Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Options

This article has been submitted by Jack Forsayeth.

The Maple Leafs have had a pretty confusing and rough off-season to date. Richard Peddie has no idea what is going on but I think that Cliff Fletcher does. Ron Wilson is a good and probably safe hire for this franchise. He is a proven winner and his only knock seems to be ONLY getting to late rounds of playoffs, and maybe some GM feuds along the way. That sounds like a breeze as a Leaf fan.

One thing is for certain: there will be a whole new team out there that may not include the likes of Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, Brian McCabe, Pavel Kubina, and the list goes on. Based on last year’s record I would say that is a good thing, although I do hope Mats stays around and Kubina can be useful.

Cliff Fletcher made another decision recently that may be the best one a GM has made for the Leafs, or any team, in a very long time and that is checking your ego at the door as you walk into the draft room. He has stated that every final decision will come down through Dave Morrison and the rest of his Amateur Scouting crew. He has put full trust in the guys who see thousands of amateur games a year rather than himself, having only watched a few. Sounds pretty smart to me. They haven’t been given much of a chance in recent years because they don’t get picks until the 3rd or 4th round. I already see a turnaround in this organization when a member of top management lets someone else make decisions.

The draft is deep this year and the Leafs should be able to get a great player with their 7th pick, if they keep it. Unfortunately they may not get one of the big four defensemen this year. There have been rumors that they are looking to move up and Fletcher has been known to make trades on draft day.

Tampa will take Stamkos, that much is for sure.
More after the jump!

The Raptors Have a Choice to Make: Jose Calderon or TJ Ford

What follows after the jump is a debate on which point guard the Toronto Raptors should keep for the forseeable future. Jose Calderon is a restricted free agent and is expected to command serious cash on the free agent market. T.J. Ford is under contract for a few more seasons at roughly $8M per year. Both have been spoke about in trade rumors, and it seems to the point that neither can co-exist with the other for another full season. Jack Forsayeth believes Jose should go, while Blake Murphy takes the stance that Ford should pack his bags.
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NBA Playoff Preview

Instead of doing the playoff preview myself, I decided to contract it out to several members of the team. Even though the internet is scattered with predictions right now, ours are just as valuable…actually, probably way more value. I’m not sure if you knew this, but I’m a billionaire from NBA gambling alone (actually, I did make a lot of money gambling on the league’s scoring/assists/rebounding leaders in the pre-season). Regardless, what follows are the predictions and series breakdowns from four of our best and brightest.

Just because, my predictions for the whole playoffs are:
Bos d. Atl in 4
Det d. Phi in 4
Orl d. Tor in 6
Cle d. Was in 6
LA d. Den in 5
NO d. Dal in 6
SA d. Phx in 7
Uta d. Hou in 7

Bos d. Cle in 5
Det d. Orl in 6
Uta d. LA in 7
NO d. SA in 6

Uta d. NO in 7 (Deron v. CP3 are you kidding)
Bos d. Det in 5

Finals: Bos d. Uta in 6 (Yes, I changed it back…10:21am on Saturday, so, we’re OK.
On with the breakdowns…
More after the jump!

Summary of MLB Division Previews

This article is the conclusion of six division previews, all submitted by Jack Forsayeth. He is carrying this team.

That is it folks, you should now be prepared for the season, your fantasy baseball draft, as well as Vegas. Now that I have gone through each division, thoroughly I might add, I will sum up the league and pick MVP/Cy Young and make playoff predictions.

Bold denotes a playoff team. click the division for Jack’s detailed analysis.
More after the jump!

AL East Preview

This article is the final one in a series of divisional previews by Jack Forsayeth. The amalgamated predictions will come out later this week.

The moment you have all been waiting for. I hope you enjoy it. Bottoms up!

Baltimore Orioles
Easily the worst in this division and they lost their two best players in Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada. Their lineup is pretty bad but much better than their rotation. The key to the lineup lies in a good pair of young outfielders in Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. Markakis is already a superstar hitting .300 with 23 HRs and 112 RBI last season and Jones will reach similar status in the next couple of years. They are added to savvy veterans Kevin Millar, Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff, Ramon Hernandez, and Brian Roberts. Roberts will likely be traded soon but he is still productive for this team and a top-5 second baseman.
More after the jump!

AL Central Preview

This article has been submitted by Jack Forsayeth. Expect his AL East Preview and overall preview sometime early this week.

You know the drill by now, bottom up!

Kansas City Royals
It blows my mind that a team can be this bad for this long and that will not change this year. There has been one bright spot in their lineup and that is newly acquired outfielder Jose Guillen, who is not even that good. He will get you 20+ homeruns but will struggle getting RBIs in this lineup. He would not even be a top-2 player on 95% of other teams. After that they have young players Alex Gordon, who struggles to get on base, and Mark Teahan, who has trouble hitting for power. Teahan is probably better known as the guy Billy Beane scouted in Moneyball rather than for his efforts at the plate. Gordon could have a semi-breakout year…maybe. It is rather embarrassing that these are the two best young hitters on a team that has consistently had top-5 draft picks for what seems like a decade. No one else is really worth mentioning.
More after the jump!

NL East Preview

This article has been submitted by Jack Forsayeth. With the MLB season just around the corner, you can expect the last two of these divisional previews in the next week.

I was going to rotate between AL and NL, but people seem to want the NL East next. This is good, because then I can end with the AL East and Central. This is probably the easiest division to predict but maybe not. Starting from the bottom…

Washington Nationals
It is tough to call who will end up at the bottom of the division but I think it will be the Nats. They are going to really struggle this year. They have some good young guys in the lineup with Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge but they lack at almost every other position. Christian Guzman and Ronnie Belliard are average middle infielders and Lo Duca behind the plate will help this year, but guys like Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns, and Dmitri Young in the heart of the order around Zimmerman will simply not cut it in this division.
More after the jump!

NL Central Preview

This article is part three of a six-part look at Major League Baseball’s divisions, as prepared by Jack Forsayeth.

Going back to the NL and moving on to the largest division in the MLB with six teams. Gone are the days when St. Louis was a perennial contender so that opens the division up for some other fast-approaching teams. I’m going to start from the bottom again.

Pittsburgh Pirates
It will likely be another rough year for the Pirates. They still have Jason Bay but he doesn’t want to be there, Freddie Sanchez will get on base, and Xavier Nady is average. The rest of their lineup is all pretty young but have yet to prove themselves. They may have a decent future if some of these guys turn into stars but that won’t happen this year. Bay needs to return to 2006 form in order for them to have any chance at graduating from the basement.
More after the jump!

NL West Preview

Tim LincecumThis article has been submitted by Jack Forsayeth.

The NL West will prove to be the most interesting division in 2008 because there are four teams that could legitimately win the division or secure the Wild Card and the fifth has some of the best young pitchers in the league. It will, however, be tough for two teams to make it because of the level of competition. As I write this I have no idea on my final order so I am going to start from the bottom and leave everyone on the edge of their seats.
More after the jump!

AL West Preview

This article has been submitted by foul pole-to-foul pole hitter Jack Forsayeth.

This is the first installment of MLB divisional previews that will be written before the start of the season, so get excited and get ready to argue. I am going to go West to East because I am saving the best for last.

The AL West has become the forgotten division of the AL because it has lacked serious World Series competitors in the past and is the only division in the majors with a lowly 4 teams. However, the two best teams in the division made some serious off-season moves that may catapult them into the same sentences as the Red Sox or Tigers. Here is how I rank them and here is why:
More after the jump!