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MLB Spring Training News And Notes: A Look Ahead To The Season

The sports betting community is focused on March Madness betting and the NHL trade deadline at this moment, but MLB spring training is getting started up and there is already a torrent of news and information about key players coming out of the different camps.

This will prove to be an interesting season for MLB, especially if the developments in spring training are any indication.


New York Yankees  

When George Steinbrenner owned the New York Yankees, he would say things to get the players’ attention. But when he insulted someone, it was usually his manager.

With son Hank Steinbrenner in charge, things are a bit different. Hank Steinbrenner blames the Yankees playoff loss in 2010 on too much celebrating over the 2009 World Series win. He said that players’ salaries are out of control and that players are more concerned with building mansions than winning games.

That is not exactly the way a team wants to start off spring training. Team captain Derek Jeter was asked about Steinbrenner’s comments and laughed them off. Jeter said that the team performed at its best in 2010, but came up short.

An open battle between the players and ownership can be a severe distraction to any team.


Boston Red Sox

At a time when there is contract uncertainty with big name players, such as CC Sabathia and Albert Pujols, the Boston Red Sox have seemed to avoid any of those spring training distractions.

When the topic of the contract for Red Sox star Adrian Gonzalez was brought up to team president Larry Lucchino on a local Boston radio show, Lucchino indicated that he was confident that Gonzalez would be part of Red Sox Nation for a very long time.

When asked about it in the Red Sox spring training facility, Gonzalez echoed that sentiment.


St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching ace Adam Wainwright reported to training camp on time, stepped into the bullpen to start warming up and promptly tore ligaments in his elbow that could end his season and threaten his career.

Wainwright was only three pitches into his first warm-up routine of spring training when the pain started and he had to leave the field.

Wainwright finished second to the Phillies’ Roy Halladay in NL Cy Young voting last season. He finished the year with a 20-11 record and a 2.42 ERA. The Cardinals are calling it a “significant injury” that could lead to a lot of time lost for Wainwright.

Without an ace on the rotation and with no more pitching aces available to be signed, the Cardinals are already behind the eight-ball before spring training even really gets started.

In other Cardinals news, Albert Pujols’ agent has finally publicly announced the number that the slugger is seeking from the Cardinals in order sign a contract extension.

Pujols wants a 10-year contract at an average of $30 million per year. Some general managers have indicated that the cost is way out of line and extremely bad for baseball.

One of the suggestions put forth by White Sox general manager Ken Williams was that if any team signs Pujols for that much money, then it may take shutting down MLB and reworking the league’s pay structure to save the game.

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A Look at the World Series Projections after the MLB All-Star Game

The sports betting surrounding the 2010 World Series is heating up, and along with getting ready for college football betting , the World Series is dominating the sports discussion in Las Vegas.

Preseason MLB predictions always get altered after the All-Star break.

Now that the Mid-Summer Classic is over it is time to take a look at who has positioned themselves to contend for the World Series, and who did not live up to expectations.

When you are betting on NFL games, you look for that edge a team has to help them beat the other team.

This season, the Philadelphia Phillies looked to have that edge with Ryan Howard at the plate and Roy Halladay on the mound. The Phillies started the season with +1000 odds to win the World Series, but their performance this season has dropped them to +1200. 

The Phillies are currently in third place in the NL East at seven games behind first place Atlanta. The Phillies have the pitching to win, but they simply lack the power at the plate to contend.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had high hopes for this season as well. After the season the team had last year, it was felt that the changes the team made were enough to put them in a position to win the NL West pennant.

The Dodgers started the season at +1200 odds to win the World Series, and they have stayed there. The Dodgers will probably not make the playoffs this season.

The biggest surprise in the AL is in the West with the Texas Rangers. The Angels were supposed to dominate the AL West, but the Rangers hold a five game lead over them.

With the Rangers adding Cliff Lee to the starting rotation, it is doubtful that the Rangers will give that lead up.

The Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds continue to be the talk of baseball.

The Braves are leading the NL East, and the Reds are in a dogfight with the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. The rest of the NL Central has fallen away leaving the Reds and the Cardinals to decide the pennant.

After the wild card rounds are done, it looks like there will be a New York Yankees-Texas Rangers AL Championship Series, and a St. Louis Cardinals-Atlanta Braves NL Championship Series. The MLB betting on either series will be interesting.

The Braves are a good baseball team, but they are a young team. While it is extremely probable that the Braves will make it to the NLCS, it is doubtful they will win it.

But that does not mean that the Braves should hang their heads. Atlanta will be playing playoff baseball for a while with the team they have, and they will have more than one shot at winning it all.

The Yankees became a little concerned the other night watching Paul Hughes take a line drive off the leg, and then watching Hughes get roughed up for a lopsided loss. But this is still the best team in baseball.

If the Rangers can keep Cliff Lee and add some hitting power to their roster, then they could replace the Red Sox as the Yankees’ nemesis for the next few years. But this won’t be the year.

