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New York Yankees Offense, Mark Teixeira in Full Swing

Once upon a time, Mark Teixeira was hitting below the Mendoza Line with little power and a lot of criticism. However, much has changed since May.

Teixeira is slowly turning his season around, producing the power numbers the Yankees expect, and need, in the middle of their order.

Although his average is still a bit too low (.256 entering Thursday), Texieira is on pace to finish with 30-plus home runs and 100-plus runs batted in.

Not bad for a guy who at one point was batting around .190 with only a few dingers.

With Alex Rodriguez’s power numbers down from where they usually are (or at least from where people expect them to be) Teixeira’s summer success has been vital to New York’s success.

And the Yankees have certainly been successful so far, posting the best record in baseball, with a mark of 59-34.

A big reason why the Yanks sit atop the majors—let alone their own difficult division—has been Teixeira’s recent production.

Over the last month, Teixeira is batting .352 with six home runs, 19 runs, and 21 runs batted in.

But while Teixeira continues to knock the ball out of the park and drive in runs, he’s far from the biggest contributor offensively in the Bronx.

And hint, hint: it’s not a guy named Alex, nor is it a fellow named Derek.

It’s actually American League MVP candidate Robinson Cano.

Cano’s increased power numbers—which have been sustained throughout the season—have helped carry the Yanks through Teixeria’s power struggles early, and A-Rod’s spotty surges.

On the season, the second baseman is batting .333 with 18 homers, 65 runs, and 63 runs batted in.

But also take into consideration that Cano runs the bases well, and stretches singles to doubles and can go from first-to-third on a single.

All season long, Cano has been creating scoring opportunities for the Bombers, and he’s not the only doing so.

Nick Swisher has been a huge part of New York’s success this season.

Entering Thursday, Swisher is batting .302 with 17 home runs, 60 runs, and 54 runs batted in.

He’s one of four Yankees players with 60 or more runs scored, and Brett Gardner has scored 58 runs.

And speaking of Gardner, the Yanks have valued his production as much as anyone’s.

The speedy outfielder ranks among the league leaders in stolen bases, is batting right around .300 (.299 entering Thursday), and like Cano, creates scoring opportunities. 

The Bombers are also hitting the ball out of the ballpark with the best of them, and might finish the season with four players with 30 or more homers.

The Yanks are getting it done offensively all the way through the order, and with Teixeira’s bat coming around, and a series against the lowly Royals looming, New York will look to expand on its division lead.

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MLB: The New York Mets Carlos Beltran is Returning, but What Can He Offer?

What was once thought to be a disaster situation for the New York Mets turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

The Mets played the entire first half of the season without center fielder Carlos Beltran, and not only managed to keep their heads above water, but have been one of the best teams in the National League.

A lot of New York’s early success was because of Angel Pagan. He finished the first half as one of the best hitting center fielders in all of baseball, hitting over .300, while supplying some power, driving in runs, and stealing bases.

Gee, almost sounds like what the Mets wished they could have gotten out of Beltran, who’s only a career .284 hitter.

With Beltran returning to the lineup, the Mets can only hope they’re getting the Gold Glove center fielder they inked a few years back, and that he boosts New York’s power numbers.

But most important, the Mets need Beltran to add to Pagan’s production, and continue to find the gaps in the outfield, stretch doubles into triples, and steal bases.

New York is in its second season in its new ballpark, Citi Field, which has become one of the best pitching parks in baseball.

Its cavernous right-center field plays to the advantage of Mets hitters, who turn line drives in the gaps into triples, and on defense, use their speed to track down fly balls.

Carlos Beltran will bring with him an old man on bad knees (seems to be a theme with struggling New York sports teams, ask Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston and Mike Piazza).

Beltran was once coveted as an elusive five-tool player. He was a Gold Glove defender, a thief on the bases, could hit for average and power, and had a rifle from center field.

Well, the power numbers have been down over the last few seasons, and don’t expect them to get better in Citi Field.

Will the speed be there after micro fracture knee surgery? Eh, probably not, which means his stolen base numbers and range in the outfield are down.

Beltran should still hit for average, but will a second half line of .275 and seven homers really be the boost the Mets need?

As it is, Beltran is displacing Jeff Francoeur in the outfield, with Angel Pagan sliding over to right field. Francoeur has one of the best outfield arms in all of baseball, so losing him won’t help New York.

