Mike Trout’s GOAT Potential: A rumble with the legends of the game

With the Hall of Fame induction vote finished, it only makes sense to take stock of our current MLB stars. No single player currently embodies the talent and qualities of a HOF candidate quite like Mike Trout. The debate rages on about the Angels’ inability to harness this generational talent into team success. However, Trout’s numbers speak for themselves and he only continues to improve year after year.

Mike Trout’s GOAT Potential

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

This MLB writer wasn’t fortunate enough to watch many of the past greats live performances, and can only admire the stats and the stories. Only now are childhood heroes like Jim Thome and Chipper Jones surfacing for induction into the hall. That said, the statistics remain, and it’s fascinating to compare the old-time sluggers to the players of today.

For this analysis, we take a look at modern day master Mike Trout against the best there ever was. The idea here is to predict Trout’s career in order to place him on par with the legends of the game. There will of course be some assumptions to follow, but those will be documented and explained throughout the analysis.

Without further ado, let’s nerd out.

 

Introducing first, fighting out of the present day, standing 6’2″, weighing in at 230 pounds, THE CHALLENGER, MIKE TROUT:

 

Mike Trout Career Totals

BA OBP SLG OPS H HR RBI
6 Year Totals 0.306 0.405 0.557 0.963 917 168 497
162 Game Avg. 0.306 0.405 0.557 0.963 183 34 99

 

Trout has been in the league 6 years and has consistently posted outstanding numbers while casually collecting two MVP awards. While the above takes into account more classic hitting statistics for comparison, Trout’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) numbers are even more impressive. Trout continues to carve a legacy against the greats by already leading this statistic every year, at every age (An outstanding analysis by Neil Paine can be found here). His current career WAR sits at 48.5 through six seasons while averaging a WAR over eight.

To put this in perspective, the site FanGraphs defines WAR as follows:

  1. Scrub 0-1 WAR
  2. Role Player 1-2 WAR
  3. Solid Starter 2-3 WAR
  4. Good Player 3-4 WAR
  5. All-Star 4-5 WAR
  6. Superstar 5-6 WAR
  7. MVP 6+ WAR

In other words, Trout averages MVP caliber play. Even taking into consideration his sub-par rookie numbers after his midseason call-up in July 2011, the man is incredible.

Introducing next, fighting out of days of baseball past, standing at the greatest of all time, and weighing in at baseball’s finest, THE CHAMPIONS, THESE GUYS:

 

Legends Career Statistics

Years Played BA OBP SLG OPS Hits HR RBI’s
Barry Bonds 22 0.298 0.444 0.607 1.051 2935 762 1996
Ted Williams 19 0.344 0.482 0.634 1.116 2654 521 1839
Hank Aaron 21 0.305 0.374 0.555 0.928 3771 755 2297
Willie Mays 21 0.302 0.384 0.557 0.941 3283 660 1903
Babe Ruth 22 0.342 0.474 0.69 1.164 2837 714 2214

Argue with me if you must about the names on this list, but these guys could hit a baseball.

 

The Comparison

In order to get apples to apples, we have to extrapolate Trout’s numbers over a period befitting of one of the greats. As demonstrated in the above table, each one of these players spent nearly two decades in the majors. An average of their time spent comes out to 21 years.

Now the big assumptions in calculating future Trout are as follows:

  • Maintains his current averages as it relates to the ratio-statistics
  • Will play to his 162 game average
  • Have at least a 21-year career

 

Mike Trout’s GOAT Potential

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

 

Obviously, there are some red flags here. The chances of Trout never getting injured, sitting for any extended period of time, or experiencing general regression in his later years are minimal. On the flip side, Trout hasn’t even reach what would be considered a “baseball prime” in terms of age. With that in mind, it’s entirely possible we have yet to see career highs from Trout in any of these categories.

With those assumptions in place, the math becomes relatively simple. Take Trout’s six-year career numbers, and add them to 15 additional years of the 162-game average statistics (15+6=21 years).

 

 

 

 

Do that, and the chart now looks like this:

Years Played BA OBP SLG OPS Hits HR RBI’s
Barry Bonds 22 0.298 0.444 0.607 1.051 2935 762 1996
Ted Williams 19 0.344 0.482 0.634 1.116 2654 521 1839
Hank Aaron 21 0.305 0.374 0.555 0.928 3771 755 2297
Willie Mays 21 0.302 0.384 0.557 0.941 3283 660 1903
Babe Ruth 22 0.342 0.474 0.69 1.164 2837 714 2214
Future Trout 21 0.306 0.405 0.557 0.963 3662 678 1982

The Conclusion

Interestingly enough, this analysis doesn’t have Trout leading a single statistical category. Even so, he has numbers that rival the greats in literally every major hitting metric. Furthermore, this analysis doesn’t take into account WAR or fielding statistics which both add additional firepower to Trout’s case. GOAT may be some ways off, but most well-rounded is certainly in play as long as the performance continues.

It’s clear Trout still has a long way to go and a lot to prove if he wants to be considered among this outstanding group. That said, Trout is well on pace to rival the greats, and as anyone who’s watched him will tell you, the best is likely yet to come.

