Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Five—Special Draft Edition

1. Hey draftniks. In the tradition of Philly fans booing the choice of Donovan McNabb because they wanted Ricky Williams, was their ever a guy your team drafted, that you hated, but turned out really well.


2. Which pick sent their franchise back the most: JaMarcus Russell, Cade McNown, Ryan Leaf or Akili Smith.

3. Best name in this year's draft? Pat Angerer? Scott Sicko? Maurkice Pouncey? One that I missed?

4. Who's the offensive Rookie of the year next year? The defensive rookie of the year?

5. If your head was shaped like this guys, would you paint it blue and go to the draft?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Extremely Premature Grading of Yankee Off-Season Moves

Sure, it's not even a month into the season and it's far too early to judge any off-season moves. But why not do it anyway. Let's take a look at how the Yankees off-season moves have panned out so far.

Curtis Granderson for Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke
Austin Jackson, the chip the Tigers wanted in the Curtis Granderson trade is batting .322 with a home run, 10 walks and 3 stolen bases He is handling the lead-off spot very well so far. And he is playing an excellent centerfield, ranking 3rd in the AL in Fangraphs UZR.


Ian Kennedy has a 0-1 record with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He has 21 Ks.

Phil Coke has a 1.38 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. He has 11 Ks in 13 IP

Curtis Granderson, after a good start, has cooled off and is batting .243. He has 2 HR and 4 SB. He is batting .208 vs. lefties.

Verdict:
As of this moment, the Yankees got the worse end of this deal. Jackson has taken to the lead-off spot excellently and should be a fixture in CF for a long time. Coke has done well as the lefty out of the Tigers pen. And Kennedy, despite the mediocre ERA, has actually pitched well. His WHIP is good and batters are only batting .214 off of him. He can turn into a fine 3-4 starter. Granderson has reverted to his form of the past 2 years: a low BA, some power and absolutely clueless against lefties. Hopefully his power will help alleviate the pain he brings against lefties. Loser: Yankees.



Javier Vazquez and RP Boone Logan for P Arodys Vizcaino, LF Melky Cabrera, and P Michael Dunn
Javier Vazquez has made no one forget his first time around with the Yankees. His pitches look flat and he looks scared on the mound. He has a 9.00 ERA and a 1.8 WHIP. He has given up 5 HRs in 20 IP.

Boone Logan has done fairly well in his few appearances. He has only pitched 2.1 innings in the majors and has a 3.86 ERA. In the minors this season, he had a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 IP.

Arodys Vizcaino has been hit around a little bit in A-ball this season. He has a 4.95 ERA and 19Ks in 20 IP. He is still only 19.

Michael Dunn, in AA, has been lights out so far. He has a .095 ERA in 9.1 IP. He has struck out 12.

Melky Cabrera, away from his buddy Robinson Cano, has been pretty awful. In 71 AB, Cabrera is batting .197—70 points below his lifetime average—with 11 Ks. His OPS+ is a very sad 37.

Verdict:
Pretty much a wash as both teams major league players are awful. Melky Cabera wasn't supposed to be a 10-year lock in left field, just a temporary left fielder and 4th outfielder. Vasquez was supposed to anchor the Yankees rotation and provide quality innings. Advantage, Braves, Also, slight edge goes to the Braves though as Vizcaino was a coveted young talent and has time to grow.



Nick Johnson for Hideki Matsui
If OBP is all Cashman wanted than Johnson is fine. Even batting well below his weight at .143, Johnson's 20 walks give him a .385 OBP. But still, Johnson still only has 8 hits in 78 AB, which is just plain terrible. He has 13 total bases.

Matsui, so far, has been his usual self. Batting .274 with 4 HRs, he has a 126+ OPS. However, the one stat where Johnson has the lead is in Cashman's coveted OBP where he trails Johnson with a .354 OBP.

Verdict:
Matsui. I know Cashman covets the OBP. But dude, the guy is batting .143. Sure, he'll probably pick it up, in which case, the verdict might eventually go to Johnson—he did bat .291 with a .426 OBP last year. But right now, he couldn't hit the floor if he fell down.


Brett Gardner for Johnny Damon
Damon has gotten off to a hot start, batting .321 with no home runs and 1 SB. He's slugging .423 with 9 RBIs.

Gardner, with 20 fewer ABs, is batting .310, 0 HRs, with 9 stolen bases (tied for lead league). Gardner is slugging .362 with 6 RBIs.


Verdict:
Ultimatly it's a wash. Damon has more power, Gardner more speed. It's a pick your poison; and the Yankees felt they needed speed and defense and a baserunning pest, more than another HR threat. The Tigers needed power and leadership. In the end, a tie.


Hughes for Chamberlain
Probably the easiest one in the bunch. Hughes has been excellent so far, seemingly learning from his time at Rivera's shoulder in the bullpen last year how to attack hitters. He has a 2.00 ERA and is holding batters to a .103 BA. He has 18 Ks in 18 IP.

Chamberlain—whom everyone is figuring out is a reliever at heart—hasn't been bad either. He has a 3.72, mainly inflated by one bad pitch to Kendry Morales. His fastball and slider have increased in velocity and his K/IP is way up. He seems a little more comfortable on the mound to rear back and let it go.

