Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, Season Preview Series

This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with Joe and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $39.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

Chicago White Sox (70-92). This was supposed to be the year the White Sox took their first step forward. Then Yoan Moncada struck out 217 times, and Michael Kopech blew out his elbow, and Dane Dunning did the same, and the Sox took the offseason, well, off. The optimism that was here just a season ago has definitely faded. While the Sox still have a strong farm system and an interesting group of young veterans in the majors, a permanent failure to launch is definitely in play.

Which way it goes will come down to the products of the trades that rebuilt this farm system. I’m bullish on Moncada, though less so now that he’s been moved to third base. Any reduction in strikeout rate should redound to his batting average, and he only needs to bat .265 to be a very good player. Lucas Giolito was terrible last year, but just staying in the rotation all season at 23 was a positive. Reynaldo Lopez did the same, and finished the season strong. Eloy Jimenez has arrived and will push Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for top rookie honors. There is absolutely talent here. If we’re picking a watchable bad team this year, it’s the White Sox.

Maybe next year the Sox will sign Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole, finally silencing the criticism that they like to be in on players without ever actually closing the deal. Until then, you should take the White Sox exactly as seriously as they seem to take themselves.

One Stat: Other than some James Shields ABs in interleague play, the White Sox didn’t give a single plate appearance last year to a player older than 31. No other team in MLB did that.

One Guy: The White Sox became the latest team to use the service-time rules as leverage, signing Eloy Jimenez to a six-year contract with options that could lock him up until 2026. With Jimenez-the-asset now covered, we can focus on Jimenez-the-player. That guy is a 22-year-old with all-fields power and excellent bat-to-ball skills (16% strikeout rate in the upper minors). He will be a very good major-league hitter starting Thursday.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Newsletter Preview: 2019 Predictions

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $39.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

Projected 2019 standings, postseason and awards picks:


Team        W-L   Pct  GB   RS   RA

Red Sox    95-67 .586  --  836  690  
Yankees*   94-68 .580   1  821  691
Rays*      94-68 .580   1  736  626
Blue Jays  70-92 .432  25  688  801
Orioles   54-108 .333  41  589  867  

Indians    90-72 .556  --  746  649
Twins      84-78 .519   6  776  752
White Sox  70-92 .407  20  698  825
Royals     64-98 .395  26  621  787
Tigers     64-98 .395  26  657  819

Astros    108-54 .667  --  815  543
Athletics  82-80 .506  26  738  731
Angels     79-83 .488  29  708  729
Mariners   70-92 .432  38  672  775
Rangers    68-94 .420  40  736  871



AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole, Astros
AL Rookie of the Year: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

Rays win Coin Flip Round
Astros win ALDS over Rays, 3-1
Red Sox win ALDS over Indians, 3-1
Astros win ALCS over Red Sox, 4-2


Team        W-L   Pct  GB   RS   RA

Braves     91-71 .562  --  781  664
Nationals* 88-74 .543   3  754  690
Mets       85-77 .525   6  725  689
Phillies   82-80 .506   9  755  731
Marlins   60-102 .370  31  568  771

Cubs       93-69 .574  --  803  683
Cardinals* 91-71 .562   2  808  701
Brewers    86-76 .531   7  724  680
Pirates    78-84 .481  15  682  716
Reds       78-84 .481  15  750  782

Dodgers    97-65 .599  --  782  622
Rockies    82-80 .506  15  777  761
D’backs    81-81 .500  16  656  650
Giants     77-85 .475  20  633  685
Padres     76-86 .469  21  666  720




NL MVP: Ronald Acuña, Jr., Braves
NL Cy Young: Noah Syndergaard, Mets
NL Rookie of the Year: Victor Robles, Nationals

Nationals win Coin Flip Round
Dodgers win NLDS over Nationals, 3-2
Cubs win NLDS over Braves, 3-2
Cubs win NLCS over Dodgers, 4-2

Astros win World Series over Cubs, 4-1

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Newsletter Excerpt, Season Preview Series: "Report Card"

This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with Joe and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $39.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

"Anthony Rizzo NL MVP +1200 (L)
Christian Yelich NL MVP +20000 (W)

"I mean, you can go a whole writing career and never give out a recommendation this good. I’d have voted for Jacob de Grom, myself, but Yelich got the hardware."