 

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2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

We’re back with the Game Haus’ fourth installment of 2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four. In recent news, the Mariners decided to spite my previous ranking by making a plethora of moves and trades to shore up their rotation heading into the season. While Seattle undoubtedly improved it was the Braves and the Rays that both left that exchange with a promising future. In the meantime, teams all across the league continue to avoid arbitration and extend their players with a multitude of contracts being signed. Finally, with less than a month remaining before pitchers and catchers report, several worthy veterans remain on the open market.

The rankings must go on! This week takes a look at teams 15-11. Now we’re talking competition. Each one of these teams has enough pieces for a solid 2017 campaign. While most wouldn’t place these teams in the top tier, any of these organizations could make a wild card run. As we all know, if you are still in the running in October, anything can happen.

 

15. Detroit Tigers

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

Record: 86-75

Many pegged the Tigers as sellers this offseason, but that sale never really came. Detroit returns in 2017 sporting much of the same core it’s competed with the last several years. Last season, Justin Verlander reclaimed his ace status and Michael Fulmer emerged as an extremely promising second option. Add that to a lineup chalk full of seasoned veterans led by Miguel Cabrera, and you’ve got yourself a shot. The Tigers should find success given the largely depleted AL Central, but will it be enough to match the Indians?

 

14. New York Yankees

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 84-78

No one would accuse Yankees GM Brian Cashman of being dormant this Winter. Not only did the Yanks clean up last trade deadline, but also managed to reclaim star closer Aroldis Chapman. Blue Chip prospects like Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres came over during the Yankees closer sale, but aren’t even part of the young core already on the field.  Didi Gregorious, Aaron Judge, and breakout star catcher Gary Sánchez have already emerged, and are expected in the 2017 lineup. The real question facing the Yankees is whether Masahiro Tanaka and company can bounce back from a tough 2016. Rotation aside, the Yankees may be a bit young for a serious run, but lookout for the pinstripes very soon.

 

13. Colorado Rockies

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 75-87

Admittedly this feels a bit high up in the rankings for a Rockies team with 87 losses in 2016. That said, one can’t help but be impressed by the lineup Colorado has assembled. The surprise signing of Ian Desmond alone gives the Rocks a sizable infield boost. Pair that with young players like Trevor Story and potential NL MVP candidate Nolan Arenado, and you’re looking at serious potential. Like many teams, the question mark hangs over a young rotation that did show promise in 2016. Coors Field will never be a pitchers dream, but if just one of those young pitchers can establish themselves as an ace, look for Colorado to do some damage in 2017.

 

12. Toronto Blue Jays

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 89-73

The Blue Jay’s had an AL leading 3.78 ERA in 2016, and that whole rotation will be returning. Tack on a presumably healthy Francisco Liriano, and you have one of the more dangerous rotations in the MLB. The rotation is set, but now Toronto must cope with the loss of star slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Further adding complexity is the loss of Michael Saunders from the lineup. Jose Bautista will be staying in Toronto. However, losing both Encarnacion and Saunders leaves a considerable gap for the Jays to fill. The offseason signing of Kendrys Morales certainly helps soften that blow by adding a solid DH. The Blue Jays may have a different dynamic than in years past, but expect them to be competitive regardless.

 

11. St. Louis Cardinals

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season Part Four

2016 record: 86-76

The Cardinals are just solid. At this point, it’s basically their thing. The team continuously churns out seasons on the better side of 85 wins. Continue packing Busch Stadium with loyal red birds’ fans, and they continue their war against the top team in the MLB. The Cards have great depth and flexibility throughout their lineup bolstered by the poaching of center fielder Dexter Fowler. At this point, this question is the broken record of baseball, but again we’re asking, “What about that rotation?” Adam Wainwright is the perennial staple for this staff, but a slow decline the past few years is concerning. However, if Wainwright reclaims some former glory and Michael Wacha can bounce back from an injury-wrought 2016, the Cards may just have enough in the tank to cause trouble for the Cubs.

*Logos courtesy of MLB.com*

Link to Previous Rankings

Part 1: Here

Part 2: Here

Part 3: Here

 

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Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?

Not even two days after I wrote this: “In recent news nothing of any real note has occurred”. And this: “Not much has changed for Seattle, and they haven’t been tied to any deal of significance”.

The Mariners went out and traded for Drew Smyly to accompany Yovani Gallardo in anchoring the back of their rotation. The Braves then traded Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons to Seattle for Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows. Finally, nothing short of 14 other transactions occurred around the MLB including contract agreements, designations, and releases.

Baseball God’s 1, Ignorant MLB writer 0.

Not that any of these signings are blockbusters, but clearly teams are still active before the start of spring training. The question remaining for most fans is whether or not their team will be the one to land one of the remaining big names. Suitable homes for Jose Bautista, Matt Wieters, and Mark Trumbo continue to be the source of speculation around the league. There is a risk and reward argument to be made for each. Today, The Game Haus breaks down likely landing spots for these veteran players.

Jose Bautista

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?
POS: OF
2016 Slash Line:
.234/.366/.452

Player Profile

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?What do two stints on the disabled list, regressing performance, and a controversial attitude get you at age 36 in the MLB? Apparently a long wait in free agency. Given the multiple injuries Bautista endured during the season, he still managed a strong finish to the year.

Clearly Bautista can still swing the lumber. He managed 22 home runs after missing 46 games. However, his regressing defense and propensity for providing opposing teams plenty of “bulletin board material” may make teams weary to engage in any sort of multi-year commitment.

