2019 Has Started Like 2018 Ended

Welcome Back to Real Baseball!!! The snow is gone (for most of us). The weather is warming up (well, it’s warmer than it was). And baseball is back on the television. As usual, I spent Opening Day watching the chaos. You may ask, ‘Which Opening Day are you talking about’. Yes, 2019 technically started a week ago. And, Yes… I did wake up at 4am to watch the Japan Series where Oakland and Seattle put on a great opening 2 game series. K-hris Davis continued to Mash like it was 2018. The only down side of the Japan Series was watching Matt Olson go down due to a hand fracture that needed surgery. But back to Opening Day. The “REAL” Opening Day. I love what MLB baseball has done the past couple years. All teams play on Day 1, and All teams play game 162 on the same day to end the season. Talk about baseball overload!!!

Let’s talk about some of the highlights you may have missed or want to re-live before I give you the 2019 HR Derby breakdown.

  • Yelich is playing like its the 2nd half of 2018 – Christian Yelich is the first MVP to hit a home run in the first 4 games the season after winning MVP honors. He’s the 6th player to do it regardless of the previous season. I’ll be honest, I don’t think he hits 30 homers this season. He hit 21 in Aug/Sept last season. That’s the streak he is riding. He’s in Group C because I do all my groupings based on historical statistics. Not just 1 season. But he is on pace for 162 homers and his way to Group A in 2020. And 23 of you don’t care what my stats say. You have him hitting many more than 30 all the way to the top of the standings.
  • Khris Davis is going to lead the league in homers and hit 0.247 for the 5th straight season – Or that’s what he is making it look like after the first weekend. To be fair, he has played 2 more games than most other players, but he still shares the league lead in homers with 4. He’s an ex-Brewer so it’s nice to see him preform so well, but I can’t help but think what it would look like to have him back in the Brewer lineup the past few years. Oh that’s right, the NL doesn’t have a DH. Down with the DH!!! But for 19 of you, you are loving the A’s DH. He’s really the only one in Group A even performing after the first weekend. In fact, 73 other managers don’t even have a home run from Group A yet. Me included.
  • Players got paid prior to 2019 – We all knew that Harper and Machado were getting big paychecks, but no one saw Newton’s Third Law coming. The rest of MLB management decided to use this slow offseason as leverage to lock up a lot of you players… 22 of you have Trout, the 12-year, $430Million man (Last week’s Powerball winner is the only one that can laugh at that), Chris Sale is getting $145Mil over 5 years, DeGrom got 5 years at $138Mil, Goldy gets $130Mil over 5 years (20 picks from Group C), Bregman got 6 years at $100Mil (along with 27 picks from Group D), Eloy Jimenez hadn’t even played in the Majors and he got $43Mil over 6 years (he also got picked by 4 HR Derby managers). It sounds like Bogaerts is about to get a pay day as well after 3 days into the season. This is very, very good for baseball. As a fan, I was tired of seeing overpaid free agency. What was worse was when players weren’t getting paid at all (really, $10Mil for Moose… that’s crazy) and the best are left watching from home (Kimbrel and Keuchel remain unsigned). Free Agency might be boring as the years roll on, but the trades should be better and hopefully games become more affordable since fans don’t have to pay for Pujols type contracts.
  • The Dodgers broke an opening day home run record with 8 – You read that correctly. Eight homers in a single day, on Opening Day = Another Home Run record broken in 2019 already. Six different players pitched in, including Muncy from Group A (Only 1 happy HR Derby Manager), Bellinger from Group B who now has 4 homers (6 happy HR Derby managers), Corey Seager from Group E (2 happy managers), Joc Pederson from Group C hit 2 and has 3 total (No happy managers), and Enrique Hernandez hit 2 for Group E (3 happy managers). All of those homers lead to 12 runs on Opening Day. Two days later, they dropped 18 runs on the D-Backs and Russel Martin pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to end the game. Yup, we already had a position player throw an inning in 2019.
  • Goldy hit 3 homers in a game – That should put the Cardinal fans’ minds at ease. Many may have been worried about the money being tossed around for a 1B not named Albert Pujols. But on Friday, Goldy smashed 3 homers to get the Cardinals their first (and only) win of 2019. He didn’t wait long to hit his 4th home run and share of the lead in Group B. Who knows, maybe that switch to a better division is going to boost is overall numbers and take him to an even more elite status.
  • The MLB Seniors Club is swatting Big Flies in 2019 – Some one might want to tell the MLB veterans that it isn’t 2010 anymore. Adam Jones has 2 home runs (4 managers chose him in Group D) which is crazy considering he hasn’t been with the team for more than 3 weeks. McCutchen has 2 homers which have 6 HR Derby managers ecstatic in Group E. Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki both have a homer (3 chose Longo, 1 chose Tulo). Hanley Ramirez even has a homer. I don’t think he even had an MLB at-bat in 2018.

There have already been more story lines in the last 4 days that I can even keep up with. The important ones are that the Yankees and Red Sox are at the bottom of their division, the Royals are leading the Central, the Mariners who are in rebuild mode are 5-1, the Phillies haven’t lost yet after spending all their money, the Padres are 3-1 leading the West, and most importantly, the Brewers are the only NL central team above 0.500. But the season is early. There are going to be many more story lines to follow. I’ll try to post more links and keep you up to date on stories as I can. But, don’t get too excited. Summer is coming which means I go absent on the site but at a minimum I will keep the Derby going.

Next up: An entire recap of the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby selections.

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