Alright, welcome to Part 3 of my preseason power rankings. Most of the bad teams have been mentioned, but there are 18 teams left. The rest of these teams are playoff contenders, but what teams have unclear weaknesses that will cause them to just miss the playoffs?
18. San Francisco Giants
So, the Giants did all this stuff in the off season to improve their team and attempt to win their fourth straight even year world series, but what happened? They have holes. The rotation has really improved between Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
However, the bullpen is short on people and the lineup has some missing aspects. They have a solid closer and set-up crew but beyond that, what is there? Especially after losing Yusmeiro Petit the Giants are short on extra bullpen insurance.
The lineup also has some issues. The lineup has some really bold players, like Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Denard Span, but the rest of the lineup lacks power. Sure, Matt Duffy, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford are all right, and they make up for it on defense, but in the lineup, they aren’t major contributors. They needed to sign some powerful hitters if they wanted to win another World Series. So, the Giants may look good on paper, but when it comes to game-time scenarios, they are somewhat deprived.
Projected Record: 84-78
17. Houston Astros
I know what you’re thinking. “The Astros?” “They’re stacked, and they’re going to be a contender”. Yes, the rebuild helped this team escape insanely bad times but sometimes there’s such thing as too young. They don’t have enough veterans. I think that the young, short duo of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are overrated. Some aspects of the lineup are short on power. Sure, they have a very strong outfield, but the infield players are overrated hitters and don’t contribute as much of the lineup.
The rotation is mixed between very good veteran pitchers and young new guys to the rotation, The rotation is really good but they do have their weaknesses. The bullpen needs depth and the lineup is lacking power. This team looks similar to the Giants, but younger, and some of these once prospects aren’t paying off. causing them to be worse.
Projected Record: 79-83
16. New York Yankees
The Yankees had a decent 2015, but besides a few trades, they haven’t changed or improved much. The pitching staff is stacked. After adding closer Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will serve as strong set-up men. The rotation is also really good but it lacks an ace. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, maybe even CC Sabathia may have to share the role.
The lineup is a bit of an issue. First things first, it again lacks power, they don’t have any all star players to lead the lineup. Also, the lineup has no youth to it. It is made of a bunch of washed-up older players. This whole team is a very old team, the players, even the franchise itself. Unless they rebuild, working with their strong farm system, it looks like the Yanks will be stuck in this position for a while.
Projected Record: 85-77
15. Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-Backs were very bold in the off season. They went from one of the most horrible teams just after a rebuild to a middle ground team that could potentially be a playoff contender. They now have some foundation to their pitching staff, a good front three starters, and a good closer and set-up man. New additions to the Diamondbacks pitching staff include Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Tyler Clippard. They already had a strong closer in Brad Ziegler who will now take the spot of A.J. Schugel, helping Evan Marshall in the 8th inning. The rotation is looking a lot better, with Greinke, Miller and Patrick Corbin taking the top, and young pitchers with lots of potential, Robbie Ray and Rubby De La Rosa, in the back end. However the lineup still lacks power.
They might have Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, with David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas making some contributions but there are no solid hitters besides that. Neither Jean Segura nor Chris Owings have learned to hit much.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, I’ve never been fond of young D-Backs stars Jake Lamb and Chris Owings, and I might be underrating them. I might be underrating this team. If you D-Backs fans and players think I am, show me what your team can do and I’ll give them more credit mid-season. Could the D-Backs be world series champs of the future, and playoff, even division contenders now?
Projected Record: 88-74
14. Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners were a very sucky, disappointing 2015 team. But, they made a bunch of off season moves that made them look a whole lot better. The lineup still doesn’t have enough strength in it between Kyle Seager, Nelson Cruz, newcomer Norichika Aoki and others, but they really improved their pitching.
Their bullpen looks a lot better, now led by Steve Cishek and Joaquin Benoit. Justin De Fratus is another contributing factor along with Charlie Furbush. The rotation looks better too. The Mariners re-signed Hisashi Iwakuma and acquired Wade Miley and Nathan Karns to help. Taijuan Walker also has a lot of room to grow and develop into a high level pitcher.
Between a mediocre lineup with a new look and a completely revamped pitching staff it looks like the Mariners could be contenders. Their not necessarily going to dominate the postseason, but they could snag a wild card for their first playoff appearance in ages.
Projected Record: 87-75
13. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays had the best lineup in baseball going into 2015 but didn’t really have much pitching until the trade deadline. They lost their ace David Price but have a strong back end to the rotation and an acceptable bullpen. But the Blue Jays lost more than just their ace this off season. They lost outfielder Ben Revere, and some reserves in their lineup.
Their bullpen still lacks back of the bullpen pitchers and is mostly filled with middle relievers and long relievers who missed the rotation. Their lineup is a little too old despite a decent farm system ready to take over some of the team and their rotation has no clear SP1 or ace that can be a leader in the pitching staff. This team has some good players, but what they have doesn’t quite fit their specific needs. It’s a great team if they have other players to fill the holes and all a stars have a position to play.
Projected Record: 89-73
So, that’s all for this portion of my preseason power rankings. Who will be in Part 4?