Verdict:
A win/win for the Yankees. Hughes seems settled in as a starter and is responding, and Chamberlain is slowly gaining back the confidence lost in the failed "Starter Experiment."


Overall, the Yankees moves haven't quite panned out as they would have liked. If not for Phil Hughes splendid start, the back pages this offseason might be more filled with Cashman's moves to get Granderson and Vasquez, and Matsui, Damon and Austin Jackson's good starts to the season. It's a long season though, and it will be interesting to keep an eye on these off-season moves as the season progresses.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Transactions....

Hey! Check out the Padres!  Many web sites, (including this one) let the Padres have it for only carrying a budget of 35 million for the entire team. And look at this, they are first in the NL West. Well, hold on a minute. This is more of a case of the rest of the division not doing well, than the Padres playing great baseball. The Dodgers completely folder so far this season. The Rockies can't seem to get into the grove, and if the Giants could find a fifth starter, they would have the division. In a way, this might be the worst thing for Padres management. if the Pods are in the hunt come June, how would they justify trading Adrian Gonzalez.



In another example of the brilliance of the Mets organization....wait for it....they are still paying millions to Bobby Bonilla. Yes the same Bonilla who signed a gargantuan contract and averaged 19 HRs and a .270 BA. in numbers that only make sense to the Mets...well, read this:
"According to a report on CNN.com, which was confirmed by a source with knowledge of the team’s finances. When the Mets waived Bonilla in 2000, they still owed him $5.9 million, according to the report. Although the numbers don’t seem to add up, CNN reported that the Mets will pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from 2011 to 2035."
But...wait......I don't....Oh, forget it.


Let me just say how glad I am the Yankees listened to me and didn't sign Derek Lowe a few seasons back. All he's done since the Braves signed him to a fat contract is who his age. He has lost speed and his slider is nowhere near as effective as it was when he was younger. His ERA since the Braves signed him has been 4.77 (and climbing) and his WHIP is somewhere in the vicinity of 1.6. Ouch. So glad the Yanks took A.J. Burnett over Lowe, who a lot of people wanted more.



Give San Francisco a lot of credit. Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati shore up a leaky offensive line and help Alex Smith and Frank Gore. Taylor Mays could be a hard-hitting and good safety and Navorro Bowman is a solid Penn State linebacker. That said, they are asking plenty from head coach, Mike Singletary: Davis has a track record of dogging it. Iupati is a offensive holding machine.Bowman has a history of pot use, fighting and showing up small in big games. And Mays is a physical freak who hasn't translated his ability onto the field. The potential is high for all these guys; but the bust potential is high as well.


Everybody was so down on the Spurs, thinking they'd get swept in the playoffs. And yet here they sit up 3-1 against the Mavs. 2 reason. Any team with Duncan, Ginobili and Parker is in any series. But more...defense rules playoffs. And that's what the Spurs do. Ginobili is averaging 3 steals a game against the Mavs, and the Ghost of Antonio McDyess is averaging a little less than a block a game. Overall they are holding Dallas to 10 points less per game than the regular season. Sounds like they could easily take the series tonite.


Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the disparity between Top 100 high school recruits and getting drafted in the NFL draft. Fro 2003 to 2005, only, 17% of the top 100 football recruits were selected in the NFL's first two rounds. In 2002, out of the top 10 recruits, only Vince Young and Haloti Ngata were taken in the 1st round of the draft. Of the rest, only Chris Davis (only 7 recptions in his career) and Leon Washington are in the NFL. Only 4 out of 10, and only 2 in the first 2 rounds. Interesting stuff.


In 3 starts in AAA, Aroldis Chapman has a .60 ERA and has 18 Ks in 15 IP. Can't wait to see the Reds promote him and see if this guy becomes the LeBron James of baseball.


Whatever happened to Michael Beasley. Instead of turning into Amare Stoudemire, like everyone thought he would, he seems to heading the way of a less talented Derrick Coleman...or even a Billy Owens. 10 bucks the Heat try to trade him shortly.


And lastly, one of the things I love about minor league baseball are the wacky promotions they have. And here, in this photo gallery on ESPN, they have pictures of different promotions minor league squads have run. It's definitely worth a look. Love the Girl's Night Leopard print.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some draft thoughts

I guess I'm not on board as much as everyone else is about the Giants taking Jason Pierre Paul in the first round. They already have Osi Umenyora, Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck. That's a lot of DE's to pay, and then adding another one. Sure you can move some of them inside, but really, was this the best pick, especially considering Maurkice Pouncey was picked just a few picks later?



Love the pairing of Toby Gearhart with Adrian Peterson. Think that works out perfectly, with Gearhart getting the tough yards, and leaving the explosive Peterson to do what he does best, make people miss in space.
 
How does Baltimore keep doing it? Almost every round, they get immense value and fill another hole on their team. Sergio kindle was picked to go in the first round, they get him in the second. Arthur Jones at one point was a early 2nd day pick, they get him in the 6th round. And Terrance Cody, one of the better NT's in the draft, they pick up late in the second round. Top draft of the year.


Just a hunch. Undrafted free agent WR, Rich Gunnell might turn out to be a find and a great possession receiver for the Chiefs. Again, just a hunch.


Likewise undrafted DE/OLB Kevin Basped, who signed with the Jets. At 6/6, 240 and quick, Basped might be a pass-rushing OLB that Rex Ryan could use.


