NLDS 2017 Preview

S.Samek

We have four teams left in the National League. Let’s take a closer look at each division series matchup.
First is LA and Arizona. This is an NL West division battle, set up by Arizona’s win over Colorado, also of the NL West.
LA is no stranger to the playoffs and winning. This year they would win the President’s trophy for best regular season mark with 104 wins. This was 11 better than the Diamondbacks total.

According to ESPN the Dodgers have the best fielding team left in the tournament and best roster. If you have a roster than boasts, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Alex Wood, Cody Bellinger and more you deserve that mark.
Bellinger stands out because of his success against Zac Greinke. Bellinger hit .293 against him this year with a .655 slugging percentage.

Arizona should rely on Greinke and Robby Ray to win them games pitching. Paul Goldschmidt and J.D Martinez should care the Snakes offensively. The pair mashed 36 and 29 homers respectively during 2017.

Though Goldschmidt struggles against Kershaw to the tune of .227 career and 0-5 during 2017 against him.

The bullpen may be a bit shaky, especially with closer Fernando Rodney. Big reason why the snakes pen is ranked seventh of eight remaining teams in bullpen war.

Though recently the Diamondbacks have the Dodgers number, winning the last six in a row. It won’t be enough as La wins this series

Second offering is the defending world series champions Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. This is a matchup of the two teams that emerged in rather weak divisions.
Chicago may still have a bit of a spark from winning it all last year. They also have Kris Bryant, Antony Rizzo and company hitting well for them. They also returned Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester to the staff that took it all last year. They will be a tough out in this round.

The Nationals were five games better than the Cubs, with 97 wins. They did this with a core of Bryce Harper. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. With an improved bullpen from trades this team looks complete and ready to compete.

Harper should have an advantage over Arrieta, as he hit left handers .322/.433/.654 this season. It should be close, but Washington has just enough to sneak by.

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LA Lights Up

Rookie displays big power.

By S. Samek

The American League and National League always seem to go head to head over which league is superior. This season is no exception. Taking the American League by storm is Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.

To counter punch for the national league it’s the LA Dodgers Cody Bellinger. Bellinger is bringing the power knocking 21 homers after a two-homer night on Monday.

 This continues a string of nine home runs in nine games.  Hes played in just 51 games this season after his April 25 call up. Bellinger is the fourth player to mash 20 home runs pre-all-star break being younger than 21. The last person to do so was Miguel Cabrera in 2004.

Bellinger is hitting .269 with 10 doubles and 47 rbi this season. The 21 home runs are tied for second in the majors behind only Judge and his 23 dingers. Though while Judge is doing well in the all-star balloting, Bellinger is not. He hasn’t ever cracked the top 15 in outfielders.  In fact, in the ESPN article it looks like it would take quite a bit of work to get the man into the all-star game.

While this would be a shame, I think it is going to happen and Mr. Bellinger will be staying home. Though I feel like the snub will only motivate the kid to do bigger and better things. Like win a rookie of the year award. He has a very early edge if nothing else.

Bellinger is another home-grown product. In 2016, he hit 26 homers in the upper two level of the minors while hitting .271. When he was called up this season he was hitting .343 with five homers and 15 rbi in 18 games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.  He was a Double-A all-star for Tulsa and played in the AFL, where he was all-prospect team and an AFL rising star. He also owns two Dodger’s organization all-star nods.

Bellinger won last month’s rookie of the month award on the National League side. He also won the player of the week honor for the week of May 7th,2017.

While Bellinger has caught a lot of national attention like Judge has. Bellinger may serve as a symbol of the new culture of baseball.

 The idea of drilling the ball hard, his average exit velocity is almost 93 mph, or failing he has 65 strikeouts proves this.

This is very true with all the advanced metrics of the game and obsession with pitchers that hit triple digits on the gun. Not a bad thing, as who doesn’t love seeing the ball go sailing 500 feet out for easy runs. Who doesn’t love to see dominant pitchers rack up strikeout numbers in the teens. It’s an evolution of the game. If seeing players like Judge and Bellinger come around by the hundreds over the years that would be great. It gets media attention and fans in the stands. I embrace Bellinger and wish him the best of luck this year, Judge too.

As for which is better, time will tell. It’s only been a small sample for Bellinger, and Judge is still less than a full season into his pro career. Open the debate back up in five years for a more fair comparison.