Monday, October 29, 2018

MLB news: A's extend Beane, Forst and Melvin

From MLB.com


         The Oakland Athletics have extended executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst and manager Bob Melvin.

          The terms of Beane's deal isn't known, but the San Fransisco Chronicle reported that Melvin's deal runs through 2021 at about $3.5 million a season, making him a top five paid manager in the league. Forst's deal runs through 2023, without financial terms discovered.

           The A's are coming off a surprise 2018 that amounted in a 97 win playoff berth, but they fell in the AL wild card game to the New York Yankees. They had the league's lowest opening day payroll, and the season reminding many of the early 2000s A's, especially the 2002 team, that is known now as "moneyball", named after Michael Lewis' 2003 book, and the 2011 film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, with Pitt playing Beane, the GM at the time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

MLB news: D-backs re-sign Escobar



      
   The Arizona Diamondbacks have re-signed INF Eduardo Escobar to a three year deal worth $21 million.

          Escobar was acquired from the Minnesota Twins on July 27th for minor leaguers Jhoan Duran, Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel, while in the middle of a career season, in which his versatility really showed. Escobar ended the season with a career high 23 home runs, RBIs (84) and his best batting average since 2014. Best to do that in a walk year, right? Well, star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and exceptional fielder Nick Ahmed are likely going to be put on the trade block. If they trade Ahmed, the more reasonable one of the two to be dealt, Escobar would either play second, or shortstop Ketel Marte would move to second, and Escobar would play there. If Goldschmidt, a free agent after next year, would be traded, then Escobar would play third, and Jake Lamb would move to first. In the end, a lot of versatility is displayed by Escobar.

          Escobar, 29, hit .272 with 23 homers and 84 RBIs in 631 Plate Appearances for the Diamondbacks and Twins in 2018. In his MLB career for the Diamondbacks, Twins and Chicago White Sox, Escobar has a batting average of .257 with 71 homers and 308 RBIs in 2750 Plate Appearances.

Friday, October 19, 2018

NHL news: Tuch signs monster deal with Vegas

via Golden Knights twitter


               The Vegas Golden Knights have signed forward Alex Tuch to a seven year extension worth $33.25 million, with a cap hit of $4.75 million.

                This signing definitely comes as a surprise. With just 84 career games under his belt, you'd think he'd get just a bridge deal as an RFA or something more minor. Long term definitely shows that the Knights think he'll be really good. If he is, this could be a steal. Acquired from the Wild in an expansion draft trade, Tuch was the Wild's 18th overall pick in 2014, but could just appear in six scoreless games with them, before he was used to bribe the Golden Knights out of picking Matt Dumba in the expansion draft, instead to pick Erik Haula, who became a key part of the team with 29 goals. Tuch hasn't made his 2018-19 season debut yet due to a lower-body injury, but obviously it only freed up negotiating time.

                Tuch, 22, scored 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 78 games for the Wild last year. He's scored those 37 points in 84 career games between the Golden Knights and Wild.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Best player by position to be traded at the trade deadline as a prospect 2012-2018 (MLB)

Image result for josh hader


             Baseball trades happen a lot. Just look at this year's trade deadline. But, unlike the NHL, NFL and NBA, draft picks can't be traded in the MLB. So, the common return for stars and roster players is usually just prospects. Pitching prospects, normally. Today, I'm going to be looking at the best player now, traded as a prospect, at the MLB trade deadline, since 2012. Take note again that most players traded are pitchers, thus the position players, but mostly the infielders, are kind of weak.

              Catcher: Jorge Alfaro
The only catcher available that has ever been a starter at one point, Alfaro was the starting catcher for the first half of his rookie season for the Phillies, until the team acquired Wilson Ramos. Alfaro was one of the league's best catching prospects both before his rookie season, and in 2015, when he was on the Texas Rangers, before being dealt along with Nick Williams, Jered Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, Matt Harrison and Alec Asher to the Phils for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.

