Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Why I Stopped Watching Wrestling and Started Again.

Now I never intended on talking about professional wrestling on this blog but I recently got back into it and decided I give it a shot. First I'm going to explain why I left and why I came back. I got into wrestling around 2005. It wasn't the greatest era for professional wrestling but it sucked me in none the less. I loved the violence, the over the top storylines and the ridiculous soap opera-ness of it all. Plus it didn't hurt that the WWE Champion at the time was billed from the town next to mine. That's right I was a John Cena fan. I started watching every week and eventually bought my first pay per view event, WrestleMania 22. It was a grand spectacle with the Money in the Bank Ladder match, flaming tables, the Ultimate Underdog Rey Mysterio winning the World Heavyweight Championship and John Cena defeating Triple H in the Main Event. From then I would get every pay per view, sorry Dad. After awhile I started to branch out and came across TNA, Total Nonstop Action and was immediately hooked on that. Then when WWE decided to go from TV-14 to PG for business reason and because TNA was getting really big, I jumped ship. By 2009 I put all my faith into TNA. I stopped watching WWE all together, stopped ordering their pay per views and was loyal to TNA. It didn't hurt that their pay per views were ten dollars cheaper. Then 2010 rolled in and so did Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Eric Bischoff and several other legends who wanted to build the next big wrestling company. In my opinion however they ended up killing the company I had put all my faith in. I realized this when Hulk Hogan got rid of TNA signature six-sided ring. The thing that made TNA unique from the other American wrestling companies was gone. From then on the storylines were pretty lame, personas didn't match wrestlers and I had lost faith. By 2011 I stopped watching wrestling altogether. I did read what was going however. I was happy when one of my favorites would win a title. This year was different. I was reading what was going on and said to myself, I'm watching the Royal Rumble. The Royal Rumble was always my favorite pay per view, next to TNA Lockdown because I was there when Samoa Joe defeated Kurt Angle at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell. Anyways, I ordered the Royal Rumble and I honestly had fun with it. The triple threat match for the WWE Title between John Cena, Seth Rollins and Brock Lesner was great. The other matches were decent and the Royal Rumble match itself could only be describe with one word, disaster. It was incredibly predictable. The crowd turned on the match relatively early. The ending was very lackluster and boring. Even the Rock couldn't save it. It was back to back years of really bad Royal Rumbles, but I still decided to watch Monday Night Raw the next night. I continued watching from there almost entirely because of one man. The Eater of Worlds, Bray Wyatt. Not since Raven, my favorite wrestler, had I seen someone that fun to watch. He is unmatched on the microphone and unorthodox in the ring. His storylines a breath of fresh air in a stagnant company. The fact that he has never won a title makes my legitimately angry. While Bray Wyatt kept me convinced to keep watching RAW, it was the developmental show NXT that made me started really loving wrestling again. Only an hour each week, they put on better matches and have better promos than the main roster. It becoming so popular that the indie circuit wrestlers are finally coming to WWE. The men Vince McMahon refused to acknowledge are main eventing his development show. Plus their woman can actually wrestle and aren't used as objects instead of athletes. Now that I'm back into wrestling I may or may not post some of my crazy ideas. Most likely I will but we will see. Thank you for reading this crappy post and see you soon.

Knicks Mid-Season Trades

My fascination with the New York Knicks has continued this season, more so than before with Kristaps Porzingis exceeded expectations. So I thought it would be appropriate to look at how they can improve this season and possibly make the playoffs. We are almost at the halfway mark of the season so trades are going to start heating up. Now if we look at the Knicks they been quite surprising. They haven't been great but they haven't been bad either. The main issue they are having is their guards. Arron Afflalo is their lone bright spot, with Lance Thomas being able to switch between small forward and shooting guard. The play of their point guards however has been lousy. Jose Calderon has good field goal percentage and 3 point percentage. Unfortunately he doesn't take enough shots or get enough assists. Rookie Jerian Grant hasn't adjusted to the NBA level yet and the Knicks are paying the price. Then there is Langston Galloway, who was promising early but has dipped significantly in field goal percentage and assists. So what the Knicks need to do is trade for a starting point guard and preferably trade for a backup combo guard. Let's start with the point guards. Four names come to mind for trade targets. Ty Lawson, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Jennings and Ricky Rubio. If this was a free agency list I would have Rajon Rondo or Mike Conley at the top. Realistically Ty Lawson would be the cheapest option. The Knicks would really only have to give up Calderon and maybe a throw-in like Kevin Seraphin or Cleanthony Early. Ty Lawson is having a poor season but I blame that almost entirely on James Harden. He's been a plus assist man in the past, including last season. He does have off court issue and playing in New York might not help that so the Knicks need to be cautious.
Jarrett Jack is the type of player that I believe would fit well with the Knicks style of play. His field goal percentage is lackluster and he can't shoot 3s consistently, but his mid range jumper and ability to make assists is really what the Knicks need. Even with his below average season and because Brooklyn is not tanking, he would be more expensive. Jose Calderon would go in the deal and maybe Derrick Williams or Lance Thomas plus a throw in.
on Jennings would be an interesting pick up. He has yet to play an NBA game this year but has play a game in the D-League. He seems very eager to get back on the court but Reggie Jackson is clearly blocking him. If Jennings can bounce back he brings the assist the Knicks desperately need, explosiveness and the ability to hit 3s. He is very streaky however and is not know for his field goal percentage. I do believe that his style of play would fit nicely with the Knicks. He may also be expensive with the Pistons looking to grab a playoff spot. Jose Calderon would be a good backup for them as well as Langston Galloway to fill in for the injured Jodie Meeks. Throw in Kevin Seraphin and you have a deal.
Ricky Rubio is the most unlikely to get traded. The Timberwolves still have high hopes for him. The Knicks also don't have much to offer because the lack draft picks. Phil Jackson is crafty and the Wolves like Zach LaVine who has vastly improved and in my opinion has outplayed Rubio.
As for their choice in combo guards/backup shooting guards I can really only see one good fit and that's Jamal Crawford. He's not having the best season, especially shooting the 3 but a change of scenery from the fluctuating Clippers might be just what he needs. His experience and clutch scoring are what the Knicks really need coming off the bench. He shouldn't be too expensive either. He's going into free agency and the Clippers are very crowded in the backcourt. Trading Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams (Who I want the Knicks to keep) and a future pick should land them Crawford. Galloway might have to go as well if they haven't already traded him.
With additions to the team I believe the Knicks can sneak into the playoffs, if not they can definitely play spoilers to teams who are trying to.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Why the Cardinals Won't Make it Past the NLDS

With the MLB Playoffs coming up the St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball. That's because, like the New York Yankees, they know how to play regular season baseball. Let me get out of the way that I think their offense is overrated. They are eleventh in runs scored and eleventh in home runs. They know how to walk and hit doubles, but also strikeout a fair amount as well. But it's not their offense that is going to be their downfall. It's their pitching. The team has one of the best team ERA I've seen in recent years with a 2.91. That's not the problem however. It's the teams WHIP. In my opinion they have survived on an easy schedule and dumb luck. The fact that they walk too many and give up a ridiculous amount of hits does not work in the playoffs. Let's look at their five starters ERA and WHIP respectively.
  1. John Lackey       2.69 ERA/1.21 WHIP
  2. Michael Wacha  3.15 ERA/1.19 WHIP
  3. Lance Lynn        3.16 ERA/1.36 WHIP
  4. Carlos Martinez 3.01 ERA/1.28 WHIP
  5. Jaime Garcia*    2.36 ERA/1.01 WHIP
Other than Jaime Garcia's WHIP, which is above average, that's terrible. Michael Wacha can get away with that WHIP more often than not but John Lackey and Lance Lynn are going to be lit up. They are actually lucky that Carlos Martinez was shut down for the year. Plus they don't have any way to move Lance Lynn to the bullpen. Their only other starter is Tyler Lyons and his WHIP is just as bad as Lynn's. This rotation reminds me of three Mark Buehrles and a sleeper ace (Jaime Garcia). Mark Buehrle is notorious for having a high WHIP and a decent ERA. Three of those are going to go bad fast.
It gets worse from there. Several members of their bullpen have terrible WHIPs including their closer. Let's take a look starting with their closer.
  1. Trevor Rosenthal    2.13 ERA/1.26 WHIP
  2. Kevin Siegrist         2.13 ERA/1.16 WHIP
  3. Seth Maness           4.35 ERA/1.43 WHIP
  4. Carlos Villenueva   3.00 ERA/1.17 WHIP
  5. Randy Choate*       3.67 ERA/1.26 WHIP
  6. Matt Belisle            2.76 ERA/1.47 WHIP
  7. Jonathan Broxton   2.45 ERA/1.31 WHIP
  8. Steve Cishek           2.18 ERA/1.11 WHIP
As someone who relies on statistics this baffles me. I don't understand how they can have low ERA when they give up that many hits and walk that many. This will not translate against playoff teams, especially hot teams like the Pirates, Mets and Cubs. Not really worried about the Dodgers, but I'll get into that another time. So one of two things are going to happen. They are either going to shut everyone out or they'll be swept in three games. There is no even medium for this. I wish the Cardinals good luck, but I don't think it will help.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Red Sox Blockbuster Trade

