ways that illustrate how difficult this is. You almost never hear football fans complaining that the NFL has ruined the game that Red Grange used to play. But any time you suggest that baseball ought to at least be able to experiment with ideas that could make the game more entertaining, millions of baseball fans react as if you’re doodling on the Mona Lisa.

I love baseball as much as anyone I know. But I’m totally open to trying all sorts of these ideas — not to make games “shorter” because it isn’t about “time of game,” but to move toward a sport where you don’t have to wait 4 ½ minutes in between the average ball in play. Why do I think this story is under-covered? Because it feels as though the focus is either on time of game or on individual rule changes, not on the big picture. It’s about action, not games that take 3 ½ hours. And we can’t seem to get our audience to understand that’s the biggest issue in the sport. Why is the Home Run Derby the highest-rated baseball event on cable between Opening Day and Game 162? Because something happens! And it happens every few seconds.

It’s about the action. THAT is the biggest issue in the sport. But there are more issues beyond just the action, this goes much deeper than that.

I’m too tired to watch the end

I fall in the line of your average baseball fan. I support my teams, I watch as many of their games as possible, but life and work get in the way sometimes. What also gets in the way is the fact that most of us work your standard 9-5 shifts, sometimes even earlier. I get up at 6:30AM, many friends of mine start their day even earlier.

Your average MLB start time is 7:05 Eastern, the average length of the game in 2018 was 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 11 seconds. That would put your end time roughly around 10:15PM. That’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. You stay up to watch the end, or you don’t, I don’t know about you but I don’t have 3 hours every day to give to a sport that plays on an almost daily basis. 162 games, that’s 486 hours of baseball.

That’s 20 DAYS of your LIFE.

Why give that to a sport that doesn’t seem to care about you? They bring you to the ballpark only to charge you $10 for a beer and $5 for a hotdog that likely costs them less than 10 cents to make. Stations like MASN spit in your face when you protest that the other sports give us streaming options here in 2019 where we can view our teams on our phones, our iPads, our Playstations. You want a “choice” on how to watch this game?

Guess what, They don’t care about you.

Kids don’t watch baseball

A 2016 article in Fox Sports cited the median age of baseball fans at 56 years old. Can you blame kids? Look at their options. Basketball presents offense on almost every trip down the court, big dunks, exciting threes, nonstop action. Football ironically enough is close to baseball in average length of time of a game, and yet it just seems like it moves much quicker. You know that as soon as the team breaks the huddle something is going to happen. Hockey is similar to basketball, fast-movements, flying across the ice, big hits, action. Soccer, the mortal enemy of most baseball players growing up, goes long periods of no scoring but all the while the ball is moving, tackles are being made, shots are being attempted.

In baseball we are waiting for the batter to ready himself for battle, the pitcher to receive the sign, the batter to change his mind that no, in fact, he is not ready to do the thing he is paid millions of dollars to do, he needs more time. The pitcher wants to discuss with his catcher the strategy they have gone over at length beforehand. Oh look, another ball thrown outside the zone, we are now at six minutes and nothing has happened.

This is a problem.

extras

The baseball purists stomp their feet, pound their chests, this is how baseball is meant to be played. How dare you question that? How dare you want to change anything about this beautiful game? The game ends when it ends, they scream, kids and potential fans be damned.

I love baseball. I played baseball. I hope my kids play baseball. I get why others don’t love to watch or play baseball. I find the strategy exciting, the individual talent levels off the charts, its a difficult game, one of the hardest, but I get it. I get the disdain.

Even as a player there was plenty of times my mind wandered as I stood in the outfield, begging for a ball to be hit my way, give me something to do. I’ve fallen asleep watching baseball on television, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

How do we fix this? We must swallow our pride, accept that this game is beautiful to some and boring to others. At times in my life I stress about how the world doesn’t adjust to us, we need to adjust to the world, but with baseball this is adjustable. This is sports, this is a game, we have options. Put a guy on second base to start extra innings. Give me a pitch clock. Speed it up. Just TRY something. If it doesn’t work, fine, scrap it and try something else. But soon enough the age of immediacy will collide with the slowest moving game out there.

Baseball MUST change, baseball MUST evolve.

Before it is too late.

 

Bryce Harper/Philadelphia: Special Edition (Guest: Jessica Towne)

Take a look into the Philadelphia Phillies acquisition of Bryce Harper, and inside their locker room as Jessica Towne (@RunThisTowne13) joins the show to break down everything about our arch rival in the National League East!

Follow Jessica:

Twitter: @RunThisTowne13

Contributing Writer:  “ProSportsNotes.com” and “Wild Fire Sports”

Co-Host of “The Madness Podcast”

 

Episode 24 – (Capitals, Wizards, Redskins)

The Capitals are starting their playoff preparations and the Wizards are finally starting to tank. Plus the Redskins apparently don’t draft players to fit their scheme’s according to Doug Williams. Makes total sense! Check out all of our special edition episodes on the Washington Nationals as well!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Capitals Poised For Playoffs – (02:15)
  • Ben’s Food Dilemma – (11:00)
  • Wizards Lose Four Straight – (12:45)
  • Doug Williams Comments – (21:20)

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

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

Ian Mahimi has suddenly reappeared and so have I

Like a phoenix from the ashes, Ian Mahimi has returned. The Wizards prized signing of the summer of 2016 (4 years/$64 million. Yuck.) has seen game action for the first time since Feb. 4. With Thomas Bryant playing well off the bench and the acquisition of Bobby Portis, Coach Scott Brooks decided to bench Mahimi despite Dwight Howard being out indefinitely (he’s obviously not playing again this season).

Is there anyone with a better gig than Mahimi? Collecting paycheck after paycheck while not having to play a single minute? Sounds like good money if you can find it.

Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) OFFICIAL Bracket

WarrinerBracket

Notable Upsets:

  • #11 Belmont over #6 Maryland & #3 LSU
  • #12 Murray State over #5 Marquette
  • #7 Wofford over #2 Kentucky
  • #6 Iowa State over #3 Houston, #7 Wofford, & #5 Auburn
  • #12 Oregon over #5 Wisconsin

Final Four:

  • #1 Duke – #1 Gonzaga – #1 UVA – #6 Iowa State
    • Championship: #1 Duke vs. #1 UVA
    • National Champion: #1 University of Virginia
      • Tiebreaker Score: 72-68

Follow Jonathon:

Twitter: @Bracketologist3

Website: http://www.MakingTheMadness.com

March Madness 2019 Special Edition

Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) of “www.MakingtheMadness.com” joins the program to give us insight and analysis to all things March Madness! Questions about your bracket? Who will get upset? Check the timestamps below for all your bracket information.

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

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TIMESTAMPS:

  • Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) – (2:50)
  • Snubs and Surprises – (6:50)
  • Intriguing 1st Round Games – (10:15)
  • Cinderella Potentials? – (18:45)
  • What is your “game binging” setup? – (25:51)
  • Warriner Official Bracket Reveal/Game Breakdowns – (27:29)
  • Show Closing – (1:11:15)

Nationals Infield Preview – 2019

Second special edition episode of our Washington Nationals Spring Training Preview! Check out how the infield spots check out in our minds. Plus, will Anthony Rendon become the new “Face of the Franchise?” Take a listen…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!