All posts by Steven Ryan

I am an upcoming content creator for Clockers, Just Crush Sports, Youtube, and a Streamer on Twitch. I am a sports lover at heart. Born and Raised an all Chicago sports fan that is not afraid to tell you how it is, even if it sometimes appears biased. I am down to talk about sports anytime and anywhere. If you drop into my streams, please introduce yourself and lets talk about your favorite sport.

Thank Yu: Jed Hoyer Pulls Trigger on Darvish Trade

When you woke up this morning Chicago Cubs fans, how were you feeling with news of the Yu Darvish trade to the San Diego Padres? I am genuinely curious because I am excited. I have been reading a lot of different opinions on this subject matter in the last 24 hours. From the knowledge I was able to gather, not many people liked it.

Well, I am here to tell you why it was the exact move the Cubs needed to make. I am not here to change your mind. I am only here to give you a positive outlook on your current situation… as a Cub fan.

Hoyer Trades Yu Darvish to Padres

Had to Happen

Darvish was second in the National League in CY Young voting. He also posted a 2.01 earned run average and going 8-3 in a pandemic ridden season where the Cubs were swept from the playoffs for the second time in three years. Also, might I add how disappointing the end of the 2019 season was as well? The one where we entered September with a 5.5 game lead and lost the division within two weeks. Yeah, those were some rough times.

Nothing frustrates me more when a team is not playing to their potential and that is exactly what the Cubs have been doing over the last couple of seasons. As much fun as winning in the regular season is. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will ever be as special as that October in 2016. Call me greedy, but I want that again. Oh so desperately. I listen to playoff highlights in my car because of the goosebumps it brings back to me.

I live for moments such as Miguel Montero breaking open Game 1 of the League Championship Series with a game-breaking/essentially ending grand slam. That absolutely rocked Wrigley Field to its core. Those are the moments I want back again and the way the roster is currently constructed is just not going to do it anymore.

Trading Darvish is Good

Yes, I know you do not know any of the four 18-20-year-olds with little to no experience. That is ok, you will. Things like this take time and while the Dodgers, Padres, and Braves battle it out for the National League crown, we will continue to acquire talent. Because this time around, the rebuild will be much quicker. The Cubs already have major league talent ready to trade.

Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, Kyle Hendricks, and other over-performing players. The Cubs will enter the season with some of their current roster intact. But if and when one of those guys gets off to a hot start, the Cubs will be evaluating and looking to shore up their farm system and reload for the future.

Enjoy This Season

You may still be in a state of confusion about what the Cubs are doing but it is truly time. the days of 2016 are gone and if I am to be hyper-critical right now the Cubs over the past three seasons have been major disappointments. We saw the cracks begin in 2017 when we somehow survived an NLDS against the Washington Nationals, and then got absolutely ran over by the Dodgers in the LCS.

The end of 2018 and 2019 was equally disappointing. It’s time to start getting some return for the remaining assets we have. This return could be beautiful due to the talent that remains on the roster. Hendricks can be a top-10 pitcher in the game. He’s shown his poise and control ever since coming to the big league level. Contreras is a top-five catcher in the game currently and there are a lot of teams that are looking to take their signal-caller to the next level.

You love the players from this team because odds are they brought you some of the happiest moments of your life as a sports fan. Sadly, we are Cubs fans and we just lived through the greatest era of Chicago Cubs baseball history. Just let that sink in. Now, depending on your perspective that could be seen as good or bad. I like to see it as a good thing, and I want to use the talent that we currently have to catapult this team to the future. The players on this team mean a lot not only to you but to me as well.

Memory Lane

I will never forget the instinct Javy Baez played with throughout those playoffs. I will never forget how all the pieces fell into place and the plan worked. It actually worked. Theo came in October of 2011, said he needs to gut the farm system and rebuild this team from the ground up. He came in, he did what he said he would do, and accomplished it.

So when the 2021 season rolls around, and you see these guys in a Cubs uniform, all I can say is enjoy it, remember how these players made you feel and the happiness they brought. The goal of trading these guys is to bring in more talent to accomplish the same goal as before.

