Saturday, September 02, 2006

Predictions Ahoy! Part 2 - AFC Explanations

Now that I've posted my predictions(scroll down if you haven't read them yet), I will give my reasoning for them, and assorted other comments. Here we go! (Quick note: My AFC East and North posts here were created before the Dolphins/Steelers game, though neither would change after watching that game).


AFC East
----------

Nothing spectacular here, the Patriots will win the division because they're easily the best team in the division. The Jets will be awful, thats pretty clear too. The other two teams are the question marks, and I like the Bills as a sleeper team. Their defense is pretty good, especially if Takeo Spikes can stay healthy. According to Pro Football Prospectus 2006 their schedule is 22nd toughest in the NFL, which should help them. I think their QB situation will turn out better than most people think. They have solid players everywhere else on offense.

The Dolphins are a popular pick to win the division and make the playoffs. I just don't see them making any steps forward from last year. I like Saban as a coach, but I just think their defense won't be as good with the added effect of a year of aging. Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas will still be good, but not AS good as they have been in the past. In fact, their whole defensive line is getting up there in age. I really like the Culpepper-to-Chambers connection, which should put up a lot of points and keep them in games, but I don't see it being enough to make the playofs.

AFC North
----------

Carson Palmer seems healed from his injury, so that offense looks about as good as you can get. According to the Football Outsiders stats, their offensive line is one of the best in the game. Their 3.7% adjusted sack rates them 2nd in the league, while they were top 10 in every rushing offensive line stat as well. Palmer was one of the top QBs, Rudi Johnson one of the top RBs, and Chad Johnson one of the top WRs. T.J. Houshmandzadeh turned into a very good #2, and their WR depth is good, especially if Chris Henry can stay out of jail long enough to play. The defense is solid but not spectacular. As long as Odell Thurman can come back from his 4 game suspension playing like he did last year, the Bengals are the team to beat in the AFC. The rest of the division will be pretty predictable. Cleveland will be improved but not good enough. Baltimore will be helped a lot by McNair, but their running game will hold them back. The defending champions will make the playoffs again, but thats about all I can say about them.


AFC South
----------

First off, the Titans and Texans will be bad. I happen to think the Texans will be a bit better, but it could easily go either way. Now, onto the Colts. First off I don't think their rush defense will hold up all year. Their defensive line is the best in the league against the pass, but only Corey Simon is skilled in stopping the run, and reports are he's dropped some weight. Even with Simon playing well last year, the Colts were only 17th in the league against the run(going by DVOA, explained here). Their best LB against the run last year was David Thornton(81% Run Stop rate, easily best on the team), but he's gone now. I see this being a huge problem for the team. Jacksonville has a strong running game, and Gary Kubiak is bringing the Denver rushing offense to Houston. The top contenders in the AFC all have great rushing attacks too(San Diego and LT, Cincinnati and Rudi, Denver and their patented rushing attack, New England and Dillon/Maroney, KC and LJ). The Colts will need to get out to a big lead early against those teams to have a great chance. They can't let those teams get their running game going or they're going to be hurting. The Colts ability to run on offense will be the key to their offense. I don't care HOW good Peyton is, if they can't run, they aren't going to score much. Another overlooked part of their offense will be how well the new RB cover the blitz. Edge was magnificient at picking up the blitz and saving Peyton's ass. If Addai or Rhodes can't do that, it'll hurt the Colts even more.

The winner of the division will be the Jaguars. They may be the least flashiest team in the NFL, but they just get the job done. The main thing I like about them is they have a plan and go with it. Their idea is to be a very big and tough team. Their Oline is big. Their WRs are huge. The TE they drafted, Marcedes Lewis, is a huge guy too. They aren't devoid of speed, both Matt Jones and Maurice Drew are damn fast. Leftwich is in the big, tough mold and is a QB I really like. He can make all the throws and manages the game well. The Greg Jones injury will hurt them some, as will the early season knee injury to Mike Peterson. They'll pull through on the back of two of the best DTs in the league(Marcus Stroud and John Henderson) and a very tough offense.


