Baseball Bits #6: How Sac Fly Rule Impacts Averages

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Did you know that if the current sacrifice fly rule were in effect in 1941, Ted Williams would’ve batted .417?  Instead, Williams batted .406 becoming the last player to bat over .400.  I have recalculated the top 5 batting averages in each league from the last 10 years if the current sacrifice fly rule wasn’t in effect.

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With the old rule, none of these guys would’ve even come close to what Ted Williams did.

The Research

Note: 

Average w/Sac Fly = Sac Fly Counts at At Bat

Average = Average as it is calculated today where the sac fly does not count as an at bat

NL

AL

The “Baseball Bits”

  • After the re-calculation, nobody has come closer to Ted Williams in the last 10 years than Joe Mauer, who batted .362.  He is .044 below Ted Williams.
  • Miguel Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown like Ted Williams, has been Top 5 in the AL 7 times.  After the re-calculation, his best batting average from the last 10 years was .341.  That’s .065 lower than Ted Williams
  • After the re-calculation, only 33 players had averages over .325.  That’s just 32% of the averages calculated and just 2.2% of players eligible for batting average.
    • Only 7 players had averages over .350, just 6.8% of the re-calculated players, and 0.4% of players eligible for batting averages
    • However, nobody had an average under .300.
  • The biggest decrease in average was a .006 decrease by Joe Mauer in 2008, Daniel Murphy in 2016, and Buster Posey in 2012.
  • These averages prove that nobody was even close to being as good as Ted Williams was since 1941.

The Verdict

You may have been amazed by some hitters with high batting averages that came close to .400 but what Ted Williams did was just amazing and it will be hard to beat, old rules or new rules.  No wonder he won two Triple Crowns in his career (nobody else has done that).  He is arguably the best hitter to ever play baseball.  Nothing matches up to the things he did.  Nobody has had an average over .400 since he did.  Nobody has ever won two Triple Crowns besides him.

Stay tuned for more baseball articles.  The trade deadline is coming up; will the Sox be shopping for a new third baseman?  Do they need another home run hitter?

MLB June Power Rankings

Welcome to my power rankings for June and the first half of the MLB season.  The Astros have continued to dominate the league, and they take the #1 spot.  Who stacks up behind them?  Keep reading to find out.

Note: Records are as of June 30. 

Biggest Jump: Angels (Up 7)

Biggest Drop: Reds (Down 8)

Stay tuned for more baseball articles soon, including my latest Baseball Bits!

New England Patriots Game-By-Game Predictions 2017

 

Welcome to my first NFL prediction article of 2017.  Today I’ll be taking a look at the Pats schedule and predict how each game will turn out.  The Pats may have gotten lucky with their early season schedule, but a three-game road trip to Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh could end their typical December dominance.  However, I still think the Pats will end up with the best record in the AFC.  Here’s how they’ll get there.

Week 1: Thursday 9/7 @8:25 PM, CBS vs. kansas-city-chiefs-logo

The NFL season opens with this tight AFC rivalry.  The Chiefs have been a challenge for the Pats in recent years.  They’re never easy to beat.  But this year, the Pats look to have the best roster in football.  Tom Brady has so many weapons this year, and this will overwhelm Kansas City.  Their 2014 team did lose to the Chiefs, but that was in Kansas City.  At Gillette, against this roster, there’s no way Alex Smith will lead his team to victory, although Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be tough to cover.

Prediction: W, 1-0

 

Week 2: Sunday 9/17 @1:00 PM, CBS @ nosaints

The Saints offense is just getting better.  Michael Thomas emerged last season, Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson will make for a dynamic RB duo, and Drew Brees is still an elite quarterback.  However, the Pats gave up their first round pick for Saints receiver Brandin Cooks, and Cooks will be hungry for revenge against his former team.  Add that to a healthy Gronk, and the Pats are looking like they can kick some serious butt against New Orleans.