              1st baseman: Luke Voit
The most recent trade on the list, Voit was in a very minor trade in 2018 when he was shipped from St. Louis to New York for relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve. Since the day he was traded, Voit hit 14 home runs for the Yankees, which is more than any Cardinal player had hit. Voit was a key pickup for New York.

               2nd baseman: Gleyber Torres
Another Yankee, Torres was in a much more famous trade than Voit. He was the main prospect in the 2016 trade between the Cubs and Yankees that sent Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford for Aroldis Chapman. Chapman would help win a World Series in Chicago, then sign right back with the Yankees in free agency. Torres became a rookie of the year candidate in 2018 with a batting average of .271 and 24 homers at 21 years of age. Pretty good.

               Shortstop: Jose Iglesias
It's hard to say if Iglesias was a prospect when the Red Sox traded Iglesias to the Tigers in a three team trade with the White Sox. The Tigers got Iglesias, who at the time had 98 games of MLB experience. The Red Sox got Jake Peavy and Bryan Villarreal, while Avisail Garcia, JB Wendelken, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon went to Chicago. Iglesias made an all-star team for Detroit in 2015, while providing a stellar glove and an average bat. Still better than the competition.

               Third baseman: Jeimer Candelario
It was close between Candelario and Christian Villanueva, both former Cubs, but I went with Candelario. Candelario was traded with Isaac Paredes for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila in 2017. Candelario hit 19 homers and 54 RBIs in his rookie 2018 campaign.


               Outfielders (two): Avisail Garcia and Mitch Haniger
Garcia's trade is listed above with Iglesias. Garcia hit .330 in 2017, and was an all-star. He also slugged out 19 homers in an injury-riddled 2018. Underrated, and the best option here.

A personal favorite, Haniger was traded in 2014 from the Brewers to the Diamondbacks with Anthony Banda for Gerardo Parra. Traded a few years later to the Mariners as part of the Jean Segura for Taijuan Walker/Ketel Marte deal, Haniger broke out in an all-star 2018 year, with 26 homers and 93 RBIs. He can do more in 2019.

                 Starting pitchers (three): Michael Fulmer, Sean Manaea and Kyle Hendricks
In no particular order, Fulmer slowed down in 2017 and 2018 after capturing the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year honors. He's still a really good and young pitcher that the Tigers can get a lot for. He was acquired from the Mets along with Luis Cessa for Yoenis Cespedes.

The stock for utility players went way up when the Royals traded their top prospect, Manaea, and Aaron Brooks for Ben Zobrist, who helped win them a World Series. For the A's, Manaea broke out in 2018, where he posted a 3.59 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 160.2 innings, showing that he was the ace of the staff, before an injury came.

Hendricks was the 2016 ERA king at 26, when he posted a 2.13 number. The Cubs got him in what is now a lopsided trade from the Rangers along with the aforementioned Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster. Behind what was Jake Arrieta and is now Lester and Yu Darvish, Hendricks is and has been a dominant number three starter for Chicago.

                  Relievers (two): Josh Hader and Felipe Vazquez
Hader is the only one on this list that was traded twice. Some may know that he was a member of the Houston Astros, and was traded with Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips and Adrian Houser to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, a trade that backfired on Houston. But, not many know that Hader was originally an Oriole, and at 19, was traded with LJ Hoes to the 'Stros for Bud Norris. Hader is now one of baseball's best relievers.

Vazquez was known as Felipe Rivero when he was traded with Taylor Hearn from the Nationals to the Pirates for Mark Melancon. A 2.35 ERA and 58 saves later, with a K/9 of 11.3, it is safe to say that the trade will haunt Washington.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

One player to look out for this season on every NHL team



             There are 31 NHL teams. Each dress 18 skaters a night, which means that at least one player has to be overlooked. Every team has that player. The one that sneaks by the press and fans night by night, just doing his job. Today, we look at those players, just one from every team.