AFC West
-----------


There isn't a lot to say about the West. The Chargers and Chiefs were two of the best teams in the league last year, but neither made the playoffs. The Chargers, who finished 6th in total DVOA, were kept out of the playoffs mainly because of an absolutely brutal schedule. The Chiefs just got unlucky last year(4th in total DVOA) but are a pretty old team. Losing Willy Roaf to retirement could be devastating, but he might still come back. Even without Roaf, I think the team is good enough to go 10-6 and make the playoffs. However, with the old age, they could easily fall off a cliff and finish 3-13 or something. I think their defense, with a huge boost in Ty Law, will pick up the drop off in offense. The Broncos I think are very close to San Diego and Kansas City in talent... but they have the hardest projected schedule according to Football Outsiders, so I'm picking them at 8-8. I can't see all 3 teams finishing 10-6, so I figure one has to falter, and I'm saying its the Broncos. Oh, and the Raiders will suck. Their offense is bad and so is the defense. Andrew Walter will be one to watch if he gets into the game.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Predictions Ahoy! Part 1 - NFL

Football season is actually starting. Well it technically started last night, but none of those games will effect my predictions any. Feel free to bookmark this so you can laugh at me at the end of the season when I'm wrong on everything. Lets start with the NFL.

AFC East
----------

Patriots 11-5
Bills 9-7
Dolphins 8-8
Jets 3-13

AFC North
----------

Bengals 12-4
Steelers 10-6
Ravens 9-7
Browns 5-11

AFC South
----------

Jaguars 12-4
Colts 9-7
Texans 6-10
Titans 4-12

AFC West
----------

Chargers 10-6
Chiefs 10-6
Broncos 8-8
Raiders 2-14


AFC Playoffs
-----------

Chargers vs. Steelers - Chargers
Patriots vs. Chiefs - Patriots

Bengals vs. Chargers - Bengals
Jaguars vs. Patriots - Patriots

AFC Championship
----------------

Bengals vs. Patriots - Bengals


NFC East
----------

Cowboys 11-5
Giants 10-6
Redskins 7-9
Eagles 7-9

NFC North
----------

Vikings 10-6
Bears 9-7
Packers 6-10
Lions 4-12

NFC South
----------

Panthers 13-3
Buccaneers 11-5
Falcons 8-8
Saints 3-13

NFC West
---------

Cardinals 10-6
Seahawks 9-7
49ers 6-10
Rams 4-12

NFC Playoffs
-----------

Buccaneers vs. Cardinals - Cardinals
Giants vs. Vikings - Giants

Panthers vs. Cardinals - Panthers
Cowboys vs. Giants - Cowboys

NFC Championship
------------

Panthers vs. Cowboys - Panthers



SUPER BOWL XLI
------------

Panthers vs. Bengals - Panthers


AWARDS
----------

Most Valuable Player - Carson Palmer
Offensive Player of the Year - LaDanian Tomlinson
Defensive Player of the Year - Brian Urlacher
Offensive Rookie of the Year - DeAngelo Williams
Defensive Rookie of the Year - A.J. Hawk
Coach of the Year - John Fox
Comeback Player of the Year - Rodney Harrison


Part 2 will be coming this evening and offer explanations for these picks. Parts 3 & 4 will come tomorrow about NCAA. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The 2006 Scouting Report, By The Fans, For The Fans


http://www.tangotiger.net/scouting/


There is the link to the Fans Scouting Report. It's done by Tangotiger, a renowned Sabermetrician and co-author of The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball. He basically wants each person who watches a team play more than 10 games to rate the players they saw on how good of fielders they are. Pretty simple stuff, theres 7 categories (Reaction/Instincts, Acceleration, Speed, Hands, Release/Footwork, Throwing Strenth, and Throwing Accuracy). You rate them on a 5 point scale(5 = great, 1 = terrible). I really like the idea, so I encourage anyone reading this to spend 5 minutes and do it. And one very important thing to remember that is pointed out in the link:


Try to judge "average" not as an average player at that position, but an average player at any position. If you think that Chone Figgins has an average arm, then mark him as average, regardless if you've seen him play CF, 1B, 2B, or 3B.

DO NOT CONSIDER THE POSITION THE PLAYER PLAYS!
DO NOT CONSIDER THE POSITION THE PLAYER PLAYS!
DO NOT CONSIDER THE POSITION THE PLAYER PLAYS!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Blog update

I apologize to the probably 2 people who still check this about my lack of posting the last couple weeks. I just haven't had much to say. I will start posting more again as I have a renewed energy for writing about sports. With 3 different messageboards and this, I just got a bit burnt out on writing about it. Only lasted two weeks, so I'll be fine, and so will this blog. The "Monday Random Comments" will start up again next Monday. Also be on the lookout for my NFL Preview sometime this weekend. And please read my diatribe about Dusty that is right under this post. Also, I welcome any comments you have about anything I write, I do check back to every post to see if anyone commented.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cubs Failure, Episode XCVIII: Dusty Strikes Again

In a rather routine article on Cubs.com, I cam across this nugget:

Next year: Do the Cubs need to improve their on-base percentage next year? They currently rank last in the National League with a .318 OBP.