The Celtics bounce backed nicely from Friday’s loss to the Jazz with a 121-101 win over the Denver Nuggets. They also got revenge on Denver for what their football team did to Patriots. Two Celtics players had double-doubles. Isaiah Thomas had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Jared Sullinger had 16 points plus 11 assists, and 5 rebounds. The Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic had a double-double too, 23 points and 13 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk missed the game due to injury, and is out for 4 weeks.
One thing that really helped the Celtics was some very quick scoring. There was one amazing play where Avery Bradley stole it, who went to Marcus Smart quickly slapped it to Evan Turner who bounced it backward to Bradley who made the shot!!! What a play. On another in the 4th quarter, the Nuggets got a steal then Isaiah Thomas stole it back, quickly shot it to Bradley who made the basket!
Those late game plays led to a 20-10 run that finished the game. They also had a 29-7 run in the first quarter and had a 26-point lead at one point in the first half! They kept a pretty steady lead the whole game, except for a little slip-up with some sloppy play in the 3rd quarter.
There were also some pretty impressive layups and dunka, mostly by Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and Evan Turner. Avery Bradley also had 20 points, and Evan Turner had 9 rebounds plus 5 assists and 17 points. So, the Celtics had a pretty impressive win. Hopefully they transfer some of this to tomorrow’s game versus the T-Wolves.
Alright, we are getting to the point where it’s a little tougher to rank. But come on, let’s get real. There are still some pretty bad teams out there that I haven’t mentioned.
Alright, let’s go.
24. Baltimore Orioles 74-88
The Orioles didn’t really help their team with the trades made this off season. After Chris Davis (resigned), Wei-Yin Chen and David Lough hit free agency, the Orioles weren’t looking great. They still have holes in their rotation, they are short two pitchers. They also have issues in the outfield.
They got Mark Trumbo and Hyun-Soo Kim, but Trumbo is also a DH candidate, and there is one more spot not filled by Kim or Adam Jones. Right now Jimmy Paredes or Nolan Reimold would be in RF, but they need a better person there. Some of their infielders aren’t hitting, and the rotation is just down to so few pitchers. The O’s already weren’t the greatest in ’15, and they’ve gotten even worse in 2016.
Record Projection: 74-88
23. Minnesota Twins
The Twins may have one of the best farm systems in the MLB, between Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Oswaldo Arcia but besides signing Korean DH/1B Byung-Ho Park, they didn’t do much to improve their big league relevance. Sure, Buxton and crew could put on some good rookie seasons, but this team needs some veterans too. The Twins were mediocre last year, they weren’t in full rebuild, and they had Torii Hunter but they had a good farm system.
They don’t have many veterans to mentor the young guys anymore. Sure, they still have Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki and Trevor Plouffe but nobody who’s really all star material anymore. Eduardo Escobar is still developing. So are Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano. That’s a large portion of the roster.
Their rotation on the other hand, is old and washed up. Ervin Santana and Phil Hughes don’t have much left in their careers, I would give the spotlight to Kyle Gibson, Tommy Milone and other young pitchers, but they have not done that. The bullpen has also left no room for prospects to develop. Between Kevin Jepsen, Ryan O’ Rourke and Glen Perkins, this is a good bullpen, but just doesn’t have that younger flash to it. Let’s just say this team still needs work.
Projected Record: 73-89
22. Oakland Athletics
This team is in need of a big move. All they’ve done the past few off-seasons is give out contracts to a bunch of minor contributors. This team is still lacking superstars. A team full of mediocre, older players who just aren’t the same anymore isn’t going to bring this team anywhere. Despite the slight splash
Every year around mid-February ESPN’s David Schoenfield has done his ultimate preseason power rankings. Last year I followed. Now over the entire February Break, starting today, I’m doing it again. So welcome to my 2nd annual preseason power rankings. We start with the easiest teams to rank, the bottom ones. Alright, now for #30.
30. Colorado Rockies
Welcome to the bottom Rockies. So, this team has focused their off season mainly on pitching, trying to fix a horrible rotation. The rotation still sucks real bad. The bullpen is what has improved. Signing guys like Jason Motte and Chad Qualls and trading for Jake McGee isn’t going to help the rotation much. They do however have some young guys in the rotation, which is a sign of an upcoming rebuild, which could be a good thing for the future.
But with some of the signings they made, they weren’t supporting that. Guys like Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds aren’t going to last as long as say, Jon Gray. Those were the biggest signings this off season, and a lot of the bullpen guys are a little washed up, too. This is still a very old team, and they are in serious need of a rebuild.
Even if they did snag a couple of good hitters, the guys in the Rockies lineup that are still young don’t know how to hit. Well, some of them pay off in the field, like DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado, even hard hitting Carlos Gonzalez is a stellar fielder. But in the end this team is still a washed up mess who’s starters are only going to last a few innings and even in a batter-favored ballpark, still lacks hitting in some parts of the lineup.
Projected Record: 67-95
29. Cleveland Indians
The Indians were a mediocre team in 2015. What happened? Three major things happened to this team. First, some guys like Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis are getting old and washed up. Signing Mike Napoli didn’t help much either, Santana’s only older by a few years. Also, they lost a few players to free agency and didn’t sign enough players to make up for it. Ryan Raburn, Jayson Aquino, Chris Johnson, Mike Aviles and Gavin Floyd were lost this off season. Their only signings, Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. Third, injuries are really affecting the team. Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis are still recovering from their injuries. Trading away Michael Bourn, David Murphy and Nick Swisher last July also hurt.
