Friday, November 29, 2013

The Other Chris Young Comes to Flushing

On Tuesday, the Mets officially signed outfielder Chris Young. My first thought was: "Oh dear God...not the other Chris Young." You know, the pitcher who, as I described before, but can't find: gives you six innings of one hit ball, and it out for the next two months. When he was on the Mets in 2012, he lived up to that description pretty well.

So, I looked again and found that it was the outfielder. Unfortunately, my reaction wasn't much different. As much as I have hated on Eric Young Jr., I'd rather he start in the outfield over Chris Young. Young was touted as a five-tool prospect, but that was a different time. That was back before he debuted in 2006. He's now 30 years old, and hasn't lived up to that potential throughout his career. Generally, he has been decent at best, with a career .746 OPS. His OBP isn't too inspiring, at .315 for his career, but it's alright because his power has seemed to make up for it generally.

He's coming off of the worst year of his career, with a really bad .280/.379/.659 OBP/SLG/OPS slash line. Of course, that OPS is 14 points higher than that of Eric Young. After Chris Young's bad season, he somehow parlayed that into $7.25 million from the Mets. And that may be my biggest problem with this deal. The way the market is in the MLB, it's hard to predict any contract anymore when Ricky Nolasco signed for 4 years/$49 million, but I still think that this is too much money to give a fourth outfielder who was pretty much worthless this year.

I don't know exactly what the Mets are trying to do in 2014. I personally feel that they should tank, as I wrote about back in August. If that is in fact the organization's plan, then this move makes sense, I guess. He's not very good, so starting him in the outfield will help the team lose.

If they are trying to win in 2014, well then, this is a confusing one. They already have a fourth outfielder named Young on their roster, and getting another doesn't make any sense. They still need to go out and get two more outfielders to start on either side of Juan Lagares, so Chris Young hasn't affected anything. He's just going to sit and be maybe the third guy off the bench after Satin/Davis/Duda pinch hits and Eric Young pinch runs. Sure that's a pretty valuable position, but it certainly isn't a priority.

And in either scenario, the cost is too much. When tanking, much like the Astros, the point is to pay as little money as possible to a bunch of players who shouldn't be in the lineup. We've got the bad player part down, but he's making too much money. If the plan is to win now, well, a backup outfielder should not be making this much money.

Overall, this move is pretty confusing due to the amount of money that he's making, and it makes it even harder to tell what the goal of this season is for the Mets.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 12 Preview: Jets at Ravens, First of Many I Don't Know Anymore Articles

Jets: None.

Ravens: None.

Jets: WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow), LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)

Ravens: None.

Jets: None.

Ravens: DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)

Jets: Everyone.

Ravens: WR Marlon Brown (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

NFL Picks: Week 12

Yet another Manning-Brady Classic is a tough one to predict. Photo from
I did pretty well on my picks last week, despite being so far off on the Jets game. Thanks a lot Geno...

I started off this week by making my Thursday night pick on Twitter (@WilliamBotchway) as I always do:

 The Saints still got the win, but played pretty poorly, and failed to cover the spread. That means that I'm 7-5 on Thursday night games headed into the Thanksgiving triple-header next week. After an 8-5-2 Week 11, I'm 84-75-4 on the whole season.

This is the last week that any teams will be on bye, as the playoff races are really heating up. Let's get on with it.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ike Davis or Lucas Duda?

The Mets face a tough decision in the coming months. Which first baseman should they keep? Is there a third person involved in this conundrum? Photo from

In an argument that have ramifications not only for my Mets, but for baseball in general, it's unclear who the Mets should stick with at first base: either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda. Two young, struggling players who have a lot of potential, but haven't been able to figure it out thus far.

Davis has gone through notorious slumps to begin each of the last two seasons. In fact, they were eerily similar, which isn't a good thing. I looked at his stats in 2012 from Opening Day until his batting average reached its lowest point of the season, .158 on June 8. Usually I wouldn't look at batting average, but Ike was obviously swinging at everything, and whiffing. It was painful to watch. In that span, he started 49 games while appearing in 56 of them. He posted an abysmal .234/.273/.507 OBP/SLG/OPS slash line. He also managed to strike out 59 times in 56 games. And yet, he kept playing, and he seemed to turn it around, relatively of course, through the end of the year. From June 9, 2012 on, Davis looked not only like an actual major leaguer, but a great one. He started 88 games, and played in 100 in total, and was so much better overall. His slash line became.347/.565/.913 and he cut down the strikeouts significantly, only striking out 82 times. That gave Mets fans a lot of hope coming into 2013 about Davis's prospects.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 11

So, the Colts may have cemented themselves as the weirdest football team in the history of the NFL. They beat the 8-1 Broncos, 9-1 Seahawks, and inexplicably (at the time) dominated the 6-3 49ers on the road. Then last week, they got pummeled, at home, by Kellen Clemens and the 4-6 Rams, who seem to be worse than their record suggests.