Ideal Landing Spot: Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays are Joey Bats’ true home, and probably one of the few places that can still stand him. Personality issues aside, the loss of Edwin Encarnacion, and the potential departure of Michael Saunders leave significant holes in Toronto’s lineup. Simply put, in one off-season the Jays are at serious risk of losing much of the run support that has made them contenders. Besides, Jays fans love those bat flips.

 

Matt Wieters

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?
POS: C
2016 Slash Line:
.243/.302/.409

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?

Player Profile

Matt Wieters is the “Mr. Reliable” of the remaining free agent class. He will provide consistent offensive production, strong defense, and veteran leadership to whomever signs this four-time all-star. Unlike others on this list, Wieters’ offensive numbers don’t jump off the page. Teams’ interest in him will likely be based around his defensive proficiency and ability to manage a pitching staff. Wieters’ 2016 was a down year statistically, but given his track record he shouldn’t have trouble finding a suitable home.

Ideal Landing Spot: Arizona Diamondbacks

Up to this point, Wieters has been closely linked to the Angels despite an earlier off-season trade for Martin Maldonado. However, the diamondbacks present an interesting option and could benefit greatly from Wieters’ veteran presence. Arizona has a young rotation anchored by Zack Greinke, and Wieters presents a significant upgrade over Jeff Mathis. 2017 looks like a toss-up between the two teams in terms of upcoming performance. That said, if Wieters is looking for a multi-year deal, the D-Backs long-term outlooks appear a bit more positive than the Angels.

 

Mark Trumbo

Finishing Free Agency: Where will the big names land?
POS: OF
2016 Slash Line:
.256/.316/.533

Player Profile

Crushing an obscene 47 home runs the year you’re up for free agency certainly doesn’t hurt one’s ability to collect a paycheck. Trumbo’s league leading ability to hit the long ball is matched only by his swing and miss potential. He ranked tenth among all players in strikeouts last season. This fact coupled with sub-par outfield performance makes Trumbo a risk, despite his career year in the home run category. Baseball aficionados will undoubtedly claim “regression to the mean” in Trumbo’s future. Even so, he has hit at least 20 home runs a season all but once in his career, and should make a valuable power addition to any team.

Ideal Landing Spot: Baltimore Orioles

The Rangers and Rockies have been linked to Trumbo. Given the Ian Desmond signing in Colorado and the Rangers interest in Mike Napoli, neither seems likely. Trumbo fits the power driven mold and positional needs for Baltimore perfectly. The Orioles can’t hope to come close to Trumbo’s production with Seth Smith currently slotted in right field. Trumbo isn’t there for defense, but does provide flexibility in right and at first when Chris Davis fills the DH role. Regression should be expected, but given the alternative, Baltimore needs to pay the man.

*Credit to sources http://mlb.mlb.com/home (Photos) and http://www.baseball-reference.com/ (Statistics)*

 

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It’s on the Haus: Steelers Sting Dolphins, Odell Beckham Punches Inanimate Object, Manny Ramirez Wants To Be Relevant

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports and esports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program, or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports and esports happenings, all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus.

You missed yesterday’s edition? You need one article that contains the NFL Playoffs, Army All-American Bowl, Kyle Korver, and Grayson Allen? You’re in luck. Find it by clicking on any of these words.

Killer B’s Do Their Thing

The Pittsburgh Steelers throttled the Miami Dolphins in the third NFL Wild Card game, 30-12, on Sunday afternoon. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown were on the field together in a playoff game for the first time.

Roethlisberger was 13/18 for 197 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went into the hands of Antonio Brown. Le’Veon Bell(cow) carried the ball 29 times for 167 yards and two scores, and added two catches for seven yards. Antonio Brown had five catches for 124 yards.

The game was a blowout, just as many expected it to be. The Dolphins had no business being in the playoffs with Matt Moore starting at quarterback, but there’s a lot of optimism for the ‘Phins for next season. I’m not sure why though, as the only way Miami makes it back to the playoffs is as a wild card, as long as Bill Belichick continues to work his straight-faced sorcery in Foxborough.

Player Gets Angry, Punches Wall

In the final game of Wild Card Weekend, the Green Bay Packers toppled the New York Giants, 38-13. The game was close for a bit, but Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers’d, and the Packers pulled away in the third quarter.

Steelers Dolphins Odell Beckham Manny Ramirez

Odell Beckham Jr. had just four catches for 28 yards in the Giant’s first round loss to the Packers. (Photo: Getty Images)

The real story came after the ball game finished. Odell Beckham Jr. is accused of punching a wall in the locker room after the loss, and I’m not surprised. Odell already got KO’d by a kicking net earlier this year, and it appears it’s better to be a human than an inanimate object when OBJ rages.

I’ve never been a fan of Beckham Jr., as I don’t trust him due to his on-field rage fits and his hair. It looks like OBJ cooked some ramen noodles and glued them to his head. Sure, he’s a good receiver, but he needs help in what kids call the “swag” department. Just watch this cringeworthy video of him dancing, and you’ll catch my drift.

Manny Ramirez is a Fighting Dog

Snazzy subheading, eh? You read that right, former MLB slugger and possible future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez is now a Fighting Dog. The DH/OF has signed a contract to play for the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus, giving the age 44 year-old his first job playing baseball since 2014.

I’m not here to cast judgement, but this move is down right stupid, all due respect. Look, Manny, I doubt you know Japanese, and you’re not Jamie Moyer, so I don’t know what the point of this is.