But there are places I could be wrong. I am like the only person ranking the Indians this low, and I have good reasoning, but there’s a whole other side to it that I just don’t believe. Here’s some of it:
The Indians had a really good farm system going into last season, and they have some of those guys in their lineup, like Francisco Lindor, Abraham Almonte and Giovany Urshela. Losing Ryan Raburn hurt though, and they don’t have any more major prospects coming up soon to replace him.
Even though they didn’t sign many people, they traded for their fair share. They acquired both Kirby Yates and Joey Butler via trade, and they only had to give up cash considerations. That cash did however help the Rays sign Steve Pearce to replace Butler.
Even though those players are recovering from injuries, they’re the stars of this team, maybe they’ll pick up the pace and shine late in the season. But don’t be too too hopeful for the Indians, they need to get really lucky if they want a chance at anything.
Projected Record: 68-94
28. Milwaukee Brewers
This is another team that needs a lot of good luck if they want to do well. Even though in my projected standings, the Brewers are in dead last, worst in the MLB, they just have more of an opportunity to improve in the future, unlike the two teams below them in the ranks, that completely screwed themselves for the next few years likely. This is the point in the ranks where you’ll start to see some rebuilding teams that have room for improvement down the road. They’re the worst team this year. In the future, that could change.
They do have a decent, somewhat young lineup. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun are very intriguing. Orlando Arcia could be a future star. But especially after trading Khris Davis, they have some serious holes. The outfield will have to work with Domingo Santana, Ramon Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis to fill the spots not taken up by Braun. Chris Carter and Scooter Gennett aren’t the most intriguing, and either Aaron Hill or Will Middlebrooks will have to step it up at third base. Don’t even get me started on the pitching.
Matt Garza and Wily Peralta will compete for the team ace, even though neither of them has any ace qualities. Then you have lately acquired Chase Anderson, followed by Taylor Jungmann, and then Jimmy Nelson. Alright, I’ll give them credit for the lower rotation. But the bullpen really sucks. After trading both K-Rod and Jonathan Broxton, they are left with Will Smith, Michael Blazek and Tyler Thornburg as closer options. Zach Davies or Tyler Cravy will be the long reliever, but the rest of the bullpen is out of place. So maybe this year will be a long year, but the Brewers actually could improve in the future. They have more prospects like Brett Phillips on the way after Arcia, and this team looks to be in full rebuild.
Projected Record: 65-97
27. Atlanta Braves
If the Braves want to succeed, they need some serious luck. Actually, even though they have future potential, that just won’t happen this year, it’s nearly impossible. Especially with the rotation they have. After trading Shelby Miller, the Braves are left with Julio Teheran as an ace, Bud Norris as an SP2, and they have to depend on Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, Williams Perez, Kyle Kendrick and David Holmberg to fill the other spots. The bullpen’s even more of a mess.
The lineup isn’t great either. Freddie Freeman is really the only major bat, even though Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar have some power. Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio need a breakout year if they have any hopes of doing anything, and platooning outfielders Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn need a wake up call. they were once everyday starters.
Despite being owners to the #1 farm system in the MLB, signing all washed up veterans his making less room for these prospects who could one day make the Braves great again. The Braves need to stop stockpiling on older players and let the young minor league stars take over the lineup.
Projected Record: 66-96
26. Philadelphia Phillies
Alright, this team may be ready for a better year, but they kind of sabotaged their future. They were in a good rebuild exiting 2015 and might be a little better this year, but signing veterans to short-term contracts is not helping this team for when they could be good enough to win a pennant if the prospects live up to their name. For a couple of years, despite my much better predicted record for this team then the teams just above it in the rankings, they’ll be stuck in this position.
What they did this off season is fix their rotation by signing Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton, and trading their young closer Ken Giles for Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez. Okay, Velasquez could be a long-term solution, but not the other guys. They also snagged Peter Bourjos, Edward Mujica, Andrew Bailey and Ernesto Frieri, all somewhat close to retirement.
What should they have done this off season? Traded away all their older players for more prospects to support their farm system. Ryan Howard still is around. At least the rotation looks a lot better, but unless they get some more prospects, that won’t last very long. The only good thing that comes out of is a couple years where the Phillies get like 10 more wins.
Projected Record: 75-87
25. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Halos have some big holes, and need a lot of luck if they want to even be in the playoff race at all. Their rotation is not very promising. Jered Weaver is going nowhere but down, I have a feeling Garrett Richards‘ performance in 2015 might have been a one time thing, I don’t know how well Tyler Skaggs and C.J. Wilson will come back, Andrew Heaney isn’t quite ready, and Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker are all washed up. They also have holes in left field and second base, unless Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry create an efficient platoon. Besides Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar, they don’t have much of a lineup. They are just a washed up team that needs to rebuild.
Projected Record: 71-91
So that’s all for today with my preseason power rankings. Be on the lookout tomorrow for Part Two, 24-19. I also will be releasing my NBA Midseason Report soon. So who will be in the next wave?
The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins this afternoon, 6-5. Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm each had 2 goals, Zetterberg and Datsyuk got assists. But the Bruins started the game really well.
