Sports Round Table: MLB All-Star break edition
Here at MyFantasySportsTalk.com we have polled our MLB experts on the hot topics surrounding baseball today. Here are their thoughts in the second installment of MFST’s Sports Round Table. You can view our previous Sports Round Table’s here:
1. Who is the biggest snub of the All-Star Game (either league)?
Dan Schalk: Carlos Correa. This may surprise some, but since he has been called-up on June 8th, Correa has easily been the best shortstop in the American League and will be many years to come. In 25 games, Correa has a BA hovering around .300 with 7 HR and 18 RBI, add in incredible defense in which he has made remarkable plays consistently, he is already the class of the AL. In his short time in the Majors, Correa owns a 1.5 WAR, if you project that to a full 162-game season he would be number one in the American League. He deserves a selection despite rookie status.
Landin Murphy: Everyone knows why Alex Rodriguez didn’t make the All-Star team. It wasn’t because he didn’t deserve it. After lying for years, using steroids repeatedly and attacking the Yankees organization – A-Rod didn’t exactly improve his odds of making the team. His level of play has been tremendously surprising, but that doesn’t overshadow all the negative attention he has brought the sport.
Colby Gatz: I believe that the biggest snub in this year’s All-Star game is Mookie Betts. Betts has been an electric center fielder for the Red Sox this year. He has also had quite an impact on the offense for the team with nearly ten home runs and over 40 RBI’s to this point. Betts started the year playing great while being the leadoff hitter for the Sox, but then started to struggle for a bit which led to him losing his hold on the leadoff spot. Betts then started to figure it out again and has himself back in the leadoff spot where his speed and playmaking ability belong. There is no doubt that Betts’ play has had a direct effect on the overall play of the team. When Betts was playing well at the beginning of the year so was the rest of the team and when he started to struggle the team followed. Now that Betts is back in the right spot in the batting order the team has been on a roll. That reason coupled with his overall play should have been enough to get him on to the All-Star team.
Tony Clements: I personally feel the biggest snub of the All-Star Game this season was Dustin Pedroia. While the Red Sox have been struggling this season, Pedroia was off to one of his best starts of his career before landing on the DL. So far this season Pedroia is hitting .306/.367/.452 with nine home runs and 33 RBIs. He has been one of the few constants in the Red Sox lineup this season and I feel his leadership and commitment to the game and his team should have at least landed him a spot as a reserve.
Hayden Held: Alex Rodriguez was the biggest snub from the All-Star game. He has had a remarkable season playing DH for the Yankees and it’s even more incredible it’s after he missed all of 2014. He obviously was left of the voting because of his reputation of steroid use but based off this years stats he should have made the team.
2. Will Stephen Strasburg, who just went on the 15-Day DL again, ever be the same?
Dan Schalk: No I don’t think he will be the same pitcher that was drafted number one overall, but that does not mean he cannot be successful. A lot of pitchers can re-invent themselves, Strasburg will not reach close to triple-digits on the radar-gun again, but if he can learn to control his pitches and paint the corners of the plate, he can win in the big-leagues. Whether or not he will do that remains to be seen, but if he doesn’t realize he is not a power pitcher anymore, he may not have that long of a major league career left.
Landin Murphy: I would argue that after having Tommy John surgery, Strasburg already hasn’t been the same. He doesn’t throw nearly as hard as he used to (down about 3-4 mph). He has trouble locating the ball at times, and injuries always seem to remain a threatening, if not imminent, possibility. People have pointed to his delivery as a major area of concern since before he was out of college. Strasburg brings his elbow up considerably higher than is advisable, while breaking towards the plate, pair that with a slight frame and the need to throw 100 pitches per game as a starting pitcher, and the future seems uncertain.
Colby Gatz: I do not believe that Stephen Strasburg will ever be the same. Coming into the league, Strasburg looked like an incredible talent that would become one of the best pitchers in baseball. Strasburg has had some great years where his potential really started to shine, but this year he just has not been able to replicate his past success. Injuries have played a role in Strasburg’s struggles, but as time continues, it will be interesting to see if the he is able to shake off the injuries or if they are something that he will constantly deal with. The Nationals already have an ace in Max Scherzer, so Strasburg will not be asked to lead the staff anytime soon. Given his injury history and struggles I just don’t believe that he will ever be the same pitcher again.
