Category Archives: billannechino

The Flagrant Foul’s MLB Awards

LA's Corey Seager had an incredible first season. (Getty Images)

LA’s Corey Seager had an incredible first season. (Getty Images)

– Bill Annechino

By the time you read this column, the MLB will have handed out its Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards, with the Most Valuable Player to follow.  As is always the case with awards, some people will think the committee nailed it, while others will take issue with some, or all, of the selections.  My goal here is to take an unbiased look at the candidates and winners, and try to figure out where the selection committee was right, and where they fell short.  All statistics for this column come courtesy of Fangraphs, unless otherwise noted.   Continue reading

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The Hard Foul Podcast: Episode 80

After a loss last night the Browns tank is going swimmingly. (Getty Images)

After a loss last night the Browns tank is going swimmingly. (Getty Images)

New Hard Foul Podcast! In this episode Evan and Jim are joined by Bill Annechino to talk about lucky and unlucky NFL teams, how teams should rebuild, and preview Week 10 of the NFL.

Two Ways to Listen:

iTunes   SoundCloud

If you have an Android device and don’t want to use SoundCloud there are several apps on the Play Store that our show is available on. We recommend Podcast and Radio Addict. Continue reading

They Are Who We Think They Are: The NFL Luck Factor Revisited

 

There's nothing lucky about what the Ravens are doing this season; being perfectly average.

There’s nothing lucky about what the Ravens are doing this season; being perfectly average. (Getty Images)

– Bill Annechino 

A few weeks back, I took a look at some of the luckiest teams in the NFL, based on their projected win-loss record and their Pythagorean Win Expectations. Well, now that we are past the midway point of the season, I figured I would approach this a little differently. There are still a few outliers to discuss, but I’d rather look at the teams that are exactly who we think they are; the teams that are performing pretty much exactly how we should expect them to. Continue reading

The Definitive MLB Free Agency Preview

Aroldis Chapman is a World Series Champion and is about to get a whole hell of a lot richer. (Getty Images)

Aroldis Chapman is a World Series Champion and is about to get a whole hell of a lot richer. (Getty Images)

– Bill Annechino

With the Hot Stove season of MLB about to start, I figured this would be as good a time as any to offer a free agent primer.  I wanted my primer to be a little different than the typical Listicles that you will find in that I will not be ranking my free agents by traditional “slash line” stats or the Triple Crown stats.  Instead, I am focusing on advanced stats.  For hitters, this means I will be looking at weighted on base average (wOBA), park-adjusted weighted runs created (wrc+), batting average on balls in play (BABIP), and wins above replacement (fWAR).  For pitchers, those statistics are going to be park-adjusted expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP-), batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and wins above replacement (fWAR), of which the “f” signifies that it is the Fangraphs stat, as every statistics outlet calculates WAR somewhat differently.  Since I’m a great guy and I want you, the reader, to have a more nuanced understanding of baseball for having read my article, I’ll take a second to explain these statistics.  For the purposes of this column, all statistics and terminologies are via Fangraphs.com, which is a website that you should be reading and using, if you aren’t already. Continue reading

Michigan’s Talented Mr. Peppers: He’s Done It All In College but What Position Should He Play at the Next Level?

Jabrill Peppers has the skill and athleticism to play all over the field, but at which position will he be most valuable?

Jabrill Peppers has the skill and athleticism to play all over the field, but at which position will he be most valuable?

– Bill Annechino

If you have been watching college football this season, or even if you’re a casual football fan on the outside, chances are that you’ve heard of Jabrill Peppers, Michigan’s do-it-all Heisman candidate. Peppers is possibly the ideal embodiment of the “positionless football” revolution; a guy who has lined up at outside linebacker, safety, offensive weapon and returned kicks. According to information from the University of Michigan Athletic Department, Peppers has lined up in 12 different positions this season. So, the question on everyone’s mind is: what position will he play in the NFL? Continue reading

The Flagrant Foul’s Top 5 Baseball Games Ever and a NFL Week 9 Preview

While you were dodging frozen pigs and escaping from a frozen hell, the impossible happened: the Cubs won the World Series.

While you were dodging frozen pigs and escaping from a frozen hell, the impossible happened: the Cubs won the World Series.