A Yankees-Cardinals World Series would be interesting. The last time each of these teams played in a World Series, they won.

But they have not played each other in a World Series in a long time. The Cardinals have a great bullpen, but the Yankees have a better starting rotation.

Both teams can hit the ball, and both teams can score runs. But the Yankees are just too good to deny them the repeat.


Pick: New York Yankees in 6 games

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Listing the Triple Crown Candidates


NFL betting players don’t have to worry about crowning a Triple Crown winner, but in Major League Baseball, the Triple Crown is a big deal.  Here’s a look at five players who have the chance to write their names in baseball history.


Miguel Cabrera, Detroit

At the break, Cabrera leads the American League in RBI, he’s tied for first in average, and he’s tied for second in homers. Even by his high standards, Cabrera is on pace to set career highs across the board, which would put him in a very good position to be the first American League hitter since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown.


Josh Hamilton, Texas

Cabrera’s competition for the Triple Crown is Hamilton, who is actually tied with Cabrera in average. They’re both tied behind Toronto’s Jose Bautista in homers, and Hamilton is fourth in RBI.  However, he may be hurt by the fact that Vladimir Guerrero hits in front of him, and he’s second to Cabrera in RBI, which takes RBI away from Hamilton. NCAA football betting players would compare this to having two 1,000-yard rushers, which isn’t a bad problem to have, but it’s not good for Hamilton’s Triple Crown odds.


Josh Johnson, Florida

Johnson is going to have to get some help from his teammates in terms of wins, as he has just nine, but he is sixth in the National League in strikeouts and his 1.70 ERA is far and away the best in the entire major leagues. But playing in the tough East division with Atlanta, the Mets, and Philadelphia could throw a wrench in Johnson’s plans to catch up in wins. He’ll pitch well and hold up his end, but can the Marlins help him out?


Roy Halladay, Philadelphia

“Doc” has lived up to the hype in Philadelphia, and it’s not his fault that the Phillies’ MLB betting odds are falling.  Halladay is 10-7 with a 2.19 ERA (including a perfect game against Johnson and the Marlins), and he would have more if the Phillies gave him run support. Halladay is third in wins, fourth in ERA and tied for second in strikeouts, but he’s going to need a massive second half to beat the final player on the list to the Triple Crown.


Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado

Jimenez is trying to become the third National League pitcher this decade (Randy Johnson in 2002, Jake Peavy in 2007) to win the Triple Crown, and he has a no-hitter as well. Jimenez’s 15 wins leads the majors, he’s fifth in the league in ERA, and he’s ninth in strikeouts, which is the category that he needs the most work in, especially to catch the two-time defending strikeout and two-time defending Cy Young winner champ, Tim Lincecum, in San Francisco. But the way he’s pitching, I wouldn’t lay a bet against him. 

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All Star Snubs To Be Expected In 2010


With the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star game less than a month away, the voting is picking up tremendously during World Cup betting , and the anticipation for baseball’s star display is beginning to build. Fans, as well as sports betting enthusiasts, are hoping that their favorite players make the teams for their respective leagues, and have the opportunity to showcase their skills on All-Star weekend. However, despite the extension in roster size over the past few seasons, several stars will not make the trip to Anaheim, California for this year’s edition at Angel Stadium, as fan voting and name recognition play big roles in determining who makes the respective sides. Here is a quick look at some of the players that likely will miss out on the 2010 All-Star game despite perhaps deserving to be there.


Phil Hughes—SP—New York Yankees

Just one win behind David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League lead in wins with 10, Hughes has been solid in 14 appearances, suffering just one loss while striking out 81 over 88 innings.


Billy Wagner—RP—Atlanta Braves

While his 15 saves rank a pedestrian 19th in the league, the reason for Wagner not completing as many as his peers is simply due to the Braves not being in as many baseball betting situations where they need him to close out a tight game, rather than a lack of talent.


Miguel Olivo—C—Colorado Rockies

Olivo leads all National League catchers in RBI through the end of June with 34, while registering a .516 slug percentage through the first three months of the season, which is actually better than the likely baseball betting starter for the NL, Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves. While starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez will get about all the attention the league will put on the Rockies heading in to the All Star break, fans in Denver know their best hitter should be part of the NL team.


Kevin Youkilis—1B—Boston Red Sox

Youkilis is hitting over .300 and already has 15 home runs this season, a large part of the Boston Red Sox being within striking distance of the defending World Series champions for the MLB betting AL East division lead, but will play third fiddle to Justin Morneau and Mark Teixera.


Jose Bautista—OF—Toronto Blue Jays

Only three players in the majors have hit over 20 home runs, all of them in the American League, with Jose Bautista the lesser known name to Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers.


Matt Holliday—OF—St. Louis Cardinals

While teammate Albert Pujols leads the league in voting, Holliday has actually been the better player this season in the outfield, and his .302 batting average isn’t far behind, either.


