Thursday, October 31, 2019

Baseball with Matt's 2019 MLB Awards Predictions 10/31/19

Hey baseball fans!

Congratulations to the Washington Nationals on their first World Series in franchise history! Now that the season's over, it's time to talk about awards. As per usual, in this post, I'll be giving you my predictions for the winners of the four major MLB offseason awards in each league: Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP. So, without further delay, let's get to the predictions!

AL Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, Twins
Why? Manager of the Year is always the hardest award to predict, so I'm giving it my best shot here. In his first season as manager of the Twins, he led them to 101 wins and the AL Central title. Not bad, considering the Indians had that division in the bag before the 2019 season started. The Twins really came out of nowhere.

NL Manager of the Year: Dave Martinez, Nationals
Why? I know voting takes place before the playoffs, but having twice as many wins as losses for two-thirds of the season is extremely impressive. Martinez should be very proud of his 93-win Nats, especially after last night's Game Seven.

AL Rookie of the Year: Yordan Alvarez, Astros
Why? 27 homers in 87 games as a rookie is very impressive, but he batted .313 and had an OPS of 1.067. That's insane, even for Mike Trout (more on him later). John Means and Brandon Lowe were contenders for this award at the beginning of 2019, but Alvarez tore it up as soon as he got called up.

NL Rookie of the Year: Pete Alonso, Mets
Why? He set the rookie home run record at 53. I wouldn't be surprised if he wins this award unanimously. Sure, Mike Soroka is a future star, but 53 home runs isn't done every season, even by the most experienced of sluggers.

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Astros
Why? It's very close between Verlander and his teammate, Gerrit Cole, but I'll give the edge to Verlander on the basis of two categories that he led the AL in this year, WHIP (.80) and Batting Average Against (.172), both otherworldly numbers, especially considering JV's home run problems this year.

NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, Mets
Why? Poor run support will limit deGrom's votes, but his league-leading strikeouts and being second in ERA and WHIP will help him beat out Jack Flaherty, Max Scherzer, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and many others. DeGrom is just towards the top of the most categories out of all the contenders.

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
Why? It's the safest option, but a good one, nonetheless. Trout led the league in OPS (again) and set a new career high in home runs. Had it not been for a late-season injury, Trout would've won the MVP handedly. Now, it's a little closer with Alex Bregman.

NL MVP: Christian Yelich, Brewers
Why? Your 2019 NL leader in OPS and batting average was also up there for home runs and stolen bases. Cody Bellinger and Anthony Rendon have strong cases, too, but I think this is going to Yelich.

What do you think of my predictions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz." And lastly, happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Comparative Look at the 2019 and 2015 MLB Playoffs 10/22/19

Hey baseball fans!

The 2019 World Series is officially set, but the ways the Astros and Nationals got there reminds me of another MLB postseason that happened just a few years ago. Are you unfamiliar with what I'm talking about? Well, allow me to explain!

An upstart National League East team somehow made the playoffs after a second-half surge. Once in the playoffs, this team beat the Dodgers in five games in the NLDS, then swept the NL Central champions in the NLCS to reach their first World Series in a while (or ever). Meanwhile, the number one seed in the AL needed five games to beat the Wild Card team in the ALDS, then won a tough, six-game series against the AL East champions en route to their second World Series in a short period.

The above paragraph could describe two World Series matchups: the Astros and Nationals of the 2019 World Series or the Royals and Mets in the 2015 World Series. In case you need a refresher on the '15 matchup, here you go!

The Mets surged to the top of the NL East by season's end, thanks in part to their midseason trade for Yoenis Cespedes. They beat the Dodgers in the Division Series and the Cubs in a sweep in the Championship Series to reach their first World Series in 15 years. The number one seeded Royals needed five games to beat the Wild Card Round-winning Astros in the 2015 ALDS and six games to beat the AL East-winning Blue Jays in the ALCS, but eventually made it to their second consecutive World Series.

