Keys to victory: Ateneo-La Salle Finals series

first_imgRead Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion And with that being said, here are INQUIRER’s keys to victory for this year’s UAAP Finals.Share the orangeRoster-wise, La Salle has arguably the better bunch.Ateneo, though, moves the ball better than the Green Archers with the Blue Eagles racking up an average of 17 assists in their previous two meetings.The Green Archers registered just 11.5 assists in the two elimination games played against Ateneo.ADVERTISEMENT Chot Reyes gets back at old foe MOST READ And those are the intangibles.Ateneo has a bone to pick with La Salle and not just because the two schools are archrivals in basketball.The Green Archers are the ones who derailed the Blue Eagles’ potential sweep of Season 80 and Ateneo still wants revenge from its Finals mishap in Season 79.La Salle, meanwhile, are hell-bent on taking its second straight title and prove that it’s still the ruling party despite having a worse eliminations record than Ateneo. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101center_img Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Both teams got one win each in the eliminations against each other but expect the Blue Eagles to veer away from isolation sets in order to counter the Green Archers’ sheer physical might.And speaking of physical might…Power!There’s no question that Ben Mbala is the most dominating player in the UAAP for the past two seasons and his two MVP trophies attest to that.Mbala averaged 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks against the Blue Eagles in the eliminations and quite frankly nobody on that Ateneo roster can stop the big man one-on-one.La Salle can afford to just throw the ball down to Mbala and leave him to work out against Ateneo’s defense, which usually gives him double and sometimes triple teams.When that happens, Mbala has the luxury of finding four open shooters or sometimes one big man open inside.Big men can shootThere was a time in the first round that Mbala fell in love with shooting the triple but against Ateneo he came away with four blanks.Ateneo’s bigs, however, have started to get comfortable with the long ball and Isaac Go, Chibueze Ikeh, and Vince Tolentino showed that in the Final Four against Far Eastern University. It’s that time of the year once more when families flock outside wearing matching-colored t-shirts as they catch-up with other families who are wearing the same clothes as they do.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Mom and dad jump in jubilation and the kids cheer with joy in their smiles and happiness in their eyes.Oh, this is not Christmas. It’s the UAAP Finals and it’s Ateneo vs. La Salle.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe most ballyhooed rivalry in all of Philippine sports, the Blue Eagles face off against the Green Archers for the sixth time in the championship round and both teams have something to prove.La Salle wants to get its second straight title while Ateneo want to avenge its loss in Season 79. The Blue Eagle trio went a collective 5-of-12 from deep in Ateneo’s 88-84 win over the Tamaraws with Go getting owning three of those conversions.Go also proved that he can shoot the three in dire situations when he sent the game to overtime with a clutch triple.Ateneo’s newfound three-point touch can spell trouble for La Salle as it will force the likes of Mbala, Santi Santillan, and Justine Baltazar to close out in the perimeter leaving the paint open to cuts and drives.Press it and push itBoth teams have shown they can pressure the ball for the full 94 feet of the basketball floor and run it off for easy scoring opportunities.The Green Archers have the Mayhem defense while the Blue Eagles have whatever they call their pestering scheme.Ateneo has the slight edge in turnovers and points off turnovers in the two previous meetings against La Salle with the Blue Eagles turning the ball over 16.5 times while the Green Archers gave the rock away an average of 19.5 times.The Blue Eagles are also more adept at scoring quickly off their opponent’s miscues with 16.5 points off turnovers while the Green Archers are at 13 points.The unseen statsSure the stat sheets show just how much the two teams play, but there are far many aspects of the game that those legal-sized papers don’t show.last_img read more

