30 Teams in 30 Days – Colorado Rockies

Ahhh the 2007 Rockies’ season. Who would’ve thunk it? The no-names of the league went on a championship run. The team that no one gave a chance proved themselves to be champions of the NL. The Rockies had a more than abysmal 2011 however finishing 4th in the West with a meager 73 wins. Can the Rockies rebound in 2012? Will there be a repeat of 2007′s “Rocktober”? And can the Rockies make another Cinderella run? These are the questions that should be at the back of everyone’s minds as we look forward to the 2012 season.
2011 Season
Record: 73-89

Finish: 4th in NL West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jhoulys Chacin (Don’t worry I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this name either) 11-14, 3.62 ERA, 150 SO
Top Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki (Believe it or not but I can pronounce this name!) .302 AVG, 30 HR, 105 RBI
Manager: Jim Tracy
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jeremy Guthrie RHP, Casey Blake 3B, Chad Tracy 1B, Jamie Moyer LHP (How is he still alive, let alone playing professional baseball), Marco Scutaro SS, Michael Cuddyer RF, Ramon Hernandez C, Tyler Chatwood RHP
Important Offseason Losses: Huston Street SD, Chris Iannetta LAA, Mark Ellis LAD, Kevin Millwood SEA, JC Romero STL, Kevin Kouzmanoff KC, Ty Wigginton PHI, Ryan Spilborghs CLE, Clayton Mortenson BOS, Matt Lindstrom BAL

Now the 2012 Rockies are a new look team from 2011. But unfortunately this is not necessarily a good thing (nor is it a bad thing), along with gaining a ton through a front office gone wild, the Rockies also lost a lot. I would say all that they gained exactly equaled what they lost, which is surprising, usually a team improved from the season before or got worse. Now I won’t keep you guys for a while because we all know what article is up next aka the moment you’ve all been waiting for (I’ll give you a hint it rhymes with Ain’t Trouis Ardinals) but in all honesty I’m not sure how the Rockies will do in 2012. I mean one can assume that their record will be almost identical to lasts, but 2011 was disappointing for the Rockies so I doubt you’ll see them doing worse. They had some key acquisitions that added depth to both their hitting and pitching, but by the same token lost some depth to both their hitting and pitching. Knowing that there aren’t many Rockies fans out there (sorry to the few that exist!) I’m going to have to cut this article short so we can get to our grand finale. Rockies fans look forward to a… well unpredictable 2012. P.S. this might be the last year we see Todd Helton.. that would be a big loss to the league losing both Helton and Chipper.

Prediction
Record: 76-86

Finish: 4th in West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie 15-14, 4.01 ERA, 177 SO
Top Hitter: Todd Helton (just because it’s probably his last season) .289 AVG, 29 HR, 107 RBI
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-Simple Jack

30 Teams In 30 Days-Houston Astros

Soooooo Astros’ fans… How’s it going? Now I want you all to leave your dark pits of despair and look out at the sun. It’s a new day Astros’ fans, the sun is shinning, the birds are chirping and were less then a week away from the baseball season starting. This gives you all time to stock up on non perishable foods, so that you can survive another long year in your “despair pits”. Let’s recap on your abysmal season.
Houston Astros
Record: 56-106
Finish: Last NL Central
Playoffs: Let’s not taunt them
Top Hitter: Carlos Lee, 18 HR, 94 RBI, .275 AVG
Top Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 11-11, 3.49 ERA, 166 SO
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jed Lowrie, Jack Cust, Chris Snyder, Kyle Weiland
Important Offseason Losses: Mark Melancon, Clint Barmes 

