MLB Season Predictions

MLB Season Predictions

by Ernest Ronk

Here at More Than Just a Game we love sports. With spring training coming to a close and the start of the season a week away we thought this was a perfect time to offer up some predictions on the upcoming season.

Here is a few sentences about every team. I used Boyd’s Bets for the Vegas over/under win totals and used the PECOTA and Fangraphs projections.

NL East
New York Mets – 88

The two experts disagree here. Fan graphs likes the Mets for 88, while Pecota is pencilling in 91.

Washington Nationals – 87

Both sites think this number is dead on.

Miami Marlins – 80.5

This seems to be a popular sleeper pick. Fan graphs sees them getting to .500, but Pecota thinks they come up short of the over/under.

Philadelphia Phillies – 66.5

This number is probably dead on. This is a team trying to build from the ground up.

Atlanta Braves – 65

Both sites see this team with 68 wins. It’s a full rebuild going on here.

NL Central
Chicago Cubs – 89

The Cubs brought in Jason Hayward and Ben Zobrist to add to an already impressive hitting lineup. Pecota has them for 92 wins while Fangraphs likes them for 94.

St. Louis Cardinals – 87.5

The Cardinals always over achieve, so it’s never a surprise that both projections show them coming up 4-5 wins short. St. Louis lost two top players in Jason Hayward and John Lackey.

Pittsburgh Pirates – 87

The run probably stops here for Pittsburgh. Neither site thinks another 90 win season is in site. Both have them 3-4 wins under the mark.

Milwaukee Brewers – 71.5

Who knows about this team. Fan graphs doesn’t think they get to 71, while Pecota likes them to go over by six.

Cincinnati Reds – 71

No Chapman. No Frazier. No improvement. Both sites thinks Vegas is close.

NL West
San Francisco Giants – 90

Neither projection thinks the Giants get to 90. The signing of Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto bolsters and already solid rotation, but Fangraphs only sees 85 wins and Pelota likes them for 87.

LA Dodgers – 87

The Dodgers lost a stud in Zack Greinke, but did add Scott Kazmir. Still, Pecota has them for 94 wins while Fangraphs projects 91.

Arizona Dbacks – 84.5

They made a splash by stealing Greinke away from the Dodgers, but neither site seems them making the jump past 80 wins.

San Diego Padres – 74

Fan graphs thinks Vegas is dead on, while Pecota believes it’s a 77 win season. Losing Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton, and Ian Kennedy spells trouble for me.

Colorado Rockies – 68.5

Is there some value in the over here? Both sites have the Rockies at 74.

AL East
Toronto Blue Jays – 87

This is a small lean towards the under with both sites thinking 87 is high. There is plenty of offense, but not a lot of improvement.

Boston Red Sox – 85.5

Signing Dave Price should help their rotation. Both projections think this team will be improved and go 3-5 wins over their total.

NY Yankees – 85

This number looks dead on. An already exception bullpen added Aroldis Chapman.

Baltimore Orioles – 80.5

Another one Pecota sees as being off. They have the O’s at 72 while Fangraphs has a more generous 78.

Tampa Bay Rays – 78

Here’s a sleeper. Both sites see them going over. Fan graphs by four, but Pecota by a whopping 13. Corey Dickerson, Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, and Steve Pearce were all brought in.

AL Central
KC Royals – 87

The Royals might be the best under bet on the board. Neither site thinks Kansas City gets to 80.

Detroit Tigers – 85

A lot of big money was spent here. Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmerman got paid, but can they deliver? Neither site thinks they get above .500.

Cleveland Indians – 84

Don’t sleep on the Indians according to Pecota. They have them going over by 8. I don’t know if I like that since there aren’t any big additions.

Chicago White Sox – 80.5

I like the addition of Todd Frazier, but both sites see this projection as dead on.

Minnesota Twins – 77.5

This total is probably about right, even though the Twins did add Byung-ho Park. He’s a Korean slugger who hit 105 home runs the last two years.

AL West
Texas Rangers – 86

This total seems high as both sites like the under by 5 wins.