Let me start by saying there is almost no way this could happen, however the Red Sox pulled off the Adrian Gonzalez/Josh Beckett/Carl Crawford trade, so anything is possible. This trade once again involves the Reds. The Red Sox would be acquiring Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman AND Joey Votto. I have the Red Sox giving up seven players total. If I could have them trade draft picks as well I would, but that's not something you can do in Baseball. The players I have going over are Allen Craig, Blake Swihart, Joe Kelly, Henry Owens, Manuel Margot, Rafael Devers & Sean Coyle. Allen Craig and Joe Kelly would fill the void left with Votto and Cueto gone. Henry Owens reminds me of a lesser Clayton Kershaw, someone I don't want to give, but would. Rafael Devers gets comparisons to Robinson Cano with his bat, but he play Third Base not Second. This would give the Reds flexibility to move Todd Frazier to First Base in the future. Sean Coyle is one of the many undersized second basemen the Red Sox have stockpiled. His bat reminds me a lot of Reds second basemen Brandon Phillips. He'd need to work hard to have as good of a glove as Phillips but his 20-20 ability and ability to draw walks makes him a great replacement when Phillips gets hurt or hangs up the cleats. Manuel Margot is the one player I haven't seen much of, but I do know he's very fast, has a good glove for any outfield position and has gap power that could evolve home run power. He could take over batting second behind Billy Hamilton in the near future. The other benefit for this trade would allow the Reds the ability to sign a big free agent during the next offseason.
So let's look at the Red Sox line up after the trade.
  1. Mookie Betts CF
  2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Hanley Ramirez LF
  5. David Ortiz DH
  6. Pablo Sandoval 3B
  7. Xander Bogaerts SS
  8. Ryan Hanigan C
  9. Brock Holt/Shane Victorino RF
I have Ortiz moving to fifth in the order to let him see more pitches before he gets up to bat and take some pressure off. He's so close to reaching the 500 home run mark and he has to do it this year, so less pressure and preparation should help him get the next nineteen. Also I like the idea of Dusty batting third but with Votto there it's okay.
Now for the rotation.
  1. Clay Buchholz
  2. Johnny Cueto
  3. Wade Miley
  4. Eduardo Rodriguez
  5. Rick Porcello
I hope that Buchholz is going to be back shortly. He has no structural damage in his elbow but is on the DL so you never know. Cueto can take over as the number one while he's on the DL. If you take away Wade Miley's second start he has a mid to low 3 ERA. So that's three plus pitchers right there. You throw in Rodriguez who is competing with Mookie for Red Sox Rookie of the Year and you have a playoff rotation.
My main concern is that the Yankees know how to play regular season baseball better than anyone. Something that they can't translate into playoff baseball in the passed few years. So to me that's a waste of a playoff spot. The AL East is shockingly the weakest division in baseball with all the teams at most four games out of first. It will be close through the whole season but someone will pull away.
My only comment about the bullpen is that we should only trade for Chapman if Koji is okay with moving to the set-up roll. He has earned the closer roll and it should be up to him to give it up.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Phoenix Suns Remaining Offseason Part 2

So I'm disappointed to say the Suns missed on LaMarcus Aldridge. I'm not surprised, I'm not devastated but I would have liked to see the Suns get him. But since they missed him I said I had a Plan B. Well I have a Plan B and C.
I'll start with Plan C because they did what I wanted them to do. They signed Mirza Teletovic earlier today. I was hoping they could pry him away from the Nets, but the Nets made it easy by not making Teletovic a restricted free agent. Teletovic is, in my opinion, a better Ryan Anderson. He's shorter but quicker and a better rebounder. So Plan C is have Teletovic as their starting Power Forward with Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, P.J. Tucker and Tyson Chandler. That's a speedy team, minus Chandler, that can defend. It should look like this.
  1. Eric Bledsoe
  2. Brandon Knight
  3. P.J. Tucker
  4. Mirza Teletovic
  5. Tyson Chandler
  1. Ronnie Price
  2. Archie Goodwin/Devin Booker
  3. T.J. Warren
  4. Markieff Morris
  5. Alex Len
A great young, explosive bench that has the potential to be the best bench in Basketball. I expect Morris to start over Teletovic because he did it all last season. I do think Teletovic is a better starter however.
The Plan B team is the all offense team. I had this team lined out before the Teletovic signing so he's on the bench for this. The major difference in this lineup is T.J. Warren. I look at Warren as a young Carmelo Anthony and the Suns just haven't realized it yet. He's fast, explosive and can flat out score. He could easily win Sixth Man of the Year, but if he started he could win Most Improved just as fast. The only knock is he isn't a 3-Point shooter yet. Carmelo Anthony wasn't at this stage of his career either. So I say start him.
Plan B should look like this.
  1. Eric Bledsoe
  2. Brandon Knight
  3. T.J. Warren
  4. Markieff Morris
  5. Tyson Chandler
  1. Ronnie Price
  2. Archie Goodwin/Devin Booker
  3. P.J. Tucker
  4. Mirza Teletovic
  5. Alex Len
Tyson Chandler will be the primary rebounder on the team, but both P.J. Tucker and T.J. Warren can get about six a game to go with Chandler's ten and Morris and Teletovic six or seven. Bledsoe's leaping ability also allows him to rebound well. Don't count the Suns out. They have all the pieces, it's all about chemistry now.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Phoenix Suns Remaining Offseason

