Hello friends, we’re back (finally) with another edition of MAMBINO Fantasy Mondays. We give our (supposed) weekly updates and thoughts on Major League Baseball, and of course, the fantasy spin from some rugged veterans of the internet.
The NBA is winding down it’s season with the championship round, while the NHL and NFL lie dormant until the fall. If your attention hasn’t fully been on baseball the past few months, who could blame you? The NBA Finals is shaping up towards being one of the all-time greats, while the Los Angeles Kings’ surprising romp through a supremely entertaining Stanley Cup playoffs kept us all distracted since essentially opening day.
So if you’re just cracking open the sports page, you’d probably take a look at these standings and your face would be contorted into a mess reminiscent of Jack Wilson’s unfortunate mug. Some of the division leaders are as predictable as a Matt Cain quality start – the Yankees and Rangers are in first, while the Giants and Braves currently hold serve as the NL Wild Card reps and Tampa Bay Rays one part of the AL Wild Card.
But the rest of the standings? Your other divsion leaders (ordered by winning percentage) are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox.
How…is this happening?The Los Angeles Dodgers, left for dead by even Chavez Ravine sycophants here on this blog before the season began, have the best winning percentage in the majors? The supposedly “rebuilding” Chicago White Sox are in first, three games ahead of the presumptive AL Central champions in the Detroit Tigers? The Washington Nationals aren’t just the best team in the ultra-competitive NL East…they’re the most exciting team in the game?
The world is not round my friends. It is a cube, whose answers are in the form of clown questions, bro. It’s MAMBINO Fantasy Monday. Let’s unravel how this has happened in the last 12 weeks of Major League Baseball.
Cincinatti Reds – 38-27, leads Pittsburgh by 4 games in the NL Central
How are they doing this?: By pretty much doing what every good AL team should do – mashing, pitching and fielding. The 2012 Reds were a preaseason pick to be built on solid starting pitching and great hitting in a weak division. However, both sources are somewhat surprising.
The pitching has been great in southern Ohio, but not because of the Reds’ two big offseason trades. Mat Latos, acquired in a blockbuster deal with the San Diego Padres last winter, was supposed to be the savior ace that the Reds had lacked for the past two decades. Quite the opposite once spring training got underway – Latos has surprisingly been the team’s worst starter. His rotation mate Johnny Cueto will be an All-Star in a month with his dominant arm, while Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey continue their solid, if unspectacular play. The Cincy ‘pen, thought to be decent in the preseason, has exceeded all expectations, but not because of import Sean Marshall. Led by destroyer of all men Aroldis Chapman (1.06 ERA and 58 K’s in 34 innings), relievers Alfredo Simon and Jose Arredondo have been damn near unhittable.
The Reds’ lineup is doing things the old school way: hitting the ball really, really hard. The Reds are third in slugging, first in doubles and fifth in homers, but a tepid ninth in on-base percentage and tenth in hits. Joey Votto might damn well be the best first baseman in the Majors and replacement third baseman Todd Fraz… Read more...