04 May MLB Mail Bag: Fan Questions Answered
By: Lou Landers – thesportscrew.com – @realsportscrew
This is my favorite article of write each week. I get a chance to sit down and answer fan questions submitted Sunday/Monday. Enjoy this week 5 MLB Mail Bag.
1) Red Sox chances of winning MVP, ROTY, and Cy Young?
This is a very interesting question. The Sox have Chris Sale who is already pitching like a CY Young candidate in his first season with the Red Sox. They also have RF Mookie Betts who could have won the MVP last season and realistically, if not for Mike Trout would have. He has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in 2017, which can be attributed to the loss of David Ortiz in the middle of the Sox lineup. However, Betts is an incredibly gifted athlete and ball player and I fully expect him to turn it on soon and be one of baseballs best players. As good as Betts is and can be, I still don’t see him beating out players like Mike Trout or even Jose Altuve for the AL MVP award though. The Sox do have one of the more talented rookies in 2017. Andrew Benintendi has already made his mark both offensively and defensively this season. He hits 2nd in this high powered offense between Xander Bogaerts and the aforementioned Mookie Betts. This will allow for Benintendi to see plenty of fastballs and good pitches to hit. He is the front runner for the AL Rookie Of The Year award, but does have some competition currently with Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.
2) Adam Eaton injury; how much it hurts the Nats WS chances, do they regret making that trade now?
Eaton is expected to miss the remainder of the 2017 which is obviously a huge loss for the NL East leading Nationals but I’m not so sure it hurts their World Series chances. This lineup has been firing on all cylinders and their best player in 2015 MVP Bryce Harper looks to have regained his MVP caliber form. They’ve gotten a huge boost from veteran 1B Ryan Zimmerman who is having a bounce back season. The weakness of this Nationals team is still the back end of their bullpen. They’re already on their 2nd closer this year and many people are skeptical that their current choice in Shawn Kelley won’t be able to hold down the job for an entire season. I don’t think the Nationals will regret making this trade, only because it seem like Eaton was the missing piece from this lineup and in the outfield. The players they traded to the White Sox are still in the minor leagues and the Nats current rotation is still very strong. Eaton will be back for this ball club next season and will have a very big impact at the top of their lineup.
3) Will The Cubs get back to the World Series?
No National League ball club has won back to back World Series since the Cincinnati Reds but this Cubs teams is primed to change that. They are loaded on offense, in their starting rotation and bullpen, incredibly deep and have baseball’s best manager in Joe Maddon. They arguably have a better lineup this season, with slugger Kyle Schwarber back and the resurgence of highly paid OF Jason Hayward. The Cubbies should run away with the NL Central and their stiffest competition in the playoffs will be the Nationals and likely the Dodgers who have both shown the inability to win playoff series over the last 5 years. The Cubs also have a loaded farm system that will allow them to go out and make any necessary additions at the trade deadline this year. I expect them to be back in the 2017 fall classic and I believe we are witnessing the next dynasty in MLB.
4) Thoughts on Aaron Judge April Performance?
There isn’t much to say besides the fact that Judge has been crushing the baseball so far this season and looks locked in at the plate. He has become the most feared hitter in the Yankees lineup, and is already being pitched around. He had a record month of April, tying Jose Abreu and Trevor Story as the only players in MLB history to have 10 HR in April as a rookie. Last season, the biggest knock on Judge was his lack of pitch recognition and plate discipline, however so far in 2017, he is getting himself into a lot more hitter friendly counts and not swinging at balls outside the strike zone. He plays in the AL East which has some of the best hitters ball parks in all of MLB, which only helps. I don’t expect him to end the season with 60+ homers but anywhere from 35-40 is a strong possibility if he can stay healthy all season long. He is currently hitting over .300 which I don’t expect to last. If Judge can even hit for a .250 or .260 batting average, he will be a very dangerous big league hitter.
5) Should the Blue Jays look to make a change at closer with the drop in velocity from Osuna?
I don’t think it’s necessary for the Jays to make a change at this point. If they’re concerned with Osuna’s velocity then they should put him on the DL. He has been one of baseball’s best RP over the past 2 seasons and he’s got great stuff. The Jays have had a number of blown saves this season but a few of them occurred when Osuna was out for the first 10 days of the season. I don’t think Jason Grilli is a good option to close out games and although Joe Biagini has been good since arriving in Toronto last season, he has limited experience in the closers role and in my opinion, Osuna should be the closer now and in the future for Toronto.
5A) If they continue to struggle, would they trade Donaldson?
This is highly unlikely. First off, I don’t know how much longer the Jays are going to struggle. Yes, they have put themselves in a very big hole to start the season, but there is so much talent on this roster; specifically in the starting rotation and middle of their lineup that it seems impossible for them to continue to play this poorly. The Toronto fans would throw a complete fit if the Jays decided to trade away their best player, who is also a franchise caliber player. As old as some of the Jays players are, there are still a number of young players on this roster who are a big part of the future for this team. I really don’t see them trading away Donaldson who is arguably the glue that keeps everything together for his team, especially after the departure of Edwin Encarnacion. On the other hand, the Jays farm system is completely depleted from making win now type moves over the past 5 years and a trade of a player of Donaldson’s skill, could help them replenish their entire minor league system.
6) The Mets Injuries and Anthony Rendon huge day on Sunday?
The first part of this question about the Mets is the one I really want to focus on. Taking nothing away from Rendon’s massive game on Sunday in which he went 6 for 6, with 3 HR and 10 RBI, but thats a once in a life time performance and he obviously won’t hit at that pace going forward.
The Mets on the other hand, find themselves in last place in the NL East and continue to see their star studded rotation end up on the DL. The latest victim is their ace Noah Syndergaard who left Sunday’s start against Washington in the 1st inning after allowing 5 runs to score. The MRI has revealed a strained lat muscle that is expected to keep him out for an indefinite amount of time. The Mets season is already off to a dreadful start and without their number one starter, it appears that this may be a lost season for them. To make matters worse, they play in the same division as the Nationals who have easily been the best team in baseball this season and are showing no signs of slowing down.