The Suns are one of the teams that really let me down last season. They had a great three man rotation of Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green. They for some reason needed to add Isaiah Thomas to that mix. Isaiah is a great player and it worked out in the end for my Celtics but it was a silly signing. This offseason looks different however. They've already re-signed Brandon Knight, swiped up Tyson Chandler and moved Marcus Morris to clear cap space and prevent anymore off court trouble. There are still a couple moves left to make, one of which is entirely up to luck at this point.
First move they should make is actually not a move. It's keep Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe plays very well as a duo of point guards. Dragic and him were dynamic and played off each other great. We didn't see that with him and Knight because Knight only played eleven games for them. The two of them should make an equally effective backcourt.
Next is of course sign LaMarcus Aldridge. This looks like it's fifty-fifty right now. Reports say he is torn between the Suns and the Spurs. The Mavs appear to still be in the running too. But I like the Tyson Chandler pairing better than the Tim Duncan pairing because Chandler is younger. That's not a knock on Duncan, he just can't do it forever.
The next moves are minor but even minor moves can make big impacts. With P.J. Tucker likely starting at Small Forward for his defense, they'll need a spark off that bench. Obviously bring back Gerald Green. He is one of my absolute favorite players right now, who I wouldn't mind signing with the Celtics or Warriors. The Suns should be the team he goes with however. They traded for him and he rewarded them with two great scoring seasons. His dunks and 3 pointers make him so fun to watch. They also need to get an insurance backup Point Guard. I think Cory Joseph would be a good fit. He's a restricted free agent (I think) but I don't think the Spurs are going to bring him back. He has proven to be very productive when he's needed.
So if everything works out the Suns should look like this.
  1. Eric Bledsoe
  2. Brandon Knight
  3. P.J. Tucker
  4. LaMarcus Aldridge
  5. Tyson Chandler
  1. Cory Joseph
  2. Devin Booker/Archie Goodwin
  3. Gerald Green/T.J. Warren
  4. Markieff Morris
  5. Alex Len
I didn't mention T.J Warren yet. He should be the alternative to Gerald Green. He's an amazing scorer and would pair great with Devin Booker or Archie Goodwin as a bench force. Not to mention Markieff as another great bench scorer.
So if the Suns miss out on LaMarcus I'll give a part two article.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Celtics & Kings Trade and Offseason Moves

I was going to do both these teams by themselves but with recent reports of the Kings wanted to move their two stars I figured I put a monster trade together as well as their offseason moves. Let's start with who the Kings want to move. When I said stars I meant it, they want to move Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. They want to move Rudy Gay to clear up cap space for Rajon Rondo and Head Coach George Karl doesn't want Cousins on the team. So you guessed it, it's time for the Celtics to swoop in with an offer they can't refuse. We start with the Celtics giving up the 16th, 28th, 33rd and 45th picks in this years draft. Then either Kelly Olynyk or Jared Sullinger, whichever George Karl prefers, and Avery Bradley. Also throw in one of the many 2016 1st round picks the Celtics have and who could refuse. The Celtics could also throw in Gerald Wallace to clear cap space. In return the Celtics get DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Nik Stauskas or Ben McLemore. I'm assuming Stauskas would be the one to come over but I'm not sure who the Kings see as a better shooter.

Next we move on to the Celtics offseason. It's not a big offseason other than the trade since they traded their draft picks. First off re-sign Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko. Crowder is an incredible spark off the bench that made the Celtics the winners in the Rajon Rondo trade. Jonas Jerebko was also a pleasant surprise after a trade with the Pistons. They both have high energy and Crowder is all hustle all the time. Jerebko is all around good and has also been called the LeBron stopper. I have Crowder coming off the bench regardless, but I think Jerebko should start if they keep Kelly Olynyk. That way he can stretch the floor better because he is much stronger than Olynyk. Plus I like Kelly's energy off the bench. Sullinger is different. He's better as a started and would get the rebounds Cousins misses. If he improves his three point shot he'll be even more dangerous.

As for the Kings they can make up almost everything in the draft. With their sixth pick obviously Willey Cauley-Stein. Great defender and shot blocker. Plus he knows how to lead a team, which is special for a rookie. Then with the 16th pick they should pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. I love this kid! He is getting defensive comparisons to Tony Allen, except taller and stronger. He also doesn't have a really awkward jump shot and can add a consistent jumper and 3-point shot in the near future. His defense will play at the NBA level immediately however. Then with the 28th pick I have them taking Jonathan Holmes. His stock dipped this year as he wasn't as consistent offensively this year. But I can see him as either the 2 Guard or small forward to back up Avery Bradley or Hollis-Jefferson. With the 33rd pick I have them picking Olivier Hanlan. A great point guard for Boston College, I think he can eventually evolve into fellow Boston College alumni Reggie Jacksons. For now he'd be great off the bench and benefit from watch Rondo up close. With the 45th pick I have them picking an international talent as a draft and stash. I'm not sure who, but Vlade Divac probably knows better than me. I have them also making two signings. One I already mentioned in Rajon Rondo. The other being Gerald Green. I believe his size and 3-point shooting to come in for Hollis-Jefferson would be perfect and give Jonathan Holmes time to mature, maybe at the D-League.

Both teams will obviously make multiple camp signings and minor signings also but these are the big one I wanted to cover.
If this plays out the teams should look like this

  1. Marcus Smart
  2. Evan Turner
  3. Rudy Gay
  4. Jonas Jerebko/Jared Sullinger
  5. DeMarcus Cousins
  1. Isaiah Thomas
  2. Nik Stauskas/Ben McLemore/James Young
  3. Jae Crowder
  4. Kelly Olynyk/Jonas Jerebko
  5. Tyler Zeller
I still have Smart starting for his defensive but Brad Stevens will work out a good rotation like last year. If they acquire Stauskas I have him fighting James Young for the back up spot

  1. Rajon Rondo
  2. Avery Bradley
  3. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
  4. Jared Sullinger/Kelly Olynyk
  5. Willie-Cauley-Stein
  1. Olivier Hanlan
  2. Ben McLemore/Nik Stauskas
  3. Gerald Green
  4. Carl Landry
  5. Jason Thompson
I like the Kings bench, especially if Landry is healthy. I prefer Sullinger to Olynyk unless Olynyk adds twenty pounds of muscle this offseason.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Red Sox Salvaged Season

The Red Sox came into the season, on paper, the best offense in baseball. They also had hope for their rotation. But the season has been a disaster so far. Many people blame John Farrell. Others blame the new batting box rule. Both seem plausible, but I'm not sure yet. The question is can the Red Sox salvage the season and make a playoff run? I believe they can and I believe it will take one trade and some roster moves. The trade is with the Reds and will be dubbed the Second Coming of Luis Tiant. I have the Red Sox trading prospects Henry Owens and Edwin Escobar, Justin Masterson and Mookie Betts for Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. Now I know that sounds a little out there and I expect to get plenty of negative responses, but the Reds are looking to move them. Now I'm not traded Mookie Betts because I've given up on him. I'm doing it because it's the only way to get this trade done. Same thing with Henry Owens. His high upside makes him a perfect trade candidate. He has struggled with his walk rate this season but he has great hit and miss stuff. Then you throw in Masterson for payroll and Edwin Escobar to but a good bullpen lefty for the Reds. I do believe they'll have to throw in one more prospect, but LHP Brian Johnson and 3B Rafael Devers should be the only ones off limits. I'd also like them to keep RHP Pat Light. And obviously Yoan Moncada is off limits. Now with Mookie Betts traded it's time for Jackie Bradley to get his second chance. His gap power has returned and his defense is always reliable. I also have them bring Dalier Hinojosa back up as well. He's doing a very good job at AAA and the Sox need more good relievers. So with these acquisitions the rotation should look like this:
  1. Johnny Cueto
  2. Clay Buchholz
  3. Eduardo Rodriguez*
  4. Rick Porcello
  5. Wade Miley*
Of course that means Joe Kelly is headed to the minors. I believe if he spend an extra year done there he can figure out all his problems.
The bullpen should look like this
  1. Aroldis Chapman*
  2. Koji Uehara
  3. Junichi Tazawa
  4. Craig Breslow*
  5. Dalier Hinojose
  6. Tommy Layne*
  7. Alexi Ogando
  8. Steven Wright 
With the acquisition of Chapman that will move Koji to the setup roll. I believe with that extra rest since Tazawa is also there will make him dominate again. This will also keep Matt Barnes down in AAA. I love Barnes and believe he can dominate someday in the near future.
With these move I believe they can make a push. Mainly because the Yankees seem to be faltering, The Blue Jays have inconsistent pitching, the Rays are very young and the Orioles are going back and fourth. Don't misunderstand, the Yankees are the only team I don't believe they can keep up their winning ways. They are old and fragile and the dominos have already began to fall. Ellsbury and Miller are on the DL and it's only a matter of time before Teixiera and Beltran are there too. But that's an article for another day.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New York Knicks Offseason

Let's take a break from baseball and talk some basketball today. Let me state that I'm am not a Knicks fan (Sorry Spike), however they fascinate me. It's probably because Carmelo Anthony is so good, but they can't manage to win with him. But now that they've traded off all their expensive players, had the second worst record in basketball (but got screwed by the Draft Lottery) and now only have five guaranteed contracts on the books they are very, VERY flexible. For starters they won't get better through the draft. The first move they should make is trading the 4th Overall pick to Minnesota for Ricky Rubio. In order to stay flexible they'll have to send Jose Calderon over too and possibly a future 1st round pick. Rubio is the assist first Point Guard the Knicks have been looking for since they acquired Carmelo. The only issue is staying healthy, but that's a necessary risk. After that I have three different approaches they should use this offseason in order to improve.
The first approach is the Carmelo as Power Forward approach. With this approach the first big move is a rebounding center. While I like DeAndre Jordan, I don't think New York in on his radar so I'm going with Omer Asik. Omer isn't there to score, he's there for rebounds and putbacks. As a starter he has averaged 10.8 rebounds a game, 3.2 of those are offensive. He's not a premiere shot blocker but is aggressive enough to give other centers trouble. Next move is signing Tobias Harris to play Small Forward. When Harris said he wanted to win a title with New York is when I started pairing him a Melo together. I like the of the two of them play off each other. They are both strong, can both rebound well for their position, can stretch the floor and go to the hoop. Tobias will get the rebounds Carmelo doesn't and vice-versa. They are a match made in NBA Heaven when paired with Asik and Rubio. The final started is Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is the speedy shooter they need to pair with Rubio. His outside shot has improved dramatically since coming to the NBA, but has always been on teams that underutilize him. His skill set will play perfectly with the other starters. For the bench I have Langston Galloway and Tim Hardaway Jr. in the backcourt. Two high energy players that will spark the bench. Gerald Green at Small Forward, a three point shooter and powerful dunker. And Jordan Hill and Jason Smith in the front court. Hill is the defending rebounder while Smith is the consistent mid range jump shooter. They'll play perfectly off each other.