TOUCH A HIT ON FOX SPORTS

first_imgIn recent weeks a package of the 2006 NTL Mens, Womens and Mixed Open was shown on Fox TV. This was a great step forward for Touch as we have been off the main-stream television screens for quite a number of years.TFA would like to thank all of the state offices, who contributed financially to assist TFA in producing the package and having it shown. To date, the feedback has been extremely positive, with Touch fans Australia-wide complimenting the footage that was shown, as well as the clips introducing the sport and basic elements of the game. The success of the package was a credit to all of the staff, team management and players, who worked hard to ensure the sport was shown in a professional light. There was certainly no shortage of highlights for the package, with the Sydney Mets Mixed side putting on a touchdown show, the Womens Open final between the Mets and Sharks proving a very tight affair and the Mens Open final giving us one of the best NTL finals to date.(The Garry Sonda through-the-legs special was definitely one for the highlights reel!)With FOX Sports being available in around 1.75 million homes and over 6,000 commercial venues, the potential of the showing to increase awareness and knowledge of the sport is huge.Following on from the success of the showing in Australia, the package was also picked up by ABC Asia Pacific, who will be showing the package in up to 50-60 Asia Pacific nations in coming weeks. The package has already been shown in Hong Kong and here is a list of countries that may view the NTL Touch Football package in the future:Cook IslandsFijiFrench PolynesiaGuamSamoaKiribatiSolomon IslandsNauruNew CaledoniaNiueMarianasPalauPapua New GuineaTahitiTokelauTongaTuvaluVanuatuWallis and FutunaAfghanistanArmeniaAzerbaijanBangladeshBhutanBruneiCambodiaPeoples Republic of ChinaEast TimorFederated States of MicronesiaHong KongIndia IndonesiaKazakhstanLaosNepalSri-LankaTibetTurkmenistanUzbekistanJapanMacauMalaysiaMongoliaMyanmar (Burma) North KoreaPakistanPhilippinesSingaporeSouth KoreaRepublic of China (Taiwan)ThailandVietnam.TFA will be selling copies of the 2006 NTL package on DVD in the coming weeks, so if you missed out on seeing the package or want to see it again, keep an eye on the TFA website for when they’re available and for how to place your order.last_img read more

Photo: Here’s the No. 1 RB In The 2016 Class, Kareem Walker, Posing With The Heisman Trophy In An Ohio State Jersey

first_imgKareem Walker poses with Heisman Trophy.Kareem Walker is the No. 1 running back in the 2016 and he’s committed to play at Ohio State. You probably don’t remember him committing, Buckeye fans, because he made his pledge during your team’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game. It’s understandable. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound back out of Wayne, New Jersey, is ranked the No. 9 player in the country by 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings. He’s talented enough to become one of the best running backs the Buckeyes have ever had – and they’ve had plenty. Former Ohio State greats Archie Griffin (1974, ’75) and Eddie George (1995) both won the Heisman Trophy during their time in Columbus. Could Walker become the third running back in Ohio State history to win the award (or, possibly, the fourth if Ezekiel Elliot takes it home in 2015)? Here he is posing in a Buckeye uniform with the trophy. Tb #BuckeyeNation #Heisman pic.twitter.com/gqMKyEFW26— AlⓂ️ightyReem (@_KareemWalker) January 19, 2015Ohio State currently has five commitments in the 2016 class – one five-star (Walker) and four four-stars.last_img read more

