2015 Season Preview: AL Central

Last year, I started the AL Central preview with a picture of the Kansas City Royals’ Yordano Ventura and mentioned that the division would be looking to take home the World Series title for the first time since 2005.  I then predicted each team’s win total to within 1 or 2 games (save the Tigers who I had at 94 wins). I was close with the World Series pick as Yordano and company...
Via Off The Bench
1 day ago  |  Discuss

2015 Season Preview: NL Central

The NL Central in 2015 is going to be one of the most exciting divisions in baseball. While it might not be the best division or have the best team, it could be the deepest top to bottom. I think it’s possible that any of the 5 teams–the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cincinnati Reds, or the St. Louis Cardinals–could actually win this year...
Via Off The Bench
7 days ago  |  Discuss

2015 Season Preview: NL West

The NL West has been the talk of Major League baseball this offseason.  Not only are the San Francisco Giants the defending World Series champs, but thanks to hyperactive GMs, both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will field overhauled rosters.  The Rockies scored the third most runs in the majors last year and the Diamondbacks have grit. This is a very good division...
Via Off The Bench
8 days ago  |  Discuss

Five Players to Watch in the American League

Some teams are good. Other teams are bad. Sometimes, the difference is the performance of one player. Obviously, for a team to win it must play up to its collective ability. But some players and some positions can be lynchpins; the difference between dominance and disappointment. Sometimes, a starting pitcher’s individual performance can mean the difference between a killer 1...
Via Off The Bench
9 days ago  |  Discuss

Tampa Bay Rays Review

The Tampa Bay Rays are going to look quite a bit different when they start the regular season next month. Most people look at this winter as a disappointment for the franchise, as they lost players, coaches and front office personnel. As a small market, all they can do is try to pick up the pieces and move forward. Here is a closer look at what they went through. Everything started...
Via Off The Bench
13 days ago  |  Discuss

2015 Season Preview: AL West

Don’t look at last year’s AL West Season Preview, please don’t. Actually, go ahead, click on the link. What you’ll find is that no matter what I write here, I can’t possible be as wrong as I was in 2014. Last season, I thought the Texas Rangers were headed to another divisional crown but an injury bug the size of the Lone Star State struck Arlington and the Angels finally...
Via Off The Bench
13 days ago  |  Discuss

Are the Cubs Too Right Handed?

The potential of the Chicago Cubs trio of talented prospects expected to take the league by storm this season was on full display Tuesday, when they went back-to-back-to-back in epic fashion. Sure, it was Spring Training, but for a Cubs fanbase that has suffered through 3 terrible years comforted only by the promise of their farm system, this signaled the tangible start of something...
Via Off The Bench
20 days ago  |  Discuss

Five Players to Watch in the National League

Some teams are good. Other teams are bad. Sometimes, the difference is the performance of one player. Obviously, for a team to win it must play up to its collective ability. But some players and some positions can be lynchpins; the difference between dominance and disappointment. Sometimes, a starting pitcher’s individual performance can mean the difference between a killer 1...
Via Off The Bench
21 days ago  |  Discuss

Why Clay Buchholz, Drew Hutchison, and Ervin Santana Will Be Good in 2015

A year ago, I predicted an ERA improvement in three pitchers based solely on their swinging strike rate.  Those three, Tim Lincecum, Jeff Samardzija, and Cole Hamels, were names familiar to baseball fans and success was sure to find their way again.  Perhaps emboldened by correctly identifying two players whose performance drastically improved in 2014 (both Hamels and Samardzija...
Via Off The Bench
28 days ago  |  Discuss

2015 MLB.TV Rankings

With Spring Training games suddenly on the horizon, we are about to be faced with an overwhelming amount of choice. While its true that allows viewers to watch most games going on in the league, the physics of human eyesight mean that we have to prioritize and watch only one game, or two teams, at any given time. Never fear though! I’m here to help. What follows is a list...
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February 25, 2015  |  Discuss

MLB’s New Pace of Play Games a Step

Yesterday, MLB and MLBPA announced new “pace of play” rules, intended to speed the game along and keep the audience’s attention in a world where events and stories are told 140 characters at a time.  The new rules were announced via twitter here and here, but they fell short of making any meaningful impact. The truth is that baseball’s long standing downfall, its slow, building pace...
Via Off The Bench
February 21, 2015  |  Discuss

Quick Reactions to ‘The Education of Alex Rodriguez’

I just finished reading ESPN’s jawdroppingly good piece on Alex Rodriguez’s year suspended from baseball and though I don’t know if my opinion of A-Rod is changed all that much, I know I’ll certainly be rooting for him come next week. If you haven’t read it, you should. It chronicles A-Rod’s journey over the last 12 months- his college level marketing class, motivational...
Via Off The Bench
February 19, 2015  |  Discuss

Milwaukee Looks to Avoid Another Late Season Slide

Despite a quiet offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers look to build off of last year’s hot start and avoid another late season slide. Rumors flew around all offseason involving the Brewers and continue to do so as we lead up to pitchers and catchers reporting later this month. From James Shields to Jonathan Papelbon, the Brewers have been linked to numerous major free-agents without...
Via Off The Bench
February 13, 2015  |  Discuss

Will the New York Mets Really Contend in 2015?

