Using the Three True Outcomes to Predict 2021 and More

Nothing in baseball ever comes easy. As the great (fictional) Jimmy Dugan once said, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” And Dugan was right. Baseball isn’t easy. However, that isn’t the topic of this report, although this article relates to it.

A new trend in baseball has been the shift to harder swings at the plate. That has been reflected in pure HR/team numbers, but has also shown in runs per game. In 1970, exactly 50 years ago, the average runs per game was approximately 4.32. In 2020, 50 years later, runs per game now sits at 4.65.

Table 1: A look at runs per game from 2010-2020

That has induced, in turn, a rise of what we baseball nerds call the “Three True Outcomes”. The Three True Outcomes (3TO) are home runs, walks, and strikeouts. As you can guess, a true outcome is when the batter does not put the ball into play. There have been certain players throughout MLB history that have been 3TO hitters, like Chris Davis and Adam Dunn, to name a couple.

The 3TO are caused by swinging harder, which creates more strikeouts. Strikeouts can be a mixed bag with automatic outs, but as you’ll see in a minute they cause a greater reward. Since strikeouts are automatic outs, and assuming that BABIP (AVG on balls in play) stays the same among all archetypes of players, a higher strikeout rate causes a lower batting average.

Now, as you likely know batting average does not mean anything. However, a low amount of hits can hurt a player’s OBA and OBP. (For the sake of this article, I’ll be looking at OBP) To get that OBP back up, a player needs to get on base in some other way. The most efficient way to do that is by getting a walk.

This creates the three true outcomes: home runs, strikeouts, and walks. To look at how these have grown in the past years, let’s look at another table:

Table 2: 3TO per team from 2010-2020

Now that we’ve established the 3TO, why it’s important, and it’s growth, it’s time to get into the main section of this article: examining the relationship between the 3TO through ratios.

In a pandemic shortened 2020, it’s important to get an idea of average stats for the average player (all players used in this are qualified to win the batting title, judged by having more than 3.1 PA/team’s game).

The average player had 9 HR this year in 225 PA and 198 AB, including 22 BB and 49 Ks. That’s good for about a 1 BB : 2.23 K ratio. For some players it was closer. Take DJ LeMahieu, for example, who won the MLB batting title with a .364 AVG. He had a 1 BB : 1.2 K ratio. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Evan White, the Mariners’ emergency 1B who made his MLB debut in 2020. He had a crazy 1 BB : 4.7 K. White didn’t have a great year to say the least.

Before we get into anymore ratios, let’s take a look at some trends in this data. To do that, let’s look at another table:

Table 3: A look at 3TO% sorted by OPS+

As you can see by this data, good players are scattered all along the 3TO range, although a high 3TO rate generally means high strikeouts, which again are automatic outs.

Now, back to our ratios. Let’s jump into some more complex ratios. Let’s take the average MLB player and see what outcomes they get on average for a home run.

As a reminder, the average MLB player hit 9 home runs with 22 walks and 49 strikeouts. That’s good for a 35.32% 3TO%. We can express the ratio as 9 HR:22 BB:49 K:225 PA. If we simplify to get one home run, we have 1 HR, 2.44 BB, and 5.44 K, all in 25 PA. That ratio is 1 HR: 2.44 BB: 5.44 K: 25 PA.

Instead of making up an example, let’s take a real season. To eliminate team based bias, player M had a season between 2010 and 2020 in which he had 359 PA, 87 K, 41 BB, and 31 HR. We can express this in ratio form of 31:41:87:359. That means an insane 44.3% 3TO rate, which wouldn’t sound that crazy, but for 31 HR? That’s insane.

We can simplify the ratio to be 1 HR: 1.3 BB: 2.8 K: 11.6 PA. The average ratio in the MLB this season was 1 HR: 2.12 BB: 4.65 K: 23.23 PA. Obviously, anyone with this great of a year would get national headlines, but he didn’t. The player is Mitch Garver. Do you recognize him? Probably not.

To continue with out ratios, we can divide 162/60 to get 2.7, which is our magic multiplier for stats to see what they would have turned out like in a real season.

The average player would have had 24 HR: 59 BB: 132 K: 608 PA. Let’s get the ratios for 1 HR. That ratio is the same as before: 1:2.44:5.44:25 PA. Let’s say that we wanted to build a season in 608 PA that had 30 HR. We would need to update the BB and K to follow the trend.