"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address more than anything is the home run problem."

The Cubs have been outslugged at home, 101-58.



It's well known that Dusty doesn't like players that walk. His comment in '04(which I cannot find a link to) about not wanting slow guys that walk because they clog up the bases has been quoted into the ground since then. He's stated on numerous other times that he doesn't value walks at all and that you "hit your way on base". While thats incredibly idiotic and at times makes me wake up in the middle of the night in pure rage, lets try to ignore that for a second and look at the entire quote. He's essentially saying that the Cubs offensive problems aren't because we don't get guys on-base, its that we don't have guys to hit homeruns when those guys don't get on-base. So lets take a look at that.

2005 Cubs
-----------

703 Runs (9th in NL)
194 HR (2nd in NL)
.440 SLG% (2nd in NL)
.324 OBP% (11th in NL)
Record 79-83

2004 Cubs
-----------

789 Runs (7th in NL)
235 HR (1st in NL)
.458 SLG% ( 2nd in NL)
.328 OBP% ( 11th in NL)
Record: 89-73

2003 Cubs
-----------

724 Runs (9th in NL)
172 HR (8th in NL)
.416 SLG% (11th in NL)
.323 OBP%(13th in NL)
Record: 88-74 (Made Playoffs)


So the two years before THIS one, the Cubs hit tons of homers. They slugged the ball like crazy. They were still average or below average offenses. Why? Because there was no one on-base for those guys to drive in with their extra base hits. Yes, the power was nice and helped the offenses not suck in epic proportions(see the 2006 Cubs), but even with all that power, they were still average at best.

Back to his whole comment, his logic has a giant freakin' hole in it. He keeps saying that he doesn't like slow guys that walk because they clog up the bases for the fast guys. He then says the biggest problem is that we need more guys to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Last I checked, you didn't have to be fast or slow to circle the bases on a homerun. Having 3 slow guys on base for a homerun is just the same as having 3 Olympic sprinters.

It is just mind boggling to me that Dusty, and Hendry, can be so blind when the answer is obvious. You don't need to be a stat-geek to see it. You don't need complicated metrics to see it. You just need one very simple and easy to find metric(On-base percentage) and a little bit of common sense. Baserunners, no matter how fast or slow, are a good thing! Not making outs, also a good thing. Working the count to tire opposing pitchers, also a positive. I could go on, but I won't.

I just can't figure out why they can't see this. "Clogging up bases" is a GOOD thing. You want people on-base so when there ARE hits, people can score. If they're that worried that some slow guy that walks a lot gets on-base in the late innings and costs the team a win because of his slowness, keep a couple of the very medicore but very fast players(Pierre, Izturis, Cedeno, Pagan, Bynum. Take your pick) on the bench to pinch run. That'd actually make too much sense. It'd minimize those guys' weakness. The fast guys we have now can't hit, and the hypothetical guy who walks a lot, is slow.

It's just so aggrivating being a fan of this team. SERENITY NOW.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Well if you are, you have to wait till the regular season starts in a few weeks. Right now its just pre-season football, which isn't the most exciting thing in the world. I love that the NFL Network is airing a lot of the games this year. I've got to watch a few games so far, so here's a few notes so far.


1. Jamaal Branch, RB, New Orleans Saints. I was very very impressed with this guy. Aaron Stecker got hurt, so Branc may claim the #3 RB job after camp. He'll make the team regardless if he plays like he did against the Titans. He's a big guy (5'11" 240 lbs) for a RB, but he has very good speed as well. What impressed me even more was his field vision. He seemed to see a lot of the field and always made the right cut where a lot of RBs probably wouldn't have. And when he cut outside, he had the speed to make it out there. Its just one game of course, but he's someone to watch. Barring a spate of injuries, he won't get much of a chance during the regular season, but he seemed to have all the skills needed to make it in the NFL.

2. Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans. In that same game I got to see prized QB Vince Young. I was very vocal that he didn't have the skills needed to be a NFL QB. I even rated him as a WR in my draft rankings. I just didn't feel he had the throwing skills to make it in the NFL. I also felt it'd take him a long time to learn an advanced offense after the bare bones offense he ran in Texas. I got to see him in about two series. I saw some things I liked, and some things I didn't like. He seemed to be willing to stay in the pocket and go to his 2nd or 3rd or 4th read instead of just taking off soon as one wasn't open. I did not like his throwing motion at all. He just bends his elbow back and flicks his wrist. He did throw an absolutely beautiful 50 yard bomb with that motion(though it was dropped), but he seemed very inconsistant in his throws. He did have one nice scramble, in what seemed like the perfect time to run. There was no one on the left side and he was able to gain quite a few yards and momentum before anyone got near him. He didn't seem to make anyone miss or power through them, but there wasn't much to go from in the game. I still don't think he can be a NFL QB, but if he can get more consistant, he might just prove me wrong.

3. The Entire Jacksonville Jaguars team. Their game against the Dolphins is winding down as I type this and the whole team has been impressive. Byron Leftwich seemed like himself, standing in and getting clobbered by a LB and throwing a TD bomb. Matt Jones made the catch on that play, made someone miss instantly and scored. David Garrard looked pretty good, he threw a 60 yard bomb to former Hawaii star Chad Owens, then he made a fantastic scramble/throw to Maurice Drew(rookie from UCLA), who took it 55 yards for a TD. Just an amazing play all around. The defense was very aggresive. Their backup DLine seems to be learning from their probowl DTs or the Jags just have a fantastic system for their defensive line. Either way I was very impressed by just about their whole team.

4. The 49ers Defense. Sure, it was just the Bears offense, but for a team as bad as San Fran was last year, their defense seemed much improved. I loved how they attacked the ball instead of waiting back on their heels (I just hope Lloyd Carr and Ron English took note of that..). No one in particular stood out, but I could see this team improving quite a bit this year. Not only on the defensive side, either....

5. Alex Smith, QB, 49ers. Smith was absolutely awful last year. Just.. terrible. According to Pro Football Prospectus 2006, Smith's season last year was the worst of any QB since 1997. Their KUBIAK system projects an improvement for him, but not that much. However, he looked like a completely different QB against the Bears. He was composed. He stood in the pocket and threw when he needed to, and he scrambled when he needed to. He didn't seem to panic against that great Bears D and really just tore them up. Just one game, but if its any indication of the work he's done since last season, he could blow his projections away. I don't think the 49ers will have a great season, but I'd be shocked if they were picking in the top 8 next year.

6. Chad Greenway, LB, Vikings. Poor guy tore his ACL in his first preseason game, he's out for the year. I had him rated just behind A.J. Hawk and DeMeco Ryans in the draft, so I definitely think he has the talent. I just hope he's ready for next year. I hate to see Big Ten guys go down like that.

7. I don't get why people are going on and on about the new referee jerseys. I've watched probably 3 or 4 games now and haven't even noticed them at all. Whats the big deal? I don't get it.


Lions/Broncos game starting now. I may add more later. Comment away!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mike Leach: Crazy Man or Genius?

Mike Leach Article


That link is a fantastic article, written by Michael Lewis(author of Moneyball), about Texas Tech head coach, Mike Leach. I've always been a fan of Leach and his rather unorthadox methods. I remember hearing about him at Kentucky when Tim Couch was the next big thing. I then remember being amazed at how he helped out Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, and then of course his move to Texas Tech. I really hope the guy gets a chance with better talent, either by moving to a bigger school or just attracting those talents to Lubbock. I don't really have much more to add, just that everyone should read that whole article. It's very well written and really shows what a unique guy Leach is. Scarily enough, he sounds a lot like me...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday's Random Thoughts (8/7/06)

I hope to do this every week, just post some random thoughts that aren't long enough for their own article every Monday. Also, don't forget that you can leave comments to anything I post by clicking on the "comments" link at the bottom of each post!


1. Football is back! The Hall of Fame game was last night. I was told both teams played terribly, which is hardly surprising since its early in the preseason and, well, it was the Eagles and Raiders. Neither team will do anything this year.