Right off the face off, Brett Connolly passed it to Brad Marchand who shot it right in for a goal!!!! Fastest goal in Bruins history!!! 8 seconds after the opening face off, the Bruins led 1-0. A couple minutes later, Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings answered with a Detroit goal, but they were questioning whether it should have been called offsides. Claude Julien challenged, but the call stood. I personally agree with the call despite being a Bruins fan.
The Bruins quickly retrieved it, and seconds later, it was Zach Trotman for the unassisted goal. 2-1 Boston. About 30 seconds later, Zdeno Chara was called for interference, so the Red Wings were on power play. But it soon became 4 on 4. Petr Mrazek, the Detroit goalie was called for a penalty. Brad Richards served the penalty, and it was 4 on 4. A couple minutes later, Torey Krug left the game after getting hurt on a body shot. They already had Adam McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron out, they can’t lose another guy.
Soon though, Loui Eriksson got a pass from David Krejci, and he shot it into the net for a give and go goal. A couple minutes later, Brad Marchand was called for interference, the Wings had another power play. This time, it ended fast for a different reason. Pavel Datsyuk scored a power play goal assisted by Justin Abdelkader and Brad Richards. It was 3-2 Bruins at the end of the period.
In the 2nd period, Darren Helm scored a quick goal, assisted by Alexei Marchenko and Xavier Oullet. A minute later, Colin Miller got in a little skirmish with Justin Abdelkader. He was called for hi-sticking, while Abdelkader called for slashing. Another couple minutes later, Loui Eriksson was called for tripping, and it was 4 on 3. On the power play, Pavel Datsyuk scored the goal, and it was the first time the Red Wings had the lead, 4-3. After a quiet 5 minutes, Darren Helm scored his second goal of the period, and it was 5-3 Detroit. Right off the face off, Spooner went to Seidenberg, and he scored!!! Another quick Bruins goal, and it cut the Red Wings’ lead to 1 goal. Personally my dad and I thought it was bad goal-tending on Petr Mrazek’s end.
Right at the start of the 3rd, rookie Joonas Kemppainen got a quick Boston goal! The score was tied, 5-5. But Henrik Zetterberg finished the job with his second goal of the game, Detroit’s 6th. The Red Wings topped the Bruins 6-5. However, they dominated all other stats, Brad Marchand has 13 goals in the last 13 games, and Claude Julien has 500 career wins as a coach.
By the way, I actually have the Dodgers winning the world series, but I wanted to show my Red Sox fandom on my Animoto account.
Alright, let’s dig in.
Boston Red Sox 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 89-73
New York Yankees 85-77
Tampa Bay Rays 83-79
Baltimore Orioles 74-88
I have the Red Sox bouncing back from an ugly season and going from worst to first once again. The Red Sox were even bolder than they were last off season, acquiring Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, despite giving up former #3 and #7 prospects Manuel Margot and Javier Guerra. Then they signed AL Cy Young runner up David Price to a seven year, 217 million dollar deal. They also signed Chris Young to a two year deal and traded Wade Miley for relievers Roenis Elias and Carson Smith. They now have a strong rotation front and a top closer, along with the powerful lineup the 2015 Red Sox provided.
Meanwhile I think the Blue Jays will stay strong even without their 2015 ace and closer (David Price & LaTroy Hawkins). They still have a strong lineup and some amazing prospects, and they acquired some new starters like J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez, plus closer/set-up man Drew Storen. I think they still have some playoff relevance.
The Yankees meanwhile have done majority of their moves via trade. They acquired Starlin Castro for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan, plus star closer Aroldis Chapman from Cincy. Having Chapman in New York will heat up the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry as the Sox acquired Kimbrel. The Yanks should be competitive in the division.
The Rays upgraded their pretty empty offense with Logan Morrison and Brad Miller. Centerfielder Desmond Jennings also will return from injury this season. Alex Cobb will also return. I think the Rays are still a little washed up in their lineup, but they have good defense and pitching.
Meanwhile I don’t think the Orioles’ acquistions are efficient. Mark Trumbo is not a full time starter, Hyun-Soo Kim might not be as good in America, and they still have a serious hole in the rotation. They already had a pretty bad team last year, they just made it a lot worse. The Orioles are by far the worst team in this division. Besides maybe the Rays, every other team in this division will still be in the playoff race at the beginning of September.
Detroit Tigers 93-69
Chicago White Sox 89-73
Kansas City Royals 89-73
Minnesota Twins 73-89
Cleveland Indians 68-94
This division’s teams have made many impact transactions but not every team that made an impact in free agency can do well, especially all in the same division.
The Tigers have really improved their pitching game and outfield to match the rest of their good teams. They signed Justin Upton, Mark Lowe, Mike Pelfrey and Jordan Zimmermann and have acquired Cameron Maybin and Justin Wilson via trade. They only gave up Ian Krol to trade and Alfredo Simon and Rajai Davis to free agency. Even after a bad season, I think that the top prospects and star players will combine to make a bad team in 2015 a great, powerful team that will make an impact in 2016.
Meanwhile the White Sox have also been very active in the hot stove. They’ve revamped their infield by trading for both Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Lawrie was a third baseman like Frazier but will play at second to make room for Todd Frazier. They still have a hole at shortstop though.
