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liny195
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Pick a favorite! Just about anyone could find themselves on top of a wide-open division in 2019."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Detroit Tigers AnalysisDetroit Tigers Prospect NotebookDetroit Tigers Game ThreadsDetroit Tigers NewsDetroit Tigers PodcastsDetroit Tigers Season PreviewNL Central preview: Behold http://www.astrosfanproshop.com/authentic-justin-verlander-jersey , the most exciting division in baseballNew,1commentPick a favorite! Just about anyone could find themselves on top of a wide-open division in 2019.ESTShareTweetShareShareNL Central preview: Behold, the most exciting division in baseballSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsLast winter, the Milwaukee Brewers made headlines when they traded a bevy of prospects for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. The promising outfielder was coming off a great season, but had not quite unlocked his considerable offensive potential. They also added free agent Lorenzo Cain, paying a premium when few others were spending serious (if any) money. The Brewers went on to win 102 games 96 in the regular season and six more in the playoffs, just five shy of a title proving to the baseball world that yes, its generally a good idea to try to make your team better. The rest of the division dint quite match Milwaukees arms race, but still saw four teams finish above .500.This year, the division projects to be just as exciting. FanGraphs projections have all five teams within 10 games of one another, while Baseball Prospectus margin is even smaller. Neither publication has the same team finishing in either first or last, and one team (spoiler: its the Cubs) is projected to finish in first and last! There are legitimate heres how we finish first scenarios for all five clubs, giving each fanbase a healthy dose of hope for the season to come.Basically, its a bundle of chaos. The NL Central might not house the best team in baseball, but it will almost certainly be MLBs most exciting division in 2019.Chicago CubsProjected record: 88-74Key additions: RHP Brad Brach, IF Daniel Descalso, RHP Kendall GravemanKey subtractions: 2B Daniel Murphy, IF Tommy La Stella, RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Justin WilsonNormally, statistical projections are not as reactionary as actual fans. For teams coming off a particularly good or bad season, projections normally provide a good indication of where that teams true talent level lies.But for the life of me, I cant figure out why PECOTA has the Cubs projected at just 79 wins. FanGraphs has them nine wins higher, and at the top of the division, not the bottom. The differences between the two sites make sense, though, and highlight a lot of the questions surrounding this Cubs roster as we head into 2019. Will Willson Contreras awful framing numbers sink the pitching staff? Can Kris Bryant rebound after a down 2017 season? Is there a legitimate ace in the starting rotation?These questions might not matter as much if the Cubs played in another division. Bryant is still projected to be a four-win player at worst, and the starting rotation has five guys capable of putting up Cy Young numbers only Jose Quintana is without a top-five finish in his career. They also have Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber Tyler Clippard Jersey , and MVP runner-up Javier Baez in their everyday lineup, along with a deep supporting cast. The bullpen could ultimately cost them a few important games, especially if probable closer Brandon Morrow suffers another setback, but expect the Cubs to be in the thick of the division race (if not ahead of it) all year long.St. Louis CardinalsProjected record: 85-77Key additions: 1B Paul Goldschmidt, LHP Andrew MillerKey subtractions: 1B Matt Adams, RHP Bud Norris, RHP Luke Weaver, C Carson KellyHow successful have the Cardinals been over the past 20 years? The 2018 season marked the first time the Cardinals have missed the playoffs for three seasons in a row since 1999. They have yet to finish below .500 in this stretch, mind you, and are projected for another winning season their 12th in a row, if it happens in 2019. But their fans are still frustrated because of the organizations refusal to fully push all in on their team, despite the clubs seemingly endless window of contention.The Cardinals pushed some of their chips in earlier this offseason when they acquired Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but stopped short of making a big play for Bryce Harper. Still, acquiring Goldschmidt was a bigger risk than weve seen out of the Cardinals front office recently, though this wouldnt be the first time they acquired a big-time slugger on an