2. On a Fantasy Baseball note, I hate the world. I just recently traded Carlos Zambrano for Ichiro Suzuki in my PLUS league because I was loaded at SP. Well, since the trade went through 3 of my 6 starters have went down with injuries. Brandon Webb and Justin Verlander were the unexpected ones, while I wasn't really surprised that Ben Sheets left his game in the first inning, it still really hurts. I doubt I could reverse that trade now. :(

3. Atlanta Braves catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia is turning his season around finally. He's 14 for his last 34 with 6 XBH and 11 walks. I'm not a Braves fan, but here's to hoping this continues, if only because it'll be funny to see how announcers screw up his name when he makes the majors.

4. Michigan's Recruiting Class is shaping up nicely. Ryan Mallet is the obvious star of the class thus far, but they're still in on quite a few top players. This may turn out to be their best class in years.

5. I hate you, Jim Hendry. That is all.

6. I now hate you even more, Jim Hendry, after reading that you really want to resign Juan freakin' Pierre. Anything over $3 million/year is overpaying him, and you'll probably give him $36 million over 4 years. Or more. At least I think your plan is starting to become clear:

1. Acquire/keep fast players that can't hit
2. ?????
3. SUCCESS!!!

7. My copy of Pro Football Prospectus came in the mail at the end of last week. Its really a fantastic read, and if you're in a fantasy football league that hasn't drafted yet, its a must buy. Its written by the great people at FootballOutsiders.com, who are basically the football equivalent of Baseball Prospectus.

8. Matt Leinart is an idiot. He gets drafted in the PERFECT spot, a team with two of the best receivers in the game and one of the best RBs in the game. The QB is a stiff and if the wind blows wrong he might get injured. Leinart is as close to NFL ready as any QB this side of Peyton Manning coming out of college. He needed to tell his agent "I don't care what you do, but I have to be in camp when it starts". Its looking like he's going to have an extended holdout and it could kill the first couple years of his career. Maybe it'll work out for him in the long run, but it seems really stupid right now.

9. Finally, congratulations to The Ewoks of the Coca-Cola Adult/Youth League at Arrowhead Bowl on winning the league. After a fierce battle for first place through the whole league, The Ewoks faced off against the mighty Pink Ladies in a battle to end all battles last night. The Ewoks prevailed by taking the first and third games, along with the series. So, way to go guys! ...I'm sure me shooting 107 pins over my average helped a bit, too. Hehe. Also, Jimmy Buffett still rules and I still hate Jim Hendry. Goodnight.

Evan Longoria is pretty darn good

Evan Longoria is amazing. No, not the model(though she ain't bad herself), the ballplayer. I was a bit upset when the Devil Rays took him with the 3rd pick in the draft. I wanted a college pitcher and felt they should have grabbed Andrew Miller or Brandon Morrow. I would have even be happy with Tim Lincecum. But instead the Rays went with the 2B/3B from Long Beach State, Evan Longoria. It wasn't that I thought Longoria wasn't any good, I just didn't feel it filled a need, while a pitcher did. Lots of draft experts said the same thing, although nearly everyone had Longoria as the best position player in the draft. Evan signed quickly and got to playing professionally very quickly. Well, it has worked out pretty well so far as he has probably been the most impressive player in the entire minor leagues since then.

Tampa started him in the New York-Penn League to get his feet wet. All he did was hit .424/.487/.879 in 33 at bats. Wow. But thats only a short season league and a polished college hitter like Evan should be able to destroy the pitching there. So they aggresively promoted him to the Visalia Oaks of the California League. High A ball. Although its a much higher scoring league, pitching is a lot better there. It should be a challenge. Not for Longoria, who cruised through the league hitting .311/.390/.544 in 90 AB. Thats just darn impressive. He did cool down as that league wore on, going 5-29 in his last 7 games in Visalia, but thats still an amazing hitting job for someone who was drafted just a couple months ago.

Tampa then continued its aggresive approach with Evan and promoted him (and fellow Visalia Oak, SS Reid Brignac) to AA Montgomery. In 3 games there he's 3-12 with a double and a homerun. He seems to just keep hitting wherever he goes, and if he can keep this up the rest of the year in Montgomery, he may enter next year as one of the top prospects in all of baseball. I don't know who he compares to yet, though his #s are starting to look similar to Scott Rolen's in the minors. Rolen is a bit taller(6'4" to 6'2" for Evan) but I think Rolen is his upside. I haven't read any scouting reports on his defense, but he played at SS mostly in college, so I imagine his D is pretty good and will be very good at the hot corner if his bat holds up in the higher levels.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Meanwhile.. the Devil Rays Have a Clue