Houston Astros – 85.5

There might be some value in the over here. The young core should only improve and both sites like the over.

Seattle Mariners – 83

A new manager but the Mariners probably will still find themselves right around .500.

LA Angels – 82.5

Pecota doesn’t love the Angels. Fan graphs thinks this number is about right.

Oakland A’s – 75.5

The A’s probably won’t be very good, but Fangraphs thinks they go over by 3 wins.

Table Tennis Training

Table Tennis Training

by Ernest Ronk

If you want to get the most out of your ability then you will have to train properly. Here are a few tips I recommend to all players.

Maximize every training session. What are you trying to achieve? What goals do you have? Make your decision and then plan your time accordingly. Use the drills that will help improve the skills you desire to improve upon.

Utilize every resource available. You can watch instructional videos. You can work with a coach. You can watch tapes of some of the best players in the world. Or, you can attend clinics. Mixing up where and who you train with will help you improve all aspects of your game.

Workout. You want to be in good shape so you can move around the table. This requires you to do cardio. You never want to get winded. You should also do some weight training to build your strength.

Stretching. You need to be flexible. This reduces injuries and improves your movements. Do both static and dynamic stretches. Dynamic would be some light jogging, jumping jacks, trunk twisters, that sort of thing. Static stretches are when you bring your arm across your chest to work the triceps or when you touch your toes to loosen up your hamstrings.

What are some drills you can do? Here is a list of what I recommend you try out with a partner.

Backhand to backhand. You and your partner hit it back and forth to each other’s backhand corner.

Forehand to forehand. Similar to the last drill but you hit it back and forth to the forehand corner.

Backhand to forehand and forehand to backhand. This time you practice where one of your hits only forehand strokes while the other hits only backed strokes. You hit it in a straight line perpendicular to the net.

Putting in time doing those drills will give you a nice start, but if you want to get advanced you have to practice mixing it up.

Start rotating hitting it to your opponent’s forehand and backend on every other return. This will help you get a feel to hitting it to both sides of the table.

Start mixing up your spin. Try hitting one return with top spin and the next with backspin. Mix the spins up with both your fore and backhands.
Here is a video of some drills you can use to improve your ga

Ping Pong Strategy

Ping Pong Strategy

by Ernest Ronk

Do you play in ping pong tournaments? If so then you will find yourself up against someone you have never played before. You won’t know their tendencies. You won’t know how good or bad they are at certain things.

Do they attack or do they sit back and play defense? Are they strong or weak going any certain way? It will help if you can watch them play a match before hand against another player.

You have to start the match out by feeling out your opponent. Test their ability to go both ways. Attack them at times while also laying back. What is the best way to return their serves? How are they going to return yours? What is their strength and weakness.

You need to devise and use a tactic in order to win. Especially against an opponent that has abilities that are nearly equal to your own.

There are typically two types of players. Control players do not take any risks. They want the ball on the table and never go for the ill. They avoid mistakes and try to outlast you.

Power players on the other hand are aggressive. They try to force the action and get you to make a mistake. These players typically understand how to spin the ball and use it to their advantage. They can also use their power to put a lot of speed on the ball.

No matter what type of player you are playing you want to vary your spin rate, strokes used, and where you place the ball.

If you hit it across the net the same way each time it allows the opponent to adjust. They can then take control of the game. Varying shots keeps them guessing. It keeps them from initiating attacks and forcing them to react to yours.

It also helps if you can figure out where players like to hit from. You can then place the ball in other areas of the table to keep it out of their favorite zones. Typically players like the ball close to their forearm and close to the body on the backhand side. Players typically don’t like the ball close to the body on their forearm side, at the center of their body, or out wide on either side of the table.

Once you start getting a feel then you want to get behind the line. This means moving your body in an intercept course to the direction the ball is traveling. When your opponents serves, pushes, or places the ball it is traveling towards your side of the table. You want to move in an intercept course so that by the time the ball bounces on your site of the table you are in prime position to make contact with the ball.

That prime position is when the ball reaches the top of the bounce. This is the best spot for you to hit your return.

Here is a video to help with your serving strategy: