X Factor Betting Odds - Nicholas Gone, Who'll Win?

[S] BiggBangerz Survivor: All-Stars (S8)

This season is absolutely crazy! Sit down, buckle up, grab some water, popcorn, whatever you need! When I saw the results of the sim I knew I had to write this season out thoroughly. It’s EPIC!
Also, I decided to add titles, might comment who said each line. You can guess if you want!
18 former Survivor castaways return as All-Stars to try their luck a second time. Have they learned from their past or are they doomed to make the same mistakes again? And will old relationships help or hurt their games? 39 days, 18 All-Stars, 1 Survivor!
CHAPERA TRIBE
MOGO MOGO TRIBE
SABOGA TRIBE


Survivor: All-Stars
Episode 1 (“Look Who’s Back!”) - The 18 All-Stars start their second Survivor journeys. On Chapera, the game starts right away as an alliance forms between CJ, Kam, Marc, and Zixie. They all agree that they’re the bigger threats and should keep each other safe for a while. Sandman tries to get Mandee on his side, which she goes to reluctantly. On Mogo Mogo, Lutz and Carol quickly make amends from the rivalry they had in Marquesas. Jo approaches Void, wanting to work with him as a big fan of his. Void follows along, saying he wants Jo to be his Lulu this season. Saboga sees season one returnees Beck and The Syncopation targeted by the other four right off the bat. Beck thinks it’s ridiculous and refuses to align herself with The Syncopation.
At the immunity challenge, Mogo Mogo is able to win the quest for fire long before the other tribes, with Saboga following in 2nd, sending Chapera to the first tribal council. Mandee approaches the other four, trying to save herself and everyone is already on the same page, so Sandman is voted out by the tribe, already annoyed by his cockiness.
Episode 2 (“A Game of Numbers”) - Kam and Marc bond over shared experiences and agree to avenge him from last time he played by getting Amber out before him. Void is back to his old ways, already plotting on how he will make it to the end. He springs into tribe hero mode and loosens his target. Amber and Beck have a heart to heart about being empowered women. Beck hopes that Amber is willing to work with her.
Chapera and Saboga win immunity and Mogo Mogo goes to tribal council. Q and Jacob are on the same page, thinking Carol is the one to go for doing poorly during the challenge. Everyone else ends up voting out Q, a main reason being that Kito was also in the game.
Episode 3 (“Odd One Out”) - CJ and Kam butt heads at camp, signaling there might be some animosity left over from S3. They both want to outlast the other. On Mogo Mogo, Jo and Carol’s bond brings them in alliance with Lutz and Void, with Jacob on the outs. Meanwhile on Saboga, Ryan isolates himself, he’s letting his second chance get to him and is overthinking his game.
Saboga and Mogo Mogo win immunity and Chapera goes back to tribal council, where Mandee is voted out without putting up much of a fight.
Episode 4 (“Taking Down Goliath”) - There’s a misunderstanding at camp that leads to a minor fight between Marc and Zixie. Zixie is feeling on edge because he wants to play with Amber again and needs to last longer. Kito and The Syncopation start to bond a lot.
Mogo Mogo is sent back to tribal council, where Void and Jo juggle whether or not to keep Jacob a little bit longer for challenges. They ultimately end up cutting Jacob, and he is the first returning winner to be voted out.
Episode 5 (“You Gotta Kill ‘Em”) - The castaways compete in a reward challenge like no other. The losing tribe, Saboga, will now be dissolved into the other two tribes. Amber, Kito, and Ryan go to Chapera. Libby, Beck, and The Syncopation go to Mogo Mogo. New Mogo Mogo wins immunity, and Jo decides to explore the new avenues that opened up to her in the game with the new tribe.
On new Chapera, the war begins. Kam, Marc, and CJ are threatened by Amber and Zixie being in the game together, seeing as they will never vote the other out. CJ suggests asking Zixie who he wants gone and they all just go with that. Amber goes to convince Zixie to join her side, making him the swing vote. He tells her that he has her back no matter what, and still joins his original tribemates in voting out Kito, who he wanted gone.
Episode 6 (“Now It’s Personal”) ->! CJ is really annoyed that Zixie is spending all his time with Amber and asks him where his head is at. This leads to a major fight between Amber and CJ, leading to animosity on the tribe. Still, though, Chapera pulls together the win and evades tribal council. Beck is adamant on targeting Jo, thinking Void is the leader and Jo would be the easiest one to get Lutz to turn on. Jo is ready to flip and goes to them, but Beck and The Syncopation see the opportunity for a tied vote and agree with Jo on Lutz, but still target Jo, hoping someone on the other side would change their vote. Beck tries to flip Lutz on Jo, but it doesn’t work, and even after the tied vote, The Syncopation is voted out.!<
Episode 7 (“Short End of the Stick”) - Lutz isolates herself, not trusting anyone after getting a vote at the last tribal council. Ryan overhears Marc questioning his All-Star status and confronts him about it, telling Ryan he’s only here because he got lucky. Mogo Mogo win immunity and in a twist, can kidnap a member of the losing tribe to join them on the reward and skip tribal council. Void and Beck agree Marc should be kidnapped, hoping Kam would lose the numbers and be voted out. At Chapera, Amber protests Zixie not flipping already. Zixie says he’s in a good spot with CJ and Kam and doesn’t want to turn on them just yet. Zixie decides again who to vote out, and Ryan is voted out.
Episode 8 (“A Social Threat”) ->! CJ leaves the tribal alliance because she’s annoyed with how Zixie keeps deciding the votes. Chapera wins immunity, saving Amber. On Mogo Mogo, Beck targets Jo again. Libby is able to convince Lutz to flip and Jo gets Carol and Void on board to get rid of Lutz. Void doesn’t think they would go to rocks over Lutz and Beck wants to go to rocks to see if Void can be rocked out. However, Libby changes her vote to avoid the purple rock and Lutz is voted out.!<
Episode 9 (“Another One”) - There is an unexpected tribe swap.
Amber, Jo, Libby, Zixie and Beck are on Chapera.
Void, Carol, CJ, Kam, and Marc are on Mogo Mogo.
On Chapera, Beck and Libby quickly line up with Amber and Zixie, leaving Jo feeling really left out. On Mogo Mogo, Void and Carol strategize on how to overcome the minority. Void is super confident; he’s done it before! The pair are put to the test when Mogo Mogo is sent to tribal council. Kam and Void make a temporary deal to keep each other safe as winners, but Void still tries to get Kam voted out, working his magic on CJ. Ultimately, original red stick together and Kam is able to convince CJ and Marc that Carol is a bigger social threat, getting Carol voted out 3-2.
Episode 10 (“All Bets Are Off”) ->! The tribes officially get merged! CJ, Marc, Kam, Zixie, Void, Jo, Amber, Libby, and Beck remain in the game. Kam intends to keep her eye on Void, as he broke their truce at that last tribal. Amber wins the reward challenge and takes Jo and Kam with her to an overnight resort stay. Amber just wanted to get a read on the two because she’s out to get them. There are two immunity winners for this challenge: Void and Amber. They celebrate and Kam joins forces with Amber to break up Jo and Void. Void targets Zixie for the same reason with Amber, but Jo is voted out 6-3.!<
Episode 11 (“Time’s Up”) - Kam gives Void one last chance because she wants to be the one to beat him at the end. Void joins Kam’s side for the numbers advantage, but Zixie is already thinking of flipping to go to the end with Amber again. Marc wins immunity. Kam and Marc think its time to hatch their plan against Amber. This leads to a huge scramble where Kam and Amber target each other. Both sides consider going to rocks. It is Beck who avoids the rock draw by changing her vote to Amber, saying that either of the two going home is worth it right now anyway. Amber is voted out, shocked and wondering who flipped.
Episode 12 (“Slither Right On By”) - There is chaos at camp following the tribal council. Kam and Zixie call it a fair game and shrug it off. Zixie is so hurt that Amber is gone. Void wins immunity. CJ tries to get Zixie’s head back in the game but gets fed up pretty quickly. Kam and Marc squash it real quick. Beck is ready to make a game winning move and targets Kam. Zixie gets a word of this and tells Kam, fearing Beck more. Kam gets original Chapera to vote out Beck and Void is left out of the vote.
Episode 13 (“It’s A Cutthroat Game”) - Libby and Zixie fight to get Void to join their side. When Libby wins immunity, things get complicated the tribe. Zixie and Marc have a fight again and Marc is ready to get Zixie out. CJ thinks its time to get rid of Kam and a tied vote ensues. Each side calls the other sides bluff when rocks get brought up, but no one switches their vote. In a nail-biting rock draw, Marc is eliminated from the game with 0 votes against him.
Episode 14 (“A True Contender”) - CJ and Zixie both win cars from the reward challenge. Libby wins immunity. Void, CJ, and Kam have a set final 3 deal, but Kam is able to convince Zixie and Libby to vote out CJ, as Zixie’s life in the game was on the line. CJ is blindsided at tribal council and is incredibly shocked.
Finale, Part 1: Void, Kam, Libby, and Zixie remain in the game. Kam has a final 2 deal with Zixie and a final 2 deal with Void. She wants to beat someone who played a good game. Libby wants to go to the end with Zixie. She is shocked that Kam and Void made it this far and reflects on her journey in the game. She wins immunity again and feels like she’s in control of the votes. She urges Zixie to finally get rid of Kam, but Zixie is more loyal to Kam. Kam blindsides Void and votes him out with Zixie in a 2-1-1 vote!
Finale, Part 2: Kam wins the final immunity challenge and votes out Libby, wanting a challenge at FTC.
The Reunion: Kam and Zixie were mostly congratulated by the jury, who understood each persons game. Kam was singled out by some on her backstabbing nature this season and she defends herself. Zixie is praised for his loyal gameplay and ability to make it to the very end this time. In the end, the jurors voted for a winner and by a vote of 6-1….
KAM LEE IS THE WINNER OF BIGGBANGERZ SURVIVOR: ALL-STARS! Kam is now a two-time winner. The jury congratulate her and the fans go wild. Libby wins the Fan Favorite!
Potential Returnees: Killa Kam, Zixie, Void, CJ, Amber, ...

What did you think of the season? I didn’t think I would have a two-time winner so early in my Survivor career, but I dig it! I love Killa Kam. Everyone did so well this season. Can't wait for the next returnee season... lol.
Voting Charts
Previous seasons:
submitted by biggbangerz to BrantSteele [link] [comments]

Deciding on whether to apply to the US this fall and other application questions.

Hey,

I'm an international student from Portugal and would love to get some ideas on how the admissions process will be next year, in light of all this covid-19 thing, as well as some general admissions questions regarding international students.

About the pandemic, do you think that financial aid given to international students will be drastically reduced? I know it is already very limited, and that I would have a lot of competition even in normal circumstances (well, at least I'm not asian xd those guys have it even worse, respect), but I definitely need money and am afraid I will be rejected from every university if I ask for it (I know there are need-blind institutions, and will most definitely apply to them if I decide to go to the US, but yeah those schools are not exactly easy to get into). This made me think if it was even worth it to apply (it's a lot of money after all, application fees + SAT + TOEFL + sending CSS profile + god knows what)

What's worse is that I don't have any particular spike to my application. I have pretty good grades (~19.5 average out of 20) and I'm good at standardized testing (I am confident I can get at least over 1500 on SAT if all tests aren't cancelled,), but my EC's are pretty normal (just a bunch of creativity-related passions/hobbies, like music, writing, chess, coding, etc. ), which is totally fine for me, but probably won't give me many chances against those that almost cured cancer. (I will likely submit an arts portfolio with some songs I composed/played, stories I've written, games I've created (if I ever get to creating one, lol. Does this raise my chances in any meaningful way?)

I also don't have any ECs related to my major (probably Physics, despite me wanting to study a broad range of subjects at uni and hence the interest in LACs, explained further). Would applying as undecided major(which is probably true) boost or hinder my chances?


To add up, I'm lacking awards. I have literally zero. I am in 11th grade, and this year was the first I could go to physics and chemistry olympiads. I qualified for the regional phase for both, but it will most likely be cancelled ( :( I really was looking forward to it, but I understand). I also entered a national writing contest, but I can't hope to win it. Are awards that important? I mean, in the US you have lots of things like National Merit Finalist (which doesn't exist here) and that probably doesn't make a difference anyway at top universities.

I have a ray of hope, though: the essays. I feel like they are my best bet, if anyone ever wants to spend six figures of their money in me, anyway. I already have some topics in mind that could make for a very eccentric (but hopefully unique/refreshing/fucking good) common app essay. Do you think there is a problem in being overly weird? I mean, AOs are probably tired of seeing the same "i-am-awesome-and-smart-and-president-of-five-clubs-accept-me-pls" essays, but there is probably a line that divides what's unique and what's strange/ridiculous. Do you think that essays are so important that a good enough one (or one that clicks with the AO reading it, really xd) could make for my lack of awards and "cancer-curing" ECs?

Other question: I did my research and want to apply to LACs. I love their approach to teaching (rather than a pre-professional one), among the other factors (small classrooms, study large range of subjects, etc). However, no one has ever heard of them in my country (I thought they were exclusively art schools when I first heard the name xd). If I end up going to one ( Pomona and Swarthmore are my first and second choice, but both are need-aware and will most likely reject me, despite having huge endowments :( ), I'm afraid that my degree will be a bit frowned upon. Does this happen? I could circumvent this, though, by going to a more prestigious university for grad school, which I definitely want to do. Speaking of grad school, how easy is it to get financial aid (or pay for it by other means, like funded research or scholarships)?
Thanks for reading through this, I guess, and for your answers (if there are any)

TL:DR

Will financial aid given to international students be reduced drastically (so that it will be impossible for anyone that hasn't cured cancer to get into top US colleges, specially LACs?)

Will my country's national exams be taken into account? (we take standardized exams at 9th, 11th and 12th grade)

Is submitting an arts portfolio even important?

Is it better to apply as undecided major or for a specific major (physics), if I'm not entirely decided but really want to study physics? (I also have other things I really want to study: music, engineering (in alternative to physics), perhaps CS, gender studies lol (check username))

Are awards THAT important?

