Valentine’s Day “Cupid’s Corner”

MLB

Terrence: Shohei Ohtani. As an Angels fan, 2018 is getting me fired up with all the additions they made. Keeping Upton, adding Cozart, Kinsler and Ohtani make me have hope for the first time since Albert Pujols could walk. They have the best player in the world and are finally building around him to make a legit run at a title. The AL West features the reigning World Champion Astros and above average teams in the Rangers and Mariners but I really like them to possibly host a Wildcard game (and have Ohtani pitch a perfect game with 4 Homeruns)

Chris: Pitchers and Catchers Reporting! Let’s be serious, February is terrible. Its, cold, Valentine’s Day, NFL season ends, the grind of the long NHL regular season and you can only watch so many dunks on Top 10 plays. But then, like Mighty Mouse, baseball spring training comes in to save the day. Fantasy baseball drafts, ridiculous reports how every guy is in the best shape of their life, thinking that everyone (outside of the Marlins) has a chance to compete. Spring training fills the sports void before March Madness, the Draft, the Masters, NBA/NHL playoffs and for that…it gets a ginormously oversized teddy bear.

Nick:Prospects, prospects, prospects. Obviously Shohei Ohtani is the name everyone is talking about. But man is the MLB farm system loaded right now with some guys that could be generational talent guys. I’m talking Gleyber Torres, Eloy Jimenez, Ronald Acuna and maybe the most anticipated Jr. since KEN…Vladdy Guerrero Jr. although still a few years away. The state of baseball is really young and really exciting.

Drew: Quiet offseason create busy February? As has been noted on many outlets, this offseason has moved at a snail’s pace. The lack of buzzworthy moves has made for a bit of a snoozer. Will that create a flurry of moves to push fringe contenders into buyers? With the Yu Darvish signing, expect the next wave of pitching free agents to get deals soon. Every team could use pitching help, and with names available like Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, CC Sabathia, and Lance Lynn to sign in short order. Top batters available are: Eric Hosmer, JD Martinez, Mike Moustakas, and Logan Morrison. I’m curious to see how many try to boost their value next offseason by signing “prove-it” contracts with an elite class of players potentially hitting free agency and teams having more money to spend.

NHL

Terrence:The Goalie Interference Rule. It’s pure comedy that the league can’t figure it out. I feel like they’re trying to compete with the NFL’s “Catch Rule” on which one can be more absurd and piss more people off. The NHL (and NFL) needs to bring back the human element to refereeing. The whole review process has gotten a bit ridiculous and if goals are being taken back because a goalie can’t handle getting the knob of his stick touched by a player’s hip, then the game is going down a scary path where fans will get frustrated.

Chris: Vegas baby Vegas. What a story. What a town. Expansion team with no shot to do anything to the odds on favorite to win the cup? The #vegasflu is real and it will be fun to see if the Knights can continue to prove they are for real or will teams learn to stay off the strip and out of casinos on the trek to Sin City… not at the table Carlos…

Nick: Watch out for those Pittsburgh Penguins. They’ve been quiet all year but after winning 7 of their last 10 find themselves in the thick of the Metropolitan division. Never count out a team that is led by one of the greatest players of all time in Sidney Crosby. And oh yea, BRENT BURNS!! At 32 years old the guy leads the NHL in shots and has 48 points to go with it. He is an absolute anomaly with a ridiculous amount of offensive skill.

Drew: NHL trade deadline. With the NHL nearing the ¾ portion of the season, I can’t recall the standings having so many fringe contenders for the playoffs. With so many teams in contention, 22 teams within 4 points of a playoff spot,  and the trade deadline less than two weeks away, many teams have to evaluate if they are contenders or pretenders. With so many teams looking for upgrades, combined few valuable assets available, it may create a quiet period. But, that doesn’t stop every hockey fan from getting hyped by seeing what their team could add (players, prospects, draft picks). Assets that appear ready to be move include: Derick Brassard, Michael Grabner, Evander Kane, Patrick Maroon, Thomas Vanek, and Mike Green. Some bigger name wildcards include: Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Jack Johnson, Mike Hoffman, and Mats Zuccarello. There has been some minor talk about Erik Karlsson to the Lightning due to their abundance of young talent (Karlsson and Hedman on the same D-core, WOWWW), but the price is high. Teams are valuing draft picks and young controllable talent more than ever, but expect more than a few big names moved to bolster teams playoff chances.