– Bill Annechino

If you want a quick recap of what’s happened in sports since my last column, there are really only three things you need to know:  

The first thing is that the Thursday night game was yet another non-competitive game, this time by way of a Falcons blowout.  It has to be considered troubling for Tampa Bay that Jameis Winston’s development has largely plateaued.  This is only his second season in the league, so it’s possible for him to take a big step forward between this year and next year (think Derek Carr), but you have to think that the Buccaneers were expecting to be getting more out of their franchise quarterback by now.   Continue reading

Explaining Anthony Davis’s Ridiculous Start

The New Orleans Pelicans may be struggling but Anthony Davis sure isn't. (Getty Images)

The New Orleans Pelicans may be struggling but Anthony Davis sure isn’t. (Getty Images)

– Bill Annechino

So, now that the buzz has kind of worn off after those historic first two games that Anthony Davis played, I think it’s time to figure out just what the hell was going on, and how he did it.  He joined Michael Jordan as one of the only 2 players to have scored more than 90 points in their team’s first two games (Jordan had 91 back in 1986 and Davis has 95, if you were curious).  He is still seeking that elusive first win, but it is safe to say that the Pelicans’ issues lie elsewhere than their MVP candidate.  With these impressive statistics in mind, let’s take a closer look at how Anthony Davis is doing this, and what they look like in the bigger picture.   Continue reading

Game 7 World Series Preview: A Prelude to History

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The Cubs bats (especially Kris Bryant’s) came alive as they rolled over Cleveland in Game 6. (Getty Images)

Bill Annechino

Yesterday, I predicted the Cubs would win Game 6, and go on to win the World Series in 7 games. So far, the first half of that prediction has come true. Both the Indians and the Cubs now stand 1 game away from their first World Series title in quite some time; perhaps you have heard this storyline? With the Cubs sending Kyle Hendricks to the mound to face off against Corey Kluber, this is probably the best match up that either fan base could have asked for. If you’re Cleveland, you have to feel good about Kluber’s chances, after he has already come out and dominated 2 starts in this World Series, not unlike Madison Bumgarner in 2014. Chicago, meanwhile, should feel good about Kyle Hendricks, who led the Majors in ERA this year. In a fascinating wrinkle, Cleveland’s home field advantage has been effectively neutralized by the presence of Kyle Schwarber, who is only hitting as a DH, due to his miraculously quick recovery from a torn ACL suffered at the beginning of this season. This game, to me, hinges on whether or not the Indians’ ace will be able to dominate like he has all Series, or if a combination of the Cubs seeing him a third time in 9 days and this being his second straight start on short rest proves to be too much for Kluber to overcome. In this article, I am going to compare Kluber’s first 2 World Series starts to see if we can gain any insight into what his third might look like, as well as look at Kyle Hendricks’ lone start to try to figure out what a winning game plan for him may look like, before making my pick for Game 7 and whether or not I will stick to my original prediction. Continue reading

Arrieta’s Approach and Chicago’s Chances

jake-arrieta-by-himself

For better or worse, Game 6 will go the way of Jake Arrieta (credit: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune)

– Bill Annechino

I have a friend who is a lifelong Cubs fan.  Before and during last night’s game 5, I told this friend that if the Cubs win, they are going to win the World Series.  At this point, the few people reading this column are probably asking themselves why I would think this, given that the Indians have had the Cubs’ number so far this series.  The answer to this question lies in the advantage I believe the Cubs will enjoy having Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup in the American League park as well as seeing Corey Kluber a third time in 9 days, but it starts with Game 6, and all eyes will be on Jake Arrieta, a pitcher who, since his arrival to the Cubs, has gone from a Quadruple-A type pitcher with the Orioles to a Cy Young winner.  The biggest part of his transformation has been, in my opinion, a sharp increase in the amount of ground balls that he is able to induce.  By looking at some of his pitching tendencies, I am going to outline a clear path for the Cubs to win Game 6 and induce the all-important Game 7.  Continue reading

Week 8 Review by Haiku and the Mid-season NFL Awards

Derek Carr and the 6-2 Raiders are for real. (Getty Images)

Derek Carr and the 6-2 Raiders are for real. (Getty Images)

– Bill Annechino

Titans 36 Jaguars 22 (Thursday)

Did anyone watch?
Thursday night football must go
Jags fired the wrong coach.

Continue reading