Could an essay ever be good enough that it would make me shine despite of my lack of ECs and awards?

Will my degree be frowned upon if I graduate from a LAC and don't go to grad school at a more prestigious university?

All in all, I am deciding if it is worth it to apply to US colleges, as odds are not in my favor and application fees are heavy.
edit: grammar
submitted by GenderIsntAThing to ApplyingToCollege [link] [comments]

Spending on starting? A rising trend, and evidence it works

Spending on starting? A rising trend, and evidence it works
The bullpen has always been a aspect critical to a baseball team’s success. An eight inning gem from the starting pitcher could be wasted in less than an inning. Or the bullpen could get a team out of a jam after the bases get loaded. The importance of a competent bullpen cannot be overstated. Now with pitch count limitations, innings restrictions, and matchup analytics bullpen usage is at an all time high. Some teams have even begun to use the “opener” approach, leaving entire games to bullpens. Many times the best advantage of using the bullpen is the fact that the hitters haven’t seen the reliever that game, similar to a starter’s first time through the order, where pitching statistics are typically better as opposed to a pitcher’s second and third time through the order. This has led to a large emphasis and big time spending on bullpens. The Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees are two of the most notable teams when it comes to talking about bullpens. Tampa Bay was the first team to use the new “opener” approach and they use it regularly while having one of the highest usage rates in the league. New York, although their relievers missed time due to injuries, field a bullpen that includes Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Dellin Betances, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Tommy Kahnle among others. With bullpen talent as stacked as that, it’s no wonder their usage rate is so high. These are just two examples of the recent trend toward being bullpen reliant.
Although bullpens were all the rage on the free agent and trade markets, the Washington Nationals, who already had Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg on the payroll, added another top line starting pitcher in Patrick Corbin while also adding an underrated Anibal Sanchez. The Nats paid out around $88M between Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin, and Sanchez, and it payed off in a big way resulting in the teams first ever world series championship. Their world series counterpart, the Houston Astros, had a similar makeup with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, and Zack Greinke whom they got in the trade deadline blockbuster with the Diamondbacks. Despite the shift toward heavy bullpen reliance, starting pitching can still be the driving force in a teams success. Of course, coupled with competent offense and relief pitching that is. After the Indians, Nationals, and Astros recent success, there will likely be a future trend of spending money on starting pitching.
You can take that information as you please. If a starting pitcher is pitching well, he’s more likely to throw later into the game, that’s common sense. Unless you’re the Phillies then Aaron Nola gets pulled after 5 1-hit innings just for the bullpen to blow it (sorry Phillies fans). So if a starting pitcher can effectively eat up innings, the team typically sees more success because there’s less usage on the bullpen and, quite frankly, less of a chance for the bullpen to blow it (Sorry bullpens). It also allows to bullpen to get some rest every once in a while. To illustrate this point, I’m going to show you some numbers over the last 5 seasons.
Over the last 5 seasons, there have been 29 teams to have 3 or more starting pitchers throw at least 175 innings (I know it seems like an odd number but bear with me). Of those 29 teams, 25 of them went on to finish .500 or better (86.2%), 17 of them made the postseason (58.6%), six of them one 100 or more games (20.69%), and 4 of them were world series finalists (13.79%), 2 being WS champs and 2 being runner up. The 4 teams that finished with a losing record, and weakened this 5 year correlational case, were the 2015 Padres, 2015 White Sox, 2016 Rays, and 2019 White Sox. If we take this a step further and look at teams who have had 3 pitchers throw at least 200 innings, it narrows it down to 4 teams, and 3 of those 4 made the playoffs, the only one not to make the postseason being the 2015 White Sox. It’s not a large sample size, but based on the correlation of the 175 innings stat, 200 innings would only improve. The three teams that made the playoffs were the 2016 Giants, 2018 Astros, and 2019 Astros. The Nationals would have reached this mark in 2019 as well if not for Scherzer's injury.
Disclaimer: Having a starting pitcher reach 175 innings can’t be a conscious goal in one’s mind. Just because a team has 3 pitchers throw 175 innings, it doesn’t mean they’ll be good. Especially if they’re all throwing at a relatively high ERA. Innings are a good barometer for starting pitching quality because if a starter is pitching well, he will pitch later into the game, thus resulting in 175+ innings. It just happens, it isn’t cause and effect. It’s a correlation.
Quality is important when discussing starting pitching, but quantity certainly has a lot of value. If it’s not clear yet, quantity and quality are dependent upon each other in baseball, quantity is not achieved without stable quality.
Below are the teams with 175+ innings from 3+ pitchers over the last 5 years.
\*- WS finalists
*\*- WS champs
x- playoff team
(#)- number of games won
(200)- teams with 200+ innings from 3+ starters
There was a miscue in the typing, for some reason it’s showing 5 asterisks, they denote World Series participants.
2015
San Diego Padres (74)
Toronto Blue Jays (93x)
Los Angeles Dodgers (92x)
Chicago Cubs (97x)
Chicago White Sox (76) (200)
San Francisco Giants (84)
New York Mets***** (90x)
Cleveland Indians (81)
Washington Nationals (83)
St. Louis Cardinals (100x)
2016
San Francisco Giants (87x) (200)
Chicago Cubs****** (103x)
Tampa Bay Rays (68)
St. Louis Cardinals (86)
Kansas City Royals (81)
Washington Nationals (95x)
Toronto Blue Jays (89x)
New York Yankees (84)
2017
Cleveland Indians (102x)
Washington Nationals (97x)
2018
Colorado Rockies (91x)
Houston Astros (103x) (200)
Cleveland Indians (91x)
Arizona Diamondbacks (82)
2019
Washington Nationals****** (93x)
Houston Astros***** (107x) (200)
New York Mets (86)
Chicago White Sox (72)
Los Angeles Dodgers (106x)
The average number of wins between these teams came out to 89.41 wins. However, the only thing I’ve truly learned in my college statistics course is that when you have outliers from a set of numbers (Like the 68 win Rays and 72 win White Sox), it is typically better to use the median value (the middle value) which was 90. So it didn’t make a large difference but there’s a free lesson in statistics. Now I acknowledge that 90 wins, especially in the current AL, isn’t a playoff lock, but that’s where the stat that 58.6% of teams comes into play. It shows that in the current league environments, these teams make the playoffs more times than not. In 2019 3 of the 5 teams made the postseason, while the Mets were also making a playoff push.
High end starting pitching can significantly help a teams push toward a postseason berth, and the best thing about baseball is that, in October, anything can happen. Of course, as earlier mentioned, the team must also have a competent offense and bullpen to be successful, but over the last five seasons, there is a strong correlation between high end starting pitching and relative team success.
With that being said, here are some free agents that could help some teams establish that high end starting pitching.
https://preview.redd.it/9ms6k1qh1p241.png?width=275&format=png&auto=webp&s=1c0b1c9fc6d8113e3905e1ae761cf2446fbea0e7
Gerrit Cole
Cole was one of the most dominant pitcher in the majors last season, finishing second in the AL Cy Young award voting. He was 3rd in ERA and 2nd in WHIP while leading the league in strikeouts. When it comes to statcast metrics Cole was in the 94th percentile in curveball spin rate, 96th percentile in opponent slugging, 99th percentile in strikeout percentage, 96th percentile in fastball spin rate, and 97th percentile in opponent batting average. Cole also posted a 6.9 WAR in 2019 and a 5.2 WAR in 2018. In addition, Cole threw 212.1 innings last season, making him an ideal option to be the ace of a rotation. There’s not much more to say in regards to Gerrit Cole’s recent performance. If Cole does have one downfall however, it’s the deep ball. He gave up 29 of them last season. It’s no secret that Cole is going to command a very luxurious contract, and will generate interest from any team willing to pay.
https://preview.redd.it/gyc4aldp1p241.png?width=299&format=png&auto=webp&s=e66f5e832a6c838be9dc96d2d06ecb26bc9c94f7
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Ryu threw 182.2 innings in 2019 while posting a 2.32 ERA (led the majors), which was good enough to earn him a 2nd place finish in Cy Young award voting. He also posted a 1.97 ERA over 82.1 innings in 2018 where he dealt with an injury which is why he only threw 82.1 innings. With a 5.1 WAR in 2019, Ryu, along with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, helped propel the Dodgers to 106 wins. Ryu’s most impressive quality is that he excels at inducing weak contact as he finished in the 74th percentile in opponent slugging percentage, 88th percentile in hard hit percentage, and 96th percentile in opponent exit velocity. The ability to miss barrels could travel to any ball park, no matter how hitter friendly it is. There are rumors that Ryu would really like to stay in LA, although no matter where he goes, he’s expected to get a short term deal with a fairly nice salary.
https://preview.redd.it/66dp49ft1p241.png?width=300&format=png&auto=webp&s=38dba3d44deb3bcf538553e56f84982414cf7716
Stephen Strasburg
The World Series MVP. Strasburg has always been an electric pitcher when healthy, however only twice in the last 5 seasons has Strasburg eclipsed 150 innings. However in 2019, Strasburg posted 209 innings pitched (led the NL) and 251 strikeouts (6th in all of baseball). Strasburg posted a 6.5 WAR while also ranking high in the statcast percentiles. He finished in the 84th percentile in strikeout percentage, 86th percentile in curveball spin rate, 91st percentile in opponent slugging percentage, and 85th percentile in opponent batting average. Strasburg recently opted out of his current deal with Washington, figuring to land a larger contract. Whether or not he will remain in Washington is uncertain.
https://preview.redd.it/iyisjtfx1p241.png?width=275&format=png&auto=webp&s=f2352a3537e1e51b0d52ee4c179c26b0c3e54bc5
Madison Bumgarner
The San Francisco Giants legend. Many thought Bumgarner would have been traded at last season’s trade deadline but the Giants got on a hot streak right before the deadline so they kept their roster in-tact for the most part. Bumgarner is still one of the better southpaws in the league and is as sturdy as they come. He consistently finishes toward the top of the league in WHIP, innings pitched, and strikeouts. In 7 of his 10 seasons, Bumgarner has thrown at least 200 innings, despite 2017 and 2018 being shortened by injury. Bumgarner’s market is unclear, he likely won’t fetch as much as Strasburg, Ryu, or Cole (at least on a per year basis), but he will be a very nice piece for a team looking to make a serious push should he choose to leave San Francisco. The White Sox and Twins have been said to have ramped up their pursuits of Bumgarner after missing out on Zack Wheeler.
https://preview.redd.it/pr5iu5u02p241.png?width=300&format=png&auto=webp&s=aad85b415f2ee094b4f9fb9974f17d898eeb7bb0
Zack Wheeler (Signed with Phillies, 5 years/$118M)
Another hot name during this past seasons trade deadline, Wheeler has been flat out dominant at times in his career, showing flashes of what he was expected to develop into when he was taken 6th overall in the 2009 draft. After struggling in the first half of the season, Wheeler lit it up in the second half finishing the season with a 1.68 ERA over 75 innings before being shut down by his manager (the Mets were out of playoff contention). He didn’t exactly repeat is 2018 second half performance in 2019, however he still had a solid season. His fastball velocity is in league’s 99th percentile while he also exceled at limiting hard contact finishing in the 82nd and 90th percentile in hard hit percentage and exit velocity, respectively. So long as he’s healthy, he’s also a lock to eclipse 180 innings per year. The 29 year old flamethrower has been a hot name early in 2019 free agency and has already generated interest from about half the league (literally).
https://preview.redd.it/qz3ldmg52p241.png?width=275&format=png&auto=webp&s=2bbcfee0391787b4c1c52843e4b8c446d29255d1
Dallas Keuchel
Keuchel has finished with a 3.74 ERA over the last two seasons, with 2019 being shortened as the southpaw didn’t sign until after the season had commenced. Since 2014, he has only had an ERA 4.0 or higher once (2016, the year after his Cy Young award). Keuchel is not a strikeout pitcher, so fluctuations in ERA will happen. Despite not being a strikeout pitcher, Keuchel does very well to command ground balls, which travels well to any ball park. I recognize that the lefty didn’t throw but 112 and 2/3 innings last season, but that was over only 19 starts. That’s an average of 5.93 innings/start. When healthy, most starting pitchers start around 32 games per year, and at a clip of 5.93 innings/start, Keuchel would have projected to throw 189-190 innings last season, at a solid ERA, making him a solid candidate for a team eyeing a third starter.
https://preview.redd.it/8nrrbv992p241.png?width=275&format=png&auto=webp&s=ca1e85272ba4ba8ba6b9e9733e8c9010604a760a
Julio Teheran
Another Atlanta Brave, the teams former ace hasn’t quite been the same pitcher over the last two seasons, but his ERA has still been a sub 4. He threw a career low in innings in 2019 at 174.2 innings, still a fair amount of innings. Teheran has been very good in the past and still has the makeup to be that pitcher he was, his biggest issue last season was beaning hitters, issuing a league high 14 HBP. Teheran also has a high spin rate on his pitches, ranking in the 84th percentile on his curve and 70th percentile on his fastball. He may not be the ace he once was for Atlanta, but Teheran could be a sneaky bargain buy for a team looking for pitching depth.
https://preview.redd.it/1xfkg7id2p241.png?width=268&format=png&auto=webp&s=881bcab7dc9a5e394fd96bfaa217761284a5ac7b
Wade Miley
Miley was able to land a contract with the Astros after throwing 82.1 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018 with a 2.57 ERA. Miley put together a solid season, even despite a rough finish to the campaign with a tough September where he failed to reach the 2nd inning in 3 of his 5 starts. Through August Miley had posted a 3.06 ERA, though he finished with a 3.98, he still was able to finish in the top 20 starters in ERA and WHIP. He threw 167.1 innings, though he was on pace for over 180 innings, while holding opposing offenses to a fair amount of weak contact (75th% in exit velocity and 81st% in hard hit percentage). Bumgarner, Ryu, and Keuchel are likely to garner a fair amount of attention which could allow Miley to slip under the radar and be a very nice, affordable piece for a club looking to add a left handed pitcher.
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Brett Anderson
If you look up Anderson’s career stats, year by year, they may not look very appealing. However, Anderson put together a solid 2019 campaign over 31 starts with the Oakland A’s, finishing with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.307 WHIP, both good enough for top 15 among starting pitchers. Anderson has only had 4 seasons where he started a fair amount of games. In his rookie season in 2009 with Oakland, started 30 games while throwing 175.1 innings with a 4.06 ERA. The following seasons, over 19 starts and 112.1 innings, Anderson posted a 2.80 ERA. It wasn’t until 2015 when he eclipsed 100 innings again, this time with the Dodgers throwing 180.1 innings at a 3.69 ERA. After 2015, Anderson failed to reach 100 innings until last season. He’s had a hard time bouncing back from injuries, but so long as he stays healthy, Anderson can be a nice piece to strengthen a rotation.
The Trade Targets (potentially)
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Matt Boyd
Yet another player who’s name came up at last season’s trade deadline, except he isn’t a free agent now. The Tigers are no where near competitive, so if a team is offering fair compensation they have no reason to hang onto him, especially if they can be building for the future. Statcast metrics look favorably upon Boyd as his strikeout percentage ranks in the 86th percentile while the spin rate on his fast ball, as well as his opponent batting average, ranked in the 74th percentile. He was also tied for 10th in the league in strikeouts while throwing 180 innings, however his ERA was a 4.56 and he gave up a league leading 39 home runs. Maybe a change of scenery could help to allow Boyd’s bright spots to take precedence over his downfalls. On the trade market, demand will often cause a team to “over pay” for a player, so the Tigers can likely help themselves by trading Boyd.
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Robbie Ray
