Prospects who can make a major impact in 2017

Ben Chiarot Authentic Jersey
When I published my ranking of the top 100 prospects in baseball, I was considering the long-term value of the players on the list and off of it. I was also considering how far away they were and the risk that they might not reach their ceilings and might fail to reach the majors at all.

Potential impact in 2017 was just a small consideration. Although there¡¯s clear value in being confident that Player X is going to produce for you this year, few teams will give up big, long-term upside for the certainty of a player in the short term (except when Trea Turner is involved).

This list goes the other way: It looks at 2017, period. Full stop. -30-. I¡¯m combining my evaluations of these players¡¯ potential for production right now with what I freely admit are educated guesses on playing time.

I don¡¯t think there are even 10 rookies today who clearly have everyday jobs or rotation spots in the big leagues for Opening Day, so half the list comprises players I expect to play three-quarters of the season or more but not break with a club on April 2.

I have ranked and written about the top 20 prospects for this year, and I have listed in a separate section at the end anyone else I think has a good shot of producing this year.

Arthur Moats Authentic Jersey The Cubs say there has been no movement between the sides since the team and Arrieta agreed on a $15.6 million deal for 2017. In the past, Arrieta has said he’s not necessarily interested in giving a hometown discount, though he didn’t make any such declarations on Wednesday.

Lions kicker Matt Prater will stay away from one thing this offseason: Kicking

Matt Prater will work out in the offseason. He’ll do cardio. He’ll lift. He’ll watch film. There’s one thing the Detroit Lions kicker won’t do much of, though.

He won’t actually kick.

“I don’t kick a lot in the offseason,” Prater said. “Now I really wait until OTAs to really start kicking. Just lift weights and get ready, watch film and try to learn from mistakes, but I think more of my mistakes are from human error more than anything.”

At this point in his career, Prater understands his process. He’s become one of the NFL’s top kickers — including representing the NFC in the Pro Bowl this year and making a 76-yard field goal in practice. He’s been consistent, too, making at least 80 percent of his field goals every year since 2012.

Matt Prater says he will wait until OTAs to really start kicking.

This season, he made 31 of 36 field goal attempts, including all seven tries from 50 yards or longer. He also hit all eight of his field goal attempts in the final three minutes of games this season, when pressure is higher.

Having Prater take a light kicking regimen in the offseason makes sense, too. He’ll be 33 years old by the start of the 2017 season and, while not old by kicking standards in the NFL, it’s worth it to the Lions to save the number of kicks on his right leg.

It’s why Detroit typically brings in camp legs during OTAs and training camp to help ease the amount of work Prater and punter Sam Martin have to put on their legs when games don’t matter and practices are daily.

Sure, it helps to have the camp legs in case of injury, but Prater and Martin appear to have their jobs locked in for the foreseeable future, so it’ll just save them from wearing out or potentially getting hurt.

Brock Osweiler was a huge disappointment after signing his big free-agent contract

This is unusual relative to the rest of Super Bowl history. Only 12 of the other 44 Super Bowls have been decided by one score. In terms of more advanced analytics, consider this: 17 of the 50 biggest single-play swings in Super Bowl win probability have occurred in games involving the Patriots since 2001. (Win probability is a statistical model that estimates, based on history, a team’s chances of winning given the exact circumstances of the moment.)

After yet another tight outcome in Super Bowl LI, let’s update the post we originally published last week. We’re using win probability to identify a handful of plays that have cemented the Patriots’ history. In some cases, the plays that most swung the likely outcome could be different than what you thought. Research is courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information senior statistics analyst Jacob Nitzberg.

Below: In each of the following charts, “diff” signifies the difference from the win probability at the start of the play to the end of the play, and the percentage always refers to the Patriots’ win probability.

Brock Osweiler was a huge disappointment after signing his big free-agent contract, and Houston is likely looking at other options (hello, Tony Romo?) for 2017. But the Texans can’t get out of the Osweiler contract yet, so he’s still in the picture to some extent next season. Can he be what they hoped he would be?

Former Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, one of the top prospects available in the 2017 NFL draft, says he won’t attend the April event in Philadelphia.
Garrett on Saturday said he’s been caught off guard by all the attention the comments have received.

“It was supposed to be pretty much a joke and not taken too seriously,” said Garrett, who is in Houston on Saturday for the Lombardi Award ceremony. “It kind of got blown up.”

He later added: “Take a joke, people.”

Shanahan never got a chance to redeem himself in overtime, as the Patriots scored on the opening possession.

Now on the edge of Matt Bryant’s field goal range, the Falcons attempted another pass rather than run the ball to pick up a few yards to help with the field goal try. To make matters worse, the Falcons were called for a hold and pushed well out of field goal range. An incomplete pass on third down led to a punt, and that punt led to a 10-play, 91-yard Patriots drive to tie the game.

Shanahan never got a chance to redeem himself in overtime, as the Patriots scored on the opening possession. There is no way to know if three straight runs and a field goal would have been enough, but it sure seems likely, doesn’t it?