MIND Public Sector Leadership Conference in March

first_imgThe 2013 staging of the Public Sector Leadership Development Conference, organised by the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), will be held on March 7 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, starting at 8:30 a.m.Under the theme: ‘Leadership in Action: Supporting the Vision, EnGENDERing Transformation’, the event will address public sector leadership, including strategies to foster a leadership culture that is supportive of long-term organisational growth and facilitate new insights that can inspire personal growth and empowerment for leaders. Focus will be placed on gender diversity in leadership and the impact that this can have in serving the Government and the public in general. Participants will examine the main pillars of the National Policy for Gender Equality and strategies for making national policy formulation and implementation more gender sensitive.Among the topics for discussion are: ‘Celebrating Leaders in Public Life’; ‘Gender Mainstreaming – A Vision 2030 Jamaica Imperative’; ‘Enhancing The Leader Within Through Leadership Coaching’; ‘Supporting The Vision: Leadership Passion Into Action’; and ‘The Future of the Public Sector – New Look Leadership and Mentoring’.A highlight of this year’s conference will be the presentation of the MIND Public Life Award for Leadership Excellence to outstanding public sector leaders.Attendees will include permanent secretaries, directors general, chief executive officers, and senior and middle level managers. The partners in the staging of the event are: Bureau of Women’s Affairs, Public Sector Modernization Division in the Office of the Cabinet, Jamaica Civil Service Association, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants-Global, and the Centre for Creative Leadership in the United States.MIND is the Government’s main public sector management training agency, with a crucial role in the transformation of public services, both in Jamaica and the region.last_img read more

UNIFOR ALARMED BY LAYOFFS AT TFO ONTARIOS FRENCH PUBLIC BROADCASTER

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The broadcaster, which is owned by an Ontario Crown corporation relies heavily on funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Education, says it has not seen an increased in the last two years despite rising operating costs and declining cable revenues, so programs and people must be cut.“We need the Ontario government to urgently review operational funding for TFO to maintain its critical Canadian cultural, political and social programming,” said Naureen Rivzi, Ontario Regional Director.The union received this grim news while in bargaining trying to reach a new collective agreement for the 80 technical staff at TFO.“These cuts will have a devastating impact on our members and on our francophone viewers who have limited options for local in their first language,” said Alfred St-Aubin, Vice President of local 72M which represents 80 technical staff at TFO.Unifor is Canada’s largest media union representing 12,000 workers in the sector across Canada and a total of 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future. TORONTO, June 13, 2018 – Canada’s largest media union is alarmed to see Ontario’s only French public broadcaster, Télévision française de l’Ontario (TFO), cut programs and lay off 37 workers, including 11 Unifor members.“Lack of provincial funding means the more than 600 thousand Ontario francophones will have fewer options to see Canadian programming, and our members are losing their jobs needlessly,” said Richard Paquin, Unifor National Representative. Advertisement TFO provides unique Canadian educational programming for children and adults in Ontario, but cable providers in Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba also carry it. The cuts include camera operators, editors, switcher directors, archivists, a purchaser, production assistant, props, and marketing staff represented by Unifor as well as journalists and non-union staff. Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement Login/Register With: Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