Like many others on the list, I feel like I’m saying this for the 10th time, Ray was discussed at last season’s deadline. Actually when the report came out that the Astros and Diamondbacks made a trade involving a Diamondbacks pitcher, I for sure thought it would be Ray. A left hander that excels at missing bats, still with years of control and having just turned 28, Ray could fetch a nice return if the Diamondbacks so choose to go that way. Ray’s ERA has fluctuated through a range of 2.89 to 4.34 over the last 3 seasons, however he is a sure bet to reach 200 strikeouts a year (if healthy) while also throwing 160 innings at the least. If Ray were to be traded to a more pitcher friendly ball park, his home runs allowed would decrease and likely drop his ERA to the 3 range (he have up 30 homers last season). Ray hold a strikeout percentage in the 88th percentile as well as an exit velocity in the 77th percentile. The Diamondbacks have set themselves up to go either way, they can either stick with what they have and attempt to build around them this offseason, or sell of some of their desired players to set themselves up nicely for the future, so the Robbie Ray situation is a curious one.
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Jon Gray
The Rockies were able to make the playoffs in 2018, almost winning the division title from the Dodgers, taking them to a game 163 to determine the division winner. That Rockies team did not show up in 2019 as the Rockies did a full 360 going from a 91-72 record to a 71-91 record. Personally, I think not having DJ LeMahieu in the lineup definitely hurt, as well as losing Adam Ottavino, both to the Yankees. Now there’s talk of a firesale in Colorado, and the 28 year old right hander Jon Gray has been a name in the rumors lately. Gray has always had a hard fastball and a sharp slider, but he’s struggled with consistency in his career. Kind of similar to Wheeler’s start, there have been flashes of brilliance from Gray which warrants opposing teams interest in him. Gray posted a 3.84 ERA over 150 innings last season, much improved from his 2018 campaign. This was good enough for a 4.5 WAR. A big attractor for potential trade suitors is that Gray , like Ray, still has years of control on his contract, but he also throws in the MLBs most hitter friendly park. So hitter friendly that WAR numbers appear skewed and the hitters typically do not get the respect they deserve because of the Coors field factor. Just ask Larry Walker. But the treatment hitters get is backwards from the way pitchers are viewed, as it is assumed (with fair reason) that if you remove a pitcher from Coors field, they will tend to perform at a higher level. This could land the Rockies a more than fair return should a team really like Gray’s prospects.
Many of these starters are in the “thanks captain obvious” category when talking about their performance. For example, everybody knows that Gerrit Cole, MadBum, and Stephen Strasburg would have interest from every team in the league. All the above section was doing was giving a quick rundown of some free agent starting pitchers that could possibly fit the bill of throwing 175 innings at an efficient rate, while also detailing some of their traits that suitors may find attractive.
As detailed earlier, teams with high end starting pitching typically perform rather well, so below are some teams that could benefit (or stay afloat where they are) in the offseason by signing and/or trading for one or two of the above starters.
Milwaukee Brewers
Yasmani Grandal signed a large contract with the Chicago White Sox a few days ago, a few days after the Brewers said they would like to retain Grandal, along with Mike Moustakas. Now that Grandal is off the table, the money already freed up from his contract gives the Brewers the ability to, potentially, sign an above average starting pitcher. The team has already said that they would check in on the starting pitcher market. This is already a really good ball club, with a very good offense and bullpen, and respectable starting pitching. Brandon Woodruff seemingly came out of nowhere and put out a very good season despite missing time due to an oblique injury, as well as an outstanding performance in the NL wild card game. Maybe Brewers fans knew him well, but I’d be lying if I said I knew of him before this season. Jordan Lyles also performed well for the Brewers after being traded from Pittsburgh and, although he’s a free agent, it’s been said Milwaukee would like to retain him. Corbin Burnes had a woeful 2019, but he will be in the conversation for a 2020 rotation sport. The Brewers have been on looking for an ace for the last 3 years or so, and are sure to make a run at one of this off season’s top starting pitcher options. A free agent signing paired with Woodruff, along with Davies, Lyles, and a fifth starter could give the Brewers a very strong starting rotation heading into 2020 where they look to build on their 89 win season. The Brewers have been rumored to be the front runner for Madison Bumgarner.
Texas Rangers
With a new ballpark, could come a fresh start. The Rangers, along with the Angels, might be the most interesting team to watch this off season, as they’ve already said they would look into big name free agents Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon. They’ve got a lot of money and a fairly respectable offense (12th in the majors in runs scored last season), to go along with an underrated pitching staff. The Rangers were 1 of 3 teams to have at least two starters throw 200 innings, the others being the Nationals and Astros. They already have Lance Lynn and Mike Minor on team friendly deals, who both tossed 208.1 innings last season. With the money they have, if they could sign one of the aces of free agency, sure up their bullpen, maybe add a bat, and have Lynn and Minor perform similarly in 2020, the Rangers could quietly be a very dangerous team.
*Signed Kyle Gibson to a 3 yea$30M deal\*, who was originally set to be included for his consistent ability to eat innings every fifth day. However, he signed before this was typed
Los Angeles Angels
Speaking of the Angels, Los Angeles has been the most popularly predicted landing spot for Gerrit Cole, being that he’s from the west coast. LA has the best player in baseball on the roster but haven’t made the playoffs since 2014. Baseball is a team sport and to be frank, the Angels have not done much to surround Trout with talent to make the playoffs. The Angels had the 15th ranked offense in runs scored last season, with Trout missing the end of the season due to injury. However the problem doesn’t lie in the offense, it lies in the pitching. The second worst starting rotation in baseball by runs allowed and a bullpen that ranked 20th in ERA. However, if the Angels are willing to spend the money, they could be far more competitive in 2020. If Andrew Heaney can stay healthy, the Angels had a starter or two, and make a play for a bullpen piece or two, they can be much improved. The Angels also still hold the view that Shohei Ohtani is a two way player and project him to return to pitching in 2020, though nobody is sure to what extent. There’s a lot of money already on the books but the Angels have made it clear that they will offer whatever it takes in their run for Gerrit Cole.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have gotten little to no free agency buzz early in the off season. Marcell Ozuna is a free agent but will likely demand more than what St. Louis would prefer to pay. The Cards will likely look to replace Ozuna’s offensive production (or resign him of course), but with money left over after that, St. Louis will likely look to add another starter to go with their young stud Jack Flaherty, who’s incredible second half was enough for him to finish 4th in Cy Young voting. The 23 year old looks like he could be the Cards ace for the foreseeable future, and Miles Mikolas has resurrected his career in St. Louis, eating up 200.2 and 184 innings in 2018 and 2019. Dakota Hudson looks like a promising young player tossing 174.2 innings with a 3.35 ERA, and Adam Wainwright is back on a one year deal. If St. Louis got another ace to pair with Flaherty, it could be one of the best 1-2 punches in all of baseball (if Flaherty can build on his 2019 performace), as well as one of the better all around pitching staffs.
Minnesota Twins
The second best offense in baseball in runs scored, only 4 behind the Yankees, the Twins made a huge jump in 2019 from their 2018 performance. The Twins have been up and down the last few years, but the explosion of the offense, the additions of Nelson Cruz and Jake Odorizzi, and the breakout of Jose Berrios were key to the Twins 101 win season. Jake Odorizzi has already accepted the qualifying offer to return to Minnesota, the White Sox are still young, the Royals are in the midst of a rebuild, as are the Tigers, and the Indians are always in the news with rumors about trading away their stars so we’ll see what happens. As of now it’s between the Twins and Indians for the division crown, though the White Sox have a chance to be competitive. The offense is no question for Minnesota, but if the team added another solid starter like a Miley or a Keuchel, that could help sure up the starting rotation. The bullpen could use some help, and the early rumors out of Minnesota are that they’re in the market for some bullpen help and some starting pitching.
Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies have already said that they’re interested in potentially engaging in free agent conversations with Gerrit Cole and Madison Bumgarner. A year after breaking the bank for Bryce Harper, the Phillies were expected to compete for a postseason spot but ended up finishing 4th in the NL east. Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, and Jake Arrieta are likely locked into rotation slots for 2020. Eflin threw over 160 innings and Nola eclipsed over 200 last season. If the Phillies, similar to the Cardinals, could pair another top line starter with Nola, it would help tremendously, bumping Eflin to the 3rd starter, and Arrieta to the 4th.
*Signed Zack Wheeler to 5 year deal worth 118 Million\*
Atlanta Braves
Atlanta was a popular pick to make it out of the National League, boasting one of the best offenses in baseball (7th in runs scored). They Braves already have Mike Soroka, Mike Foltynewicz (despite struggling last year, he had a great 2018 season and 2019 postseason), and Max Fried. Dallas Keuchel is a free agent, they’re already making moves to improve their bullpen, and have two of the best offensive threats in the league in Acuna and Freeman. Whether it’s bringing in a true ace or returning their free agent starters, having another pitcher to put in with their current starters could be crucial to Atlanta’s hope of clinching home field in the NL.
*Signed Cole Hamels for 1 yea18 Million\*
Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are a curious case heading into free agency. The team went into a reload last season trading away Paul Goldschmidt before the season and trading Zack Greinke in a blockbuster trade deal with the Astros. Despite the trades of their big time talents, the Diamondbacks still managed to win 85 games in 2019. The teams starting rotation, as of now, includes Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Luke Weaver among others. Taijuan Walker was recently non tendered and will become a free agent. As briefly mentioned earlier, the Diamondbacks are in position to continue reloading, or they can try and capitalize on their collection of cheap deals and try to be competitive. Arizona also recently non tendered backup catcher Caleb Joseph and right fielder Steven Souza Jr. There aren’t many guaranteed contracts in the organization and there are a lot of quality players on cheap or rookie deals. Ray is a proven starter, Gallen and Weaver show promise, and Kelly quietly ate over 180 innings last year. The Diamondbacks have been identified as a team to make a run at Gerrit Cole along with the Yankees, Angels, Dodgers, and Rangers. However, with that being unlikely, it is likely the Diamondbacks look to strengthen their rotation to try and catch the Dodgers.
San Diego Padres
The Padres just released their 2020 uniforms a few weeks ago, doing away with the navy blue and white scheme and returning to the brown and yellow scheme. With new uniforms, last season’s signing of Manny Machado, and their impact rookies Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack, the Padres are going to attempt to make the leap to being playoff contenders. The Padres are guaranteed to be in the market for starting pitching and some outfield help. As previously mentioned, the Padres already have Chris Paddack who will be near the top of the rotation, Garrett Richards had ace level stuff before being riddled by injuries (but both Richards and Paddack will be on pitch limits in 2020), and Mackenzie Gore will likely be up before the end of the 2020 season. With the money they have, the Padres likely will not be able to afford Gerrit Cole. The Padres are most likely to target Strasburg, Wheeler, and Bumgarner. That would give the Padres some quality starting pitching to go with their strong bullpen and an offense that includes Tatis Jr., Machado, Myers, and Hosmer.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have already signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a 4 year, $73M deal, and are looking to spend more. The Sox saw left side infielders Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson have breakout campaigns, as well as starter Lucas Giolito, while Eloy Jimenez is expected to take that same step forward in 2020. Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, and Nick Madrigal are all likely to make the 2020 roster as well, especially Madrigal due to the teams release of Yolmer Sanchez. The team also still has slugger Jose Abreu after the first baseman resigned with the team. After the signing of Yasmani Grandal, the White Sox will likely receive trade offers for all-star catcher James McCann, and though he may not land them a star, McCann could likely land a solid glue piece style of player. The White Sox have shown they’re willing to spend money and have already been linked to FA starter Zack Wheeler (it seems like everybody has been). The White Sox are looking to make a jump in 2020 and the addition of a starting pitcher and another notable free agent could help them do just that.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have won their division seven years in a row, dating back to 2013. Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Hyun-Jin Ryu helped propel the Dodgers to yet another 100 win season last year, along with their stellar offense. However, Ryu is a free agent, and while he’s said he’d like to stay in LA, you never know with baseball. Despite his injuries, Ryu is sure to still have a fairly strong FA market and there’s a chance he could walk from LA. If that’s the case, Dustin May and his awesome hair made his MLB debut last season, and he could presumably take over Ryu’s innings if the Dodgers look in house for a potential replacement. If the Dodgers look outside of their organization, they have shown interest in Korean pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim, who is entering 2020 free agency. The Dodgers are also a relatively rich franchise, so the idea of going after a top level ace isn’t out of the question. The Dodgers are already good, and they’ll almost certainly try and resign Ryu, but if they can’t they won’t have any trouble replacing his innings.
New York Yankees
When there’s free agency talks, the Yankees will always be mentioned. One of the best bullpens in the league, the number one offense, and a rich minor league crop that allows them to be competitive even with injuries. The Yankees also feature some talented starters in James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Luis Severino. Domingo German also put forth a solid pitching performance last season. However, none of them reached 170 innings pitched in 2019. Ultimately, the performance of their starting pitching is what cost them in the ALCS against the Astros. However, even when their starters were on, the Yankees are reliant on analytics and bullpen use. Masahiro Tanaka definitely could have gone 8 or 9 innings in game 1, which would have limited the bullpen use a little. The Yankees trust their bullpen, as they should, but they don’t have a ton of innings from their starters. The Yankees have a lot of good pitchers, but with their willingness to spend money, if they can sign a Strasburg or Cole (both of whom they have already met with and they will more than likely give at least one of them a blank check), they could build upon their already impressive 2019 season. The only thing that would concern me is that it seems that recently pitchers haven’t performed as well once they become Yankees. James Paxton was better in Seattle and Sonny Gray was unsuccessful in NY. That would concern me a bit, but either way, the Yankees will make a run at some sort of starting pitching.
Houston Astros
The scandal riddled Astros will likely lose Gerrit Cole in free agency, and they might lose Wade Miley as well. The Astros still have Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke, who both topped 200 innings pitched, and Lance McCullers Jr. will be returning from injury. Forrest Whitley could also make a push to make his MLB debut in 2020, while Jose Urquidy and Brad Peacock will also be options. The Astros can survive this offseason, despite the possibility that they may not attract any big time free agents due to the impending investigations. The Astros won’t lose much offensively, and they’re still planning to make a run at big time free agents, but it wouldn’t hurt to try and mediate the loss of Gerrit Cole in free agency. The Astros are very analytically driven and there’s likely a pitcher on the market they have their eyes on that we may not expect. Verlander, Greinke, and McCullers are locks for 2020, we’ll see what they want to do beyond that. Even with the impending investigations, the Astros are still likely to be in the free agent conversation.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs.
https://www.baseball-reference.com/
https://www.fangraphs.com/
News courtesy of @ JonHeyman via twitter.
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Preview of the Risen Star; Rachel Alexandra Stakes' and more

