Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Outlook: Millard Fillmore Division

Big Innings takes a look at the four divisions to see what each team has and where each team will finish.

Last year was not a banner year for the MFD. The division winner was the Zaps, who easily outdistanced a lackluster field. He failed to get the 1st round bye, however, and that was costly when he lost in the 1st round. This year, the MFD houses both the AL and NL MVPs, the AL Cy Young winner, and the NL Cy Young runner-up. So the MFD will be much improved. Are the Zaps still the class of the division? Can the Drillers give them a serious challenge? Are the Mavs primed to play beyond game 162? Will the Buckeyes play game 162 during draft weekend? Read on, faithful readers...

Starting Pitching:
1. Zaps
2. Drillers
3. Mavs
4. Buckeyes
The Zaps have an embarrassment of riches here: Greinke, Scherzer, Kluber, Liriano, Hamels, Rodon. The Drillers are a distant 2nd, and their place here is due almost entirely to Keuchel. The Mavs have Carrasco, CMartinez, Gallardo, and Odorizzi which is neither bad nor great. The Buckeyes bring up the rear with Bauer, Walker, Nelson, and Happ. Unfortunately, this is the strength of the Buckeyes this year.

1. Zaps
2. Mavs
3. Drillers
4. Buckeyes
This is not a great category for any of the MFD teams, but the Zaps (Ziegler, Cecil, Giles, Herrera) get the nod. The Mavs have the best reliever in the division with Britton. As far as I can tell, the Buckeyes only have 1 reliever at this point. The draft is full of good relievers, though.

1. Posey, Drillers
2. d'Arnaud/Martin, Zaps
3. Lucroy, Mavs
4. Bethancourt, Buckeyes
Posey is the best in the game. Here's an interesting tidbit: According to SOM, Buster Posey is also the 6th best DEFENSIVE FIRST BASEMAN in the Major Leagues.

First Base:
1. Goldschmidt, Zaps
2. CDavis, Mavs
3. Abreu, Drillers
4. Sano(?), Buckeyes
Like Buster, Goldy is the best in the game. Sano actually has better offensive numbers than Davis and Abreu, but with half the ABs. And he's a 5. Plus, I'm not sure he'll play 1b for the Buckeyes.

Second Base:
1. Kendrick/Wong/Miller/Russell, Mavs
2. Rendon, Zaps
3. Walker, Drillers
4. Gennett, Buckeyes
Obviously, the Mavs have depth. Rendon had a bit of a down year. On Scooter Gennett's 2014 card, he had zero points of on base vs LHP (including no BP singles). This year he has 2 points of HBP. So... he's trending up.

Third Base:
1. Donaldson, Drillers
2. Machado, Zaps
3. Castellanos, Mavs
4. Sano(?), Buckeyes
1 and 2 are two of the top 3b in the league. As for the Mavs and Buckeyes, there happens to be a young, full-time third baseman with a pretty good card in the draft.

1. Correa/Andrus/Russell/Miller, Mavs
2. ACabrera, Zaps
3. Desmond, Buckeyes
4. Rollins, Drillers
There are a handful of good shortstops in the MFD, but they all play for the same team.

Left Field:
1. Yelich/Blackmon/Jennings, Drillers
2. JUpton/Bradley, Mavs
3. Dickerson, Zaps
4. Gattis/Ackley/Coghlan, Buckeyes
If Yelich plays LF for the Drillers, he's #1. If he plays CF, the Mav duo is #1. It's close either way. Dickerson is hurt by his defense. Gattis is hurt by batted balls in his direction. 

Center Field:
1. Harper/Heyward/Bradley, Mavs
2. McCutchen, Zaps
3. Yelich/Blackmon/Jennings, Drillers
4. Kiermaier/Ozuna, Buckeyes
Harper may not have the range of Cutch, but his card will be the best one in the set. The Buckeyes have the best defensive center fielder in the division.

Right Field:
1. Harper/Heyward/Bradley, Mavs
2. Bautista, Zaps
3. Puig(?), Drillers
4. Soler/Ozuna, Buckeyes
Heyward gets the slight nod over Joey Bats. The Buckeyes have 3 pretty good young outfielders, but they all play either CF or RF.

Designated Hitter:
1. Sano(?)/Soler(?), Buckeyes
2. Franco(?), Drillers
3. Dickerson(?), Zaps
4. Kendrick(?)/Upton(?), Mavs
It's hard to pick out the DH from most teams - including all of these.

Draft Picks:
1. Buckeyes
2. Mavs
3. Drillers
4. Zaps
The Buckeyes pick 1st every round, and they'll need it. Rebuilding is tough.

1. Zaps
2. Mavs
3. Drillers
4. Buckeyes
The Zaps don't have many holes. He should win 100 games and get that bye he missed last year. Then he can lose in the 2nd round. The Mavs and Drillers should be neck and neck all year to challenge the Zaps or to at least compete for a wild card spot. Any early guesses as to which player the Buckeyes will take with the first pick in the 2016 Draft? How about with the first pick in the 2017 Draft?

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