2017 NFL Mock Draft

I think is the best draft since I’ve launched the site.  Fitting, because the upcoming NBA Draft is also the best we’ve had since 2014.

As always, my mock draft is a combination of what I think should happen and what I think will happen, and features no trades.

No.1, Cleveland Browns: DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

In no way is there another pick you make here.  Garrett is a once-in-a-generation talent as an edge rusher.  He demolishes people on the offensive line.  He’s not only the best player in this draft, but the best prospect coming into one since Andrew Luck in 2012.

I’ve always believed in the rebuilding process of taking the best guy available and figuring out the rest later.  The Browns don’t need a quarterback right now.  They’re years away from contending even with a good quarterback (Spoiler: There’s not a really good QB in this draft).  Take Garrett so he can get 12+ sacks a year and give your defense a guy to build around while you wait for your quarterback.  It’s the easiest decision Cleveland has ever had to make, and yet, it seems that they’re still split.

No.2, San Francisco 49ers: DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama

This is much higher than other people have him going, but I’ve been in love with Jonathan Allen all season.  He’s explosive, versatile, and makes things happen.

His skill set fits in more with Chicago; a guy who you can use in multiple schemes and in different ways.  But his versatility gives San Francisco exactly what they need:  A plug in the middle of their defensive line.  Allen’s played on the edge and inside throughout college.  The 49ers are good on the end with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner.  Adding Allen to stuff the run and rush the quarterback creates a dominating defensive front.

No.3, Chicago Bears: S Jamal Adams, LSU

It’s a tough call here for Chicago between Adams and Ohio State safety Malik Hooker.  Both are awesome prospects.  But Chicago needs a play-maker in the secondary.  Adams is fast and physical, while Hooker is more a drop back and then make-a-move type safety.  Chicago needs that desperately.  I see Hooker only lasting a few more spots.

No.4, Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina

Remember the rules of the mock.  All the Jaguars need is a quarterback.  We’ve waited on this roster for two seasons now, and they only got better this Winter, signing Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye.  Inserting Blake Bortles under center wastes their potential.  I thought Jacksonville should have thrown all the money they had at Tony Romo before he retired; this team would have been a contender with him guiding the ship.

I don’t think Trubisky is great.  I don’t think he’s the best quarterback in the draft.  He feels extremely average.  The lack of starts scares me.  The inability to make big plays is worrisome.  Granted, his accuracy and footwork is there.  He has the basis, but how much better can he be?

I have Jacksonville taking him to 1) Get rid of Bortles and 2) Upgrade at quarterback.  Trubisky isn’t great, but he’s a step up from Bortles, and that might be all this Jaguars team needs.

No.5, Tennessee Titans: DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford

The Titans should be ecstatic if Thomas falls this far.  I’m even a little surprised I let him fall to No.5, but it makes all the sense in the world for both involved.

Tennessee has a hole on their line, and Thomas brings a wonderful skill set to the table.  He’s super explosive, which is a trait the Titans currently lack up front.  He can gets sacks and stuff the run.  He’s the perfect player for the Titans, and No.5, he’s more than you could ask for.

No.6, New York Jets: QB DeShaun Watson, Clemson

The quarterbacks once again bring out my “Don’t think it should happen but it will” theory.  I battled with who I wanted New York to take, and then ended up here.  How?

The Jets kinda need everything but also kinda don’t.  Run through their offensive weapons.  Upgrades at wide receiver and running back could be nice; quarterback definitely.  But at the same time, they have two viable receivers in Eric Decker and Quincy Eniwua, and the Matt Forte/Bilial Powell duo isn’t terrible.

Defensively, they could use another defensive lineman, but someone like Taco Charlton is a reach at No.6.

No matter what, I expect the Jets to do something splashy.  I believe Watson is the best quarterback in the Draft.  Yes, the accuracy and lack of pocket play is concerning, but the guy has a great arm and just makes plays.  I don’t project him as a star, but the earning of best QB in a certain draft is enough praise.

One of the running backs could very well be in play here.  I’d take Leonard Fournette, but reports the last few weeks suggest that Christian McCaffrey is flying up boards and could be the first back taken.

New York’s quarterback situation is in worse shape though, and this team is closer than people think.  Take Watson and hope to build your future around him.

No.7, Los Angeles Chargers: S Malik Hooker, Ohio State

I think Adams and Malik Hooker go 3 or 7; it all depends on who Chicago likes at No.3 overall.

Hooker is a great cover safety, but isn’t a thumper tackling others.  He’s extremely small for his position, which may scare some.  However, I’ve heard of none of the Chargers’ current safeties, so Hooker has to be an upgrade.

No.8, Carolina Panthers: RB Leonard Fourntte, LSU

Here is a pick where I combine my two draft principles.  Reports have Christian McCaffrey not getting past the Panthers here, which seems insane because he’s not the best back in the draft, and because that would mean two running backs would have to go in the top eight.  I don’t see either of those happening.

So, to compromise, I had Carolina go with Fournette, who on my Big Board is the best running back available.  His skill set fits in a lot more with the Panthers offense; McCaffrey seems like a disaster in the making unless they’re gonna try and play fast and start calling wheel routes.

Fournette is a smasher.  He can run over, mash, pound, and outrun dudes.  He has it all.  Putting him in Carolina’s backfield gives Jonathan Stewart less snaps (Which means reducing the odds that he gets injured) and takes some pressure of Cam Newton and his dopey group of receivers.

No.9, Cincinnati Bengals: WR Mike Williams, Clemson

I think a trade-down is a possibility here.  The Bengals lack wide receiver depth.  Imagine A.J. Green opposite Mike Williams with Brandon LaFell in the slot!  That is a nightmare for opposing corners.

No.10, Buffalo Bills: CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State 

The Bills had a reset to do on this secondary, and adding Marshon Lattimore, who’s the best cover player in this Draft, kicks it off pretty nicely.  Adding him and Micah Hyde establishes competency in a position group they need it desperately in.

No.11, New Orleans Saints: CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

This is as deep of a secondary draft as I can remember.  I think Adams going No.2 will convince teams to take these guys higher than they thought they would.

Humphrey is excellent all around.  He’s great in coverage, is athletic, and is probably the most underrated corner in the draft.  He would replace P.J. Williams in the Saints depth chart, giving New Orleans a massive upgrade in a suddenly very competent secondary.

No.12, Cleveland Browns: DL Taco Charlton, Michigan

I think Cleveland will be disappointed that no quarterbacks will be available here.  It won’t surprise me if they trade up to land Trubisky or Watson.  But assuming they stay here, Taco makes a ton of sense.  Adding him to Myles Garrett would be a huge haul, and would beef up their defensive line majorily.  If you’re rebuilding, the one thing you want immediately is having good lines.  With a great O-line and a now stacked D-line, the Browns can focus more on skill positions.