The Falcons’ late-game woes mean the 49ers are getting a young coach who isn’t perfect. That’s not a surprise. But at the end of the day, 49ers fans should be happy that they snagged one of the top up-and-coming head coaches in the league as opposed to another retread or a yes-man hire like the one that was made with Jim Tomsula.

That was the case in the Super Bowl as well — until late in the game.

With 9:40 left to play in the Super Bowl, the Falcons held a 28-12 lead and were all but guaranteed their franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy. Coleman had five carries for 20 yards while Freeman ran the ball nine times for 74 yards and a touchdown.

So, the Falcons were up by two scores and Freeman was Freeman rushing for 8.2 yards per carry. That’s a pretty strong indicator of what the game plan should have been the rest of the way, especially after Coleman left with an ankle injury. From there it should have been the Freeman show.

Instead, the Falcons gave him just two more carries for the remainder of the game. In the final minutes of the Super Bowl, protecting a huge lead, and working with one of the best running attacks in the league, Shanahan’s Falcons ran the ball just four times.

Watt said in the last four months he has been focused on coming back even better than the J.J. Watt of old.

By the time Super Bowl LI is over late Sunday night, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman might be No. 2 on the all-time NFL list for playoff receptions.

It’s a remarkable achievement when one considers that four years ago, when Edelman was an unrestricted free agent, there wasn’t a team other than the Patriots that offered him a contract worth slightly more than the minimum.

So here was Edelman on Tuesday afternoon, his bushy playoff beard now going on four months since it has been trimmed, talking about how he has always played with a chip on his shoulder. He had it at Woodside (California) High School, and then San Mateo Community College and Kent State.

The chip certainly hasn’t gone away in eight NFL seasons, all spent with the Patriots, and I asked him how that free-agent experience in 2013 spiked his I’ve-been-slighted meter.

“When 31 other teams pass on you,” he said, “it certainly doesn’t hurt the cause.”

Since that time, one constant has been the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Edelman’s ability to hurt opposing defenses, especially in the playoffs.

Watt has been one of the best defensive players in his first six seasons in the NFL since the Texans drafted him in the first round out of Wisconsin. Watt has become one of the NFL’s elite players, already registering two seasons with more than 20 sacks.

Watt said in the last four months he has been focused on coming back even better than the J.J. Watt of old.

Beyoncé finds a new way to steal Super Bowl week every year

It’s a few days after Beyoncé is accused of lip-syncing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Beyoncé sings the national anthem at the Super Bowl XLVII press conference. She kindly asks attendees, “Would you guys mind standing?” And they do, because who says no to a request from Beyoncé? Unsurprisingly, she kills it, the people cheer, and she winks at her haters by asking “Any questions?”

There’s no telling with Buck and Aikman, but I’m going to take the under on this one. I think it would take a NFC Championship game-caliber blowout for the two broadcasters to mention Matt Ryan so often that they start calling him “Matty Ice.” Who knows, maybe I’m completely wrong here.

Hammering the over on this one. Even though he’s not playing, Rob Gronkowski has been such an integral part of the Patriots’ success, not only in the past but also this season as well. It would be a disservice to Gronk not to at least acknowledge him a few times throughout the game for contributing to New England’s success. Not to mention, J.J. Watt had a good minute-plus of TV time on the sidelines in the Texans’ Wild Card victory over the Raiders. Speaking of…

How many times will J.J. Watt be mentioned on TV during live broadcast?

With the Super Bowl being played in Houston, it’s only common sense to think Watt’s name will come up a couple of times during the broadcast. Taking the over again here, and it’s a no-brainer to me. H-town loves Watt, and let’s face it, he’s one of the faces of the NFL.

Once again, easy money. Like them or not, the Patriots’ overcoming the DeflateGate nonsense was a pretty fun story. It’s a story that dominated media headlines for about a year and will forever remain one of the most bizarre narratives in NFL history. It would be even more bizarre for Buck and Aikman not to mention DeflateGate at least twice during Sunday’s game.

Will “Houston we have a problem” be said on TV during live broadcast?

LeSean McCoy is throwing a party with very specific guest requirements

The start of NFL training camps is quickly approaching, and some players are trying to enjoy their last bit of summer before the grind of the season begins. Bills running back LeSean McCoy is among them and is throwing a party on July 26. He even invited people from social media!

And by people I mean women who are 21 years old or older, have a photo ID and sign a confidentiality agreement without knowing where the party will occur, other than in “Philadelphia/New Jersey” or what will happen at it. McCoy initially posted an advertisement for the party on his Instagram account, before deleting it.

McCoy deleted the Instagram post, possibly because the Bills complained that it included their logo.

Bills spokesperson: “We have reached out to LeSean and informed him that players are not permitted to use team marks for personal use …”

Jacoby Brissett, QB (senior): To date, Brissett has not quite been the sum of his impressive parts. He has NFL size at 6’4 and 235 pounds, and he put together an impressive 23:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio a season ago. But he’s incredibly inconsistent as a passer. He completed 66.7 percent of his passes against Florida State a season ago, and followed it up the next week against Clemson by completing just 22.2 percent. The tools are there – including good athleticism and solid arm strength – but he needs to show more overall development to be considered a legit NFL starter.