The Royals are still good, but are once again lacking a rotation. They also have a hole in the outfield unless Jarrod Dyson can step it up. So, they’ll compete, but they aren’t necessarily make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, I don’t think the Twins’ youth plus Byung-Ho Park is enough to bring a good season in the Twin Cities. The Indians haven’t done enough by getting Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. So there are teams in the Central that aren’t competitive as well.
Texas Rangers 90-72
Seattle Mariners 87-75
Houston Astros 79-83
Oakland Athletics 78-84
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 71-91
I have the Texas Rangers at the top of this division. Look at their rotation. Personally, I think that both Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are serious Cy Young candidates. The two ace-like pitchers are joined by wing man Derek Holland. They also have a powerful lineup with some guys like Josh Hamilton, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder who have a ton of potential.
The Mariners also made a lot of impact trades. Despite giving up Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Roenis Elias and Carson Smith, they traded for Wade Miley, Joaquin Benoit, Jonathan Aro, Nathan Karns, Adam Lind, Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas. They also signed closer Steve Cishek, outfielder Norichika Aoki and resigned King Felix’s trusty wing-man, Hisashi Iwakuma. So this is a pretty revamped team.
The Astros are also still a somewhat powerful, young team. Guys like Carlos Correa really stepped it up last year, and they signed some strong veterans like Doug Fister. Some veterans, like Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez, are also playing their first full season in Houston and others like Brad Peacock are returning from injury this year. The Astros have a lot of potential but aren’t quite as good as the Mariners and Rangers.
There are teams worse than that though. The Athletics made some minor moves as usual, and they’ve recovered from some injuries to players, so they will be better, just not enough to make an impact. Jarrod Parker returns from Tommy John surgery, and hopefully the former star Coco Crisp can bounce back.
The Los Angeles Angels also will get C.J. Wilson back, but this team is in need of some serious luck. Craig Gentry and Daniel Nava must create an efficient platoon in left, the rotation is full of people who are either feast or famine or fresh off a breakout, and they still have serious problems at second.
So the AL West is competitive, but there is a wide division between the good teams, decent teams and bad teams.
Washington Nationals 93-69
New York Mets 87-75
Miami Marlins 77-85
Philadelphia Phillies 75-87
Atlanta Braves 66-96
The Nationals continue to improve their team. They got solid second baseman Daniel Murphy. They also got Ben Revere for their second unneeded closer Drew Storen. The Jays did need him. They already had a good team, now they have a great and healthy one built off Bryce Harper and star pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer.
The Mets also resigned Yoenis Cespedes and signed Asdrubal Cabrera for the first time. They additionally traded for Neil Walker. They have a strong rotation but still lack power in their lineup. They should be good, but not necessarily a playoff contender as there are much better wild card candidates in the NL.
The Marlins also have improved their pitching to match the lineup they revamped in 2015. But some of the guys like shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, utility Derek Dietrich and first baseman Justin Bour are still developing. At least they have Martin Prado and Don Kelly in the infield, and a pretty powerful, but somewhat old outfield.
The Phillies have gotten better as well. They’ve really improved their rotation, including the acquisition of veterans Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez. Bobby LaFramboise, Jerad Eickhoff, Luis Garcia and Jeanmar Gomez will lead the bullpen. They also have acquired Peter Bourjos to join Odubel Herrera and Cody Asche in the outfield. They have a stronger, more developed lineup and rotation, but still aren’t above .500 material.
Meanwhile, the Braves are much worse. They have some serious holes in the infield, despite acquiring Erick Aybar. Their pitching is worse, even more devastated despite signing minor league players Kyle Kendrick, Alexi Ogando and David Holmberg.
Chicago Cubs 96-66
St. Louis Cardinals 91-71
Pittsburgh Pirates 88-74
Cincinnati Reds 79-83
Milwaukee Brewers 65-97
The Cubs already had a good team last year with Kris Bryant and some other dominant young stars making it to the majors. This off season, the really stacked up. They already had Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, they inked John Lackey to a deal too. Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward also got deals in Chicago. This team now looks to be one of the most powerful MLB teams while still having a starting lineup that’s almost 50% MLB rookies or sophomores.
The Cardinals still have power in the division, but were fed on just like the 2014-15 Tigers were fed on by the Nationals. What I mean is that without any trades, one team is taking a lot of the Cardinals’ top 2015 free agents, that team is their division rival the Cubs. Their rotation is shorthanded without Lance Lynn and there outfield will miss Jason Heyward, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos. Even Matt Holliday will hit free agency next season. However they have picked up Jedd Gyorko and Seung-Hwan Oh, and got some good insurance in Brandon Moss and Jonathan Broxton at the 2015 trade deadline. They also could still sign a big bat like Dexter Fowler, Austin Jackson or Ian Desmond.
The Pirates are clearly at loss after losing Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez, but with A.J. Burnett retiring, they stacked up on some pitchers. They acquired Jon Niese, A.J. Schugel and Kyle Lobstein, and signed Ryan Vogelsong. yet they still have thriving prospect Tyler Glasnow. Man, their pitching staff is stacked. They additionally signed slugger John Jaso. But in the end, compared to the Cards and Cubs, they aren’t too good.
