Props to Ryan for just redefining his team as “East Coast,” opens up a whole WORLD of possibilities for life relocation
2018 RECORD: 13-5
PROJECTED 2019 RECORD: 10-8, 2nd place. This franchise is no stranger to wild swings in their performance year to year, but we actually have them maintaining their grip on the second bye despite taking a significant step back in the overall record. PARITY.
BEAR MINIMUM BLOVIATION: The Kings have long been a team whose pitching far outpaced its hitting, in 2019 we think it will be a bit more evenly matched. NOT SURE, however, if that will be due to the pitching taking a step back (as injuries threaten to ruin poor Clayton Kershaw and inevitably come for James Paxton and such) or due to some young hitters coming into their own (mostly referring to like Yoan Moncada and Gleyber Torres, both of whom could still take another leap of two forward). How this team fares likely comes down to the health of the pitching staff and the ability of the offense to absorb or avoid growing pains. Yanno basically exactly what I fucking said already.
PROJECTED BACKYARD SURPRISE STUD HITTER: RF Jesse Winker – SO GLAD that the ECK picked up Winker so I can wax poetic about this potential OBP GAWD (one that could perhaps grab the torch from current OBP GAWD and teammate Joey Votto). Winker is only 25 and walked more than he struck out across 89 games last season, before dipping to have a wee bit of shoulder surgery. On a shoulder that allegedly has been bothering him for yearrrrs, yearrrrrrrs I tell you. Now on the one hand he might need a little time to work past that particular surgery, on the other hand if he DOES feel 100% now for the first time long time he may have unlocked some extra power. The potential is here for a guy with a .400 OBP and 20+ HRs and yes that plays IN AN OBP LEAGUE. SOmetimes I wonder if people know we are in an OBP league. Someone sign Shin-Soo Choo is what I’m saying.
PROJECTED BACKYARD SURPRISE DUD HITTER: SS Javier Baez – Let’s call this a “dud” versus average draft position, even though this isn’t a league that uses drafts anymore WHICH WAS A MISTAKE. Anyhow, this is not me saying Baez is going to be terrible this is just me pointing out (something that others have surely pointed out all over the interwebs) that Baez probably had a career year in 2018 and his profile screeeeams regression coming. Guy swings at everything, doesn’t take walks, had a quarter of his fly balls leave the ball park which can be tough to repeat, etc. etc. etc. The Kings probably don’t end up terribly DISAPPOINTED in Baez’ performance (though there’s a chance for that) but I think every website that ranks him over Jose Altuve should be shamed. SHAMEEEE.
PROJECTED BACKYARD SURPRISE STUD PITCHER: SP Yu Darvish – I don’t know how to really wield this “surprise” thing clearly but like, I guess what I am saying is I think Yu will get 150 or 160 innings in for 2019 and that would likely come as a surprise to a lot of people. Perhaps I am one of those people. STILL PROJECTING IT. 160 innings with 10+ K/9 and the Kings are in good shape (or they’ve already traded him to fill a hole).
PROJECTED BACKYARD SURPRISE DUD PITCHER: SP James Paxton – We already know that Paxton tends to spend a little time on the ole
DL but here’s something we might not know, that I now know: James allowed lefties to slug .495 off him last year. Last year he gave up 1.29 HR/9 and this year he moves to a home stadium with an embarrassment of a right field. Dare I say there’s potential for Paxton to dud a bit even with perfect health; there’s at least some potential here for the ERA to creep up significantly if he doesn’t get the longball issue under control, particularly whilst in the Bronx.