Josh Willingham—OF—Washington Nationals

With Nationals’ rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg stealing the spotlight in Washington, it is very likely that Willingham will be overlooked when the NL team is selected. His .402 on-base percentage is third best among NL outfielders, while also ranking fourth in home runs and third in walks. His .276 batting average is solid as well, however it will still be a stretch for this unheralded young star to get the nod this season.

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Top Five Destinations for Cliff Lee


World Cup betting players don’t have to worry about a trade deadline, like most professional leagues around the world in all sports. In Major League Baseball, the big name that everyone is saying will be on the market is Seattle’s Cliff Lee, who was traded from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay deal. 

So, where could Lee end up, providing that Seattle doesn’t break out its chequebook?


The Red Sox are eighth in the American League in ERA and quality starts, and their starting pitchers have been hit by a combination of injuries and plain old poor pitching.

Josh Beckett has a 7.29 ERA and is struggling with a back injury.  Clay Buchholz is the best pitcher they have, but this is his first full season as a starter in the majors.  As far as need goes, the Red Sox may be the most desperate.

New York Yankees

A reunion with former Cleveland teammate C.C. Sabathia would be welcomed by Lee. Being on the Yankees would also give him a good chance at getting revenge on Philadelphia, as he claimed to be shocked to be part of the three-team deal that took Halladay from Toronto to Philly. 

Plus, the Yankees definitely have the money to sign Lee, whose contract is up after this year.  This would be like Brazil picking up a superstar in hopes of getting to the final World Cup contest of the tournament.

New York Mets

The Mets aren’t struggling for pitching right now, as they’re fifth in the National League in ERA. Atlanta is right behind them in sixth, and the Phillies are 10th , but they have the talent to get better. 

Adding Lee to the rotation would give the Mets a pair of southpaws that could rule the division as he would join Johan Santana in the Big Apple. They have the money, and again, there’s the revenge factor.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Like the Mets, the Dodgers are in a pitching-heavy division out West as San Diego (first), San Francisco (third) and Colorado (fourth) are all ahead of the ninth-place Dodgers in ERA.  Not to mention, they were depending on Chad Billingsley, who was shaky after last year’s second-half collapse, and who is now hurt. 

If you bet on MLB odds, you know that Lee, in all likelihood, would tear apart the National League West.


This is probably the least likely scenario, as the Mariners would want to trade Lee out of their division, but it’s not like the Mariners have any shot of catching the Rangers this season. 

The Rangers have improved their pitching dramatically since Nolan Ryan took over the team, and he’s an aggressive player who thinks a guy like Lee could make them a strong betting dark horse in the American League.  Don’t be surprised if this happens.


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Top Five MLB Surprises Heading into the Dog Days of Summer

If you’re going to bet on the World Cup , you have to keep your eyes open for surprises as you have only a month to watch. Fortunately, the MLB season is longer.

Over the first two months of the season, there have been a host of surprises on the diamond, and here is a list of the top five to raise eyebrows heading into June.


Jose Bautista, Toronto

Bautista had 13 homers in his first full year in Toronto last season (his career high is 16, set back in 2006 while with Pittsburgh).

Through 52 games, he has already equaled that, and he has locked down the right-field spot in the lineup.

It’s surprising that the Blue Jays are leading the majors in homers, but would you have bet that Bautista would lead the way (as well as in the majors)?  We don’t think so.


Ty Wigginton, Baltimore

Wigginton got into the lineup because of an injury to second baseman Brian Roberts, but the 32-year-old is making the most of his opportunity with 13 homers and 32 RBIs, along with a .288 average. 

Even when Roberts comes back, the Orioles are going to have to find a spot for Wigginton—their biggest power threat—and they need all the runs they can get.

Belmont Stakes betting players know all about riding a thoroughbred to the finish line, and that’s what the Orioles are looking to do with Wigginton. 


Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado

Jimenez has 27 wins over the last two seasons, but he’s been inconsistent. We don’t know if he’s going to keep up his current pace; however, to start the season Jimenez is 9-1 through his first 11 outings with a 0.88 ERA.

That’s right, a 0.88 ERA! 

He also threw a no-hitter down in Atlanta, and almost threw another against Houston recently. 

Jimenez is heading into the prime of his career, and he has to be the favorite to replace San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum as the Cy Young winner.


Corey Hart, Milwaukee

Who leads the Brewers in home runs, Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun?  If you bet on MLB odds and you said either, you’re wrong. It’s Hart, who has 13 dingers and 33 RBIs. 

He’s gotten hot recently with five homers in his last eight outings, and if Hart can continue this trend, that could open up more pitches for Braun and Fielder.


Jason Heyward, Atlanta

Some thought the Braves were rushing Heyward into the first team, but he went deep in his first MLB at-bat and it was on from there.

The 20-year-old prodigy has 10 homers and 38 RBIs with a .292 average—and he looks like he’s only getting more comfortable at the plate. 

The Rookie of the Year award should already have “Jason” inscribed on it, and he could be an online betting dark horse for MVP if the Braves make the playoffs. 

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