That new ratio would be 30 HR: 73.6 BB: 164.6 K. To check our answer, we can always re-simplify. Since the ratio was rounded, the answer is nearly identical.

What do all of these numbers mean through a baseball standpoint? It means concern. If the average player were to swing a bit harder and hit 30 HR, the average player would have 165 K. That may be concerning to some baseball fans, but in my opinion baseball is changing. And we need to adopt.

How can we use these numbers to predict the 2021 baseball season? To start let’s look at 2019 and 2020. Since 2019 had a spike in runs and 2020 dropped that a bit, I looked at the 3TO%. It had dipped. We can only assume that it will pick back up again, so for the purposes of this article let’s assume that it does.

The 2019 3TO ratio was 1 HR: 2.12 BB: 4.65 K: 23.23 PA. If that stays the same, then we can assume that the runs per game will stay the same as well, because the rise in 3TO has also caused a rise in runs over the past 5 years (this would require a whole separate article to prove this, so for our purposes assume that there was a direct correlation).

This means that the higher the 3TO%, the higher the runs scored. In 2019, there were roughly 2,183.13 3TO per team, and in 2020 (adjusted) that number was 2,158.38. In 2019, there were also 65494 instances total of the 3TO. There were 23467 runs scored. That creates approximately a 1 R: 2.8 3TO ratio.

Assume that we have a normal 2021 season. There’s a full spring training, normal routines, and just normal life for the players. This would mean that if the three true outcomes total increased to 67000 total, then using our ratio we would have 23939 runs. If this actually happens and there are more 3TO in 2021, then we can assume an offensive surge.

Now, for predicting player stats using the 3TO. This is much more difficult because 3TO doesn’t have that much correlation with any stat except for batting average. And even that has many exceptions. So I’ll have to stick to predicting 3TO stats.

If the ratio was 1:2.12:4.65:23.23, then we can plug in players assigning linear weights and predict their stats. Some linear weights could be wRC+, OPS+, and brWAR.

I don’t have the time (or energy for that matter) to predict the 2021 season and its’ 3TO stats. It could be a future project to store on the website, but at this point I doubt it.

Going back to our original quote: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” Baseball is hard. There’s no denying that. But I hope that sabermetrics and analytics make baseball a better sport to watch through a higher level of competition, and make the sport of baseball great. For me, that’s analyzing the three true outcomes, using them to judge players, and eventually work my way up to bigger and better stats with more correlation.

Baseball never comes easy. Thanks for reading.

Some Really Big Players Were Just Non-Tendered

Say goodbye to Eddie Rosario, Twins nation. That’s right. The star LF was just non-tendered by the Twins. Stick to the end of the article to see what baseball star was just let go into free agency, as I count down the top 10 players who were just non-tendered.

10. Nomar Mazara

It wasn’t that long ago that Mazara was the number 5 prospect in baseball. With star potential, Mazara was looking like a stud for the Rangers. That never panned out. The 25 year old RF played four years on the Rangers, hitting 79 home runs with a .754 OPS. He was traded to the White Sox for mid-level prospect Steele Walker. He didn’t deliver for the White Sox, slashing .228/.295/.294 with -0.3 WAR. He’ll likely be thrown into a backup role at this point, or maybe even sent down to AAA.

9. David Dahl

Again another top prospect who didn’t quite pan out, Dahl was once the #31 prospect in baseball. He was an all-star in 2019, but fell flat in 2020. In 99 PA, he had -1.1 WAR. Not even Chris Davis was that bad in 2020.

8. Maikel Franco

Adding to our list of prospects who didn’t pan out, Maikel Franco was once the #17 prospect in baseball. After a disappointing 2019, Franco was let go into free agency by the Phillies. He had a good year in 2020, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the Royals — he will likely be on to his third team in three years.

7. Curt Casali

Casali has never been one to impress an entire league. However, a surprisingly weak not-tendered class props him up to this spot. Casali has always been just okay, good at defense and subpar at offense. He may be suited for a backup role, but at 32 years old he won’t have many suitors.

6. Adam Duvall

Perhaps one of the more surprising moves, Duvall was non-tendered by the Braves. After hitting 16 home runs in 2020, the Braves let him go. Granted, his OBP is abnormally low, but after 16 HR you would think that the Braves would keep him around.