No.13, Arizona Cardinals: WR Corey Davis, Central Michigan

Some have us going quarterback, others linebacker, others wide receiver.  Corey Davis makes the most sense.  I expect Mike Williams to be long gone by this pick, so settling for Davis is something Arizona will do kindly.  I like John Ross, but he’s a speedster slot type receiver.  The Cardinals have a million of those.  This could be Larry Fitzgerald’s last season.  Davis is a big, physical receiver who you can throw the ball up to and he’ll go get it.  He’s the perfect Fitz replacement.

No.14, Philadelphia Eagles: DL Haason Reddick, Temple 

This where the ridiculous depth of this draft begins to show.  Guys like Reddick, Derek Barnett and Tim Williams are all still available.

I’m not super educated on Reddick, but his presence added to Flecther Cox, Chris Long and Timmy Jernigan makes this defense very, very scary.

No.15, Indianapolis Colts: LB Reueben Foster, Alabama

I understand the diluted sample will scare teams, but it just seems unfathomable that Foster could fall any lower than this.  He’s one of the best guys left at this point, and is the best value for what the Colts need.

Adding Foster gives them options in the linebacking core.  There’s no stars (Maybe Foster is the one?), but there’s competency, and with the current state of this defense, that is all they can ask for.

No.16, Baltimore Ravens: WR John Ross, Washington

Three receivers in the top 16 is a lot, but with the talent in this class, it makes sense.

Ross is the last of the big three to go, not because of talent, but because of the need of teams.  The Ravens can take Ross and turn him into a speedy slot threat to go along side Breshad Perriman, who’s more of a down-field receiver.

I could see Baltimore going defensive end or linebacker, but helping out Joe Flacco should be priority number one.

No.17, Washington Redskins: RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State

There are definitely other possibilities here, but as my feelings about Kirk Cousins have shifted, I think this pick makes sense.

In any other year, Dalvin Cook would be the best running back in the Draft.  This class is just loaded.  I think Cook is a better prospect than Ezekiel Elliot last year.

The Redskins have Rob Kelley, who’s destined to turn into Eddie Lacy, Matt Jones, who lost his job, and Chris Thompson, who’s like the weekly fantasy pickup who never does anything.

Enter Dalvin Cook, who’s just as powerful as he is fast.  The dude can break off anything.  He reminds me of David Johnson, while Fournette is more Zeke-ish.

Helping out Kirk Cousins should be Washington’s priority in the first round.  Cook will do that immediately.

No.18, Tennessee Titans: TE OJ Howard, Alabama

If there’s a spot Tennessee is gonna trade out of, it is this one.  I struggled with this pick.  Tennessee needs defensive help everywhere, so Derek Barnett makes sense, but they already took Thomas at No.5.  Jabril Peppers is a massive reach here, and the cornerback/safety selection has hit the lower tier.

So, I went with the best player available.  The Titans need a receiver, but like the secondary, we’ve entered the 2nd tier.  They have Delanie Walker, who fills a nice hole, but Howard is a different specimen.  This guy runs people over after the catch.  He’s a massive tight end who is impossible to tackle.  He’s a weapon.  Marcus Mariota needs one of those.

No.19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

Jamies Winston was on the ground way too much last season.  Tampa Bay desperately needs help at the tackle position.  Ryan Ramzyck figures to be a plug-in for the Bucs.  This guy has been through everything.  He’s pro-ready.

No.20, Denver Broncos: OT Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

I don’t know a lot about Lamp, but he fills a hole on the blind side for the Broncos.  I considered D-line here, and also Jabril Peppers (It’s a very John Elway pick), but Lamp just makes the most sense.

No.21, Detroit Lions: LB Jabril Peppers, Michigan

It is high, I know.  I’m not necessarily on the hype-train either though.

This is about need.  The Lions lack someone super versatile on defense.  They need a play-maker; someone to be a spark.  They desperately need linebacker help.  Peppers is perfect.

He’s a tough evaluation though.  He can play linebacker, safety, running back, wide receiver, even a little but of corner.  But he’s small for practically all of those positions.  He might get the crap beat out of him.  But he’s fast and sneaky, making him still prominent on the field.

He’s a risky pick, but is also a safe one.  With so much talent, it’s hard to see him not being able to figure out one of those positions.  The Lions need help everywhere.  Why not??

No.22, Miami Dolphins: DL Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

There’s going to be a lot of good defensive players that fall, including big, burly defensive lineman that just don’t fit the needs of teams.  I have McKinley going around his range, but this pick made me stop and consider the way my mock has panned out.  Guys like Malik McDowell and Derek Barnett are still available.  Teams are gonna get steals.

As for Miami, they could go a lot of places on defense, but McKinley’s addition would give them a terrifying defensive line.

No.23, New York Giants: DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State

The Giants could use some upgrades at linebacker and offensive line, but the premier linebackers are gone and their offensive line needs are on the interior (This is a tackle draft).  Picking Malik McDowell plugs a hole in their defensive line, creating a monstrous front, and if you have a line, then you have the start of a really, really good defense.

N0.24, Oakland Raiders: DL Caleb Brantley, Florida

Here go the defensive tackles.  The Raiders defense is the complete opposite of their  offense: Depleted.  They could go anywhere in the front seven, but taking the best player available is the way to go.

No.25, Houston Texans: OT Cam Robinson, Alabama

I’m sure Houston would love to take a quarterback, but at the same time, they only have themselves to blame for not doing what it took to get Tony Romo.  I could see them trying to trade up for one of Watson or Trubisky.

Though settling, I think Cam Robinson fits here.  Some may worry about his performance late in the season, but the guy was a beast for most of his career.  Yes, there’s off the field issues; those are why he fell to here. Houston needs another tackle; I think you can play Robinson at right or left (They need him on the right at the moment).  Once Duane Brown starts to decline, they can transition him back to left.

No.26, Seattle Seahawks: OT Garrett Boles, Utah

Regarded by some as the best offensive line prospect in the draft, Boles would be a massive upgrade on this putrid Seahawks front.  This guy is a beast, and would raise the number of “Guys I’ve heard of on the Seahawks offensive line” to two.

No.27, Kansas City Chiefs: DL Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Barnett falls, but goes to a team that desperately needs him.  Essentially a replacement for Dontari Poe, Barnett possesses dominant pass-rushing abilities and blows up backfields.  He’s a smaller, more athletic Poe.  Opposing offenses do not want to see Barnett lined up against them in addition to the athletic freaks the Chiefs already have.

No.28, Dallas Cowboys: LB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

You know Jerry is gonna do something splashy.  I contemplated JuJu Smith-Schuster here; he’d give them another weapon offensively, but I feel like Watt is more likely because 1) It is more of a need and 2) Jerry creates a Watt-on-Watt rivalry in the state of Texas!  It’s the most Jerry thing ever!

No.29, Green Bay Packers: DL Tim Williams, Alabama

Most mocks have Williams falling due to off-the-field issues, but I can see the Packers taking a chance on him here.  The Packers are the type of team to turn dudes around.  That and their need for a dominant pass rusher make Williams worth the risk here.

Not educated enough on these guys, but here’s my picks for the final three teams, based on need.

