Posted on: March 30, 2008 10:02 pm
Everyone else is doing it, so here goes my shot...
1. New York: They have the best offense in the AL and their pitching and defense will be much improved from last year.
2. Boston: They have more holes than the Yanks and less options when stuff goes wrong. Ramirez, Varitek, Lowell will be disappointments. Still good enough to win the wild card.
3. Tampa Bay: Assuming than Longoria will be up in mid-May, they will catch and pass the Jays in their first ever winning season.
4. Toronto: Their good pitchers get hurt too often and the others aren't as good as they showed last year. Their offense is too old too.
5. Baltimore: The worst team in the AL. The outfield is ok, but the rest of the team is not. They should trade Roberts for some prospects.
1. Detroit: The offense will be great, but the bullpen scares me, but Leyland is one of the best managers around. He'll get the most out of that unit.
2. Cleveland: I don't get why they didn't find a way to improve at one of the infield or outfield corners. They are hoping too much on a bounceback from Hafner.
3. Kansas City: If not for the Rays, KC would be the feel good story of the summer. They'll flirt with a winning record.
4. Chicago: The offense will be better, but still not very good and the pitching will be worse. Starting Crede instead of Fields is a bad sign.
5. Minnesota: The pitching won't be terrible, but they won't score much. They should have gotten more for Santana.
1. Angels: Despite the injuries to their pitching and the glut of outfielders they are still the best in the division and their farm system is one of the best.
2. Oakland: They won't challenge, but won't be the total disaster everyone is expecting. 80 wins are a possibility.
3. Seattle: Bedard and Hernandez are nice, but the offense is completely dysfunctional. Is there a team that could really use Bonds, this is it.
4. Texas: By far, the best last place team in baseball. Good offense, bad pitching. What else is new?
Wild card: Boston
1. New York: Santana saves this top heavy team. However, old age will catch up to them and another collapse would not be too far fetched.
2. Atlanta: The rotation is not quite ready... the Mets better hurry up and win now because these Braves are about to start a new run.
3. Philadelphia: They used up a lot of luck last year, so this year the pitching has to be better. Myers and Hammels will be good, but there's no one after them.
4. Washington: The new park will make fans forgive how bad the team's pitching is going to be, but at least the offense will be decent.
5. Florida: The pitching is bad, in front of that defense it could be historically so. Replacing Cabrera with an even worse fielder seemed impossible but they found Cantu.
1. Chicago: The most complete team in the weakest division. Finding a better SS than Theriot would help even more.
2. Milwaukee: Love the offense, but the defense won't be good enough, and that will hurt their young pitchers. They'll be better next year.
3. Cincinnati: Giving Dusty Baker control over so many young prospects is like giving a teenager the keys to a Porsche. It won't end well.
4. Houston: Someone please explain to me what this team is trying to do? I see the NL version of Baltimore coming up.
5. Pittsburgh: The young pitchers will keep them in games even if the offense can put them over the top. Tons of 4-3 loses.
6. St. Louis: LaRussa is a good manager when he has the horses, but when he doesn't, like this year, it will be real bad.
1. Los Angeles: Now that Torre apparently will go with as little Pierre as possible and field their best possible lineup, they'll win the division.
2. Arizona: Last year's mirage (more runs allowed than scored) shows this is not a solid team. That offense has too little firepower.
3. Colorado: Their pitched over their heads last year, expect a typical Coors staff this year.
4. San Diego: Too many holes in this team, the park and their top pitchers will keep them on games, but the offense is weak.
5. San Francisco: Some teams AAA affiliate have better offenses. Lincecum and Cain will keep them from losing 100 games.
Wild Card: Arizona
AL Champs: Detroit over New York
NL Champs: New York over Chicago
World Series: New York Mets, hard to bet against Santana in a short series
AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, he won't be as good as last year, but still the best in the AL.
AL CY: Josh Beckett, he'll lead the league in wins, and that's usually all that matters
AL ROY: Jacoby Ellsbury: memories of the 2007 post season will get him the award.
NL MVP: David Wright: will be the main reason why the Mets win the division.
NL CY: Santana (put me down for this in 2009, 2010, etc.)
NL ROY: Kosuke Fukudome, a much more polished product than your typical rookie.
Posted on: March 28, 2008 8:53 pm
I'm also a big fantasy baseball fan, so now that I've had all my drafts completed, I'll share my top surprises for 2008 as well as the biggest busts. As a baseline, I'm using our own Draft Averages (www.sportsline.com/fantasy/baseball
/draft/MLB/ROTO/ALL) So for each position I'll pick a player who I think will most outperform their draft slot and the one that will most underperform it.