    Anaheim Ducks: Marcus Pettersson
Pettersson played in a short, 22 game stint with four points in 2017-18, en route to a starting gig to open 2018-19. At just 22, Pettersson has never scored more than two goals in a season in his professional career, but he's a defensemen. Out with a concussion, Ondrej Kase is a player that could be here.
    Arizona Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza
Featured in an attempt by the Blackhawks to get rid of Marian Hossa's contract this offseason, Hinostroza made the Coyotes this year. In his final season in Chicago, Hinostroza pulled out 25 points in 50 games. It isn't really top six stuff, but good for the third line. Another player acquired by the Coyotes in that July 12th, 2018 trade, Jordan Oesterle is someone that could be here.

    Boston Bruins: Matt Grzelyck
Besides having a hard name to spell, Grzelyck impressed some with a 15 point, 61 game stint last year, which led to a full-time position. The Bruins brought in John Moore, who could take a lot of time away from Grzelyck, but the Bruins don't have many underrated players, so Grzelyck it is.

    Buffalo Sabres: Evan Rodrigues
Rodrigues is in a similar position as Hinostroza is. In just 48 games last year, Rodrigues scored 25 points, and is now the 4th line center alongside veteran Jason Pominville. Rodrigues will get overlooked, with the young firepower the Sabres have.

    Calgary Flames: Austin Czarnik
Czarnik was one of the more intriguing free agents this year, as he drew a lot of similarities to Jonathan Marchessault. A small, undrafted forward that played a lot and dominated the AHL before a rough NHL start. Czarnik fled Boston to sign with the Flames, where they are hoping that potential will show. This is one of the more interesting ones on this list.

    Carolina Hurricanes: Valentin Zykov
Despite being a healthy scratch in the Hurricanes' most recent game at the time of this writing, Zykov scored seven points in 10 games after leading the AHL in goals with 33 in 2017-18. Like Czarnik, Zykov is an underrated player who has dominated the AHL, and is now given a big chance.

    Chicago Blackhawks: Erik Gustafsson
Playing on an aging Blackhawks team, Gustafsson is a 26 year old looking to play in his first full season this year. In 2017-18, Gustafsson  played in 35 games, but scored a solid 16 points. That was enough to lead the Blackhawks defensemen in points per game, with .45 points a game. Yes, it is a small sample size, but he was still 4th in points. Gustafsson has scored 32 points in a 79 game career, which is a solid defensive season.

    Colorado Avalanche: Matt Nieto
Nieto was a waiver pickup by the Avs midway through their historically terrible 2016-17 campaign. In his first full season in the Rocky Mountains, Nieto put up 15 goals in 74 games. He could put those numbers up again this year, if given the right amount of ice time.

    Columbus Blue Jackets: Markus Nutivaara
In just 61 games kn 2017-18, Nutivaara's 23 points and seven goals were both third among Blue Jackets' defensemen, behind the dynamic duo of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski. That came in a season where Ryan Murray was hurt again, and David Savard under performed. Decent stuff.

    Dallas Stars: Tyler Pitlick
Pitlick is coming off a season where he was sixth on the team in goals, with 14, after just making the team. With the Stars' weak winger depth, Pitlick has a big opportunity. Pitlick could easily just hit 20 goals this year.

   Detroit Red Wings: Tyler Bertuzzi
This one was hard to pick, as just 20 players scored a goal for the Wings last year. Bertuzzi was one of them, netting seven. He scored 24 points in just 48 games, which earned him a top-six spot. Bertuzzi may be their most underrated player.

    Edmonton Oilers: Matt Benning
Benning tied for second in Oilers defensive points with Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell, and was just five points behind Darnell Nurse for the lead. Benning isn't usually mentioned when talking about their mediocre defense, but should be. The nephew of Jim Benning, Canucks GM, Benning could hit 30 points this year.

    Florida Panthers: Denis Malgin
At just 21, Malgin recorded 11 goals and 11 assists in 51 games. Tied for eighth on the team in goals, Malgin could put up 20 goals in a full year.