5. Brian Goodwin

I’ve always been high on Goodwin, but his value decreased significantly after the trading deadline when he did terribly with the Reds. He started the year off pretty well with the Angels, but then he got traded and put up a 47 OPS+. Despite that, I hope he signs with the White Sox.

4. Archie Bradley

The only pitcher on today’s list, Bradley has a terrible beard and is terrible for hitters. Ever since 2017 when he converted to a reliever, Bradley has dominated. That was the case in 2020, but the 28 year old was non-tendered, maybe to make room for a top free agent.

3. Hanser Alberto

Alberto isn’t a star, but rather one of the most underrated players in baseball. The 28 year old put up subpar numbers in 2020, which likely led to his demise. However, Alberto hit .305 in 2019, which will probably land him in a starting role somewhere.

2. Eddie Rosario

This move really surprised me. The 6 year veteran has put up 11.6 WAR in his career, which has included 119 HR and a .788 OPS. In 2019 he put up 32 HR, but he doesn’t walk. He can make a good, solid player for a team looking for a LF.

1. Kyle Schwarber

While this move isn’t surprising, it might set off a series of self-destructing moves from the Cubs. However, Schwarber did pretty terribly in 2020 with a .701 OPS. To make matters worse, he struck out 29.5% of the time. He was all-star level in 2019 with 38 HR and an .871 OPS. Where he’ll sign is still a mystery.

Thanks for reading!

Pete Rose Belongs In The Hall Of Fame | Opinion

The baseball Hall of Fame should include the greatest players of all time. And while he does have some controversy surrounding his name, Pete Rose was so great at this game that it shouldn’t matter.

It’s too late to elect him truthfully into the HOF. He failed miserably trying to get into the HOF; that was based on one thing: his ban from baseball.

Rose was tied up in a betting scandal where he would bet on his own team to win when he was managing/playing games. Now, this isn’t something to be looked past when considering his career. However, he wasn’t betting against his own team or compromising the integrity. In fact some would say that he was managing harder due to the fact that he had money bet on the game; however, that is neither here nor there.

Without that scandal, Rose had a legendary career that included having the most hits, games played, at bats, and plate appearances. That came during a 24 year career where he missed very little time due to injury. He was a safe bet to get a hit, possessing a .303 batting average over his career.

Defense was a mixed bag for him; he had some good years and some bad years. However his premier leadoff ability allowed him to slack on SLG, and therefore OPS. Despite this, his career rWAR was 79.7, good enough for at least a second ballot induction. He was such an iron man player that he managed to play all 162 games in the 1982 season, despite being 41 years old.

As for his advanced hall of fame stats, he excelled in black ink, gray ink, HOFM, JAWS, and has similarity scores with Paul Molitor (Hall of Fame), Tris Speaker (HOF), Ty Cobb (HOF), Robin Yount (HOF), Paul Waner (HOF), George Brett (HOF), Cap Anson (HOF), Derek Jeter (HOF), Lou Brock (HOF), and Johnny Damon. That’s right: 9/10 similar players according to the Baseball-Reference similarity score are in the hall of fame.

What does this tell you about Rose? He was an amazing contact hitter (some would even go as far as the best of his generation), he could field when he was young, and he could definitely get into the Hall of Fame. Combining all of these, it’s clear that Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame.

The Tropical Baseball League: Baseball Reimagined

Imagine this: baseball in paradise. Palm trees everywhere. $9.99 tickets. Free food (only the highest quality food, of course). The greatest jerseys imaginable.

Would you like a league like that? Take out the hotel charges and the plane ticket. Would you like a league like the Tropical League?

For about a month now, in OOTP Baseball 21, I have been playing with a fictional league titled the “Tropical Baseball League”. The TBL is a 16 team, 2 conferences league centered in Hawaii and the surrounding islands. Let me walk you through the setup of the league.

The conferences would be the Beach League and the Pool League. The Beach League would house all of the teams from Hawaii, while the Pool League would house all of the teams from the surrounding islands. It’s all tropical sounding team names, logos, stadiums, uniforms, etc etc.

The TBL also houses some unique rules. For example, all tickets are $9.99 per person (kids 0-5 get in free) and the food is also free. So, how could a league like this survive without going under (let’s pretend for the sake of argument that this league could go under)? There are big donors who spend lots and lots of money for their company to be featured on different uniforms, thus paying the team and the league who gets 15%.

