Well what a fantastic end to the college basketball season. Who wouldn't be rooting for Kentucky? The plucky underdog who does things the right way with a no nonsense coach who won't stand for shenanigans and teaches the fundamentals. Just awesome shit right there. So as sad as it makes me, it's time to move on to super awesome baseball which starts tomorrow, and I for one have a giant boner.
I love baseball. I love everything about it and I can't wait for it to start. I have a stupid amount of money down on baseball future bets and I can't get enough of baseball betting here, specifically a ton of team OVER/UNDER Wins. I'll be pointing those out, along with some player props where appropriate. Or not appropriate. Just follow me and you'll be ok.
Going with the National League today and we'll have the AL up in the next day or so. And by we I mean me, of course, because I'm some kind of god damn nation of one here. I should have my own flag. And probably like, a constitution. Somewhere in the Bill of Rights I'm going to put something about boobs, but I'm not sure what because I didn't go to law school. I'll get back to you. Anyway, here:
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST:
1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee-Cole Hamels. That shit ain't fair. And pitcher #4 is Vance Worley, who finished third in the NL rookie of the year balloting last year. Yeah, there are a million questions about the offense - will Chase Utley ever play again, will Ryan Howard be able to hit after achilles surgery, is Placido Polanco toast - but how can you possibly bet against that pitching, particularly with Jonathan Papelbon cleaning up shop in the ninth. Yeah, Papelbon is a spaz and an asstard and pretty much a douche in every way but the dude can pitch one inning as well as anybody. He might save 60. Yet I'm laying off his OVER/UNDER 37 line because I think he'll probably get over it but I'd rather bet on Jacoby fucking Welkerbury or Charles Manson than bet on Dickboner.
2. MIAMI MARLINS. Well the Marlins haven't been relevant in a while, so it looks like it's time for the semi-regular open up your wallets and spend like crazy time the Marlins are known for. I know this time it's because of the move to Miami and the new stadium and the new uniforms and all that jazz rather than a random whim, but it's still crazy how this happens all the time. Will Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell be enough to put them over the top? No, don't be stupid, but they could be a Wild Card team if everything breaks right. You know, if Josh Johnson is actually healthy, Carlos Zambrano is sane, Mike Stanton is as much of a stud as I think he is, and Logan Morrison takes that next step. Plus Reyes and Hanley staying healthy and stuff. Too many ifs here to play that 85 wins number either way, but this is going to be a very interesting team.
3. WASHINGTON NATIONALS. Pretty much this year's happy fun sleeper squad because of the return of the immortal Stephen Strasburg (OVER 11.5 WINS = lock), the emergence of Michael Morse, and a trade for Gio Gonzalez. What? That's the whole reason we're hearing so much National buzz? It's because of all the hoopla over this dink Bryce Harper, isn't it? Yeah, I know we're all Brian Harper fans because of what he did for the Twins and we should be loyal to his son and all, but between the douchy behavior (just do a google search, there are 16,000 results for Bryce Harper douchebag) and the national handies he gets every five minutes from the media I'm done with him.
4. ATLANTA BRAVES. There's a lot of reasons for optimism in Atlanta following a pretty monumental collapse at the end of last season. Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, the last two NL Rookie-of-the-Year runner ups, are only 22 as is brand new starting shortstop Tyler Pastornicky and Atlanta is just loaded with young arms in the minors. The only problem is that in a division where almost everyone is improving the Braves are built for the future and not the present. Look at that rotation - Tim Hudson is older than your mom and coming off back surgery, Tommy Hanson is coming off shoulder surgery, and Jair Jurrjens was unable to finish out yet another season with knee problems. Not to mention Chipper Jones is still considered an important piece to their puzzle. So yeah, I'm gonna hit that under 86.5 wins, and I'm gonna hit it hard. Like it was your mom.