The Astros had a terrible season last year and I mean terrible. To make matters worse, they hardly added anything during the offseason, granted they didn’t lose all that much either. The Astros will have a better record this season, but that really isn’t saying much. Looking into the Astros’ future they at least have the #1 pick in this coming draft. The Astros’ will be moving to AL West next year, which in a sense can be even more bad news for them. By going to the AL West their gonna have to play in the same division with the Rangers (whom have lost in the world series, two years in a row) and the Los Angeles Angels who recently acquired a certain first basemen named Albert Pujols, that same Pujols who hit 37 HRs and 99 RBI’s as well became the third player in MLB history to hit 3 HRs in a  single playoff game. Now enough about teams with future Hall of Famers and winning records. The Astros’ won’t make the playoffs and they won’t be good. They won’t even be decent, but there’s a solid chance they won’t the worst team this season. I mean there still is the Orioles. So Astros’ fans, as you prepare for your long alcohol and fast food induced coma, think of the finer things in your life, like how YOUR Houston Texans, whom made the playoffs for the first time in their horrid 9 year history. With that I bid you adieu and remember vegetables and fruits can be your friends.
Prediction
Record: 66-96 (Could be worse)
Finish: Last NL Central (The last time you can ever be last in the NL Central)
Playoffs: Maybe in 2017?
Top Hitter: Carlos Lee 22 HR, 97 RBI, .279 AVG
Top Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 13-11, 3.45 ERA, 173 SO
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-McFultz

30 Teams in 30 Days – Cincinnati Reds

After a great year in 2010, which landed the Reds their first NL Central title since 1995, the Reds disappointed a lot of people last year. Despite having 2010 NL MVP, Joey Votto (who just so happened to attend my high school back in his youth), they couldn’t even reach the .500 plateau. Let’s recap.
Cincinnati Reds
Record: 79-83
Finish: 3rd in NL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Johnny Cueto 9-5, 2.31 ERA, 104 SO
Top Hitter: .309 AVG, 29 HR, 103 RBI
Manager: Dusty Baker
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, Ron Mahay, Dioner Navarro, Ryan Madson, Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, Ryan Ludwick, Jeff Francis
Important Offseason Losses: Francisco Cordero TOR, Ramon Hernandez COL, Edgar Renteria FA, Dontrelle Willis, Edinison Volquez, Yonder Alonso SD,  Travis Wood CHC

There were high hopes for the Reds in 2011 after a great 2010, but with the amazing years the Brewers and the Cardinals put up, the Reds didn’t have a chance. Joey Votto (CANADIAN)! got some heat last year, which I didn’t quite understand, I know he had a drop-off from 2010, but he still hit over .300, he had 29 Jacks and over 100 RBI’s. The real problem lied in their pitching, they finished exactly 20th in the league in ERA, WHIP and SO. It was mostly their Starters, besides Cueto and Leake, their Starting Pitching was horrendous, I mean, just look at the stats, of their 5 pitchers with 13 starts or more (not including Leake and Cueto), their Starting Pitching finished with an ERA of 5.00 on the dot. That is unacceptable. They had a decent Bullpen and a decent offensive attack, but their Starting Pitching lost them a lot of ball games. The Reds certainly went after improving that in the offseason, with the addition of young stud, Mat Latos. The 24 year old right-hander has shown great promise, posting an ERA of 3.37 in his first 72 big league starts. They also added veteran lefty, Jeff Francis (also CANADIAN!), who once had great potential, being selected 9th overall in the 2002 Draft, but was never able to live up to expectations, posting a career 4.78 ERA as a starter, the Reds may try to use him in a relief role this year, seeing as he’s already made 3 relief appearances for them in the Spring. So, I believe their Starting 5 should be greatly improved this year, with the hope of continued success from Cueto, Leake and Latos, and then if they can get improved years from Bailey and Arroyo (who had two successful campaigns before struggling last year), they could even be considered a somewhat dangerous starting rotation at times. Their bullpen should be improved a bit with the additions of Marshall and Mahay, but with them parting ways with Cordero, they brought on Madson to take over the closer role, unfortunately it was just announced that he will miss the whole year due to Tommy John surgery, so they’re going to have trouble finding saves from time to time, having established closer. Their offense has lost a little fire power in Alonso, Hernandez and Renteria, but it should still be a very dangerous offensive group. Ultimately I think the Reds will fall short of the Cardinals and the Brewers once again (despite their losses of Prince and Pujols). I just don’t see this team being able to compete with them. However, they are still young (28.0 yr old average) and I believe that they’ll be a threat in this division for years to come.

