Chicago certainly will get stronger with Contreras, Zobrist and Rizzo returning to the lineup and Darvish finding his form. And I still wonder if the Cardinals will get enough September pitching help to get through the month. So this will be fun. The Cardinals have won 15 of 19. If that is who they are now, they don't have to elevate their play further. If they keep that pace up they will be playing the Cubs for the division title at the end. As for the Cubs, they still have plenty to prove even as they get healthier. They have not been consistently great since earlier this season.
I see Klim Kostin making his NHL debut this season, but also spending considerable time in San Antonio trying to reach his offensive ceiling. The Blues need to take their time with him and make sure that he doesn't settle for being a Dmitrij Jaskin-type player. He has played in the AHL as a teenager, which is asking a lot. I know the Blues hope to see him provide some offense at the Traverse City Tournament when he plays against other young players. He showed his offensive upside at the last World Junior Championship.
I have spent no time thinking about that. All I want is a soccer-sounding name and I'm sure we'll get one.
Repeating is difficult because the grind of the previous season inevitably catches up to the defending champ the next season. I see this team making the bracket with the help of young guys playing bigger roles and some veterans bouncing back from tough seasons. Once they get into the bracket, they will need some different guys to rise up and make winning plays. The one advantage this team has over other champions is that it spreads the work among more players, especially up front.
Well, Randy Arozarena is hot at Memphis, too, and unlike Carlson he's on the 40-man roster. Just a few weeks back fans were ready to storm the gates of Busch Stadium to demand his promotion. Jose Martinez is killing the ball on his rehab assignment, so he deserves some work here too. Lane Thomas was hot at Memphis, then he hit well when he got the shot in St. Louis. Tyler O'Neill gave the team a lift earlier and both Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz can play in the outfield too. So the line of outfielders is long. There is no need to rush Carlson. His time would be better spent in the Arizona Fall League.
I spend zero time thinking about the suitability team names. Chat regulars know this.
Again, I don't get jacked up over this stuff. That said, the name and logo are worth a ballcap buy so I can remember the team. I still wear my IBL hat from those fun times with the Swarm -- nice logo!
I am from Detroit and I have not covered high school sports here, so I can't answer that. My boss votes for Kirkwood-Webster Groves.
Wacha is barely in the rotation as well, despite somewhat better performance. I see all six starters getting a lot of work. I could see some abbreviated starts that border on bullpen starts as this team tries to get through the month.
I'll put Georgia, Alabama and Clemson in the playoff in inverse order. The fourth team . . . no idea there. The default answer of Ohio State doesn't apply any more. As for expansion, I'd like to see eight teams in the bracket at the expense of the conference title games. There is no good reason not to go there.
Ah, but who are those guys really? Fowler has no trade value with his contract. Martinez has been shopped previously to no avail. None of the young guys have done enough to establish huge value. The Cardinals could have given guys away like they did with Mercado and Pham, but that would have been stupid. So the smart move is to play it out and see if any of these guys become special. Trying to make that call this summer would have been a big mistake, particular since most of the pitching that did trade places was mediocre.
The Reds are dangerous, as the Cardinals saw in Cincinnati. The Cardinals will want to win at a three out of four clip heading into the final 10 days because the Cubs would easily sustain that pace as well. Fortunately they seem to be playing their best at the right time.
Of course the 40-man roster doesn't include all the best players in the system. It includes some guys, like Robinson, who can fill in at the big league level. Which he did, when healthy. There is no need to put the elite prospects on the 40-man until it's time to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. At any given time, there are several expendable depth guys on the 40-man roster. That people got worked into a frenzy over Robinson holding a spot there was comical.
Well, Ray Lankford's there, right? So this is not Cooperstown. I love Ray Ray and his best years were really good, but that bar is not so high.
Daniel Ponce de Leon is obviously the one guy stretched out and most capable of filling innings. Mike Mayers has pitched well enough to get back on the 40-man roster in a relief role. Perhaps Austin Gomber makes it back as well. Cabrera . . . I'm guessing he would there to pitch several innings if a game gets away.
He's won championships, unlike most MLB owners. Those who lived through the final years of the A-B regime know what its like to have disinterested ownership.
The smart play for Barbashev would be the sign a one-year contract, take another big step forward in his career and then go for real coin as the Blues suffer more significant turnover after the coming season.
Salaries are soaring. The salary cap did not go up much. A bunch of explosive scorers came due as RFAs all at once, many for teams with cap concerns. Then you mix in the debate about whether shorter-term deals work better for both sides. But as I noted last week, I believe the dam will break once one of the young stars sign. NHL salaries are largely determined by comparables, although a few teams (Boston, Tampa Bay) have been able to get guys to sign team friendly deals.