Buckle your seat belts and make sure your tray tables are in an upright position because between this Saturday and Monday, (President’s Day) we will be looking at least 10 races. Between the two days, any number of those races could be our highlighted “Race of the Week”.
But first things first as this Saturday our highlighted “Race of the Week” is the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots. The 8 ½ furlong, Grade: 2 contest for three year olds drew a full field of 14 plus one AE is led by War of Will.
Two other races on Saturday’s card at Fair Grounds include the Rachel Alexandra Stakes, also a Grade: 2 event run at 8 ½ furlongs, but for three year old fillies, as well as the Mineshaft Stakes for four year olds and up.
The complexion of the Risen Star and Rachel Alexandra changed dramatically mid week when, after seeing both American Pharoah’s little sister, Chasing Yesterday and Kingly, a full brother to $2.2 million Mohaymen**,** both draw horrible posts, trainer Bob Baffert decided to “keep them both home”.
Other races we will examine include the Royal Delta Stakes, a Grade: 3 contest for four year olds and up and fillies and mares going a mile at Gulfstream Park, a pair of sprints, one for each gender, at Laurel Park in the General George and Barbara Fritchie Stakes and perhaps THE most competitive race of the weekend, the Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita. The seven furlong race drew as strong and as deep of a race you’ll ever find.
Saturday February 16, 2019
Laurel Race Course
Race: 8 (4:00 PM EST Post)
General George Stakes
Home Run Maker comes into this razor sharp off three straight wins vs. lesser. This son of Into Mischief, who hails from the unconscious (26-63= 41%) “Miah” barn, loves this surface (3 for 4 over it, yet 1 for 8 everywhere else) and that Feb 6th work (4F- :47.2) tells me he is holding form…..spring a mild upset in a race that is ridiculously difficult to figure…………………..Still Having Fun was just 3 for 11 in 2018 but it must be noted he was running against the likes of Promises Fulfilled, Patternrecognition, Audible and, most recently, third behind McKenzie in the Grade:1 Malibu last time out at 47-1. Colt by Old Fashioned, who sold for $12,000 but has earned over a half million bucks so far, will meet no such rivals in this spot and will probably be your post time favorite…………………….Uncontested ran a hole in the wind in his Laurel debut shortly before Christmas. This one time Kentucky Derby hopeful beat mid level optionals by five lengths while zipping six furlongs in 1:08 flat. A repeat of that effort would make him tough to beat here………………………Honorable mentions Laki is another surface love”horse for the course” type. This eight year old gelding is 7 for 11 on this oval and 0 for 5 everywhere else. His last four races/speed figures suggest he’s a contender in this spot as well……………..I’m not sure what Something Awesome was doing in the Pegasus World Cup in his last. I suppose Stronach had one last spot to fill. Anyway, this veteran son of Awesome Again is still another who fancies this surface (4 for 6) as he’s run some of the best races of his life over it and he drops to a more reasonable spot in this race…………………..It’s Good to Be Us is a $650,000 son of Tapit who has won three of his first four starts at Parx including being 2 for 2 at this distance. Steps up but could be equal to the task. (My Play: .50 Trifect box using the top 5. Cost: $30)
Race: 9 (4:30 PM EST Post)
Barbara Fritchie Stakes
Spiced Perfection has methodically improved while winning three of her last four, topped off by springing a mild (5-1) upset in the Grade: 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita last time out. Filly by Smiling Tiger, who has gotten off to a good start at stud, makes her debut for new trainer Peter Miller and, if she can handle Grade: 1 runners, logically she should be able to handle this Grade: 3 field…………………Late Night Pow Wow has very impressive stats. This obscurely bred filly is 10 for 11 lifetime including being 2 for 2 on this oval and 4 for 4 at this distance. She also came home the last furlong in a very strong :11.4 while winning by 6+ in her last. Monster work on Feb 6 tells me she is probably sitting on yet another big effort but she will be swimming in deeper waters than what she’s used to………………………Dawn the Destroyer comes into this sharp as a tack while winning her last two in NY including the $100,000 Interborough at 7/5 last time out. Mare by Speightstown holds a double Brisnet speed figure advantage (her last “two” speed figures are better than anyone else’s last two) as well…….figures close………………..Honorable Mentions: Ms Locust Point beat an allowance field at Parx on New Year’s Day, signaling a possible return to the form she showed in late 2017/early 2018. Filly by Dialed In is 7 for 13 lifetime and 5-4-1-0 at this racetrack……………………Timeless Curls has improved steadily since the summer while winning five of her last six and stepping up in class each and every time. Filly by Curlin draws a good post for her running style and shows a bullet work (5F- :59.4) in preparation for this last week. (My Play: $1 triple box using all 5. Cost $60)
Fair Grounds
Race: 9 (4:25 PM EST Post)
Mineshaft Handicap
Although Lone Sailor was 1 for 10 in 2018 and just 2 for 15 in his career, he totally outran his 91-1 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last time out. This bay colt was last and almost 20 lengths out of it early, but catapulted past eight horses, and made up some 14 lengths, to finish sixth behind the streaking City of Light. He’ll be making his first start since (3 ½ months) but the bullet (best of 61) 5F work of :59.3 last week states he might be ready…………………….Quip was on a lot of people’s Kentucky Derby list last year and he might be the most talented runner in this field. Although he’s been working well at Payson Park recently, has run well off of layoffs before, and this is his best distance, he’ll have to overcome an almost nine month layoff here and the dreaded #13 post position. Those factors might be asking juuuust a little too much from this son of Distorted Humor…………………….Flameaway is another who was Kentucky Derby material last year after very good second place finishes in the Tampa Bay Derby and Bluegrass Stakes. After running only one good race (second in the Jim Dandy) in four tries from that point, he was put away for the year. Although he might “need one” here, this $400,000 son of Scat Daddy is versatile and clearly has ability……………………Honorable Mentions: Harlan Punch has won two of his last three vs. lesser but does have a fitness edge over the top three. Third start off the layoff angle fits here too..........After a ridiculously wide trip, Silver Dust finished right behind Harlan Punch last time out. This $510,000 son of Tapit had won his two prior races to that and he appears to be slowly improving…..upset chance here. (My Play: $1 Triple box using all. Cost: $60)
Race: 11 (5:29 PM EST Post)
Rachel Alexandra Stakes
Needs Supervision has won three of her first four career starts, highlighted by winning the Silverbulletday on this oval in her 2019 debut last time out. Bay filly by Paynter has improved in each subsequent start and should only be “tighter” for her second start of the year in this spot……………………………… Positive Spirit is another who has improved through each of her first four starts, culminating in winning the Grade: 2 Demoiselle Stake at Aqueduct by a colossal margin. Good looking filly by Pioneerof the Nile poses a big threat here …………………Serengeti Empress showed little at 4-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly race in her last after winning her two prior races by a combined 33 lengths. Filly by Alternation drops back into a more reasonable spot for her 2019 debut but judging from her works and trainers comments: "I expect her to make a good showing, but at the same time, this is our first race back and it's not our end all race. It's important to understand that she'll improve off this race. Goal (Kentucky Oaks) is a couple of months down the road" trainer Thomas Amoss said, she may not be fully cranked up for this………Honorable Mentions: Oxy Lady finished less than three lengths behind Chasing Yesterday who would be a solid favorite in this race should she have run. No worries about her handling the track as she’s been training extremely well since arriving here right around the beginning of the year….could better this rating……………..Bell’s the One is unbeaten in three career starts and her speed figures say she could be a contender here. Filly by the speedy Majesticperfection will be stepping up in class big time here and will have to go 2 ½ lengths further than she’s ever gone before but from what I’ve seen in her first three races, she might be able to handle both. (My Play: .50 triple box using all 5. Cost $30)
Race: 12 (7:02 PM EST Post)
Risen Star Stakes
After running well in all four turf starts to begin his career, trainer Mark Casse switched surfaces with War of Will last November and this colt, who is bred to run to the South Pole and back without stopping, broke his maiden by five lengths. Casse then gave him two months off and this son of War Front came back to pulverize the LeComte Stakes field on Jan 19. He won by four but it must be noted this good looking bay was very wide on both turns so he could possibly have won by more…….......................In taking War of Will, Country House is pretty scary. This Lookin’ at Lucky colt, from the loaded for the Kentucky Derby Bill Mott barn, completely missed the break in his last but launched a very impressive, three wide run leaving the three eighths pole and left his foes in his wake down the lane. Yes, it was a field of maidens and yes, it was on that conveyor belt they call Gulfstream Park but still, it was visually impressive to watch. I am shocked at the 20-1 morning line odds………thought maybe he’d open at 6 or 8 to 1….............. Limonite is about 2 ½ lengths away from coming in this race unbeaten. Although it was 2 ½ months ago, I loved his Kentucky Jockey Club effort, where he came from last (of 14), circled the field four wide and was still charging hard, late in deep stretch to only be beaten by two lengths to (at this point in the season) upper echelon three year old Signalman…threat with a fast pace and repeat of that effort……………….Honorable Mentions**: Plus Que Parfait** had a nightmare trip in the LeComte (stumbled at the start, bumped hard shortly thereafter and six wide on the turn) but was only 6+ length behind my top pick....should be closer with a better trip this time………… I wouldn’t be so quick to throw out Henley’s Joy just because he’s making his first dirt start here. He is a two time Stakes winner and his works suggest he’ll handle the change in surface just fine………….. Couple of side notes: I’m not completely giving up on Roiland, who has gone off at high odds in his last three races, just yet. This horse packs a solid stretch run and could surprise a few people in this spot with the right pace scenario……………...Hog Street Hustle has run well in four of five tries including finishing second to my top pick in the LeComte last time out at 12-1. (My Play: $20 win on War of Will, $5 exacta box top 3, .50 triple box using the top 5. Cost: $80)
Gulfstream Park
Race: 11 (5:12 PM EST Post)
Royal Delta Stakes
Jala Jala has been a win machine in Mexico (13 for 23 lifetime) but has also duplicated that form at Gulfstream….twice. Chestnut mare by Point Determined was visually impressive kicking away from males at the six furlong marker while winning her last in hand by almost 5 lengths……narrowest of margins over Blamed, who clearly is a huge threat here. Filly by, you guessed it, Blame probably didn’t care for the sloppy track and probably needed that last race (fifth, beaten by 10+) as she was coming off a two month layoff as well. Irad Ortiz Jr. taking the leg up on this filly, who is 9-6-2-0 lifetime, won’t hurt her chances either……………………...I’m not sure if Tequilita is just getting better or the wet tracks in her last two helped her out. Regardless, this well bred (by Union Rags out of Grade: 2 winner Sangrita), Grade: 3 last time out winner merits a look in this spot……………….Honorable Mentions: Although Another Broad will be making her first start in more than two months, she is giving me every indication she could run well in this spot. New trainer Todd Pletcher has been working her fast and often at Palm Beach Downs and “JCC” will be in the irons……………Coming off a sloppy tracked, restricted Stakes win at Tampa Bay Downs in her last, Silver Bay looks the best of the rest. (My Play: $1 triple box using all 5. Cost $60)
Santa Anita Park
Race: 9 (7 PM EST Post)
Santa Monica Stakes
Trainer Bob Baffert entered a formidable 1-2 punch in this race in Dream Tree and Eclipse Award finalist for Champion Female Sprinter Marley’s Freedom…..Dream Tree rattled off five straight impressive wins before inexplicably mailing it in last time out. I’m going to give this $750,000 daughter of Uncle Mo a “mulligan” for that race and come right back with her here………….Marley’s Freedom was a multiple Graded Stakes winner on both Coasts last year, winning at distances from 6 furlongs to one mile. I loved her Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint effort (fourth, beaten by just a half length) and that race was sandwiched by five other wins. Monster work last week (5F- :58.4) signals she is ready to pick up where she left off in 2018………………………Selcourt is a speedy, $800,000 mare by Tiz Wonderful who won this race last year and sports a 7-4-2-1 record on this oval. I expect her to come out running and she may prove difficult to catch in this spot even though she is showing a slight down tick in form………………………..Honorable Mentions: Escape Clause boasts a 19 for 28 career record with most of that beating up on far lesser foes at small time tracks. That said, this $3,800 mare, who has earned almost $425,000 in her career, proved she belongs here with her tour de force win of the Grade: 3 La Canada last time out…..could conceivably better this rating………………I wonder which Paradise Woods will show up on Saturday for new trainer John Shirreffs? The one who has won two Grade: 1’s in blow out fashion or the one who shows brief speed and retreats after the first half mile? It’s really, really difficult to get a read on this temperamental mare. (My play: pass...not seeing much value)

By: Gerard Apadula
Director of Equine Operations and Development
Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
2019- Record: 10-26 = 38% (My Plays: -$452.36)
2018- Record: 107-261= 41%
2017- Record: 92-235 = 39%
2016- Record: 91-229 = 40%
2015- Record: 67-180 = 37%
2014- Record: 29-73 = 40%
2013- Record: 20-59= 34%
2012 -Record: 24-73= 33%
2011 –Record: N/A
2010- Record: 24-74= 33%
Little Bets N' Pieces
**** Kentucky Wildcat, who made an eye catching move around the far turn to finish second in Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, was pulled up and vanned off the racetrack after the finish.
Evidently, the colt suffered a “non life threatening injury to his right foreleg.” He is expected to undergo surgery to repair the condylar fracture in Ocala in the next several days, but is no longer on the Kentucky Derby trail.

