Stephen A. Smith led the hot takes for April 13-19.

Welcome to another week of This Week In Hot Takes, where we break down all the hottest sports media takes of the week. This time around, we’re covering takes from April 13-19.

5. Brian Kenny thinks Baseball Hall of Fame voters don’t emphasize the postseason enough: MLB Network’s Brian Kenny is often portrayed as the analytical voice in the room, but that doesn’t always hold up, especially when it comes to Baseball Hall of Fame discussion. As Bill Baer noted in 2013, Kenny’s hypothetical Hall of Fame ballot that year had two major issues from an analytics perspective (Fred McGriff over Jeff Bagwell and the absence of Mike Piazza), interesting considering that both were hugely favored by wins above replacement, an argument he’s used elsewhere. And the take he dropped this week was one really out of line with the rest of the statistics community:

What in the world is that? The BBHOF is voted on by sportswriters, primarily older sportswriters, and if there’s anything they love, it’s postseason heroics. Jay Jaffe, who’s done a ton of work covering the Hall of Fame and who’s likely to get in, emphasized that:

And an added focus on postseason play is particularly problematic for a couple of reasons, as it both favors players on good teams (and punishes great players on bad teams) and is based on a tiny sample size. Considering the postseason can be just fine with some caveats, but there’s every indication that BBHOF voters already do, and probably do to too great of an extent. So Kenny arguing for even more focus on the playoffs is a pretty hot take.

Rating: 🔥🔥

4. Nick Cafardo goes to great lengths to try and make a case that Mookie Betts is comparable to Mike Trout: Speaking of rewarding players for being on good teams and punishing players on bad teams, that’s a central part of the very silly homer argument Nick Cafardo made in The Boston Globe this week when trying to compare Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts to Angels’ center fielder Mike Trout, which even involved him bringing in anonymous scouts who made false claims about Betts having a better recent OPS. Here’s Cafardo’s argument that Betts should have won the 2016 MVP because Trout’s team didn’t make the playoffs:

Betts finished runner-up to Trout for the 2016 American League MVP. I think Betts got robbed. As a voter, I place great value on a player who helps lead his team to a first-place finish. Betts did that in 2016. Trout’s Angels were awful, and it’s tough to gauge the value of a player under those circumstances. Where the stats lean in favor of Trout, that’s where the majority of the votes went.

Which brings us to a topic that will never die: Should the MVP award be based on the best player, or his value to the team? It seems they’ve become one and the same. But that shouldn’t be.

Even putting aside the never-ending “best player or value to his team” debate (which is also silly in the way it’s phrased, as the best player is still providing the most value to his team; what proponents of that cause should be arguing is “most value to team that makes the playoffs, or goes far in the playoffs”), Trout and Betts were not particularly comparable in 2016. Betts hit .318/.363/.534, Trout hit .315/.441/.550. That’s an OPS almost 100 points higher, and while Betts may have been better defensively, that was at a less premium position. Trout produced 9.6 WAR by Fangraphs in 2016, while Betts produced 8.3. (And it’s worth noting that this is the most comparable season between the two; Betts’ other best full season is 5.4 WAR in 2017, while Trout’s worst season is 6.9 WAR that year.) These two players are only in the same conversation if you’re wearing Red Sox-filtered glasses, as Cafardo appears to be doing.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Mark Kiszla says Avalanche “expose Predators as great pretenders,” despite trailing in the series: Speaking of homeriffic takes, here’s a doozy from Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla. Kiszla is covering the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff series against the Nashville Predators, where the Predators won the first two games. Colorado won one Monday to pull the series back to 2-1 (it’s now 3-1, as the Avalanche lost on Wednesday, and they can be eliminated tonight), and Kiszla went through the roof about it, insisting that this (based on some fan chants about history?!) proved the Predators are “great pretenders”:

Nathan MacKinnon and the gritty little Avalanche have done the rest of the NHL a favor, revealing the Nashville Predators as great pretenders in the chase for the Stanley Cup.

The truth came from on high, shouted from the last row of Section 334 in the Pepsi Center.

“No Stanley Cups! No Stanley Cups! No Stanley Cups!”

It was a chant started by die-hard Avalanche fans Luke Hutchinson and Nick Tremaroli, directed at Nashville’s embarrassing lack of hockey pedigree. I think these guys are on to something, don’t you?

First, decades-old performances have zero to do with modern success, as Avalanche fans should know; their Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001 didn’t prevent them from spending seven of the last 10 seasons out of the playoffs, and they barely snuck in to the final Western Conference berth this year. And turning over your column to a chant from fans is really a good way to go. But beyond that, Kiszla then makes a bunch of further ridiculous claims:

Nashville joined the NHL in 1998, as part of commissioner Gary Bettman’s grand plan to expand a sport covered in wintry tradition to cities that freak out at the sight of a single snowflake.