Jake Locker got hurt and Ryan Fitzpatrick decided to only further cement himself as a bad quarterback, somehow losing to the Jaguars.

Speaking of the Colts and Titans, they played on Thursday Night. As always, I made my pick on twitter (@WilliamBotchway)

Chalk that up as a half point W for me, giving me a 7-4 record on these usually hard to predict Thursday night games. It also means that I'm 76-69-2 this year.

Quick Picks this week! I won't explain anything, just trust that I'm wrong.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.

Week 11 Preview: Jets at Bills, The First of Not Very Many, "Easy Win" Predictions

Coming off a bye week, Geno Smith and the Jets roll into Buffalo with a chance to basically secure themselves a playoff spot. Since the last time they played, the Titans lost twice, the Chargers lost to the Broncos, kicking off the toughest part of their schedule, and the Dolphins knocked themselves out with a loss to the lowly Buccaneers.
So now, the Jets have a chance to take a firm grasp on that 6 seed with a win. How exactly will that happen?
The Bills pass defense is struggling, which means that returning wide receiver Santonio Holmes, along with the rest of the Jets pass catchers should have some success. In Week 3 against the Bills, Geno Smith threw for 331 yards and got a QBR of 85.8. Basically, Buffalo's paltry defense should allow Geno to show more good than bad. 
The running game should be on point, because the Bills aren't great at defending that either. Whoever the hot hand may be, they should have some success on the ground. 
E.J. Manuel really struggled last week against a Pittsburgh defense that allowed 55 points the week prior to a Impostor Tom Brady and the Patriots. I don't know whether it's because of his injury, or because of his talent level, but it wasn't pretty. It won't get any prettier this week against the Sons of Anarchy and the rest of the Jets defense. 
It will obviously be hard to run the ball, because the Jets are so great at defending the run. Without Buffalo's top two receivers, throwing the ball will be quite the challenge. Overall, this is not going to end well for the Bills. 
This should enter the blowout zone. 
Jets (-1.5) over BILLS.
Jets 31, Bills 10

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ed Reed's Impact on the Jets

Will the Rex Ryan-Homeless Ed Reed combo relive their Baltimore magic? Photo from
This week, the New York Jets signed longtime Ravens safety Homeless Ed Reed, who was cut by the Texans just two days prior. Reed, who in addition to being probably the greatest safety ever, has a special place in English language, as you can find his picture next to the definition of the word "homeless."

And now, he's on my team. But what exactly does it mean? Is there going to be an Homeless Ed Reed Renaissance? Is he going back to his old ways and help improve the struggling secondary?

Well, not really...Last season, Homeless Ed Reed was not that great in coverage. Don't believe me?

I asked my friend Phil, a diehard Ravens fan, who watches every game online because he lives in New York, to describe how he feels about Reed's play last year. He told me the exact same thing, and added, "He just wasn't able to get there and make a play like he used to." And at 35 years old, you can't blame him. People age, and football players age fast.

Yes, Reed had his greatest years when Rex Ryan was the defensive coordinator from 2005 through 2008. But as you can see from those dates, that was a long time ago. Just because there's a connection between these two doesn't turn Reed into a 30 year old again. 

His athletic ability is pretty much gone, so he can't be relied upon to stay with receivers downfield. So what is he going to do in a Jets uniform? I'd say stand there and look pretty, but, well...this is how he looks in green. He can provide some veteran leadership, and possibly mentor struggling DBs such as Antonio Allen and Kyle Wilson. On the field, he won't matter. 

In fact, he should have gone out on top with Ray Lewis in February, the right way, winning his first Super Bowl. But alas, like many other great athletes before him, he hung on too long, and will be relegated to "player"-coach mode on the Jets. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 10

While I believe that they lose this game, Cam Newton and the Panthers will put up a fight and earn respect from fans around the league. Photo from

Seneca Wallace gift-wrapped me a win with my Bears pick, but he also caused me emotional pain. I ahve Jordy Nelson on my fantasy team, and because of Wallace's incompetence, I lost my matchup by .9 points. Thanks Seneca.