**** Australian super mare Winx will be going after her 30th consecutive victory in Saturday's Group: 2 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick. The Chris Waller trained daughter of Street Cry is expected to make four more starts before her retirement, culminating in the Group: 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April.

**** When NYRA releases it stakes schedule for Saratoga and the Belmont Park fall meet, they will include the unveiling of two new turf stakes for 3 year olds and two new Turf Stakes for 3 year old fillies that will join the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks in becoming the "Turf Trinity" for males and "Turf Tiara" for fillies.
For males the "Turf Trinity" will be made up of three $1 million races at the same distances as the dirt Triple Crown for 3 year olds of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
Following the $1 million Belmont Derby at 1 1/4 miles July 6 at Belmont, the $1 million Saratoga Derby will be contested Sunday, Aug. 4 at 1 3/16 miles at Saratoga. The series will conclude with the $1 million Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1 1/2 miles.
"The Turf Trinity is designed to emulate the American dirt classics," said Martin Panza, NYRA's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, in a statement. "The three race, $3,000,000 series complements the schedule with no overlap of the American Triple Crown races while also providing international runners an opportunity to race against 3 year olds later into the summer."
For fillies, the "Triple Tiara" starts with the $750,000 Belmont Oaks July 6 at Belmont at 1 1/4 miles, then the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Friday, Aug. 2 at 1 3/16 miles, and the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Sept. 7 at a 1 3/8 miles at Belmont.
"The Turf Tiara, a three race $2,250,000 series, will shadow the colt division, providing a well defined pattern of races highlighting future turf stars while serving as a test of their speed, versatility and endurance," Panza said.
submitted by aspen222 to horseracing [link] [comments]

GSL Code S 2019 S1 Ro4 | Day 1 | Quick Recap

Watching top tier players clash in a high pressure offline match when we get to go the distance is one of the most exhilarating things you can experience when you're a fan of not just Starcraft but competitive gaming in general - case in point, today's GSL Ro4 series.

Classic vs Dark has been an incredibly entertaining back and forth rivalry for a while now and this latest series between them held that much more meaning when you take into account that the Protoss is at the end of his road - literally has less than a year left to play before he must join the military - while the Zerg hasn't lifted a meaningful trophy in what's been over three years of consistently being at worst a top 3 player for his race.

In terms of what the raw stats were telling us heading into this match, you could have easily been deceived into believing Dark had the edge based off his early domination in what was more of a "nemesis" relationship than a true rivalry at the start of their feud, but when you refine your search to their most recent relevant history, it becomes abundantly clear this was a complete coin toss with neither player having a genuine advantage stat-wise (literally 12-12 in maps over the course of 6 matches, which they traded 3-3, dead even).

In this kind of scenario the player who comes out on top is usually whoever can keep it together mentally and considering during their last clash in 2018 we watched Classic reverse sweep his opponent in a best of five while down 0-2 before doing the same thing in the Final of that same tournament down 0-3 to become the Champion (again, something Dark hasn't done since 2016) it would be very hard to argue against the Protoss if you're going off intangibles in this type of scenario. Still, we all knew this wouldn't be a simple series to win for either player, but I'm confident no one was expecting it to go down quite like this with so much deception, brilliance and fireworks.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously.

It may very well be long overdue to stop bringing up the names of Squirtle or MVP, since Classic is clearly the current Build Order King when it comes to planning series. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against looking back fondly at the past but you can do that whenever you'd like, what I feel compelled to focus on is the "here" and "now" which both have this Protoss player's signature written all over them. It's astounding to think someone can throw off Dark, one of the most unpredictable and difficult Zergs to play against, by overloading him with increasingly more confusing information. Throughout the day we got to see Classic play his cards to the best of his ability & it always felt like Dark was one step behind, while still somehow keeping up as best as he can. Thankfully, when the series got to the 3-1 score in favor of the Protoss, there was no quit to be found in the Zerg, who valiantly fought on to the bitter end.

M1 | Classic vs Dark | The Build Order King vs The Unorthodox Wildcard

  • Set 1 | Cyber Forest | A "build order loss" that wasn't one

The start of this game was already a bit wild, with Dark getting blocked from taking both his own Hatch and his opponent's expansion - it was very clear that this wasn't a random ladder game, Classic was very well prepared to deal with this particular player's shenanigans - but the problems for the Protoss ended up being the initially odd choice to go double Stargate along with a slight misinterpretation of what had occurred in the game already. To elaborate, when you know that a Zerg is in a scenario where they're forced to be a lot more spread out and so the potential to use Adepts and Phoenixes to get ahead economically is that much greater, it's fair to say you should also expect them to know that as well. What we saw Dark do in response to avoid having this situation play out unfavorably for him in the long run was what he'd already attempted against Dear in the previous round - when in doubt, Nydus all in. The production of Queens and Lings was endless, the addition of Spores and Banes this time around was brilliant & Classic's lack of vision in his own base and inability to stop an Overseer from coming in despite having two Phoenixes building at a time sealed the deal.

  • Set 2 | Port Alexander | The definition of a one-two punch

All of the sudden the Stargate made a lot more sense when we watched the Protoss player put it down again, but this time switch his plan up completely going into what seemed like mass Oracles after the initial Phoenix off just one building. While the Zerg did very well to not lose a ton of workers regardless of the surprise factor, his eyes were busy watching the skies while the real threat was about to come by boat by land. At around six minutes into the game, Dark almost "out of spite" started building both a Spire and fourth base - as if to say "I know this isn't double Stargate, I dare you to put down another one to deal with this now" - but as soon as he managed to scout Classic's third Nexus and found no probes there, I'm sure there was quite a bit of regret behind those moves in hindsight. Seeing as the jig was up, the Protoss quickly marched across the map with a couple of Immortals, Sentries and Stalkers not even a minute or so later and caught Dark completely unprepared at his third base, where Classic pretty quickly dealt the killing blow after doing a critical amount of damage to the Zerg in what ended up being the perfect follow up timing.

  • Set 3 | King's Cove | Build order win through the power of priming

The third Stargate opener in a row from Classic sent quite a few cliche "nerd chills" down my spine, especially when the Protoss stopped building flying units immediately after the first Phoenix and Oracle & then proxied his Twilight Council literally in the middle of the map as his follow up. Dark scouted the entire battlefield except that spot - brilliant planning made manifest yet again from Classic - so when a dozen Adepts with Glaives stepped on his creep and there was no Zerg army to speak of (since he was seeing them for the first time) his Drones were left utterly defenseless and almost 50 of them died before Dark reluctantly tapped out. At this point, scouting seemed almost counter productive for the Zerg, something that sounds insane to say but felt true enough thanks to Classic's play.

  • Set 4 | Automaton | Keep it simple, stupid

There is something to be said about being too stylish for your own good. While there are likely just as many flaws in always "playing standard" - whatever that means - there's a reason the consensus "optimal" way to go about things exists i.e. what to build, when to get it and why to do something. Using that model, lets dissect how Dark lost this particular game while Classic played "standard" or "normal" to completely stomp him. The what happened to be quite a few Mutalisks, the when was off basically just three bases and the why pretty much revolved around the Protoss player's decision finally not to go for Stargate and instead use Warp Prisms along with Archons and Adepts to harass the Zerg. While I've said many times that I'm not a fan of Mutas off three bases, this decision kind of made sense anyway when you take all the factors into account and Dark had quite a few Roaches in case the Protoss decided to go for an extreme switch in Tech to deal with the flying units easier. No problem so far then, everything's pretty much fine, right? Well, it almost seemed like Dark was still feeling a little too good about his chances in this series despite being down 1-2 already, so he then followed up with an Infestation Pit and actually built a bunch of Infestors while researching Neural Parasite in 2019. It's easy to be a dick about this build after the fact, but I honestly don't know what he thought was going to happen. Dark got the "perfect engagement" considering what his army had to offer meaning he stole a couple of Archons & Immortals for a few seconds and things definitely "looked cool" in that moment. The problem is that as soon as the spell's duration was done, Classic still had an elite army while Dark basically had Infestors with no energy and Roaches. In an understandably straightforward fashion, the Protoss cleaned up the weak Zerg army in order to go up 3-1 in the series, just one win away from the coveted GSL Final.

  • Set 5 | Kairos Junction | The danger of being so close to victory

While I can't argue against the fact Classic's prep today was phenomenal, on this map in particular it feels like he got ahead of himself, which is notoriously easy to do when you're within arm's reach of winning such an important series (just ask INnoVation how things went for him while up 3-0 against Soulkey in the infamous 2013 GSL Final). While the Protoss build on this map at first glance was exactly the same as the one on King's Cove - simple mistake you could've made in thinking so, there were buildings in the middle of the map that didn't get scouted again & Adepts with Glaives attacked the Zerg's mineral lines - the circumstances around it were much different. Dark hadn't "just died" to this build, he was primed to do so the first time around. When his scouting Overlord didn't get killed because there was no Stargate on this map & he couldn't even see any valuable tech buildings inside the main, it was only natural of him to start massing units in expectation of aggression from Classic. The response from the Zerg was absolutely perfect - he even made a "just in case" single Spore - the amount of Lings he hatched and used brilliantly bought just enough time for his Spines and Roach Warren to finish. As all in as you can get, Classic still tried to use his Proxy Gates and Proxy Robo to the best of his ability, but there was no opening to be found as Dark swarmed his army and structures repeatedly until delivering the inevitable end to the doomed push.

  • Set 6 | Year Zero | Standard failed cannon rush into 20 minute game

I don't know what compelled the Protoss to believe that it was a good idea to go for this type of rush against someone who not only likes to "Drone Scout" but is also famous for being an amazing low econ player. In that regard, maybe Classic got a little too carried away with the idea of "mixing it up" every single game, in any case his base got immediately scouted and as a result Dark's response to the different rush was picture perfect again. While the actual end to the map came quite a bit later, I think it's fair to say you're never going to come back in the game against this type of Zerg player when you put yourself in such a deficit from the start. Dark used Swarm Hosts and eventually Brood Lords to be infinitely more efficient than his opponent throughout the game & wrap it up to take us into the final map we were dying at this point to see.

  • Set 7 | New Repugnancy | Classic way to close the show in a PvZ

Do you know why the Immortal/Sentry push was dubbed the "Soul Train"? Because the man who invented it said he was willing to bet his soul on this build. Tonight, Classic agreed with that sentiment fully as he put down the Robo, stopped Probe production early, queued up the Immortals and marched across the map not even 6 minutes into the game. Dark scrambled together a fighting force as quickly as he could, but there was no time left, fate was knocking on his door. Classic destroyed the third base, killed a ton of workers, held the counter attack and showed damn near perfect micro dodging Dark's seemingly endless waves of Ravager biles. The former GSL Champion barely fought back tears of joy as the "gg" came in to extend his incredible run and bring him to the Final one more time, 5 years after earning his crown.

  • Map of the Night - While it basically "cost" the two maps before it to pull off so successfully, the build on King's Cove really stood out for me regardless because it really showed the power behind planning a series so brilliantly. In the end it did look like a "basic" Adept all in, but I think that's completely taking away from the context of everything Classic had done prior to that in order to secure this win against someone of Dark's caliber (I think it's even more telling how important the previous games were from the fact he couldn't do it again in the series, albeit a slightly different variation, not even remotely as successfully).

Some closing thoughts on our first finalist in this season of GSL:

  • Classic has already taken out Rogue, Dark and Trap (twice), this is a man on a mission. However we all know the Final Boss of the GSL - Reigning, Defending, 3x Consecutive Champion - is on his way. The only thing on Classic's mind right now has to be last year's bitter 1-4 defeat at the hands of Maru in the GSL Semifinals of S2 and how it must be avenged. And what better way to get that revenge than to deny the Champion his 4th trophy in a row? The only problems with that amazing storyline heading into the GSL Final on the 14th of April are that first of all Maru might not even get there - while the Terran completely smashed Dear, arguably the best PvT player in the world, he's going to need that much power and possibly more to get rid of his teammate Trap, who is only slightly worse if not as good in the matchup and has the additional advantages of living in the same team house as Maru & being mates with sOs - and second of all if the Terran King does pull through and shows up in peak form, Classic is going to have his work cut out for him. Regardless, this has the potential to be one of the most legendary runs ever if the former Champion can pull off just one more masterpiece of a series and I personally can't wait to see him try. Come what may, Classic's name will remain forever etched in Starcraft II history, reminding us what it is to be a Champion.

Keep in mind these were just my observations, if you caught something I missed / think differently, feel free to express yourself as well in the comments below.

