Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Top Five Fantasy Baseball Players of 2014

fantasybase
Summary: While the first half of the baseball season has been quite unpredictable, look for conventional logic to prevail in the second half. Plenty of baseball’s big name superstars will rebound with spectacular second halves and you can ride their success to victory. Remember to buy low, sell high and always make moves with your league’s specific scoring format in mind.

We are more than halfway through the 2014 baseball season and there’s been a ton of surprises. Who would have thought that Jose Altuve would be the number one ranked player? Who could have predicted that Jose Reyes would rank out of the top 75 halfway through the season? Let’s take a look at the top five fantasy players per ESPN rankings as of 7/22/2014.

1) Jose Altuve
The 5’5”, 174 pound spaaltuverk plug is the number one fantasy player. That is not a misprint. The little man is batting .336 with 3 home runs, 31 RBI, 41 stolen bases, 51 runs and an on base percentage of .373. He has only struck out 34 times and has 23 walks through 402 at bats. He is first in the American League in batting average and steals. Now, let’s see a raise of hands as to who picked Altuve with their first round selection. Anyone? Bueller?

Altuve’s production could be even more amazing if he batted in a lineup that is halfway decent. As long as he keeps getting on base, he’ll remain a superstar because he’s so quick and opportunistic on the base paths.

2) Mike Trout
The 22 year old All-Star Game MVP is batting .310 and slugging .605 with 23 long balls, 74 RBI, 69 runs, 10 steals and 54 walks in 365 at bats. He is the American League leader in OPS at 1.002 and ranks in the top five in slugging percentage, walks, runs, RBI and homers. Simply put, the sport has never seen such a superstar. Trout is on pace for one of the greatest fantasy seasons in the history of sports thanks to a loaded Angels roster that offers him lineup protection in the form of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

3) Felix Hernandez
The King has a 2.02 ERA, 163 strikeouts, a .90 WHIP and an 11-2 record through 21 starts. Both his ERA and WHIP are well below his career averages of 3.11 and 1.18, respectively. Of particular note is his win total. The Mariners are finally good and might even make the playoffs. This will likely be the first year that Felix hits the 20 win mark. The closest he has come was 19 wins in 2009. It is hard to believe that the 9 year veteran has never broken the 20 win threshold, considering his remarkable abilities. The inning eater will likely remain the game’s top pitcher for the rest of the season.

4) Andrew McCutchen andrew
McCutchen is Mr. Reliable once again in 2014. The five tool superstar is batting .322 with 17 long balls, 62 RBI, 16 steals and 58 runs across 370 at bats. His on base percentage is a robust .419 and he is slugging a healthy .562. McCutchen is first in the National League with 61 walks. There is absolutely no weakness in his game. He is one of the most consistent superstars in all of sports. If he played in the American League with a better surrounding lineup, he would be ranked either first or second. If the Pirates add more protection to their lineup to force opposing pitchers to give McCutchen better pitches to hit, he’ll keep on pounding the ball throughout the second half.

5) Michael Brantley
Along with Joe Altuve, Michael Brantley has been the surprise of the season. He is hitting an amazing .328 compared to his career average of .285. His 2014 OBP is .388 compared to a career average of .339. His slugging percentage is also uncharacteristically high at .523 versus a career average of .404. The young lefty has 15 homers and 63 RBI. His unbelievable pace probably won’t continue in the second half of the season, though stranger things have happened. It is quite remarkable that he was considered an afterthought with limited potential only a year ago when he batted .284 with a mere 10 long balls.

stadium

8 Pitchers Dominating the NCAA

baseballNCAA
With the conclusion of the 2014 NCAA College World Series, it’s time to take a look at some of the most dominating men’s baseball and women’s softball pitchers from the season. These fine men and women have excelled in both performance and leadership. Each and everyone one of these athletes have shown they are ready to advance and succeed at the next level. Here is a look at the 8 most dominating pitchers for the 2014 season..

Men’s Baseball

1. Ben Wetzler (Sr. – Oregon State) – In his four years at Oregon State, Wetzler compiled a career record of 36-7. His senior year was his best as he led the nation in ERA at 0.78 with a record of 12-1. Wetzler started off the 2014 season with an 11 game suspension due to some NCAA violations related to his 2013 draft experience. He then led his Oregon ducks to a fine 45-14 record. Despite his great career numbers, Wetzler was only drafted in the 9th round by the Miami Marlins.

2. Sean Newcomb (Jr. – Hartford) – After two mediocre years, Newcomb certainly came to life in 2014 posting a record of 8-2 with an ERA of 1.25. He ended up the season ranked 2nd in the nation in “Strikeouts Per Nine Innings”. With a fastball that consistently hits 94-95 on the radar (sometimes hitting the 100 MPH mark), Newcomb was selected as the 15th overall pick by the Los Angeles Angels.

preston3. Preston Morrison (Jr. – TCU) – After an amazing junior season, Morrison was name Big-12 Pitcher of the Year and a 2nd team All-American. He finished the year with a 9-4 record and a 1.32 ERA. He also ended up ranked 3rd in all of college baseball for innings pitched with 129 1/3. Even though he has a career record of 25-9 and an ERA of 1.62, he was completely overlooked in the 2014 draft.

