Movie guru, A's reliever Axford offers Oscars predictions


Movie guru, A's reliever Axford offers Oscars predictions

John Axford is new to the Oakland A's bullpen, but he's no stranger to the Oscars. 

Before signing with the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2006, Axford graduated from Notre Dame with a B.A. in Film and Television. And like all movie buffs, Axford pays close attention to the Oscars every year. 

The last three years, Axford has crushed his predictions for the film world's biggest night. Axford has gone 49 of 57 in correct picks after going 14-for-15 in 2013, a perfect 18-for-18 in 2014, and then chose every category last year, finishing 17-for-24. 

For comparison, the reliever has 35 saves in the last three years, though he wasn't a closer in 2013 and saved 35 games the season before. 

[STIGLICH: Axford brings passion for movies to A's revamped bullpen]

Axford has took another crack at the Oscars this year, reavealing his choices to The Players' Tribune. Below are his choices for this year's Oscars, which airs Sunday night at 5:30 p.m. PT.

Best Picture: The Revenant (Incorrect)

Actor – Leading: Leonardo DiCaprio (Correct)

Actress – Leading: Brie Larson (Correct)

Actor – Supporting: Sylvester Stallone (Incorrect)

Actress – Supporting: Alicia Vikander (Correct)

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Correct)

Cinematography: The Revenant (Correct)

Original Screenplay: Spotlight (Correct)

Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short (Correct)

Animated Feature: Inside Out (Correct)

Original Song: “Til It Happens To You” (Incorrect)

Documentary Short: Body Team 12 (Incorrect)

Live Action Short: Ave Maria (Incorrect)

Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Correct)

Animated Short: Sanjay’s Super Team (Incorrect)

Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road (Correct)

Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road (Correct)

Original Score: The Hateful Eight (Correct)

Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Incorrect)

Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road (Correct)

Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road (Correct)

Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road (Correct)

Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road (Correct)

Documentary Feature: Amy (Correct)

Axford, 32, signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the A's this offseason. The veteran went 4-5 with a 4.20 ERA and 25 saves with the Colorado Rockies last season.

A's 2019 Projections: Josh Phegley could start unless team makes moves


A's 2019 Projections: Josh Phegley could start unless team makes moves

Editor's note: Over the next few weeks, NBC Sports California will be analyzing a different A's player each day to project their numbers for next season.

Unless the A's add another catcher, Josh Phegley is poised to get the most playing time of his big league career. Phegley and Chris Herrmann are currently the only catchers on the A's active roster and they figure to platoon behind the plate.

Last season, Phegley hit .204/.255/.344 with two home runs, seven doubles, and 15 RBI in 39 games. The 30-year-old re-signed with the A's in November for one year at $1.075 million.

Phegley has a career slash line of .223/.264/.372. His best season came in 2015 when he hit .249/.300/.449 with a career-high nine homers and 34 RBI.

Phegley has performed slightly better against left-handed pitching throughout his career, hitting .243/.279/.414. The right-handed hitter figures to get most of next season's at-bats against southpaws, with Herrmann starting against righties.

Phegley has also been solid defensively throughout his career, maintaining a .992 fielding percentage and throwing out 33 percent of attempted base stealers, five points above the league average.

Baseball Reference projects Phegley to hit .223/.285/.368 next year with six home runs, 15 doubles, and 28 RBI. They estimate him at 242 at-bats, which would be a career-high.

[RELATED: Chris Herrmann 2019 projections]

Phegley has done everything the A's have asked of him over the years and proven to be a consistent player and great clubhouse presence. We expect a slight improvement from last season, especially if he gets increased playing time.

Projection: .227/.297/.374, 6 HR, 12 doubles, 27 RBI

2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. has Kyler Murray as No. 13 pick

2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. has Kyler Murray as No. 13 pick

Ever since A's top-prospect Kyler Murray declared for the NFL Draft, the question is how he would fair in football.

And while we are still waiting to determine if football is indeed in his imminent future, draft experts are determining where they picture Murray will go. 

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., has Murray going in the first round: the No. 13 overall pick to the Dolphins.

"The Dolphins need to rebuild," Kiper writes. "What better way to start that rebuild than to take the Heisman Trophy winner? Now, just because Murray has entered the draft, doesn't mean he's sticking to football. He could stick back out and play baseball. But I'm treating him as if he's all-in for now, and if he goes to the combine -- he's going to run a blazing 40-yard dash -- and goes through workouts for the teams, I expect him to be picked in Round 1. This is an unprecedented situation for a 5-foot-10 quarterback, but it's going to be fun to watch over the next few months."

Murray's height is the one knock on the Heisman Trophy winner, but Doug Flutie says hello.

Murray sticks out by being a phenomenal passer and runner. He threw for 4,361 yards at Oklahoma and ran for 1,001 more yards on the ground. The combo of his arm strength and his speed makes him the type of quarterback teams are willing to take a chance on. 

[RELATED: Baseball, football scouts weigh in on Murray's decision]

It's still early in projections and especially early in teams' evaluations, but the Heisman Trophy winner appears to be a lock for the first round.

It's just a matter of when.