expiring contract before re-signing him later on (were assuming this is their goal with Goldschmidt).But thats a discussion for next winter. Right now, the Cardinals are deeper and more talented than they were last season, when they won 41 of their final 69 games under then-interim manager Mike Shildt. They have four starting caliber outfielders and five legitimate infielders, not to mention a rotation deep enough to weather Carlos Martinezs latest injury setback though another casualty or two might spell trouble. Theres not a terrible amount of upside here, outside of flamethrowing righthander Alex Reyes, but the Cardinals always seem to pull a promising rookie or two out of nowhere.Plus, were a few years overdue for some #CardinalsDevilMagic. Maybe it will return in 2019.Milwaukee BrewersProjected record: 83-79Key additions: LHP Alex Claudio, OF Ben Gamel, C Yasmani Grandal, IF Cory SpangenbergKey subtractions: OF Domingo Santana, LHP Gio Gonzalez, LHP Wade Miley, 2B Jonathan SchoopThe Brewers were the darlings of baseball last winter when they aggressively pursued upgrades for their roster. That boldness was rewarded with the National Leagues best record and an NLCS berth, but didnt pay off in the Hollywood ending many hoped to see. The Brew Crew fell victim to Walker Buehler and the Dodgers in that pivotal Game 7, giving us the dullest World Series weve seen in years.How did they respond? By shoring up one of their biggest weaknesses http://www.astrosfanproshop.com/authentic-justin-verlander-jersey , and further improving one of their strengths. Manny Pina was a decent catcher last year, but the Brewers finished 20th in baseball with just 1.1 fWAR received from their catchers. Enter Yasmani Grandal, a top-five backstop in the game on a bargain of a deal. Paying catchers into their 30s is a risky proposition especially when you dont have the DH to fall back on but one almost wonders if the Brewers wont regret tacking on another year or two to Grandals contract if he has a big year in Milwaukee (given how left-handed power plays in Miller Park, Id bet the over).On the pitching side, the Brewers are once again going for quantity over quality. Sure, Josh Hader and many of their relievers are top-flight options, but the rotation is mainly just a bunch of guys. Thats not a bad thing, though; Milwaukee seems to be betting on the idea that having 10 just guys is a better recipe for success over a 162-game schedule than relying on (and paying for) a couple of ace types. One could argue it worked against them in last years postseason Buehler seems destined for ace-dom, and we Tigers fans know what a stud pitcher or two can do in a short playoff series but their first order of business will be outlasting the other four teams in their division.They might have to ward off some regression from Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to do it, though.Cincinnati RedsProjected record: 81-81Key additions: OF Yasiel Puig, RHP Sonny Gray, RHP Tanner Roark, OF Matt Kemp, IF Derek DietrichKey subtractions: OF Billy Hamilton, RHP Matt Harvey, IF Dilson Herrera, RHP Homer BaileyThe Reds are this offseasons Why not us? team, and Im all for it. Sure, Im biased the idea of putting Yasiel Puig and Joey Votto on the same field has all of Baseball Twitter giddy but the Reds made a lot of improvements this offseason without sacrificing much (if any) of their future. Puig, Matt Kemp, Tanner Roark, and Alex Wood are all on one-year deals, and Sonny Gray is signed to a very affordable extension.One could argue whether the upgrades to their starting rotation will be enough both Gray and Roark are coming off fairly mediocre seasons but the offense should be fine. Joey Votto is still Joey Votto, and Scooter Gennett is living proof of what happens when you wind a baseball too tight. Theres also Eugenio Suarez, who I was really hoping to avoid mentioning in this preview, as well as young talent like Jose Peraza, Jesse Winker, and Nick Senzel. If they can squeeze a bit more out of Tucker Barnhart, this could be one of the more lethal lineups in the National League.But unless all of these good things come together a bounce-back season from Luis Castillo might also be necessary the Reds will probably come up short of the postseason.Pittsburgh PiratesProjected record: 78-84Key additions: OF Lonnie Chisenhall Yuli Gurriel Jersey , RHP Jordan LylesKey subtractions: SS Jordy Mercer, 2B Josh Harrison, OF Jordan LuplowThe Pirates had a very weird 2018. They started it off by trading Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, a pair of franchise cornerstones that (mostly) thrived upon leaving Pittsburgh. McCutchen saw his power dip to its lowest level (per ISO) since 2010, but he still managed a respectable 2.6 fWAR in 155 games. Meanwhile, Cole had the best