Author Archives: mikejokinen

Who’s Playoff Bound … In 2014?

By Mike Jokinen      10/2/13

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(Boston dominated this year … will 2014 be more of the same?)

 

Every year brings postseason surprises.  Even if there aren’t “worst-to-first” Cinderella stories on a regular basis, you can always count on a couple teams coming out of nowhere.  Despite these annual revelations, baseball is not ruled by parody compared to other sports.  The baseball season is a grueling marathon where talent usually wins out in the long run.  The lack of a salary cap allows big-market teams to flex their financial muscles and gain a major competitive edge.  Because of this relative year-to-year stability, it makes predictive exercises not completely futile – we can actually make educated guesses as to who might get a playoff berth next year.  Here’s who I think will definitely be punching a playoff ticket next year …

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Playoff Crystal Ball

By Michael Jokinen          9/11/13

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(I want to see Dodgers/Sox in the World Series!  Give the people what they want!)

 

Is a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series matchup not only very possible, but also the most tantalizing?  Recognizable stars, exciting prospects, and rich storylines.  Two of the biggest markets and most classic franchises locking horns after having completed a mega-trade roughly a year ago.  I’m sure Major League Baseball would like nothing more than for this dream matchup to play out in reality.  And for many fans like myself, this would also be an awesome scenario.  But will it really happen?  Just how likely is that?  Have a quick look at my Postseason Crystal Ball …

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Who Is The Braves MVP? … & Other Tidbits

By Michael Jokinen             8/28/13

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(Maybe one day the Justin Upton trade will be known as the Chris Johnson trade)

 

Superstars are fun.  Everyone likes to stare in awe at the exploits of a Justin Verlander or Felix Hernandez.  Everyone likes to have The Best Hitter On The Planet, like Miguel Cabrera, or Albert Pujols when he was Albert Pujols.  People are drawn to the best.  But often, from a front-office standpoint, this star-centric attitude is best left to the adoring fans. Read the rest of this entry

5 Thoughts From 2014’s Free Agent Crop

By Michael Jokinen             8/21/13

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(Robinson Cano will probably stay in New York.  But much more intrigue surrounds Jacoby Ellsbury … where will he end up?)

 

1.) Does anyone else think Jacoby Ellsbury is destined to end up with the Seattle Mariners?  It seems like all the conditions are perfect.  Boston will probably opt to let the 29 year old go, as they’ll feel comfortable enough with their outfield sans Ellsbury.  The Oregon native will be right at home in Seattle, and the Mariners are desperate for a center fielder and any offense they can get.  They’re a mid-market team with only around $34million in contract commitments for 2014.  With Felix Hernandez as their only player making over $6.5million, the M’s could easily afford to take on Ellsbury.  He’s a good fit for a Seattle organization that’s trying to hedge between win-now and rebuild for 2014.  I think Ellsbury will net around $100million/5 years on the open market, somewhere between the contracts B.J. Upton and Jayson Werth fetched their free agent years.  There will certainly be some other suitors for Ellsbury, but Seattle makes the most sense on the surface.

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AL East Musings

By Michael Jokinen             8/14/13

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(The A.L. East is coming down to the wire!)

 

Everyone expected the American League East to be one of the most hotly contested and exciting divisions in baseball.  Though it hasn’t gone exactly as planned, or in other words, nobody could’ve foreseen just how bad the Blue Jays have been, the East has certainly lived up to its billing.  The season is culminating with an exciting three-team chase for the division crown, made all the more important with the revamped wild-card structure.  The playoff implications certainly aren’t the only storyline, and here are some other things that have captured my attention:

 

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Award Watch: Clayton Kershaw for Cy Young … and MVP?

By Michael Jokinen             8/7/13

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(Will Clayton Kershaw claim his second Cy Young Award?)

 

Okay, so you may or may not remember my piece from May about how Clayton Kershaw is the most underrated superstar in sports.  All he’s done since then is continue being the best pitcher in baseball.  Wainwright has cooled off a bit.  Harvey too, and now the Mets plan to limit his innings and also adopt a six-man rotation hereon out.  The 2013 N.L. Cy Young Award is still a close race, but it feels as though Kershaw has edged into the lead as we enter the home-stretch.  If he can hold serve – just pitch good, because great isn’t even needed – the rest of the way, then the award is his.  This morning, Kershaw’s ERA sits at a league-best 1.91.  If voters see 1-point-anything as his ERA at season’s end, he may be on the inside track for MVP honors as well.

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Fantasy MLB: Mid-Season Keeper Report

By Michael Jokinen          7/24/13

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(Is Mike Trout the best keeper in all the land? I dunno about your fantasy league, but he is in mine)

 

 

Yeah, yeah, I know we’re technically over the halfway point (are we at like 60% ??) but “mid-season” has a better ring to it than “two-thirds” does.  In any event, I’ve made it no secret that I’m a fantasy junkie.  I’ve also made it no secret that I’m in a keeper league.  And I love keepers.  I covet them.  Every year we’re allowed to keep seven players from our end-of-season rosters, and tack on +$5 to their price for next year’s salary – meaning you couldn’t indefinitely keep Mike Trout for $10, he’d go up $5 every year.  I always make it my business to get the best keepers in my league.  Gotta’ get that cream of the crop, evolve or die.

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MLB’s All-Star Weekend Through My Eyes

By Michael Jokinen             7/17/13

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(Mariano Rivera gets a standing ovation in his final All-Star Game)

 

I love the MLB All-Star Game.  I understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I always get a bang out of the Midsummer Classic.  In part, it’s because I enjoy the pageantry of any All-Star Game.  A celebration of the best talent.  But there’s something specific to baseball’s version that gets me.  No, it’s not the home-field advantage thing – the whole This Time It Counts! modern A.S.G is a perversion.  Keep it a true exhibition.  But that doesn’t soil All-Star weekend for me …

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Fantasy MLB: Open-Letter Trade Offer (A.K.A. Jose Fernandez is REALLY Good)

By Michael Jokinen             7/10/13

 

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(Future star?  Nah, kid’s a star right now …)

 

Okay, so I’m a total fantasy junkie – my mind is usually whirring 24/7, thinking about how I can fleece, eer, I mean, come to a fair trade with my league-mates.  I usually like to talk through a trade with my friends over the phone.  But sometimes a trade is complicated.  Sometimes you want to give your friend a bunch of stats.  Sometimes your friend is really busy and would rather just read over your proposal.  In any event, I’ll often resort to sending e-mails to my league-mates instead.  I sent one of these letters to a league-mate the other day, and I thought you all might enjoy a peep.  Mind you, my format is a keeper league (we get seven) and 5×5 mixed-league rotisserie.  Also, of note, Hisashi Iwakuma – a centerpiece in this trade – just got shellacked AGAIN last night, after I had already sent my trade proposal.  So what do you guys think?  Who is the winner is this prospective trade?  My friend is still deliberating …

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Fantasy MLB: Quick Hits

By Michael Jokinen             6/12/13

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(Pessimistic Pittsburgh Pirates fans might see shades of Bryan Bullington and Kris Benson, but you should see fantasy potential in 2011’s #1 overall draft pick)

 

I’ll make it short and sweet, here are a couple of thoughts for this week.  One sneaky-good Yankees starter, one splashy prospect, and one beleaguered ex-closer.  Here’s the scoop …

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Fantasy MLB: Weekly Must-Add

By Michael Jokinen             6/5/13

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(Is Yasiel Puig the real deal?  Damn, it sure looks like it … three curtain calls in two games!)

 

Some huge news this week!  Even by early-season standards, this week has seen some real noteworthy happenings in the fantasy realm.  Actionable stuff, so listen up.  Couple interim closers and one Cuban sensation … Aww hell, there’s really only one must-add this week.  I could drone on about getting Rex Brothers (COL) or Luke Gregerson (SD) to supplement your bullpen, but there’s only one name you should really be buzzing about …

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Fantasy MLB: Reliever Re-Ranks

By Michael Jokinen             5/29/13

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(All eyes are on Mariano Rivera’s farewell tour, but is he the top dog among fantasy closers?)

 

I apologize in advance for talking about fantasy closers so damn much.  I’m really sorry, except not that much.  Fantasy value in baseball is far more inelastic than in football … with the exception of the closer market.  That’s why I’m always keeping tabs on it.  Things change quickly: closers blow out their arms, lose their jobs, or just plain stink.  The market is always evolving.  So here’s a quick updated look at how I’d rank relievers for a fantasy redraft today:

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Is The Best Pitcher In Baseball … Underrated? & My Fantasy Crush

By Michael Jokinen             5/15/13

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(All time great?  Maybe.  He’s certainly well on his way.)

 

I was thinking late last night, after watching another Clayton Kershaw masterpiece … is Kershaw the most underappreciated historically great athlete of modern sports?  Forget baseball, I’m talking all sports.  I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but hear me out for a minute.  I mean, anyone would tell you he’s great, but I get the sense people don’t fully appreciate just how great he is.  ESPN and fans alike fawn over Justin Verlander and Steven Strasburg.  Now Matt Harvey is the new shiny toy.  Feels like Kershaw doesn’t get his full due.

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Fantasy MLB: Weekly Pickups

By Michael Jokinen             5/9/13

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(Will Heath Bell get another crack at the ninth?  Me thinks so …)

Let’s cut right to the chase – the closer carousel spins endlessly, so let’s check in on some news-worthy tidbits.  J.J. Putz left Tuesday night’s game with “elbow stiffness” after walking the lone batter he faced; Heath Bell cleaned up the mess for Arizona.  Like last year, Bell’s ERA sits around 5.00.  And like last year, that’s pretty deceptive.  His FIP and xFIP are both below 3.00 and he’s striking out 12.83 batters per-nine innings while not walking anybody.  He’s just been fairly unlucky with HR/FB and BABIP.  I expect Kirk Gibson to play the “experienced vet” card when considering Putz fill-ins, which is why I expect Bell to get the first crack at the ninth, even with other viable in-house options.  I think Bell will do just fine, go grab him.

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