At the same time that Hendry fucked up the Maddux trade with the Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays made a deal with the Dodgers. They gave up free agent to be SS Julio Lugo, one of the prized trading deadline players available. In return? They got 3B/OF prospect Joel Guzman and RF prospect Sergio Pedroza. Guzman's stock has fallen in the last year, but he's 6'6" 250 lbs and still pretty athletic. He also has great power potential. He's a decent pickup even though we don't really need a 3B or OF. He has all the potential in the world and could be used in an offseason trade to get pitching help. The other player interests me a lot. Pedroza is only 22 and at A+ ball after being drafted in the 3rd round out of college last year. He seems to have a lot of power potential(He's consistantly around .280-.300 IsoP) and he walks a lot, leading to huge OBPs. He has his flaws(low contact rate, took him a 2nd trip in the Sally League(well, he got around 200 PA there last year and came back to start this season) before he exploded with his bat). He seems to be kind of far away, so they can wait for him to keep progressing without worrying about the glut of OFs. This is how a smart GM does things. He acquires two very good talents with very good potential for a future free agent. They don't go get shitty infielders, they get very good prospects. I love the direction the Devil Rays are headed.

Hendry Doesn't Dissapoint!

Just when I thought Hendry might only partially screw the deadline up by not making any moves... Hendry goes out and trades Greg Maddux to the Dodgers. Now, I suggested this so you'd think its a good idea. If Hendry had got a prospect for Maddux, even if it wasn't a top guy from their system, it would have been an alright deal. What does Hendry do? He acquires Neifi Perez v2.0... I mean Cesar Izturis. Thats right, as if we didn't have enough middle infielders that cannot hit the ball at all, we now have another one! That sub .300 OBP will fit in well with this offense-averse team. And on top of that, Izturis makes up for his absolutely terrible OBP by not hitting for any power! You can see his career numbers here. Not exactly inspiring. At least he'll have Neifi on board to teach him how to suck horribly and stick around for a long time. With Todd Walker being traded and Ronny Cedeno moving to 2B, we now have the worst middle infield in baseball and we'll probably have that same middle infield next year! God I hate you Jim Hendry.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Trading Deadline Nears... Time is Running Out on Hendry to Screw Something Up

The deadline is 18 hours away as a type this sentence. So far the Cubs have made one trade.. Scott Williamson to the Padres for two mediocre A-ball pitchers. Not exactly something to be excited about, but its better than nothing. This is a prime time for Hendry to set this team up for the future. We have many players with value now that should be traded, and most of those guys probably won't factor into our next legitimate run at the playoffs. With it being a seller's market and a lot of teams that need to make moves, this is a perfect time to do something. However, Hendry hasn't exactly been Branch Rickey the last couple years. In fact he hasn't made a good trade since 2004. Who should Hendry trade you ask? Well here's my list:

Aramis Ramirez(especially if reports that he'll opt out of his contract are true)
Juan Pierre
Jacque Jones
Todd Walker
Ronny Cedeno
Bob Howry
Scott Eyre
Ryan Dempster
Greg Maddux

Neifi Perez and Glendon Rusch should be DFA'd right this second. Angel Pagan probably shouldn't be on the 25 man roster either. I'll go through each player with possible desetinations and one(or maybe two) trades I would make with each. Minor league players have their stat page at firstinning.com linked to.


Aramis Ramirez. Possible destinations: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros

All 3 of those teams think they have a good chance at the playoffs and need a 3B. The Angels are the most appealing team because of their system and that they seem to have failed on going after Miguel Tejada. The Padres really need a 3B too as they're currently deploying the decaying corpse of Vinny Castilla at 3B, but I don't think they really have enough to offer to get Ramirez without seriously hurting their major league team. The Astros also need offense and would be an intriguing trade candidate, especially if Ramirez is set on opting out of his contract. The two offers I would extend:

Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Dempster to the Houston Astros for Morgan Ensberg, Brad Lidge, and Jason Lane

Aramis Ramirez and Greg Maddux to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Brandon Wood, Ervin Santana, and a PTBNL(some low level high ceiling guy).


