Pittsburgh Sports Predictions For 2015


Sep 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) fields a ground ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year from all of us at City of Champions. It is always fun to predict what will happen in the year ahead. Here are a couple of local and national predictions I have for 2015.

1. Jordy Mercer will be this year’s Josh Harrison. Mercer did not get the respect he deserved last season after a cold start. Much of the infield talk has been about how Pedro Alvarez will fare in his move to first place or if Neil Walker can get a contract extension. Harrison himself has been talked about but what about Mercer?

There are not many shortstops that can hit and play defense and Mercer is able to do both. Now with a full season under his belt, Mercer will become a name to fear for major league pitchers.

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2. No Pittsburgh major sports team will win a championship in 2015. The Steelers have defensive issues that will hold them back. The AFC may be wide open, but the NFC is the stronger conference.

I do have the Pirates winning the NL Central this year and getting into the NLCS but it will fall short. The Pirates have taken some great steps towards improvement, but are not quite there when it comes to becoming a world champion.

The Penguins are going through a rough patch right now and have had several players injured for a variety of reasons. This team always overcomes that, however they as always will overcome it. The playoffs have been a different animal however. In the past Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury have all struggled and in recent years the three have not been able to succeed together in the postseason. I do not expect this to change. They are the leaders and they need to lead with on ice performance and I am unsure that will happen in 2015.

Now for some national predictions:

1. Neither Tiger Woods nor Rory McIlroy will win a major this year. I’ve gone on record saying Woods’ chance of winning majors was over and that was over two years ago. I feel just as strongly now as I did in 2012. Woods is an old 39 and the competition now is much tougher than it was back then. Also, golfers no longer fear Tiger, which plays an important factor.

McIlroy has his mind squarely on the Masters and winning the grand slam and I do not think that is what his focus should be on. He needs to ensure that his summer success that resulted in two major championships was more than just a flash of brilliance.

My major champion winners for 2015 are as follows: Jordan Spieth- Masters, Keegan Bradley- U.S. Open Bubba Watson- The Open Championship, Jason Day PGA Championship. Spieth has shown he can play the big tournaments and won his last two starts in 2014, not to mention he had a share of the lead in last year’s Masters. Bradley is due for a bounce back season and has rid himself of anchoring the putter. Bradley has become more comfortable on and off the course, not to mention he has won a major in the PGA Championship, a World Golf Championship and a tournament named after Byron Nelson.

Watson’s length makes him a popular pick to win here as St. Andrews favors the longer hitter. At Whistling Straits Martin Kaymer and Watson will be favored considering each won a major in 2014 and both were in the 2010 playoff for the PGA Championship but Jason Day is the pick because he has played solid golf and is deserving a major that will show the fans how talented he is.

2. I will still take the Chicago Bulls to win the NBA Finals. I’m not one of those people that will change my pick, believe me there are a lot of people who would. The Bulls are in a good position 1.5 games back of first place in the Eastern Conference and fourth place overall. All of the major statistics are in the upper half of the NBA as they are ninth in points per game, fourth in rebounds per game, 13th in assists per game and 10th in points allowed.

Chicago has five players averaging double figures per game with starters Mike Dunleavy and Joakim Noah just outside of the mark. Four players are shooting over 80 percent from the free throw line with the team at 77.7 percent. It also never hurts that Derrick Rose has largely stayed healthy contributing 17.4 points per game, third best on the team. This team always preaches defense as well

Agree or disagree? Feel free to give your response to these predictions or provide your own takes in the comments.

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