2014 MLB Preview #9: The New York Yankees

The New York Yankees (90-72)
Team Ace: CC Sabathia
Breakout Player: Michael Pineda

The Yankees have an extremely wide range of outcomes for this season, and I decided to go by the numbers with my favorite team (partly because I felt it was a way to be less bias, and mostly because it seemed really fun to do).  Lets start with the facts; the Yankees had 85 wins last year, after having 95 wins in 2012.  Their team ace, CC Sabathia had the worst season of his career (career worst 4.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, .3 WAR and in pitches per inning, and worst K rate since 2005).  They suffered major injuries with four of their previous year’s regular starters, with Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, and Granderson all missing at least 100 games.  The team was forced to mix and match any players they could find, and although they didn’t make the playoffs still managed to be surprisingly competitive relying on guys that were at or below replacement level.   Everything that could have went wrong for the Yankees did in 2013.  To me, this all means that 85 wins is a worse case scenario for this team this year.

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2014 MLB Preview #15-10

You’ll be finding playoff contenders from this point on in my rankings.

Since I started writing my power rankings a few weeks ago, a lot of things have changed, most of them injury related.  I’ve adjusted my remaining team rankings accordingly but am leaving my projected records the same (they’re too hard to change across the board, and I’ve already published so many that I wouldn’t want to go back and change all of them)  So the records and ranks might not make too much sense together at this point, but I am confident with my order.

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Fantasy Baseball: Top 230 Players Projections for Points Leagues

For any of you that are curious, here’s the player order I used for this year’s draft.

  1. Miguel Cabrera
  2. Mike Trout
  3. Edwin Encarnacion
  4. Clayton Kershaw
  5. David Ortiz
  6. Andrew McCutchen
  7. Paul Goldschmidt
  8. Joey Votto
  9. Robinson Cano
  10. Adam WainwrightContinue reading “Fantasy Baseball: Top 230 Players Projections for Points Leagues”

2014 MLB Preview #21-16

21. Colorado Rockies (75-87)
Team Ace: Jorge De La Rosa
Breakout Player: Rex Brothers

For a team that plays in such a hitter friendly park, I find the Rockies very boring to watch.  They’ve yet to find any help for their pitching staff, and refuse to commit to Rex Brothers as their closer, instead electing to bring in a 41-year-old in his place.  Troy Tuloitske and CarGo missed some time again in 2013 so there’s no reason to think the two of them can see the field at the same time.
Justin Morneau is an interesting addition because he might see a noticeable spike in his power numbers and has been slowly improving the last few seasons, but he, too is an injury risk, and won’t be the fan favorite Todd Helton was, even if his production is more consistent.Continue reading “2014 MLB Preview #21-16”

2014 MLB Preview #22: Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins (72-90)
Team Ace: Ricky Nolasco
Breakout Player: Josmil Pinto

The Twins’ as a team ranked 29th in ERA last season, and their notable improvement is with their starting rotation. Expecting a huge jump in production would be unrealistic but they could find themselves in the 16-20 range.Continue reading “2014 MLB Preview #22: Minnesota Twins”

2014 MLB Preview #30-23

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

They’re finally here, my preseason power rankings for the 2014 baseball season!  I know last year these kind of got out of hand, so I’m trying my best to keep them brief this year (just a paragraph) with a few exceptions.  As of now, I’m expecting this to be about six entries long, so be on the lookout for my new posts over the next two week as we count from #30 all the way to the top.

Also, a new addition this year is my predicted records for each team, located next teach team’s name.

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2014 NFL Free Agency Quick Takes

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

Now that free agency’s under way I’ll be giving my flash opinion on the big signings. Nothing fancy, just a sentence or two.  I’ll be updating these as things happen, with the most recent signings near the top. Enjoy.

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Does Mike Pettine fit with the Browns?

Pettine, the current roster, and what the team needs to do in the offseason to be successful.

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

As a Jets fan I know a bit about new Browns Head Coach Mike Pettine.  He came to the Jets as defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan in New York, the Jets went to two AFC Championships, relying heavily on their hard-hitting defense to get there.  At the time, it was hard to say exactly how much of their defensive success was due to Pettine or Rex Ryan. However, when he left the Jets for the Bills last season, Pettine proved he was great on his own.  The Bills went from being ranked 22nd in the league on total defense, to the top ten under Pettine, and despite his calm domineer, showed he takes after Rex in terms of scheme.

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YEAR IN REVIEW: My favorite songs of 2013

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

This year had a TON of really good rock songs, partly because there were a lot of solid albums (consequently, there are a lot of repeat artist). Luckily I liked a lot of singles too, so the list is a really nice mix of things. There aren’t that many pop or hip-hop stations in Minnesota so I wasn’t exposed to this as much as I have been in the past, but I was able to find 30 songs that I actually liked by artists that I THINK are on pop stations, or would be considered a dance song.  I’m sorry about all the Justin Timberlake songs, but that’s what happens when an artist releases 2 albums in the same year. In hip-hop, 2013 was really bad year for good hip-hop, and there was so much promise going in.  Big names in the genre like Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator, Jay-Z, Drake,  and Lil Wayne all released records that vastly disappointed, as did promising up and comers like Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and Big Sean.  And for the first time in a long time, we didn’t have a hip-hop smash hit that everyone recognized and got excited about when they heard it on the radio (I guess “Suit and Tie” might fit the bill, but it’s a real stretch calling that a Hip-hop song to begin with).

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YEAR IN REVIEW: My favorite albums of 2013

by Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale)

…Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age  (81/100)

“Refreshing” is the word that comes to mind.  …Like Clockwork is definitely the purest rock album we’ve had in years.  No gimmicks, no sell out songs,  just loud guitar riffs, pounding drums, and the occasional piano.

Reflektor by Arcade Fire (77/100)

Reflektor is by no means a perfect Arcade Fire record, but people tend to hold the band to a much higher standard.  I think Reflektor‘s problem isn’t the fact that they tried something new, but that it has more just-ok, don’t-really-give-it-a-second-thought songs (“Flashbulb Eyes”, “Here Comes the Night II”, “Joan of Arc,”) than any of their other works.  But then there are songs like the title track, “Awful Sound” and “Porno” that are so intricately put together that it makes up for any other tracks that might be lacking a little something.  I’m a much bigger fan of disc 2 over disc 1, but the album as a whole is quite indulging.

Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend (74/100)

To me, Vampire Weekend is a band everyone is embarrassed about liking.  You don’t feel cool saying that you’re listening to them, but you know you want to listen.  Modern Vampires of the City is by far the band’s best album.  It’s extremely playful and upbeat; great for a summer day at the beach.  Every song has it’s own personality.Continue reading “YEAR IN REVIEW: My favorite albums of 2013”