Today is my favorite day of the year: the day I’m done with all my work on my annual baseball preview.
I’ve written these baseball previews every year going back to seventh grade, and after 10 years, this will be my last preview as I head off into the real world (yikes).
This season’s preview is 35 pages with all the usual analysis, scouting reports, and advanced stats along with breathtaking design from Microsoft Word. As always, the preview is 100 percent free, so feel free to pass it along to a friend or two or twelve.
It’s been a pleasure writing the past 10 years, and I’ll really miss writing these, although I won’t miss the sleepless nights.
Ten years ago, my first preview had David Ortiz on the cover, and I correctly picked the Red Sox to win the World Series. Fitting, then, that my final preview also features David Ortiz on the cover.
Did I pick the Red Sox to win the World Series again? Go find out for yourself.
My 2015 Baseball Preview is finally here just in time for the season to start. The Cubs host the Cardinals tomorrow night, so this is your chance to read up on the season ahead before the first pitch is thrown.
This year’s edition comes in at 67 pages with all the usual analysis, advanced stats, and scouting reports you’ve seen in past years. And as always, the preview is absolutely free, although I do accept Venmo payments and free food.
This preview has a focus for each team on how to build a championship team. In each team’s section, I look at how they were built, why they made the decisions they’ve made, and how they will move forward.
Finally, thank you so much for reading my preview (or at least giving me a page click). It took a lot of sleepless nights, but I’ve truly enjoyed working on this for the past five months.
I hope you enjoy perusing it, and I hope your team does well this year.
I didn’t quite beat the first game of the season because Major League Baseball scheduled the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to play in Australia eight days before any other team plays, but here’s my 2014 Baseball Preview in all its glory.
This year’s edition is 70 pages long, almost double last year’s 38-page preview. There are some other changes from last year’s preview that I talk about in the introduction, but I figure most people are just going to skip to their favorite team, so I’ll just go ahead and explain them here. Then again, there’s a good chance you’ve already opened the preview and headed straight towards your favorite team.
The 2014 Baseball Preview uses a lot more statistics than past previews have, so I’ve included an in-depth glossary for sabermetric terms just three pages into the preview. You should probably read that if you want to fully understand each team’s capsule.
I’m also excited to say that the preview focuses heavily on a retrospective analysis of wins system (RAWS) I’ve created that helps explain how well teams actually did the year before. There’s a big ol’ explanation of how RAWS works and what it means with all the data laid out.
Additionally, I got a good deal of front office input from different front team executives and scouts across Major League Baseball, so that will bring another perspective into this preview.
Finally, thank you so much for reading my preview. I put in over five months of work on this, and it’s my favorite project of the year. For the eighth year in a row, I won’t be charging anything for my baseball preview, but I’d appreciate it if you sent it along to a friend or two or twenty.
In case you’re wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a while, it’s because I’ve been busy finishing up my 2014 Baseball Preview. And school, of course. That.
In the mean time though, I’m releasing a sneak peak of the preview, which should come in around 70 pages this year. Just like the last three years, I’m releasing my top 50 prospect list with scouting reports for each player. The actual preview will feature top 10 lists for each team–as always–along with individual grades
I’m not sure yet if the preview will be out by the 22nd, when the Dodgers and Diamondbacks play two games in Sydney, Australia, but it will definitely be out in advanced of Opening Night on the 31st. Until then, enjoy looking at the future stars of baseball. There’s some hope for you, Astros, Twins, and Cubs fans.
- 29 players return from last year’s top 50 prospects list, three more than last year.
- 13 players graduated to the majors.
- 9 players fell off the top 50 list from last year, and the three highest-rated ones were Red Sox or Yankees.
- Of the 21 new players to the list, 7 were selected in the 2013 draft.
- 12 of the top prospects were taken in the first round of the 2012 draft, the most among any draft.
- Only six of the 41 players who were drafted were taken outside the first round: Tyler Glasnow (5th round), Joc Pederson (11th), Garin Cecchini (4th), Jonathan Singleton (8th), Austin Hedges (2nd), and Billy Hamilton (2nd round).