How do the Colts not draft a couple of early picks for their O-Line? OK, I can see taking Jerry Hughes pick in the first round, even with Roger Saffold sitting there. But how do you pass on LT Charles Brown in the 2nd round (who goes in the next pick)? In fact, the Colts don't take anybody for their offensive line until the 4th round. They averaged 3.5 YPC last season and got just 242 yards in 3 postseason games. Don't you guys remember how you couldn't move it via the ground in the second half of the Super Bowl guys?



Same with the Bills. How do they not draft a O-lineman until they take the immortal Ed Wang in the fifth round? Their quarterbacks got sacked 46 times last year and were constantly under pressure. Guys...C.J. Spiller is a luxury, not the necessity they needed to address.


Surprised Dan Williams went so late. With so many teams switching to the 3-4 and solid NT's difficult to find, I thought he'd go much higher.


Can't say I like the trade of Leon Washington and a 7th rounder for a 5th round. Leon, when he was healthy, was the most explosive player on the Jets roster, and their best offensive weapon. For a 5th rounder. Was that seriously all you could get? And if it was, then don't trade him.


Even more than Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy, the "Slippery Slider" award goes to Ricky Sapp, DE/OLB from Clemson. Once thought a late 1st pic, Sapp lasted until the 5th round, when the Eagles finally saved him. Even possessing the quicks and great upside, teams saw in Sapp a potential injury addition fill waiting to happen.


And finally, name of the draft. John "The Terminator" Connor, to the Jets. And he is a Full "I'll Be" Back.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Five

1. Which pitcher's bad start has surprised you the most: Justin Verdlander, Jon Lester or Jake Peavy.

2. How do you think Tim Tebow will do in Denver?

3. Where will Jimmy Clausen end up?

4. Will the Red Sox pull out of their slump or is this year a wash?

5. Do you think it's OK for advertisers to buy space on a team's uniform?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Final Mock Draft

Here it, the last one before the actual draft. Of course, there will be a million trade. This mock assumes there might be certain trades, but leaves the order in tact. Enjoy, and write if you think we're prescient or stupider than a bag of rocks.



1. St Louis Rams — Sam Bradford — QB — Oklahoma
Everybody's consensus pick, just not the right one. Not that Bradford won't succeed—it's just the odds are he won't. Don't believe me: the successes vs. failures ratio for first round picks is at 2:1 A boy named Suh—I can't spell his real name—was unblockable at times, and could slip right into Spagnuolo's d-Line and create havoc for opposing teams. They could trade up and get their QB in Colt McCoy in the late first round. But they won't.

2. Detroit Lions— Ndamukong Suh — DT — Nebraska
Jim Schwartz gets a new toy. The best defensive tackle in the draft. And boy did he need it. They really need an OT, but could possibly trade up to the end of the 1st round and pick up one there. I would.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Gerald McCoy — DT — Oklahoma
No-brainer. The Bucs ground defense was poopy last year. McCoy—no relation to Colt—fits well into their defensive scheme and stop the bleeding a little.

4. Washington Redskins — Trent Williams — OT — Oklahoma
4th Big 12 kid in a row. Most of the "experts" recently realized that if Mike Shanahan wants to run his zone blocking scheme, he should get the most athletic LT in the draft. Shanahan might want his own QB to draft, but I believe he might try to pick up Dan LeFevour later in the draft and groom him behind McNabb for a few years.

5. Kansas City Chiefs — Russell Okung — OT — Oklahoma State
5th Big 12-er in a row. This picks makes too much sense not to happen. Although, last year, Scott Pioli showed he will take a guy he wants regardless of where he is ranked—don't be surprised if he takes Dan Williams, the consensus nose tackle in the draft. Just a hunch.

6. Seattle Seahawks — Bryan Buluga — OT — Iowa
There has been a lot of talk about putting C.J. Spiller here. I just don't see it. Spiller is more of a home run hitting scat back type; in the mold of Leon Washington, or what everyone (except me) thought Reggie Bush would be. He's not a feature back. Seattle desperately needs a LT to replace Walter Jones and keep Matt Hasselback alive. Buluga is the best choice. That said, Seattle may take Spiller here, and trade down later to take Charles Brown from USC, someone Pete Carroll is familiar with.

7. Cleveland Browns — Jimmy Clausen — QB — Notre Dame
Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brett Ratliff. Those are the QB's on the Browns roster. No way Mike Holgren, a QB groomer goes into the season with those guys. Unless Holgren has fallen in love with a lower-grade prospect—Colt McCoy comes to mind as someone he may like—Clausen should be his man—he's the most ready to step in from day 1 and start. Like the Chiefs, don't be shocked if the Browns take Dam Williams, the best NT in the draft and someone who can help the 28th ranked rushing defense.

8. Oakland Raiders — Bruce Campbell — OT — Maryland
Ahhhh, Al Davis. Can't knock the guy; he makes the draft fun. The smart pick would be Eric Berry, the consensus best player in the draft. OR trade down and pick up Campbell later in the first round and get more picks. But Al is Al. He falls in love with workout warriors and Campbell is just that, a physical specimen. And to his credit, Al knows his OT situation is a 5-car pileup. But Campbell at 8? Al must love guys from Maryland. Oh thank you for being you, Al.

