Category: Sports

Baseball Predictions NL West


By: Max Zuiker

Having tied the Cardinals for the best home record in baseball the Dodgers, went on to win 92 games in 2015. With CY Young award winner Zack Grienke heading to the Diamondbacks how much will this hamper the Dodgers chances of and NL West crown?

ARIZONA DAIMONDBACKS: (93-69)

Will the accusations of Zack Grienke and Shelby Miller to their starting rotation and adding veteran reliever Tyler Clippard to their bullpen, I believe that this team is destine to earn the NL West title. Arizona scored the second most runs in the NL last year, and were a very gifted team in the field. It was their pitching that has crippled this team until the made the big boy moves during the offseason.

SAN FRAN GIANTS: (90-72)

I like the Giants to make the playoffs as the first or second wild card team in 2016. Last year they won 84 games and should be able to improve on that in 2016. San Fran is looking solid offensively heading in to the season and there defense should play at a premium level after only surrendering 78 errors the third fewest in the NL. My biggest concern for the Giants in 2016 will be their starting 5. I like Mad Bum and Johnny Cueto as a one two punch. However, I am concerned with the health of Jake Peavey and Matt Cain. Signing the American League’s least valuable pitcher in Jeff Samardjzia to a five year 90 million dollar contract, is that really going to hold up? Overall this should be a team that if they stay healthy then they should compete in 2016.

LA DODGERS: (81-81)

This is easy with all of the injuries to the team and the loss of perennial CY Young award winner Zack Grienke, I believe the Dodgers will float around .500 for the season. With Brandon McCarthy, Brett Andersen and Hyun-Jin Ryu being out for the majority of the year, I believe that will be enough for them to not shoot for the NL West title. Joc Pederson is the guy who I am most intrigued by for the Dodgers heading in to the season, because I believe he will only improve on the rookie campaign he posted in 2015.

SAN DIEGO PADRES: (77-85)

After being big time rollers last offseason everyone thought the Padres would compete against there other two rival in state teams for the division title. That was not the case for the friars last season as they compiled a 74-88 record. I don’t think much is going to improve for San Diego as they still lack a solid offence and their bullpen seems to be unset. If they can get Andrew Cashner, James Shields and Tyson Ross going on all four cylinders then maybe they will make a late push in 2016.

COLORADO ROCKIES: (66-96)

It’s the same story for the Rockies each season. They put up plenty of runs, in fact they lead in in that department last year for the NL. It’s just their pitching is God awful to say the least. In fact they were the only team to have an ERA over 5.00 (5.04). Until they can acquire solid pitching all around this team won’t be going anywhere for a while.

Baseball Predictions NL East


By: Max Zuiker

The Mets the Mets the Mets! After having everyone Washington as the heavy favorite last year, the Mets with their talented young pitching core won 90 games and took home the NL East crown. With keeping trade deadline accusation Yoenis Cespedes in the fold for an entire year are the Mets NL pennant favorites?  

NY METS: (98-64)

Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGroom, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and big old Bartolo Colon make up the Mets starting 5. Do I need to say anything else? I hope not… Should be a great year for Met fans.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS: (85-77)

What happened to the nasty Nats World Series banner and parade ceremony in 2015? Not to many people have a good reason why the Nationals folded so early last season. Looking in to 2016 for Washington, I see a solid competitive group led by 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper and staff ace Max Scherzer. There are two reason why I don’t see them making a playoff push this year. One is the supporting cast around Mr. Harper. I mean Ryan Zimmerman, Jason Werth and Daniel Murphy are solid ball players but the Nats need to give Harper more protection around him in order for him to be the full offensive catalyst that he is. Second problem I have is Dusty Baker. I like and respect Dusty but is he really the guy to get all the talent out of this ball club? I think they should have went in a different direction fir their managerial position.

MIAMI MARLINS: (78-84)

After bringing in a lot of talent last offseason the Marlins were disappointed in only winning 71 games as a unit. Miami could be one of those teams that surprises the baseball world in 2016 with their solid young pitching core. However, being second to last in runs scored in 2015 and not adding a big impact bat to strengthen their order I believe these offensive woes will continue to hinder their offense.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: (64-98)

Once again the Phillies will be in tank/rebuild mode. Not so long ago this was a perennial playoff team but with the majority of their top players aging and suffering nagging injuries the past two or three seasons have not been kind to the city of Brotherly Love. Philly fans expect a top three pick in next year’s draft. The big name to watch out for 2016 and beyond is Aaron Nola a solid front of the line type of pitcher.

ATLANTA BRAVES: (61-101)

For the first time in many years the Braves will be entering rebuild mode. As we saw throughout the offseason Atlanta will have no problem giving away their big ticket names in order to reshape the organization. I know Brave fans are not happy with this but it is necessary for this team to improve for 2017 and beyond.

Baseball Predictions NL Central


By: Max Zuiker

Losing 89 games in 2014, the Chicago Cubs made the NL Central division interesting by winning 97 games in 2015. In fact the Cardinals (100 wins), Pirates (98) and Cubs (97) had the top three records in all of baseball. This year the NL Central should be just as tightly contested as last year.