Yu Will Thank Jed Later

Yes, I know you are sick of the “Yu” puns well. I can’t help it. If you were blindsided by this trade then I do not know how to help Yu (ok I am done). In a few seasons when the incredible Dodgers, Padres, and Braves maybe are taking a step back, the Cubs will have much better talent in the farm system to bring in to compete for another championship. You can call this run by the Cubs over this past decade a success or a failure. That is your decision. Zach Davies was the only major league-ready player coming back in the deal.

You can be mad at the lack of “talent” the Cubs got for Darvish, but remember. Darvish is a 35-year-old, injury-prone pitcher who before this season had only a few solid stretches for the Cubs. No one knows what you are going to get out of the super young talent. B if one of those guys develops and plays a nice role for us in the future then this trade is a success.

The Cubs need to shed salary and start getting ready for the future. Especially since there is no timetable set for when fans are going to be allowed back into the stadium. Let’s get the struggling over with so we can dominate later on. Today is a rough day for Cubs fans. It is the end of an era, and what a fun era it was.

Tough Times Ahead After Yu Darvish Trade

It is hard to accept, but it is ok. The Cubs are one of the top franchises in all of major league baseball. They’re also one of the few franchises with a top fanbase that will support the team through thick and thin. Wrigley is a special place to many Cubs fans who have made life-lasting memories there. Do not worry, there will be more memories to be made by a Cubs team that will excite just like in 2015.

Remember, when a team struggles they can acquire more talented players through the draft. I don’t know what’s going to happen. The only thing I want to see is how the Cubs can develop better pitching. If Jed can find the magic and unlock this liability the team has had this whole decade, then the future of the team is in great hands and we will be looking forward to hoisting more pennants in the future.

Tough times may lie ahead, but so do better times. So embrace the pain, embrace the future. We will reach the mountain top again.

2020-21 NBA Profile: Patrick Williams

Hello basketball fans, are you ready for Patrick Williams? The NBA season is due to tip off in less than 20 days. Just a few short days ago the NBA draft was completed and the top of the draft went as projected but then at number four things start to get haywire as no one is really sure what the Bulls are going to do (for once). I also plan on dropping a video breaking down this young man as well so let’s stop wasting time and jump into it.

Patrick Williams 2020-21 NBA Profile

The Bulls Get Their Man

Patrick Williams was the Chicago Bulls guy with the fourth-overall pick in the draft. This year’s pick is the highest pick the Bulls have had since they drafted a young man by the name of Derrick Rose all the way back in 2008. This year is also the first time the Bulls were drafting without either Jerry Krause or John Paxson making the big decision. Question for the reader? Do you know who the last player the Bulls drafted with their top pick before Kraus took over in the mid-80s?

Now let’s talk about Williams. There were definitely some other big named prospects on the board that may have helped your heart rest at ease. The Bulls could have nabbed big man Obi Toppin, Deni Avdija. If you are fond listener of the Around the Clockers podcast you will frequently hear this writer adamently push for Avdija. That tune has changed to all in on this young man. Now before you fall in love, let’s set reasonable expectations. Because the only way you become dissappointed is by setting ridiculous expectations.

What Not to Expect

When people see the number Four pick they tend to add a bunch of unnecessary expectations around them like they need to be the team’s superstar or need to immediately impact the team. Well, I do not expect Patrick Williams to impact this team at least on the offensive end. He is a 19-year-old that is still learning about his body and how it works. He truly has not scratched the surface of his physical gifts yet. I expect Williams to make an impact defensively because no one on this Bulls team plays a lick of defense.

Williams can immediately step in and start guarding the best wings and forwards this league has to offer. Not many people come into the league at 6-foot-8 and 225 lbs. That is an NBA-ready body. Williams has all of the physical tools to become an immediate impact defender on this team. When I watched his college tape, he reminded me of those Bulls teams from earlier this decade. You know, when we actually hustled and played defense? You miss those days? Because I do.