See you on Saturday for some disappointingly one-sided or incredibly controversial games, which might make or break this Season's Final!

-M

P.S. Here are the links to every other Quick Recap I've done so far for 2019's S1 of GSL Code S

Ro32

Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

Ro16
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D
Ro8
Day 1 | Day 2
submitted by d1MnZz to starcraft [link] [comments]

Jeopardy All-star Mock Draft

Captains in Draft Order (pick based on reverse seed):
Austin Rogers: Long streak and a very broad knowledge base -- can pick up points anywhere. A big better, which can go both ways, has played and looked good recently and has now basically been deeply embedded in Trebekistan for the past 3 years. Expect him to be fresh!
Buzzy Cohen. Looked really good in last years ToC, and had a nice streak in regular play as well, beating good players (like Jerry Vinokurov) and making it look pretty easy. Although his streak was earlier than Austin's, he beat Austin in the ToC, giving Buzzy the advantage.
Colby Burnett: Won his ToC, looked sharp on Decades (beating Tom Nissley and Pam, managed to hang close with Roger). The fact that he didnt have a regular streak means we don't really have much comparable tape on him. FWIW I think he's basically equivalent with Austin and Buzzy, but has some concerns about fresh-ness as he hasn't played in a few years.
Julia Collins. Never seemed like an incredibly buzzer-dominant killer but "all she do is win, win, win no matter what". Probably has the best FJ record of the captains, and a 20-game streak plus a strong "flu-game" performance in her ToC against Ben Ingram and Arthur Chu suggests she is both consistent and can turn it up against top players when she has to.
Ken Jennings. Legend. duh
Brad Rutter. Also legend. Also duh.
Alright, lets get down to the DRAFT!
#1: With the first overall pick Austin selects..... Matt Jackson. Yes, he lost to Alex Jacob in his ToC, but you gotta play the odds here -- Matt looked more dominant during his streak than anyone has in the past 10 years and is still young, hungry, and extremely sharp. His depth of knowledge on any academic subject is basically unmatched. When you can confidantly say you know virtually all possible answer lines in an academic category, that opens up your ability to bet big on DDs and Matt used that to gain huge leads in DJ over opponents. Double Jeopardy is the most important round of the game, and Matt Jackson is the most dangerous DJ player in the pool. Austin in Single/Final Jeopardy and Matt in Double Jeopardy is an incredibly strong 1-2 punch.
#2: With the second pick Buzzy selects.... Alex Jacob. Stared Matt Jackson down shortly after Matt's streak and beat him. Alex's knowledge base might not be as deep as Matt's, but it's broader in key Jeopardy areas like pop culture. Final Jeopardy could be a weakness, as his stats are poor there, but those are dragged down by a few $0-bet joke answers due to runaways. Bottom line, Alex is a recent, dominant megachamp who is a professional on the big stage and has definitely been waiting for his supertournament chance. He's the perfect counter to play against Matt Jackson, Brad, or Ken in Double Jeopardy if it comes down to it! Buzzy/Alex for Single/Double Jeopardy is an equally ferocious combo
#3: With the third pick Colby Burnett selects.... Roger Craig. BotD finalist, the only one in the field who has played against BOTH Ken and Brad. Somewhat reckless in his betting which might scare some captains off, but the truth is, it's not that complicated: Roger has supertournament experience at the highest levels, crushed his opponents in his ToC with Jeopardy's only double-double (!!), and holds the single-day scoring title. You PLAY to WIN the GAME, and that's how Roger Craig lives his life.
#4: Julia Collins drafts: Larissa Kelly. Widely considered the best female Jeopardy player until, well, Julia Collins. Larissa has supertournament experience, great depth (especially in academic trivia) and was thrashing her opponents, only to be stymied by a triple-stumper and some slick betting from Russ that cut her BotD run short. Julia had an incredible track record in FJ during her run, so with Larissa projecting as a DJ player and Julia in FJ, this team looks prepared to take on any challenging core.
#5: Ken Jennings drafts: Ben Ingram. Unprecedently good at Final Jeopardy during his original run and ToC, but also showed he can rack up points in J/DJ with the best of them. His ToC performance cemented that he has strengths all across the canon, but he can especially shine in Final Jeopardy. A huge pickup for a captain that needs no help in Double Jeopardy.
#6: Brad Rutter selects: Pam Mueller. Supertournament player, that has spent a long time in the trivia world. Played well in BotD, though looked like the odd one out when she played against Roger Craig and Colby. Rumor has it that they have some good personal chemistry (??), which might help everyone play a little calmer and better.
ROUND 2:
#7: Austin selects: Alan Lin. Had a higher combined Coryat score than both Buzzy and Austin in their ToC, but as both FJ's were triple stumpers, he ended up losing a lot of his lead there. His original run was decent, and he showed up in the ToC against two flashier opponents and made them look very beatable. This team looks like it's shaping up as Alan/Matt/Austin for J/DJ/FJ and is a damn good team for it!
#8: Buzzy selects: Seth Wilson. Had a hot streak in his original run but didnt perform well in his ToC...projects as a low-risk, very competant player for J!, but may lack the firepower to compete with first-round talent. Team projected to be Seth/Alex/Buzzy, with the reigining ToC champ in the decisive FJ role despite missing both Fj's last time around (overall Buzzy was quite good at FJ)
#9: Colby selects: Monica Thieu. As a college champion she didn't impress me much, as it seemed like she rode her FJ prowess (on college Finals) to victory over opponents who generally outscored her in J and DJ. However, she was a freshman in her tournament run and therefore has the potential to have improved massively since her appearance. Has appeared on other Game Shows so we know she's been keeping sharp, but there's a lot of boom/bust potential here. Team projects as Monica/RogeColby, or Monica/Colby/Roger, depending on how much you'd prefer to keep Roger's bet-it-all instincts in check.
#10: Julia Collins selects: David Madden. Super hard to project how he'll do. The first post-KJ mega-streak holder, but hasnt done any Jeopardy or game show appearances in a decade-plus. Didnt make his ToC finals and didnt play BotD. He's stayed in the professional trivia world as the head of National history Bee/Bowl, but how well does running high-school trivia tournaments translate to high-level jeopardy play against the best of the best? On top of those uncertainties, he's got a reputation as a difficult egomaniac which could scare people off towards safer picks. Still, for a bottom-three pick he's clearly got the most upside. If Julia as captain can keep his ego in check this team can be very dangerous as a David/Larissa/Julia three-headed monster of seasoned long-time trivia champs.
#11: Ken Jennings selects: Leonard Cooper. As much as I love this kid (he gave us the greatest grantland article of all time! http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-jeopardy-teen-tournament-just-got-real/) I can't take a chance on him earlier in the draft. He projects the same as Monica (OK tournament win, young + could have gotten better, but largely untested in big-time play) but slightly worse because he didn't outright win his semi-final game and the teen tournament is easier than college. Slot him in for single Jeopardy and hope he can hang with the rest or hit on a nice DD. Team projecting as Leonard/Ken/Ben, which should be a thrill to watch
#12: Finally, Brad Rutter selects: Jennifer Giles. She won her teacher's tournament but got pretty thoroughly outclassed in her ToC QF and didnt make the next round. A low-value/low-risk pick that you could slot in for single Jeopardy and feel OK about it. Not much else to say except that any team featuring Brad (and Pam) has the talent to go deep in this tournament and Jennifebrad/Pam is as solid a lineup as you could hope for.
Final team assessments!
Leonard/Ken/Ben: Ben is the X factor here, giving this team the edge in FJ it will need to close out games, as runaways seem virtually impossible against such good competition
Alan/Matt/Austin: No weaknesses. Alan appears to be the best player slotted for Single Jeopardy, and if he can get a lead and Matt can keep it against strong competition, Austin should be able to play FJ from a position of strength.
Seth/Alex/Buzzy: Essentially equivalent to the Alan/Matt/Austin team, no weaknesses, and perhaps even slight edges in DJ and FJ. Alex Jacob's gambling tendencies could be the decisive factor.
JennifeBrad/Pam: To be the best, you gotta beat the best. And Brad Rutter is the best jeopardy player of all time. With Pam as a solid FJ getter, this team just needs Jennifer to stay alive and not make mistakes in Jeopardy.
David/Larissa/Julia: Possibly the deepest team overall, any of these players has the potential for a superstar round. A true three-headed monster, but some question marks about consistency from David and Larissa.
Monica/RogeColby: This team will live or die by Roger's performance in DJ. If Roger swings for the fences and connects on a massive DD, Colby is more than capable of cruising the team to victory in FJ.
submitted by JDraftWhatup to Jeopardy [link] [comments]

What if the 2 controversial results of the Series 3 Semi-Finals were changed, and how would these decisions affect Series 3 and 4? (Part 2: Series 4)

Hey guys, I'm back! If you don't know how I am, then yesterday, I made a post on what potentially could of happened to Series 3 if results in Semi-Final 2 were changed. I strongly recommend you read it by clicking here, otherwise you won't 100% get what's going on.

For those of you who have read the post, let's get stuck in to Series 4, shall we? The first change comes immediately, and that's the changes in Seeding for Series 4. The seeding for this Series was... odd. This is because, as mentioned previously, there was no Third-Place Playoff in the Third Wars, the Seedings were done accordingly, because 2 machines can't share one seed number, so instead, the Third and Fourth Seeds were given to Razer and Panic Attack II respectively, and while it is very easy to assume Razer would keep its number 3 seed, it is more likely to assume that Razer would drop a few seeds, as would Behemoth and Panic Attack II.
I also believe that these changes would be the catalyst for other seed changes, for example, Pussycat would most likely be ranked higher due to it's performance in Series 3 and the fact that, if they hadn't been disqualified, they would met 101 in Semi-Final 2. And I know I should technically change the title by doing this, but lets say Panzer Wraith (The sequel to Series 3 Heat L Finalist Panzer) qualifies for Series 4, which it should have done.
So, I've predicted the new seedings for Series 4, all heats will stay the same, only the seeded machines will change, if they do so. Again, for comparisons sake, the old and seedings will be listed first, followed by the (potential) new seeds:

OLD SEEDING LIST (Taken directly from the Robot Wars Wiki)
  1. Chaos 2
  2. Hypno-Disc
  3. Razer
  4. Panic Attack II
  5. Firestorm 2
  6. Behemoth
  7. Steg 2
  8. Gemini
  9. 101
  10. Spawn of Scutter
  11. Wild Thing
  12. Evil Weevil 2
  13. Gravedigger
  14. Bigger Brother
  15. Wheely Big Cheese
  16. Killerhurtz
  17. King B3
  18. Cerberus
  19. Pussycat
  20. Aggrobot 2
  21. Diotoir
  22. X-Terminator 2
  23. Mortis
  24. Berserk 2
  25. Shadow of Napalm
  26. Plunderbird 4
  27. Sir Chromalot
  28. Weld-Dor 2
  29. Dreadnaut XP-1
  30. Stinger
  31. Centurion
  32. Suicidal Tendencies 2

NEW SEEDING LIST (With reasons for Seed Change)
  1. Chaos 2
  2. 101 (Finished Second in Series 3)
  3. Firestorm 2 (Finished Third in Series 3)
  4. Gravedigger (Finished Fourth in Series 3)
  5. Razer (World, International League and Pinball Warrior Champions)
  6. Panic Attack II (Due to performance in Series 2 and 3)
  7. Hypno-Disc (Due to performance in Series 3)
  8. Gemini
  9. Steg 2 (Due to performance in Series 3)
  10. Spawn of Scutter
  11. Wild Thing
  12. Evil Weevil 2
  13. Behemoth (Due to Performance in Series 3 and First World Championship)
  14. Bigger Brother
  15. Wheely Big Cheese
  16. Pussycat (Technically beat Scutter's Revenge in Series 3, but were disqualified)
  17. King B3
  18. Cerberus
  19. Mortis (Come on, we all know the producers would seed Mortis as high as possible!)
  20. Darke Destoryer 2 (Heat Finalist in Series 3 and the fact that they wanted to be in the same heat as Gravedigger)
  21. Diotoir
  22. X-Terminator 2
  23. Inverterbrat (Heat Finalist in Series 3)
  24. Berserk 2
  25. Shadow of Napalm
  26. Aggrobot 2 (Heat Finalist in Series 3)
  27. Suicidal Tendencies 2 (Heat Finalist in Series 3)
  28. Panzer Wraith (Heat Finalist in Series 3)
  29. Dreadnaut XP-1
  30. Stinger
  31. Centurion
  32. Killerhurtz (Due to its performance in Battlebots)
So, those are our new seeding list, and as you can see, there are A LOT of changes, so strap yourselves in, we're in for the long haul here because I'm going to cover the ENTIRETY of Series 4, with these new seedings.