Matt Harvey is back, Zach Wheeler is good, Noah Syndrgaard is still waiting in the wings. The New York Mets are ready to make a run at the playoffs in 2015! There are only a couple of problems: The offense and the rest of the league. Now that the Washington Nationals have 6 potential All-Star starters for 5 rotation spots, to go along with a very deep lineup which features speed...
Via Off The Bench
February 13, 2015  |  Discuss

Team Europe to Debut in Japan

Photo  by  Dick Thomas Johnson      This year, for the first time ever, there will be a baseball Team Europe. The new team’s formation was announced by Riccardo Fraccari, President of the World Baseball Softball Confederation, and Team Europe will take part in exhibition games in Tokyo, Japan, in early March. This is the first pan-European team to be established and its...
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February 12, 2015  |  Discuss

Early 2000’s Hip Hop for Today’s Major Leagues

From time to time here at Off The Bench, we help our readers who have a very specific set of knowledge to better understand the MLB landscape.  Wether it was an attempt to help Star Wars fans, or political junkies, we’ve got a history of helping small interest groups.  Today, we’re giving the early-2000s hip-hop crowd an intro into the upcoming MLB season. As a bonus, it gives...
Via Off The Bench
February 11, 2015  |  Discuss

Cole Hamels To The Red Sox, Imagined

Rumor has it that Philadelphia Phillies’ Ace Cole Hamels will be dealt in a matter of days and with pitchers and catchers reporting in just over two weeks, the time is now for Ruben Amaro to try and salvage his offseason–and likely his job.  Hamels is the jewel of the trade market and the only Ace available (sorry James Shields) and Amaro should have no trouble commanding a...
Via Off The Bench
February 06, 2015  |  Discuss

Like It Or Not, The Yankees Need A-Rod

The New York Yankees might not want to hear it, but they need Alex Rodriguez this year. In the last few months, since his reinstatement from a year long suspension, the Yankees have been taking shots at A-Rod. First, telling him (publicly, I might add) that they don’t consider him a starter; then that don’t even see him as a fielder; and finally rebuffing his offer of a conciliatory...
Via Off The Bench
February 02, 2015  |  Discuss

Rangers Will Be 2015’s Most Improved Team

A brutal injury bug saw a proud Texas Rangers organization lose 95 games in 2014, good enough to finish 31 games out of first place. Before the season started, we at Off The Bench picked them to win 94 games. We weren’t even that high on Shin-Soo Choo or Prince Fielder, but we still thought this club had the talent to take the AL West. I bring that up not to have our readers...
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January 28, 2015  |  Discuss

A Retrospective From The Future: Looking Back On Commissioner Rob Manfred’s First Five Years In Office

Five years ago, in January of 2015, Bud Selig rode off into the sunset and Rob Manfred assumed the reigns of major league baseball. In the five years that have since passed, a lot has happened–and I don’t just mean the rise of holographic Twitter and the unlikely presidency of former NFL head coach Bill Belichick (who, you’ll recall, turned to politics after Deflategate left...
Via Off The Bench
January 26, 2015  |  Discuss

Atlanta Braves: Is This Really The Plan?

Every move that the Atlanta Braves have made this offseason has had an eye towards the future and signaled that they are not really planning to compete in 2015.  I’m lumping the Markakis deal in there, because nobody really knows what that was about.  But these are the Atlanta Braves, and punting on a year is not something that this team, nor its fanbase is accustomed to. ...
Via Off The Bench
January 20, 2015  |  Discuss

You Probably Haven’t Even Realized The Extent Of The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Folly

The Arizona Diamondbacks are one perplexing organization. What do you say about a team that: Thought they would compete for the divisional crown in 2014 but instead finished with the worst record in baseball Has a projected Ace starter who was a full time reliever in 2013 Currently sports one Oliver Perez on the roster Landed Yasmani Thomas–the biggest Cuban free agent of the...
Via Off The Bench
January 15, 2015  |  Discuss

Francisco Rodriguez Well on His Way to a HOF Career

Before current free agent closer Francisco Rodriguez reminded hitters in 2014 that he can be a difficult at bat, Rodriguez had very little case for a  Hall of Fame career. The baseball world, writers included,  basically turned on him in 2011 when he sought to activate a games finished clause that would promise to pay him $17.5 Million for 2012.  The Brewers brass negotiated...
Via Off The Bench
January 13, 2015  |  Discuss

Hall of Fame 2015: The Official Off the Bench Ballot

Max Frankel: Let’s make this puppy bark. Sean Morash: Ruff! Is our ballot for the baseball bloggers association due today? Max Frankel: If not today then soon. We have to figure out who we’re voting for. Last year’s method was a smashing success. Should we run that back and do it again? Sean Morash: Sounds like a plan.  There’s 34 names on this year’s ballot and we need...
Via Off The Bench
January 06, 2015  |  Discuss

Rankin the MLB Managers- 2014

Managers don’t throw a single pitch. They don’t take a single grounder, get a single hit, or score a single run. Yet having the right manager is key to winning. Managers get a lot of credit for their team’s success (John Farrell), but when teams fail, managers suffer a bulk of the blame (Dusty Baker). I’ve decided to take a look at the 30 MLB managers and rank them based...
Via Off The Bench
December 25, 2014  |  Discuss
Off The Bench
A (Mostly) Baseball Blog started by two college baseball players who share insight into the Major League game on a day to day basis.
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