Would you be interested in me publishing articles on the TBL? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Is this the beginning of the end for the Astros?

The 2020 Astros might have been one of the most hated teams in sports history. This is well justified; they cheated to win a World Series. However, the Astros have bigger problems after the 2020 season. They finished with a losing record at 29-31, and even though they made a deep playoff run, we have to ask the question: is this the beginning of the end (or the end) of the Astros?

Let’s start off by looking at what worked and didn’t work in 2020. First of all, the 2020 hitting was nowhere near their 2019 level. First of all, they lost Robinson Chirinos to the Rangers who was a good hitter from the catcher spot. They filled that with someone they already had on their roster — lighting hitting, good fielding catcher Martin Maldonado. Maldonado actually hit in 2020 as he was only 2% below average per OPS+. This does count as a regression because Chirinos was the better hitter, however the production was made up by Maldonado’s fielding.

36 year old 1B Yuli Gurriel regressed quite a bit, although that may be due to the inconsistent season that everyone’s had this year. That was no match for the regression that Jose Altuve had this year. He went from a .903 OPS to a .629 OPS in a shocking season. His defense was exactly average according to Fangraph’s +/- DRATING.

Carlos Correa also regressed to a below average hitter, along with Alex Bregman although Bregman still had a good year at the plate. Rookie Kyle Tucker had a good year at the plate to put him second on the Astros’ 2020 WAR list, although that is technically a step down from Michael Brantley’s 2019 season at LF.

George Springer was still worse than he was last year, and he’s the best player on this team. Josh Reddick was technically worse than he was last year because of an 88 OPS+ this year compared to a 89 OPS+ last year. However, there was a .035 OPS regression from 2019. Michael Brantley was worse than he was last year, along with the production at the DH spot.

Long story short, every position has regressed in terms of hitting for the Astros. To some extent, the craziness of the shortened 2020 season would cause half of players to be worse than they were in a worst case scenario, however this is every player.

Pitching was a strong suit last year as after the trade deadline last year, they had the best rotation in the league. The rotation featured Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Zack Greinke, and Brad Peacock. All of them had sub 4.15 ERAs, with the Cole, Verlander, and Greinke all touting sub 3 ERAs.

Cole and Miley vanished to other teams in free agency, Peacock barely pitched in 2020 with shoulder injuries, and Verlander missed all but one start in 2020 and will miss all of 2021 for Tommy John surgery. As for Greinke, he went from a 2.93 ERA to a 4.03 ERA. Lance McCullers joined the starting rotation as he transitioned from long reliever past the trade deadline 2019 to a starter in 2020.

Cristian Javier made the transition to the majors after a dominant 2019 in the minors and he finished with a 3.48 ERA. Jose Urquidy came back from an undisclosed injury in September 2020. Filling in for him was Brandon Bielak, who was less than ideal with a 6.75 ERA. Josh James also made two starts with a 7.27 ERA.

Astros starters in 2020 combined for a 4.26 ERA, compared to a 3.61 ERA that they compiled in 2019. So it’s fair to say that the Astros regressed in starting pitching.

As for the bullpen, the Astros were hit with a surprise injury as star closer Roberto Osuna had to get Tommy John surgery. He’ll likely be back to the team if the Astros make the postseason in 2021, however it’s likely that we next see him in 2022. That’s a significant blow to a team that started Ryan Pressly at closer.

Pressly has been a dominant pitcher throughout his career, however he still isn’t the ideal option compared to Osuna. It could be a Mychal Givens situation where converting a star RP to closer messes the pitcher up.

The bullpen besides Pressly was really shaken up, as Will Harris and Hector Rondon moved on to greener pastures and Chris Devenski missed all but 3.2 innings in 2020 due to injury. In their places this year were Andre Scrubb, Blake Taylor, and Enoli Paredes. And to be fair, Scrubb, Taylor, and Paredes were all great pitchers.

However, the bullpen as a whole took a step back in 2020 with a 4.39 ERA compared to a 3.75 ERA last year.

The fact of the matter is, the Astros weren’t good last year. With a 29-31 record, they capitalized on a weak division. However, what I’m about to show you is going to make it much, much worse.