Prediction
Record: 82-80
Finish: 3rd in NL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Mat Latos 14-9, 3.06 ERA, 197 SO
Top Hitter: Joey Votto .311 AVG, 31 HR, 108 RBI
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-Vernon Smells

30 Teams in 30 Days – San Fransisco Giants

All that needs to be said about the 2012 San Fransisco Giants is that the 2010 World Series Champs will be back with a vengeance, and ready for another title run! Here is there 2011 season review:
Record: 86- 76
Finish: 2nd NL West
Playoffs: None
Best Hitter: Pablo Sandoval, .315 AVG, 23 HR, 70 RBI
Best Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, 13- 14, 2.74 ERA, 220 SO
Manager: Bruce Bochy
Important Offseason Aquisitions: Melky Cabrera, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Ryan Theriot, Angel Pagan, Guillermo Mota
Important Offseason Losses: Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross, Jeff Keppinger, Orlando Cabrera, Pat Burrell

The 2012 season should be truly exciting for the San Fransisco Giants and their fans alike. The team had a down year last year due to an anemic offense, that scored the near worst amount of runs in the league. This year, things are looking quite a bit brighter in the bay, due to the return of a familiar face as well as some new ones. Back from injury this season will be rookie superstar catcher Buster Posey. In his rookie season Posey hit 18 home runs, and 67 RBI with a .305 clip. New to the club this year are outfielders Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera. Last season with the Mets, Pagan hit only 7 home runs, and 56 RBI while batting .262. This may seem disapointing, however, the outfielder is only one season removed from an 11 home run season,   to go along with 69 RBI and a .290 clip. That type of production could be very useful in the Giants lineup. Cabrera on the other hand, had a career season with Royals last year. He hit 18 HR, and 87 RBI while batting and impressive .305. These two additions, along with the return of Posey will surely help an offense that relied on the departed Carlos Beltran and third-baseman Pablo Sandoval. Sandoval is the Giants best hitter and was quite literally their only consistant source of offense. With an improving offensive core, the Giants boast one of the best pitching groups in the league. Led by all-star Matt Cain, the Giants rotation is in the leagues top 5 along with Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Washington and the LA Angels. Following Cain is two time CY-Young award winner Tim Lincecum, who never fails to pitch a jem. All-star Ryan Vogelsong comes next, followed by Madison Bumgarner. If the starting 5 isn’t tantilizing enough, the Giants bring out Sergio Romo (one of the best relief pitchers in the league) in the eighth, followed by “the beard” Brian Wilson. With arguably, the best complete pitching staff and an improved offense, the sky is the limit for the 2012 San Fransisco Giants, and if all goes correctly, the bay area could see the return of an all to familiar trophy.

Predictions:
Record: 93-67
Finish: 1st NL West
Playoffs: World Series
Best Hitter: Pablo Sandoval, 27 HR, 86 RBI, .312 AVG
Best Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, 18-6, 2.68 ERA, 240 SO
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-Zookeeper

 

 

30 Teams in 30 Days – Atlanta Braves

Atlanta completely collapsed in September last year, losing their Wild Card spot to the Cardinals on the final day of the season. Luckily for them, it was completely overshadowed by the Red Sox collapse. You start to wonder, who would have won the World Series if Hotlanta had of been able to play just average in September, and were able to cruise their way to a playoff spot? Let’s see how they looked overall last year.
Atlanta Braves
Record: 89-73
Finish: 2nd in NL East
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Jair Jurrjens 13-6, 2.96 ERA, 90 SO
Top Hitter: Brian McCann .270 AVG, 24 HR, 71 RBI
Manger: Not Bobby Cox (Fredi Gonzalez)
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Adam Russell, Josh Wilson, Robert Fish (he’s not really important, I just enjoy his name),
Imortant Offseason Losses: Derek Lowe CLE, Nate McLouth PIT, Alex Gonzalez MIL, Scott Linebrink STL, George Sherrill SEA