No.30, Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt

No.31, Atlanta Falcons: LB Jarrad Davis, Florida

No.32, New Orleans Saints: DL Charles Harris, Missouri

A list of dudes who somehow didn’t go in my first round:

  • Christian McCaffrey: I think he’s the 3rd best running back in the draft.  Top ten seems insane to me.
  • David Njoku
  • Tre’Davious White
  • Evan Engram
  • Teez Tabor

Previewing The NBA’s First Round Playoff Matchups

Alas, the NBA playoffs are here.  After doubting the contenders, watching the Knicks implode, the Timberwolves suck, Utah prove me right, Portland playing defense that replicates a turnstile, Boogie getting traded and the Colangelos getting their Colangelo on in Philadelphia, we’re here.  But we’re also not here because we all know that Cleveland and Golden State are playing in June and that nothing really matters until then.  Anyways, here’s my first round picks.


Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics

The fact that the Bulls made the playoffs show the lack of competency in the East.  This team has been a disaster all season, equipped with no good point guards (Except National TV Rajon Rondo!  Who might play a big role in this series if his playoff/national TV self shows up!), no three point shooting, and a now-terrible coach.

I expect Boston to coast, but they’ve had their own issues lately, getting blown out by Cleveland and not really playing like a No.1 seed.  In any other season, they’re probably the 3rd or 4th seed, and in my opinion, they’re behind Cleveland, Toronto and Washington in terms of having the best chance at the title.  I just think they don’t have enough firepower to get by those teams, who are all loaded with star-power.  By Chicago?  Definitely.

The defensive problem with Isaiah Thomas won’t take effect this series.  The Celtics have enough guys to throw at Jimmy Butler, the one guy on Chicago who you have to worry about.  Avery Bradley can lock him down; it’d also be a nice test for Jaylen Brown, who needs minutes against superstars if the Celtics are gonna take down Cleveland or Toronto.

Thomas’ weakness defensively won’t show against Rondo, unless he realizes that he may not get a contract next season and decides to show up for the audience.

Boston has the depth and shooting to win this series handily.  There’s a chance Jimmy Butler wins a game for the Bulls, probably on a game-winner if the Celtics have one of their “We’re kinda not ready for this yet” games.

The Bulls are gonna have to rely heavily on Butler, who’s the single reason they’re in this.  Nikola Mirotic might be able to contribute a little bit, given his hot streak and the fact that Boston has no good power forwards.  Then again, Mirotic isn’t beating you in a series (He’s about to get paid like he can though…  Good Lord this money is nuts).

The Celtics will cruise, but I think as much as Jimmy Butler wants this season to be over (And also wants to be out of Chicago), he won’t let it happen too easily.

Pick: Celtics in 5

Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Can we stop freaking out about the Cavaliers not getting the No.1 seed?  Boston isn’t playing them in the Eastern Conference Finals (Though I picked them, it’s clear to see that I’m not high on Boston this postseason.), so they’ll have home-court over anyone.

Then again, they did allow the Celtics to get the No.1 seed.  Boston obtaining the top spot wasn’t about Boston playing well, it was about Cleveland playing poorly.  The Cavs have not looked great lately.  They’re taking games off, which makes sense considering how many minutes their stars are playing.  Their defense has been poor, which was not unexpected.  Turns out you can’t rely on old wing shooters anymore!  They have to be somewhat athletic!

Like Boston, Cleveland’s issues won’t haunt them yet.  Indiana, like Chicago, doesn’t really deserve to be here.  They’ve been average and inconsistent all season.  The only reason they’re here is because of Paul George and the benching of Monta Ellis.  Yeah, not great.

Cleveland should roll through Indiana.  The Pacers have no one for Kyrie Irving, who’s capable of winning a series by himself if he has to.  The Paul George-LeBron duels should be fun, but it’s hard to see George (Who’s really good, don’t get me wrong) keep up with the best player in the world for seven games (That’s what it would take).

Where Indiana could find success is in keeping up with possessions.  They’re gonna out-rebound Cleveland like it’s nothing.  Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young are no match for the small ball lineups of Cleveland.  But, if the Cavaliers are hot from three, then it’s over.  It’s a common trend now:  If you make more threes than your opponent, you’re probably gonna win.  Simple as that.  It’s a math game now, and Indiana and other teams have to realize that.

Indiana could get two games:  1) The game where PG outduels LeBron and 2)  The game where Cleveland goes cold and Myles Turner grabs every rebound in sight.

With Cleveland’s 2017 slump (It started when the new year hit), Indiana could very well give Cleveland a run.  And whoever plays the Cavs next will give them a big middle finger, cause a pissed off Cavs team/LeBron is no fun.

Pick: Cleveland in 6

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors

I think this is the best series out East.  It has the most potential for an upset.

Everyone is super high on Toronto, but I’m just not feeling it.  First of all, everyone has turned on Drake, so there’s that.

Secondly, I just think they’re a little too slow and herky-jerky.  But that does mean they are physical, and that’s something that is very lacking in today’s game.  It makes them unique.

That size, plus their depth, allows them to be very unpredictable with their lineups.  They have a lot of versatility with their looks; a nice thing to have these days.

I understand the case.  They have two really good players in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, two guys who can score in many ways and form a backcourt that’s almost impossible to handle.  Then again, Giannis Antentkoump might be able to guard both of them at the same time.

Giannis is the one reason why I think there’s upset potential here.  He’s the one guy in the league who thinks he’s better than anyone (Including LeBron) and isn’t afraid to show it.  That guy is a beast.  Do you really think he’s scared of Lowry and DeRozan?

Toronto has a big problem to address in Giannis.  They don’t have one guy who can lock him down.  And when you’re pitted against a guy who can do whatever he wants on the court, that’s a big problem.

Elsewhere, the Raptors don’t match up very well with Toronto either.  The likes of Thon Maker and Tony Snell can run very well.  The speed and lack of quick athleticism is something I’ve worried about with Toronto for awhile now.  Milwaukee won’t get massive offensive contributions from those guys, but those occasional points matter as the Raptors will struggle to score just as much.

Unfortunately for Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, he’s the one guy who might be sheltered in this series.  DeRozan can handle him.  If the Raptors lock him down, it takes away a big time scoring option for the Bucks.  That could be the difference in the series.

I think Milwaukee is gonna give Toronto a run, but the Raptors’ star power will overwhelm.

Pick: Raptors in 7

Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards 

I think the Hawks are the league’s biggest fraud this season.  I don’t enjoy watching them.  I’ve never been amazed by anyone on that team (Ok, maybe Tim Hardaway Jr.’s breakout year has been fun).  I just don’t think they’re worth the 5th seed!  Even in the East!

The Hawks have nice depth, but they work too hard for points as the ball is either getting posted up by Dwight Howard, iso-ed by Dennis Schroder, or danced around with by Kent Bazemore.

Paul Millsap, God bless him, has been the only real important guy on this team.  I would throw in Hardaway Jr., but he’s about to get paid $8 million more per year than he should, so he doesn’t count.

Millsap is a problem for the Wizards, but as good as he is, he’s not winning a series for you, especially against the Wizards, who possess John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter.

Atlanta just won’t be able to counter the offensive output of the Washington.  John Wall is going to carve up Schroder, presumably leaving Beal open somewhere.  The Hawks have no one for Otto Porter, who needs much more respect and deserves a max contract this Summer.  He’s sneakily becoming a guy, like Giannis, where he can do whatever he wants on the court.  Not many dudes have that type of athleticism at his size.  He’s finally taking advantage of it.

I expect this series to be over quickly.  I have no idea how Atlanta will score enough to keep up with the Wiz, or how they will defend Porter/Wall.

Pick: Washington in 4


Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors

For the Warriors, the West is their’s to lose.

For Portland, winning a game in this series would be considered a win.

In whats been an up and down season, the Trail Blazers are here, thanks to a post-All Star Break resurgence from Damian Lillard and the addition of Jursuf Nurkic, who may or may not be available for the start of this series.

Dame single-handily dragged them in here.  Playing the Warriors is a nice reward.

Portland can’t guard anyone; Golden State might average 130 points a game this series.

This isn’t the Portland team of past year’s that can pull off upsets in the first round. They have two guards who both need their own teams and thats it.  Nobody else is contributing in an impactful way.  That’s a problem against Golden State.

Defensively they’re just as screwed.  They have literally no one for Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, yeah, you catch my drift.

A Warriors sweep seems inevitable, but Dame has those games where he’s hot and nobody can stop him.  If that game falls on a night where Golden State is cold, then Portland might be able to steal one.

Pick: Warriors in 5

Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs

Before I started thinking critically about it, I might have picked the Spurs in 3.  I thought this was a massacre in the making.

But, the Grizzlies, like always, are gonna put up a fight.

The series history is interesting here.  Every time these teams meet each other in the playoffs, we seem to think it could be an epic, old-school style series.  But in the previous two meeting, the Spurs have swept Memphis both times.  The chances of that happening again are high.

The Tony Allen injury is devastating to Memphis and is also a perfect example of how ravaged this team has been by injuries since 2014.  Every year, multiple guys are hurt.  Yet they push through and still end up here.

Allen could have given Kawhi Leonard (AKA Sharkpotus, God, and so on) some fits defensively.  A lockdown performance by Allen would have driven the Spurs to use Kawhi more off the ball, leading to LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green getting many more shots.  While the Spurs would still cook the Grizzlies, Allen would have made things much more difficult for Popovich and Co.

Memphis still might be able to do some things to slow down the Spurs.  Kawhi is gonna murder you offensively, but JaMychal Green, who I really like, can take LMA out of the game, and Marc Gasol is much better than Dwayne Dedmon or his brother Pau.

Memphis and San Antonio possess similar types of big men.  The difference is that Memphis actually has the athletic edge here, with Gasol and Green able to spread the floor a little better than say, David Lee and Dedmon.

Memphis can sneak in a win if two thing happen:  1) They out-rebound Memphis.  2) Mike Conley dishes 20 assists or something crazy.  Besides that happening, Kawhi will coast.

Pick: Spurs in 5

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets

No matter how few games, what a delight this will be.

I think they should name the MVP right before Game 1 of this series, so that whoever doesn’t get it unleashes all hell on the other for however many games.  Even with how great this season has been, we deserve this.

Unfortunately for Russell Westbrook, this series might not last very long.  The Rockets take an insane amount of threes (50, which I am in no way against) while the Thunder are the worst three point shooting team in the league.

Enough said?  Numbers never lie!

There will be zero defense in this series, and even though OKC has some good perimeter defenders, the reduced amount of threes (compared to normal) that will Houston will make due to that defense will still outweigh the dancing around/missed shots of Russ at the end of the game.

Russ is the MVP, but you just can’t play like he does – dominating the ball and being inefficient.  It’s gonna really show in this series.

I expect Houston to win easily, but there will be a game where Russ does something insane like 59-16-12 and makes literally every shot.  If they would announce the MVP before the series and Harden wins, then Russ would probably average 65 points a game this series.  Your loss, NBA.

Pick: Rockets in 5

Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers

At the season’s beginning, I warned of two things:  1) That Utah was gonna be really good and 2) That they’d finish ahead of the Clippers and grab the 3rd seed in the West.  I was 75% correct.  The 4-5 difference doesn’t matter, and the Jazz are really good.  The 3rd seed prediction was ambitious, and it failed because I didn’t see the Rockets being this good.

The Clippers just don’t have it anymore.  This team is due for major changes this offseason unless they make the Finals, which, I can guarantee you, will not happen. They’re always hurt, always mad at each other, and just don’t pass the eye test anymore.  This series is where everything hits the fan.

The Jazz’s creativity and lineup flexibility is the difference here.  Utah has so many lineups – big, small, crafty, shooting – that they can throw at you.  That’s a nightmare for the Clippers, who usually play two big guys who don’t space the floor at once, and lack a super good bench (Though it’s better than it has been in the past).

I think Utah can outrun Los Angeles and put them in uncomfortable spots on the court.  Rodney Hood is a terrible matchup for the Clips, and he’s a guy who can torch you.  Gordon Hayward is gonna show the country that he’s pretty freaking good (There’s a large majority that think he’s just fine).  George Hill and Chris Paul guarding each other will be fun.

The Clippers have the talent to win this series, but I think the matchups aren’t in their favor whatsoever.  If the Jazz can’t contain Blake Griffin and the Clips get supplemental shooting, then maybe they have the advantage.  But I see this being an ugly ending for a Clippers trio that could just never figure it out.

Pick: Jazz in 5

2017 PECOTA Over/Unders And Season Predictions

Teams are ordered by win total

AL East:

Boston Red Sox: PECOTA Prediction: 90 wins  Verdict: OVER

The depth, rotation and youth of this Boston team is going to make them not only one of the best teams in baseball, but also one of the most enjoyable.  I cannot wait to watch them at one o’clock on a Summer day.  The outfield of Andrew Beintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts is a stunning collection of talent, though Bradley needs his bat to start coming alive (He just went on the DL, so that will have to wait).

The infield went through some major changes, resulting in downgrades at first and third base.  Pablo Sandoval starting is extremely concerning, but chances are he’s hurt before he can start really negatively impacting the team.  The Red Sox depth could be showcased by Chris Young, who could go into one of those weird hitting streaks if Hanley takes over 3rd base.

Pitching seems like it could finally be a strength for Boston.  Equipped with Chris Sale, this is a really good rotation.  Granted, Rick Porcello is due for a regression season, and David Price is only good until the playoffs.  Still, Steven Wright is pretty awesome, Eduardo Rodgrizuez could eat some innings (I’m very close to giving up on him), and Drew Pomeranz is also here, which is a trade that looks like a complete disaster for Boston.

Chances are Pomeranz ends up in the bullpen, which went through an overhaul in the offseason and looks pretty good on paper.

Boston has some issues like usual, but the young talent and Sale addition should make them one to be reckon with.

Tampa Bay Rays: PECOTA Prediction: 84 wins  Verdict: PUSH


PECOTA has always had a weird fetish for the Rays.  It’s frustrating, cause the roster wants to make you believe that they can be good, and PECOTA is also there to sway you.  But they never come through.  Whats the problem?