9. Buffalo Bills — Derrick Morgan — DE — Georgia Tech
Poor Buffalo. This draft could not have turned out worse for them. They needed one of the top OT's or a QB. With all of them off the board, and no need for a free safety—thanks to last year's pick Jarius Byrd—look for Buffalo to trade down here and get more picks. If not, their sack artist, Aaron Schobel has been grumbling about retiring and Aaron Maybin, last year's 1st round pick accomplishing absolute bupkis, the Bills draft their DE of the future. But seriously, look for a trade down here.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars — Eric Berry — FS — Tennessee
Reggie Nelson, a former first round pick, has not panned out the way the Jaguars would have liked, at FS. 0 interceptions does not make Jack Del Rio a happy man. With Aaron Kampman on board to provide the pass rush,  the Jags could slide Nelson over to strong safety, and have Berry, a NFL-ready player, cover the FS spot.

11. Denver Broncos — Ronaldo McClain — ILB — Alabama
The Broncos rush defense was 26th last season. In two of their last three games, they gave up 317 and 241 yards on the ground....to the Chiefs and Raiders. The defense needs a stopper in the middle, and McClain is the best. The offense needs a replacement for the departed Brandon Marshall, so Dez Bryant is a possibility although this is a bit early for him. And with more teams running the 3-4 and Jamal Williams a year away from collecting Social Security, Dan Williams could be brought in as a replacement.

12. Miami Dolphins — Dan Williams — DT — Tennessee
As of this writing, Bill Parcells has Charlie Anderson and Cameron Wake as his 2 rush linebackers. That's not gonna stand. But first things first. The Dolphins NT, Jason Ferguson has been playing NT for Parcells since they were in Pop Warner league. He's old and breaking down, so Parcells needs a stud in the middle. Williams is the pick if he's still here.

13. San Francisco 49ers — Joe Haden — CB — Florida
An easy one. The 49ers had a good rush defense last year, but were brought down by a sieve-like pass defense. Joe Haden walks into the locker room and immediately starts as a CB for the Niners.

14. Seattle Seahawks — C. J. Spiller — RB — Clemson
The Seahawks passed on Spiller earlier in the draft and get the guy they wanted at 14. The consensus top RB in the draft, the Seahawks add a much-needed explosive weapon to their offense. A DE is also a possibility with Patrick Kearney retiring.

15. New York Giants — Jared Odrick — DT/DE — Penn State
Anyone who watched the Giants try to run the ball in the second half of last season knows that...well, they couldn't. They would love to replace David Diehl at LT—he ranked well below average in all O-Line statistics—but Anthony Davis, while immensely talented, has shown no interest in playing football—something Tom Coughlin would not tolerate and wants no part of. They could trade down for OT Charles Brown or OT Roger Saffold. They would have loved Dan Williams or Rolando McClain to shore up the middle of their defense. Sean Weatherspoon is intriquing and remains a possibility, but is a little small to man the middle for Coughlin. In the end versatile DT/DE Jared Odrick, who's a bit of a reach is the perfect fit for the Giants.

16. Tenneesse Titans — Jason-Paul Pierre — DE — South Florida
The Titans need some help on their pass defense, so CBs Kyle Wilson and Kareem Jackson get serious looks here. But with Kyle Vanden Bosh leaving, and Paul just too good a talent to pass up, the Titans get some raw clay to mold into an explosive pass rusher.

17. San Francisco 49ers — Mike Iupati — OG — Idaho
The Niners couldn't run last year, ranked 25th in the league in rushing offense. The problem was their guard play, especially David Baas, who's run-blocking was well below average. Iupati, a quick 330 pound quick on his feet guard could help open holes for Frank Gore.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers — Maurkice Pouncey — C —Florida
The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line was deplorable last year. Just awful. And Justin Hartwig was the main culprit, giving up 7 sacks, 3 more than the next center. Combine that with 16 QB pressures and one of the worst run blocking, and its a recipe for the Steelers to run to the stage with Pouncey's—the unanimous top center prospect—name to the stage come Thursday.

19. Atlanta Falcons — Brandon Graham — DE/OLB — Michigan
The Falcons have been looking for a pass-rusher seemingly since Jessie Tuggle was patrolling the MIKE. Jamaal Anderson is a bust-erino and John Abraham is getting older, so the Falcons need someone a young sack artist besides Kroy Biermann to pressure opposing QBs. Graham, who absolutely destroyed opposing O-lineman at the Senior Bowl would fit in well in Atlanta.

20. Houston Texans — Ryan Matthews — RB — Fresno State
The Texans could not run last year. At all. Steve Slaton, after a nice rookie season, reminded everyone that why he's not a lead running back in the NFL. Ryan Matthews is a big back, with little back speed. One of the top cornerbacks is an option here as well.

21. Cincinnati Bengals —Dez Bryant — WR — Oklahoma State
Bryant, who was always a tad overrated anyway, wins this year's slippery slider award and falls into the happy Bengals lap. The Bengals, who have a weird uncontrollable fetish for players with attitude problems, find the perfect match in Dez Bryant. They also happen to need a wide receiver anyway.

22. New England Patriots — Sergio Kindle — OLB — Texas
Honestly, the Patriots trade back. Belichek loves to acquire more picks for the second round, because he finds that the players in the late first round and the second round grade out about the same. The Baltimore Ravens playoff game showed Belichek he needs someone to rush the passer and tackle opposing running backs—something they could not do that game. Kindle could get coached up and attack opposing QBs, something Belichek would appreciate. TE Jermaine Gresham is a possibility as well.