Williams also comes in with the potential to develop his offensive game as well. Even though he was the 6th man on his college team he shot 32 percent from the three-point range and averaged 1 Block and 1 Steal a game. Now I know the three-point percentage is not where we want it to be but if you take a look at his free throw percentage that is a much more telling sign of learning to be able to shoot. Remember both Lonzo Ball and Markelle Fultz shot over 40 percent from deep in college but both of them shot in the mid 60 percentile from the free throw.

Williams is a passive style of player. He wants to help you win at all costs, which was his case at Florida State. Williams was passive towards his senior-led teammates at Florida State even his draft counterpart Devin Vassell a sophomore who went to San Antonio. Now remember those expectations I set, I understand there are some alarming red flags, but most prospects not named LeBron James have some form of a flaw, but let’s dive right into all of the positives about this young player.

The Positives:

Like I stated before, he is 6-foot-8 and 225 lbs. That is something you do not teach. You also cannot teach his very good team defensive instincts and on-ball defensive ability. He can switch and guard pretty much any position with his explosive athleticism. What I also forgot to mention was that he has a 7-foot wingspan allowing him to blow up passing lanes and quick reflex blocks with ease, which the Bulls so desperately need. Another thing I really enjoy about him is that he is ready to work. Do you remember the humble kid from Chicago that went number One overall and stole the hearts of many Bulls fans? Well, Williams carries himself with that exact same demeanor. He is humble, quiet and all he wants to do is play basketball and get better every day.

The thing with Williams is before you sell all of your stock on him because you never heard of him. Let him grow. I think his floor is just below a Luol Deng type of player and his ceiling is that of a Kawhi Leonard. By the way, Leonard is the greatest development story this league has ever seen. Frustration over picking a guy you have never heard of is understandable. But the rumor was the Spurs wanted to draft him. Do we remember what happened last time they got their hands on a dynamic two-way forward? Alright then.

What Not To Like

The unknown can always be construed as a negative thought because it could be good or bad, but let’s look elsewhere. Most of the general public are not enjoying this pick because of the numbers. He barely averaged Nine points per game coming off of the bench. He was fourth on the team in points and is one of the only few players that average more turnovers than assist during the season.

Another negative thing that people take into account is his aggression as a player. I have heard the term he is “too nice” on the court. Now that would be a problem if he was the future of this team. And future means the leading scorer and the reason the Bulls win a title. If that is a concern of yours then your expectations are too high. This was the first pick by the new regime and it will set the tone for the decade to come.

Williams Outlook Going Forward

This is a good pick. The Bulls are desperate for a wing defender; something Williams can make his name in right away. We will have to wait and see about his offense. This all comes down to expectations. When the Bulls are competing for titles, Williams will be a very good role player for us. Like a Trevor Ariza on the ’09 Lakers or Harrison Barnes on those Warriors teams. He will be an excellent role player for us and if he can develop even more than that, it’s just icing on the cake.

Barry Bonds is the G.O.A.T. and That’s the End of That

A lot goes into the “greatest at an individual sport” discussions. And in a lot of arguments people will only look to use certain “numbers” or “accolades” to help justify their case. Well, here at Clocker Sports and especially this devoted baseball fanatic. I like to take everything into consideration and when we are talking about the legends of the game, regardless of sport people do not talk enough about the stories.

The moments where these unique athletes shift the whole making of the game to where it is truly different for them. Michael Jordan and his unique competitiveness is an example. The stories of him shooting 18 holes and betting his buddy that day that he will drop 40 on the Cavaliers are the things of actual Legends. Barry Bonds is no different. But if you need to be reminded of his greatness let’s take a look at his accolades first.

The G.O.A.T.’s Name is Barry Bonds

The Accolades

Bonds is a 14 time all star, 12 time silver slugger, Two time batting champion, Seven time MVP (most of all time) and especially in today’s game where scouts and evaluators only seem to care about being able to produce offensively. Bonds is an 8 time Gold Glover. He is the all time home run leader and the only member of the 500/500 club which is home runs and stolen bases respectively. Yes do not worry old school baseball fan, we know what you are going to say next.