I have no idea how I lost my Seahawks pick. Look back at that matchup again and tell me why they didn't cover the 15 point spread. Even after they were down 21-0, it still didn't make sense how they wouldn't beat the Buccaneers 37-21. They won the game, but not by enough.

You'd think that the Raiders game would be the furthest off I ever would have been on a game, as I picked them to cover the spread of 2.5, before they ended up losing by 29 thanks to Nick Foles. But of course, that would mean that you're ignoring when I picked the Cardinals +10 over the Seahawks last year...before they lost 58-0.

Keeping with the spirit of losing, let's get to the Thursday night pick!

So yeah, that was wrong, putting me at 6-4 overall on Thursday night games.  It also makes me 70-63-2 on the season. Not bad, but there's room for improvement. And that improvement starts now.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

2013-14 NBA Preview: Road to the Championship vs. Diggin' for Wiggins

How will Derrick Rose's return affect the playoff race? Photo from

What team will complete their goal of Diggin' for Wiggins? Photo from

It's that time of year again, eight months of basketball are on the horizon, and it's going to be pretty fun. The biggest question of the year, is whether the tanktastic seasons ahead for the league's bottom feeders will become a bigger score than the playoffs themselves? It could be very possible, as I see many teams begin completely awful in an attempt to increase their chances of winning the lottery. 

After the wild summer, some teams have changed dramatically. Some have gotten a lot better, and others, a lot worse. In preparation for the season, I'm going to tell you show I think things will shake out. I'll give you the division standings, with comments about each team, as well as a playoff preview and awards. This is what you've all been waiting for.

Atlantic Division
  1. New York Knicks
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Boston Celtics
  5. Philadelphia 76ers
Yes, I still think that the Knicks are better than the Nets. Both teams have major potential for implosion, but the Knicks are the younger team, and they have chemistry. They didn't really lose much, and added some nice pieces. Also, they will have Shumpert at full strength for the whole year, which is really important. This was a 54 win team last year, and they didn't get much worse.

I am afraid of the Nets. I think that they are a very deep and versatile team; that is, if they can put everything together and Pierce and Garnett do not decline. It will take a while for them to figure out how to fit all the new pieces together, because as we've seen with the 2010 Miami Heat and last year's Lakers, it takes time for teams to find out everyone's role. By the time that happens, maybe Pierce and Garnett's skills have severely diminished. It's very possible, and that takes them out of the conversation for a title contender. But, even if they play poorly, the rest of the team is good enough to get a top 5 seed in the East. I like them a lot better than last year.

Enter Masai Ujiri. Maybe the best GM in the league, he's ready to build a contender out of this team. They probably won't make the playoffs this year, but they'll be in the hunt. People are once again talking about trading Rudy Gay, but having him for most of the year makes them at least a low end playoff contender.

This is rebuilding done right. I don't know whether or not they are trading Rondo, but I do think that he is certainly someone who they can build around. As for this year...they are not nearly the worst team in the league, but they probably won't be sniffing the playoffs.

Everybody needs to calm down. This isn't the worst team in the NBA, we'll get to them later. But this is the second worst team in the NBA. Go crazy Philadelphia. I see some decent pieces here, but they traded their best player in an effort to tank. And boy will they tank. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Are the Jets Primed for a Playoff Spot?

Will QB Geno Smith and unsung hero, Snacks Harrison propel the Jets to the playoffs? Photo from

Heading into their bye week at 5-4, the New York Jets, yeah, those New York Jets. My New York Jets. The same New York Jets that I predicted would win at most six games, before settling on four. So that's working out beautifully for me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NFL Picks: Week 9

I only picked one underdog last week, and they won. By far the weirdest thing about last week was the fact that Kellen Clemens covered against the Seahawks. Then of course, because he's Kellen Clemens, he failed when they had a chance to win at the end of the game.

As for this week, as always, I made my Thursday Night pick on twitter (@WilliamBotchway):

Well thanks to Giovani Bernard in the fourth quarter (FANTASY TEAM ALERT!), the Bengals had a real chance to cover as long as they scored a touchdown in overtime. But of course, Andy Dalton got sacked in the end zone by Cameron Wake, and the Bengals not only failed to cover, but failed to win. In the process, Geno Atkins tore his ACL, all but killing their chances of winning the AFC.

This makes be 0-1 on the week, 6-3 on Thursday night games, and 62-58-2 on the season. I have a lot of things to do, so just picks this week.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.