C: Geovany Soto: Won the job after a great callup last year. I have him ranked at #6 after all the M's (Martinez, Martin, Mauer and McCann) and Posada. He's #11 by our users, behind over the hill guys such as Varitek, Hernandez and Rodriguez. I also like Napoli and both Molinas better than most.
1B: Todd Helton: I have him as the 7th best 1B, while our users have him at #12. He'll hit for a higher average than any 1B not named Pujols and his R and RBI totals will be very strong, considering the park and the lineup. I like LaRoche and Jackson to out do their 16th and 17th ranking as well.
2B: Dustin Pedroia: #7 for me, while #11 for our users. Not much power and not much speed, but if he bats at the top of that lineup, he'll score a ton of runs. Others I like: Roberts (I have him at #2), Weeks.
3B: Ryan Zimmerman: Only ARod, Wright, Braun and Cabrera are better. The Nationals will have their best offense ever and their new park has to be friendlier to hitters than old RFK. Our users have him at #9. I also like Encarnacion and Kouzmanoff.
SS: J.J. Hardy: He's somewhere in between the player he was last year in the first half and the one he was in the second half. He's my #7 SS, while he's #12 among our users. I also think Lugo and Lopez will outdo their rankings.
OF: Chris B. Young: He's a younger version of Alfonso Soriano. I expect another 30-30 season and wouldn't be surprised with 70 total HR+SB. If only he would bat 5th so he could get more RBI's.
OF: Corey Hart: He's Chris Young lite. But with better average and more RBI potential. Won't be surprised if he goes 30-30.
OF: Matt Kemp: He's #33 on our list, which is ridiculously low. Only if Joe Torre falls asleep and gives Pierre AB's at his expense will this not be the steal of every draft. Others I like: Milledge, Victorino, Delmon Young, Adam Jones.
SP: Javier Vazquez: This is probably my most controversial pick. His offense will be better this year so he could win 16 games with a mid-3 ERA.
SP: Cole Hammels: The park may scare some, but not me (and Webb and Haren have the same issue too). In a league with Peavy and Santana he's got no hope to win a CY, but he should in the hunt for #3 with Webb for the foreseable future.
SP: Jeremy Bonderman: He was downright atrocious in the second half last year, but I expect a big bounceback this year. Others I like: Gallardo, Hill, Garza, Duke.
RP: Francisco Cordero: The NL has few no doubt about it closers. He's one of them and the Reds should be improved this year. Expect 40-45 saves. Also like Soria, Lyon (although a bit risky) and Chad Cordero.
C: Ivan Rodriguez: I hate to say it as I've always liked Pudge, but he's done. He's lost his power (regardless of his spring training HR binge) and last year he walked a total of 9 times! Also I'd stay away from Varitek and Hernandez.
1B: Carlos Delgado: Another player I think is done. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, he'll be lucky to get 400 AB's this year. Also in the running are Konerko and Sexson.
2B: Robinson Cano: He's not a bad player (in fact his stats are better than Pedroia whom I have in the other list). But he's not the 3rd best at the position as our users think. Others overrated: Kent, Hill.
3B: Mike Lowell: Had a great season last year, but he could go all 2005 on us again when he hit .236. Blalock, Glaus and Rolen are all way too high.
SS: Miguel Tejada: This is probably the weakest of my picks. There wasn't really anyone that jumped out as being terribly overrated.
OF: Manny Ramirez: He's #9 on our list, and that's simply too high at this stage in his career.
OF: Nick Markakis: He's #14 on our the list. I must be missing something. He's young so he has that going for him, but I just like too many guys ranked after him better.
OF: Vernon Wells: He's had two good seasons in his career. He could have another 2003 season, but that was 5 years ago. Other choices: Abreu, Hawpe, Pierre, Ankiel, Bourn.
SP: Justin Verlander: I know many consider him a top favorite for the CY, but not me. Hell, he's not even the best pitcher with the initials JV in his division. He's still the best pitcher in that staff, just not as good as everyone expects.
SP: Roy Halladay: Just because he never seems to be healthy.
SP: Brad Penny: He had a great year last year, but he's never been that good, and he's an injury risk. Others I'm not high on: Jared Weaver, Wainwright and Lester.
RP: Jason Isringhausen: Another injury risk, and every day I like this Cards less. Also on this watch all the old guys: Borowski, Jones, Hoffman, Percival, Sherrill and Gregg.