PITTSBURG PIRATES: (95-67)

The Pirates have been a wild card team the past three seasons. I think 2016, is the year they make the leap and win the division. This Pirate team won’t be all together for too much longer because of payroll restrictions. The Pirates must go all in in 2016. The strength to this team is the great set of arms they have collected as well as probably having baseball’s best outfield. Highlighted by former MVP Andrew McCutchen this Pirate offence should do some damage in 2016. They scored the fourth most runs in the NL. However the big concern for the Pittsburg in 2016 will be improving their defense who committed 122 errors the most in the NL.

CHICAGO CUBS: (92-70)

The Cubs had a great season winning 97 games, and yet I don’t have them winning the division even with all that young talent and the 280 million spent in free agency. Yes I do believe the Cubs will go far, but I think in the early stages of the season that the Cubs still might have a little  hangover from the success in 2015. In the end Joe Maddon will have his team secure a wild card spot in 2016. Cubs fans look forward to the encore Kris Bryant is going to bring in his sophomore season.

  1. LOUIS CARDINALS: (86-76)

There is no team in baseball that is as competitive on a daily basis like the Cardinals are. That being said I don’t want to say it’s not the Cards year to win the NL Central crown and be kicking myself in seven months, but I don’t think they got the fuel for a full 162 this year. With injuries to Lance Lynn and Yadier Molina and the losses of Jason Heyward and John Lackey, I think it will be tough to contend with the Pirates and Cubs in 2016. Regardless of what I just said, the Cards should still be a fairly competitive group this year. I have them winning about 85 games or so.

CINCINNATI REDS: (73-89)

The reds only won 64 ball games last year but were devastated by injuries. Big names like Devin Mesoraco and Homer Baily, barley played last year which hurt this team significantly. Mesoraco was limited to 23 games behind the plate and Homer only made two starts before being shelved for the rest of the 2016 campaign. With Devin being able to start the season and Homer expected to come back in May it should help this team, but it won’t be enough to stay fly with the rest of the division.  Watch out for Eugenio Saurez who is replacing all-star Todd Frasier at third this year.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS: (63-99)

Don’t have much faith for the Brew Crew in 2016. Defense and pitching have been a problem for the Brewers the past couple of seasons and I believe that trend will continue. I look for the Brew Crew to unload as many of their veteran pieces such as Matt Garza and Jonathan Lucroy, to start revamping for 2017 and beyond.

Ryan Pace will be a bad General Manager for the Chicago Bears


By: Peter Bobrinskoy

 

In unfortunate news, the past couple weeks we have found out that Ryan Pace will be a bad General Manager for the Chicago Bears. We learned for the second year in a row that the Chicago Bears will continue to do what they have done for the past 25 years and keep hoping it’s going to work.

The Bears will never win on a consistent basis until they stop acting like the Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, Texans, and Dolphins. What needs to happen is for them to start acting like the Steelers, Bengals, (Cough) Packers, and the Seahawks. The difference between the two sets of teams I just showed is that the first set of teams are always involved in free agency and try to buy success. While the second set of teams stays out of free agency, collects compensation picks, and puts all of their resources towards the NFL Draft. The Bears have never done that. The Packers entire franchise is centered on collecting as many draft picks as possible, drafting the best player available, developing players, waiting 4 years, resigning the players that deserve extensions, letting go of the players that don’t, collecting compensation picks for those players, rinse and repeat. By using this strategy, it allows their draft picks to flourish, making it possible for their late round draft picks to stick and possibly catching a steal.

However, with the Bears whenever they have a late round draft pick, they’re going to sign a free agent that will take his spot and that late round draft pick will never have a chance to flourish. For example, the Bears tried to sign Broncos running back C.J. Anderson at the beginning of free agency. By doing that they are drastically hurting the chances of Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey to prove themselves for the long term. Hypothetically they did sign C.J. Anderson, they would have eventually cut Ka’Deem Carey in training camp and that would have been another wasted fourth round pick by the Bears.

When the Seahawks drafted Richard Sherman in the 5th Round, it took him a couple years to develop into the Pro Bowler he is today. I guarantee that if the Bears drafted Richard Sherman in 2011, the next offseason they would have signed a “flashy free agent” safety and Richard Sherman would have never had the career he had. That’s the Bears problem. These general managers that the McCaskey’s keep hiring keep saying their teams are going to be “draft driven” but until they stop wasting their time with free agency, they never will be.

Now Ryan Pace has hired the right coaching staff but his philosophy for building a championship team has been used by the Bears for the last 25 years and it has rarely worked.

Sure teams that engage in free agency can have occasional success. I.e. 2006 Bears, 2010 and 2011 Jets, 2016 Redskins, 2016 Panthers but the teams that have consistent success and are competitive every year put all their resources towards the draft.

Now I know what you’re going to say, “But Pete, the Patriots are involved in free agency and they’re the best team in the NFL.” Now it is true that the Patriots do that, they occasionally take part in free agency. However, they still receive compensation picks every year because they usually only sign players who have been cut from their teams. Darelle Revis, Chris Long, Albert Haynesworth were all cut from their teams and the NFL does not take away compensation picks from teams for signing players who have been cut.

In conclusion, we found out two weeks ago that the Bears are not going to be a consistent NFL team from now on. Yesterday they overpaid and signed Josh Hill to a three-year contract. Really? Josh Hill who went undrafted is going to be the future for the Bears at tight end? Why not draft your next tight end of the future? Who knows how many times the Bears are going to make the same mistake but as long as the Packers have 10-11 draft picks every year while the Bears have 7, the Bears will never be better than the Packers over a long consistent period of time.