How many championships has Nashville won? Zero.

Nothing is going to change in 2018.

The truth is as hard to deny as the final score: Avalanche 5, Pretenders 3.

Or did you miss how the Avs got under the skin of the big, bad dudes wearing the dandelion yellow sweaters? Colorado peppered the net with pucks until Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne ran and ducked for cover in the safety of the visitors dressing room.

“In my opinion, we’ve been the better team five-on-five,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said.

Hard to argue.

It’s a series now. The Avs have made the Pretenders grumpy.

Ah, yes, weather-based trolling, that old hockey staple. Because that matters so much. (Honestly, it often feels like something people in cold climates throw at other fanbases to try and ignore their own dissatisfaction with the weather. “We may be freezing, but we’re a TRADITIONAL HOCKEY MARKET!” Except, in Colorado’s case, they really aren’t; they had a team from 1976-82, but it moved to New Jersey, and they only got the Avalanche when they left Quebec City ahead of the 1995-96 season, a whopping three whole years before the Predators came into the league.

The more important fact might be that Nashville went to the Stanley Cup Final last year, and Colorado hasn’t made the postseason since a first-round exit in 2014. And the Pretenders, er, Predators, will have three chances to give them another one, beginning tonight. But Kiszla and his “die-hard fan” buddies can keep up with their chants after their team’s gone.

Rating:  🔥🔥🔥🔥

2. Colin Cowherd’s rant blasting Baker Mayfield includes “shirtless in SI”: “Shirtless in Sports Illustrated” sounds like the worst imaginable follow-up to Sleepless in Seattle, but it also was part of an astounding Colin Cowherd rant this week about Oklahoma quarterback and NFL draft prospect Baker Mayfield:

Here’s the full segment:

The “didn’t study a Chargers’ playbook” part isn’t even true, as Mayfield said he did study it, just not as thoroughly as playbooks from some other teams perhaps more likely to draft him. The “planted a flag on a logo” was this fall’s stupidest controversy, and “grabbed his crotch on the sidelines” wasn’t far behind; neither of those seem particularly damaging to an NFL career. And why would we care about what a former assistant at a school he didn’t go to said about his father? The only even minorly-serious thing in that rant is the arrest, and “public intoxication” arrests not only aren’t rare for athletes, they’re probably about the least negative thing an athlete can be arrested for. And the “shirtless in SI” is just a hilarious criticism. Even ESPN hot take artist Will Cain called Cowherd out for this one:

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Stephen A. Smith compares Colin Kaepernick to Donald Trump: I mean, what else can you even say about that?

“Here you have a white billionaire who wanted to be part of the league and couldn’t get in! Colin Kaepernick couldn’t get back in!” Kellerman’s face throughout that is something. And it’s great that Smith follows that up with “I understand that the two things don’t really have much to do with each other.” No, no they don’t.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Bonus: Because it is 4/20, here’s a compilation of Smith telling people to “STAY OFF THE WEEEEEEEDDD!”

Hot Take Standings:

Stephen A. Smith – 193
Skip Bayless – 147
Phil Mushnick – 125
Colin Cowherd – 54
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Rob Parker – 29
Doug Gottlieb – 22
Ray Lewis – 21
JT The Brick – 20
Charles Barkley – 19
Albert Breer – 16
Don Cherry – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Chris Broussard – 13
Dan Dakich – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Jason McIntyre – 11
Michael DeCourcy – 11
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Ross Tucker – 9
Keith Olbermann – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Steve Simmons – 8
Dan Shaughnessy – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Tony Massarotti – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Andy Benoit – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Danny Kanell – 7
Pat Leonard – 6
Mike Francesa – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Darren Rovell – 5
Alexi Lalas  – 5
Greg Gabriel  – 5
John Moody  – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson  – 5
Rod Watson  – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Britt McHenry – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Michael Felger – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
John Middlekauff – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Mike Bianchi – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rob Rossi – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Mark Kiszla – 4
Greg Witter – 4
Myron Medcalf  – 4
Bill Polian – 4
MJ Franklin – 4
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Graham Couch – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
The Sporting News – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 3
Cathal Kelly – 3
Justin Peters – 3
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver  – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Jason Smith – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 2
Max Kellerman – 2
Gareth Wheeler – 2
John Cornyn – 2
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
Seth Greenberg – 2
Doug Smith – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Will Cain – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.