Free Agents Leaving The Astros After The 2020 Season:

• George Springer, CF

• Michael Brantley, LF/DH

• Roberto Osuna, CL (Will likely sign an extension for Tommy John Surgery)

• Brad Peacock, RP/SP

• Josh Reddick, RF

Free Agents Leaving The Astros After The 2021 Season:

• Zack Greinke, SP

• Justin Verlander, SP

• Carlos Correa, SS

• Lance McCullers Jr, SP/RP

• Joe Smith, RP

• Martin Maldonado, C

• Chris Devenski, RP

George Springer and Michael Brantley are likely gone after this year, which would create a gaping hole for the Astros. Yordan Alvarez, the 2019 AL ROY, had season ending knee surgery. He could fill in at DH, pushing Kyle Tucker into LF and then Myles Straw into CF.

Either way, the Astros won’t have that same production that Brantley and Springer brought to the table. The Astros will also take a hit when Zack Greinke leaves the team. Greinke may retire after 2021.

The Astros did have very bad injury luck this year. However, I doubt that they will be able to recover from this, plus the sanctions implemented by the MLB.

What will become of the Astros? That’s a question that remains to be seen, however it won’t be soon; the Astros are done for. Thanks for reading.

Mark Buehrle Belongs In The Hall Of Fame

Mark Buehrle is most famous for one thing in his career: his perfect game. Yes, on July 23, 2009 he tossed a perfect game to the Tampa Bay Rays. You also might know him from this Foolish Baseball video.

Yes, he was baseball’s speed runner. However, I believe that Buehrle deserves more than just a viral Youtube video. He deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Buehrle was drafted in the 38th round of the 1998 draft out of Jefferson College. He spent one and a half years in the minors before getting called up in 2000. He started out as a reliever in 2000 and then transitioned into a starter in 2001. That’s a common tactic used by the White Sox. I’ll cover that in a later article.

The first two real seasons of his career, Buehrle had a combined 3.44 ERA while going 35-20 with a 133 ERA+. Over the next two years, Buehrle was solid, accumulating a 4.01 ERA. He had an amazing year in 2005 and then a not so great year in 2006, followed by 3 straight decent years. He finished his career with 6 seasons of solid baseball getting a 3.83 ERA.

Overall in his career, Mark Buehrle finished with a 214-160 record and a 3.81 ERA. His stellar defense improved his career WAR total to 59.1.

Why should Buehrle be in the Hall Of Fame? He wasn’t all that great with a 3.81 ERA. However, when you look at pitchers between 2000-2015, Buehrle had the second most WAR. That includes CC Sabathia, Tim Hudson, and more great pitchers.

In between the years of 2005-2015, Buehrle finished seventh in WAR. However, he was behind a group of people who were:

– Felix Hernandez

– Clayton Kershaw

– Zack Greinke

– Roy Halladay

– Justin Verlander

– Cole Hamels

Those are some really good pitchers. He was in front of some really good pitchers as well, including Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Jake Peavy, and Matt Cain.

Obviously, Mark Buehrle was good. But why should he be in the Hall of Fame? For starters, let’s look at who’s in the Hall Of Fame that Buehrle’s better than (at least according to WAR):

-Mordecai Brown

-Red Ruffing

-Whitey Ford

-Sandy Koufax

-Early Wynn

-Addie Joss

-Lefty Gomez

The vote is going to be close. However, I firmly believe that Mark Buehrle belongs in the Hall of Fame. Thanks for reading.

The Over Performing Measure

On a year to year basis, there are always teams that over preform. That’s just how baseball is – the worst team in baseball will beat the best team in baseball 35% of the time. That’s why we have 162 games, but that’s not the point of this article.

How do you measure an over preforming team? You can always look at the transactions in the offseason, the schedule, and all of that, but what about comparing this season to the past 3 seasons to determine if the team is on par with the last 3 years – or if they are underperforming or over performing.

Enter the Over Performing Measure (OPM). The OPM tells you if a team is obviously over performing with a simple formula. Let’s take the 2019 Orioles, for example. The Orioles had a 2016 season where they finished with 89 wins, but then dropped off to 75 wins in 2017. In 2018 they self destructed and thanks to injuries (and other stuff) they fell to 47 wins.

They had obviously under performed and it showed in the OPM rating as they rated a +35. With such a huge number, it didn’t take three guesses to find out that the Orioles would improve the next year in the win column. That’s pretty much what happened as the Orioles rose to 54 wins, obviously improving from 2018.

The flip side of the coin is also true as in 2016 and 2017 the Red Sox had 93 wins, but thanks to improvements and cheating in 2018 they rose to 108 wins. This didn’t make the prettiest OPM, as it called for a drastic drop and that happened in 2019, as they fell from 108 to 84 wins. The Red Sox had obviously over performed in 2018 and they were bound to go down.

Let’s take a look at another example. In 2017 and 2016, the Nationals average 96 wins but in 2018 they dropped to 82 wins. They had clearly gotten unlucky and of course in 2019 they won the World Series after rating a +14 on the OBM.

And I am happy to report that this system is 57% accurate. So that means that while this system is pretty good, it shouldn’t be relied on too heavily to determine whether a team will improve their record or if their record will worsen.

And once you know if a team will improve their record or not, it’s time to use this system to figure out on average how much. So I took every team’s value from 2019 in OPM and their actual change from 2018, and I subtracted the two values. Unfortunately for me, both OPM and the actual change were -2 meaning that this isn’t actually a measure of how many wins a team will improve by, more so if a team will improve its win total.

Although this system may seem pretty good just judging by that percent, there are multiple obvious flaws that you just can’t take into account. What about if Christian Yelich gets injured? Who does the Brewers put in the OF to cover? Or Mike Trout? These are things that a team just can’t plan for and the team’s record will obviously take a hit whenever such an important player goes down to injury. When looking at a team’s OPM rating, it’s painfully obvious that it can’t take lots of things into account.

Free agents can make a huge impact to a team’s success the next year. Unlike college football recruiting where recruits are usually eased into the role, free agents just play right away and have a big impact on the season.

This can allow for drastic season to season change. And in college football you plan for a player graduating, but you can’t plan for a surprise trade offer, a free agent too good to pass up, or player attitude or injuries. This allows for holes at a position than can cause year to year drastic change at each position causing madness, and at the end of the day, unpredictability.

Although this system has some obvious flaws, in general I think that it is a solid system. We’ll have to see what it predicts for the upcoming 2021 season in a later article. Thanks for reading!

World Series Predictions

It’s that time of year again. The World Series is here! These are my predictions for what should be an exciting world series.

Note: We are going to break this up into several parts. The first is going to be scouting reports for each team, then we’ll go into the keys to the game for each team. To sum it up, I’m going to give my projections for the series.

SCOUTING REPORTS

Dodgers:

They were the most dominant team in baseball, despite one of their best players (Cody Bellinger) having a bad season. Despite this, Mookie Betts had an amazing season. Will Smith had a great season behind the plate and hitting the ball, totalling a .980 OPS. Corey Seager hit really well from the SS spot.

Clayton Kershaw was amazing this year, but we all know how Clayton Kershaw is in the postseason. Dustin May embraced that opening day start and finished with a 2.57 ERA. Julio Urias and Walker Buehler also had solid seasons with sub 3.50 ERAs. In the bullpen, Brusdar Graterol has been nasty, and so has Dylan Floro. Adam Kolarek has been downright nasty as well to round out an explosive trio. Everyone else has sub 3.90 ERAs to complete one of the best bullpens in baseball.

This is a really good team, and that showed as they had a 43-17 record. However, as shown in their series against the Braves they do have weaknesses. They did fight back and they’re here now, so I wouldn’t doubt them too much. It’s going to be interesting to see if they play like they did in the first 4 games against the Braves, or the last three. We’ll have to see.

Rays:

Brandon Lowe is legitimately an MVP candidate. The breakout 2B had an amazing year, compiling a .916 OPS. Even more surprising is Randy Arozarena, who has broken out in the playoffs, hitting 7 home runs in the playoffs alone. In the regular season Arozarena hit 7 as well. Aside from those two, Willy Adames and Yandy Diaz were both decent.

Tyler Glasnow was solid this year to lead the rotation, backed up by Ryan Yarbrough and Blake Snell. Charlies Morton was given the ball in a must win game 7 against the Astros, and he excelled as he only gave up one hit. In the bullpen Nick Anderson was lights out with a 0.55 ERA, and he was backed by Diego Castillo and Peter Fairbanks.