If he misses competition, Manny can go be Manny in his Sunday beer league whiffleball association. I know nothing about Japanese culture, but I hear it’s weird over there. I’m not sure how well-received his antics will be, and I don’t think he’ll be able to club 30 dingers with the filth those pitchers throw.

 

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Ranking the Farm: Top 100 Rookies and Prospects by Team

Ranking the Farm

If you are a dynasty fantasy baseball guru, you’re probably already familiar with the future generation of the MLB found here. This list is issued and updated by MLB.com to analyze and rank the top 100 rookies and prospects across Major League Baseball. Many recognize blue-chip prospect names such as Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito.

These young stars were involved in major trades this winter and many expect them to contribute in 2016. However, the White Sox haven’t been the only team building their farm system. The rest of the league also looks to cement their future with their own crop of top-tier talent. With this in mind, The Game Haus takes a shot at ranking the farm to determine which clubs have set themselves up for success.

SEPTEMBER 6: Yoan Moncada #65 of the Boston Red Sox (Now White Sox) (Getty Images)

For this ranking, a quick analysis was completed based on the positional ranking provided on MLB.com. First, a value was given based on ranking. For example, Yoan Moncada is worth 100 points at number one, Bradley Zimmer is worth 75 points at number 25, etc.

Second, these values were summed by the number of prospects on each team. Finally, an average is calculated by the number of prospects to give a general sense of prospect quality. Note: Rankings are based on overall sum, not on average.

 

Top 100 Farm Rankings by Team:

*Disclaimer* There are still moves to be made as the rumor mill continues to churn. This could affect the analysis completed here as teams continue to solidify their position heading into spring training. However, this should provide a high level snapshot of each team’s current farm system and how they stack up around the league.

Team Rank Team Team # of Top 100 Sum Score Average Score
1 Milwaukee Brewers 8 406 50.8
2 New York Yankees 6 405 67.5
3 Chicago White Sox 6 396 66.0
4 Pittsburgh Pirates 5 354 70.8
5 Atlanta Braves 7 327 46.7
6 Philadelphia Phillies 4 270 67.5
7 Colorado Rockies 5 254 50.8
8 Boston Red Sox 3 251 83.7
9 San Diego Padres 4 236 59.0
10 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 224 37.3
11 Cincinnati Reds 4 205 51.3
12 Houston Astros 5 204 40.8
13 Tampa Bay Rays 3 171 57.0
14 Cleveland Indians 5 170 34.0
15 Chicago Cubs 4 164 41.0
16 Minnesota Twins 4 143 35.8
17 New York Mets 2 136 68.0
18 Oakland Athletics 4 134 33.5
19 St. Louis Cardinals 3 133 44.3
20 Washington Nationals 2 117 58.5
21 Seattle Mariners 2 114 57.0
22 Toronto Blue Jays 3 67 22.3
23 Miami Marlins 1 64 64.0
24 Texas Rangers 1 45 45.0
25 Detroit Tigers 1 35 35.0
26 San Francisco Giants 2 25 12.5
27 Arizona Diamondbacks 0 0 0.0
28 Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0.0
29 Kansas City Royals 0 0 0.0
30 Los Angeles Angels 0 0 0.0

Top 3 Analysis:

The Brewers are a team that has been rebuilding for a number of years. The Yankees were incredibly active at the 2016 trade deadline and it has paid dividends heading into 2017. The White Sox are largely considered to have won the winter meetings, securing top talent via offseason trades. The top three on this list utilized different methods, but all three are well positioned for the future.

AUGUST 28: Lucas Giolito #44 of the Washington Nationals (Now White Sox) (Getty Images)

Farm systems are clearly comprised of far more than a team’s top ranked prospects. These rankings do not take into account an organizations draft, or many of their Low / High / Single “A” ball players still working through the minors.

Several of the players factored in here have already made an MLB debut.  Many more will compete for a contributing roll in 2017 and will almost certainly be seen by the 2018 season. While not comprehensive, the above is a strong depiction of those organizations who have impact players waiting in the wings.

Where is your team positioned heading into the future?

 

 

 

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New Year, Same Goal: MLB Rookies Look to Continue Impressive Play in 2017

“New year, new me!” That phrase will be spoken by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people within the next few weeks. Change seems to be as much of a new year’s tradition as fireworks and black eyed peas. But in another realm, the 2017 MLB rookies are hoping that a new year will bring the same results as previous years.

From Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in 2012 to Corey Seager and Michael Fulmer in 2016, rookies have exceeded expectations. This year’s rookies will strive to continue this trend. Below are four players set to continue the rookie run of dominance in 2017.

OF Manuel Margot- San Diego Padres

Manuel Margot has seen his baseball career take him from the Boston Red Sox to the San Diego Padres. He was the

2017 MLB rookies

Manuel Margot looks to provide a much needed spark in San Diego this season. (Photo: Baseball America)

prized player in the Craig Kimbrel trade in 2015, and it’s easy to see why. While posting a solid .424 slugging percentage, Margot also stole 162 bases over five minor league seasons. He profiles as a dynamic lead off hitter and has the inside track to the 2017 starting centerfield job for the Padres.