On August 28th, 2011, the Atlanta Braves led the Cardinals in the Wild Card race by 10 games. I want to put this in perspective here, the Braves were just 6 games back of the Phillies at this time, the Tigers were only 6.5 games ahead of the Indians, and the Giants only trailed the D’Backs by 3 games, at that time, it would have made more sense  for one of those teams (Braves, Indians, Giants) to have have caught their division leaders  
instead of the Cardinals catching the Braves. Apart from September, the Braves had a terrific season, despite struggling offensively from time to time, their pitching more than made up for it, finishing top 4 in the league in ERA(3.48), WHIP(1.25), SO(1332), Opponent’s Average(.240), Home Runs allowed(125), Runs allowed(605) and Saves(52). They also did a great job defensively, finishing 4th in the league in Fielding Percentage(.987). Unfortunately, they struggled offensively, finishing in the bottom 8 of the league in AVG(.243), R(641), RBI(606) and SB(77), they do have some pop in their bats as they hit 173 Home Runs, but they will need to improve their offense this season. The Braves have some AMAZING young talent, for whatever reason, I find a lot of people thinking the Braves have an old team, this may be because of Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson, but they’re the 6th youngest team in the league. Examples:
Freddie Freeman 1B
Age: 22
Rookie Season: 2011
2011 Stats: 157 G, .282 AVG, 21 HR, 76 RBI
Brandon Beachy RHP
Age: 25
Rookie Season: 2011
2011 Stats: 25 GS, 7-3, 3.68 ERA, 169 SO
Craig Kimbrel
Age: 23
Rookie Season: 2011
2011 Stats: 79 G, 77 IP, 46 SV, 2.10 ERA, 127 SO
Eric O’Flaherty
Age: 26
Rookie Season: 2007
2011 Stats: 78 G, 73.2 IP, 0.98 ERA, 67 SO
Jason Heyward
Age: 22
Rookie Season: 2010
2011 Stats: 128 G, .227 AVG, 14 HR, 42 RBI
Jair Jurrjens
Age: 26
Rookie Season: 2008
2011 Stas: 23 GS, 13-6, 2.96 ERA, 90 SO
Tommy Hanson
Age: 25
Rookie Season: 2009
2011 Stas: 22 GS, 11-7, 3.60 ERA, 142 SO

It’s pretty clear that the Braves have tons of young talent on their team, and even some of their established players like Brian McCann and Miguel Prado are still fairly young, as their each only 28 years old, and their star reliever Jonny Venters just turned 27 yesterday. The team didn’t make many moves in the Offseason, nor should they have. If Uggla (who hit .296 and 21 of his 36 HR post All-Star break last year) and Heyward have bounce back years, and the rest of their players can keep up what they did last year (not including September), this team should have no problem nailing one of the two Wild Card spots, even with the improved Marlins. I even have them winninng the World Series, but I’m kinda crazy. Their bullpen might be a bit worse (but still amazing), but their offense will improve and their Starting pitching should be just as good, and having Bourn for the entire year should help them tremendously on the base paths. I expect good things from the Braves this year, but there’s still one question left to be asked, would the Braves have collapsed if they still had Bobby Cox as their bench boss? Too many what ifs, let’s just see how they play this year.

Prediction
Record: 92-70
Finish: 2nd in NL East
Playoffs: World Series Win (I have this strange gut feeling about the Braves this year, I don’t know why)
Top Pitcher: Brandon Beachy 17-8 3.16 ERA, 204 SO
Top Hitter: Dan Uggla .284 AVG, 36 HR, 108 RBI
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-Vernon Smells

 

 

 