This is a really interesting Rays team. They are always creating new strategies and ideas. However, they were up on the Astros 3-0 and then lost 3 games in a row to make a game 7. They won, but that didn’t stop the critics from bashing them. I still have faith in this team despite their shortcomings.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Rays:

►The pitching needs to excel. This is a dangerous Dodgers lineup and bad pitching is just going to make it worse.

►Randy Arozarena. He’s why they’re here now, so naturally he needs to do well in the World Series.

Dodgers:

►Cody Bellinger. He hasn’t been good all year, but now he needs to excel for the Dodgers to win.

►Clayton Kershaw. He’s been historically terrible in the postseason, but the Dodgers need that depth.

PROJECTIONS

The Rays will win. I’m not saying this to pick the “underdog”, but rather because the Rays are an exceptional team with exceptional strategy and an exceptional manager. This will go to a game 7 and that game will be very close.

However, smarts beats skill. The Rays and Dodgers almost have an equal amount of skill, but the Rays have smarts and the Dodgers don’t. Dave Roberts’s job may be on the line this series, so he may be managing with some extra flare.

We also have to bring up the Rays being up 3-0 and then almost blowing the series to the Astros. That’s a sign of concern, but they’re here now, aren’t they? The Dodgers also have some concern with being down 3-1 to the Braves, but they fought through adversity and won the series.

It will be a very, very close series but I’m giving the advantage the Rays.

Thanks for reading!

The Firing Of Rick Renteria Was A Culmination Of 4 Bad Moments

It may have came as a surprise to many when Rick Hahn announced that Rick Renteria and the White Sox had “mutually” agreed to part ways. It certainly came as a surprise to me, as a White Sox fan, who thought that the Sox wouldn’t have the balls to fire him. However, looking back it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Here are 3 moments (and one game) that led to Rick Renteria getting fired.

#4 Gio Gonzalez Blunder

Many times in a manager’s career will they be faced with a difficult decision to make in a key moment: trust an inconsistent, overpaid starter in a key situation in the 9th inning against a powerful lineup, or go to the best closer in the American League to preserve the game. Unfortunately for Renteria, he chose option one and put in Gio Gonzalez. Jordan Luplow walked him off to end the game.

#3 Jose Ruiz Regret

Do you know what works in the MLB? Putting in an experienced, seasoned reliever when the game is on the line in a crucial situation. One out to go. Bottom of the tenth. Men on first and second. Jose Ramirez, the Indians best hitter, steps to the plate. And who does Renteria put in? Jose Ruiz. That is an inexplicable lapse in judgement that if he had made the right move, frankly if any of these had been the right move, the Sox may have been playing today.

#2 Carlos Rodon Disgrace of a Call

As I was listening to the game, I was thinking “What the heck is this call?”. Rick Renteria had opted to put in Carlos Rodon in the biggest situation, biggest play of the year. It was such an inexplicable, stupid, uneducated decision that cost the White Sox their lead in the AL Central.

Bases loaded with 2 outs in the bottom of the seventh. This is a must win game for the White Sox. Francisco Lindor steps up to the plate. Renteria pulls Jimmy Cordero, and decides to put in Carlos Rodon. The guy who hasn’t pitched in relief since 2015 and had pitched in a combined 42.9 IP in the last years with a 5.74 ERA. Disaster strikes and the Indians drop 4 runs. Game over.

#1 The Whole Game 3

What the heck was that? 9 pitchers in one game is not what I’m mad about, but rather who those pitchers were. For example, Carlos Rodon. What is it with Rick Renteria and Carlos Rodon? Rodon blew it and the Sox lost.

Did Renteria deserve to lose his job? I firmly believe that he was fired over these 4 games, but they were most likely factors. Rather, he had no playoff experience and it showed. If the White Sox are truly going to contend, they need a manager that can take them there and Renteria just isn’t the guy.

WHITE SOX FIRE MANAGER RENTERIA

The White Sox have fired their manager, Rick Renteria. The White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 this year in an expanded playoff field. They finished with a record of 35-25. This move comes after a few questionable calls by Renteria, which I will cover in a later article.

Renteria has a serious bid at being the AL Manager of the year, which is ironic since he just got fired. This will likely open a coach carousel which could carry on all offseason. We will have to see who the White Sox hire in place of Renteria, and where Renteria will end up.