But, with roughly two and a half months of baseball to play before the playoffs, Beltran should continue to help the Mets.

Despite getting thrown out stealing by Buster Posey last night, Mets fans and Beltran fantasy owners should be encouraged that in his only appearance on the bases all night, he tried to steal.

If Beltran continues to be aggressive on the bases, he’ll be a major contributing factor in the Mets playoff chances.

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Should Washington Nationals Phenom Stephen Strasburg be an All-Star?


No, Stephen Strasburg should not be an All-Star.

Don’t get me wrong, the kid’s been great since getting called up to the big leagues, but there are just far too many reasons why Strasburg shouldn’t take a trip to Anaheim this July.

Here are just a few of them.

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Five Reasons Why the New York Mets Will Win the NL East

To say it’s been a roller-coaster season for the fellas from Flushing would be an understatement.

Jerry Manuel’s firing appeared to be a sure thing six weeks ago. Now, with his Mets 11 games above .500, he’s about as untouchable as a New York coach is going to get.

The Atlanta Braves’ most recent loss to the White Sox, combined with the Mets’ shutout victory over Detroit, moves the Orange and Blue to within a half game from first place.

For a very streaky Mets team, everything seems to be going their way right now.

Will it last, though?

Here are five reasons why a return to the postseason may not be too far out of the question.

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Mets-Yankees: Breaking Down Round Two of the Subway Series in the Bronx

With the Subway Series rolling back around this weekend, the Yankees will look to avenge a lost series to their crosstown rivals from May.

While the starting pitching matchups might be the same, the venue has changed. The Mets travel to the Bronx this weekend with their seven-game winning streak on the line.

So, after the Mets took two of three last time around at home, what will happen this weekend?

Here’s a position-by-position look to see who has the edge in round two.

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Stephen Strasberg: Only the Latest Young Pitching Phenom

‘Hype’ is an interesting word. In the baseball world, it can be everything, nothing, or both. Hype can pressure a team into a trade, a draft pick, or even a free agent signing. Hype can also be all a major league pitcher ever amounts too (I’m looking at you, Mark Prior). Or maybe hype put them on the map (hello, Joba Chamberlain). Stephen Strasberg showed us what his hype was all about in his major league debut. But regardless of the powers of ‘hype,’ some pitching prospects find a way of fizzling out, or living up to the expedctations. Here are 10 pitching phenoms; some who made it big, and some who were big busts.

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Is the 2010 New York Yankees Infield Better Than the Big Red Machine?

While the Big Red Machine of the 1970s might have been extremely good, it has nothing on the 2010 Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers have put together the best hitting infield of all time, and have done so in an un-Yankees manner. Although the Yankees have earned a reputation for buying their talent, the majority of this currently assembled infield is home grown talent.

Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada all came up through the Yankees farm system, while Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, who round out the five, were signed as free agents.

When it’s all said and done, all five players could end up in the Hall of Fame, although Posada is a long shot.

Statistically speaking, however, this 2010 Yankees infield might produce the best offensive numbers collectively of any group, all time.

And yes, that includes the Big Red Machine.

The Reds’ big five, in its prime, consisted of Johnny Bench (c), Tony Perez (1b), Joe Morgan (2b), Dave Concepción (ss), and Pete Rose (3b). The biggest difference between this group and the current Yankees is that this Reds bunch was collectively good throughout a decade, as opposed to one single year.

Rally beginning in 1972, members of the famed Reds teams began producing some of their best individual seasons. The only thing is, they never had their best seasons at the same time.

This Yankees’ crew is different; they’re all having stellar 2010 seasons, including Mark Teixeira. Tex started off last season remarkably slow before turning it around, and finishing with a .292 batting average, 39 home runs, 103 runs scored, 122 RBI and was walked 81 times.

Teixeira, the statistical weak link of this Yankees group, is on pace to turn his dismal start around once more. Over the last month, the switch-hitting slugger has hit .259, with six home runs, 21 runs, 22 RBI and 14 walks.

As for the other Yankees, Posada (in roughly 100 officials at bats), is batting .323 with six homers, 16 runs, and 14 RBI; Cano—who is putting up MVP numbers—is batting .373 with 12 homers, 41 runs, and 43 RBI (not to mention a .632 slugging percentage; Jeter is batting .302 with five homers, 35 runs and 31 RBI; and Rodriguez is batting .300 with eight home runs, 33 runs and 43 RBI (and he’s already been walked 25 times).