The Reds even have some potential. I see potential in this rotation. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen is who I think will make up the rotation. They could also sign a veteran like Tim Lincecum and let Finnegan or Lorenzen rest after Bailey’s return from Tommy John surgery. If not, Keyvius Sampson or John Lamb will have to start until then, unless Robert Stephenson is in the Opening Day rotation. This team also has some serious holes, and needs some better hitting from Billy Hamilton, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips. They desperately need a third baseman and an outfielder, and may have a ton of last minute signings if they don’t want to suck. Hey, maybe Scott Schebler takes the outfield, Jose Peraza platoons at third with Ivan DeJesus efficiently, and Homer Bailey comes back early and shines. Or they snag the older guys like Juan Uribe last minute.
The Brewers don’t look any better. Right now, Matt Garza and Wilin Peralta are their best pitchers, Will Smith is their closer, and they need some serious help in certain other positions. What are they going to do? Suck is what.
Los Angeles Dodgers 94-68
San Diego Padres 91-71
Arizona Diamondbacks 88-74
San Francisco Giants 84-78
Colorado Rockies 67-95
This division may surprise you a lot. The Giants put so much money into this off season, and they only go 84-78. The Padres have the season they were expecting a year ago. The D-Backs and Giants both miss the playoffs and are short of a 90-win season after acquiring or signing a combined four top 50 pitchers in the MLB, two apiece. The Dodgers still rule the division after all that drama. Finally, despite a strong rebuild, the Rockies still suck.
The Dodgers however also acquired some good pitchers in Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy will also return this season. They have a secure lineup with very few holes and a strong rotation.
But what happened to the even year luck in San Francisco? Pablo Sandoval brought it to Boston. Oh well, Giants, all that hard work and my Red Sox still get all the glory, with little to pay up at all.
The D-Backs are also looking better but do you honestly think they can win a division title with the lineup they have? Not happening.
MLB 2016 Postseason
Okay, okay, I might be getting a little carried away with the Padres doing so well, because the Cubs wouldn’t lose to them likely. Well here’s something I’ll throw at you, even though I have the Dodgers winning the World Series, I nearly considered the Nats to beat them in the NLDS. Bryce Harper is primed for a bigger breakout than even last year’s. I know I always overrate the Nats, and again, I could be wrong with the Nats even making the playoffs. The Mets could take their spot or San Diego’s. You may have actually noticed that I had the Sox over LA in the Animoto video, I was just showing my Red Sox fandom. But lets be honest here, the Dodgers rotation is by far better than the Red Sox’s. They also have a slight edge with their outfield.
Alright, now the AL. Again, I may be exaggerating with the White Sox, I did say the Tigers are ready to bounce back. Now I don’t have them winning a single playoff game. That’s up for debate. But especially if Chicago signs Ian Desmond, think about it. Jose Abreu, Brett Lawrie, Ian Desmond and Todd Frazier all in one infield. Not bad. I see potential for both sides. Again, Red Sox-Rangers could also be debatable, I just believe the Sox have a slight edge in the match-up and will simply win 3-2 in the ALDS. Besides that, I think I agree with my original instinct. What do you think?
Now its time to make my predictions for some MLB Awards in 2016.
Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
This is just going to make Bautista way more valuable. Well, what’s my case? Bautista was injured for a good amount of 2015, and played through some of it. He had unsatisfactory results for much of the season. But 2016 is the year for Jose Bautista to bounce back. He didn’t have terrible results last year, but he definitely has room for improvement. When he gets heated up, he reaches MVP level.
Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Michael Brantley, Carlos Beltran, Xander Bogaerts
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
I almost considered Joey Votto for MVP, but I just think that his team won’t support his relevance well enough. But Harper, he’s ready to dominate. Harper is fresh off a breakout season, and the 23-year old superstar is ready for another one. I also have him winning a very special award, which I’ll surprise you with at the end.
Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Giancarlo Stanton, Adrian Gonzalez, Jason Heyward
AL Cy Young Award
David Price, Red Sox
Price has a seven year deal with the Red Sox, so he’s pressured to do amazing. Besides, there aren’t many other good choices. Cole Hamels, maybe Dallas Keuchel. Guys like that don’t match up to Price at his best, which he wasn’t last year. I don’t think Detroit was the right fit for Price. Boston or Toronto, that’s another story. Price is ready to dominate this year.
Cole Hamels, Dallas Keuchel, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Chris Archer, Yu Darvish
NL Cy Young Award
James Shields, Padres
You might say Jake Arrieta, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw will win the NL Cy Young, but where’s the love for James Shields? Especially if the Padres have their long-awaited breakout year, Shields will be a legitimate competitor for the Cy Young. He put up stellar stats for the Royals, he just hasn’t really fit in to the Padres’ system, but I think he’s found a spot as their ace. He is ready to go back to all star form after only a subpar 2015.
Zack Greinke, Kenta Maeda, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw
AL Rookie Of The Year
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
I’m not as big of a believer in Buxton as most people, but look at the other options in the AL. Byung-Ho Park is typically someone who would be too old to typically be a ro0kie. But Buxton really is a prospect, he’s a typical rookie, he plays like a young rookie. He’s actually one of the best at it in the AL, and I admire that. Plus, I have some serious issues underrating Buxton.