23. Green Bay Packers — Anthony Davis — OT — Rutgers
A lot of people have a cornerback here, and that makes sense. But come on, the Packers need help on the O-line. Heck, Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times, and sure, you could say he held onto the ball too long, but wow, 51 times. If that doesn't show that OTs Clifton and Tauscher are old and busted. Davis, has the talent, but it's up to the coaching staff and veterans to make sure the kid trains and plays up to his potential.

24. Philadelphia Eagles — Kyle Wilson — CB — Boise State
The Eagles are completely gutting the team we knew and are starting over. Not that they will be bad; smart draft choices have them reloading instead of rebuilding. With the trade of Sheldon Brown, the Eagles are a little thin at CB. Kyle Wilson did a good job handling other teams no. 1 receivers in college and should watch and learn and develop into a good CB for Andy Reid.

25. Baltimore Ravens — Jermaine Gresham — TE — Oklahoma
For a team that went to the second round of the playoffs, this is a team that has a lot of needs. The Ravens could go in a number of directions—Terrance Cody to man the middle of their defense, Sean Witherspoon to eventually take over for an aging Ray Lewis. They could go CB Patrick Robinson and shore up a less-than-underwhelming secondary (aside from Ed Reed). In the end, the best value is Gresham, who is a physical freak, and could quickly become Joe Flacco's best friend. If the trade of Jared Gaither—rumored around the web—goes through, a shiny new OT may be warranted here.

26. Arizona Cardinals — Rodger Saffold — OT — Indiana
Another team that made it deep into the playoffs, but has a ton of holes. LB Sean Witherspoon, LB/DE Jerry Hughes, CB Devin McCourty are all options here. But the Cardinals offensive line is just that—offensive. Mike Gandy was mercifully cut and Levi Brown is a disappointment as a 5th overall pick. Saffold handled himself well against opposing Big 10 rushers, and according to statistics, only allowed three sacks and one pressure in his final 440 college pass plays. A sort-of-sleeper.

27. Dallas Cowboys — Taylor Mays — S — USC
Buzz is that the Cowboys like UMass Vladimir Ducasse, but is he ready to walk in and start in September? Not by a long shot. A trade for Jared Gathier is a possibility as is Charles Brown. However, Brown is not a good fit for the Cowboys' scheme and is not a power run blocker. Mays is a physical phenomenon and has the tools; however he needs to be coached up big-time. A wide receiver is an outside shot here, but Mays makes the most sense.

28. San Diego Chargers — Terrance Cody — DT — Alabama
The Chargers could use some help at running back and at corner, but what they need the most is a replacement for Jamal Williams. Without Willaims as the NT, the Chargers were getting sliced in the running game. Unless he eats too many doughnuts and eats his way out of the league, Cody could be a huge pillar in the middle of the Charger defense.

29. New York Jets — Jerry Hughes — OLB — TCU
I can see the Jets trading down—to the Browns and Bills for Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow—the Vikings are in the market for a QB to eventually replace Farve. There are other players who could fill the holes they have down in the 40s of this draft. And since they only have 5 picks, trading down makes sense. Should the Jets remain at 29, Hughes makes a ton of sense. A little short, Hughes however has a fantastic burst and is relentless off the edge. Jayson Taylor or not, the Jets need a lot of help at OLB. Bryan Thomas had fewer than sacks than Jim Leonard did. And Calvin Pace, while better, wasn't making opposing defensive coordinators quake in their Keds. Hughes can help Rex Ryan in the "hitting the opposing QB" department.

30. Minnesota Vikings — Kareem Jackson — CB — Alabama
Tim Tebow is an option—and they are a team that can get a little creative as they don't have too many holes to fill. One of those holes, however is corner. And a shutdown corner schooled by Nick Saban is never a bad choice. Like the Jets, the Vikings may try to trade down to the second round. Should they stay, Jackson makes the most sense. Brian Price is a dark horse possibility.

31. Indianapolis Colts — Charles Brown — OT — USC
The Colts would love it if Brown fell to them. A nice fit for their system, Brown could come in and protect Peyton, and maybe even help the Colts stop getting stuffed in the opponents red zone.

32. New Orleans Saints — Sean Witherspoon — OLB — Missouri
Even thought they won the Super Bowl, the Saints could use some help on their defense. Witherspoon, the best defensive player left on the board could come in and give Scott Shanle some competition for the OLB spot.

That's it. Write back and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The New Yankee Stadium Home Run Myth Is All Hot Air


As the saying goes, what a difference a year makes.

Last year at this point, everyone was bashing the New Yankee Stadium, calling it a band box, and how homers were going to fly out of their at a pace the Colorado Rockies would find scary.

This year, not so much. Not that the Yankees aren’t hitting home runs—they are second in the AL with 16, only trailing the Toronto Blue Jays (really?), and 8 of their 16 are at home, in the new Stadium.

No the difference are the opponents. In 6 games at the new Stadium this year, Yankee opponents have only hit 4 home runs, and only 8 overall this season, Last year, by April 20th, the Yankees had only played 3 games at the new Stadium, but opponents had hit 9 HRs in the new Stadium—and 17 overall off Yankee pitching.