“But he did steroids.”

Yes you are right, but guess what? remember when baseball was dying as a sport? and no one seemed to care. Then there was this magical summer in 1998 where it was reborn? yeah they all did steroids and guess what? I do not care. When I pay for a ticket to a game, I want to go see the ball fly out of the park. That is the beauty of baseball. David Wells has come out and suggested that “25-40 Percent” of major leaguers are using them and Jose Canseco claims at least “80 percent” of players were using them.

Also Steroids help with your recovery, they do not help you hit a baseball. Sure, they help you work out longer and stronger due to being able to recover quicker but none the less. The ability to turn on an 99 mile per hour fastball is still all Bonds and his natural skill which before he had taken steroids was already on par with the hall of fame.

Another benefit of steroids is that as a spectator you will get the most optimal Barry Bonds or whatever player you were watching possible. Yes the hard earned money you work for and complain about how little it is. You will now get to see the best performance possible. Which is what we all want. Now let us dive into the numbers.

The Statistics

Barry Bonds’s numbers are just plain and simply gaudy. He has the most home runs at 763. He is 6th all-time in runs batted in. He’s third in all-time OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging) and for you sabermetrics people he is number one in WAR rating for position players. Bonds’ OBP is sixth all-time and the five players above him all played before 1960. Which we all know the competition was weaker back then. In an era that was clouded by steroid use. Bonds shined statistically. He set the all-time single-season record in 2001 with 73 bombs and leaving everyone in shock.

If you have been paying attention to baseball recently you will know that on base percentage is all of the rage. Well in the last decade there are only three players to reach base more than 45 percent of the time. Barry Bonds accomplished that feat nine times. He also had a year where he reached base over 60 percent of the time (.609 in 2004) he also eclipsed the 50 percent mark 4 times.

he man just got on base and that was mostly due to being walked because pitchers did not want to even deal with him at the plate. I am going to explain more about that in the next part of this article. None the less Barry Bonds put up the numbers to defend his rightful place as the greatest of all time.

The Stories that are told

Last, but not least the stories. Now this is the portion I believe puts you over the top. Like Jordan in basketball, Bonds has some stories that would make you scratch your head. There was a game in 1998 where the Arizona Diamondbacks were playing the San Fransisco Giants, and Bonds came up to the plate with the bases loaded and the Diamondbacks thought it was a better idea to give up one run instead of 2 or more, and intentionally walked Bonds with the bases loaded. Now the Diamondbacks were correct. They won the game 8-7 after forcing the man behind Bonds to hit.

Another instance happened in 2004 against Eric Gagne (Another well known steroid user) faced off against Bonds with 3-0 leading. Rewind a little bit back in time where Gagne and Bonds had a gentleman’s agreement about facing each other. Bonds complained that no one wanted to face him and he was not wrong. Gagne gave his stipulations and said he would face Bonds if the correct situation ever arose. Well in 2004 it did. Gagne Blew Two heaters over 100 miles per hour and Bonds took them like. Down 0-2, Bonds holds off on an off speed pitch that could not have missed the zone by more than a centimeter.

Bonds now knew what was coming. Bonds was then early on 101 mile per hour fastball on the inside zone and yanked it foul into McCovey Cove. Gagne then comes back with the fastball and Bonds squares it up for another signature majestic Barry Bonds bomb. Bonds was one of the most cerebral minds in the game. He knew how to put the pitchers in compromising positions in which they would have to pitch him and he made them pay.

A G.O.A.T. Named Bonds

During his career Bonds was one of the most feared hitters in the game. Like I mentioned above, Bonds was walked with the base loaded by choice. Even though he never won a title, I really do not hold that against him because baseball is all about timing and if you are up to the moments when duty calls upon you. Do not make no mistake about it. Bonds put on a show in the 2002 post season where he hit Eight Home Runs and and half of them came in the World Series.

He may appear tainted but Bonds was the best among those in his era (who were also on steroids) which gives him his rightful spot in the greatest of all time debate.