IF Yoan Moncada– Chicago White Sox

The talk of baseball since his departure from Cuba in 2014, Yoan Moncada achieved top prospect status after receiving comparisons to All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano. The Red Sox trade for pitcher Chris Sale in the offseason sent Moncada to the south side of Chicago, giving him the opportunity to take over at second base for the White Sox. Moncada brings an advanced batting eye, posting an on-base-percentage of .395 in parts of two minor league seasons, as well as elite speed, swiping 94 stolen bases. Moncada can bat anywhere from 1-5 in the lineup, giving the White Sox much needed flexibility.

OF Andrew Benintendi- Boston Red Sox

Andrew Benintendi burst into the majors at the end of the 2016 season.

Benintendi combined his even blend of speed and power to make it to the big leagues a year after being drafted. He provided a new dimension to a Red Sox lineup that was already one of the deepest in baseball. While his 2016 season was cut short due to injury, he is on track to start for Boston on Opening Day. Benintendi posted an impressive .540 slugging percentage across parts of two minor league seasons. He also posted more walks than strikeouts. He is set to provide Boston with a Rookie of the Year type season in 2017.

2017 MLB rookies

Aaron Judge looks to lead the way for rookie mashers. (Photo: Steve Mitchell | USA Today Sports)

OF Aaron Judge- New York Yankees

Aaron Judge has as much power as any other rookie in the 2017 class, provided by his massive frame. Listed at 6′ 7″ and 275 lbs, Judge would seem to fit better on the hardwood than the diamond. But Judge uses his frame to his advantage, leveraging massive power from the right side of the batter’s box. Judge is also more physically advanced than the other rookies on this list, checking in at 24 years old. Judge mashed 56 homers in parts of three seasons in the minors, as well as posting a solid batting average of .278. He will provide plenty of massive moonshots this season, fitting into the Bronx Bomber lineup nicely.

As the MLB season approaches, these four players will look to build on solid minor league resumes and continue the run of rookie success in the majors. While many are looking to change in 2017, these four would love to just stay the same.

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Sports Cities Power Rankings: January 2017

Everywhere you look, there’s power rankings available for every in-season sport. However, it can be hard to find rankings on the top sports cities in the nation. That being said, it’s time to break out a new top ten ranking, and that ranking is the top ten sports cities in the nation.

How are these rankings done? Well, because this will be a monthly installment, the cities will change based on each of its teams’ performances. Take a look at this handy dandy list on what goes into rankings, from most important to least important. Some changes have been made from last month after listening to our valued readers’ opinions. Only the four major sports in the United States are accounted for in the rankings.

  • In-season professional team performance, with the team with a higher percentage of its season played getting higher priority
  • Out-of-season performance of a team
  • Potential to be better or worse as season goes on
  • Amount of teams a city or region owns

For a city to be considered, it must have two or more of the major professional sports in its area. Sorry San Jose and Portland, but you guys don’t count.

Teams that are technically located outside of their city name will be claimed by their closest city. Boston claims the Patriots, New York City claims the Jets and Giants, and so on.

Scores are an average of all totals from each sport. The scale is from one to five, with five being the best.

Now, let’s begin. Go ahead and light me up in the comments and on social media. As a writer, I’m always begging for the approval and validation of my readers.

  1. Boston- 4

For the second straight month, Boston sits atop the rankings. The Patriots have won six games in a row, including a 41-3 thrashing of the Jets on Christmas Eve. Fans of the Pats have plenty to root for, and a Super Bowl is within reach. The Celtics have won seven of their last nine, and they’ve shot up to third in the Eastern Conference standings. In hockey, the Bruins are still sitting in a playoff spot, but they’ve cooled off as of late. Even so, the Bruins beat the Sabres twice to end the month, sending the team into the new year on a high note.

  1. Pittsburgh- 4

The city of Pittsburgh rises three spots from last month, and their score is just as high as Boston’s. Pittsburgh sits below Boston (barely), and the margin between the two is almost zero. When it comes to the NFL, the Patriots get the edge. Although the Steelers have also won six games in a row, the Patriots did beat the Steelers earlier in the season, 27-16. Pittsburgh also has no NBA team, which hurts the city’s score. When it comes to the NHL, Pittsburgh has the second most points in the league, one less than the Blue Jackets, who have won 15 straight. Each of the top two cities have one team that is better than the other in a sport (Pittsburgh owns NHL, Boston owns NFL). Since Boston had a better season in the MLB than Pittsburgh, Boston keeps the top spot for another month, but barely.

Sports Cities Power Rankings

Kirk Cousins has helped lead the Redskins to a successful season. (Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

  1. Washington D.C.- 3.75

The capital of the United States is very close to being the capital of the sports world, too. The Washington Redskins are 8-6-1, and have had a very good year in a stacked division. In the NBA, John Wall is on fire, and has helped the Wizards to a 16-16 record, good for sixth in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals have the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and many believe the team is better than they’ve shown they are to start the season. D.C. sports are doing good for sure, but it doesn’t look like a deep playoff run will be made by any teams this season. A plethora of good but not great teams makes D.C. the most consistent city in the nation.

  1. Cleveland 3.67

When the Browns beat the Chargers on Christmas Eve, I became extremely hyped to write this article. The holiday season was awesome to Cleveland. On Christmas day, the Cavs defeated Golden State in their first meeting since winning the NBA Finals against them. The Browns still get the first pick in the draft. The Cavs look like they could still be better than the Warriors, even with Golden State’s acquisition of Kevin Durant.