5. NEW YORK METS. Jesus this team is a mess. The only good things on this entire roster are 1b Ike Davis, assuming he returns from injury and can hit again, and David Wright who needs to be traded for some prospects or something but knowing the Mets they'll screw it up. I guess you could put the hopeful return of Johan Santana from injury, but even if he's 80% of what he used to be his best use is as a trade piece because this team isn't going anywhere and might battle the Astros for worst team in the NL. Although it won't be much of a battle because no matter how bad the Mets are they can't be worse than Houston. Oh, and nice Jason Bay signing. Although as Twins' fans we probably shouldn't joke too much because we could be looking at the future of Joe Mauer and the Twins. Oh crap.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
1. CINCINNATI REDS. Love this team, and the OVER 86.5 wins is one of the first bets I made when the numbers were released. Their rotation is so good they were able to trade Travis Wood, who most teams would covet like a homeless dude covets his weird ass tin cup he won't let anyone see, for one of the best relievers in the game in Sean Marshall. They also have an awesome trio in Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and Joey Votto and a also bring in plenty of youth with elite prospects Zack Cozart (SS) and Devin Mesoraco (C) getting a chance to start this year. Drew Stubbs and his 205 Ks with only 15 HRs pisses me off and the whole Ryan Madson out for the year thing is a kick in the nuts (especially since they just signed Alfredo Simon) but something tells me if Marshall doesn't work out you just go ahead and hand that ball to Aroldis Chapman and his 100mph fastball and 93mph slider and everything will workout just fine.
2. MILWAUKEE BREWERS. I wanted to pick them lower than this because I hate everything that's from Wisconsin including cheaters like Ryan Braun, but even without Fielder this should be a pretty good team. Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Roid-guy, Aramis Ramirez, and Clay Mathews form a pretty solid offense, and their top-3 in the rotation is still stellar with Greinke-Gallardo-Marcum. Throw-in John Axford's sweet stache and K-Rod still setting up for him and they're in pretty decent shape. If Taylor Green can become a starter at short and someone in the bullpen gives them the confidence to trade K-Rod for some help they could be all wildcardy. Plus it wouldn't hurt to just go ahead and play Carlos Gomez already. I mean jeez, enough with the racism, am I right?
3. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. I took the over on their wins at 84.5, but it doesn't mean I'm exactly sold on them because their two best offensive players (Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman) are as fragile as a lamp of some slutty ladies leg. And I don't necessarily mean healthwise, just they both always seem to be about 1% away from falling off a cliff into shitty old person land. It hasn't happened yet, but part of me kind of has this feeling that Pujols was the duct tape that held those two together - we shall see. In any case they have enough starting pitching to make them relevant no matter what so that's good, and if Carlos Beltran is healthy and David Freese is actually good they'll fly past that 84.5 and this prediction. Also nice job paying Yadier Molina all the money you refused to give Pujols. Nice priorities. Yeah this one time Christina Aguilera wanted to sleep with me but I couldn't because I had to get an oil change that day.
4. PITTSBURGH PIRATES. I really wanted to pick them higher (and took them OVER 73.5 wins) but holy mother have you seen this rotation? I guess it was obvious when Erik Bedard was announced as the opening day pitcher, but looking at it all at once is like whoa - Bedard, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, and Brad Lincoln? I mean, I'm not going to say this often but I'd rather have the Twins' pitching staff. Barely. I kind of like what they're doing with their hitters - Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are studs while Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and Pedro Alvarez have promise but the pitching is like Buzz's girlfriend - woof.
5. CHICAGO CUBS. Year one of the Theo ERA and it's not going to be pretty, even if it's not his fault because mostly the talent level here is poop and there's more bad contracts than there are concussions in the Twins' clubhouse. Looking at their squad the only guys who you'd build a team with are Starlin Castro and Travis Wood, although you can't 100% give up on Geovany Soto or Ian Stewart just yet. Still, it's clear they have a plan, shedding Carlos Zambrano and acquiring stud prospect Anthony Rizzo from San Diego. Right now they've filled the roster with fill-in types who are at least cheap (David DeJesus, Chris Volstad, Paul Maholm) but it's going to be a long road - at least until they can figure out how to get rid of Soriano's chlamydia of a contract.
