Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 NBA Playoffs Predictions - Who Will Win The NBA Championship?

Does LeBron James have what it takes to lead the Cleveland Cavs to their first championship ever?

Here we go! It's NBA Playoffs time! One of my FAVORITE times of the year!

16 teams battle it out, but only one of them can come out on top! At the beginning of the season I made my predictions as to who I thought was going to make the playoffs. My picks were pretty close to accurate. 5 out of the 8 teams I predicted in the Eastern Conference made the playoffs. The 3 surprises for me were the Atlanta Hawks, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics, who replaced the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets.

In the West, 7 out of the 8 teams I predicted in the Western Conference made the playoffs. The only surprise for me was the New Orleans Pelicans who replaced the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were missing their superstar player Kevin Durant for most of the season.

So now that we know who is in the playoffs it's time to find out who will be the NBA Champion!

Let's start with the Eastern Conference:

1. Atlanta Hawks over 8 Brooklyn Nets
2. Cleveland Cavaliers over 7. Boston Celtics
3. Chicago Bulls over 6. Milwaukee Bucks
5. Washington Wizards over 4. Toronto Raptors

I absolutely was NOT expecting the Hawks to be THIS good this season. The Nets I had them barely making the playoffs at the beginning of the year and they proved me right. I also had them making a very early exit in the playoffs and I believe they will prove me right. The Celtics stand no chance at beating the Cavs. I'm predicting a sweep here. I think the Bucks can steal a game from the Bulls, but that's about it. I'm predicting the upset with the Wizards over the Raptors and the main reason is Paul Pierce. They have been saving him for such a time as this and I believe that Pierce is going to turn back the clock and play big time to get his team over the top. I think this series is going 6 or 7 games though.

5. Washington Wizards over 1. Atlanta Hawks
3. Chicago Bulls over 2. Cleveland Cavaliers

I'm going with the two upsets in the second round. The Hawks are a great team and they have been getting it done all year. However, they are not playoff tested and I believe this will be their undoing. I still think the Wizards are a lot better than their record will indicate and as such I'm predicting that they will pull out the upset and defeat the Hawks in 6 games. I'm also picking the Chicago Bulls over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls have Derrick Rose back and are a strong defensive team, which helps big time when it comes to playoff basketball. The Bulls are getting healthy at the right time and I said at the beginning of the season that if they are healthy, they are the best team in the East, so I'm going to stick with that.

3. Chicago Bulls over 5. Washington Wizards

I think the Wizards will keep things interesting. However, I think the Bulls have way more talent and depth and I think they are going to be too much to handle. Book the Chicago Bulls for their first return to the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan left.

Now let's take a look at the Western Conference:

1. Golden State Warriors over 8. New Orleans Pelicans
7. Dallas Mavericks over 2. Houston Rockets
6. San Antonio Spurs over 3. Los Angeles Clippers
5. Memphis Grizzlies over 4. Portland Trailblazers

The Warriors finished with the best record in the league for a reason. I don't think the Pelicans really stand a chance at beating this team at all. Even though they are the 7th seed, I really like the Mavs chances against the Rockets. I believe the Mavs can outrebound the Rockets and when the Mavs actually rebound, they are a very tough team to beat. I've counted out the defending champions for far too many times and have been burned. Combine that with the fact that I think the Clippers are overrated I think the Spurs will get the win. The Trailblazers haven't beaten the Grizzlies yet this season and I don't see them beating them in a 7 game series.

1. Golden State Warriors over 5. Memphis Grizzlies
6. San Antonio Spurs over 7. Dallas Mavericks

The Warriors are one of the most talented and deepest teams in the NBA. I don't think the Grizzlies have enough firepower to defeat them. Both the Spurs and the Mavericks are playoff tested and experienced. However, I think the Spurs have the edge and will pull out the victory.

6. San Antonio Spurs over 1. Golden State Warriors

I believe this is going to be a 7 game battle and an epic series. However, in the end, I think the defending champions will pull off the victory.

As for the NBA Finals I am sticking with my prediction from the beginning of the season.

6. San Antonio Spurs defeat 3. Chicago Bulls 4 games to 2. The Spurs to me still look like they are the best team in the NBA when it comes to winning 7 game series. Even though the Bulls have dramatically improved, I don't think they have enough to defeat the Spurs yet.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

2015 MLB Predictions - My 2015 MLB Standings Predictions and Playoff Predictions

Can Andrew McCutchen help the Pittsburg Pirates make the leap from good to great?

So it's about that time, it's baseball season! I've been watching baseball since a child. I remember the days when the New York Mets were the dominant team in New York, with Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson and Gary Carter. Yes, it's been a LONG time! This year is looking like it's going to be a really good year. There are a lot of teams that are more than capable of competing and with another year where we have TWO wildcard spots, a lot of teams will be fighting until the very end.

So which teams do I believe are going to get the job done this year?

Here's my breakdown division by division.