Byung-Ho Park, Sean Nolin, Blake Snell, Gary Sanchez, Dylan Bundy
NL Rookie Of The Year
Corey Seager, SS/3B, Dodgers
Unlike Buxton, I see off the charts potential for this guy. He’s the younger brother of a star third baseman in the league, and he proved himself byputting up great numbers while playing in the majors for the end of last season. There has been so much hype for this kid and I believe it. If there was one Rookie Of The Year for all of the MLB, it would be Seager all the way.
Steven Matz, Tyler Glasnow, Trayce Thompson, Jose Peraza
AL Comeback Player Of The Year
Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
Darvish has spent nearly two full seasons on the DL. Two years before even that, he was a great new MLB pitcher fresh out of Japan’s best bunch. Darvish put up outstanding stats in 2012 and 2013. I know he’ll never be able to do that again, he’s too old and crippled, but can he at least return to All Star form? I am a firm believer in Darvish and I’d like to see him try.
Justin Verlander, Pablo Sandoval, Jarrod Parker, Desmond Jennings
NL Comeback Player Of The Year
Matt Kemp, OF, Padres
Kemp was a superstar with the Dodgers. He’s old, but if he can do the same in San Diego, that would greatly benefit them. Right now, he’s just a washed up outfielder forced to start. But as the season progresses, I think he has potential to put up some all star stats.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Jon Niese, Travis Wood, Bartolo Colon
Triple Crown Award (NL)
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
This is the big surprise we’ve been waiting for. Surprise, surprise, we have a Triple Crown winner! Guess who it is? Red hot, young Bryce Harper, already claiming the NL MVP. Harper is fresh of a long-awaited breakout and is ready to become an all time great in the MLB. A Triple Crown would really help his relevance, and I think he’s good enough to snag it at only age 23.
So that’s all for my MLB 2016 Preview. Comment with your thoughts.
It’s time for Super Bowl 50! The big game will be held on CBS at 6:40 PM EST. Are you ready for this historical milestone in super bowl history? Well here’s the ultimate preview for Broncos vs. Panthers! I bet most of you, especially if you’re a Pats fan, are saying, “Oh the Panthers are going to crush it.” They’ve won all but one game this season!!! Come on this is a done deal!! But don’t underestimate the match-up. The Broncos have a good case. Their defense is an absolute powerhouse that has the ability to slow down the Panthers surprisingly good offense.
Cam Newton has had the ultimate breakout year, Jonathan Stewart has improved, and what was expected to be an empty receiving game has showed up. However, Denver has a strong offense as well. Peyton Manning may be washed up but the receiving game is still strong. If C.J. Anderson’s late season surge keeps up, the Denver offense could kick some serious butt.
The Carolina defense does have something to prove. Peyton Manning could be a serious sack target and Denver’s streaky running backs have had fumble issues. This is an all or nothing game. Maybe Denver’s defense dominates the Panthers keeping their score somewhat low but Denver’s offense struggles. What if Denver’s defense does well, but Carolina’s offense does better and edges Denver’s? There are several opportunities for a close game.
Keys To The Game
Peyton Manning, the running backs and the tight ends need to play like the strong wide receivers do. This offense is kind of good but shaky.
The Broncos need to win the turnover game. Sacks, fumbles and interceptions have all been issues in Denver.
The defense needs to do its normal thing and hold the Panthers offense to less than 30 points. Then if the offense is strong, they can jump ahead.
The secondary needs to contain the Broncos’ strong point in their offense, the wide receivers. The Panthers secondary has Josh Norman but is the weakest part of the defense.
They need to keep doing what they’ve been doing all season. Whatever it is, they need to keep their cool.
The offense needs to watch out for this tough penetrating Denver defensive front and protect Cam Newton so he can do his magic running and passing.
Score: 27-24 Panthers
The Panthers know how to score touchdowns. They know how to start a game. The Broncos know how to play clutch defense. They also know how to play a 4th quarter. But the Broncos have their holes and that leads me to believe that the Panthers will score enough to edge out the Broncos.
I think the Panthers will start bold with a touchdown to Jonathan Stewart on just their second drive. They will continue the scoring with a drive towards the end of the 1st, a field goal from Graham Gano, as the Denver defense keeps them out of the end zone. The Denver offense will struggle early on but DeMaryius Thomas will gain some good yardage. The Panthers will keep it up with a passing TD for Cam Newton in the 2nd so watch for some serious dabbing. 17-0 at the half.
After halftime adjustments, the Broncos will find a way to march down the field and Peyton Manning will toss a quick TD to his best receiver. The Panthers will struggle to produce offense this quarter as the Denver defense turns up the heat getting pressure on Cam Newton. Denver will score another TD, rushing this time. The Broncos fiery quarter will end with them trailing, 17-14. But the Broncos will finish their drive in the start of the 4th, scoring a third touchdown. Then the Panthers will answer as they march to the end zone in a strong, 4 minute drive. The Panthers defense starts to make some plays next drive and Denver will settle for a field goal.