- Just like Jurickson Profar made the leap from 9 to 1 last season, Byron Buxton went from 9 to 1 this year. Taijuan Walker probably won’t make the leap next year because he’ll almost certainly lose his rookie eligibility.
- Javier Baez made the biggest jump, going from 27 to 4.
- Despite the fact that they are technically rookies, I did not include Masahiro Tanaka or Jose Abreu because they’ve already played in professional leagues for several years.
- 2 Catchers
- 1 First Baseman
- 5 Third Basemen
- 7 Shortstops
- 9 Center Fielders
- 2 Right Fielders
- 21 Right-Handed Pitchers
- 3 Left-Handed Pitchers
- The Astros, Cubs, Pirates, and Red Sox each had four players.
- The Dodgers, Indians, Orioles, Royals, and Twins each had three players.
- The Mets, Reds, and Rockies each had two players.
- The Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Nationals, Padres, Phillies, Rays, and Tigers, each had one players
- The Angels, Brewers, Rangers, White Sox, and Yankees need a better farm systems.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: October. We have the baseball playoffs, football is in full swing, college football is heating up, and the NBA is about to begin. Oh, and the Red Sox are back in the World Series.
Unfortunately for Jackson, the Red Sox are in the World Series. Fortunately for me, they are. Add those together you get to look forward to a nice clash of excited optimism and snark.
And finally, before I send you off to read the article over on Jackson’s site, how can you not root for the Red Sox after Koji Uehara’s kid Kaz’s interview?
I write about sports a lot, and I occasionally forget to post my articles. Here’s your place to find all the articles I didn’t post from the past two months.
Friday, October 11
Jackson and I go head-to-head in round two of our baseball playoffs preview. I don’t brag too much about beating him 4-0 last week.
Tuesday, October 8
I write a column that Vanderbilt fans won’t like about why James Franklin should go to USC if he gets a job offer. I got a nice endorsement from commenter bill cherry: “What a great article from a Vandy STUDENT news source….a bunch of big freaking nerds.”
Tuesday, October 1
Without Zac Stacy, the Commodores don’t have one feature back and are instead going with a three-headed running attack. Here’s your guide to what is going on in Nashville.
Tuesday, October 1
I covered my first Vanderbilt football game from the press box, and the Commodores won 52-24 against UAB. That bodes well for the Georgia game I’m covering next week, right?
Tuesday, September 17
Vanderbilt landed its second four-star recruit in shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis, who went to my rival high school, Charlotte Christian. They’re on pace to have their strongest recruiting class since 2011.
Tuesday, September 3
Ah, the first in a series of weekly news and notes from the Monday football press conferences. A series that lasted one week.
It’s a day late, but I wrote a preview of the first round of the MLB playoffs with good friend and fellow Russell-Rice scholar Jackson Martin of the Dirty South Sports Report. As you’ll see in the intro, we would’ve gotten the article out earlier, but some school-related issues came up.
If you’re a fan of one of the playoff teams, you’ll be happy to see that we disagree on every single series. That tends to happen when we talk sports.
Instead of copying the whole thing here and editing the introduction, I’ll just send you to his site, which has some great stuff that I haven’t helped with.
Stay tuned as the playoffs progress, where there definitely won’t be any gloating about who picked series better.
(Ha, the Red Sox won Game 1 by 10.)
Congrats, Major League Baseball, you’ve turned NCAA on us.
Major League Baseball eschewed the 21st century by embracing human error over getting calls correct, but they’ve outdone themselves with the Biogenesis case.
MLB set off on a poorly cloaked witch hunt for two of the biggest name (rumored) steroid users: Ryan Braun, who avoided an earlier PED suspension on a technicality, and Alex Rodriguez, who is just universally hated. The league paid known sleazebag Anthony Bosch for information from his sketchy health clinic, although they previously identified him as having highly questionable information.