Juan Pierre. Possible destinations: Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Minnesota Twins

The Red Sox supposedly inquired about Pierre a few weeks ago... probably as a 4th OF/pinch runner, similar to how they used Dave Roberts in '04. That would make some sense for them, but with Pierre's hot streak his price might be too high. The White Sox like the Pierre type players and could use him in CF, especially if they acquire a better LF. Brian Anderson's defense has been great, but I have a feeling they would perceive Pierre's offense to be a huge addition to them. The Angels also like the type of player Pierre is and they don't really have a CF. Figgins is more useful to them when he can play 6 different positions than he is locked into 1. The Twins might be interested if the Hunter/Stewart injuries aren't healing that well. That team also prefers the toolsy/fast type player, so Pierre might be a good fit for them in either CF or LF. My trade offer:

Juan Pierre to the Chicago White Sox for Charlie Haeger.

Jacque Jones. Possible destinations: Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants

Jones was a perfect fit for the Yankees until they took the better route and acquired Bobby Abreu for practically nothing. With Nixon's injury tonight, Jones might be a nice option for the Red Sox OF, and the Red Sox would be smart enough to make sure he never got an at-bat against a left handed pitcher again. The other teams could use a decent OF that can play any 3 OF positions and hit for some power. My trade offer:

Jacque Jones to the San Francisco Giants for Eddy Martinez Estevez.

Todd Walker. Possible destinations: New York Yankees, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics

I kind of like Walker.. his offense is good, especially at 2B. But his defense isn't that good and he seems to not be liked very well by the team. He has value to teams that need a veteran 2B/1B that can hit. With Cano hurt, the Yankees could have Walker start in the short term and he'd be a nice bench player for them after Cano comes back. The other teams are pretty much in the same boat, could use his bat to help strengthen their offense and bench incase of injuries. My trade offer:

Todd Walker to the Oakland Athletics for Kevin Melillo

Ronny Cedeno. Possible destinations: ????

I don't really know who'd want Ronny because he wouldn't be a playoff run acquisition. However, I think he has some value to teams that overvalue AVG and undervalue OBP/SLG. Unfortunately the Cubs are one of them. I'd try to find a team that'd give me something of value for him. The Royals might be a possibility. A small trade for someone like Gathright or a minor leaguer might work. Only trade offer I can think of:

Ronny Cedeno to Kansas City Royals for Jeff Bianchi

Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, and Ryan Dempster. Possible destinations: Everyone.

Everyone needs relief pitchers. Even if they aren't performing well(hello Ryan Dempster). The Reds gave up two quality players and a minor league reliever for two decent relief pitchers. Howry and Eyre have been very good this year and Dempster has.. well he has a lot of saves, which some GMs really like. I've been pleasantly surprised with Eyre, but with how volatile relief pitchers are, and how much Dusty is overworking both Eyre and Howry, I'd rather get high value now then have them flame out next year. Some possible offers:

(As mentioned earlier) Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Dempster to the Houston Astros for Morgan Ensberg, Brad Lidge, and Jason Lane

Scott Eyre to the Boston Red Sox for Michael Bowden and a PTBNL(Lenny DiNardo perhaps?)

Bob Howry and Scott Eyre to the Chicago White Sox for Josh Fields and a PTBNL(low level high ceiling type guy)

Scott Eyre and Bob Howry to the New York Yankees for Melky Cabrera and Scott Proctor

Scott Eyre to the Detroit Tigers for Wil Ledezma and Clete Thomas

Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for Joey Devine and Yunel Escobar

Greg Maddux. Possible destinations: San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Every few hours it seems like Maddux is either really close to getting dealt or is absolutely not getting dealt. So its hard to say what is really going on, but the Padres and Dodgers are the clear frontrunners and I still think its likely one of them will offer something nice enough to entice Hendry. My offer to each:

Greg Maddux to the San Diego Padres for Ben Johnson and Chase Headley

Greg Maddux to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Etanislao Abreu and Greg Miller


Oh, I forgot about Phil Nevin. Attach him to any deal that might sweeten the pot for the other team. A bench player that can play a few positions(C/1B/3B/LF/RF), albeit poorly, and hit for some power could be useful, plus he won't cost them anything.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ryan Harvey

The Daytone Cubs won a 10-9 battle with Clearwater last night.

What's significant about it? Cubs RF prospect Ryan Harvey went off. His 4 homeruns last night were obviously a career high, and he capped it off by making the last one a 3-run walkoff blast. The former #6 pick in the draft, Harvey has far from lived up to his potential thus far. He's struggled his entire time in the minors, yet has still been promoted each year by the Cubs, cumulating in an absolutely terrible year this year in Daytona. Scouts still love Harvey's raw power, which is good enough that I don't think theres anyone in the minor leagues that can top him, but the rest of his offensive skills lag far, far behind. The Cubs still have time, Harvey is only 21. Hopefully this four homer game can be a springboard to a very strong finish for Harvey, but if he doesn't start improving his contact skills and/or his plate discipline, he's never going to make it past Daytona and will be just another failed position player prospect in this organization.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Delmon Young is on fire!