The Big Red Machine probably had its best overall output in 1975, when Morgan won his first of back-to-back MVP awards. That season he hit .327, 17, 107 and 94, while stealing 67 bases.

The biggest difference between the individual players on Cincinnati and New York is the Reds were built around average and speed guys, who could also hit the ball out of the park on occasion.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are power hitters, who also hit for high average and can steal a base.

(And before you begin hating on the Evil Empire for the stadium they play in, it should be mentioned that Cincinnati’s power allies—the distance from home plate to the right and left center field fences—were shorter than the ones in the new stadium in the Bronx.)

Clearly, we’re going to have to take a wait-and-see approach to determine if the 2010 Yankees can maintain this statistical success. Cano, like Morgan, may win the MVP as a second basemen, especially if he continues to produce at this rate. 

Teixeira and Rodriguez should each hit at least 30 homers this season. During the 1970s, only once did teammates of the Big Red Machine hit at least 30 homers in the same season, and that was in 1970 when Bench and Perez each hit 40.

All in all, the Bombers should give the Reds a run for their money. With A-Rod—the active leader in career home runs—poised to reach 600 dingers soon, Cano potentially winning his first MVP Award, and the Yankees set for another title run, perhaps one more story can be written in the legendary Yankees history books in 2010.

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Tex Mess: Mark Teixeira Headlines 2010 Fantasy Baseball Busts


As if the MLB season wasn’t long enough already, fantasy baseball mock drafts in late January/early February allow us to enjoy America’s pastime a little bit longer.

That is, unless your roster is filled with busts when you finally draft the team that matters.

Fantasy baseball occasionally forces the actual game into a second fiddle role, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. It presents the idea of Yankees and Phillies fans on the east coast taking an interest in the Mariners and Diamondbacks. Fantasy baseball, if nothing else, is maintaining America’s interest in the sport.

Alright, so it’s not likely you stopped following baseball because your fantasy team is more of a nightmare than anything else. There have certainly been a plethora of hitters this season earning the “bust” label. From the casual fan who blindly drafted their team to the experts who analyzed every stat and projection, few could have seen some of these disappointing seasons coming.

Honestly, from the gurus to the casual participants and fans, can someone explain how Mark Teixeira and Prince Fielder have fewer home runs than Kelly Johnson?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

It happens every year, in every sport. There will always be a handful of players that don’t live up to their projections. But how does this affect the fan whose sole interest in following the Yankees, for example, is because they have Teixeira on their team?

Perhaps you were unlucky (like I was) and built your fantasy team this year around Dustin Pedroia, Teixeira, Fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Hunter Pence, all of whom have terribly underachieved through the first two months of the season.

Teixeira has hit a dismal .215, with seven home runs, through May 29. If you’ve stuck with him through this awful start to the season, you’ve gotten 30 runs and 31 runs batted in from him. He’s far off his pace from last season, when he knocked in 122 runs.

Fielder has been another massive bust in 2010. While his 31 runs scored aren’t awful (although certainly not what you want from your first or second round draft pick), his seven homers and alarmingly-low 19 runs batted in have been torture for fantasy owners.

Compared to the two sluggers at first base, Pence has been a different kind of fantasy bust this season. As an outfielder, fantasy owners looked to Pence in March as a potential 30 home runs, 30 stolen bases guy. His stock rose fast since Pence was called up to the majors in 2007 (when he hit 17 home runs, stole 11 bases, and hit .322 in 108 games).

After hitting only a few home runs and recording a batting average around the Mendoza Line in the month of April, Pence, however has found his stride. He is now paying benefits to the owners who either held on to him, or scooped him up off waivers.

Therefore, Pence becomes that “bust” player because of the possibility that his original owner dropped the outfielder in April, and is now watching Hunter explode on another team.

The Boston duo of Pedroia and Ellsbury has been unquestionably disappointing so far this season. The two players, however, have been busts for entirely different reasons. Ellsbury has spent much of the season on the disabled list after a nasty outfield collision that resulted in a few fractured ribs.

Pedroia, although his eight homers are nice, is dragged down by his .255 batting average and two stolen bases.

Ellsbury attempted to come off the DL this past week only to feel additional pain, heading back to the injured list in the process. An injury like this, to the type of player he is, could spell long-term trouble for fantasy owners (this season, not career).