HEAT A

This heat, due to the unchanged seedings of Chaos 2 and King B3, goes exactly the same as it does in real life, for reference, this was:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT B

NOW, it starts to get interesting. As it happens in real life, the 3rd and 19th seeds will be in this heat, that means, instead of Razer and Pussycat, we have Firestorm 2 and Mortis. The majority of this Heat goes much the same, Velocirippa and Reptirron are eliminated in the Eliminators; Firestorm 2 defeats Milly-Ann Bug in its Heat Semi-Final; and Mortis kills Robochicken, meaning the Heat B Final is Firestorm 2 VS Mortis, and due to the ground clearance on Mortis and the technical problems the team were suffering , I believe that Firestorm 2 (much like Steg 2 did in real life) would flip and immobilise Mortis. So, the results are as follows for Heat B:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT C

Diotoir's elimination remains unchanged, as does the everything with The Morgue and Scar, despite Razer's substitution for Firestorm 2, the 5th seeds still progress to Semi-Finals (and in much more dominant fashion), as shown below:
Eliminators
Note: After the eliminators, Scar broke down and could not be fixed in time so The Morgue was reinstated.
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT D

Another Heat that, despite new seeds, lacks an outcome change. Hypno-Disc would most likely kill Cronos and Crusader 2, but the latter would survive due to Killalot dumping Cronos in the pit, and as for Inverterbrat, it wouldn't survive the First Round melee, especially not against Iron-Awe and Mazakari, this means Mazakari would battle Crusader 2, and most likely lose, leaving (a battered) Crusader 2 to be slaughtered by Hypno-Disc in the Heat Final, and this sets up Chaos 2 VS Hypno-Disc in Semi-Final 1. Again, the TL;DR results are:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT E

Ah, finally, another interesting heat. With Steg 2 now being the Number 9 seeds, they are the ones pitted against Dominator 2 in the Heat Final (there is no way they would be eliminated in the Eliminator and there is no way they would lose to Major Tom). It's tough to say whether or not Steg 2 could beat Dominator 2, however, I believe that Dominator 2 would make Steg 2 extinct, meaning that the outcome of this Heat is unchanged from real life:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT F

Our second Heat that goes exactly as it did in real life, due to the unchanged seedings of Gemini and Berserk 2, and this doesn't change with the insertion of Small Torque:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT G

Behemoth fans rejoice! They're in the Semi-Finals! This heat would be a breeze for Behemoth, with Thermidor 2 being their only real threat in this Heat, and due to what happens with their claw, this means the lobster would most likely be broiled in Round 1. However, with Darke Destroyer 2 now being seeded, this means another machine would have to take their place in the battle against Warhog and the 29th Seeds Dreadnaut XP-1, enter stage left, Plunderbird 4, it would probably survive the First Round, but then get beaten by Kronic in Round 2:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT H

Once again, this Heat, despite Killerhurtz being the 32nd Seed instead of Suicidal Tendencies 2, doesn't change at all:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT I

Pussycat wins. That's really all that needs to be said, there is no way anyone in this heat could stop them, however, with Small Torque no longer in this Heat, Sir Chromalot goes here instead, but the Class Act doesn't make a dramatic difference to this Heats outcome:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT J

This one also goes down exactly as it did in real life, as Bigger Brother and Stinger are still the 14th and 30th Seeds, respectively:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT K

Once again, nothing changes here, both seeds (Evil Weevil 2 and Panzer Wraith) go out in Round 1:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT L

Spawn of Scutter win here again, they had quite an easy Heat (with the exception of Knightmare), and this doesn't change with Plunderbird 4 being swapped for Aggrobot 2:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT M

Replacing Sir Chromalot with Suicidal Tendencies 2 allows the seeds to advance to the Heat Final. However, Wild Thing still wins this heat:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT N

The Heat Final would still be the Seeds going one on one, however, it would be a rematch from Series 3: Panic Attack II VS X-Terminator 2. While it would be tough to say who would win, basing it off their Vengeance clash in Extreme 1, Panic Attack would beat X-Terminator again:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT O

Gravedigger (due to the problems with their arm) would almost certainly go out in Round 1, due to being flipped by either Overkill GTI or S.M.I.D.S.Y., and Darke Destoryer 2 would survive their Eliminator, but just like Aggrobot 2, they would fall to S.M.I.D.S.Y. in the Second Round, allowing S.M.I.D.S.Y. to battle, and defeat, Overkill GTI in the Heat Final:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final

HEAT P

A very interesting heat, this one. With 101 being the 2nd seeds instead of Hypno-Disc, it might struggle to get past Raizer Blade and The Predator, however, The Predator would still be eliminated, due to the fact that it's weaponry would be completely ineffective against 101. Cerberus would still be sent back to hell in Round 1, as nothing there changes. The Heat Final would be 101 VS Raizer Blade, this version of Series 4's equivalent to Firestorm 2 VS Bolt From The Blue from the real life Series 4. I also have no doubt that 101 would beat Raizer Blade, so the results for the final Heat are as follows:
Eliminators
Semi-Finals
Final
* = V-Max was a reserve robot, who was instated after Onslaught was forced to withdraw due to technical difficulties.

SEMI-FINAL 1

So, we now have the Semi-Finalists for this series, and first on the agenda is Semi-Final 1, the original participants and the new participants are listed below:
Original Semi-Final 1 Participants: Chaos 2 (1), Steg 2 (7), Wheely Big Cheese (15), Tornado, Thermidor 2, Pussycat (19), Firestorm 2 (5) and Dominator 2
New Semi-Final 1 Participants: Chaos 2 (1), Hypno-Disc (7), Wheely Big Cheese (15), Tornado, Behemoth (13), Firestorm 2 (3), Razer (5) and Dominator 2

Which means the first round battles are as follows: Chaos 2 VS Hypno-Disc, Wheely Big Cheese VS Tornado, Behemoth VS Firestorm 2 and Razer VS Dominator 2. I'm going to analyse each of the three new battles separately:
Chaos 2 (1) VS Hypno-Disc (7): This is a VERY difficult fight to predict the result of. Both machines can reach 20mph top speeds, and Hypno-Disc is very likely to have developed its srimech, regardless of whether or not they lost to Chaos 2. It's almost impossible to decide this one on merit, however, because Hypno-Disc is more likely than not to have its srimech, I'm going to say that Hypno-Disc defeats Chaos 2 on a Judges' decision, with the deciding factor being damage.
Behemoth (13) VS Firestorm 2 (3): Sorry Behemoth fans, but Behemoth is weak to wedges, and Firestorm 2 is about the best wedge in Robot Wars at this time, so the journey ends here for Behemoth.
Razer (5) VS Dominator 2: If this was one series later, Dominator 2 would have won this fight. Razer wins because they can attack Dominator 2's tires and puncture them, giving them the Judges' decision win via damage.

Then we get to Round 2: Hypno-Disc VS Tornado and Firestorm 2 VS Razer. Both these battles are quite easy to predict. Hypno-Disc cuts through Tornado and Razer beats Firestorm II. So, the results of Semi-Final 1 are:
Round 1
Round 2

SEMI-FINAL 2

Once again, the original participants of Semi-Final 2 and the new participants are listed below:
Original Semi-Final 2 Participants: Stinger (30), Mousetrap, Spawn of Scutter (10), Panic Attack II (4), Hypno-Disc (2), Splinter, Wild Thing (11) and X-Terminator 3 (13)
New Semi-Final 2 Participants: Stinger (30), Mousetrap, Spawn of Scutter (10), S.M.I.D.S.Y., 101 (2), Pussycat (16), Wild Thing (11) and Panic Attack II (6)

Which means, once again, we still have one original fight from Semi-Final 2, that being Stinger VS Mousetrap. I will analyse the other 3 battles:
Spawn of Scutter (10) VS S.M.I.D.S.Y.: Spawn of Scutter is just like S.M.I.D.S.Y., just not as fast but with a far more effective weapon, and far greater reliability. Therefore, Spawn of Scutter wins this one.
101 (2) VS Pussycat (16): Welp, with this battle all 4 of the Grand Finalists from Series 3 just crashed out. If it was nearly impossible for 101 to beat Chaos 2, then it is impossible for 101 to beat Pussycat. This battle ends after the cat's claws cut through the tracks on 101.
Wild Thing (11) VS Panic Attack II (6): This might be the HARDEST battle to decide in the entire series. Wild Thing is faster than Panic Attack and could drive them around the arena if Panic Attack got caught on the wedge, but they were beaten by Panic Attack in the Semi-Finals of Series 3, and Wild Thing is, with the exception of the lifter, identical to Thing II, which mean Panic Attack knows how to beat them. There was no way to decide this based on which robot was better because they are as good as each other. I had to a flip a coin to decide the winner (Panic Attack was Heads, Wild Thing was Tails). As you can see, Panic Attack II won the toss, therefore they go through to Round 2.

Thankfully, much like Semi-Final 1, Round 2 is much easier to decide. Stinger bludgeons Spawn of Scutter into submission and Pussycat kills the spider of Panic Attack. So, the overall results of Semi-Final 2 are as follows:
Round 1
Round 2

GRAND FINAL

Only 1 machine that made it to the Series 4 Grand Final in real life does not return for this Grand Final, and that's Chaos 2. So the Grand Final eliminators are as follows:
Hypno-Disc (7) VS Stinger (30) and Razer (5) VS Pussycat (16). I will analyse Hypno-Disc VS Stinger, as for Razer VS Pussycat, see here. Hypno-Disc (7) VS Stinger (30): Hypno-Disc, while it would have a few problems trying to land a solid hit, would beat Stinger quite easily. I bet Kevin Scott regrets putting all the electronics of Stinger in the wheels.
Third-Place Playoff: This would not happen, no surprises there. Razer and Stinger would both be mangled, but Stinger would be working well enough to fight, therefore, just like in real life, they win by default.
Grand Final: Hypno-Disc (7) VS Pussycat (16): See here. And with one cut, Pussycat win Series 4. Quick Grand Final results are below:
Eliminators
Playoff
Final

And there we go! This took me a good 6 hours to analyse everything and write it up. I hope you guys have enjoyed this. Let me know what other scenarios you want me to do in the comments. Bye for now!

EDIT: Grammar Corrections and removed the sentance about being "biased" in the Chaos 2/Hypno-Disc semi-final fight.

EDIT 2: I can see this post isn't as well received as my one yesterday, therefore additional feedback on what I can improve for next time will be much appreciated! Thank you! 😊
EDIT 3: Re-added Small Torque to the wars as I accidently used Inverterbrat twice, whoops!
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2016 /r/NFL Top 100 - 10-6

Hello and welcome again to the NFL Top 100 Countdown!
Today marks the penultimate group on this list, players ranked #10-#6, and our final list for players #5-#1 will be posted on Thursday, July 28th.
If you want to catch up, you can find all previous lists on the hub page.
Also, in a slight twist, today and Thursdays lists wil not be dropped in bulk. We will be releasing one name per hour, at 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1pm and 2pm ET each day.
But before we get to that, it is time to see the over-under for players 20-11, and I have to say… WOW. In total, we received over 330 votes (the average so far has been 150ish), but over 70 had to be thrown out because they were obvious attempts to skew the rankings (all other players rated 5, only Brady rated 1). And 42 of those were the pretty obvious work of one really dedicated fan, because they came in a 15 minute stretch on Saturday.
So with that out of the way, here is the corrected list for players 20-11:
Player Position Team Rank OveUnder Exact Score
Harrison Smith FS Minnesota Vikings #20 Very Overrated 3.45
Richard Sherman CB Seattle Seahawks #19 Overrated 3.19
DeAndre Hopkins WR Houston Texans #18 Overrated 3.09
Carson Palmer QB Arizona Cardinals #17 Very Overrated 3.44
Odell Beckham, Jr. WR New York Giants #16 Very Overrated 3.41
Marshal Yanda G Baltimore Ravens #15 Overrated 3.07
Tyron Smith OT Dallas Cowboys #14 Perfectly Rated 3.00
Patrick Peterson CB Arizona Cardinals #13 Very Overrated 3.33
Tom Brady QB New England Patriots #12 Extremely Underrated 2.32
Joe Thomas OT Cleveland Browns #11 Barely Underrated 2.96
And now, the rankings you have been waiting for, #10-#6!

#10 - Tyrann Mathieu, FS/CB, Arizona Cardinals - Previous Rank: Unranked

NFL Readers: Rank - #10, Score - 8.20
Written by: evilan
Stats 2015 Career
Combined Tackles 89 194
Sacks 1.0 2.0
Stuffs 9 16
Interceptions 5 8
Forced Fumbles 1 2
Fumble Recoveries 0 1
Pass Deflections 17 30
Before Arizona and Drugs
At LSU Tyrann Mathieu had all makings of being a rising star. He was a Heisman finalist in 2011, an absolute menace for ballcarriers and made QBs pay dearly in every game they played against him. Mathieu should have been a day 1 pick during the 2013 NFL Draft were it not for a series of failed drugged tests that sidelined his football dreams in 2012. Mathieu's former coach Les Miles remarked on the suspension and failed drug tests by saying that he had "quit counting [them] at 10." It was this problem with drug tests that caused Mathieu to fall from a day 1 pick all the way to the end of day 2 of the 2013 NFL Draft as well as end up with former teammate Patrick Peterson in Arizona. From his first ever day with the Cardinals Mathieu has been a headline grabbing individual and hedged a bet on himself to make headlines due to his play on the field by signing a rookie contract that hinged on his discipline to stay clean and play well. So far that bet has paid dividends for Mathieu as well for the Cardinals who took a serious risk in drafting him. It is amazing the kind of change Mathieu has undergone from his days of failing drug tests at LSU to becoming a real role model for kids playing football around the country.
NFL Career Awards
2015 Season
Call him a safety, call him a cornerback, call him the Honey Badger, no matter what you call him Tyrann Mathieu does it all. Mathieu might just be the most versatile defensive player in the NFL possessing a natural talent for all things defense and that innate ability of his was on full display in 2015. He set career highs in all major tracked stat categories and could be found at or near the top of the lists for FS and CB despite missing the final two games of 2015. However, what might be most impressive about these numbers is how he gets them. Mathieu doesn't just cover the receiver playing in the slot, but he also plays against TEs, is asked to rush the passer, makes plays on the runningback and does all this despite being just 5'9" and 186lbs. Scrappy defines his play style as he is always looking to make the big play or bail out the defense. Although almost every player on the field, including runningbacks, stands taller than him, he looks like the biggest baddest man on the field during every play.
Mathieu's best game of the year was probably in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers where he notched two impressive interceptions on Colin Kaepernick, one of which he ran back for a 33 yard TD in what would later become a rout. Although two other performances are not far behind this one in impressiveness. In the second game against the San Francisco 49ers Mathieu also played a lights out performance against Blaine Gabbert and company nabbing another interception, 13 tackles and a run stop behind the line of scrimmage. And against the Vikings Mathieu played another fantastic game grabbing 11 tackles, a tackle for a loss on Adrian Peterson and put together an overall solid coverage game against Teddy Bridgewater.
For his efforts, Mathieu earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl and notched his second 1st Team All-Pro. Profootballfocus also credited Mathieu with the highest overall grade by a cornerback and he tied with Jason Verrett for the best coverage grade by a cornerback in 2015.
Sadly the Badger's season was ended with a non-contact ACL tear in the blowout game against the Eagles (Hard to watch) and once again Mathieu will be spending a summer rehabilitating. This being Mathieu's second ACL tear, but thankfully no where near as damaging as his first knee ligament, he knows the healing and rehabilitating process well. He also has the support of Carson Palmer who has undergone two ACL tears himself and could be seen in Amazon's All or Nothing giving Mathieu support while working out. Thankfully all signs up to this point seem to indicate that Mathieu will be back sometime early in the regular season although some reservation has been made by the coaching staff as to when he will actually see game time. Mathieu wants to come back fully healthy in order to kick some ass with his best friend, mentor and idol Patrick Peterson once again.