First of all, Chris Archer struggled majorily last season, and if your ace isn’t having it well, your team won’t.  Archer, when good, is good enough to have that drastic of an impact.  That’s huge on a team like the Rays.

Tampa Bay’s roster is made up of a ton of underrated guys, which is good and bad.  Underrated players have a ton of value, but sometimes they’re not enough.  They can be streaky.  Stars aren’t streaky.  They’re consistent one way or the other.  The Rays have been bothered by this in past years.  They don’t have a guy who can carry the offense when it’s struggling.

Tampa Bay lost some talent too.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the Logan Forsythe trade, even though they 1) Got Jose De Leon and 2) Traded him to the Dodgers, who seem to never get total output from the big trades they make.  Forsythe was one of those underrated players.  But, his value in Los Angeles is much greater than in Tampa Bay.  I mean, he’s playing 2nd base instead of Chase Utley.

Anyways, Archer should return to form.  Jake Odorozzi is a really nice No.2 starter, and Alex Cobb is decent.  The back of the rotation bothers me, as does the bullpen (besides Brad Boxberger), but the Rays are destined to be a frisky, fun team that just can’t break into the postseason.

New York Yankees: PECOTA Prediction: 82 wins  Verdict: PUSH

Oh yeah!  It’s happening!

Turns out, PECOTA practically nailed the AL East, which is extremely hard to do!  This division is a weird mix of mediocrity and friskiness.  They’re all fun teams but only Boston has what it takes to make things happen in the playoffs.

The Yankees fit the friskiness and mediocre description perfectly.  Loaded with multiple top prospects, they’re gonna be insanely entertaining.  Gary Sanchez is a offensive machine, Aaron Judge is an interesting piece, Gleyber Torres seems to be the second coming of Javier Baez, and GREG BIRD IS BACK BABY.


Yeah, um, there’s also some problems with this Yankees team.

With all the fun young guys, there has to be some negatives.  And there most definitely are.  This rotation is putrid.  Masahiro Tanka has to stay healthy for this group to have any dignity.  Sabathia isn’t even worth words, Micahel Pineda is also done.  Luis Severino is the one Yankees prospect who didn’t work out, and I don’t even know who their 5th starter is.  Maybe Nathan Eovaldi’s buyout number?

The weird mix of vets and youngsters doesn’t help either.  Guys like Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury (Who still has an ungodly four years and $89,571,429 left on his contract) and Chase Headley are still hanging around.  Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorious are fine, but Castro isn’t special and Didi is likely to lose his job due to a shoulder injury/Torres.

New York’s bullpen is the Giants’ wet dream, but how much will it really matter when the rotation will already put them in a deep hole?

The Yankees are going to be entertaining yet frustrating, which makes them a perfect fit for the wonderful AL East.

Toronto Blue Jays: PECOTA Prediction: 81 wins  Verdict: OVER

I struggled with the verdict on Toronto.  I  could see the over very clealy, but also tangled with the push.  There’s a chance this is the year they fall off, giving that Edwin Encarnacion is gone and that this could be Marcus Stroman’s make or break year.  1st and 2nd base are causes for concern, but Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitski can balance that out.

In the outfield, the Blue Jays are also complicated.  Ezequiel Carrera has been a favorite of mine for awhile, but I’m doubtful that he will be a contributor with a limited bat and sketchy defense.  He’s expected to start this season.

Kevin Pillar is awesome, and Jose Bautista is Jose Bautista.  You never know what you’re gonna get.

Toronto still has good depth.  Guys like Melvin Upton Jr., Kendrys Morales, Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins are nice players to have.  But it’s nothing special.  Though I’m picking the over, I can’t be sure that Toronto will be playing in October, which for baseball’s sake is unfortunate.

Baltimore Orioles: PECOTA Prediction: 73 wins  Verdict: OVER

Before you get excited, it’s not much of an over.  73 just feels a little too low.

I think there’s no doubt that this is the worse team in the division.  Man, they really miss Dexter Fowler (I will never stop joking about that).  Season two of Hyun Soo Kim will be enjoyable; the Orioles need his bat to be what it was last season.  Defensively… Yikes!  Seth Smith is the least Orioles player ever, but hey at least Adam Jones can catch a baseball.

The middle infield and the Chris Davis contract is cause for concern, but Manny Machado is pretty good.

Baltimore’s rotation is still pretty bad, but a nice bullpen could help late in games.  That is, if they use Zach Britton.

It’s not a terrible team, but it’s not a good one either.  High 70s feels right.

AL Central:

Cleveland Indians: PECOTA Prediction: 92 wins  Verdict: OVER

The World Series runner-ups got better.  The Edwin Encarnacion signing, though an overpay, gives them a powerful new addition.  Michael Brantley is back until he is not; who knows what to expect from him offensively.  I love Tyler Naquin, who hits the crap out of the ball.  Lonnie Chisenhall is extremely streaky, but they can afford to use some of the depth they posses to limit his liabilities.  Brandon Guyer and Abraham Almonte are fine backups.

The infield is solid as usual.  The Jason Kipnis injury is something to be a little concerned about giving his past two seasons and their lack of depth, but it sounds as if this a single DL stint.  I cannot wait for Year 3 of Francisco Lindor; the guy is a star.  I worry about the Jose Ramirez extension giving that we’re a season off of him batting less than .200 and essentially losing his role, but last year’s recovery is a sign for hope.

Yan Gomes, despite a slow spring, is a solid catcher.  I also like Roberto Perez, who can’t hit but is an excellent framer.

The Indians’ pitching staff is one of the best in the league.  Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar as your 1-2-3  doesn’t suck.  I’m still not sold on Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer’s finger as quality starters, but they’re fine when you’re top-heavy.

Cleveland should dominate this division, like Boston.  They only got better in the offseason, and look ready for another World Series run.

Minnesota Twins: PECOTA Prediction: 80 wins  Verdict: UNDER

This Twins team, like always, is complicated.  There’s A LOT of different paths they could take.  We’re gonna order them in terms of likelihood.

  1. A fun but flawed mid-high 70s win team.
  2. A terrible, poor pitching team with underperforming prospects.
  3. A surprisingly good, low-mid 80s win team that hangs around in the Wild Card race

There’s too many variables with the Twins.  We know the pitching, Joe Mauer and Jason Castro are problems (It’s not great when your new signing is already a problem).  Granted, Castro’s framing could help out the rotation, but I’m under the opinion that frame-help is only necessary with young pitchers.

The looming question with Minnesota is: How many of these prospects are gonna turn into something?  I think Byron Buxton will figure it out, but besides him, what’s left?

Eddie Rosario figures to be a decent to solid MLB player, Miguel Sano is a boom or bust batter, though the move to 3rd base should increase his overall value.  Jorge Polanco is a tough evaluation since this is his debut season, but Minnesota was confident enough to give Eduardo Nunez’s spot to him.

The other Twins prospect I can say only positive things about is Max Kepler.  The overall hitting needs work, but he can smack the ball.  Last season Kepler hit 17 dingers in 113 games, an impressive number.  If he can put up similar numbers, he’s the best to 2nd best hitter on this team, depending on how streaky Sano is.