The Panthers will have another good start to their next drive, but due to bad field position will settle for a long field goal. The Broncos kicker Brandon McManus will blow the game by missing a field goal attempt on their next drive. The Panthers will get the ball back and just need one first down to end the game, and they get it!!! With a couple of kneel downs by Cam Newton, the Panthers close it out 27-24.
Predicted Score By Quarter
SB50 1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Broncos 0 0 14 10 24
Panthers 7 10 0 10 27
5 Bold Predictions:
Von Miller will sack Cam Newton multiple times
Peyton Manning will get 2 completions out of every 3 passes after a rough start
Jonathan Stewart will rush for 75+ yards, while Cam Newton only rushes for 20.
DeMaryius Thomas will have a solid 100 yard game.
The Panthers will win a close one and Newton will throw to 8 different receivers
That’s all for my super bowl preview. Enjoy the big game!!
The Boston Celtics were trailing most of the game but came back to win 104-103 in the second half. Evan Turner had a good night, earning himself a double-double (19 points, and a career high 12 rebounds), plus 6 assists. Isaiah Thomas also contributed with 22 points, and Tyler Zeller had 16.
LeBron James also got 30 points for the opposing team, J.R. Smith had 20 and Kyrie Irving contributed 19 points plus 6 assists. No Cavaliers players had double-doubles like Turner despite King James’ scoring showcase. James honestly goes untouched cause the NBA wants to further promote their best stars like James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.
For most of the first quarter, the Cavs were destroying the Celtics, making some amazing plays. The Celts were down by 12 or 13 most of the 1st quarter, and they were down 32-20 when the quarter ended. To make matters worse, Isaiah Thomas rolled his ankle.
The Celtics were still trailing in the second but began to come back. Thomas was back but LeBron James took one little rest and Kelly Olynyk led the Celts on a 12-2 run. It was easier on the defense without King James but he returned and the Cavs scored 5 unanswered points. By the end of the half they had cut the lead from the end of the first half, trailing just 49-43. From the end of the 2nd to the start of the 3rd, they went on a quick 21-4 run. The run lasted from 6:24 left in the 2nd to the first two minutes of the 3rd.
The scoring started to slow down at that point. Kevin Love in the meantime hobbled off the court with an ankle injury. By the last two minutes of the third the Cavs were once again up by six. They had made a run gaining 9 on the Celts through most of the 3rd. But Love being in the locker room wouldn’t help. At the end of the 3rd, it was 73-65 Cavaliers. The Celtics regained control in the 4th quarter.
With Kevin Love out, the Celtics started the quarter with a 10-0 run. LeBron James ended it with some go-ahead free throws. 9 minutes left. There wasn’t much scoring besides free throws for the few minutes after that. The Celts had another 11-2 run from the 6.5 minute mark to the 4 minute mark. After that, the Cavs surged back with 9 straight points to regain the lead, 93-92. This is where it began to get exciting.
The Celtics tied it up, but the Cavs answered with two 2-pointers and a free throw. The Celtics answered with a basket to make it 99-96 Cavs . The Celtics called time with eighteen seconds to go.
The last 18 seconds were especially exciting. The Celts were down 101-96. The Celtics got the ball and Bradley missed a long three pointer off the in-bounds. Sullinger quickly rebounded it and tossed it to Jae Crowder who made an amazing three pointer from the corner that cut the Cavs’ lead to two points with 8 seconds left!! The Celtics immediately fouled and the Cavs made both foul shots. 103-99 Cavs. The Celtics called timeout again to take the in-bound in Cavaliers territory. Evan Turner got the layup in just four seconds! This time the Cavaliers fouled on Turner’s layup. With the Celtics down by two Evan Turner had to intentionally miss the shot. The ball tipped off two Cavs players before going out of bounds. The Celtics had the ball with 4.1 seconds left.
The officials gave the ball to Jae Crowder in front of the basket they were shooting into, then he passed it to Isaiah Thomas and Thomas tossed it to Avery Bradley. Bradley bobbled the ball momentarily but regained control with enough time left to attempt a shot. Avery Bradley released the 3-point buzzer beater from the corner and made it as time expired!!!!
The Celtics came back from a six point deficit at the half to defeat the Cavaliers 104-103! They were trailing by thirteen to start the first quarter and slowly but surely they came back to win!!! The Celtics advance to 30-22, while the Cavs fall to 35-14.
The Celts next play today at 1, hosting the Sacramento Kings. Hopefully I can catch that game. The Celtics are on a 3 game winning streak and have won 8 out of their last 9. Can they keep it up?
You may have noticed that over the past couple weeks, I haven’t been posting. Well you can say welcome back, because February is my busiest month on my blog, although it has been busy for other things too. I have the super bowl on Sunday, the NBA All Star Game next week, and spring training starts in two weeks. This is a busy time for all Big 4 sports, which means its also busy on my site.
Sorry, I have been upset about that terrible Pats-Broncos game. As you all know, the Pats lost terribly in Denver last Sunday. There was a reason I never did a recap. I’ll give you a hint, I came in to school the next day wearing a Dustin Pedroia jersey. That’s right, I wanted to keep my mind on other sports until I had overcome the loss of the Pats. I had gotten over it last weekend, but I didn’t see any point in writing a Pro Bowl article, and I also got busy that weekend, but I will cover the super bowl on Sunday. At this point I am saying, great season Pats, great season.