Is there a better day of the year than Opening Day? In honor of my favorite day of the year, here’s the DK tournament lineup to make you rich. Early in the season, your biggest opportunities to field a powerful lineup is the lag in which it takes pricing to catch up to new aces. If you want to start the powerful Dodgers in hitter friendly Coors? Ok. Then you need to either punt multiple positions or find value with your starting pitchers. You won’t see Woodruff and Alcantara available at these prices by June, or maybe even May. Now is the time to pounce. Here is today’s money maker. Use it. Or don’t, and let me get rich alone.
Spring Training of 2021 is as unique as there has ever been. Typically the oddities are limited to seeing minor league guys come up wearing a number in the 70s or 80s pinch hitting with the massive MiLB dual flapped helmet while listening to the announcers shuffling through their notes to try and find the player’s name. Instead, the minor league guys are wearing single flapped helmets and there aren’t any call ups for the day thanks to the limited number of players in camp, but the rest of the game has gone odd, here are the ones that stand out:
7 inning Games
The default length of a game this Spring is just 7 innings. With the previously mentioned limited rosters there aren’t the guys to fill out the 8th and 9th inning duties, so most games end after seven, which is just weird to watch MLB games essentially last as long as a local High School game.
6 Inning Games
If 7 inning games are odd, 6 inning games are downright bizarre. In no level of baseball are there games scheduled to go just 6 innings, except Spring Training 2021. A number of games have been scheduled to go just six due to pitching availability.
8.5 Inning Game
The March 4 game between the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks was scheduled to go 8.5 games regardless of the score. The D-Backs happened to be up 9-2 after the top of the 8th, so the box score looks normal, but had the score been flipped, there still would not have been a bottom of the 9th!
On March 2, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 after 6 innings thanks to not one, but two winning free passes. Bases loaded tied 2-2 with Christopher Sanchez in the mound, Riley Adams gets hit by the pitch to give the Blue Jays the 3-2 victory. One problem, the Phillies wanted to see more from Sanchez, so they allow Phillip Clarke to step into the batter’s box where he proceeds to draw a walk to walk it off….again.
Also on March 2, John Means got the start on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles against the New York Yankees. Means gave up a single, fly out, single, groundout, single and was pulled from the game in favor of Jay Flaa who got a fly out to end the inning. Fast forward to the top of the second, replacing Flaa on the mound was, yup, John Means! He after struggling with his feel in the first he took a breather then went back out despite having already been removed from the game and finished the second inning on his own, but only going 1.2 innings.
Box Score Glitches
So, this one is more of a glitch, or somebody asleep on the job, or both, but the Phillies-Yankees game from Sunday March 7 showed a bizarre scenario. DJ LeMahieu lined out for the first out of the second inning before Aaron Judge is called out on strikes for out number two, then it gets weird. I have yet to confirm what actually happened, mainly because I don’t want facts to get in the way of a good story, but apparently Zach Britton, the pitcher, “starts inning at 3rd base” despite there having already been a grand slam earlier in the inning and he was not on base, and he is immediately out at third. No explanation, not play-by-play just out at third. The box score after the game does not list Britton as having participated in the game, and the Yankees opened the next inning with Aaron Hicks, who was batting behind Judge in the lineup.
Baseball starts tonight and the playoff setup is still TBD. I have decided to put the seed number next to the division winners, then Wild Card spot 1-5 next to the potential Wild Card teams so you can see who makes it with standard 2 Wild Card scenarios, and who makes it based on the proposed 5 Wild Card scenario. With teams being separated by region in terms of schedule, it is worth noting I would consider the East to be the toughest, followed by the West, then the Central the easiest. In a traditional year, I would project the Pittsburgh Pirates to have the worst record in baseball, but the Central will allow them to win too many games to get the first pick in next year’s draft, so I project that to go to the Baltimore Orioles.
1) Tampa Bay Rays (3 seed in playoffs)
2) New York Yankees (1st Wild Card)
3) Boston Red Sox (4th Wild Card)
4) Toronto Blue Jays
5) Baltimore Orioles
1) Cleveland Indians (1 seed in playoffs)
2) Minnesota Twins (2nd Wild Card)
3) Chicago White Sox (5th Wild Card)
4) Kansas City Royals
5) Detroit Tigers
1) Houston Astros (2 seed in playoffs)
2) Los Angeles Angels (3rd Wild Card)
3) Oakland Athletics
4) Seattle Mariners
5) Texas Rangers
1) Atlanta Braves (2 seed in playoffs)
2) Washington Nationals (1st Wild Card)
3) Philadelphia Phillies (2nd Wild Card)
4) New York Mets (5th Wild Card)
5) Miami Marlins
1) Cincinnati Reds (3 seed in playoffs)
2) Milwaukee Brewers (4th Wild Card)
3) Chicago Cubs
4) St. Louis Cardinals
5) Pittsburgh Pirates
1) Los Angeles Dodgers (1 seed in playoffs)
2) Arizona Diamondbacks (3rd Wild Card)
3) San Diego Padres
4) Colorado Rockies
5) San Francisco Giants
World Series: Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles Dodgers
Derek Jeter getting into the Hall of Fame with all but one vote has sparked plenty of debate. There are many reasons for him to have gotten 100%, but I think him falling shy of unanimous is actually the correct result.
Let’s start with the arguments for being the second ever unanimous member of Cooperstown. The simple fact Mariano Rivera earned 100% of the votes a season ago has eliminated the argument of those who have come before not receiving 100% as an argument. Babe Ruth should have been 100%, but you can no longer not vote for someone on that argument. There is also no questioning Jeter’s Hall of Fame resume, so he should land on all the ballots on that argument alone.
Now, for the reasons the one voter who did not vote for him got it right. The argument since the results were announced has been Jeter is easily a top four shortstop of all-time. A top four guy at his position, not top four player all-time, so should a guy you can’t really argue was the best at his own position get 100%, I argue no. On that, he wasn’t the best player of his time, never winning an MVP, and you can argue he wasn’t the best at his position at any point of his career. Cal Ripken Jr. was better than Jeter early on, and Alex Rodriguez was already in the big leagues when Jeter debuted, and he was the better player most of, if not their entire careers.
Now, there has often been an argument to spread out votes to players who need a boost or to keep them on the ballot an extra year, but the ballot was rather weak this season so that isn’t a valid argument. Another issue with the vote is the fact it is a secret ballot. Baseball writers vote for the Hall of fame, yet their names and ballots are not made public. Those who are tasked with writing the story of baseball literally vote for the stories, yet they are not made to make their opinions public. This needs to change and that may make it more common to see 100% vote getters, or at least make those who don’t vote for a guy like Jeter explain themselves. The writer who did not vote for Jeter has a quality argument for not voting, but the fans of the game do deserve an explication.