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Author: Matt Musico

10 MLB players off to disappointing starts in 2018

By: Matt Musico | May 18, 2018 While many ballplayers try to not think about the past, there are a handful of that’d like to hit the rewind button and start the 2018 season all over again. There’s still plenty of time to climb out of an early-season slump, but they haven’t put themselves in the best position as we approach Memorial Day. For one reason or another, the following 10 MLB players fall into that group. After a rough month-and-a-half, they’re looking for ways to kickstart their respective seasons into high gear. Sonny Gray, SP, New York Yankees...

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Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter are both looking for answers

By: Matt Musico | May 16, 2018 Predicting the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League Central and West divisions, respectively, in 2018 would’ve been far from a hot take as recently as a couple months ago. After facing off in the NLCS as division winners last year, their rosters appeared primed to do more of the same this season. The Cubs are in better shape than the Dodgers right now (and there’s still a lot of time to turn things around), but they’ve each got some stiff competition to deal with as we approach...

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The Cleveland Indians have been here before

By: Matt Musico | May 14, 2018 Although their recent stretch of success hasn’t included a long-awaited World Series title, the Cleveland Indians have accomplished a lot since Terry Francona took over as manager in 2013. The club has produced five straight winning seasons, three campaigns of 90-plus wins, three postseason appearances, and one American League pennant. Let’s also not forget last year’s AL-best 102-win performance that included a historic 22-game winning streak. But as the calendar creeps toward Memorial Day — which is a popular time for front offices to evaluate team and player performances — Cleveland is...

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Eight Surprising MLB Starts in 2018

By: Matt Musico | May 11, 2018 The presence of advanced statistics in baseball creates the ability to make informed decisions about players and teams more (and earlier) than ever these days. Every now and then, though, those same players and teams find a way to buck the trends we see from the data. With about a month-and-a-half worth of baseball under our belts, the following 10 players have authored surprising starts when it comes to personal performance. Matt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers The Surprising Start The only real reason Matt Kemp returned to the Dodgers was so...

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Fantasy Baseball 2018: Who's Hot, Who's Not Heading Into Week 7

By: Matt Musico | May 11, 2018 Disclaimer: This post may contain links in which I receive commissions from. Another week of the 2018 regular season is in the books, which means another opportunity for players to heat up and cool off at the plate and on the mound for fantasy baseball purposes. Each week throughout the regular season, we’ll highlight 20 players (10 position players and 10 starting pitchers) who have either enjoyed the last seven days of play or are thankful that they’re over. To qualify for this list, hitters had to accumulate at least 15 plate...

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Gerrit Cole Has Become Allergic to Ground Balls

By: Matt Musico | May 9, 2018 It seems like the Houston Astros have a knack for extracting as much production as possible out of a player while paying him pennies on the dollar. We noticed that when news broke of Jose Altuve‘s lucrative extension, and it’s prevalent again with starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. Not only was he the best starting pitcher in April, but he also continued that roll with his first start in May, which was a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts. It was the fifth time in seven starts that Cole recorded 11-plus strikeouts. While...

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The New York Yankees' Depth Is Ridiculous

By: Matt Musico | May 8, 2018 Do you remember when the New York Yankees were struggling out of the gate and were just a .500 team? It actually wasn’t too long ago. Through action on April 20th, manager Aaron Boone‘s club owned a 9-9 record and were already 7.5 games out of first place thanks to a historically fast 17-2 start by the Boston Red Sox. But if we fast-forward to Tuesday, there’s now only one game separating them as they prepare for yet another head-to-head matchup. Similar to how the Red Sox used that fast start to...

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Jose Berrios' Curveball Is Crucial to His Success

By: Matt Musico | May 7, 2018 While the Minnesota Twins made some additions this past winter in hopes of solidifying their rotation for the immediate future, it sure looks like they have a budding ace for the foreseeable future in 23-year-old right-hander Jose Berrios. His first 58.1 big-league innings weren’t all that fun (posting an 8.02 ERA rarely is), but he took a huge step forward in 2017. And although Berrios’ last three starts haven’t been nearly as eye-popping as his first four to start this season, his curveball has been mostly impressive once again. He doesn’t lean...

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Fantasy Baseball 2018: Who's Hot, Who's Not Heading Into Week 6

By: Matt Musico | May 4, 2018 Disclaimer: This post may contain links in which I receive commissions from. Another week of the 2018 regular season is in the books, which means another opportunity for players to heat up and cool off at the plate and on the mound for fantasy baseball purposes. Each week throughout the regular season, we’ll highlight 20 players (10 position players and 10 starting pitchers) who have either enjoyed the last seven days of play or are thankful that they’re over. To qualify for this list, hitters had to accumulate at least 15 plate...

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The 10 Worst MLB Players So Far in 2018

A lot can happen in six months, which is why we try to not jump to conclusions about MLB player and team results with just one month in the books. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a good look at what transpired on the diamond, though. After spotlighting the best hitters and starting pitchers from April, we’re doing the same for those guys on the opposite end of the spectrum. Once again, we’re going to rank hitter performances by wRC+, while Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) will be used for the starting pitchers. It’s safe to say that these 10 players wish they could...

