Thursday, April 16, 2015

Custom Card of the Nighy: Chutley Edition


Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. This season, I'm experiencing the Yankees without Derek Jeter. But, for as far back as I can remember, I can barely recall a Philadelphia Phillies team without Chase Utley. I mean, Polanco was juuuust finishing up at 2nd when I got into baseball. So...still.

Chase Utley has had one or two injury-plagued seasons, but every other year he's been wonderful, and is still getting All Star nods, even as he rounds the last leg of his career. I'm really glad that he's stuck around, because Ryan Howard is not the star he was, and Jimmy Rollins is in LA now, so at least Utley can still be the ever-present star player that he was.

It's a little tougher this season, because this is a depleted Phillies squad, employing former household names like Grady Sizemore and Jeff Francouer, and relying on only a few bats. It's not looking like a clinch is gonna happen this season, but on the plus side there are individual performances to look forward to, like Ben Revere, Cole Hamels, and yeah, even Chase Utley.

Even though people won't be watching Phillies games for the promise, maybe they'll watch it for Chase Utley.

Coming Tomorrow- This guy was a former #1 pick who everyone thought was a bust...until he finally made his way up the system...this year.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Custom Card of the Day: Santana Edition


First of all, I know that's not necessarily the right position. I know he plays third, but for the sake of this custom, he's a first baseman.

i've always had a lot of respect for the Indians, even though the last few years the team's been a little inconsistent. I feel like adding players like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn wasn't the greatest idea, because their homegrown (or...home-traded) players have really become great. I know that Brantley and Santana were netted in trades, but they're still significant pieces.

Carlos Santana has become one of the more powerful hitters on the team, right after switching from catcher to first baseman. I think the move may have helped him, because it paved the way for someone like Yan Gomes to fill (and get injured), so that Santana could spend more time hitting. This is why Victor Martinez, the last really good catcher to play for the Indians, is a DH now- he wanted to hone his batting skills rather than his defense.

I don't know if the Indians are going to be too great this year, because the Royals and Tigers look like they're gonna dominate. But I think Santana will at least get some good hits in.

Coming Tomorrow- When you're shortstop leaves for LA, and your first baseman...stops being awesome...it's nice to know your second baseman is still one of the best in baseball.

Custom Card of the Day: Panik Edition


(See what you can do with atmosphere if you just tilt the shot sideways a tad?)

Marco Scutaro came to the Giants a journeyman, a backup, a utility guy with no real purpose or settlement. He ended up staying for a two and a half seasons, being relied upon as a veteran and as an expert. Unfortunately, by the time 2014 rolled around, he'd had injuries and wasn't as reliable as he was when he joined the team. So, sadly, Scutaro was released before the season.

And he was released because the Giants did not panic, and got a backup. An appropriately named backup, named Joe Panik.

In his rookie season, Panik made a case for a permanent starter-ship in San Francisco, by having a great defensive season, getting in a lot of hits, and getting himself a lot of fans. By the end of the season, the fans didn't especially miss Scutaro, and they really enjoyed what Panik was giving to the game.

Panik does have a lot of pressure to succeed, especially considering that history has proven the Giants don't do especially well in odd-numbered years. I imagine he's gonna stay relevant, if he stays healthy. Him, Crawford and Belt are a great combo, and McGehee is warming up, I think.

Coming Tonight (?)- You know, a funny thing happens when all of the huge bats on your team leave or get injured...the responsibility falls on you. So, you can just move to third base to take less time on defense, and start mashing the hell out of the ball.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Custom Card of the Day: Altuve Edition


When the Astros swapped over the AL a few years ago, they had basically nothing. Their only good pitcher would be in Baltimore by the end of the season. Their DH was past his prime. Their shortstop would be in Oakland eventually. Their manager was far from spotless.

The only threat they had was Jose Altuve...which, as people are now beginning to realize, is a pretty big threat.

In 2014, Altuve topped the hits list, the Batting Average list, and became one of the best defensive infielders in the game, behind Robinson Cano. And slowly, people began to veer their eyes towards Houston like they hadn't since the 2005 season. There was actually some growth, some progress, SOMETHING, going on there, and Jose Altuve was the catalyst.

Now, like the Marlins with Stanton, the Astros have built their roster around Jose Altuve. Chris Carter, George Springer, even a returning Jed Lowrie. And, while it may not have any short-term consequences, this team could be very big in a few years, if their talent sticks around. Altuve could be the kind of person the Astros need to lock up, if they haven't already.

I'm expecting Altuve to have another huge season, even if the Astros end up in fourth or fifth again.

Coming Tomorrow- It's an odd numbered year, which usually means the Giants aren't going to do as well as they would in an even numbered year, but above all else, they should not panic. And neither should their second baseman.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Custom Card of the Day: Stanton Edition



We may be looking at a superstar here. In the past five seasons, Giancarlo Stanton has gone from a speedy little outfield prospect to one of the best pure hitters in baseball, racking up a ton of home runs, and becoming the unabashed star of the Marlins. Hell, he's become so good that the Marlins have built that team around him.

This season, the team got people like Dee Gordon, Martin Prado and Dan Haren, to beef up a roster that had been slowly growing as the decade went on. People like Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna have become fixtures on this team, alongside Stanton.

Now, people are saying that this could be a huge year for the Marlins. The only problem with this is that everybody but the Mets, really, have had a nice start. The Braves are up by five, somehow, and the other teams are just...sort of behind them. Even the Phillies are doing well. So, what could have been a clear-cut year may be a bit foggy. The Marlins will need to work for the long run, and maybe try to outlast some of those early-season dynasties.

And hopefully, Giancarlo Stanton will have another monstrous season, and possibly take home an MVP.

Coming Tonight (?)- Robinson Cano is gonna have to fight hard to get the starting All Star nod this year, and you can thank this guy, who's become one of the most fun players in the AL recently.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Custom Card of the Day: Pederson Edition

Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers had five outfielders. All five of them were really good. Not too many teams can say that. Hell, the best outfielder on that team might have been the one that everyone had counted out at the beginning, Carl Crawford. But Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Scott Van Slyke were all important parts of the Dodgers.

Then, a week before the season ended, they let in one more. Joc Pederson.

When the season ended, the combination of Puig-Crawford-Ethier/Kemp was so strong that I was worried that someone as promising as Pederson would get traded. However, in his few games last season, he showed enough promise to stay on the roster, and be promoted to a starter. Matt Kemp was the one that left.

So, now the guy I was worried for is now one of the stronger pieces in LA. I love the fact that a lot of these guys are having a great start. Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Rollins, Kendrick, and Pederson. If these guys keep playing really well, the Dodgers could actually go the distance. I'd love for that to happen.

I just hope Joc Pederson proves to be more than a prospect, and plays like he's been playing the last few games.

Coming Tomorrow- If it hadn't been for Kershaw, this guy would have definitely been the MVP last year. This year, he's back in full force, and his team might be pretty good this year.

Custom Card of the Day: Norris Edition


Derek Norris can swim through land.

Derek Norris can speak braille.

Behind Derek Norris' beard, there is no chin; there is only another fist.

Derek Norris doesn't get wet. The water gets Derek Norris.

Superman wears Derek Norris underwear.

The Padres didn't trade for Derek Norris. Derek Norris traded for the Padres.

Derek Norris can catch fastballs without a mitt. He only uses one because he enjoys punishing leather.

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In all seriousness, I really enjoy Derek Norris, and I like how he plays the game. I also appreciate his facial hair. He has that sort of je no sais badass about him.

Coming Tonight (?): He's the big LA rookie that everyone's talking about.