    Los Angeles Kings: Adrian Kempe
Kempe ended up finishing 4th on the team in goals with 16, and is one of the better players on this list. Alex Iafallo finished with 25 points, but I decided to go with Kempe instead. 37 points at age 21 was pretty impressive.

  

EDIT: The article got cut off, something got messed up with my computer, I posted the rest of the players (without descriptions) on Twitter (@Carterhudblog).

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Winnipeg Jets 2018-19 season preview



             After exceeding expectations and learning that Connor Hellebuyck was an elite goalie, the Winnipeg Jets paraded all the way to the Conference finals, but were stopped by the Vegas Golden Knights. Now with an understanding of their team, the Jets have a chance for more. Let's look at some fast facts for them.

Head Coach: Paul Maurice
General Manager: Kevin Cheveldayoff
Arena: Bell MTS Place
AHL Affiliate: Manitoba Moose
2017-18 record: 52-20-10 (114 points)
2017-18 placement: 2nd
Division: Central
2017-18 goals leader: Patrik Laine (44)
2017-18 assists leader: Blake Wheeler (68)
2017-18 points leader: Blake Wheeler (91)
2017-18 points leader (defensemen): Dustin Byfuglien (45)
Captain: Blake Wheeler
Assistant Captains: Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Schiefele
2018 first round pick: None, selected David Gustafsson 60th overall

Offseason additions: Laurent Brossoit

Offseason subtractions: Paul Stastny, Joel Armia, Steve Mason, Toby Enstrom, Shawn Matthias, Matt Hendricks, Michael Hutchinson


Forwards: With Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and maybe even Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor capable of scoring 35 goals, this is a great offense. Mix Bryan Little, Adam Lowry and Mathieu Perreault in, and it is even better. Hopefully, Jack Roslovic can play in the bottom six. They can score a lot of goals.

Forward lines:

Kyle Connor - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers - Bryan Little - Patrik Laine
Mathieu Perreault - Adam Lowry - Jack Roslovic
Brendan Lemieux - Andrew Copp - Brandon Tanev
Other: Marko Dano, Nic Petan

Defensemen: Rookie Sami Niku takes Toby Enstrom's spot, but everything else is the same. Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba are still really good. Josh Morrissey needs to prove that his contract was worthy. Tyler Myers needs to stay healthy.

Defensive pairs:

Josh Morrissey - Dustin Byfuglien
Sami Niku - Jacob Trouba
Dmitry Kulikov - Tyler Myers
Other: Ben Chiarot, Tucker Poolman, Joe Morrow

Goalies: Connor Hellebuyck played like a Vezina winner last year, and I think he could win it this year. Laurent Brossoit was brought in as a backup, but Eric Comrie will put up a strong case.

Goalie alignment:

Connor Hellebuyck
Laurent Brossoit
Other: Eric Comrie

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Patrik Laine
Mark Scheifele
Blake Wheeler
Kyle Connor
Jacob Trouba

Playoffs: Yes
Division: 1st
I think the Winnipeg Jets will end up winning the Stanley Cup in 2018-19.

Washington Capitals 2018-19 season preview



           After another Metropolitan division victory, the Washington Capitals finally pulled through and won the Stanley Cup. Alex Ovechkin scored about 50 goals again. Evgeny Kuznetsov was a point-per-game player. And, they re-signed John Carlson. Before we look at their roster, here's some fast facts for the Washington Capitals.

Head Coach: Todd Reirdan
General Manager: Brian McLellan
Arena: Capital One Arena
AHL Affiliate: Hershey Bears
2017-18 record: 49-26-7 (105 points)
2017-18 placement: 1st
Division: Metropolitan
2017-18 goals leader: Alex Ovechkin (49)
2017-18 assists leader: Evgeny Kuznetsov (56)
2017-18 points leader: Alex Ovechkin (87)
2017-18 points leader (defensemen): John Carlson (68)
Captain: Alex Ovechkin
Assistant Captains: Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Orpik
2018 first round pick: Alex Alexeyev

Offseason additions: Nic Dowd

Offseason subtractions: Phillip Grubauer, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson, Jakub Jerabek

Forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom are locks for 70 points when healthy, but TJ Oshie is coming off a year without 50 points. Lars Eller is coming off a season with nearly 20 goals. Jakub Vrana and Alex Burakovsky underperformed, and need to get 20 goals this year.

