Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Major League Baseball: 5 BOLD Predictions

Mookie Betts: Remember this Name
As the MLB season is about a week in lets make five bold predictions. I did this for the NBA season and it was fun, so I wanted to do it for the MLB season. It will be fun to come back at the end of the season and see if any of these are true. Baseball is probably the hardest sport to predict, so here goes nothing.

1.  Jake Arrieta wins the National League Cy Young award. If you have never seen Arrieta pitch, you are definitely missing out. He has an elite repertoire and is still learning how to pitch. He is on the Chicago Cubs and will get to learn from Jon Lester this year. Clayton Kershaw has stumbled out of the gate, but I know he will get it going. Arrieta will show the entire league that he is one of the up and coming super stars. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey will be the two who are also in contention.

2. The Kansas City Royals repeat as American League champions and win the World Series. It’s crazy that all of these “experts” are calling the Royals to finish fourth in the division. They are off to a fast start and the team is clicking. They are full of young players who have a great deal of potential. They lost James Shields so it will be interesting to see how they replace him. Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy will have to step up and they are both capable of it. They still have one of if not the best bullpen in all of baseball so they can make the game very short.

3. Mookie Betts will be in the conversation for American League MVP. Yes. Yes. You may think I’m crazy and unless you follow baseball, you might not even know who Mookie Betts is. You’ll probably just think of him as someone with a cool name. You have “experts” comparing him to Andrew McCutchen and obviously, McCutchen is a phenomenal talent. Mookie Betts tore up the minors and now he is hitting leadoff for a potent Red Sox offense. He will be a reason the Red Sox are relevant this year. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera are in the American League so he won’t win it, but he will surprise many people on how good he actually is. Call me crazy, but this kid will be a phenom.

4. Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez both play 140+ games this season. It’s always about health for these two Colorado Rockies. These two are two of the elite hitters in Major League Baseball but are always hampered by injuries. If they can both stay healthy, the Rockies have one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. It also helps they play in the most hitter friendly ballpark in Coors Field. If these two are healthy, the Rockies might be able to contend for the playoffs even though the Rockies pitching is very weak. I am boldly predicting these two will stay healthy and will mash for the Rockies.

5. The Phillies are NOT the worst team in baseball. Seriously, how low can the Phillies go. It seemed like just yesterday they won the World Series, but can you believe it’s been seven years since then? But yes, the Phillies are not a good baseball team. The farm system isn’t very good. Everyone is old. How long will Phillies fans have to wait before there’s a relevant baseball team in Philadelphia again? Is it bold that I’m making this prediction? It’s hard to find a team that has less talent than the Phillies but there will be one that has a worse record! I’m not trying to be a debbie downer I’m just trying to be realistic. 

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Alan Liang is a Drexel Sport Management major graduate with minors in Marketing, Business Administration, and Communication from West Windsor, NJ. Alan scores baseball games for Baseball Info Solutions and was on co-op with the Philadelphia 76ers in the camps department. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanLiang29. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Dominican Dream: Baseball


Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes are only a handful of the players that make up 10% of players currently playing on MLB rosters. That does not even include the 25% of minor league players that also hail from the small island of the Dominican Republic with about 10 million people. As fellow 'The Sports Complex' contributor and study abroad classmate Alan Liang discussed his amazing and once in a lifetime experience in the Dominican Republic in yesterday's post, he touched on some prominent topics often overlooked by baseball fans. In this article, I plan to delve further into the topic of the baseball culture and how the Dominican Republic has turned into an "incubator" for MLB talent, as NYY Assistant GM Jean Afterman stated in our brief discussion during a visit to Yankees Spring Training.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Study Abroad Reflection: Dominican Republic

Yankees Academy
Once in a lifetime opportunity. That is what I will say about this study abroad trip to Tampa and the Dominican Republic to study baseball player development.  If I had to describe this trip in one word….awesome (Dr. Giddings favorite word. No one could even count the number of times she said “that’s awesome”). I just wanted to reflect on our trip with this post as this class was my last class as an undergrad. Our first stop was in Tampa where we visited the Yankees and Phillies Spring Training facilities, George Steinbrenner Field and Bright House Field. We had tours of the facilities and although they were interesting, they were not as interesting as what we learned in the Dominican Republic in my honest opinion.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NFL Free Agency Frenzy


NFL free-agency has only started one day ago and the entire league has been turned inside out! This drastic change in player landscape throughout the league in just one day has fans on the edge of their seats just waiting for the next unexpected and major announcement! This has definitely been one of the greatest off-season's for the NFL and we are only one day removed from the start of free-agency.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sam Hinkie Loves his Assets

Sam Hinkie watching possible future Sixer? (Dayton Daily News)
This NBA trade deadline was one of the craziest deadlines of all time. It seemed like it was going to be fairly quiet, but then all of a sudden a storm of trades happened. With the likes of Goran Dragic and Brandon Knight being two of the bigger names on the move, the Philadelphia 76ers decided to jump in quickly on the action but trading Michael Carter-Williams and K.J McDaniels. Some Sixer fans probably were there scratching their heads as to what has happened. You would think Michael Carter-Williams and K.J McDaniels would be two building blocks of this team but we know Sam Hinkie loves assets.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Calm Before the Storm: March Madness



Selection Sunday is a little over a month away. It’s by far my favorite event of the year since I really enjoy watching college basketball. The atmosphere is crazy in the arenas, it’s fun seeing the upsets, and of course the most important thing for a lot of people during this time is the bracket. We all want to be expert bracketologists but March Madness is one of the best sporting events of the year. There are always different storylines and just like any other year, this year is no different. Who will be the Cinderella this year? Well we all know what the first storyline will be. Kentucky’s pursuit of perfection. They are filled with McDonalds All-American players so it will be interesting to see who takes the last shot in crunch time. Besides Kentucky’s pursuit of perfection here are some other teams to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It's Almost Baseball Season...kind of

Brand New Padres Outfield (NY Post)
We are about two months away from baseball season and there have been a number of offseason moves that will impact Major League Baseball. From the likes of Jon Lester to the Cubs, Max Scherzer to the Nationals, this season will be quite an interesting one. Our hometown Phillies will likely still be one of the bottom feeders as it is probably time to blow that team up as they began to with trading Jimmy Rollins and Marlon Byrd. They still have a decent one, two punch with Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee in the rotation, but the offense will probably struggle this year. With that being said, other than the Phillies it’s time to take a look at a few teams who made big moves this offseason.