  1. Oakland 3.67

Oakland is thriving, but the city has fallen on tough times to close the month. The Raiders lost MVP candidate Derek Carr for the season after he broke his leg on Christmas Eve. To make matters worse, the Warriors continued to fumble away leads to the Cavs. This time they blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. Losing Carr is a huge hit to the Raiders’ playoff aspirations, and the Warriors losing to the Cavs really put a damper on the holiday season for the city.

Sports Cities Power Rankings

An All-NBA talent, James Harden has helped Houston become a darkhorse in the Western Conference. (Photo: Sporting News)

 

  1. Houston 3.67

For the second straight season, the Texans are going to the playoffs. For the second straight season, I don’t know how. This has helped propel the city into the rankings for the first time since the inaugural rankings were released. In the NBA, the Rockets are playing great basketball and have James Harden, who helps shape the face of the NBA. The Astros also had a pretty good season and have plenty of promise in the future.

  1. Chicago 3.5

The city of Chicago is enjoying its greatest success in the NHL. The Blackhawks are the best team in the Western Conference, and they won five games in a row during this month. The Bulls are barely in the playoffs, but they’ve got a chance to get hot to end January. Five of their final eight games are against teams under .500. The Bears are pitiful, but just like the Browns, at least they get a high draft pick. Of course, the Cubs will continue to get the city a boost after ending the city’s multiple baseball curses.

  1. Seattle 3.5

The final three spots in the rankings are the exact same as last month. Poised to make another Super Bowl quest, the city of Seattle is in the midst of a minor dynasty. The Seahawks are in the playoffs, but they’ve yet to get hot and string together multiple wins. With just one active team right now, Seattle’s overall score is hurt. The city’s only other team is the Mariners, who won a respectable 86 games.

Sports Cities Power Rankings

Eric Berry has been a shutdown defensive back, one year after defeating cancer. (Photo: Sporting News)

  1. Kansas City 3.5

The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the AFC, and have a real shot to advance in the playoffs. Alex Smith is the third-best quarterback out of AFC playoff teams and could realistically lead the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game. Just like Seattle, Kansas City has one active team in the NFL and one out-of-season team in the MLB. Seattle’s MLB won more games than Kansas City’s Royals, which is why KC is one stop below.

  1. Baltimore 3.5

For the second month in a row, Baltimore sneaks into the rankings at number 10. Since last month, not much has changed in the city. The Ravens have been eliminated from playoff contention since last month, but they still had a much improved season from last year. The Ravens certainly have something to build off of for next season. The Orioles are the city’s only other team and they had another good season, even though the playoffs didn’t end beneficially for them. All in all, Baltimore fans are enjoying a lot more success than a lot of other cities.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

2017 MLB Rankings: Sizing up the Season

MLB 2017 Rankings

There’s less than 50 days until pitchers and catchers report for the 2017 MLB season, and less than 75 days until the first spring training game. Opening Day is less than 100 days away, but who’s counting? With the majority of big name free agents off the board, it’s time to look ahead to each team’s potential heading into 2017. In order to do that, we will examine each team by using a few factors that will help place them in the 2017 MLB Rankings.

Leading up to the start of the season, The Game Haus will take an in-depth look at all 30 MLB teams. As with most rankings, the initial placement is largely subjective and will be updated as the season progresses. For now, teams will be evaluated on the following:

  • 2016 Finish
  • Team Outlook: Offensive / Defensive / Pitching
  • Off-Season Moves / In-Season Trade Opportunities
  • Potential Impact / Wild Card Player(s) in 2017
  • Strength of Division

Each week, we’ll count down a series of teams until we reach the preseason pick for 2017’s World Champs. This week, we’re starting with “The Rebuilding Bunch”.

All logo images courtesy of MLB.com.

30. San Diego Padres

2016 Record: 68-94

San Diego Padres, MLB, Baseball, 2017 RankingsUnfortunately, the outlook isn’t very positive for the Padres heading into 2017. A recent series of “Win Now” moves had the Padres acquiring players like Matt Kemp and Craig Kimbrel, only to trade them away a short time later. The good news is that the Padres acquired young talent including Manny Margot and Javier Guerra from the loaded Red Sox prospect pool. It’s never a message a sports fan wants to hear at the start of a season, but it looks like the Padres are committed to a successful long-term rebuilding strategy.

 

29. Minnesota Twins

2016 Record: 59-103

Minnesota Twins, MLB, Baseball, 2017 Rankings2016 probably isn’t a year the Twins want to dwell on, but it sure was fun watching a second baseman smack 42 home runs. Brian Dozier was about the only bright spot of the 2016 season. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton both under-performed against expectations. However, both were top prospects and should improve with additional at-bats. Barring some unforeseen breakout by the rookies, it would be fair to assume that 2017 should be similar to last year’s campaign. Ideally, some of the recent changes to the front office will accelerate the rebuilding process and get the Twins heading back in the right direction.

 

28. Cincinnati Reds

2016 Record: 68-94

Cincinnati Reds, MLB, Baseball, 2017 Rankings“Everything must go” might as well be the tagline for the Reds front office. Franchise staples like Joey Votto and Billy Hamilton have continued to hold down the fort for Cincinnati, but even their days with the Reds appear to be numbered. All that effort has definitely netted several nice players. This includes Anthony DeSclafani who had a respectable 2016 and should continue to improve going forward. The Reds will likely continue their fire sale heading into next season, and given the prospect hauls traded at last year’s deadline, they should be very active in 2017.