Prediction: W, 2-0

 

Week 3: Sunday 9/24 @1:00 PM, CBS vs. hou-texans

I’m calling it right now that the Texans will fall in 2017.  Unless Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage emerges as a quality starter, the Texans don’t have a good QB, and I see their offense taking a downfall.  They have some weapons, but they just don’t look like a playoff team without a good QB.  The defense could be tough for the Pats, but Brady will outscore the Houston offense by a mile.  We could see Brady have the kind of lights out performance we saw Jacoby Brissett put up against this team last year.  If Brissett can do it, Brady definitely can.

Prediction: W, 3-0

 

Week 4: Sunday 10/1 @1:00 PM EST, FOX vs. carolina-panthers-logo

The Pats begin October against a team that surprisingly struggled in 2016, the Carolina Panthers.  In 2017, I see the Panthers bouncing back.  The Patriots are lucky that they face Carolina and Atlanta at home.  The Bucs have also improved though, and the Pats visit them.  Carolina will use Christian McCaffrey to bring back the running game.  The defense is better and with the rushing game intact, Carolina looks like a playoff team.  However, they have not improved enough to beat the Pats at Gillette.  The Panthers will become overwhelmed by this stacked Patriots team and will look like the 2016 Panthers for a week.

Prediction: W, 4-0

 

Week 5: Thursday 10/5 @8:25 PM EST, CBS @ tampabaybuccaneers

The Buccaneers have gotten better.  Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will make a great receiver duo, Jackson acting as a mentor for Mike Evans, and a moderate contributor himself.  This offense has been good for a couple years now.  The defense has also slowly improved.  But I don’t think this intriguing team will put up enough points to beat the Pats.  The Buccaneers have some young defense that will be under serious pressure against Tom Brady.  TB12 will come out on top here.

Prediction: W, 5-0

 

Week 6: Sunday 10/15 @1:00 PM, CBS @ Jets-Logo

The Jets may very well be the worst team in football this year.  The offense is old and is crumbling, and the defense isn’t anything special yet but has budding young talent.  There is no way that the Jets will get a W on the Pats this season, even the Pats backups in Week 17 if it even comes to that.  The Patriots are just the far more talented team.

Prediction: W, 6-0

 

Week 7: Sunday 10/22 @8:30 PM, NBC vs. atlfalcons

This Super Bowl rematch could be close.  The Falcons still have a powerful offense, led by the trio of Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones.  But the Falcons still have issues despite a good offensive core and strong front seven.  The depleted secondary is a concern for them, and our receivers will be all over them.  They also don’t have enough sophisticated weapons on offense.  The Patriots have at least 8 good receiving targets for TB12.  Despite more superstars on Atlanta’s offense, New England’s balanced superteam will come out victorious at home.

Prediction: W, 7-0

 

Week 8: Sunday 10/29 @1:00 PM, CBS vs. IMG_0727

The Chargers have really polished their offense.  If healthy, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin will make a great WR trio, but that’s a big if.  However, if all fails, they also have Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to target.  However, this offense does not match up to the Pats’, and the defense is not up to par yet in LA.  The Patriots should be all over the Chargers defense and overwhelm them big time.

Prediction: W, 8-0

 

Week 9: BYE

 

Week 10: Sunday 11/12 @8:30 PM EST, NBC @ denver-broncos-logo

Denver does not have the kind of team they had with Peyton Manning.  They got their butts kicked the last time the Pats flew into Denver.  The Broncos are now a mediocre team with a struggling offense, despite a strong defensive core.  The Pats defense will target Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch (whoever starts) and the Broncos will struggle to score.

Prediction: W, 9-0

 

Week 11: Sunday 11/19 @4:25 PM EST, CBS vs. oakland-raiders in Mexico

Technically, this isn’t a home game for Oakland but the Raiders are considered Mexico’s home team right now, and I think they will have a home field advantage.  Marshawn Lynch will be difficult for the Pats to cover, and the Raiders have an evolving QB and a strong receiving game.  They have one of the best offenses in football, and the Pats defense will have trouble with them.  The Raiders also have a decent defense so this could be a very close game.

Prediction: L, 9-1

 

Week 12: Sunday 11/26 @1:00 PM EST, CBS vs. Dolphins-logo

Miami could be New England’s closest competitor in the AFC East, but they don’t have a chance at the division win, or a win at Gillette during Week 12.  The Pats’ have an all-around powerful team that will overpower the Dolphins, especially at Gillette.  Miami has a weak secondary like the Falcons, and that will cost them this game as Brandin Cooks has a 100+ yard game.  Pats beat their division rival at home.