6. HOUSTON ASTROS. Easiest call of the year, because the Astros are rebuilding this year except they're doing it with a shitty farm system so that's probably not good. Let me save you some time - here are the players you know on the Astros: Brett Myers, Carlos Lee. If you're a big baseball nerd (or a degenerate gambler) you might also know Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, Jack Cust (hi Bear) and Jed Lowrie. That's it though. That's the whole list. Also nobody, not even sportsbooks, pay attention to Houston because last year they kept offering props on Chris Johnson for over a week after he'd been sent down to the minors and they offered props for 3-4 days on Michael Bourn as an Astro after he'd been traded to Atlanta. No, you have a gambling problem.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
1. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS. I'll admit this is the division I know the least about due to it being all Pacific Time Zoney and National League-ish, but I don't see any way the D-Backs don't run away with this (which is why I'm on the OVER 86 wins). Actually I guess I can see how they don't run away with it because their rotation is made up of two guys who were traded for Edwin Jackson (Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson whose middle name is Claiborne lol), a prospect who may have lost it (Trevor Cahill), one of the worst starters to always have a job (Joe Saunders), and a guy with a weird as hell delivery that could Hideo Nomo on him at any moment (Josh Collmenter). Still they have a really good lineup and bullpen and they have Justin Upton who is who you should be praying to your precious baby jesus that Aaron Hicks one day becomes. Stupid jesus will probably give us like, Felix Pie. Such a dick.
2. LOS ANGELES DODGERS. Things are looking up after people with money bought this team so they at least have a prayer of bringing in some talent if they need to make a push, but what I really love about this team is that they're probably the best NBA Jam type team in the league, and I mean the entire MLB. Really, if you had to go one hitter and one pitcher can you do better than Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp? The only other team who is even in contention is the Tigers with Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, but the Dodgers are clearly the class of the NL. Which is great because in case you missed it MLB is going to a 2-on-2 format this year.
3. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS. How can I pick a team with a Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner/Vogelsong start to the rotation third when I love pitching, you ask? Well mostly because Aubrey Huff is still involved. I don't know, I guess they should probably finish in 2nd but I just have a bad feeling here. Lincecum is going to apparently shelve his slider (which was more effective than his fastball last year) and I'm just bored with Sandoval even though as I look him up it appears he was actually really god damn amazing last year. Whatever. I'm not interested in your stats nerd boy. Baseball isn't played by computers so you can take your numbers and shove them up your ass while you sit there in your boxers in your mom's basement and cry yourself to sleep with your commodore 64 and World of Warcraft. I know baseball. I watch baseball. And Sandoval is too fat. FACT.
4. COLORADO ROCKIES. How can I pick a squad with Troy Tulowitzki - the white Cal Ripken - fourth? I know, it's rough,, but do you remember the part of the words where I talked about the Pirates' rotation? Well if that was Jaws 3 the Rockies' are bringing you Jaws 4 because they went ahead and traded for Jeremy god damn Guthrie and immediately made him the opening day starter which is more stupider than your face. And then they gave Jamie Moyer a job which is cute and all but come on. Unless Drew Pomeranz is all kinds of ready already this is going to be a brutal pitching team. Rockies under 81.5 is total money because this is not a winning team. If that's not enough for you, they signed Michael Cuddyer and still start decrepit Todd Helton who has trouble hitting it out of his backyard when he plays wiffleball with his kids who are probably in special ed. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?
5. SAN DIEGO PADRES. There are three teams that seem like they always need help (Padres, Royals, Pirates) which is actually not 100% true because the Padres have done stuff like win the division twice since 2005 and won 90 games just two years ago, but they see like they always need help. And I bring that up because it's clear the Royals have a plan and it seems like the Pirates might have a plan, but I don't know what the Padres are doing. If I look I can see a small few good players/rays of light - Yonder Alonso, Chase Headley (maybe), and Cory Luebke. That's it. Everyone else is either a Carlos Quentin/Orlando Hudson or a Dustin Moseley/Will Venable. You know what I mean.
And there we are. So we got the D-Backs, Phillies, and Reds with the Marlins and Cardinals as Wild Cards (yeah I know I picked the Brewers over the Cards, just swap 'em. I'm not going to do everything for you, a-hole). Let's give the pennant to the Reds. AL preview coming whenever I write it. Shooting for Thursday/Friday.