So far, in 6 games, there have been 2 homerless games; last year, it wasn’t until June 18th that there was a homerless game at the new Stadium.

What’s changed? Has the Stadium expanded? Have the Steinbrenners installed giant fans on top of the Stadium to blow the balls back in?

Well, no. The huge difference between April last year and this April is the pitching. It’s night and day.

Early in the season last year, the Yankees had serious problems getting their pitching in order. Chien Ming Wang was imploding, Joba Chamberlain was shaky to say the least; the bullpen—with Jose Veras, Edwar Ramierez and Jonathan Albaladejo in it—was a shambles. The pitching was, plainly put, awful.

And that reflects in the Yankees pitching splits from last year. In March & April, the team ERA was a vomitous 5.79; in May it was 4.28, and in June it was 3.79. In short, it took a while for Joe Girardi and the staff as a whole to know what they had, to define their roles and to get their legs under them for the season.

That’s what really happened: the Yankees began to find their staff; Phil Coke and David Robertson took over important roles in their pen, Phil Hughes began his tutorial in the bullpen, CC Sabathia began to settle in, and the Yankees found they had a hidden gem in Alfredo Aceves.

And that’s carried over to this season. While it is still early in 2010, the Yankees bullpen is stronger and more defined in “who has what job.” The starters—outside Javier Vasquez, whom everybody assumes will straighten out—have been phenomenal, and the bullpen remains strong. The Yankees have a below league ERA and have given up the fewest hits in the AL. As previously stated, Yankee pitching has only given up 8 HRs, 2nd lowest in the AL.

But what about the Stadium—that had to play a part, yes? Well, there have been claims that the early spring winds changed after the first six weeks of last year, that the wind shifted from heading out to right, to heading in towards the plate. Maybe, but it wouldn’t explain why this year, the early spring winds haven’t carried out a ton of home runs.

It’s a long season, and the Stadium wind ghosts could come back, but what’s more likely the difference between this year and last, is that the Yankees know what they have in their pitching staff, and what they have is very, very good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Transactions....

Bobby Abreu may be worst fielder I've seen in a long, long time. Just check out  On Curtis Granderson's hit into the right field corner Thursday night—first he takes a half an hour to get there, then lets the ball play him while he waits for it, then he nonchalants the ball out of the corner. Just awful.



Seems I am in the minority here thinking that Jon "Chuckie" Gruden's "Quarterback Camp" was a silly gimmick by ESPN. Both Peter King and Bob Ryan seem to love it. I don't get it. There wasn't serious analysis here, just "funny" jokes about each of the quarterback's quirks. I mean, just watch Gruden's critique of Colt McCoy's accent. His accent? I don't know. I thought it downright stupid and a waste of everyone's time.



Congrats to Ubaldo Jimenez on his no-hitter this weekend. He's got filthy stuff and is one of the most underrated pitchers of the game. That said....Dude...you gave up six walks, and you're constantly in the top 6 in the NL in walks. You've got great stuff, but you'll never be amongst the elite until you cut down on the walks, Ubaldo.


And just a reminder....Mets. When exactly, are you going to get your franchise's first no-hitter? Any time now would be fine.


So, Albert Haynesworth doesn't want to play nose tackle and is demanding a trade. Albert...if you get paid 100 million dollars to play football, you do whatever the coach says.


Sporting News has Jimmy Clausen going 30th in this draft. No freakin' way. No way he gets past Jacksonville at 10. And if he does, someone like Buffalo trades up from the second round to take him way before 30.



From all the reports I've been hearing, this Ike Davis kid, the Mets are promoting....is going to be very good. In just 42 AB in AAA, he is slugging .636, after hitting 20 HRs last year across A and AA. It might be time to say good-bye to Daniel Murphy.


For those of you that didn't hear, the University of Alabama's Spring Game brought 91,312 people to the game. That number again, is 91,312. Which made that stadium the fifth largest city in Alabama.


Yahoo Sports reported this weekend that the Cubs would like to trade Alfonso Soriano. Yeah, lots of luck with that. The Cubs are on the hook for 5 years at 18 million per. This for a guy who can't play the field, batted .241 last year and is not much better this year, and who's power has dropped every year since 2006. Who are they going to trade him for? Seriously, even if the Cubs paid half of his contract as part of the deal it wouldn't be worth it.


And if you hadn't seen this......it's the interview of the year. Maybe the decade.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Robinson Cano: MVP?

It's way too early for calling off the 2010 season and handing Robinson Cano the AL MVP trophy. However, when you watch Cano this season, there is a big difference to what he did before and how he is playing now.

Since the second half of last year, Cano has been absolutely crushing the ball—batting .343 and slugging the ball a a rate higher than he ever has during his career.

His K rate is down. His homers are up. But perhaps the most telling statistic is BABIP, or Batting Averages of Balls in Play. Since the second half of last season, Cano's BABIP has jumped over 30 points, meaning he not only hits the ball, but knows how and where to hit it, a sure sign of maturation.

Cano will always be a free swinger, walks and patience will never be his calling card. But at the plate, Cano has a better idea of how to work a pitcher. No, he's not Nick Johnson, with a fabulous eye of what's a strike or not, but he has developed his eye enough to hit the ball where he needs to.His ground ball ratio has plummeted and his fly ball ratio has conversely increased. And of those fly balls, his HR.FB ratio has jumped as well.