The second approach is Carmelo at Small Forward part 1. With this approach we go with the defensive minded Center Robin Lopez. He's there for blocking shots and offensive rebounds. He's there because the Knicks should sign Kevin Love. If you pair Love with Carmelo and Lopez in the front court he can prove he's not a stretch forward and really open his game to all levels. New York wont need a Big 3 with this Big 2. To pair with Rubio I have Mike Dunleavy. A consistent three point shooter, Dunleavy surprised me with his defensive rating this year. One that I think will be better playing Shooting Guard again. For the bench the backcourt remains the same, as does Gerald Green. The frontcourt however changes. Instead of Jordan Hill and Jason Smith I have Reggie Evans and Andrea Bargnanai. I've wanted these two to play with each other for a long time. While Andrea has improved his inside game, he's still not a rebounder. Evans is all rebounding. Pair them together and you have great combo.

The final approach is Carmelo at Small Forward part 2. With the same backcourt and bench the only changes are the starting frontcourt. At Center I have Greg Monroe. He's an aggressive rebounder with a great field goal percentage. He's even got a nice elbow jumper to go with it. At power forward is Josh Smith. Smith provides the strength and shot blocking ability lacking in the line up. While he and Greg Monroe didn't work in Detroit, they should blend nicely now that they are in their proper positions.
Now tell me what you think New York fans. Do these line ups excite you for next years games against the Celtics like they do for me?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The All-Time Major League Teams: Chicago Cubs

Sorry Marlins fans, their team is on hold for later.
The Chicago Cubs are one of the most iconic franchises, but the most tortured. One of the best teams in the early 1900s, highlighted by 116 win season, they haven't won a World Series since 1908. It wasn't due to lack of trying, but baseball is a game of superstitions. Similar to the Curse of the Bambino, the Cubs have the Curse of the Billy Goat. While the Curse of the Bambino is long gone, The Cubs are still cursed. But even if they are cursed they have one of the better All Time teams I've come across. They are the first team that have great offense and pitching.
 Let us begin. Leading off and playing Third Base, Woody English. Woody was one of the main pieces of the amazing 1930 offense. Woody wasn't a power hitter and he didn't steal bases, but he didn't need to. With 36 double, 17 triples, 214 hit and the men batting behind him he was able to score 152 runs. That's second most on the 1930 team and the all time team.
 Batting second and playing Right Field is Kiki Cuylar. Kiki seamed like a typical speed demon for the Cubs and Pirates, but in 1930 he became a terror for the opposition. With a Tris Speaker like season and skillset he helped the Cubs terrifying. While he is batting second, he did manage to steal 37 bases with his 50 doubles, 155 runs and 134 RBI.
 Batting third and playing Center Field, Hack Wilson. Not only did Hack Wilson have the best RBI season in Cubs Franchise history, he had the best RBI in MLB history. With Woody and Kiki hitting ahead of him in 1930, he hit 56 home runs and a record breaking 191 RBI. He was an MVP in a season without an MVP.
 Batting clean up, the Designated Hitter, Sammy Sosa. The second place winner in the 1998 home run race, his career is clouded by PEDs and other cheating accusations. Even so Sammy put up not only home run number, but numbers across the board. Hitting behind Hack Wilson would be a dream come true when he adds his 64 home runs and 160 RBI. An interesting fun fact, every year Sammy hit 60 or more home runs he did not lead the league in home runs.
 Batting fifth and playing Left Field, Billy Williams. He was part a dynamic duo with Ernie Banks in the 60s together. He was a Rookie of the Year winner in 1961 and came in second in 1970 to Johnny Bench. Williams was your typical Left Fielder, hitting for both power and contact. Easily one of the best Cubs on the field, sometimes you still see him hanging around Wrigley.
 Batting sixth and playing Shortstop, Ernie Banks. Ernie Banks is known as Mr. Cub, because of dedication, love and passion for being a Cub. But love isn't always enough, so he decided to become one of the best players in the league. During his quest to become great he became the first black player to win back-to-back MVP awards in 1958 and 1959. Those two seasons came in between four straight years of forty or more home runs. Ernie Banks ended his career as the first shortstop to reach 500 home runs. With his recent passing, may he play two in the afterlife.
 Batting seventh and playing First Base, Derrek Lee. Lee was the consistent offensive and defensive 1st basemen for the Cubs from 2004 to 2010. He won two Gold Gloves and had two All-Star selections. But his 2005 campaign saw him lead the NL in Hits, Doubles, Batting Average and Slugging. He fell short of the MVP to Albert Pujols and Andruw Jones.
 Batting eighth and catching, Gabby Hartnett. Gabby was the cleanup hitter for the mighty 1930 Cubs with means he was one scary offensive catcher. As a catcher in both offense and defense I'd say he was fourth all-time only behind Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra and Ivan Rodriguez. But I'll get into all time catchers another day. While he didn't score as many runs as his teammates, he hit 37 home runs and drove in 122 RBI. His .404 On Base Percentage didn't hurt the cause either.
 And batting ninth and playing second base, Ryne Sandberg. One of the greatest defensive infielders to ever play the game, Sandberg wasn't just a glove for hire. He put up MVP numbers in both the power and speed department every year. This included a 40 home run, 25 stolen base season. He could bat anywhere in the order so don't let him batting ninth fool you.
With a monster line up, a team needs a monster pitching staff. So let's look at the numbers.
  1. Mordecai Brown*  1.04/36/32/144/61/277/27/9/26-6/0.93 (253)
  2. Ed Reulbach           1.42/34/29/152/73/291/28/5/18-14/0.96 (209)
  3. Jack Taylor            1.29/37/34/088/45/333/34/8/23-11/0.95 (206)
  4. Orval Overall         1.32/38/32/205/80/285/23/9/20-11/0.99 (179)
  5. Mark Prior             2.43/30/30/245/50/211/3/1/18-6/1.10 (179)
Led by the man nicknamed Three Finger Brown, the Cubs may have the second best rotation to go with the second best line up. While four of them pitched their best seasons in the Deadball Era, I'd normally think twice about putting them in a rotation. However they were well above average even for their era. But then you add one half of Chicago Heat, Mark Prior and you have proof that they have someone who could pitch.
The back end of their bullpen is strong and so are their long relievers/spot starters, but their middle relievers can be shaky.
  1. Bruce Sutter*      1.34/62/0/129/23/107/48/31/6-3/0.85
  2. Lee Smith            1.42/66/0/91/41/103/56/29/4-10/1.07
  3. Sean Marshall     2.26/78/0/79/17/75/18/5/6-6/1.09
  4. Les Lancaster      1.36/42/0/56/15/72/15/8/4-2/1.03