Tyriq McCord, OLB (senior): This coming season is going to be a very interesting one for McCord. Al Golden, Mark D’Onofrio and Co. switching him to OLB seems more of an indication of the lack of depth at that spot — as well as the potential emergence of both Chad Thomas and Al-Quadin Muhammad at DE — than it does with McCord being a natural fit. Nonetheless, it could be a blessing in disguise for the senior, in terms of impressing scouts. (More on McCord here.)

Jimmy Butler doesn’t want to hide how bad he has been feeling the past few days

Jimmy Butler doesn’t want to hide how bad he has been feeling the past few days. The Bulls’ All-Star swingman came into Monday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a fever and body aches, scored just one point in 29 minutes and stayed home for the Bulls’ next two losses on the road to the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. The illness, which has been floating around the Bulls for the past week, got even worse.

“Hell,” Butler said after scoring 28 points, collecting eight rebounds and making six assists in Saturday’s 107-99 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. “That’s what it’s been like, man. My body is all type of messed up. … It wasn’t a pretty sight.”

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said before the game that Butler had lost 10 pounds because of his illness.

“My stomach was … oh,” Butler said.

Jimmy Butler scored 28 points as the Bulls beat New Orleans on Saturday.

The 27-year-old loaded up on fluids over the past few days and looked refreshed as he set an aggressive tone early in the game. As has been the case throughout the season, Butler drove to the rim almost at will, racking up 10 free throw attempts. For a Bulls team that came into the game having lost three straight, Butler’s presence was much needed.

“Obviously we’re so much better with him on the floor,” Hoiberg said. “You talk about just a select few in this league that have that type of impact on their overall team. Jimmy, he does everything. The thing that’s most overlooked with Jimmy, I think we’ve talked about this a lot, is a lot of those guys that are putting up these types of numbers are not guarding the other team’s best player. Jimmy goes out every night and takes pride in that role. That’s what makes him one of the top players in this league.”

Frank Zombo’s tip, Eric Berry’s interception erased the Steelers’ latest scoring opportunity

Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to find the end zone early in its playoff showdown with the Chiefs. Frank Zombo and Eric Berry teamed up to make sure the Steelers’ latest trip wouldn’t end up with any points.

Zombo batted Ben Roethlisberger’s pass high into the air, giving Berry enough time to change course and scoop it before it could hit the ground. His diving catch turned a probable Pittsburgh scoring drive into a fresh Kansas City possession at its own 20-yard line.

Berry’s pick erased a rare Alex Smith miscue. The veteran quarterback set the Steelers up in strong position after pressure forced him to throw a wounded duck intercepted by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers drove 39 yards in the interim, but Roethlisberger’s tipped pass made sure their efficient offensive play was all for naught.

“I don’t feel fatigued,” Bell said via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler after the game against Miami. “The offensive line wants to run the ball so we went down there and ran the ball in the end zone.”

His line enjoys it, too. “I’ve loved to block for him. I’ve seen other guys try to do [his patient style] and can’t do it,” guard Ramon Foster said. “Our job is to hold our blocks. He’s by far the best back in the league, no matter what other guys say.”

Defensively, the Steelers have improved. The rugged veteran linebacker James Harrison led the team in sacks this season with five, which isn’t necessarily up there among the league’s elite. But players like linebacker Bud Dupree, who has had five sacks in the past seven games, make a huge difference.

James Harrison needs to quit acting like he earned our respect for doing something hes suppose to do

James Harrison needs to quit acting like he earned our respect for doing something hes suppose to do. This is the problem with our country today- we’ve got “look-at-me” parents who were raised to think that every thing they do is special posting online every time they do the bare minimum by taking away their kids awards.

If I was James Harrisons parents I would make him immedately delete that post and hand over all the likes and shares he got to someone whose really earned them for going above and beyond as a parent like Balloon Boys dad or Chris Kyle. Just sad that in todays America you get a “father of the year” award just for doing the right thing for a change.

Take Gronkowski, for instance. Universally being drafted within the Top 10 of most drafts, Gronk is clearly expected to produce other-wordly numbers in comparison to his tight-end brethren. If for some reason he finishes 2015 with 600 yards and three touchdowns — a total that would’ve ranked him just outside the Top 15 last season — he should decidedly be labeled a bust. It’s that simple and yet it’s not portrayed that way. Having said that, these next few names are players I believe will fail to produce the proper return that coincides with their current ADP (and not fall flat on their face).

Jimmy Graham, SEA
It bodes well for Graham that Seattle tight ends as a whole combined for 16 red zone targets in 2014, four more than their next highest receiver (Doug Baldwin). Unfortunately, the Seattle Seahawks also attempted the fewest red zone passes last season. With his current ADP nestled at the beginning of the third round, drafting Graham assuredly means missing out on a majority of top flight receivers, or that ever-so-important running back depth. He could potentially continue his dominance and post his fifth-consecutive year as a Top 3 TE, but the questions surrounding volume are enough to shy away and lean elsewhere with one of your first four picks.

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