Overall he's making contact more, and the contact he's making are those of the better kind—hits rather than groundouts or cans of corn.


It is interesting to note that no one predicted anything close to an MVP for Cano this year—in fact some predicted a below average season for him as he moved up in the order to 5.  Of course, that could all come to fruition—it is April 17th, however, the maturation and growth of Cano since the All-Star game of last year show that this could be the year Robinson Cano takes on the mantle of his great name.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Five

1. Who was the worst fielder you ever saw in baseball?

2. If you were the Cleveland Browns, would you trade up for Sam Bradford, if the Rams wanted a ton of picks and your no. 1 next year?

3. Which pitcher in baseball history threw the nastiest curveball?

4. When was the last time you watched a boxing match?

5. After hearing this story, consider the most disgusting or inappropriate thing you've ever seen at a sporting event.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sometimes, Nice Guys Finish First

Hideki Matsui is a good guy. Always has been, always will be.

When he signed with the Yankees, he was asked why he was called Godzilla. Was it because he was Japanese. he replied, No, because he was ugly.

Self-deprecating and hard-working, that's Matsui.

After playing 519 straight games, Matsui broke his wrist diving for a ball. When he couldn't play due to the injury, Matsui took out an ad in the local papers, apologizing to Yankee fans that he couldn't play for a while.

There was never a controversy within a mile of Matsui. His teammates loved him and would play practical jokes on him, and he would play one back. He just wanted to play. And he wanted to bring a championship to the Yankees.

It definitely bothered him that for years, he was unable to get the Yankees the ring he was supposed to bring.

But it was in his last year with the Yankees, he not only won one, he was the MVP of the series, batting .615 and hitting 3 HRs in the Series.

And during the ring ceremony yesterday at Yankee Stadium, he was paid back in kind.

Introduced as the returning hero he is, Yankee Stadium cheered like it was the trip down Caynon of Heroes again. And then, his former teammates surrounded him, paying their respects smothering him with hugs and high-fives. You can watch it here.

For a man as dignified, as demurring and as humble as Matsui, that must have touched him very deeply. Maybe even more than the ring he eventually got.

Overall, it was a fine day for Yankeedom and for Hideki Matsui, who finally got the ring he long quested for, and he will be remembered for doing it with class and grace.

Sometimes, nice guys really do finish first.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Competitive Balance

For years, baseball teams from smaller markets have been crying foul over larger market teams buying championships via the larger resources they earn by being in bigger cities. So you knew when the Yankees won the World Series last year with a bunch of new free agents, that the howls and shrieks from Milwaukee, San Diego and the like were going to be louder than ever. Over the winter there has been a lot of talk about addressing this problem. Let’s see what the best baseball minds out there have come up with.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Transactions....

Seriously, after watching three games at the "Trop" field down in Tampa Bay, they've gotta blow that place up. Grass like the Brady Bunch backyard. Crappy lighting, ugly concrete walls and just depressing. Selig, get on doing something nice for the Rays.


A fifth rounder for Santonio Holmes? Why not trade him for a half-filled with air football and a sweaty towel?


And just one question, if I may. Where do you play him. Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery are already the starters. And if touches get spread out, I get the feeling Holmes and Edwards are not the kind to keep quiet.Or are the Jets going to a Colts-like 3-wide-out offense? Dustin Keller is not known for his blocking, so Shonne Green better get a serious learnin' in blocking or Sanchez might be on his back a lot. In nay event, Holmes enters a locker room with Bar-Brawlin' Braylon and Baby-Daddy Cromartie. Should fit right in.


Just how in the heck are the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1? Well, I think Christ—our Risen Lord—must have come down to Earth to do a Lazurus number on the Man That Was Vernon Wells. After being injured and/or awful the past few years, the Risen Vernon is batting .350 with 4 HRs to start the year. Way too early to speculate, but its a nice sign to see Wells back in action.


Word is that Chan Gailey does not want to take Jimmy Clausen in the first round. Now as the National Football Post wrote this weekend, Gailey is the guy who passed over Drew Brees because he wanted Ray Lucas to be his QB. Ray Lucas, people. So maybe, Chan....take the kid from Notre Dame if he's available.


There is growing buzz that the Bucs and the Lions are interested in trading for Albert Haynesworth. With the massive amount of money involved, who knows if that would happen—we know it won't be for a first rounder—but if it does, it sure could screw up a lot of mock drafts.



Our best wishes to Martina Navraltalova, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. Growing up in the 80s, Navratalova was the epitome of both dominance in her game, and class of it. Some numbers 18 Women's Grand Slam titles. She holds the open era record for most singles titles (167) and doubles titles (177). She recorded the longest winning streak in the open era (74 consecutive matches) and three of the six longest winning streaks in the women's open era. Martina, we wish you the best.


How bout another from the "Way to early to judge, but let's do it anyway" department. Curtis Granderson is batting .348 so far this season, about 100 points high than last year's average. But the really interesting thing, is that he's batting .300 off of lefties, after batting about .210 off them for his career. Again, it's only 3 for 10 with a walk, but it's something.