season of his career, managing 6.2 fWAR with a 2.88 ERA in 200 1鈦? innings.Had the Pirates taken the prospects they received in those trades and went on their way, no one would have batted an eye. Instead, they made a puzzling midseason trade for Chris Archer, shipping prized prospects Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows to Tampa Bay. Archer upped his strikeout rate after arriving, but the Bucs floundered; a 10-17 record in August moved them from six games back on July 31 (the date of the Archer trade) to 14 1鈦? games behind by September 1.Then the offseason happened, and the Pirates did nothing. Most of this can be laid at the feet of owner Bob Nutting, who says that the teams payroll is not controllable despite being the guy in control of the payroll. They picked up... Jordan Lyles, I guess, which basically makes them the team reading Cliff Notes the night before the final paper is due. This would have been an acceptable plan had the Bucs decided to build around a strong group of prospects you know, guys like Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows but instead they are hoping a bevy of minor league signings (including the somehow still effective Melky Cabrera) pan out in a big way. BOSTON David Price is less than two weeks away from his latest attempt at shedding his career albatross.Price, the Boston Red Soxs likely Game 2 starter in the American League Division Series against either the New York Yankees or Oakland As, is 2-8 lifetime in the postseason. But both of those wins have come in relief, where the left-hander has done some dynamic work over the years.There has been talk all from the outside of Price again working out of the pen, but he appears to be on track to start that second game at Fenway Park Oct. 6.Article continues below ...First, a couple of tune-ups, with Price facing the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a four-game series at Fenway Tuesday night.Monday night, the Red Sox recorded their team-record 106th win and locked up homefield advantage throughout the postseason with a 6-2 win over Baltimore.His last time out, Price, who has more trouble pitching in Yankee Stadium than he does anywhere else, suffered his first loss since the All-Star break, allowing three homers in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees.That dropped Price to 5-1 since the break.I didnt make as good of pitches, especially later on in the count, Price said that night. I left some balls up and they did what youre supposed to do with those pitches. Anytime you give up a home run its frustrating Jake Marisnick Jersey , but everybody is playing in the same park. Its not like the fences move back when they hit or move forward when they hit. So its part of it.Price, 15-7 with a 3.53 ERA overall on the season, is 2-0 against the Orioles this season two earned runs, 18 strikeouts in 15 innings and 14-5 with a 2.67 ERA in 27 career starts against the Birds.Nathan Eovaldi, in line to start Game 4 of the ALDS for Boston, was the winner Monday, saying, I definitely feel like were the team to beat.As far as the club breaking a record that was set in 1912, manager Alex Cora said, Its unreal. You think about the history of the game and the history of this franchise. To be part of this, I cant even explain it. Obviously its something where we should call timeout and enjoy this one.The Orioles named Jimmy Yacabonis as their Tuesday starter after Monday nights loss was their 111th, which ties the 1939 St. Louis Browns for the most in franchise history. Sean Gilmartin was another candidate, but he worked four innings in relief Monday night after Dylan Bundy only pitched three innings.Adam Jones, who refused a deal that could have sent him to a contender at the trade deadline, electing to play out his contract with the Orioles, was in left field Monday night his first time at the position since Sept. 30, 2007. He was a Seattle Mariner at the time.Afterward, the veteran said, Its coming to an end here. The season ends. My contract ends. Im an optimistic person. You never know what could happen. You always got to keep your options open.All-day rain is predicted in Boston Tuesday, with a split double-header set for Wednesday if there is a rainout.Yefry Ramirez, in line to start Wednesdays finale, wont make that appearance because of a cut on his hand. The Orioles are hoping to see him pitch before Sundays season finale.The current Orioles dont have great numbers against Price. Tim Beckham is 2-for-14 (.143), Jonathan Villar 2-for-12 (.167), Trey Mancini 3-for-13 (.231) and Jones 17-for-72 (.236). Chris Davis is hitting .256 (11-for-43) and has two homers but also has 20 strikeouts against Price.The Red Sox are 15-2 against the Orioles this season.
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