4. Aaron Nola (Jr. – LSU) – LSU entered the season with high expectations to compete for a National championship due to Nola’s arm. He certainly did his part. For the second season in a row, Nola stymied NCAA hitters while compiling a 11-1 season with a 1.47 ERA. He was ranked 3rd in the NCAA in strikeouts with 134. For the last two seasons, he has gone 23-2 with a 1.49 ERA. Nola is a 2-time All-American and should be able to amass wins at the next level. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies with the 7th overall pick.

Women’s Softball

1. Hannah Campbell (Sr. – South Alabama) – After a promising junior season, hannahcampbellCampbell used that experience and exploded on the scene in her senior year. She compiled an excellent 18-6 record from 25 starts while finishing 2nd in Division I with a 0.95 ERA. Her control was amazing as she also finished with the 5th best “Walks per Nine Innings”. She was a big part of an incredible South Alabama pitching staff that led the nation in ERA at 1.29.

2. Lacey Waldrop (Jr. – Florida State} – Waldrop turned a solid 2013 foundation set into an All-American season in this, just her junior year. She dominated from beginning to end, finishing 1st in Division I in victories (38) and 3rd in ERA (1.13). Watch out for this amazing talent next year. With 81 wins already in the bank, Waldrop will be looking to make an assault on Florida State’s record book next season.

3. Aimee Creger (Sr. – Tulsa) – In 2014, Creger proved to be un-hitable and nearly unbeatable. She amassed 354 Ks in only 215 innings while compiling a record of 29-2. She led all of college softball in strikeouts and was third in shutouts with 13. Creger finishes her career at Tulsa with a 96-18 win/loss record, an ERA of 1.40 and 1,079 strikeouts.

4. Farish Beard (Jr. – South Alabama) – As the other part of South Alabama’s two-headed pitching monster, Beard finished the season with a 22-7 record and an ERA of 1.23, good enough to be ranked #6 in women’s softball. She also recorded 224 strikeouts. She finished the season ranked 5th in “Hits Allowed per Seven Innings”. She now has a strong foundation and her win total should increase next year due to Campbell’s graduation.

8 Interesting Facts About the World Series

trophy

For over a century and a half, baseball has been America’s national past time, but it wasn’t until 1903 that the first World Series was played. Throughout its 11-decade history, spectators have seen bitter upsets and great triumphs of the human spirit. It has survived scandals and strikes, and it continues to inspire generation after generation of Americans. With such a long history, there are bound to be hundreds of facts that the average baseball fan is unaware of. Here are eight facts we think everyone should know.

Fact #1: Despite the fact that it’s a world championship, only one team from outside the USA has won.
The title of “World Series” may have seemed like a misnomer to many when the championship was first played as none of the teams came from outside the United States. This changed in 1969 when the Montreal Expos was established. They were joined by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, which went on to become the first team from outside the USA to win the Series in 1992. The Blue Jays followed this victory with another win in 1993.

Fact #2: The World Series has only been canceled twice in 110 years.
The games continued to be played during both world wars, but they were not played in 1904 and 1994. In 1904, fans should have been watching the second ever Series, but because of lingering rivalries within the MLB, the New York Giants refused to accept the major league status of the Boston Pilgrims, the American League champion. Thankfully, feelings had changed by 1905 when the Giants were National League champions once again and faced off against the Philadelphia Athletics, winning four games to one.

Fact #3: There has only been one no-hitter in World Series history.paiting
Only Don Larsen can claim to have thrown a perfect game in the Fall Classic. It happened during Game 5 of the 1956 Series when Larsen and the Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers four games to three. Larsen was later awarded the Series MVP for his effort.

Fact #4: The highest number of home runs hit by a single player in a Series is five.
That record is held by two men, Reggie Jackson and Chase Utley. Jackson’s set the record during the 1977 Series when, playing for the New York Yankees, he hit five home runs in the six-game Series. The record was tied during the 2009 Series when Philadelphia’s Utley hit five home runs in a six-game Series against Jackson’s old team. Reggie Jackson is also tied with Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval for hitting the most home runs (3) in a single game of the Series.

Fact #5: The World Series was not the first baseball championship.
A loosely organized series of games were played between 1884 and 1890 called the Championship of the United States. Years before the American League was established, these games pitted the National League against the now defunct American Association. These were primarily exhibition games. The rules varied from year to year with some series having as many as 15 games and other having only three.