Tony Clements: I do not believe that Strasburg will ever be the dominant pitcher that he was in his first couple of seasons. It seems as though he cannot stay off of the disabled list and really hasn’t been the same since Tommy John surgery. That being said he will never be a below average pitcher but I can’t see him being an ace ever again in his career which is unfortunate after how promising his start was.
Hayden Held: I don’t think Stasburg will ever be the same as he was before the tommy john surgery but that doesn’t mean he can’t be successful. Much like Jared Weaver, he can focus on the location and not the speed of pitches allowing him to win ball games. He’ll defiantly have to learn a new pitching style but he could still be effective.
3. Will the Detroit Tigers make the playoffs with Miguel Cabrera sidelined until mid-August?
Dan Schalk: They do not have much of a chance to catch the Royals in the NL Central, so they will be battling for one of the two wild card spots. The likelihood of the Tigers leapfrogging multiple teams at the end of August through September is not a high probability, but with the AL East having a mess of teams with mediocre records, it will be the Tigers battling some sort of mix between the Angels, Astros, Rangers and Twins. I would pick the Tigers over some of those teams, but they need more than Cabrera to step up. I’m looking at you Justin Verlander, if he can’t produce like a top-tier ace the Tigers are done.
Landin Murphy: I don’t think they can. Miguel Cabrera is one of the best players in baseball, and such an integral part of their offense. They’re barely .500 as it is, and their starting pitching is poor. Victor Martinez seems to have aged 100 years, and Ian Kinsler isn’t hitting with much power in 2015. David Price is a true ace, and their lineup is still pretty solid with the breakout year of J.D Martinez. However, that’s not nearly enough to make up for the faults of the starting pitching staff.
Colby Gatz: I do not believe that the Tigers will make the playoffs this year. The team has been struggling for most of the season and, now with the injury to their best player, I just don’t see how the Tigers can make it in. I believe that the Royals and Twins will continue to lead the division and that would leave only one spot left for Detroit to get in. The entire AL East should be in the race until the end and the AL West has two teams who are better than Detroit right now. Even with Cabrera healthy, Detriot would have had a hard time getting into the postseason, but now I believe that whatever chance they had is gone.
Tony Clements: I cannot see the Tigers winning the AL Central but I can see them making the playoffs in a wild card spot. It will be a close race until the end but I think if the Tigers can at least maintain that the return of Cabrera will help push the team over the top into a wild card spot. While Miggy is a huge piece of their lineup he is not the only talented player on that team. JD Martinez heating up has been huge for the team as well as the return of Victor Martinez from the disabled list. It will be interesting to see and won’t be decided until the last few days of the season but I think the Tigers will be able to pull it out.
Hayden Held: I don’t think the Tigers will make the playoffs because of the struggles they’ve been having all season long. People were questioning the playoffs before Miggys injury and now that he is gone the playoffs might be a long shot. The Royals and Twins have been playing well so their best shot could be one of the two wild card spots.
4. With the first half of the season over who will win the NL East?
Dan Schalk: Washington Nationals. It is possible we see them collapse down the stretch again, but I am picking them due to the rest of the teams in their division. Unless the Mets can acquire a couple bats at the deadline without giving up too many arms they could keep it interesting, but ultimately the Nats are the class of the division.
Landin Murphy: Definitely the Washington Nationals, they have the best overall roster and more starting pitching than some two teams combined. They’ve dealt with significant injuries to top players, and they still retained first place within the division. If Bryce Harper can stay healthy the whole season, he could be the best player in baseball. With a .232 overall team batting average, I’m not sure the Mets have the offense to be a true threat.
Colby Gatz: Although there are three teams within five games in the NL East, I fully expect the Nationals to take control of the division and run away from the Braves and Mets at some point in the second half. The Nationals have a solid one two combination in their rotation, Scherzer and Zimmerman, who should lead them for the remainder of the season and they also have one of the best hitters in baseball this year, Bryce Harper. The Mets have enough pitching talent to keep them in the race, but their offense has not been great, which I believe will ultimately be their downfall. The Braves, on the other hand, have been too inconsistent to be taken seriously in the race. They do feature two good starters, Miller and Wood, as well as a very good first baseman, Freddie Freeman. In the end, I just do not believe that they have the consistency to keep up with Washington. Both Atlanta and New York could certainly upgrade their rosters at the end of July, but I believe that the Nationals have too much talent to lose their hold on the division.