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Chicago Cubs Hot Start

Baseball is back and back with a vengeance. We already have our first canceled games for the week due to COVID and the Miami Marlins. But they are not the concern of this article. I want to break down these first five games and usually, I would be bombarded with “iT iS OnLy FivE GaMEs in”. Well, SpongeBob meme, that is nearly 10 percent of our season this time around. The Chicago Cubs are off to a 4-1 start and atop the NL Central. Although 4-1 is a great start, there is always something to improve on and with this Cubs team, there certainly is.

Good, Bad, Ugly: The Cubs Hot Start

The Good:

The bats are “woke”; as the children like to say. Even though they are only hitting .250 as a team, good for third in the National League, the ball still jumps off of the bat. They are first in the NL with 10 home runs as a team. Chicago’s 31 runs scored is also good for first among NL opponents.

Another good thing about this Cubs team is the starting pitching. National League Player of the Week Kyle Hendricks takes the bump Wednesday against the Reds after going the distance against the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener. In 29 innings of work, the starting rotation has given up six runs. Half of those were by Yu Darvish who will be in the latter portion of this reading.

Right now, the Cubs offense is just putting up runs. If you can’t hang with six runs a game then you will not be beating them on a consistent basis.

Free-agent acquisitions Jason Kipnis and Steven Souza Jr have stepped into their roles nicely and have been playing well above expectations so far. Kipnis is hitting .375 and has brought a nice presence to the plate with that left-handed swing. Souza has gotten limited playing time but hit a very nice double down the line the other night to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead in Cincinnati.

The Bad:

There really isn’t a lot of holes to poke in a 4-1 start but there is always something extra you would like to see happening. For the Cubs, that is Kris Bryant who has been placed in the leadoff spot and has a measly slash line of .059/.158/.059; not good by any means. The bright spot for Bryant in this spot is the number of pitches he sees in each at-bat. He really sets the table for Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, and Willson Contreras to drive in the runs.

Darvish is supposed to be one of our go-to starters. Unfortunately for Darvish, his style of pitching does not cater to efficiency. His stuff is downright filthy but very erratic and he could only get through four innings in his debut and gave up three earned runs. This is the Cubs only loss of the season so far and it comes from one their least likely suspects.

Usually, throughout a 162-game season, I would be patient with these slow starts. But October is right around the corner and the Cubs need these two in prime form if they want a chance to win another title because this is the Cubs “Last Dance”.

The Ugly:

Let’s be frank, we all know what this section is all about. The bullpen is a joke. Craig Kimbrel nearly blew the save the other night and put his teammate Jeremy Jeffress in quite the predicament. Thankfully, Jeffress shut the door. A former Brewer, Jeffress is coming off of his worst season ever in Milwaukee and is looking to bounce back. Being put in a bases-loaded situation with only one out and nursing a one-run lead is not a recipe for success.

The bullpen has pitched 16 innings (out of 45) and given up 15 runs; all earned. Kimbrel looks like a shell of his former self and can’t locate a pitch. He looked flustered on the mound and had no answers to get himself out of that situation. The Cubs have a lot of work to do for a 4-1 team. This ugly portion will rear its ugly head in October because the Cubs will not be averaging six runs a game all season.

The Cubs First Five Games

There is “a lot” of baseball to be played and I am beyond excited. I will touch back with you guys in between the 15 to 20-game mark to see where this team is and if their October chances improve or not. When I say chances in October, I am talking about how the team could do in the postseason in terms of winning a title, not just making it to the postseason.

Life on the Lines: MLB 7/24/20

We are finally here! One quarantine, and a lifetime later we have arrived at the official opening day of the MLB season. If you are new around here, we like to make money. We have a couple of writers that love to live their life on the lines. Yes, we gamble responsibly around here so if you are not in a good position to do this please refrain. But if you want to make some extra cash this season. This is a prime opportunity for you to join me in that process. We will be tracking my bets throughout the season and we will see how much I make you.