Byung Ho Park is another variable.  The OPS (.684) and RBI numbers have to be higher, but will they actually?

It’s hard to foresee a 30 year old who probably already had his best years in another league adjusting to the MLB.  I mean, statically, he had negatives runs against fastballs last season.  Yeesh.

Prospects and offense are gonna have to save this team.  This rotation is putrid.  When Ervin Santana is your ace, uh, yeah.  Not great.  I guess you’d hope for improvement from Kyle Gibson and Tyler Duffey, but from what I saw last season, that is a long shot.

I don’t know what to expect from this Twins team, but I am definitely ready for them to make me wrong, one way or the other.

Detroit Tigers: PECOTA Prediction: 78 wins  Verdict: OVER

I’m confused by this projection.  It feels insanely low.

I don’t think the Tigers are a guaranteed playoff team, but you have to consider their chances, which are solid.

Looking at this roster, there’s not a lot of holes.  Sure, JaCoby Jones in center is cause for concern.  Nick Costellanos is fine.  James McCann needs to recover his bat.  But elsewhere, there’s quality players.  Oh, and this rotation is very pleasing.

The case against this team is that they added Mike Pelfrey to the bullpen.

They aren’t the Indians, but talent-wise, Detroit can be playoff bound.  OVER.  DEFINITELY OVER.

Chicago White Sox: PECOTA Prediction: 76 wins  Verdict: UNDER

It’s a slight under.  I still think they’re a mid-70s win team.

This team is very confusing.  It’s what happens when you’re caught between a rebuilding and contending roster, but it’s also not on the Yankees’ scale.

Tim Frazier and Melky Cabrera are the main two guys that need rescue missions sent for them.  It’s a travesty they’re still on this team (especially Frazier).

Truthfully, I’ve never heard of a couple dudes in this lineup.  But guys like Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson could give them some extra wins.  The rotation is in rough shape after the Chris Sale trade, and Carlos Rodon’s injury makes it pretty brutal.

There’s a chance this whole thing collapses on the White Sox this Summer, but hey, at least they know what they’re doing now.

Kansas City Royals: PECOTA Prediction: 71 wins  Verdict: OVER

Like the Rays fetish, PECOTA has an anti-fetish against the Royals.  This is probably the 3rd or 4th straight season it has crapped on Kansas City.

Granted, that doesn’t mean this team is the same as the World Series Champion one.

Kansas City’s biggest issue stems from the offseason tragedy of Yordano Ventura.  His ace status is left up to the Danny Duffy, which is fine, but behind him lies a slew of guys who are on the edge of competency.  The Jason Hammel signing was nice, but he’s 34 and seems to be declining.  Ian Kennedy hasn’t been good in six seasons, and Nathan Karns was overpaid for.

Elsewhere though, the Royals set up quiet nicely.  I liked the Brandon Moss signing, and they have a nice balance of power and on-base guys.  I worry about Raul Mondesi at 2nd base, but he’s only 20 and didn’t play much last season.  Kansas City has some nice depth too; Cheslor Cuthbert and Christian Colon are valuable utility men.

This is also Jorge Soler’s chance.  He’s had a rough Spring and probably won’t play Opening Day due to an injury, but the Royals had enough confidence in him to acquire him straight up for Wade Davis, a price that seemed way too high.  I’m skeptical to believe in him, but won’t be surprised if he puts it together.

It’s hard to see this team being terrible, but some streakiness could put them somewhere in the high 70s.  PECOTA sold them short, and  that motivation could wind up leaving Kansas City in the playoffs at the end of the season.

AL West:

Houston Astros: PECOTA Prediction: 94 wins  Verdict: PUSH

PECOTA’s numbers came in really wonky for this division, but you can’t totally blame it.  This is a really good division.

The Astros, projected for 94 wins, have two fronts: 1) An extremely talented team with the right mix of youth and veterans 2) A good team with pitching problems, completely anathema from where we saw this team two years ago.

Last season, Dallas Keuchel struggled, Lance McCullers was hurt, Colin McHugh was a disaster, and Mike Fiers was disappointing.  They signed Charlie Morton to add depth, and Joe Musgrove figures to add some value.

Offensively, the Astros have no issues.  This is a nightmare lineup.  Their infield is stunningly young and talented; the DRS’s are going to be extremely high.  I liked the Josh Reddick signing, and George Springer is awesome.

The problem with the Astros?  Their division is stacked.

Seattle Mariners: PECOTA Prediction: 87 wins  Verdict: OVER

Seattle has the chance to be the team that comes out of nowhere and heads to the World Series.  They’re that good.  But a couple things could hold them back.

First, the pitching is not that good.  Felix Hernandez is still the King, but behind him is a bunch of average or worse pitchers.  It’s hard to see Hisashi Iwakuma rebounding at age 36, who put up career-worst numbers that included a 98 ERA+.  James Paxton and Yovani Gallardo are barely competent, and Drew Symly is out for two months.  The poor rotation could hold them back early, and in this division, that’s not the easiest thing to recover from.

Offensively, the Mariners are frightening.  They overhauled quite a bit in the offseason, getting rid of Seth Smith, Nori Aoki, Adam Lind and Ketel Marte.  But, shipping out those guys only led to upgrades.  Jean Segura is coming off a great year, Jarrod Dyson is a nice player to have and Leonys Martin could be in for a big season.

Mike Zunino, Danny Valencia and Mitch Haniger are some weak spots, but they’re not terrible for how Seattle is going to use them.  Haniger is entering his 2nd season, Mike Zunino has good framing to possibly help out this pitching staff, and Danny Valencia is a competent (but not good) 1st basemen.

Seattle needs to get and stay healthy, and hope their offense can carry them in 2017.  If it can’t, they’re probably looking at 3rd place.  However, guys like Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager are great at driving runs in and possess that “it” factor.  I believe one of them can carry a team.

Texas Rangers: PECOTA Prediction: 84 wins  Verdict: OVER

You know a division is good when you’re betting over for the top three teams.  The Rangers’ biggest enemy the past few years has been injuries, and they’ve already taken their toll.

A weak back-of-the-rotation has already been plagued by injuries.  Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, while not super viable options, are already on the DL.  Cashner’s had a rough past two seasons, and Ross missed all of 2016.  It’s hard to be excited about A.J. Griffin and Martin Perez as your No.3 and No.4 starters… That’s only the start of my concerns with this Texas team.

A Rangers fan would point to Jonathan Lucroy’s 2nd season with the team, and while he is an offensive juggernaut, his framing stats have declined quite sharply over the years, dropping from 14th in the MLB in 2014 to 34th last season.   That’s not an encouraging sign either.

To add to the concerns, Adrian Beltre is on the DL to start the season.  Granted, Joey Gallo is taking over at 3rd base.  If he shines in the time Beltre is injured, I foresee a move to DH or even 1st base in his future.  It’s the age 34 season for Shin Soo Choo, and last year’s numbers were not great.  Mike Napoli is coming off a great year, but he’s an extremely hot and cold hitter, and enters his age 35 season.  There’s too much old hitting on this team, and I haven’t even addressed Carlos Gomez in centerfield.