Its not us who are creating climate change Canada Arctic council president

first_imgKent DriscollAPTN News Despite climate change being a reality in the north, America’s circumpolar neighbours are finding out just how far the Trump Administration will go to avoid saying those words.Last week, the council did not release a joint declaration at the end of their bi-annual meeting last week because the U.S. wouldn’t sign on to anything that included the words climate change.This is on message for Trump’s administration.In 2017 the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Accord, which was signed by 200 other countries including Canada.“Usually at the end of this, there is a declaration, where all the members agree to a declaration which would be (non) binding, on the work that will be done in the next two years,” said Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada President Monica Ell-Kanayuk.“Unfortunately, the United States did not want any wording whatsoever with the words climate change. That led to the declaration not being developed.”(Amazing the difference three years can make. Above, is a stretch of road photographed in May 2016. Below is the same road, photographed in May 2019. Those large snowbanks are no longer there. May brought a single day record high temperature for the month of May to Iqaluit. Photos: Kent Driscoll/APTN)Ell-Kanayuk, an Iqaluit resident, says she sees climate change first hand in her community.A combination of warm weather and low snowfall over the winter has left snowmobiles landlocked earlier than ever.Iqaluit city council has approved pumping drinking water from a nearby river into the city reservoir, because not enough ice will be melting into the reservoir this year.(Kids playing outside in Nunavut is not unusual but kids playing basketball outdoors in May without having to shovel off the court is very unusual. The kids here outside of the Nakasuk School in Iqaluit are getting their game on early, due to unseasonable warm weather. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)Here in Iqaluit, climate change is an everyday problem.“It’s a reality,” said Ell-Kanayuk. “The climate is changing. We see it most up here. We are the ones first hand experiencing climate change, and it is not us who are creating the climate change.”(This is the view from the breakwater in Frobisher Bay. There may be some choppy ice left in the bay, but look behind. Those hills are usually snow covered this time of year. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)The American stance not only defies her reality, it could lead to an important precedent, politicizing the usually apolitical council.“The fear is that other countries might also decide that this is something that they don’t need to deal with,” said Ell-Kanayuk.A veteran of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, Ell-Kanayuk does see a political solution to this vexing American stance.“I hope this is just a bump in the road. The elections are forth coming, we don’t know what the outcome will be, and until then, we don’t know how they’ll change dealing with their issues in the future,” she said.(In Nunavut, the snow is like the road and snowmobiles are the cars. Unseasonable weather has left there sleds landlocked, meaning the hunters who use them will not be bringing home affordable food to their families. Photo: Kent Driscoll/APTN)The next Arctic Council meeting is in Iceland in 2021.Inuit Circumpolar Council was founded in 1977 and represents 160,000 Inuit living in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Russia.Its goal is to represent the combined interests of Inuit on a global stage.Each of the four Inuit regions have two members chosen by their local Inuit organizations. As a part of their work, they sit as permanent members of the Arctic Council.The current Canadian President of ICC is Monica Ell-Kanayuk.kdriscoll@aptn.ca@kentdriscolllast_img read more

After warnings of underspending Liberals eye boosts to jobtraining programs

first_imgOTTAWA — Senior government officials have been warned that Canada was dangerously behind last year on spending to help workers improve their skills to stay employed.A January 2018 presentation to a group of deputy ministers noted government spending on active labour-market programs is about half the average of spending in a group of comparator countries.The committee of top-level public servants was told Canada would be less able to adapt to workforce shifts without a boost in spending.The Canadian Press obtained the documents under the federal access-to-information law.In a year-end interview, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos talked about the need to use publicly funded job-training programs as a way to get more people into the labour force to help reduce poverty and keep the economy growing.He says the federal government has a role to play in helping cash-strapped provinces pay for training programs, and ensure better information sharing between jurisdictions.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

More than 90000 cases disposed in 104 days

first_imgNew Delhi: In order to reduce pendency of cases, Delhi Police in four months (till april 14th) disposed of 93,764 pending cases. Sources said that Delhi Police Commissioner himself monitors the disposal and in several crime review meetings he reviewed the pendency of cases.Police sources told Millennium Post that from January 1 to March 30 as many as 77,994 cases were disposed off whereas 15,770 cases were disposed from April 1 to April 14. One of the districts disposed of 7,021 cases whereas four districts separately disposed of more than 6,000 cases. Three districts separately solved over 5,000 cases. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderSources said that in September last year, in a bid to clear the massive backlog of pending cases, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, in a crime review meeting with deputy commissioners (DCPs) of all districts and units of Delhi Police, directed them to expedite the process with proper investigation. Sources added that Joint commissioners and Deputy commissioners will be able to keep tabs on the probe undertaken by investigating officers (IO) in all cases pending for more than a couple of years. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsSources further said that till the start of New Year, as many as 1,02,094 cases were pending whereas 92306 cases added this year. Another meeting related to the disposal of cases took place this year. Sources told Millennium Post that the meeting was chaired by Special Commissioner of Police rank officer. “The discussions were held on pending complaints of VIP references from Public Grievances Commission (PGC), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), NHRC, Listening Post of Lieutenant Governor,” said sources adding that the pendency of the complaints was till February 5. In another meeting to review the redressal of grievances received through Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), Delhi Police was told that there should be sustained efforts at the police station level to build up trust among citizens of Delhi.last_img read more