Finally, they settled on a 65-game suspension for Braun and nailed 12 more players with 50-game suspensions. Then they dropped a 211-game bomb on Alex Rodriguez.
They’ve mishandled this whole case so badly that they’ve made me a fan of the most hated player in sports.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA agreed on a Joint Drug Agreement, which states that any player who fails a test or has possession of a PED is to be suspended 50 games after his first offense, 100 games after his second offense, and given a lifetime suspension on the third offense.
MLB circumvented the JDA already when they slapped Braun with a 65-game suspension, but they mutually agreed to that ban. A-Rod’s 211-game suspension completely oversteps baseball’s jurisdiction according to the JDA and CBA.
Alex Rodriguez clearly didn’t do a good thing. He was the Chosen One. It was said that he would destroy steroids, not take them. Bring balance to the sport, not leave it in darkness.
But now Major League Baseball has found a way to make a cheater into a sympathetic villain, just like Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi.
So what makes whatever A-Rod did more than 4 times worse than what the other Biogenesis players did? If he did use HGH in recent years, what makes him so special that he’s given a suspension 146 games longer than any other previous one?
The short answer: there’s no reason.
MLB says that part of the reason for the excessive length is because he tampered with baseball’s investigation. Well Melky Cabrera did the same thing–and created a fake website in an attempted coverup–and only got 50 games. MLB clearly has a vested interest in getting Rodriguez away from the game.
The Yankees get out from under around $33.5 million in salary plus millions more in luxury tax–more money they can spend. MLB gets Rodriguez–who’s been nothing but bad press for the sport recently–away from baseball and momentarily away from the record books.
While it’s clear that Major League Baseball is overstepping its bounds–which leads to the MLBPA’s appeal that will last until November or December–this isn’t the real issue.
Alex Rodriguez breaking rules–and he hasn’t even failed a drug test–is a micro issue. MLB’s rules on PEDs is the macro issue.
What we need to be doing now is looking at why steroids are banned. A-Rod technically cheated because the rules said he wasn’t allowed to use a substance. Cheating by definition is breaking rules. So why are steroids illegal?
It’s easy to see why substances that are harmful to players’ health should be illegal. You’re asking players to sacrifice their own health to keep up with the Joneses. Furthermore, it creates a culture in which young, impressionable kids feel they have to renounce their future health to compete and earn a scholarship.
But what about non-harmful supplements? Protein shakes seem to be widely accepted because they have no known downside but help build muscle. Aspirin stops pain and similarly has no major side effects. No one thinks they should be illegal.
As Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan put it: “If one player is taking synthetic testosterone to heal faster and another player is getting his blood spun and reinjected into him to heal faster, why is the former banned and the latter welcomed? Because the government says so? The government also says marijuana is illegal, and baseball players on the 40-man roster can take bong rips galore without penalty.”
The core issue isn’t that steroids are bad because they’re banned. That’s begging the question. The real issue is that harmful performance enhancers create a bad culture, while non-harmful performance enhancers just, well, enhance your performance like drinking that protein shake or taking a dietary supplement do.
We know that athletes will do whatever they can to gain a competitive edge. Catchers frame pitches to get extra strikes. Ray Lewis sprayed deer antler velvet under his tongue. Bartolo Colon had bone marrow stem cells injected into his elbow. Hell, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays openly used amphetamines, and Gaylord Perry used a banned spitball, and they’re accepted with open arms into the Hall of Fame. Yet steroids are the spawn of the devil.
Nothing gets people up on their moral high horse like steroids, but it would be hard to turn down a pill that makes you 50% markedly at your job, especially if it means escaping poverty in a third-world country. Really, using modern medicine isn’t much different than any other type of cheating in the past, even if known cheater Perry would have you think otherwise.
You know what the real crime is, right? Babe Ruth never got to face Latino and black pitchers. Ask Daniel Tosh.
Baseball needs to re-evaluate what is banned and what isn’t based on potential health risks. Because if something like deer antler spray has no health risk, what’s the difference between it and a protein shake? It’s just a rose by another name.