Fact #6: The Boston Red Sox are the only team in World Series history to win after being down three games to zero.
What most fans in Bean Town remember about the 2004 Series is that it broke the “Curse of the Bambino,” the supposed result of Sox owner Harry Frazee’s sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1918. For less supernatural reasons, the game was historic because it was the first and only time that a team lost the first three games, and then won the last four games. There may be something to the curse, if only psychologically, because after it was broken in 2004, Boston went on to win again in 2007 and 2013.

1981_World_SeriesFact #7: The Yankees and the Dodgers have faced off against each more often than any other pair of teams.
The New York Yankees and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have played one another 11 times, with the Yankees winning eight games and the Dodgers winning only three. Their first match-up was in 1941, but they haven’t played each other since 1981, mostly because the Dodgers appeared only one more time in 1988.

Fact #8: The same team has the gone the longest without a win and without an appearance.
Does it surprise anyone that we’re talking about the Cubs? The Cubs defeated the Tigers in 1907 and again in 1908, their final victory. Their last appearance was in 1945. Some place the blame for their poor performance in the following decades on a curse. Local legend says that a local tavern owner was ejected from the stadium during Game 4 because he had brought his pet goat (though he had paid for an extra seat). The story goes that on his way out, the man cursed the Cubs, saying that they would never play in a Series again. Whether the story is true or not, that’s exactly what happened. In fairness to the Cubs, the Seattle Mariners and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals have never made an appearance.

The World Series is one of America’s oldest traditions. Though the MLB as seen competition from other sports in recent decades, baseball remains one of our most watched sports. The only thing that’s important to most fans is to see their team presented with the Commissioner’s Cup, but it’s good to know a little about the history of the game. Dig into the history of your own team and see what interesting facts you can dig up.
1938_World_Series_ProgramHD

The Mindset of an Athlete: How Soccer is More Like Baseball Than You Think

Summary: The main takeaway here is that stars of each of the 2 sports are bred from the father of discipline and practice. Talent is nothing without taking that gift to the field and putting in the work that it requires to be one of the best. In their minds, winning is the only option, and in order to win, you have to put your heart, soul, and mind into your craft. You’ve got to really challenge your mind and hard-wire your brain to unlock your true potential. Only a select few have the mindset and determination to discipline themselves like the stars of these 2 sports have done.

Kicking around a clean white and black ball on fresh green turf is similar to smashing a tiny, red-stitched, white ball out of the stadium. What?! You probably think I’m either crazy or have never actually watched sports in my entire life. But believe me, the 2 sports ARE similar, just let me explain how in 1 word. Mindset!

training
Practice: The Dirty Work
To play either of these sports at a high level you’ve gotta have an iron mind and a brain that is wired to never let you give up. You see, these 2 sports are something you have to seriously practice for. In soccer you have to train yourself to get your feet to do what your brain wants. Have you ever tried controlling something with your feet? It’s hard stuff! It takes a lot of discipline to be able to kick the ball around like the professionals do, making it seem so easy and effortless.

Baseball is the same way. Constantly repeating actions like pitching, hitting, and bunting. It takes some serious hand-eye coordination to be able to hit a 100mph fastball. How can these guys even tell if a pitch is going to be a strike or a ball when it’s flying across the plate? It’s just a white blur at the speeds they pitch at, but through practice they are able to figure it out.

Discipline: Consistently Doing the Dirty Work discipline
Accurately controlling and kicking a soccer ball is an art. How long do you think it takes to be able to control a black and white, air-filled ball smoothly? Days? Months? Not even close. Try 10+ years. Lacing up the cleats and hitting that green, perfectly rectangular field every morning is what it takes. These are the guys putting in hours upon hours of practicing kicks, headers, and fancy footwork. The professional athlete mindset is what you need to will yourself out of bed in the morning and get to work, no matter how tired you are.

Likewise, it’s amazing the kind of discipline that goes into being a good hitter. You’re talking batting practices after batting practices throughout the entire year. Hundreds of thousands of repetitions is what you don’t see when that home-run slugger steps up to the plate. The heart and soul he poured into his practices are afterthoughts to people when he’s out there. The mindset it took for him to put in all those hours day in and day out finally pays dividends when he steps out onto the plate while the crowd stands and cheers, knowing he’s their best chance for a comeback.

What About Other Sports?
Lets compare to other sports for a minute. Football, not futbol, requires a lot of practice, of course. But think about it, you have to be a big guy to have a chance at most positions in football. You have to be tall, wide, and just naturally big to have a chance at playing any position like lineman, tight end, linebacker, and running back. If you are 5’8”, all the practice in the world isn’t going to help you when a 350 pound lineman comes barreling at you.
camtheman
How about basketball? Doesn’t height give a huge advantage? Sure you have to possess a lot of natural skill to succeed at a high level, but if you have natural skill without height, you’re playing at a disadvantage. Of course there are exceptions to the rules such as Nate Robinson or Spud Webb, who both have had great careers, but in general height gives you a huge advantage in basketball.