Mishap averted as fire broke before office time

first_imgKolkata: Residents of the fire-ravaged building at 60, Chowringhee Road feel that the timing of the fire had contributed in averting a major disaster at the building.The building is commercial and the three blocks in the establishment houses more than a dozen offices with a banquet hall located at a lane in the same address that leads to Bishop Lefroy Road, the residence of Satyajit Ray. “The incident took place around 9.20 am. I was using the lift when the fire alarm inside the lift started blinking. I went to the top floor of the building where I live with my family and found that a column of smoke has started engulfing the space outside our room with the top floor of the B Block on fire. I told my family members as well as another family who lived just adjacent to our flat to come down immediately and we came down using the staircase,” said Gautam Singh, who lives with his wife and three children. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”I had just switched on the air conditioner and it made a strange sound. I heard the fire alarm in the building and immediately came down. There would have been a stampede if it was after 10 am as around that time people come to office,” said Shreya Das, who works at a private computer training institute located in the third floor of B Block. It is just the floor above this institute that had caught fire, she said. “The fire alarm was ringing. I came out of the room to find that my adjacent flat was on fire. I used the staircase and came down immediately. It was extremely difficult to breathe in that floor,” said Sarala Khanna, who lived with his brother-in-law just in the adjacent apartment beside the fashion designing institute that caught fire. “We are not sure whether the things in our room are intact or not. But we are lucky to have escaped the disaster,” she said. Apart from the Khanna family, the premises owner Dipak Mukherjee has an apartment in the B Block. All other apartments are commercial.last_img read more