Forward lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - TJ Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Devante Smith-Pelly
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Nic Dowd - Tom Wilson

Defensemen: John Carlson is coming off a season with nearly 70 points. Dmitry Orlov added 10 goals. Matt Niskanen is falling off, but Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos are rising. It is a good squad.

Defensive pairs:

Dmitry Orlov - John Carlson
Christian Djoos - Matt Niskanen
Madison Bowey - Michal Kempny
Other: Brooks Orpik

Goalies: Phillip Grubauer is gone, but Braden Holtby is still one of the league's best goalies. They are hoping that Pheonix Copley can bridge the gap until Ilya Samsonov is ready.

Goalie alignment:

Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley
Other: Ilya Samsonov

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Evgeny Kuznetsov
Alex Ovechkin
Nicklas Backstrom
TJ Oshie
John Carlson

Playoffs: Yes
Division: 2nd

I think the Washington Capitals will be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Vegas Golden Knights 2018-19 season preview




               In their first season of existing, the Vegas Golden Knights surprised everybody, and won the Pacific division, but their Cinderella story ended when they lost in the Stanley Cup finals. Before we look at their team, here's some fast facts for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Head Coach: Gerard Gallant
General Manager: George McPhee
Arena: T-Mobile Arena
AHL Affiliate: Chicago Wolves
2017-18 record: 51-24-7 (109 points)
2017-18 placement: 1st
Division: Pacific
2017-18 goals leader: William Karlsson (43)
2017-18 assists leader: David Perron (50)
2017-18 points leader: William Karlsson (78)
2017-18 points leader (defensemen): Colin Miller (41)
Captain: None
Assistant Captains: Pierre-Edouard Bellmare, Deryk Engelland, Reilly Smith
2018 first round pick: None, selected Ivan Morozov 61st overall

Offseason additions: Max Pacioretty, Paul Stastny, Nick Holden, Dan Carr

Offseason subtractions: James Neal, David Perron, Tomas Tatar, Luca Sbisa, Nick Suzuki, Jason Garrison, Clayton Stoner

Forwards: James Neal and David Perron and Tomas Tatar are all out, and the only one to replace them is Max Pacioretty. Alex Tuch had a good rookie season. There is hope that Ryan Carpenter, Tomas Nosek and Ryan Reaves can step it up, and that Erik Haula can score nearly 30 goals again.

Forward lines:

Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty - Paul Stastny - Alex Tuch
Tomas Nosek - Erik Haula - Ryan Carpenter
Pierre-Edouard Bellmare - Cody Eakin - Ryan Reaves
Other:  Dan Carr, Oscar Lindberg, Will Carrier

Defensemen: Nate Schmidt's suspension will hurt. Shea Theodore had a good rookie season, and Colin Miler lead Vegas defensemen in points. The rest is a little shaky, as Brayden McNabb, Nick Holden and Deryk Engelland are aging. Nic Hague and Erik Brannstrom are still at least a year away.

Defensive pairs:

Shea Theodore - Colin Miller
Brayden McNabb - Deryk Engelland
Nick Holden - Jon Merrill
Other: Brad Hunt
Suspended: Nate Schmidt

Goalies: Marc-Andre Fleury showed that he was an all-star goalie. The early season goalie saga showed the team a lot about their backups. Malcolm Subban is first, Oscar Dansk is next.

Goalies:

Marc-Andre Fleury
Malcolm Subban
Other: Oscar Dansk

Predictions:

Top five scorers:

Jonathan Marchessault
William Karlsson
Max Pacioretty
Reilly Smith
Alex Tuch
Erik Haula

Playoffs: Yes
Division: 2nd

I think the Vegas Golden Knights will be eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.