#9 - Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers - Previous Rank: Unranked

NFL Readers: Rank - 3, Score - 4.61
Written by: heelincal
Stats 2015 Career
Passing Yards 3,837 18,263
Passing TDs 35 117
Completion % 59.7% 59.5%
Passer Rating 99.2 88.2
Rushing Yards 636 3,207
Rushing TDs 10 43
Career Awards
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (2015)
  • First-team All-Pro (2015)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2015)
  • 3× Pro Bowl (2011, 2013, 2015)
  • 8× NFC Offensive POTW
  • Bert Bell Award (2015)
  • NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2011)
Notable Records and Achievements
  • Most Passing Yards in First NFL Game
  • First Rookie QB to pass for 4,000 yards
  • Only Rookie with 4,000+ passing yards and 700 rushing yards
  • Most rushing TDs by a QB in NFL history (43) (Tied w/ Steve Young)
  • Most games in single season with at least one passing TD and one rushing TD (8)
  • Most rushing touchdowns in single season by QB (14)
  • Only Player with at least 30 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in the same season
2015 Season
Coming off a disappointing, injury-riddled 2014 season, hopes were not high for the 2015 Carolina Panthers. Cam's development had appeared to stagnate and the hits seemed to have taken their toll. Most pundits predicted the Panthers to be mediocre and miss the playoffs. The cloud of outside negativity was compounded when Benjamin, the only major WR threat, went down for the season in training camp. Cam would now have to carry more of the burden in 2015. The Panthers and Cam started out the season with 4 straight wins, but no one was really a believer yet. Cam Newton had played well, but it was against average-to-bad defenses. The national narrative was that the Seahawks would put Cam and his cats back in their rightful place.
Cam wasn't a huge fan of that script.
In the week 6 game at Seattle, Cam played extremely well. Down 9 with 5 minutes to go, Cam took the reigns and led two calm, steady marches down the field, culminating in a 26 yard TD pass to Greg Olsen with 30 seconds left. Overcoming the perceived "big brother" who had beaten us every year since 2011 and been the gold standard of a run-focused, defensively strong team. Carolina finished off the first half of the season undefeated, led by Cam's smart decision making and explosive playmaking.
The national opinion of Cam and his Panthers would not fully change until Thanksgiving, when Carolina absolutely dismantled the Cowboys in what was the most viewed NFL game of 2015 to that point. They would have a rocky end of the season, struggling to step on the throat of teams after Cam would lead the offense to a big lead in the first half. The story of the end of season would continue - Cam and Company jump out to a big lead early and then struggle to close it off, but ultimately come out on top. After overcoming the Seahawks, the offensive issues would be masked by Carson Palmer going full Jake Delhomme. The Panthers would then get punched in the face in the Super Bowl, with the Broncos Defense pushing around the WRs and Offensive Line.
The story of Cam's 2015 season was a step-up in efficiency. He's always been a highlight machine in the air & ground, but he was prone to forcing bad throws. Cam had the highest QB Rating of his career, and this was due to 4 main factors:
  1. Taking care of the ball
  2. Force feed the run game
  3. Run Smarter
  4. Rely on the defense
Cam executed all of those goals perfectly - bolstered by having the best offensive line of his career. Carolina's offensive emphasized the run game and relied on an opportunistic defense (who led the league in Turnover Margin) to give them short fields to work with. For all of those reasons, his "raw" numbers (yards, completions) looked unimpressive - causing a divisive view of his performance by fans. However it is undeniable when watching games that Cam's improvement took the Panthers to the next level.
Legacy
Entering his 6th year, Cam's legacy has the chance to start becoming legendary. He's already broke many records and barriers that "running QBs" should never have done. He has led the Panthers to break some of the glass ceilings Carolina has had in the past - first team to repeat as NFC South champs, first back-to-back playoff appearances, etc. He is changing the way the NFL perceives QB play, but still has yet to climb the last hurdle set before him. No team who lost the Super Bowl has come back to win it the next year. The Panthers have never had consecutive winning seasons. No Heisman winner in the last 20 years has won the Super Bowl.
There are a lot of barriers in his way, but Cam is primed to take the next step. The Panthers have returned essentially the entire 2015 team, plus the addition of Kelvin Benjamin returning. Cam should have a legit WR corps and an improved offensive line, along with yet another year of adding wrinkles into the playbook. With the changing NFL QB landscape going into 2016, Cam has a chance to solidify himself as one of the Top 3-5 QBs in the league. On top of that, he has a chance to become a hero of the Carolinas by finally hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the Panthers.

#8 - Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons - Previous Rank: 23

NFL Readers: Rank - 9, Score - 6.92
Written by: bruda
Stats 2015 Career
Receptions 136 414
Receiving Yards 1,871 6,201
Yards Per Reception 13.8 15.0
Receiving TDs 8 34
Back in 2011 the Atlanta Falcons needed a big WR threat to compliment Roddy White after failing to win a playoff game for the second time in three seasons. Having the 26th pick wasn't going to be enough so the Falcons traded all the way up to number 6 to grab Julio Jones. The Falcons fully expected Jones to be a monster wide out with elite speed, awareness, and off the charts measurables. In five seasons they have got everything they wanted and more. Jones has been arguably the best receiver in the NFL for two years now and is still in the prime of his career. He has already racked the statistics to put him on pace to be a top 10 all-time receiver.
  • 3 Time Pro-Bowler (2012, 2014, 2015)
  • First Team All-Pro (2015)
  • Receiving yards leader (2015)
  • #2 all time single season receiving yards (2015)
Julio's 2015 season was absolutely incredible considering the Falcons offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, misused Jones on many occasions. Still, Julio posted the second best receiving effort of all time narrowly missing out on Calvin Johnson's record by just 93 yards. Julio truly had some significant catches on his way to 1,871 yards with or without the help of Matt Ryan.
It is too early in Julio's career to really know what his legacy will be. Two more seasons at an elite level should firmly cement Jones as an all timer and could very well be on his way to the hall of fame to join fellow dirty birds Deion Sanders and Claude Humpherey. By the time Julio retires he could be a top 5 receiver of all time and even more likely, the greatest Falcon to ever wear the red and black.

#7 - Khalil Mack, 4-3 DE, Oakland Raiders - Previous Rank: 44

NFL Readers: Rank - 8, Score - 6.59
Written by: sio-kedelic
Stats 2015 Career
Combined Tackles 77 153
Tackles for Loss 23 39
Sacks 15.0 19.0
QB Hits 24 34
QB Hurries 34 74
Forced Fumbles 2 3
Passes Defensed 2 5
PFF Stats Grade Ranking (among Edge Players)
Pass Rush 90.0 3rd
Run Defense 96.3 1st
Pass Coverage 70.8 12th
Career Awards:
  • NFL Pro Bowl (2015)
  • 2x First-team All-Pro (2015)
  • Raiders franchise record-holder for sacks in a game (5) (Ed. Note: Cold, man…)
College:
  • t-1st all-time in NCAA for tackles for loss in career
  • all-time NCAA leader in forced fumbles in career
  • MAC Defensive Player of the Year (2013)
Massive shoutouts to GipsySafety for doing such an amazing job with his game logs, GIFs, and analysis, and thanks to El_Macho_Nacho and the rest of /oaklandraiders for helping me bust out this piece!
Mack's ascension into the NFL's elite started very early in his career. After a quiet start to his rookie season, Mack exploded into a DPOY candidate and earned #44 on the 2015 /nfl Top 100 despite minimal talent surrounding him. Everyone was excited to see where his career would go with a legitimate coaching staff, so when Jack Del Rio was hired away from the Broncos and he hired a coach from the Seahawks defense as his DC, fans and media were very excited. Some of this excitement was restrained, though, when Jack Del Rio announced that EDGE/OLB Khalil Mack would play more DE going forward. Why mess with the successful rookie season and restrain his versatility?
These worries were quickly silenced as Khalil Mack grew into one of the NFL's fiercest talents, becoming the first NFL player ever to earn All-Pro honors at OLB and DE in the same season. Mack provided regular QB pressure in his first season, but he was always just short of getting sacks and killing drives. This past season, Mack got the stats to go along with his pressure and signature run-stuffing dominance.
His ability to obliterate the run is amazing and is immediately the first thing fans see in Mack, as he regularly demolishes 1-on-1s and lives in the backfield. His power isn't his only amazing trait, though, as he also has the speed to pull off of blocks and destroy screens. Regular double-teams aren't enough to keep him from impacting the run, either. He was the highest-graded defender by PFF in terms of run defense by a mile, even when he's regularly used to stunt and eat blockers and allows his teammates to shine.
Despite a ridiculous five-sack second-half against the Broncos, Khalil Mack is still a raw talent and has room to grow as a pass-rusher, which should be terrifying for fans of other teams. He has a ton of power that regularly destroys blockers, but his arsenal of moves is still growing for a player of his caliber. His most-successful pass-rushing move, his spin move, has grown pretty significantly during his two years in Oakland, especially once JDR and the rest of the staff started working with him. As he got farther into his second season, he learned how to string moves together and added a rip and swim move to his roster. It's difficult to imagine him being even more dominant than he already is, but if he can continue to add pass-rushing tools and get more game experience, he could be nearly impossible to contain.
Going forward, fans expect Khalil Mack to continue to ascend to greatness. The Raiders have had a rich history of dominant defensive players, but Mack looks like he can earn his spot with the best of them. He's earned league-wide respect for being nearly impossible to block 1-on-1, and even Von Miller calls him a "one-man wrecking crew." He's truly one of the NFL's best young players, and after a decade of disappointment, Mack looks like the franchise cornerstone that the franchise desperately needed to return to excellence.

#6 - Luke Kuechly, 4-3 MLB, Carolina Panthers - Previous Rank: 8

NFL Readers: Rank - 6, Score - 5.31
Written by: bersinator
2015 & Career Stats
Stats 2015 Career
Combined Tackles 118 591
Sacks 1 7
Forced Fumbles 2 3
Passes Defensed 10 37
Interceptions 4 11
NFL Career Awards
  • 3× First-team All-Pro (2013–2015)
  • 3× Pro Bowl (2013–2015)
  • Butkus Award (2014)
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2013)
  • NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2012)
College Awards
  • 3× First-team All-American (2009–2011)
  • 3× First-team All-ACC (2009–2011)
  • ACC Athlete of the Year (2011)
  • ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2011)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2011)
  • Butkus Award (2011)
  • Jack Lambert Award (2011)
  • Lombardi Award (2011)
  • Lott Trophy (2011)
2015 Season
People often call the MLB of the team the QB of the defense. That statement is the epitome of Luke Kuechly. Kuechly has been seen as a great Middle Linebacker but he took it to another level in his 2015 campaign. His DPOTY award might have been in 2013 but he made strides in every single aspect of his game. Pass rushing, tackling, and covering, all improved. Not only did he do all this while missing 4 games with a concussion, but he also received the best LB grade ever given by PFF. Possibly his best play all year was this amazing interception over Jason Witten on Thanksgiving. What's so great about this play you might ask? Well Roman Harper says it best.
During the Dallas game, Luke checked us completely out of a blitz at the very last moment, a scenario we hadn’t even practiced. Normally with that play we will just flip the side of the blitz if a change is needed. But Luke got everybody into a different coverage and communicated with the defensive line to rush Tony Romo with four men just before the ball was snapped. Then Luke saw the beginnings of a dig route by the slot receiver and recognized that Jason Witten was likely coming over the top, trying to work the gap between me and the linebackers. Luke just slid into the window, and Romo threw it right to him for his first of two interceptions in the game. And it all happened in the span of about five seconds.
Legacy
Luke Kuechly's legacy on the Panthers is all but unknown. At only 25 he is already being seen as one of the greatest Panthers of all time. His talent is impeccable and leaves many to wonder "Is he even in his prime?" It'd be hard to imagine that he isn't, considering his current pace. 3 First-team All-Pros and 3 Pro Bowls in 4 seasons tells you all you need to know. He has led the Panthers defense to some of their best achievements yet. The Panthers three peat of the NFC South happening just a year after Luke's appearance on the team is not a coincidence. The team got better the second he stepped on the field and has continued to get better. He is the defensive leader of this young team and you have to think only greater things are to come.
And that concludes today's edition of the /NFL Top 100, players #10-#6!
To vote on who was over or underrated, I will be including the link for all 10 players in Thursday's post.
And everyone get ready for the reveal of the final five players on this list, coming Thursday, July 28th!
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With three players currently inside the world’s top 25, Spain have a high-quality line-up, are yet again amongst the heavy favourites to win the Davis Cup in 2020. The x-factor is obviously the great Rafael Nadal, but he’s got some very good allies in Roberto Bautista-Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta. The final of the X Factor is this weekend and Saara Aalto goes in as the favourite to win the 13th series of the show. She’s joined by Matt Terry and 5 After Midnight who should prove tough competition. All three remaining acts have been in the bottom two at least once in the series and we’ve taken a look at each contestant and how their odds have changed over time. Odds to Win America's Got Talent - America's Got Talent is another in a long series of TV contest shows that have found a big audience. Based on a show from the UK (called Britain's Got Talent), America's Got Talent is more than a singing contest (like American Idol or The Voice), so the betting odds for the show are a little bit different.Yes, you can still bet on who you think the overall The latest betting odds for the UK series of The Voice. The X Factor Big Brother Survival of the Fittest min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&C's apply, 18+ begambleaware.org What we witnessed on X Factor last Saturday was an almighty hatchet job on Anton and a similar one for […] Since EntertainmentOdds introduced a points-based system of tv betting recommendations at the start of 2014, the site has made a profit of +656.5pts to a 1pt level stake

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