Texas Teams Will Rule The AL West

Seattle Marinerschristina_kahrl: The team in the division I really don’t know what to think of is the Mariners. New GM Jerry Dipoto has made the right kinds of gestures to indicate he wants to contend now without spending too much, but is this the year that guys like Taijuan Walker and James Paxton finally break through as rotation regulars? And is everybody sold on Ketel Marte as an everyday shortstop, or is he just the latest young Mariners shortstop who will be touted briefly before bouncing to the Rays (or wherever)?rob: The Mariners seem to me like a mirage. Nelson Cruz had a fantastic year in 2015, slugging .566 at age 34. That cannot continue for long. Robinson Cano saw his WAR fall by about 50 percent from 2014, and I am more sold that his decline is real than PECOTA is (second basemen tend to age quickly). And Marte BABIP‘d .341 on his way to a good year that I don’t think he can repeat (until he goes to the Rays and becomes an All-Star, anyway).neil: Also, haven’t we seen this movie before, with Seattle overhauling the roster and going all-in on pitching and defense?christina_kahrl: Yes, but that’s because Jack Z. was the Bond villain of GMs: He had a new master plan for world domination every year, and he never had a two-year plan, so in his run he had time to try everything at least once. Someone should have just given him a white Persian cat and snapped the picture.rob: As far as the pitching, Paxton and Walker could become great and change the whole trajectory of the Mariners’ season. But I think there’s a roughly equal chance they will become hurt, and Seattle doesn’t have a lot of rotation depth to replace them.As for the Zduriencik comparison, Dipoto actually seems like he’s all about the long-term plan. Why else would you waste a solid chunk of Mike Trout’s prime like what happened during his tenure with the Angels? Ben Lindbergh joins the Hot Takedown podcast to preview the 2016 MLB season. In honor of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, which starts Sunday, FiveThirtyEight is assembling some of our favorite baseball writers to chat about the year to come. Today, we put the American League West under the microscope with ESPN MLB writer/editor Christina Kahrl and our own baseball columnist, Rob Arthur. The transcript below has been edited.Texas RangersHouston AstrosSeattle MarinersLos Angeles AngelsOakland Athletics neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Who’s ready to talk about the AL West? Am I wrong, or does this look like it might be the most wide-open division in baseball (on paper, at least)?rob: I’m not sure I agree that it’s totally wide open. I see the Astros as a really strong team that is more likely to exceed their projections than fall apart this year. After the Astros, though, I could see an argument that any of the other teams could find themselves in second place.christina_kahrl: With the exception of the Oakland A’s in this very division, I think you can make a reasonable argument that each of the other 14 teams in the AL have a shot at 85 wins (which would equal contention). So I don’t think I’d go there, as far as “most wide open.”neil: But what about the defending division-champ Rangers! The Trout-led Angels! The better-than-their-record A’s! The … you know, the Mariners! Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimneil: About those Angels …christina_kahrl: Doesn’t this have to be a year where, having gotten his way, Mike Scioscia has to get the Angels into the postseason?neil: I mean, with this team, we also have to talk about the collective star power and its failure to really make much of an impact these past few years. Does this serve as an invalidation of the stars-and-scrubs model they’ve built with? Or do we think they have a real breakthrough this season?(And how much more does Trout have to do to make that happen???)rob: I don’t think it invalidates stars-and-scrubs generally, only this extreme version of it. They’ve had literally the best star player in the game and some of the worst scrubs all around him. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem like it’s changing all that much this year. Andrelton Simmons will help, but their farm system is still in shambles and they weren’t active on the free agent market.christina_kahrl: Maybe the Angels are an elaborate piece of performance art, a commentary on the emptiness of celebrity.rob: Or a counter-argument to the Great Man theory of history.No matter what Trout does, he cannot rescue the team on his lonesome. The Angels are projected by PECOTA for 27.1 combined WARP; Trout alone is responsible for about a quarter of that. Even if he attained prime-era Barry Bonds status, or took to the mound Babe Ruth-style, he can only add a few more wins to the team’s tally, which won’t be enough to make them true contenders.christina_kahrl: I’m reminded of why the “great” Angels teams of the ’70s — which had plenty of famous players — didn’t win while the Oakland A’s did: An absence of on-base percentage. Yunel Escobar and Daniel Nava might help them a lot in that department (especially if the Angels get the good Nava and not the nega-Nava who exasperated Red Sox fans every other season), but I’m still wondering whether this is another Trout-and-Pujols kamikaze run ending in 82 wins and a participation medal.rob: That scenario is precisely what I expect to happen. Merely having Trout on the roster is enough to make them mediocre; not having other good players is enough to stop them from being anything more than mediocre.christina_kahrl: I’m imagining Trout’s plaque in Cooperstown now:“Kept the Angels above .500. ‘Hey, you try it.’ — M.T.”neil: Poor Trout. neil: Is that a “Barton Fink” reference, @christina_kahrl?christina_kahrl: Of course. ;)neil: If this division was a Coen brothers film, which one would it be?christina_kahrl: Well, I’ve tipped my hand already. But when I think of the Rangers beating the Astros, last year and now picking them to do it again this year, I pretty much automatically think of John Goodman shouting, “I’ll show you the life of the mind!” And I know that’s totally unfair to how smart the Rangers are, or how talented the Astros are. Oakland Athleticschristina_kahrl: I guess that brings us to the A’s. I guess they have some fourth-place potential if the Mariners implode. But are they left with “best last-place team in baseball” ambitions? Or will they not even be better than whoever finishes last in the AL East?neil: And, relatedly, why do they continually win less than their component stats say they should? They’re like the anti-Royals.rob: It’s the new market inefficiency.neil: Haha.christina_kahrl: On a practical, non-snarky level, I just want to see guys like Jesse Hahn and Chris Bassitt turn the corner. And find out whether Marcus Semien can stick at shortstop — because the one thing that organization has a lot of is good shortstop prospects, between Franklin Barreto, Chad Pinder, Yairo Munoz and Richie Martin.The guy to really get excited about is Sean Manaea, though. I saw his start last Sunday in Arizona, and he’s going to be fun to watch; lefties who throw that hard aren’t everyday items.rob: Yeah, they definitely have some interesting players. In seriousness, I think they’ve played below their components because of a bad bullpen that doesn’t look to get any better.On the plus side, Sonny Gray is a lot of fun to watch.christina_kahrl: Also yes, I mean, as much as I don’t think they’ll contend, they’re an interesting club with an expanding talent base. Matt Chapman isn’t too far off at third base, either. In the long term, they have to sort out their keepers in the infield and the rotation. This year will help give them clarity.neil: So are the A’s clearly in their own tier at the bottom of this division, then? Or is it fairer to lump them in amongst the Mariners and Angels — with all three solidly below the Rangers and Astros?rob: I see enough downside risk with the Mariners and a lack of non-Trout talent on the Angels to put them down with the Athletics. None of them are truly bad: They all have promising players somewhere, but each is crippled enough that I don’t think they can be a true-talent 88-90-win team, the way the Rangers or Astros could be.christina_kahrl: Quite right. I’d also lean more towards the two-and-three grouping. The A’s might rate below the Mariners and Angels now, but if Gray gets some help in the rotation, they might be better than both. But young pitching and heartbreak go together like Wallace Beery and wrestling pictures; we all know that roadmap. Houston Astrosneil: It does seem like what’s driving the difference between Houston and Texas in the stat projections — which favor Houston probably more than the conventional wisdom would — is the difference in the lineups, not the pitching staffs.rob: Definitely. Both lineups are chock full of interesting young players like George Springer, Carlos Correa, Gallo and Rougned Odor. Younger players are notoriously harder to predict, so I could see the division turning on a couple of huge years from either pair of hitters. All of them certainly have the talent.christina_kahrl: Aye. Although the Rangers’ bullpen does have a few more question marks as well.rob: I also think the Astros will be able to leverage their excellent bullpen to outperform their runs pythagorean record and get an extra couple of wins, which could be all they need to steal the division from the Rangers.christina_kahrl: An entirely reasonable expectation, even though I’m sticking with the Rangers. The other factor is that both GMs are willing to deal to win, and both have full farms to deal from. Who makes that big move in July? Probably both of them.rob: Yep, and I see that as another point of difference between the Astros/Rangers and the other teams in the AL West. Two of those teams have new GMs (Angels, Mariners) who probably wouldn’t go all-out to lock up a playoff appearance (better to build strength for a sustained competitive window). And the other team is run by Billy Beane, who’s been burned by in-season purchases in the recent past.christina_kahrl: One point of contrast with my earlier note about the Rangers’ hidden upside: The Astros’ rotation is a nice unit, but it has less potential for improvement on last year’s full-season numbers — by which I mean, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh probably can’t get better. So they need that ‘pen to be amazing again … and it probably will be. The thing that’s fun for them is what a full year of “Los Dos Carlos” — Correa and Gomez — might mean, and whether Tyler White or Jon Singleton (or the both of them) step up and rake. That’s definitely fun to think about.neil: Any fear about the Astros running afoul of the Plexiglas Principle? They did make quite a leap last year.rob: I’m not worried about the Plexiglas Principle with regard to the ‘Stros. They made a big jump — historically large, in fact — but their runs scored/allowed numbers suggest that they