web analytics
May 6, 2015 / 17 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


2014 Preview

Baseball-Insider

What a great time of year.

The snow has melted in most parts of the country and here in Florida, where I have my winter dugout in the Orthodox enclave of Century Village in West Palm Beach, I had the opportunity to take in several spring training games.

Most of the games I see are in nearby Jupiter, spring training headquarters of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. I also went a bit farther north up the coast to Port St. Lucie where the Mets train and made the three-hour trip west to Tampa to see the New York Yankees.

One of my personal highlights was being recognized via the photo on top of this column by a nice fortyish couple from Passaic, New Jersey. Wish I’d had more time to talk to them, but we were heading in different directions.

Anyway, after watching more than my share of innings, I feel I can make this observation: Don’t put any stock in what your favorite team does record-wise in spring training.

Remember this: Last year the Seattle Mariners compiled a 22-11 record in the Arizona Cactus League but once the regular season started they quickly went south in the standings, finishing 2013 with 91 losses and only 71 wins.

This year, of course, the Mariners plugged Robinson Cano into their weak-hitting lineup. The former Yankees second baseman batted .314 with 27 home runs and 107 runs batted in. Even with the added firepower, the Mariners should lose more games than they’ll win.

Many big-name players have changed uniforms via free agency and trades. Jacoby Ellsbury left Boston for a skyscraper-high pile of money to sign with the Yankees. Also taking the free agent route to the Bronx were outfielder Carlos Beltran, catcher Brian McCann and Japanese pitching superstar Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka last year won an eye-popping 24 games while losing none and recorded a dazzling 1.27 earned run average. But that was in Japan; on this side of the ocean the major league players are bigger and better. My prediction? Tanaka will win 14, lose nine, and post an ERA around 3.70.

While the new Yankees will bear watching, so will the Mets as they signed former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon, who turns 41 in May but is better than most pitchers 15 years younger. The Mets also have hot pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, a 6-6, 240-pounder who can throw 100 miles per hour and has star potential. The big question is when he’ll be ready to star.

Texas should be interesting to watch as the Rangers added slugging first baseman Prince Fielder and signed free agent Shin-Soo Choo.

Besides the established stars who find themselves in new surroundings, there will be interesting rookies to watch. Outfielder Byron Buxton and shortstop Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins are two of baseball’s brightest prospects and should make the majors sometime this season. Houston has shortstop Carlos Correa and outfielder George Springer, both expected to be impact players. Springer is a potential Mike Trout kind of player who can hit for average and power and steal bases.

The California teams have two outfielders with at least one Jewish parent who are potential stars. Joc Pederson (Dodgers) and Zach Borenstein (Angels) are sluggers who hit for average in the low minors and could reach the majors by next season.

Two rookies, infielder Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) and third baseman Nick Castsellanos (Tigers) are expected to battle it out for Rookie of the Year honors in the American League.

Having Castellanos allowed the Tigers to trade Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The trade moved Miguel Cabrera back to first base and gave the Tigers improved defense at second base.

With a rising star at third and a defensive whiz at shortstop in Jose Iglesias backing up one of baseball’s best pitching staffs, the Tigers are my pick to top the American League Central Division.

The Texas Rangers should run away with the American League West and the Boston Red Sox will edge out Tampa Bay and New York in the tough American League East. Boston gets my nod because of its Japanese import closer Koji Uehara, who last year only allowed 33 hits and struck out a whopping 101 in 74.1 innings.

Oakland and Tampa Bay will be the American League Wild Card teams, but Detroit should top all opponents in the playoffs to represent the league in the World Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals will again top the National League Central as they keep bringing young impact players to the majors through their farm system. The Washington Nationals will top Atlanta for the Eastern Division title and the Los Angeles Dodgers will have an easy romp to the top in the West.

The National League wild card teams will be the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates but they’ll be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, leaving the Dodgers and Cardinals. I’m picking the Dodgers to go all the way and defeat the Tigers in a hard-fought seven game World Series.

But if you remember, I picked the Dodgers and Tigers last year and they never made it past the first round of the playoffs. What are your predictions?

About the Author: Author, columnist, and lecturer Irwin Cohen headed a national baseball publication for five years and worked in a front office position for a major league team, becoming the first Orthodox Jew to earn a World Series ring. He can be reached in his dugout at irdav@sbcglobal.net.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “2014 Preview”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Presidents
A Tale of Two Societies: When a President’s Hero is a Terrorist
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-View-From-Window-logo

Eretz Yisrael is Eretz HaChayim – the Land of Life.

Shomron-050115-Sarita-and-Dror

After camping out in tents for a year, the Maoz family needed some time out.

Safar-050115-Califlower

Cauliflower is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with – it blends so easily into whatever dish I am preparing.

Eller-050115-Fruit

For all their deliciousness, frozen beverages do not stand the test of time well, as any ice or frozen fruit thickening your drink will melt into a watery mess.

“DouxMatok’s technology will allow for a reduction of 30-60 percent of sugar in a product, depending on the application, and with no effect on taste.”

How do we ensure that our students aren’t studying for the grade or the end-of-the-year pizza party? How can we get them to truly want to learn for learning’s sake?

The message being conveyed is that without “flour,” without the means to support oneself and one’s family, one’s focus on Torah will be impeded by worry.

Someone close to us knew that you were good at saving marriages and begged us to give therapy one last chance,

Rabbi Pinni Dunner and Holocaust survivor Heddy Orden.

He wrote a strong defense of shechitah in which he maintained that the Jewish method of slaughter had a humanitarian influence on the Jewish people.

New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be the keynote speaker at the Westchester Government Relations Legislative Breakfast on Friday, May 8, at 7:45 am at the Jewish Community Center of Harrison.  The annual event, which brings together important elected officials and the Westchester Jewish community, is sponsored jointly by UJA-Federation of New York […]

“Like other collaborative members, we embarked on this journey as an opportunity to build on New York leadership’s long commitment to expand and diversify opportunities for Jewish teen engagement,” says Melanie Schneider, senior planning executive with UJA-Federation of New York’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal

More Articles from Irwin Cohen
Baseball-logo-NEW

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

Baseball-logo-NEW

The big news this spring is that the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will be leaving their old spring homes north of Port St. Lucie and moving south to a beautiful new complex scheduled to open in two years in West Palm Beach.

A famous face from that first ’52 Topps set was Alvin Dark, who died in his South Carolina home recently at 92.

As the years flew by, one thing remained constant in Sid’s life – the New York Yankees.

During 1939, anti-Semitic groups such as Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund held rallies in New York and other major cities across the country.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

Many former baseball players who left us with happy memories also passed away in the past year.

“No kid is worth a million dollars to sign,” Newhouser said, “but if one kid is, it’s this kid.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/sports/baseball-insider/2014-preview/2014/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: