Going to Extremes: Building a Winner in the Modern NBA

By Evan Barone and Kees Van Hemmen

There’s no other way to say it: the Chicago Bulls are better off than half the league. The Phoenix Suns are better off than half the league. Even the Nets – the Brooklyn Nets – are better off than half the teams in the NBA. Let’s get a little more specific: what we mean to say is that, if a team’s goal is to win the championship, the worst thing that team can possibly be is average. This is not because winning on its own is a negative; it is because the NBA’s talent acquisition system–the draft lottery–is set up to reward teams that perform horribly. The best players on championship teams are disproportionately taken at the top end of the draft.
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The Super Bowl Hangover, Fact or Fiction?

By William Ford

Reading Time: 4 minutes

28-3.  Too early?  It’s never too early for a 28-3 reference.

Congratulations Falcons fans!  It’s your team’s chance to experience the dreaded Super Bowl hangover!  Essentially, a Super Bowl hangover is the idea that the losing team in the Super Bowl will underperform or underachieve in the following season.  Many NFL fans, and by many NFL fans I mean Falcon fans, will argue that there is no such thing as a Super Bowl hangover.  Falcons fans should ask their division rival Carolina Panthers about it.  The 2016 Panthers are the textbook example of a team experiencing the Super Bowl hangover.  In 2015, the Carolina Panthers went 15-1 in the regular season but lost in the Super Bowl.  In the following season, the Panthers went 6-10 and missed the playoffs.  The Panthers can’t be the ONLY team to experience the Super Bowl hangover, right?  The chart below shows how teams have fared the following season after losing in the Super Bowl over the course of the past decade: Continue reading “The Super Bowl Hangover, Fact or Fiction?”

NL MVP Race – Paul Goldschmidt

By Ryan French

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Paul Goldschmidt, a household name only in the greater Phoenix region, is a true anomaly in the baseball world. How can a Major League Baseball player slashing .299/.399/.532 for his career be left relatively unknown? East coast bias? Teammates overshadowing him? The answer: The Diamondbacks haven’t been relevant in a long time. As we will explore in this article, the only knock against Goldschmidt is his lack of publicity.

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NL MVP Race – Giancarlo Stanton

By Lee Goodman

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone with a basic knowledge of the game of baseball is aware of the power of the long ball. With one swing of the bat, the whole vibe of the ball park changes. Fans cheer, players throw their arms up in celebration, and the jumbotron flashes celebration messages. However, can this effect be quantified?

In general, 2017 saw a giant uptick in the consistency of homeruns, as sluggers surpassed the benchmark of 5,694 home runs set in 2000. With the influence of supposedly “juiced” baseballs and the notorious Statcast giving sluggers a distinct advantage, one simply couldn’t watch a game this season without seeing a ball fly into the outfield stands. As the season comes to a close for more and more teams, many disappointed fans will turn their attention to the league MVP races.

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NL MVP Race – Anthony Rendon

By Maddie McNamee
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the race for the National League MVP award, there is one name that seems to be constantly overlooked: Anthony Rendon. His smile, hair, and humor check off all the boxes for likeable player, but his humbleness may keep him from earning the credit he is due. Rendon is known for doing his best to avoid attention from the media, as he attempts to stay grounded and away from the celebrity lifestyle. However, one can only avoid so much publicity. Rendon’s standout 2017 season is hardly something that should be brushed under the rug, and it is time he is recognized for his MVP worthy talent. Continue reading “NL MVP Race – Anthony Rendon”

NL MVP Race – Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado

By Ryan Thoms
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado both enjoyed marvelous seasons for the Colorado Rockies, who made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The NL MVP race is tight with players like Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton leading the way due to their career seasons. Here is a comparison of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon with Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton in the main offensive categories:

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Transfer Market Inflation: Why is It Happening?

By Will Shuhda
Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you paid even moderate attention to the transfer window this season, you know that something was up.  This transfer window hosted the 3 most expensive transfers ever (Neymar to PSG for £198M, Kylian Mbappe to PSG for £166M, and Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona for £97), and the all-time most expensive transfer for a defender (Benjamin Mendy to Manchester City for £52M).  Excluding undisclosed fees, the total amount spent on transfers this window by FIFA licensed teams was a record setting £1.77 billion.  As more transfer fees are released, we might see this number amount to possibly £2 billion.

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Catch 22: Assessing the Dominance of the Indians Historic Win Streak

By: Ryan Kelly

Reading Time: 8 minutes

After the Indians took an early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Bronx Bombers, I thought it appropriate to look back at their first-place regular season finish in remembrance of the season that was.  When looking back, one thing comes to mind: the streak.  From August 24th to September 14th, Cleveland rattled off a remarkable 22 straight wins, breaking the 2002 Oakland Athletics American League win streak under the orchestration of Mr. Moneyball, Billy Beane.  As I sat in my dorm room and watched the improbable, come-from-behind 22nd victory against the Royals, I thought to myself just how dominant Cleveland seemed to be over this four-week stretch.  But how historically dominant were they?  Where does this remarkable stretch stack up against some of the greatest win streaks in the history of American professional sports?

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How Much a Curveball Spins Does Not Correlate with Success at the Major League Level

By Ryan Thoms

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Every kid that grows up with the aspiration of being a pitcher in the sport of baseball starts out learning how to throw a normally gripped fastball. With the exception of a few anomalies, such as knuckleballers, being able to command one’s fastball and execute it profoundly is a major key to any pitcher’s success as they develop and move forward from little league style baseball into the more competitive travel ball and high school level of play. Eventually having a solid fastball is not enough to be successful once hitters become stronger, develop timing skills, and learn the ins and outs of the strike zone. This is where the development of breaking pitches comes into play and the curveball is one of the first pitches that is experimented with by young pitchers.

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