should have done even better. First-, second-, and third-order winning percentages from Baseball Prospectus had them as between a 93-win and 98-win team, which is really amazing. So while I think they will regress slightly, it will be from that lofty peak and not the more modest 86-win total they produced in the standings.christina_kahrl: I think dynamic talent turnover kind of insures the Astros against the Plexiglas Principle. Perhaps more than any other thing, I come back to thinking that we’ve yet to see what this team can do while getting full seasons from Gomez, Correa and Springer. If they do this year, and they all hit the way we think they can, that’s going to be a team that can outscore a lot of problems and play a pretty good brand of defense to boot.rob: That, too. Unlike some other teams “on the rise,” the Astros are in the midst of converting an outstanding farm system over the last few years into major-league talent. We have a legitimate reason to believe that they are going to continue getting more playing time and more performance out of a bunch of young players.christina_kahrl: Yeah, that trio plus Jose Altuve, surrounded by the Astros’ collection of power sources like Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena? That’s what will sustain their ability to beat teams late, because in close games they have a lineup talented enough, one through nine, to put any mistake in the seats. Embed Code rob: That’s a tough one. I’ll go with “No Country for Old Men”, with Anton Chigurh representing the (in the long-term unstoppable) Astros, Llewelyn Moss as the Rangers, and the trail of violence between them as what happens to the other teams in the division when they have to face the Astros and Rangers.Also, clearly, this is No Division for Old Men. The teams on the rise have young talent by the boatload; the teams falling apart do not.christina_kahrl: Now you’re just making me feel bad for Coco Crisp. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed A FiveThirtyEight Chat Texas Rangersneil: OK, fine, you’ve convinced me — there are several tiers to this division. So who belongs at the top?christina_kahrl: I’m down with Rob’s point that the Astros have the most upside, even though I’m leaning Rangers as the favorite to win the division. But while the Astros may have upside, there’s also a stampede-of-crowds effect where all the smarties want to call the smart guys’ win.rob: Sure, I can see an argument for the Rangers as well, although last year’s division win seemed a little more luck than skill. Then you have a crowd of mediocrity: Per FanGraphs, the Angels, Mariners and Athletics are all projected for between 79 and 81 wins. Maybe that’s what you meant by wide open, Neil — any of those teams are good enough to launch a playoff run. But it would also be a surprise for each of them.neil: Right, there seems to be at least a semi-plausible case for all of those teams. (But maybe that speaks mainly to the mediocrity factor you mentioned, Rob.)christina_kahrl: The big thing for me, as far as the Rangers go, is that the rotation’s going to get a full year from Derek Holland and Cole Hamels, plus Yu Darvish come May. Their mediocre full-season run differential last year was a reflection of how inadequate that number can be when you’re talking about 162 discrete data points, and the first 80-90 didn’t really have much predictive impact on the last 70-80 because the makeup of the team — and the pitching staff in particular — was so radically different. This season should echo that, and then you add in a much deeper lineup that should armor them against the usual injuries or allow them to live with the projectable absences of guys like Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre.rob: You make some good points! I’m convinced that the Rangers belong outside the tier of mediocrity. On the other hand, to play devil’s advocate, the strongest predictor of future injury is past injury, and the Rangers have suffered with that scourge a lot in the last few years. The roster is easy to dream on, but I suspect that we will once again see them losing many players to the disabled list.But, as you alluded to, they have a deep farm system and the capacity to replace some of what they lose.christina_kahrl: Yeah, I mean, we’ve all been dreaming about the best-case scenario for Joey Gallo, but even if he’s Russell Branyan with a glove, that’s a freakin’ valuable thing. And Nomar Mazara is probably the answer to a lot of their outfield injuries, assuming he doesn’t win a starting job outright at some point this season.The thing I keep wondering about is what Elvis Andrus has left in the tank. If he can go back to being an impact hitter with his deadball-era skills and play premium defense, that would be really very nice. The guy’s only 27, but maybe he’s a great example of the argument that we need to revise our expectations about peaks in an era where pitchers seem to be winning the game of adjustments.rob: Andrus is a fascinating player who’s still incredibly variable. By Baseball Prospectus’s Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP), he had his best season last year (3.8 WARP) and his worst season the year before (1.5 WARP). But my hunch is that he’s probably a 2-3 WAR player who never takes the next step we’ve all been waiting for.neil: Time might be running out for that to happen, for sure.christina_kahrl: Yeah, perhaps he spoiled us early with .340 OBPs and double-digit tallies in Defensive Runs Saved. read more