The Rangers are in a tough spot.  Their youth of Gallo, Nomar Mazara, and Delino DeShields provides a lot of hope, but unproductive hitting, sketchy pitching and injuries could easily hold them back.  84 wins seems low, but this over is a slight one.

Los Angeles Angels: PECOTA Prediction: 78 wins  Verdict: OVER

Oh yeah!  I even went over on the Angels!

It’s not a good team, but I think they’re getting a little more than they deserve to.  Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, Kole Calhoun is a nice player and Andrelton Simmons is very good at baseball (Though that trade is an absolute disaster right now).  Besides that, yeesh.

There’s a lot of meh here.  Yunel Escobar and Danny Espinosa in the same infield is problematic.  C.J. Cron is no one to be excited about.  Cameron Maybin is probably not hitting .315 again.  Yeah, please don’t watch this team.

Oakland A’s: PECOTA Prediction: 75 wins  Verdict: PUSH

I think the revamped outfield is competent and can add some unexpected wins, but a crappy rotation and poor infield hitting won’t get them far.  This is barely a push.

NL East

New York Mets: PECOTA Prediction: 88 wins  Verdict: UNDER

I just don’t feel it with this Mets team.  It’s basically the same roster, with the same infielders, with the same people injured… which means the same problems.

David Wright is already hurt.  Lucas Duda is still playing 1st base.  There’s depth, but it’s quite underwhelming.  They couldn’t find the right Jay Bruce trade, creating a dilemma in right field (Although, with the way he’s playing, they may not need to).  There’s just not a lot to like here.

BUT, this might be the best rotation in the MLB and Yoenis Cespedes is amazing in so many ways.

It’s not gonna get them to 88 wins.  I think the on-base and hitting issues are gonna plague the Mets.  Washington is just more well-rounded.

Washington Nationals: PECOTA Prediction: 87 wins  Verdict: OVER

They’re always battling injuries, but on paper, this Nationals team is pretty scary.  You can’t really point to a weakness on this roster.  The Adam Eaton trade was a total overpay, but it moves Michael Taylor (thankfully) to the bench.  Him along with Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper form one of the best outfields in the MLB.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon just need to stay healthy.  Adam Lind is a nice backup, but his bat proves to be extremely boom or bust.  Stephen Drew is also a nice utility piece to have around.

I’m extremely excited for year three of Trea Turner, and am done doubting Daniel Murphy.  That guy is an offensive machine.

Washington’s rotation isn’t as good as we thought it’d be in 2015, but it possess five to six quality starters.  The Nationals would like for Gio Gonzalez to have a better season, but if he’s platueded it’s not a disaster.

Washington still wants to add a long term, high quality reliever.  Mark Melancon was a nice rental, but someone has to step up in that bullpen.

Washington is the best team in this division.  Their hitting is far superior to New York’s, and their simply a more competent team.

Miami Marlins: PECOTA Prediction: 78 wins  Verdict: UNDER

The Marlins are sneakily terrible.  Equipped with only a talented outfield, Miami’s roster is in pretty bad shape.  Dee Gordon is fine at 2nd base, but he’s not carrying your team.  I’ve never heard of Derek Dietrich at 3rd, and Justin Bour at 1st base isn’t exactly ideal.

Miami’s rotation, still recovering (and forever will be recovering) from the death of Jose Fernandez, is one of the worst in the MLB.

This team could be putrid.  Thank God for Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton.

Atlanta Braves: PECOTA Prediction: 77 wins  Verdict: OVER

I don’t know what this team is exactly, but it’s certain to be entertaining.

The Braves, who open a new stadium this season, simply wanted to put a competent team on the field for this year.  And while it has plenty of faults, it’s mildly intriguing.

We’re getting Year 23,939 of Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey in the same rotation, topped off by Julio Teheran, who STILL hasn’t been traded and might not ever be at this point.  I liked the Jaime Garcia trade too.  Again:  competence.

Freddie Freeman is awesome, Dansby Swanson is not a Diamondback, and Brandon Phillips is in the swan song.  It’s not half-bad, and it will be fun to watch.

The Matt Kemp-Ender Inciarte-Nick Markakis outfield is not good; Inciarte is the only productive player we can count on here.  But Kemp draws fans and Markakis, well, is Markakis.

This Braves team might be constructed extremely oddly, but they’re somewhat frisky, and will get eyes, and to the front office and ownership, thats all that matters right now.

Philadelphia Phillies: PECOTA Prediction: 74 wins  Verdict: PUSH

They slide perfectly into the 4th spot in this terrible division.  They don’t match Miami’s crappiness, but lack of the friskiness of Atlanta.

Cesar Hernandez is an interesting player.  Already at 27 (I know, he seems 23), you have to wonder how much better he will get.  Last season was by far his best, posting a WAR of 3.3 and 11 triples (11!).  But it’s hard to see him becoming a star at this age.  That gives me pause when regarding this Phillies infield.  Maikel Franco has promise, and Freddy Galvis is coming off a good year.  But there’s no standout guy here yet, which is okay, cause it’s not like they’re contending anyways.

Howie Kendrick is a bridge in left, and so is Michael Saunders, who’s quite undervalued.  Odubel Herrera could be a budding star in centerfield, but right now, the Phillies are close to irrelevant.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: PECOTA Prediction: 91 wins  Verdict: OVER

Is there anything to be concerned about here?  OVER.  DEFINITELY OVER.

Pittsburgh Pirates: PECOTA Prediction: 81 wins  Verdict: OVER

I’m struggling with this team.  They’re intriguing yet frustrating to evaluate.  A lot depends on their rotation, which has two paths it could travel on.  I’d expect a rebound year from Gerrit Cole, who’s numbers weren’t terrible last season, but weren’t ace-like.  Jameson Taillion figures to improve, but at 25, how much better can he really be?  Ivan Nova is just kinda there.  I guess yay for mentoring??  Rounded out by Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow, Pittsburgh’s rotation hinges on the development of these young arms.  They could all excel, or could still be a year away.

No matter what rotation we get, Pittsburgh’s offense can support them.  Josh Bell and Josh Harrison are productive players, and Jordy Mercer can drive guys in.  This could be it for Andrew McCutchen; he hits 30 this year and the numbers have already gone down.  The move to right field should help the Pirates immensely defensively, and allows Starling Marte (Who, by the way, is a star) to take over in center.

The Pirates are gonna have to search for runs, but they have productive hitters on the roster; it’s hard to see all of them not hitting.  The rotation will have its ups and downs, but this team is better than 81 wins.

Milwaukee Brewers: PECOTA Prediction: 76 wins  Verdict: PUSH

I think this team is a little better than people think.  Plagued by a bad rotation, they won’t get above 80 wins, but there’s some quality to competent players still left on this roster.

Jonathan Villar is a nice player, though I can’t picture him staying with the Brewers much longer if the numbers stay high (He’s got value).  Eric Thames is hitting home runs already, which is probably one of the most unlikely events of the season so far, but hey, Milwaukee will take it.  Orlando Arcia has a ton of promise and will be here for the long run (He’s gonna be a fun watch).  Travis Shaw came over in that extremely lopsided Tyler Thornburg trade, and figures to be a quality infielder for awhile.