 

27. Oakland Athletics

2016 Record: 69-93

Oakland Athletics, MLB, Baseball, 2017 RankingsBesides Sonny Gray, there isn’t much to get excited about for the Athletics. The A’s are still waiting on a few of their top prospects to surface, but there are only two currently playing in Triple A, so the wait could be significant. Most of the A’s trades have helped them acquire strong talent, but unlike the Reds, there isn’t much left to trade. The team did get a small breakout power display from Khris Davis who hit a very impressive 42 home runs last year. However, with the market saturated with power bats, the A’s may not find a market for him.

 

26. Chicago White Sox

2016 Record: 78-84

Chicago White Sox, MLB, Baseball, 2017 Rankings”Rebuild Mode” engaged. No more Chris Sale, no more Adam Eaton, and no more throwback jerseys cut to ribbons. While it’s fair to assume that 2017 will be a down year for the Sox, many around the league felt they cleaned-up at the winter meetings. They acquired a boatload of prospects from two strong systems. And with trade rumors swirling around Jose Quintana, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn may not be done yet. White Sox fans may be a bit disappointed this year, but can rest easy knowing how bright the future looks.

 

 

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Chris Sale Goes From One Sox to the Other

In case you had been living under a rock, Chris Sale has been a major trade target ever since he had his major outburst and cut up a bunch of jerseys. This made him by far and away the most attractive trade or free agent target for teams looking to contend. He is a true ace in a league that no question lacks number ones.

With the Winter Meetings in full swing and trades and signings happening left and right, this is probably the most notable deal. Honestly, this is probably the biggest deal in the last 365 days and probably will be until the next trade deadline.

Most rumors had been that up until this morning the clear front-runner was the Washington Nationals, but today the Red Sox came in and gave the White Sox an offer they could not pass up.

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In return for the illustrious but troubled ace, the White Sox got arguably the best prospect in baseball, 2B/3B Yoan Moncada. With him they also got the Red Sox’ number five prospect, RHP Michael Kopech, the number eight prospect OF Luis Alexander Basabe, and their number 29 prospect in Victor Diaz. All ranking and stats below are courtesy of MLB.com.

This deal works out well for both teams. Let me break it down for you.

For the White Sox, this is probably the best deal that they could have hoped for. Moncada is an absolute stud who can either play 2nd, 3rd, or DH. It will depend on if they feel he is a better fielder than either Todd Frazier or Brett Lawrie. Frazier has always had a solid glove so I doubt they move him. My bet is Moncada either plays 2nd or DH and bats in the 2 or 6 hole in the lineup. Either way they will make sure his bat is in that lineup everyday.

But Moncada is not the only player in this deal. Yes, he is possibly the best prospect, but the White Sox also get Michael Kopech with him. He was drafted in the first round in 2014, has great size at 6’3”, and can hit the upper 90’s with a developing slider. The hope is that he becomes a top of the rotation guy as he gets older. I imagine he will realistically be looking at a 2018-2019 call-up time.

Basabe is also a very interesting piece. He is someone who can hit from both sides and is starting to show some power. If he can keep hitting well as he moves up and gets those strikeout numbers down he could be a middle of the order bat. This is not something that you see very often in young played anymore as they are encouraged at a young age to focus on one side of the plate.

Lastly, the White Sox get Victor Diaz. This kid has a cannon for an arm. His only problem is that it is taking him a little while to learn to be a pitcher instead of a thrower. With time this guy could develop into a top-end closer if he can continue to learn his slider and splitter in tandem with the fastball.

What this signifies is that the White Sox are probably renewing the farm and will soon start to sell off other players. I imagine this will not be the last deal they make this winter.

For the Red Sox, they are getting a bonafied major league ace. The lanky lefty had a league high six complete games, 226.2 innings pitched, and 233 strikeouts. He’s also a perennial All-Star, Cy Young candidate, and someone who even garners MVP votes.

during game one of the American League Divison Series at Progressive Field on October 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

They are adding him to a rotation of this year’s surprising Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello, previous Cy Young winner David Price, knuckleballer Steve Wright, and Padres Former ace Drew Pomeranz. This is easily a top 5 pitching rotation next season if everyone stays healthy.

Along with the high powered offense the Red Sox have, this team is easily a top early World Series contender.

While it will hurt the Red Sox farm quite a bit, it is clear with this move, the pick up of Tyler Thornburg, and their current pursuit of Mitch Moreland, that the Red Sox are going for it all.

Overall it seems as though both teams got exactly what they are looking for. With starting pitching at such a high demand, it is no surprise that the Red Sox had to give up this much in order to grab Sale.

Sports Cities Power Rankings: December 2016

Everywhere you look, there’s power rankings available for every in-season sport. However, it can be hard to find rankings on the top sports cities in the nation. That being said, it’s time to break out a new top ten ranking, and that ranking is the top ten sports cities in the nation.

How are these rankings done? Well, because this will be a monthly installment, the cities will change based on each of its teams’ performances. Take a look at this handy dandy list on what goes into rankings, from most important to least important. Some changes have been made from last month after listening to our valued readers’ opinions. Only the four major sports in the United States are accounted for in the rankings.