Listed below will be my picks for the day. If you are interested in some long term plays. I advise you to check out Tony Guzman’s article on his MLB Preview. If you are new to sports betting, I will be using the term units a lot. A unit is a measurement of money in which one gambles (increments of $10 or $100 dollars).
So let’s pretend we have a $100 bankroll (yes I know that is small) and let’s see how much we can make you this year.

Life on the Lines

Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets

First game of the day is the Braves visiting the Mets. On the mound, we have Mike Soroka vs Jacob deGrom. Degrom is the reigning two-time CY Young Winner, and Soroka will be the youngest Brave to start and opening day. In these types of matchups, I try to avoid the run line. Which in this game is has the Mets at -1.5, But i am not going to throw an obnoxious set of numbers you to convince you. The play here is the Under 8 line. It is going to be an absolute pitchers duel in the Flushings. Soroka led the league in road ERA last season at 1.55 so all signs point to it being a 3-2 kind of game.

Take the under 8 total runs at -120
(Bet 12 dollars to win 10 dollars)

Detroit Tigers @ Cincinnati Reds

In the second matchup, we have the Detroit Tigers visiting the newly revamped Cincinnati Reds. Lefty Matthew Boyd enters into a hitters paradise in Cinci. Not only that he is running into one of the best lineups in the league. The Reds have added Nicholas Castellanos who mashed left-handed pitching last season. If you look at Castellanos stats from Detroit they do not impress many people. Once you add him to Wrigley, however, his average jumps nearly 50 points. The Reds have done a lot of reforming this offseason while the Tigers have only added Jonathan Schoop and drafted Spencer Torkelson. The play here is to take the Reds at -1.5 (+105). Cincinnati is going to want to make a statement and on opening day they get the perfect opportunity to do so.

Reds -1.5 (+105)
(Bet 10 to make 10.50)

Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays

This next pick may seem a little about hype instead of numbers. Although I do love the numbers sometimes you just have a gut instinct about a team. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays are that team for me. Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays are a legitimate playoff team with a better line up and maybe better overall pitching staff. But if it is for one game? I am going to take the Blue Jays. I love this young core. Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio are all legitimate threats to explode onto the scene this year. I expect them to show out on opening day especially with their big free-agent acquisition on the hill, Hyun-Jin Riu. I am taking the Blue Jays Money Line on this pick.

Blue Jays ML +118
(Bet 10$ to win 11.80$)

Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs

Next, we head to beautiful Wrigley Field. Where the Cubs play host to the Brewers. Both teams in the offseason were pretty stagnant in terms of adding talent to each club. The Brewers lost Moustakas (to the Reds) but get their MVP back from a gruesome knee injury. In his debut against the potent White Sox. Kyle Hendricks was in prime form and tossed four shutout innings before being taken out for rest reasons. I expect nothing less from him in his opening day debut. I like the Cubs here at -1.5. Especially at a great value of +170. The ball will be flying and it will be for the boys in Cubbie blue.

Cubs -1.5 (+170)
(10$ to make 17$)

Minnesota Twins @ Chicago White Sox

And for the final pick, we are traveling to the Southside of Chicago. Where the White Sox play host to the Minnesota Twins. I am expecting a fireworks show and have the Twins beating the rising Sox by more than three runs, but be on the lookout for this White Sox team in the future. They will have the matchup advantage in a lot of games because play in the woeful central division. They will get chances against the Tigers and Royals throughout the season. But on this opening day. The team that smacked 307 Homers last season is the Twins at -1.5 (+140).

Twins -1.5 (+140)
(10$ to make 14$)

Life on the Lines

Those are my five picks and these are odds are according to Bovada. If you do not have a Bovada account. Click the link below and get an introductory match of up to 250 dollars on your initial deposit. Let me know how your picks go.

Make sure you follow me on Twitter @illiniryan7 and go follow me on Instagram @illiniryan_7 for exclusive giveaways.
Hope this helps you make some money this season. Use the link below for Bovada:
https://www.bovada.lv/welcome/P48DCC04/join?extcmpid=rafcopy

Best of luck!