The outfield for the Brewers is their weak spot.  Is this the year Ryan Braun finally gets traded?  Danny Santana is an every day starter?  What?  Keon Broxton has a lot of promise, but he’s a liability defensively, which is the common trend in this outfield.

The Brewers rotation also figures to hold them back.  Zach Davies was decent last year, but he’s young and might still be a year away.  Wily Peralta, I mean, whatever. Chase Anderson and Tommy Milone round this thing out, which, well, yikes.

The Brewers might be one of those teams that go on a weird streak and get everyone fired up for no reason at all.  Besides that, they’re not worth paying attention to.  But they’re competent enough to hang around 76 wins.

St. Louis Cardinals: PECOTA Prediction: 76 wins  Verdict: OVER

I have no idea how PECOTA’s number came in so low for this Cardinals team.  Yes, the outfield is pretty weak, but that’s the only thing I can point to.  Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina and Jhonny Peralta can still hit.  Dexter Fowler is a massive boost.  Aledmys Diaz is awesome.  This offense is really good!

And so is the rotation!  They have excellent depth with Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn; Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright make a pretty nice 1-2 combination at the top.  The Alex Reyes news sucked, but they’ll be alright.

St. Louis has Stephen Piscotty and Randall Gruichick starting in the outfield, two average at best, backup/role players.  This had to be what scared PECOTA.  Piscotty just got starter money; I’m conflicted on it.  Piscotty’s not a great batter, and is below average defensively, but that and Grichick in a bigger role is not enough to drag down PECOTA’s number this low.

The Cardinals are better than Pittsburgh.  They’re more proven and have higher quality players.  OVER.  DEFINITELY OVER.

Cincinnati Reds: PECOTA Prediction: 74 wins  Verdict: UNDER

It’s a slight under, but let’s face it:  This team is not good.

They have a bunch of pieces to sell in order to really push forward with this rebuild. Joey Votto has a ton of value with the numbers he continues to put up (which are insane considering his age and consistency).  Adam Duvall is a tough case, considering that he’ll probably be 30 by the time the Reds contend again, and we know that it’s never a good thing when a power hitter turns 30.  For now, he’s smacking the ball, which gives them a couple more wins.

Their infield is fine.  Zach Cozart figures to be decent.  Jose Peraza has a bright future. I don’t know who Eugenio Suarez is at 3rd base, but it’s okay.  Hey, at least Reds fans have Billy Hamilton in centerfield.

NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers: PECOTA Prediction: 99 wins  Verdict: UNDER

Slight under.  99 just seems too high.  Thats a lot of games!

Then again, the Dodgers are pretty loaded.  Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and the new addition Logan Forsythe in the same infield is just unfair.  Add that to Yasmani Grandal’s hitting and astonishing defense and Clayton Kershaw, and yeesh, we have a dang good baseball team.

The Dodgers concerns are always the same: Outfield consistency and pitching depth.

You never know what you’re gonna get from the Dodgers in the outfield.  Yasiel Puig, was can officially say, is extremely streaky.  Andrew Toles is fine but a liability defensively.  The only sure thing is Joc Pederson, who is yet another young star in the Show.

Pitching wise, the loss of Zach Greinke still (somehow) looms large.  Kershaw is Kershaw, but Kenta Maeda is still an unknown, Brandon McCarthy is still pitching, Hyun-Jin Ryu is finally back.  Alex Wood rounds out the rotation.  Yeah, not great.

They’ll get through it, but those issues will hold them back from 100.

San Francisco Giants: PECOTA Prediction: 86 wins  Verdict: OVER

I see the NL West playing out the same way it does every year:  The Giants and Dodgers battling it out till the end.

The Giants are good, but there’s a good chance the same issues as last year hold them down.  That is: A bad bullpen and holes in the outfield.

Mark Melancon was a great signing to be the closer, but the Giants lack set-up men, and didn’t address it in the offseason.  It’s gonna haunt them.

Elsewhere, Jarrett Parker may not be ready for a big role in left field.  He batted poorly last season, and though it was a limited sample size, he’s already 28.  You are what you are then.

The Giants have enough talent to get over these issues.  Besides those holes, there are practically no weaknesses.

Arizona Diamondbacks: PECOTA Prediction: 78 wins  Verdict: PUSH

Not gonna lie, we’re pretty average.  I can’t say that we’re bad; there’s too many really productive players who just don’t have enough to support them yet.

You can’t deny that Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollack are awesome players.  But whats around them?  Jake Lamb at 3rd base?  Chris Owings (Who’s, uh, somehow hitting home runs so far) at short?

There’s a lot to be concerned about.  Yasmany Tomas could be a disaster as an outfielder.  The pitching is incredibly sketchy.  Goldschmidt and Pollack are gonna have to put up amazing numbers for the Diamondbacks to break 80 wins this season.

Colorado Rockies: PECOTA Prediction: 76 wins  Verdict: OVER

This Rockies team has so much potential, but the same problem plagues them every year: Pitching.

It’s hard to put into the words the immenseness of the problem.  Colorado has tried and tried to develop pitchers and has consistently failed, and the team’s coaches, management and scouts are not to blame.  It’s the park and the city, where the baseball flies.

It’s why the Rockies posses one of the best offenses in baseball, but can never win a substantial amount of games.  An offense featuring Nolan Arenado, D.J. LeMahieu, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon AND Carlos Gonzalez is a World Series caliber lineup.  That’s a murderer’s row.  But when Jon Gray is your ace, it hurts your team’s success.

I don’t know what Gray is; I don’t know what any of these Rockies pitchers are.  Tyler Chatwood has some potential I guess.  Besides him, I haven’t heard of anyone else in this rotation.  I warned you it was bad.

Colorado could make a Wild Card push if they score 1000 runs, but without a quality pitching, they’re screwed.

San Diego Padres: PECOTA Prediction: 69 wins  Verdict: UNDER

The Padres suck and that is all.

Season Predictions:


  1. Red Sox, 93-69
  2. Blue Jays, 86-76
  3. Rays, 84-78
  4. Yankees, 82-80
  5. Orioles, 78-84


  1. Indians, 95-67
  2. Tigers, 86-76
  3. Royals, 81-81
  4. Twins, 76-86
  5. White Sox, 74-88


  1. Astros, 94-68
  2. Mariners, 91-71
  3. Rangers, 88-74
  4. Angels, 79-83
  5. A’s, 75-87


  1. Nationals, 92-70
  2. Mets, 86-76
  3. Braves, 81-81
  4. Phillies, 84-78
  5. Marlins, 71-91


  1. Cubs, 100-62
  2. Cardinals, 90-72
  3. Pirates, 85-77
  4. Brewers, 76-86
  5. Reds, 70-92


  1. Dodgers, 94-68
  2. Giants, 88-74
  3. Rockies, 85-77
  4. Diamondbacks, 78-84
  5. Padres, 60-102