Delmon Young was the consensus #1 prospect in baseball entering this year.. then he started out in a powerless funk and then took his anger out on an umpire, costing him 50 valuable games. Well he's been back from his suspension for awhile, and starting last week, the real Delmon Young is back. He went 2-4 tonight with a double, homer, and a walk. He's now hitting .556/1.222 with 9 XBH in the last 7 games and that includes an 0-5 game! Yeah yeah, small sample size, but thats still amazing. This nice hot streak has brought his season line up to .377 OBP/.538 SLG, which is pretty darn good. He still needs to improve his plate discipline as 8 walks in 220 plate apperances won't get it done. Just ask Jeff Francoeur. However, he showed good enough walk rates at A and AA ball, and with the power he has and will develop, he should be able to draw enough walks at the major league level.

What If?

I saw this site posted over at ITI and thought it was really neat. It's called WhatIfSports.com. You can use it to simulate games between any two teams in history. It only spans the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and College Basketball. I found it to be very fascinating and could easily lose myself in it for hours. My favorite team to match up with was the 1928 Philadelphia Athletics. Easily one of the most star-studded teams ever, I had to use them. I had to change their lineup a bit to get maximum-star power, and this was the result:

1. Max Bishop, 2B
2. Ty Cobb, RF
3. Jimmie Foxx, 3B
4. Al Simmons, LF
5. Mickey Cochrane, C
6. Tris Speaker, CF
7. Joe Hauser, 1B
8. Joe Boley, SS
9. Lefty Grove, SP

Quite impressive, eh? 6 of 9 Hall of Famers is amazing. On top of that, Max Bishop is one of my all-time favorite players. Check out his numbers to see why. Boley was the only real weak link in the group, but the team can't be perfect. I decided to put them up against the best of the best, at least in conventional thought. First challenger? 1998 New York Yankees. 114 wins and a World Series. Lets see what happens!

The A's win a 3-1 thriller

Great game for Mr. Cobb, 2-3 with a walk and a double. Grove came out after 7 with only 100 pitches, but still threw very well. only 4 hits, 1 walk, and struck out 8. What team is next? How about those pesky '27 Yankees. That should be quite a challenege. And man was thier offense good. Their first 6 hitters, by their batting lines:

Bob Meusel .393 OBP/.510 SLG
Earle Combs .414 OBP/.511 SLG
Babe Ruth .487 OBP/.772 SLG
Lou Gehrig .474 OBP/.765 SLG
Tony Lazzeri.383 OBP/.482 SLG
Pat Collins .407 OBP/.418 SLG

Holy crap. Poor Gehrig, hitting .474/.765 and being second on his own TEAM in both categories. Crazy. Anyway, on to the game!

Well this I certainly wasn't expecting. The A's drill the '27 Yankees 21-2

I guess when they say anything can happen in baseball, they're damn right. Wow. Beating that offense 21-2. Too many great performances to single out really, but I just have to say that Cochrane went 1-4 with a triple and two walks and probably had the worst offensive output of the bunch. Insanity. Next team in line? How about the Big Red Machine. I'll take the '75 version, they appeared to be slightly better by actual and pythagorean record. So here we go!

A's thrilling comeback topples Big Red Machine


Now THAT'S a game. Up 4-0 going into the 9th, it all falls apart for Don Gullet and co. Funny that the two outs made in the 9th were by Speaker and Cobb, the two great deadball CF on the team. Any other suggestions for teams I should put up against the '28 A's?

For one last matchup, I'm going to switch to Football. I was trying to think of a fantastic matchup, and the only thing that could come to me is the '04 Colts offense vs the '85 Bears D. Peyton vs Payton. So here we go:

'85 Bears take a close one in the RCA Dome

Peyton and the Colts did better against that defense than just about anyone did in '85, but it just wasn't enough. 19-34 for 235 yards and just 1 TD is very un-Peyton like, likely due to that defense. The Bears seemed to control the game on the ground, grinding out 166 yards on 36 rushes. MVP would have to be Walter Payton.

Any other ideas for matchups? The NFL simulated lets you choose weather conditions too, which could make things interesting.