Posted on: March 8, 2008 9:24 pm
Yesterday (Friday) we went to Mesa to watch Seattle play the Cubs. Here are some observations:
Posted on: March 7, 2008 12:57 am
Today we went to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Kansas City Royals in Surprise. Here are some observations:
Posted on: March 6, 2008 1:02 am
Edited on: March 6, 2008 11:49 am
So I'm spending a few days in Arizona and catching some Cactus League action. Today I was at the San Diego vs Oakland game and here are some observations:
Posted on: February 27, 2008 12:25 pm
It's certainly not news that blogging as communication form has exploded. Every day that goes by there's more evidence of how mainstream the concept of blogging has become.
While "professionally produced content" will never go away, it's great that those that create it are challenged by talented individuals that until recently did not have an outlet to share their views. It's one of the things that makes me appreciate my job so much.
Here are two recent examples:
Posted on: February 15, 2008 2:41 pm
Some users have been noticing that their "Value" (that's the third component of your reputation, along with Connections, Participations and Skills) has been going down of late, despite them getting mostly good ratings. The "Value" component is basically a reflection of how people rate your contributions. The more and higher ratings you get the higher your value.
For the purposes of this process, only the contributions and reviews submitted in the last 90 days count. So if someone gives you 5 stars today for a post that you submitted 89 days ago, this rating will only help you for two days. In two days the message would be expired and so will be all the reviews on it. The message can still be accessed on the site (we keep them for around 135 days) but the ratings won't count. The reason for this is to take into account users that change their behavior either for good or bad.
The Value component, like all reputation elements are just a ranked list of users. So your value is relative to other users. If other users do better and you stay the same, your value will go down. This is exactly why some users, despite no apparent change on their behavior or how their posts are rated, are seing their value go down. We made a change last month, as described here www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs/entry/
So for instance, say that two users, call them X and Y have the following ratings:
Under the old system, X would have a value around 50 while Y's would be around 75. Under the new system, X would be at around 75 and Y at 60. Why? Consider also two other users W and Z:
Under both systems Z would have a perfect score (99) while W would get around 10 both times. So what this has done is really mix up users in the 35-75 range.
So what can you do about it? Participating in highly trafficked threads (like those at the bottom of stories linked from our home page) is one of the best ways. Posting too much on fast moving, little content threads (like those official game threads), can backfire. The more ratings you get from the wider diversity of people the better. A lot of ratings from the same clique doesn't work as well as the same ratings from a lot of different users.
And don't worry too much about it. As I always say, the people at the top of the reputation scale are often the ones that care the least about it. They just produce good content that others enjoy.
Posted on: January 30, 2008 10:06 am
Edited on: January 31, 2008 5:33 pm
In this thread we announced some upcoming changes to the way posts are rated and how those ratings impact the reputation:
Now that the changes have been made I want to describe them here as the thread above may not have gotten all the details exactly right.
Why are we making this change?
There are two main reasons for us doing this:
The changes we are making, in a nutshell is to simply remove the negative impact that any rating can have on a user's reputation. So even if someone gives you 1 star, that's still better than not getting a rating. The more ratings you get for each post the better your reputation will be.
Now for the details...
A lot of factors go into converting the number of stars someone gives you into the actual number that affects your reputation:
Let's walk thru a simple example (some of the math has been simplified here for the sake of clarity):
Let's say member X posts a message and it gets rated by:
Now let's see what happens when Member D who is a troll with a reputation of 15 and gives him 1 star (which is not adjusted any lower). That will then result in a total of 1*.15 = 0.15. So this value will be added to the prior total resulting in 7.38. It didn't go up by much, but 7.38 is still better than 7.23. So the troll that gives a low rating still helps your value go up.
So to take it further, lets say that member X has posted 5 messages with totals of 7.38, 10.34, 5.10, 20.34 and 31.93. The first four are messages and but the fifth one is a blog entry. So the first 4 are multiplied by 5 each and the fifth one is multiplied by 9. The relative weight of a message is 5 while a blog entry is a 9. That sum is then divided by the sum of all the weights (4*5+9). The result is a 17.35 total value.
We don't know exactly what will happen with this new system. I'm sure some will find a way to abuse it or at least attempt to find a way around it. We will be closely monitoring things to see how it works out and undoubtedly will keep tweaking at it. Once concern is that those that hang out in the less trafficked areas will receive less ratings and thus will end up with a lower reputation. That's possible, but perhaps that's not so bad. If there are more people interested in football than in tennis, it should follow that those that write about football have a higher reputation. I may seem unfair to the tennis fan. However, I don't think that it will be that significant.
In then end, it's probably best to not worry too much about the mechanics of this. To that end, we have removed the Adjusted Rating column from the review lists. It is just causing too much unnecessary anxiety. There are plenty of users with very high reputations that don't care about it, they just got there by submitting good content and not playing any games.