And lastly, from the "Going Too Far" section of the news, a couple in Alabama—obviously fans of Alabama football, named their first child....wait for it......Crimson Tide Redd. Sigh.
The couple, however, wants to be reasonible:

We don’t want to force him into anything. But he does already have a lot of Alabama stuff.”
Its just a matter of time before someone comes back with "Rocky Mountain Hyde." Bull Dog Black. Just so long as it's not Commodore Vandy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Five

1. An easy one to start with: Are you as soul-numbingly sick and bored of the Tiger Woods coverage as I am?

2. Considering Jason Taylor's flirt with the Jets this off-season, how do you feel when an absolutely loathed opposing player joins your team? "He's my guy now", or "Still don't like him?"

3. How do you feel about colleges changing their team names like "Red Men" or "Fighting Sioux"? Do the names represent honorable qualities that the teams are attempting to emulate, or are they demeaning and offensive? Do the names Vikings, Padres, Celtics or Fighting Irish hit you as offensive as well?

4. Do you ever believe that Donovan McNabb will ever win a Super Bowl? If he doesn't, what will his legacy be?

5. Using TheSmokingGun.com as a reference, which athlete gave the best mugshot ever?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is There A Way To Fix Baseball's Revenue Disparity?

It's a rare thing when the two opposing parties are both right.

But that is what is happening now in the very public feud between Milwaukee Brewers owner, Mark Attanasio and New York Yankee President Randy Levine.

The hoopla started when Attanasio said, in a USA Today article:
"We're struggling to sign one guy and the Yankees infield is making more than our team."
Levine, in a burst of impolitic honesty, said:
"I'm sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about his running the Brewers. We play by all the rules and there doesn't seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players."
So, they're both right. Or both wrong, depending how you look at it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Transactions....

First off, congrats to both Butler and Duke. An amazing game, well played. Kudos to both you guys.

So Jack Cust after being cut from the A's 25-man roster?

"I think it's messed up," Cust said in a phone interview with The Chronicle after leaving the stadium. "They're going to go on 50 at-bats after three years of what I've done here? It's ridiculous. A lot of other guys have had bad springs. This is a joke.
"The fact is, this team has no power and they've just released a guy who (averaged 28 homers) the last three years. That's amazing."
Now, yes, he hits homers. So did Dave Kingman. But Jack, you also batted about your weight the last 3 seasons, and batted .219 in spring with one home run. So why exactly are you so mad that the Athletics are trying something new?


Rushthecourt.com had a really interesting experiment, especially now that the NCAA Championships are over. In short, they treated March Madness as if were being run by the college football method. So instead of being upset, Kansas and Kentucky are handed the championship game. Duke is relgated to one of the numerous Bowl games. And Butler doesn't exist at all. Now, doesn't that sound like so much more fun that how it played out?



Way to miss the point, professional news writer, Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com. In his article yesterday, he said being traded to the Redskins, in the Eagles own division was a slap in the face. How insulting!!! Umm, yeah, maybe Alex, except Donovan insisted on being traded to the Redskins. Oh, I guess, nevermind.


I mean, yeah, sure $15 million a year is nice and all. But to coach the Nets. Hmmmm, pass.


And in saddest news of the week, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Zach Duke is the winningest pitcher in the history of PNC Park. At 27-24. Ooooooof.


Once again, love the guys at PFW. But couldn't disagree more with their latest mock. First off, they have Ndamukong Suh lasting until the fifth pick. They have the Redskins taking Bryan Buluga instead of the much more mobile Trent Williams (remember guys, Mike Shanahan needs mobile tackles), and he has Tim Tebow going number 24 to the Eagles. Why on earth would they take Tebow in the first round. he could be gotten later? He's not ready to start as a QB, and you have Kevin Kolb in that role anyway. And if you use him as a wildcat, you have "Tebow-Lite" in Michael Vick. Why would the Eagles take him, guys?


Yeah, Albert Pujols production seems to be falling off a cliff now that he's 30.


And finally, not to rag on the Prez. But really, what the hell was this?

Monday, April 5, 2010

2010 MLB Predictions

Just a quick prediction of how the season is going to go.


AL EAST Winner: New York Yankees
AL CENTRAL Winner: Chicago White Sox
AL WEST Winner: Los Angeles Angels
WILD CARD: Tampa Bay Rays

NL EAST Winner: Philadelphia Phillies
NL CENTRAL Winner: St. Louis Cardinals
NL WEST Winner: Colorado Rockies
WILD CARD: Atlanta Braves


AL Champions: Tampa Rays
NL Champions: Philadelphia Phillies
World Series Champions: Tampa Rays

AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Perez

NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heywerd

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Chris Carpenter

AL MVP: Miquel Cabrera
NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki


Enjoy the season.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Best Yankee Internet Sites

If there's one thing the Yankees aren't, it's underreported. And not just on TV or in the newspapers. On the intertubes, there are dozens and dozens of places people can go to find out information, some mainstream media, some just regular Yankee fans. Let's check on just a few of the best. And the worst.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Five

Busy week, folks. let's get to the questions.

1. With the surprise of Butler in the Final Four, what's the best Cinderella story in any sporting event.

2. Is David Ortiz done?

3. If you were the Buffalo Bills, would you take Tim Tebow in the early second round? Or would you rather have Colt McCoy?

4. Will baseball ever have a salary cap. And a salary minium cap as well?


5. Do you think it's a insult that the Eagles are thinking of trading Donovan McNabb?