30 Teams in 30 Days – Chicago Cubs

The one major question that’s been lurking on everyone’s minds since 1908, how long will it take this God-forsaken team to win another World Series? I mean for Pete’s sake it’s been 104 years since the North side has last wrapped up a world championship. In 1908, the laughing stocks of the league were the Boston Doves, the New York Highlanders, and the Brooklyn Superbas.. I mean come on the Yankees weren’t even an MLB team yet, and since then the Yanks have won 27 championships! Well after an abysmal 2011, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Cubs will have to wait another 104 years until their next championship. (That’s just hilarious! A 208 year winless streak! America is barely 208 years old.) Well let’s see how ‘dem Northsiders stocked up during their 2011 campaign.
Chicago Cubs
Record: 71-91 I mean that was even worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates (see below)
Finish: 5th in the NL Central
Manager: Dale Sveum (Nope it’s no longer that old dude! I loved that guy..)
Top Pitcher: Matt Garza 10-10, 3.32 ERA, 197 SO
Top Hitter: Aramis Ramirez .361 AVG, 26 HR, 93 RBI
Important Offseason Acquisitions: David DeJesus RF
Important Offseason Losses: Aramis Ramirez MIL, Carlos Zambrano MIA, Carlos Pena  TB

I’m not going to go very in depth about the Cubs in this article, I neither think they will make the playoffs let alone have a, in any aspect, successful 2012 campaign, nor do I believe they have a bright future in store for them. Sorry about that Cub’s fans, I’ve made fun of your team enough already. Aramis Ramirez had an exceptional 2012, he is an exceptional player, batting a career high .361. However, Aramis left the team in the offseason (I don’t blame him) to join the division rival Brewers. Along with Ramirez, the Cubbies also lost their haughty and often controversial long-time starting pitcher, Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins. Along with Ramirez and Zambrano, the Cubs lost another one of their top players in slugger Carlos Pena, who posted a solid 2011 campaign. The Cubs starting 8: Alfonso Soriano LF, Marlon Byrd CF, David DeJesus RF, Ian Stewart 3B, Starlin Castro SS (this kid actually has some potential), Darwin Barney 2B, Bryan LaHair 1B, and Geovany Soto C, sounds decent on paper, however most of these players have not performed up to par recently or are past their prime (Soriano). Their starting rotation doesn’t get that much better. I mean they do have names like Ryan Dempster (Canadian), Matt Garza, and Paul Maholm, but again these guys look good on paper, but their performance, and their team’s performance has not lived up to expectations recently. And with the Cubs LOSING tremendous depth in both their lineup and starting rotation I would not want to be a Cubs fan in 2012.

Prediction
Record: 68-94
Finish: 4th in NL Central
Top Pitcher: Ryan Dempster (Canadian) 12-14, 3.86 ERA, 173 SO
Top Hitter: Starlin Castro, 0.328, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 38 SB
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-Simple Jack

30 Teams In 30-Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers had a pretty solid season last year. Their starting pitcher won the NL pitching triple crown and their star batter won the NL MVP award. Now there is one certain problem, they don’t have an owner and are ran by the MLB, sooooo they could become the New Orleans Hornets of the MLB.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 82-79
Finish: 82-79
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (NL Pitching Triple Crown) 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 SO
Top Hitter: Matt Kemp (NL MVP) .324 AVG, 39 HR, 129 RBI
Manager: Don Mattingly
Important Acquisitions: Adam Kennedy, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Jerry Hairston. Jr
Important Losses: Casey Blake, John Garland, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamie Hoffmann

I have reason to believe the Dodgers are going to be a contender throughout the whole season. Their biggest loss would be relief pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (who had the longest tenure for the Dodgers). The Dodgers just 3 years ago, made it to the playoffs and can still be in contention. With Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, they are surely to give any team a run for their money. Now to clinch the NL West they will have to beat the reigning division title winner, Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants. I do think they could do this, there’s no reason to believe that Kemp and Kershaw won’t be able to produce. An interesting backstory is the fact that the Dodgers don’t have an owner. The team is currently owned by the league, so there is some fear of uncertainty. They could implode and become the NO Hornets of the MLB. People interested in purchasing the team consist of Magic Johnson and Mark Cuban

Prediction
Record: 90-72
Finish: First NL West
Playoffs: Eliminated in NLDS
Top Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw 19-7, 2.40 ERA, 248 SO
Top Hitter: Matt Kemp, .314 AVG, 32 HR, 120 RBI
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-McFultz