What's funny about these two matchups is that they're the only two World Series to feature only expansion teams. But do you think the 2019 World Series will end in similar fashion to the 2015 one, a five-game victory for the AL pennant winners? Let me know your opinions on the subject in the comments down below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

My 2019 Analyses for the Potential World Series Matchups 10/15/19

Hey baseball fans!

We are down to our final four teams for the 2019 MLB season! However, instead of giving my predictions for the remainder of the playoffs, I thought it would be more appropriate for this blog to go over the potential World Series matchups and talk about why they matter historically.

Astros vs. Nationals
This World Series matchup would mark just the second occurrence in baseball history of an all-expansion team World Series. The Astros joined the MLB in 1962, then known as the Houston Colt .45s, and the Nats joined in 1969, then known as the Montreal Expos. The first all-expansion World Series took place in 2015, featuring the Royals (est. 1969) and the Mets (est. 1962). This would also be the first AL West vs. NL East World Series since the establishment of the Wild Card in 1994.

Yankees vs. Cardinals
At five times, this matchup is the third-most frequent World Series matchup of all time, sitting only behind Yankees vs. Giants (seven times) and Yankees vs. Dodgers (eleven times). However, with 38 combined championships, this is the most decorated matchup a World Series could possibly see.

Yankees vs. Nationals
If the Yankees face the Nationals in this year's World Series, they will have faced all but two NL teams in the World Series (the Brewers and Rockies). This would also be the first New York vs. DC baseball championship matchup since 1933, when the New York Giants beat the Washington Senators (present-day Minnesota Twins).

Astros vs. Cardinals
The only other major American sports championship to feature a former division rivalry was Super Bowl XLVIII, which saw the Seahawks (formerly in the AFC West) beat the Broncos (currently in the AFC West). The Astros and Cardinals duked it out almost 20 times a year from 1994-2012 in the NL Central, but their rivalry faded when the Astros moved to the AL West in 2013. This matchup would reignite that rivalry in a big way.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Flip: Jeter's Magical Play Versus the A's 10/7/19

Hey baseball fans!

The MLB postseason has officially kicked off! I'm going to save my playoff predictions once we get to the Championship Series, but let's talk about one of the best Division Series moments of all time: Derek Jeter's flip in 2001 against the A's.

In the season following a half-decade of Yankees dominance that included four championships in five years, the Bronx Bombers continued to thrive, winning the 2001 AL East title with 95 wins, but were not favored to win it all. That distinction belonged to the Mariners, who broke the Yankees' three-year AL single-season wins record with 116 W's in '01. The Athletics made it in as a Wild Card with 102 wins, while the Indians snuck into the playoffs with 91 wins and first place in the AL Central. Because the Mariners and A's were in the same division, the Yanks had the honor of facing Billy Beane's squad in the ALDS, while the Tribe and Seattle squared off in the other series.

It looked like the A's would end the Yankees' reign of superiority, as they quickly went up two-games-to-none in the best-of-five series and were only losing 1-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning in Game Three in Oakland. Yankees ace and Hall of Famer Mike Mussina was in the midst of a gem, when Terrance Long came up to bat with two outs and Jeremy Giambi (yes, Jason's brother) on first base. Long smashed a grounder down the first base line that went all the way to the right field corner. Yankee outfielder Shane Spencer fielded the ball cleanly, but overthrew his cut-off men. Meanwhile, Giambi, as slow as he was, rumbled around the bases. It looked like he was going to score, which would've tied the game, until Derek Jeter came out of nowhere, streaking across the infield, fielding the ball on a hop, and flipping the ball effortlessly to catcher Jorge Posada. Giambi didn't bother to slide, making Posada's tag that much easier. The Yankee lead was preserved and the score would stay at 1-0 for the remainder of the game.

Had Jeter not made his spectacular play, the A's could've won Game Three and effectively the series. Instead, all of the momentum shifted to the Yankees, who came back from the 2-0 deficit and eventually made it all the way to the World Series. They would end up losing the seven-game Fall Classic to Arizona, but Jeter's flip has still remains as one of the most legendary fielding plays of the 21st century, thus far. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."