NBA

Terrence: GM, Lebron James. Koby Altman, ever heard of him? Me neither. Lebron is the Cavs GM and he was NOT having it. Traded everyone. Lebron runs the NBA and made sure he was going to make a playoff run. Their roster got younger, better on D, and more exciting with Hood, Nance and Clarkson and should compete with the Celtics for that Eastern Finals spot.

Chris: Trust the Process baby! Sixers are for real. Embiid and Simmons are stars and Covington is incredibly underrated. Add in solid pieces like Saric, McConnell, Reddick and Holmes and they could be a dangerous team come playoff time with no back to backs. Imagine if Fultz didn’t have amnesia and forget how to take a jumper? In Hinkie we trust!

Nick: Nevermind…give me that college basketball! How can you not want college hoops!? It’s almost the most wonderful time of year! The big dance is less than a month away and the state of college basketball is healthier than ever. We’ve got Marvin Bagley, Trae Young and Miles Bridges… the 7 footers DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba! The blue bloods are strong but watch out for Xavier and oh ya, Villanova just keeps winning. March Madness is so close I can taste it.

Drew: NBA draft prospect fluctuation. This is hailed by many scouts as an extremely deep draft for the NBA. There is no definitive number one pick and as many as six players look like they could be a play at number one. Luka Doncic, Real Madrid, is a 6’8 combo guard who looks silky smooth and extremely high basketball IQ without elite level athleticism. Deandre Ayton, Arizona, is an impressively long athlete who can play inside and out offensively, while providing rim protection. Trae Young, Oklahoma, is a sick playmaking PG who can also fill the bucket effortlessly, but questions do remain whether it translates at an elite NBA level due to limited burst. Marvin Bagley III, Duke, is a skilled 4/5 player who has recently found his 3 PT range, but is a sieve defensively (although he has the athletic ability to be coached up). Michael Porter Jr., Missouri, was the preseason favorite for the #1 pick, but an injury has wiped out his season, expect him to be a top-5 pick should his medicals check out. Lastly, Mohamed Bamba, is a shot blocking machine (7’5 wingspan) who has been showing real progress at the offensive end. Don’t sleep on rising prospects like Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan St.), veteran Mikal Bridges (Villanova), and Wendell Clark Jr. (Duke).

NFL

Terrence: The 49ers. Jimmy Garoppolo has two Super Bowls, 7 starts and now a billion dollars.In a little over a year, the 9ers have gone from Browns-esque to one of the most exciting up and coming teams in the NFL. They have some good young pieces and 9 picks in the upcoming draft which probably means they’re a year or two away from realistically competing for playoffs but honest, who knows. If Jimmy G can play the way he has in his first 7 career starts, they could sneak into a Wildcard next year.

Chris:The Draft. Now that the Super Bowl is over, I get to spend countless hours watching the combine and reading mock drafts. Add in the ridiculous hot takes on who’s the next Tom Brady while seeing the Browns somehow screw up their picks. In the words of the infamous Bart Scott #CANTWAIT

Nick:It has to be the Draft. Year of the running back? Or is this the most intriguing QB class in recent memory?? Maybe both…Who’s being over hyped? Who are people overlooking? Let’s not forget, we have a former Heisman Trophy winner and this year’s Heisman Trophy winner not even in most people’s top 4 on the QB big board. As for the WRs and TEs, well let’s just hope the NFL figures out what they want to call a catch.

Drew: The QB carousel! Many expect lots of QB movement in the next month to three months. The draft may solve a few teams questions as Josh Rosen (UCLA), Sam Darnold (USC), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), and Josh Allen (Wyoming) are projected to be taken in the top half of the 2018 draft. A couple of those guys may not be ready to step in immediately so expect veterans like: Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, Josh McCown, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, and Nick Foles to experience some movement. With about a quarter of the league unsettled at the QB position, expect lots of movement and entertainment! A couple potential surprise teams who may make changes reside in the AFC North: Baltimore and Cincinnati are talented teams with bottom 10 QBs who may need to make moves to keep up in their conference.

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