Prediction: W, 10-1

 

Week 13: Sunday 12/3 @1:00 PM EST, CBS @ Buffalo_Bills

LeSean McCoy might be more of a challenge to cover than Marshawn Lynch, the Bills have no receiving game, especially if Jeremy Maclin signs somewhere else.  It might be different if Maclin is here, but Buffalo would still not match-up to the Pats with him on the team.  The Bills defense is no match for Brady and his receivers, and the Patriots should blow out this team, even on the road.

Prediction: W, 11-1

 

Week 14: Monday 12/11 @8:30 PM EST, ESPN @ Dolphins-logo

I know I have the Pats overwhelming the Dolphins at Gillette, but the dynamic will be different in Miami.  I think Tannehill will bounce back from a rough game in Foxboro, and the Dolphins offense will score at least 4 TDs on the Patriots.  The defense will struggle as Miami’s offense has a better game.  The Patriots will make it close and overwhelm the Dolphins D, but it may not be enough to beat the Dolphins.

Prediction: L, 11-2

 

Week 15: Sunday 12/17 @4:25 PM EST, CBS @ pittsburgh-steelers

This classic AFC rivalry should result in a close game.  The Steelers have the best Big 3 in football, with Big Ben, Bell, and Brown.  Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster should also boost the offense after the release of injury prone tight end Ladarius Green.  The Patriots offense will be tough to outscore, but this powerful Pittsburgh offense might find a way to do it.  This will be another offensive shootout that will come down to the final minutes.

Prediction: L, 11-3

 

Week 16: Sunday 12/24 @1:00 PM EST on CBS vs. Buffalo_Bills

At Gillette, it will be even easier for the Pats to beat the Bills.  Chris Hogan should break out for a 100-yard game, and the Bills receiving game will be outdone by the Pats’ strong secondary.  LeSean McCoy will have a big game but the Tyrod Taylor and his receivers will struggle.  The Pats will grab a big win in this division rivalry.

Prediction: W, 12-3

 

Week 17: Sunday 12/31 @1:00 PM EST, CBS vs. Jets-Logo

I bet the Pats backups could beat this Jets team!  It would be different if they played the Dolphins in Week 17, but they’re going to win their final game this year, starters or no starters.  Either way, they will humiliate the Jets once again.

Prediction: W, 13-3

 

 

Is this Patriots team a Super Bowl team?  They have some tough competition this year so it might be tough, but they won last year, and they’ve gotten even better.  By far, this is the best team in football, and I think they can win for the second straight year.

 

American Ninja Warrior: Veterans Return Strong in LA

This season of American Ninja Warrior is here.  It will be full of vengeance, big runs, rookies and more women.  In fact, the Top 5 women will now make the City Finals automatically.


Here are the obstacles.  The all new Battering Ram and Cannonball Drop were tricky, and several people took hits on the Flying Wheels.
Obstacles:

  1. Floating Steps
  2. Cannonball Drop
  3. Flying Wheels
  4. Block Run
  5. Battering Ram
  6. Warped Wall

Veterans Return Strong

Kevin Bull showed his campers at C.A.P. that Alopecia and other conditions like it can be overcome.  He put up the 3rd fastest time in his 4th season.  He bulled through the course and finished in 1:33.

Grant McCartney was never a speedy ninja, but he dominated again.  However, he also got the fastest time this time around.  He had a huge save on the Block Run too.  He sped up the Warped Wall and just beat Adam Rahn’s time.  He had no problem with the tough Battering Ram and finished strong.

Flip Rodriguez decided to take his time this year, but after overcoming adversity that he faced as a kid, he looked like a true veteran on the course.  He nailed all the obstacles and finished strong by owning the Battering Ram and speeding up the Warped Wall like always.  I’m a big fan of Flip, and I hope he can make it to Vegas again.

David Campbell looked like himself as he fled through the first four obstacles, but the new Battering Ram that tripped up so many good ninjas was too tough for him.  However, he still did the rest of the course in 51 seconds, which led to him making the City Finals.

Nick Hanson, AKA the Eskimo Ninja, trained with Grant McCartney in the off-season, and it payed off.  He hit the buzzer with a Top 10 time after coming all the way from Alaska.

Brian Wilczewski also did well.

No Such Thing as a Sophomore Slump



Adam Rayl made it far in his rookie season and showed no sign of a sophomore slump.  He nearly finished with the fastest time, dominating the new obstacles and finishing in under a minute and 30 seconds.

Josh Levin also showed up strong for the second straight season.  He made it to Vegas last year, and followed it up with a strong and fast run to make the City Finals.  He doesn’t have the speed of Rahn but he does have just as much Vegas potential.

Interesting Backstory = Good Run


Daniel Moreno had to have 30% of his brain taken out via surgery, but after taking a huge hit on the Flying Wheels, he made it all the way to the Warped Wall.  However, he had ran out of steam and failed to run up the wall.  He still made City Finals.

Anthony Trucks, the former NFL linebacker, finished the course with a Top 10 time in front of his family.  He ended the trend of struggling football players and dominated the course after being treated poorly as a kid.

Benjamin Humphrys was inspired by his autistic brother to come on the show.  He redefined the stereotype of hairdressers and dominated the course, impressing his brother and the rest of his family and friends.  

Joe Heiden has been battling serious forms of cancer for 3 years, but still managed to stay in shape and complete almost 2 obstacles on the course before falling on Cannonball Drop.

Riles Nganga showed his kids that they could do anything they put their mind to.  Nganga is a tow truck driver and has managed to stay in shape and train for Ninja Warrior.  He successfully made it up the Warped Wall and locked up a spot in the City Finals.

Charlie Andrews is Josh Levin’s training partner, and did very well in the College Madness season of Team Ninja Warrior.  His work with Levin and training on Team Ninja Warrior paid off and he hit the buzzer with Levin cheering him on on the sidelines.

Tyler Vogt made it all the way to the Warped Wall with two artificial knees.  However, he couldn’t gain the momentum to get up to the buzzer.  His run on the Battering Ram was impressive though.
Women Do Well After Rule Change

More women have come to compete as Ninja Warrior is now including the Top 5 women in the City Finals.


Zhanique Lovett was not treated well as a kid, but overcame that and she now has 3 great kids who were watching or doing flips  (one of her boys was) on the sidelines.  In the meantime, she became the first woman to complete the Battering Ram, but not even she could get up the Warped Wall, so no woman finished the course.  She had the best women’s run of the night though and would’ve made City Finals either way.

Tiana Webberley is Flip Rodriguez’s training partner, but like most of the other women, she met her match at the Battering Ram.  She did have a pretty fast time though.

April Steiner Bennett is a former Olympic pole vaulter.  She actually competed with Jessie Graff in pole vaulting.  Pole vaulters have a good history on Ninja Warrior, and Steiner Bennett continued that when she made it all the way to the Battering Ram before her arms gave out.

Rebekah Bonilla has come so close each of the last two years’ qualifiers, but she fell on the 5th obstacle again this season.  This time was different though, as she made the City Finals because of the new rule.
Paige Chapman and Anna Christensen both tackled the course early on and they both fell on the Battering Ram.  The transitions were hard for them, as Chapman, the Li’l Beast is only 5 feet tall and Christensen is not much taller.
Run of The Night 


This has to go to Grant McCartney.  He was the last ninja to run, and they saved the best for last.  He sped through the first three obstacles, had a big save on Block Run, powered through the Battering Ram and successfully ran up the Warped Wall right after he got off the Battering Ram.  He finished with the fastest time of the night, faster than speed demon Kevin Bull and sophomore dominator Adam Rayl.  What impresses me most about the Island Ninja is that he’s never been this fast on the course, but he finished in 1 minute 26 seconds this year.

Red Sox-Tigers Preview: Can Sox Bounce Back at Home?

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The Red Sox return home for a 5 game homestand against the Tigers and Phillies.  They start off tonight, as Brian Johnson returns to the rotation.  Johnson is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Brian Johnson pitched a complete game shutout in his first career start at Fenway.  Can he do it again tonight?  Johnson came up to the majors when Eduardo Rodriguez went on  the 10 day disabled list with a knee injury.  Johnson made two spot starts earlier this season but may have a multiple-start run in the rotation if he continues to do well while E-Rod is hurt.  Johnson will face struggling veteran pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who is 5-4 with a 5.98 ERA.

In other news, Dustin Pedroia is expected to return for the series after going on the DL at the end of May.  The Red Sox have missed Pedroia.  Pablo Sandoval, Deven Marrero and Josh Rutledge have all failed to come through for the Sox lineup.  Luckily, either Marrero or Rutledge is likely headed for Pawtucket, and only one of them will have to start with Pedey playing second.

The Tigers have not had a good season for their standards.  After a strong start, they are now 29-30.  The Red Sox are 3 games out of first place but have just a 32-27 record.  This is the same team that made the ALDS in 2016.  I expect the Red Sox to win the series, as long as their pitching is up to par.  With Johnson, Sale and Pomeranz scheduled to start, I think that’s possible.  Johnson and Pomeranz have had strong starts and Sale is an absolute machine.

I will be at tonight’s game and I was able to get seats very close to field level.  Stay tuned for a recap on tonight’s game and more Red Sox articles.

MLB May Power Rankings: Astros Dominating the MLB

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Welcome to my Power Rankings for May.  The Astros have taken the league by storm this month.  They came out on top this time around.  See below for the rest.

Records as of May 31, 2017 at 7:00 AM

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Biggest Jump

Blue Jays: Up by 8

 

Biggest Drop

White Sox: Down by 12

 

That’s all for this month’s ranks.  Stay tuned for a new Baseball Bits coming soon.

Red Sox Shutout Mariners, Streak Extends to 6 Games

3-0 Red Sox.  The Mariners’ best hitter, Robinson Cano, was up.  He hits a high fly ball to deep center.  It nearly hits the wall for a huge double, but Jackie Bradley Jr. jumps up to save it!  The next inning, Bradley crushed a dinger to center.  Good defense led to good offense.

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Brian Johnson also pitched a complete game shutout, striking out 8 and giving up no walks and just 5 hits.

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The Red Sox started to score in the bottom of the 1st.  Betts walked, and Pedroia was hit on the arm.  Mariners pitcher Rob Whalen was out of control in his first start of 2017.  Xander Bogaerts knocked Betts in on a RBI single, but Pedroia was out at third.  Whalen continued to struggle as Benintendi hit a single to knock in Bogaerts.  Hanley Ramirez was also hit, and Whalen looked exhausted after walking one, hitting two and giving up two hits.  Ramirez stole second as Whalen walked JBJ.  It was 2-0 Red Sox, and they weren’t done.  Sandy Leon hit a single to drive in Benintendi.  However, Ramirez tried to score and was ruled out.  3-0 after 1 inning.

Meanwhile, Brian Johnson was on fire, and he was being backed up by good defense.  Mookie Betts saved a home run ball in the 4th, and JBJ made a leaping catch in the 6th.   In the bottom of that inning, Mitch Moreland singled to right, and JBJ hit a two-run shot to left.  5-0 Red Sox.  Brian Johnson continued to do well.  He finished his 4th 1-2-3 inning of the game in the 8th and the Red Sox scored one more run in the bottom of the inning.  Hanley Ramirez drove the ball to left for a base hit, and after a wild pitch got Hanley to second, Mitch Moreland hit the RBI single to drive him in.  The Red Sox led 6-0 through 8.

In the top of the 9th, Johnson was still in the game.  He struck out one, and then defense backed him up to end the inning.  JBJ caught Nelson Cruz’s line drive on a diving catch, and he made the catch of the game to wrap it up.  Seager hit another line drive, and JBJ leaped up for another big catch.  The Red Sox won 6-0.  Johnson tossed a complete game, and JBJ and Betts combined for 4 great catches.

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The Red Sox now have a 6 game winning streak and Porcello starts today.  Can the streak live on in the series finale against the Mariners?