The Urena Express:5/19/22

Steven Urena
“Don’t you know we’re riding on the Urena Express…”

By Steven Urena

MLB Quick Hits

The Urena Express Power Rankings

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Houston Astros
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. New York Mets
  5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  6. Milwaukee Brewers
  7. San Diego Padres
  8. San Francisco Giants
  9. Tampa Bay Rays
  10. Minnesota Twins

Dodger fans need to relax with this “best team ever” stuff. I was with it, I was on board but for me it was more of a “potentially best team ever.” You have three MVPs (Betts, Freeman, Bellinger) and one potential MVP in Trea Turner. Max Muncy hit 35, 35 and 36 home runs his last three full seasons. Justin Turner was coming off a good season and Will Smith was making a push for the best hitting catcher in baseball. Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux were expected to take their game to the next level with more playing time. Well, the Dodgers are good but far from the best team ever. I’m not saying the Dodgers can’t or won’t have a helluva squad but it’s unlikely that every single player is going to have an MVP season or their personal best season. It’s baseball and baseball can be unpredictable at times. 

 The World Series is up for grabs. The Dodgers may be clear favorites on paper but, right now, the Yankees are the team. In a few weeks? Who knows? It’s a long season and there are far too many variables. If I had to bet my own money, I’m still going with the Dodgers. I know my vision is blurred by my blue blood but I still feel like after a 162 game season, the Dodgers will be the most ready for battle. At the end of the day, the Dodgers have the horses. I still like their chances.

If you’re a Yankees fan, you gotta feel real good right now. The Yanks recently had an 11 game win streak, a 5 game win streak and have currently won 3 in a row. They’re hotter than a fox in a forest fire. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo are leading the offense. Nestor Cortes has an ERA below 2, Gerrit Cole’s is below 3 and Jameson Taillon and Jordan Montgomery’s are in the low 3’s. If this team stays healthy, they are dangerous. 

Where did the Astros come from?! The Astros won 11 in a row and have won 13 of their past 15 games. There’s a reason why they have been to 3 World Series in 5 years…no let’s not go there this time (bang, bang). The Stros are a solid team. There are not too many holes in their game. They can hit, they can pitch and they are seasoned. They want to shut the baseball world up. Winning is the best way to do that. The Angels will fade and the Astros will win the west.

The Mets, Angels and Brewers have slowed down a bit but they’re still finding ways to win. The Mets are in serious trouble. Max Scherzer is going to miss 6-8 weeks with an oblique strain. Injuries can linger. Mets faithful, say a little prayer. Deep down inside, I really am rooting for the Angels. I just don’t see them having success over 162 games. They’re inexperienced and injury prone. The Brewers are good but will continue to be a second tier team. I can’t see them getting over the hump this season. They need another good arm and a 40 home run guy to get over the hump. 

Juan Soto
This is huge. If you ask me, Juan Soto is the best hitter in baseball. The Nationals can’t afford Soto and word around the campfire is that the team might be sold. The team that lands Soto needs to have some serious spending money and a few big name prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Soto become baseball’s first $500 million player. He’s still got 3 years before free agency and my guess is he will sign early and avoid his arbitration seasons just like Hurtnando Tatis Jr. and Wander Franco. In a 12 team playoff format, Soto will have a lot of buyers.

The Yankees will always be in the mix when it comes to big time free agents. They have the money. The question is, do they have the prospects? I don’t think so. The Dodgers will definitely be in the mix for this one. The Dodgers have the money and major league talent. I could see them dumping Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux and a prospect for Soto. The Mets are all in on winning right now. With Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer leading the way, it is now or never. They will be in the mix. Money is not an issue and they can dump Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte or a big time prospect. 

Universal DH
How lucky is Bryce Harper and the Phillies? If not for the universal DH, the Phillies superstar would have missed a few months. Harper can’t throw for 6 weeks. Plus rehab. Their defense will suffer a little without Harper in the outfield but at least they won’t miss out on his bat. 

I have not missed watching pitchers hit. They stink at it, they don’t care and bunts are boring. I love the universal DH.

Matt Harvey
Former Mets pitcher, Matt Harvey, admitted to occasionally providing Tyler Skaggs with oxycodone pills. Skaggs tragically passed away on July 1, 2019. Skaggs asphyxiated on his own vomit and the autopsy showed he had fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system. Harvey, received a 60 game suspension. Trevor Bauer, who did not break the law, received a 2 ½ year suspension. This one is a head scratcher. 

Hot Bats
Manny Machado, Padres (.356, 7 HRs, 23 RBIs)
Mike Trout, Angels (.325, 10 HRs, 21 RBIs)
Aaron Judge, Yankees (.315, 14 HRs, 30 RBIs)
Taylor Ward, Angels (.376, 9 HRs, 23 RBIs)
CJ Cron, Rockies (.319, 10 HRs, 30 RBIs)
Bryce Harper, Phillies (.305, 9 HRs, 27 RBIs)
Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (.288, 10 HRs, 32 RBIs)

Tangent Dreams

Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel (Available thru Amazon–click on pic)

Power Pitching
Pablo Lopez, Marlins (4 Ws, 1.05 ERA, 46 Ks)
Nestor Cortes, Yankees (2 Ws, 1.35 ERA, 49 Ks)
Justin Verlander, Astros (5 Ws, 1.38 ERA, 41 Ks)
Alek Monoah, Blue Jays (4 Ws, 1.71 ERA, 9 Ks)
Joe Musgrove, Padres (4 Ws, 2.20 ERA, 46 Ks)
Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays (3 Ws, 2.52 ERA, 57 Ks)
Shan McClanahan, Rays (3 Ws, 2.33 ERA, 65 Ks)

Dead Ball Era
Recently, I have not heard any buzz about the baseballs being dead. In fact, I’ve seen a lot more home runs lately. Either MLB did an old switcheroo or hitting has caught up to pitching. The first scenario would not surprise me. MLB has a reputation of doing shady stuff. Baseball players know that it usually takes hitting a few weeks to catch up to pitching. Especially in the old days. 

Contact Steve Urena at:
Twitter/IG: @theurenaexpress

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