  • In-season professional team performance, with the team with a higher percentage of its season played getting higher priority
  • Out-of-season performance of a team
  • Potential to be better or worse as season goes on
  • Amount of teams a city or region owns

For a city to be considered, it must have two or more of the major professional sports in its area. Sorry San Jose and Portland, but you guys don’t count.

Teams that are technically located outside of their city name will be claimed by their closest city. Boston claims the Patriots, New York City claims the Jets and Giants, and so on.

Scores are an average of all totals from each sport. The scale is from one to five, with five being the best.

Now, let’s begin. Go ahead and light me up in the comments and on social media. As a writer, I’m always begging for the approval and validation of my readers.

  1. Boston- 3.75
    Sports Cities Power Rankings

    Tom Brady is leading yet another high performing offense for the Patriots. (Photo: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

After being ranked fifth last week, the city of Boston as rocketed to first place. With the Patriots in position to grab a first-round bye in the playoffs, its city is enjoying yet another fine football season. The Celtics currently sit at 10-7, and have won four of their last five. The Bruins are fighting for a playoff spot very early in the NHL season, and are 5-5 in their last ten. It’s safe to say the Bruins have a nice chance to work their way up in the Eastern Conference standing, which would keep Boston on top of the rankings for another month.

  1. Cleveland- 3.67

The Indians are now the punching bag of sports. After fans made fun of the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead, the Indians promptly blew a 3-1 lead of their own. Regardless, the Indians made a Word Series, which is huge for the city. The Cavs just won the Finals, and they’re on pace to contend for a second-straight championship. Just like last month, the Browns are terrible. Actually, they might be even more terrible than last month. Again, they’re still in line for the number one pick in the draft, but we’ve all seen how well first-round picks work out for them, right, Johnny Manziel?

  1. Oakland- 3.67

The city of Oakland is enjoying some great sports right now. For those who are true Oakland fans and have not bandwagoned to the city in recent years, fans finally have encouraging teams to root for. The Raiders are currently on top of the AFC West, and are a prime contender to grab a first-round bye. Of course, the Warriors are the Warriors, but we won’t know exactly how great that team is for a while. The only thing weighing down the city is the A’s, but they’re not in season right now. All in all, the city of Oakland could be enjoying the makings of  two future dynasties.

  1. Washington D.C. Thanks to a huge uptick in play from the Redskins and Capitals, the capital of the United States has surged D.C. into the number four spot. The Redskins are 6-4-1 and have just one team on their remaining schedule that are over .500. The Caps are yet to catch fire in the NHL, but they’ve got plenty of time to get hot. Washington D.C. is in prime position to enjoy sports for the next couple of months, with the Wizards being the only exception.
  1. Pittsburgh- 3.67
    Sports Cities Power Rankings

    Le’Veon Bell has helped the Steelers’ offense to another successful year. (Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Steel City is enjoying a good bit of success right now, but Pittsburgh falls a spot due to some inconsistent play from both the Steelers and Penguins. Currently tied for first place in the AFC North and sitting at 6-5, I expected the Steelers to be much better this season. Their schedule to end the season isn’t easy, as they still have to deal with the Giants, Bills, and a bad but always tough Bengals team. The Penguins look to be in better shape, and time will tell how good that team is. All in all, Pittsburgh is still enjoying two very good teams play.

  1. Chicago- 3.5

After winning the World Series in epic fashion, the city of Chicago is trying to experience a sports high. The only problem with that is the Bears. Awful as they are, they seem to have talent every year yet still unachieved. Like the city of Cleveland, Chicago has just one team holding them back. The Bulls are 10-7 and third in the Eastern Conference, and the Blackhawks are dominating the Western Conference, four points in front of the second-best team in the Blues. With a World Series, quality NBA team, and Stanley Cup contender, Chicago is enjoying lots of success right now.

  1. Dallas- 3.5

The Cowboys haven’t lost a game since Week 1, and rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are not only in Rookie of the Year conversations, but also in MVP talks. Outside the Cowboys, Dallas doesn’t really have a contender in any other sports. The Stars are doing fine, but fine isn’t great. The Mavs are terrible, and with Dirk Nowitzki being hurt, the Mavs don’t even have their face of the franchise. The out of season Rangers give the city a boost as well, but the Cowboys are the only contenders for a championship it seems right now.

  1. Seattle- 3.5

The Seahawks have caught fire as of late. Prior to an ugly loss to the Bucs last week, the Seahawks had won (or tied) in seven of their last eight games. With just two professional teams in the city, Seattle only has one active team. With as hot as the Seahawks are, it’s hard to keep the city outside the top ten compared to others.

  1. Kansas City- 3.5

The Chiefs just picked up a huge overtime win over the Broncos this week, and they’re as hot as any NFL team right now. In their last 21 regular season games, they’re 18-3. Just like Seattle, Kansas City only has one active team right now. I like the Seahawks better than the Chiefs in the long run, so that’s why Seattle is a spot ahead.

  1. Baltimore- 3.5

With a surprise boost from last season’s performance, the Ravens are in contention to win the AFC North. They’ll have to get hot to end the season to grab a wild card spot, so the Ravens’ only real shot at the playoffs is through an AFC North title. It’s plausible, but I like the Steelers more. The Orioles just had a good season of baseball, and Baltimore has a good bit to look forward to down the stretch of the NFL season.

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