2015 American League Standings Predictions

AL East

1. Toronto Blue Jays 
2. Baltimore Orioles
3. Boston Red Sox
4. New York Yankees
5. Tampa Bay Rayes

I think the Blue Jays or the Orioles could win this division and it wouldn't shock me to see either one win. However, I'm giving the slight nod to the Blue Jays. That middle of the order is sick with Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. They are going to score more runs than anybody in the league. The Orioles will definitely compete. I just think their rotation lacks that clear #1 guy and they don't have the type of power that the Jays have to make up for it. A lot of people love the Red Sox. I could be biased being a Yankees fan but I just don't see it. David Ortiz isn't going to keep hitting forever, they have no ace. I do love Sandoval and I think that Mookie Betts is going to be really good. I like that kid Rusney Castillo even more, they need to trade Shane Victorino or Allen Craig right away to make room for him. The Yankees need WAY too many things to go right to be competitive. Sabathia, Tanaka and Pineda make a nice rotation IF all three of them can stay healthy. I like the bullpen, but I still want to know where the hits are going to come from. A-Rod without Roids??? The Rayes lost Joe Maddon, and they traded away David Price, enough said, they are going nowhere.

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins

The rest of the AL Central is starting to catch up to the Tigers, but I don't believe they are there yet. They were already stacked with power before and now they are adding Yoenis Cespedes also??? Their bullpen still stinks but it stunk last year and they still won the division so I don't think that will be the difference. The Indians are going to be a solid team. I like their rotation and they have some solid pieces offensively. My biggest concern with them is defense. The Royals had a playoff team last year but I don't believe they did enough in the offseason to keep themselves in contention this year. The White Sox aren't bad, they made some good moves this offseason, but like the Yankees I think they need a whole lot to come together to be competitive and I just don't see it. The Twins are going to be the worst team in the American League. It's going to be ugly in Paul Molitor's first year as manager.

AL West

1. Seattle Mariners
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Houston Astros
5. Texas Rangers.

As long as nothing happens to their franchise players the Mariners should be able to pull out the AL West. King Felix is a beast and Robinson Cano is clearly the best 2nd baseman in baseball. I really wish the Yankees would have kept him, we could really use him right about now. The Nelson Cruz addition is going to be HUGE, however you can forget about him hitting another 40 home runs now that half of his games has to be played in Safeco Field. The Angels are of course going to be dangerous. Mike Trout couldn't hit high fastballs and he STILL won MVP, which is scary. Pujols can still hit. Their problem is the rotation. I hope Matt Shoemaker wasn't a fluke (I took a late round flyer on him on my fantasy team) but they have some serious questions in their rotation. The Athletics never look good on paper and this year is no exception but Moneyball works at least in the regular season so you never really know with this team. The Astros are going to strike out a WHOLE lot on the offense, the question is will the power make up for it? The Rangers might not be as bad as I'm projecting them. However, 3 to 5 in their pitching rotation is scary and I think Prince Fielder is in decline so I'm not high on them at all, especially in this division.

NL East

1. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets
3. Miami Marlins
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Philadelphia Phillies

Wow the Nats, this team looks downright SCARY on paper! Mat Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez, are you serious??? Let's not forget they also have one of the best young hitters in baseball in Bryce Harper. The only real weakness this team has is in the bullpen, but the NL East is weak so it won't even matter. They should easily run away with this division and will probably be the best team in the entire NL. As a Yankee fan I can't stand the Mets! However, I would be lying if I didn't have them down for at least 2nd place in this division. That rotation could be very dangerous with Matt Harvey back and pairing him up with DeGrom and Wheeler, plus potentially a healthy David Wright. They should easily win at least 85 games. The Miami Marlins have potential, however I still think they are another year away from putting it all together. The Braves are clearly in rebuilding mode, they aren't winning anything. The Phillies are even worse! They are absolutely terrible, I don't even think they will win over 70 games this year.

NL Central

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. St Louis Cardinals
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Cincinnati Reds

There's not much that I don't like about the Pirates. They have the best outfield in baseball. They play really smart baseball. While their pitching staff doesn't have any aces, it's good enough to get the job done. This is the year that they finally surpass the almighty St Louis Cardinals. With that said, you can never count the Cardinals out, especially with the addition of Jason Heyward. My biggest concern is they are getting older and I think that age is going to make a difference this year. The Chicago Cubs are going to be good for a VERY long time. Have you seen their minor league system? It's SICK the type of talent they have down there. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are going to be SCARY when Bryant finally get up to the majors. While they could surprise this year, I still think they are a year away. The Brewers just look too average to me to make any noise. They aren't bad, but they aren't necessarily good either, especially that pitching rotation and a Braun with no PEDs. The Reds have the potential to compete, but like the Yankees and White Sox, they need too much to go right to be competitive and if they aren't you know they are trading Johnny Cueto.

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. San Diego Padres
4. Colorado Rockies
5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Let's see the Dodgers have the best pitcher in the major leagues in Clayton Kershaw. Zack Greinke could be a number one on many teams. Yasiel Puig has MVP potential. I see no reason why they don't easily win the division and make some serious noise in the playoffs this year. The Giants aren't bad, but I definitely have some concerns about them even making the playoffs this year even though they are the defending champions. Losing Sandoval is going to hurt. Their offense is still going to be good. My biggest concern with them is after Bumgarner, their rotation has some serious question marks. I like the Padres especially with the additions of Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. I just don't know if they have enough to compete. The Rockies are the Rockies. Good hitting, bad pitching, can't hit outside of Coors, losing season. The Diamondbacks look awful. They should easily be the worst team in baseball.

AL Wild Card Winners
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Baltimore Orioles

NL Wild Card Winners
1. St Louis Cardinals
2. New York Mets

AL Champion
Seattle Mariners

NL Champion
Washington Nationals

World Series Champions
Washington Nationals