Ellsbury is a guy most drafted early to score runs, hit for average, and steal upwards of 50 bases this season. An injury like this could limit his aggressiveness (and even his playing time). 

Pedroia’s second base eligibility slightly eases the pain of his offensive struggles. With very little depth at this middle infield position, Pedroia’s eight homers are a nice compensation for the decrease in his other numbers.

He does get the “bust” label, however, because of his potential, and where he was probably drafted in your fantasy league. Most probably drafted Pedroia with the hopes of him putting up MVP numbers.

While these five stars may have bogged down my fantasy team this season, here are a few other hitters who have started the season in an offensive, er, slump.


Carlos Lee, .211, 5 homers, 18 runs, 20 RBI

Chipper Jones, .237, 2 homers, 18 runs, 18 RBI

Carlos Quentin, .215 with only 5 homers

Carlos Pena, .181, 8 homers

David Wright, .244 (and way too many strikeouts)

Brian McCann, .263, 5 homers, 18 RBI

Ian Kinsler, 1 homer, 15 runs, 10 RBI

Grady Sizemore, .211, 0 home runs, 15 runs, 13 RBI (and currently on the DL)

Aaron Hill, .167, 17 RBI, 24 runs (which equals his total number of hits on the season)

Chicago Cubs Offense: Aramis Ramirez, Derrick Lee, Geovany Soto


Look for a pitchers edition sometime next week.

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Top Five Reasons The New York Mets’ Five-Game Winning Streak Is Misleading

The New York Mets have won five straight games and all of a sudden look like a contender. Yea, maybe to the untrained eye they do. With the worst road record in the National League (6-14), the Fellas from Flushing have a lot of work ahead of them. Here are my top five reasons why the Mets may cool off sooner, rather than later.

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Is the National League East Very Good or Very Bad?

After the Mets dominated the Phillies in the first two games of a three-game series, every team in the NL East is above .500, and separated by only three games. So, with the recent resurgence of New York, the silent emergence of the Nationals (sans Stephen Strasburg), and the struggling Phillies, the question is worth asking: Is the NL East that good, or that bad?

Let’s break it down.


The Good

It’s hard to argue against it being a strong division when each team is above .500. This is not the NL West of recent memory where good money was on a team to win the division with a sub-.500 record, because the teams were beating each other up and losing to everyone else.

No, instead, you have a Mets team that has won four straight against Philly and the Yankees, a Braves team with one of the best pitching rotations in baseball (again), another young, upstart Marlins squad, and a Nationals club keeping its head above water until Sir Strasburg gets promoted.

Not to mention the Phillies, who have represented the National League in the World Series two years in a row.

Statistically speaking, four of the five teams have a positive run differential (Nats are minus-18 and are ranked in the top 13 in team ERA (Nats are No. 21). It’s certainly a difficult division, and should be a close race come September, but that’s simply because there are five talented teams in the East.


The Bad

None of the five teams in the NL East are winning a pennant this season. There is simply not enough depth on any of these teams to compete against the likes of the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Giants even the Padres have found talent somewhere.

The Phillies, for as good as their hitting is (and hasn’t been lately), have no pitching behind Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels, and no bullpen to speak of.

The Marlins live week-to-week on Josh Johnson’s starts and Dan Uggla’s surprisingly high batting average (a whopping .278).

The Mets are streaky, depending on where they play (18-9 at home, 6-15 on the road).

And the Nationals have been pretty bad statistically speaking, except for the fact they lead the NL in saves, proving they don’t blow leads.

There have certainly been a slew of factors as to why this division is so close (Marlins, Mets, and Nationals are all tied for third at 24-23), but perhaps it is because these teams will continue to beat each other up.


The Bottom Line

Sorry to fans of the NL East, but it appears to be a down year for the division as a whole. I have a hard time buying into streaky teams like the Phillies or Mets, or really young teams like Florida, Washington, and Atlanta.

With a lot of rising talent in the division (Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson, Stephen Strasburg, Ike Davis…), I like the NL East being strong a few years down the line, but I’m not seeing it in 2010.

One of these teams will win the division, and earn a 25 percent chance to represent the National League in the World Series. Until October rolls around, we’ll have to settle for streaky play, with the Fish, Phills, Mets, Nats, and Braves beating each other up.

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