Tony Clements: The Nationals will be able to hold on and win the NL East. Even with the fantastic pitching staff that the Mets have, if they don’t acquire another hitter they won’t be able to keep up with the Nationals. Now while a collapse is always possible the Nationals just seem like the most consistent team. The Braves are also somewhat in the race but their starting pitching has started to struggle and they don’t have nearly enough bats to finish off the season.
Hayden Held: I think it’s just a matter of time before the Nationals run away with the division. They have the best starting rotation in baseball and have a superstar in Bryce Harper. The Mets have had a good start to the season but I expect them to starting loosing ground soon. The Nationals obviously have the most talent and should win the NL East easily.
5. Who will be the next MLB Superstar? (At the all-star game this year, there were 18 players selected under the age of 25 – the most in around 100 years).
Dan Schalk: Carlos Correa. He is the next Derek Jeter with a lot more power. He will be an All-Star every year he is healthy in the big-leagues and will soon be the face of the MLB. His leadership skills set him apart and give him a “Jeter-like” quality that is rare in 20-year-old players. You will hear more about Correa in the next few months as the Astros push for an AL Pennant.
Landin Murphy: As far as which player could potentially become the next “Face” of baseball, Bryce Harper seems primed to finally make good on all the hype surrounding him as a young, or rather, even younger player. He could hit 50 homeruns this season and finish with a WAR over 12. That’s an incredible number to consider. Only twice did Babe Ruth ever surpass the 12 or greater threshold, and Harper could do it before the age of 23.
Colby Gatz: I believe that the next superstar in baseball will be Joc Pederson. Pederson has burst onto the scene this season and already looks like one of the best home run hitters in the league. His average may be lower than he might like at around .230, but his raw power is something special. Playing in Los Angeles will only help Pederson become a superstar in this league. Everyone should tune in to the Home Run Derby next week to see Pederson’s power on display and then a couple nights later watch the All-Star game where Pederson will try to display his talent in front of the best players in the game. Pederson’s stardom is growing at an alarming rate and, I believe, will continue to grow as he tries to help the Dodgers get back to the postseason.
Tony Clements: Kris Bryant will be the next MLB superstar without a doubt. While players like Carlos Correa and Joc Pederson are making a splash, I don’t think they will be able to be consistent over the course of their career. Bryant on the other hand seems like a very solid fundamental player that has a smooth swing to go along with a great baseball mind. So far this season he is hitting .275/.381/.478 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI. If he is able to keep up this pace he will be a perennial all-star in the league and will be a household name for years to come.
Hayden Held: Carlos Correa could easily have been an All-Star if he had been playing since Opening Day. In my opinion he is the best shortstop in the American Leauge and will be for years to come. He is younger than most kids drafted out of college and is mature beyond his years. He is a 5 tool player and could possibly become a top player in the MLB in the near future.
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Dan Schalk: FFSportsTalk
Landin Murphy: @LandinFitness
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Tony Clements: @Clements_Tony21
Hayden Held: @HHeld12https://www.myfantasysportstalk.com/sports-round-table-mlb-all-star-break-edition/https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CG_New_Logo_3.jpg?fit=420%2C284&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CG_New_Logo_3.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1AnalysisBaseballMLBRecent Posts#MLB,All-Star Game,NL East,Sports Round TableHere at MyFantasySportsTalk.com we have polled our MLB experts on the hot topics surrounding baseball today. Here are their thoughts in the second installment of MFST's Sports Round Table. You can view our previous Sports Round Table's here: Sports Round Table: MLB Hall-of-Fame edition Sports Round Table: MLB edition 1. Who is the...Dan SchalkDan Schalkmyfantasysportstalk@gmail.comAdministratorDan Schalk is a sports enthusiast with degrees in Sports Coaching and Sports Management. He founded MyFantasySportsTalk in July of 2014 to bring a new platform to the sports media industry and allow various sports fans across the country have their voices be heard. Hailing from Buffalo, NY the land of the real chicken wing, you can stay up-to-date with Dan on Twitter @ffsportstalk You can also check some of Dan's work at Fantasypros.com, as he covers the Houston Astros as a team correspondent.MyFantasySportsTalk