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The 10 Best MLB Players So Far in 2018

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times — the MLB regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. A good start to the year guarantees players and teams nothing come September and October. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still welcome it with open arms, though. Baseball is a game defined by peaks and valleys, with the goal always being to maximize the peaks while minimizing the valleys as much as humanly possible. The following 10 players — five hitters and five starting pitchers — have managed to maximize their peak level of play throughout April....

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Mitch Haniger Nearly Fit a Full Season of Offense Into One Month

The Seattle Mariners entered 2018 with a tall task on their hands. Not only do they own baseball’s longest playoff drought — they haven’t played in October since 2001 — but they also must try and break this streak while residing in the same division as the defending champion Houston Astros and a much-improved Los Angeles Angels club. Through one month of play, though, the Mariners find themselves right in the thick of things thanks to a 16-11 record. One thing that stands out about them is their offense — they’ve posted a team wRC+ of 109, which is...

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How Worried Should Postseason-Hopeful MLB Teams Be Right Now?

There’s an old saying in baseball that you can’t win a championship in April, but you can lose it. With just over one full month of play in the books and the calendar flipping to May, this is a good time to stop and peek at what’s been happening. Yes, there’s still another five months of regular-season baseball to be played before October hits. However, it’s worth looking back at recent history to see if postseason-hopeful clubs off to sluggish starts should really be worried, or if they should just shrug it off due to small sample size. Most...

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Fantasy Baseball 2018: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not Heading Into Week 5

Disclaimer: This post may contain links in which I receive commissions from. Another week of the 2018 regular season is in the books, which means another opportunity for players to heat up and cool off at the plate and on the mound for fantasy baseball purposes. Each week throughout the regular season, we’ll highlight 20 players (10 position players and 10 starting pitchers) who have either enjoyed the last seven days of play or are thankful that they’re over. To qualify for this list, hitters had to accumulate at least 15 plate appearances during the prescribed time period, while...

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More Evidence That Mike Trout Keeps Finding Ways to Improve

We’ve already established — on multiple occasions — how insanely good Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is on the baseball diamond. The crazy thing, though, is that he keeps finding ways to get better. On Opening Day, we marveled over a tremendous trend in his plate discipline. For the time being, that focus can shift to his home-run power. Trout entered Tuesday’s action with the league lead in dingers, and he lengthened that lead on this swing. .@MikeTrout will have 10 tacos to celebrate his 10th home run! #oppotacotuesday pic.twitter.com/CATrnrX15B — Angels (@Angels) April 25, 2018 He became...

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Avisail Garcia Is Already Feeling Regression in a Big Way

Any way you slice it, 2017 was a career-defining season for Chicago White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia. After a number of years in which he was a below-average contributor, he produced 4.2 fWAR while slashing .330/.380/.506 with 18 home runs, 80 RBI, and 75 runs scored in 561 plate appearances. He was also rewarded for these efforts by being named an American League All-Star for the first time in his career. The White Sox — who are clearly in the midst of a full organizational rebuild — could’ve looked to maximize his value in the trade market this past...

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Manny Machado Knows How to Hit Home Runs in Bunches

Unless something drastic happens between now and winter, current Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is going become a very, very rich man. After all, how many two-time Gold Glove winners with three seasons of 30-plus homers become available prior to their age-26 campaign? Yea, not many. Following a disappointing performance last year (by his high standards) in which he slashed .259/.310/.471 with 33 homers and 95 RBI through 690 plate appearances, Machado has returned to his dominant self in 2018. Shifting from third base back to his natural position at shortstop hasn’t forced him to miss a step. Through...

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Sean Manaea’s Improved Control Is Making a Huge Difference

So, you could say that Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sean Manaea had himself a pretty darn good weekend. Clicks on video.Hears @KenKorachRadio.Chills.#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/vtp0JSKCaS — Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 22, 2018 The Boston Red Sox have easily been the best team in baseball to start the 2018 season, and all Manaea did was no-hit them while striking out 10. The last time a hurler accomplished this feat against a team leading the league in runs scored was Dave Stewart back in 1990 (also for the Athletics). There’s no denying how impressive this performance was, especially since it was the young...

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Fantasy Baseball 2018: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not Heading Into Week 4

Disclaimer: This post may contain links in which I receive commissions from. Another week of the 2018 regular season is in the books, which means another opportunity for players to heat up and cool off at the plate and on the mound for fantasy baseball purposes. Each week throughout the regular season, we’ll highlight 20 players (10 position players and 10 starting pitchers) who have either enjoyed the last seven days of play or are thankful that they’re over. To qualify for this list, hitters had to accumulate at least 15 plate appearances during the prescribed time period, while...

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Jake Arrieta’s Dominant Performance Also Provided Some Symmetry

After waiting a while to actually find a home this past winter with the Philadelphia Phillies, starting pitcher Jake Arrieta watched his 2018 campaign get off to a somewhat slow start. His debut with the club on April 8th against the Miami Marlins lasted just 4 innings, and although he beat the Tampa Bay Rays in his second start with 6.2 solid frames, he only recorded 1 strikeout. Based off what he just did against the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday night, we can say that Arrieta has “officially” arrived in the City of Brotherly Love. The right-hander was dominant, allowing...

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