  5. Jack Pfiester*      1.15/30/22/090/48/195/13/3/14-9/0.97
  6. Fergie Jenkins     2.77/39/39/263/37/325/30/3/24-13/1.04
I had a lot of trouble chooses the spot starter. It came down to Fergie Jenkins, Hippo Vaughn, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano. Fergie won out with in strikeouts, walks and innings.
The back end of the bullpen was easy. Bruce Sutter had his best seasons with the Cubs as did Lee Smith. Sutter was a Hall of Famer closer, Smith hopefully will be one day too. The other two were tricky. Sean Marshall was the best left handed specialist I could find and he's not a bad choice. Les Lancaster was a lightning in bottle season, who beat out Kyle Farnsworth, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.
The Bench are filled with Old time players.
  1. Ron Santo         .313/94/185/33/13/30/122/3/.391
  2. Bob O'Farrell    .319/73/144/25/4/12/84/10/.408
  3. Billy Herman    .341/113/227/57/6/07/83/6/.383
  4. Bill Nicholson  .287/116/167/35/8/33/122/3/.391
  5. Augie Galan#   .314/133/203/41/11/12/79/22/.399
Led by the legendary Ron Santo, no one from the twenty-first century makes the bench. There were plenty of candidates, but players like Joe Tinker were the bigger snubs. Joe Tinker was an incredible player who led the Cubs to multiple world titles, but Billy Herman was a much better offensive second basemen, only second to Sandberg. I picked Bill Nicholson because of his consistency in the power department and his glove.
 Now let's finish with the line-up numbers
  1. Woody English   .335/152/214/36/17/14/59/3/.430
  2. Kiki Cuylar         .355/155/228/50/17/13/134/37/.428
  3. Hack Wilson       .356/146/208/35/6/56/191/3/.454
  4. Sammy Sosa       .328/146/189/34/5/64/160/0/.437
  5. Billy Williams    .322/137/205/34/4/42/129/7/.391
  6. Ernie Banks        .304/97/179/25/6/45/143/2/.374
  7. Derrek Lee          .335/120/199/50/3/46/107/15/.418
  8. Gabby Hartnett   .339/84/172/31/3/37/122/0/.404
  9. Ryne Sandberg   .306/116/188/30/3/40/100/25/.354
A absolute monster line up. Once one guy gets on base, then someone will knock hit in. It's not a debate, it's going to happen. There are probably three or four all time pitching staffs that could slow them down, but I don't know how long that will last.
Next up are the division rival St. Louis Cardinals.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Nomar Garciaparra and the "Could Have Been" Career

Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox Hero that got me into baseball. As a kid looking up to Nomar was easy. He competed opposite of Yankees Legend Derek Jeter in an amazing Shortstop rivalry that drew many fans to the game. With a unique skillset of power, contact and speed, Nomar was a genuine Star Player. However Nomar's career was not as great as it could have been. Due to several lower leg injuries Nomar's career was cut short. His best years obviously came with the Red Sox, but he had some shine when he played with the Dodgers and Athletics (Not so much the Cubs). But how great could Nomar's career have been? In my biased opinion the best Red Sox player of all time. In my non-biased opinion, easily top five. I'll show his projected yearly stats, as well as his career stats. I of course used Jeter's career length to compare to Nomar's.
Debuting in 1996, Nomar only played a subpar 24 games. But in 1997 he burst onto the scene to win Rookie of the Year by leading in hits, triples and at bats, while only playing in 153 games. This is the only season I did not adjust to 162 games. When 1998 rolled around Nomar was ready to go for the MVP. In 143 games, Nomar was able to get 195 hits, 37 doubles, 8 triples, 35 home runs and 122 RBI. Now if we project the 162 he would have won MVP.
  1. Nomar 143   .323/111/195/37/8/35/122/12/.362
  2. Nomar 162   .323/126/221/42/9/40/138/15/.362
That's an MVP shortstop if I've ever seen one.
1999 was the first of back to back batting titles. While his home runs decreased, his doubles increased as did his batting average, hits and on base percentage. But once again, he fell short of the MVP title due to his game total. He played a Red Sox career low 135 games, not counting injury seasons. His projected 162 was above impressive.
  1. Nomar 135   .357/103/190/42/4/27/104/14/.418
  2. Nomar 162   .357/126/232/51/5/33/127/17/.418
Even if you don't project the 162, his season was still wicked impressive for that few of games.
The second year of his back to back batting titles saw another decrease in home runs, but another increase in almost every other category. He played in 140 games that season, five more than the previous season, but again put up unreal numbers.
  1. Nomar 140   .372/104/197/51/3/21/96/5/.434
  2. Nomar 162   .372/128/242/63/5/26/118/10/.434
While .372 and 63 doubles is well above average, it still isn't the best in Red Sox history. Ted Williams will always hold the batting average crown. While Earl Webb hit 67 double in his lightning in a bottle season, which is the most by any player.
2001 was a lost season for Nomar as he dealt with an Achilles injury. But he was back with a vengeance in 2002. Playing in 156 games, he didn't quite have that MVP batting average or on base percentage, but he made up for it with bringing the power back. Leading the league in doubles with 56, he also had three more home runs that he did in 2000. Projected 162 isn't as significant as previous years, but it still make a difference.
  1. Nomar 156   .310/101/197/56/5/24/120/5/.352
  2. Nomar 162   .310/109/213/60/5/26/129/7/.352
Another year, another 200 hits and 60 doubles. His ability to hit off the Green Monster is second only to Wade Boggs. His doubles ability overall is second only to Tris Speaker. That's as a Red Sock of course.
In his final full season with the Red Sox, Nomar dipped a bit but played 156 games for the second year in a row. Both his batting average and doubles went down, but his home runs, triples and stolen bases went back up.
  1. Nomar 156   .301/120/198/37/13/28/105/19/.345
  2. Nomar 162   .301/125/206/39/14/30/110/21/.345
Once again hitting over 200 hits and reaching 30 home runs again, shows how Nomar could have been a multi-time MVP. Looking at his career 162 average is something special.
  1. Nomar 162 Career   .305/123/221/50/8/31/120/15/.376
Now of course he probably would have dipped slightly with the age factor, that's not a guarantee. Derek Jeter's age 38 season saw him lead in at bats and hits.
Now let's see what Nomar's career would have looked like if he had played as long as Jeter, while compared to Jeter.
  1. Jeter Career      .310/1923/3465/544/66/260/1311/358/.377
  2. Nomar Career  .305/1840/3308/748/122/460/1800/230/.376
Jeter obviously has more stolen bases and runs scored, due to where he batting in the line-up. Nomar however beats in extra bases and the RBIs. Again mainly due to where he batting the line up. It was a close race for hits, but Jeter was better in the contact department, which also led to more stolen bases.
So with all these projections, they are just that, projections. Nomar never became the legend he could have been, but for me as a fan and as my hero, he didn't need to.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hall of Fame Profiles: Carlos Delgado

 Unlike many sportswriters, I'm making the case for Carlos Delgado. I've read countless articles lately giving reasons why Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should make it into the Hall of Fame and it still leaves me scratching my head. The same people will go on to say Carlos Delgado shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. Well Carlos, I've got your back and would pick you over a pair of PED users any day. Not only was Carlos a great hitter, he may have been the greatest hitter in Blue Jays history. He had multiple MVP quality seasons, two of which stick out more than the rest. In 2000 Carlos had a .344 Batting Average, 137 RBI, 41 Home Runs, 57 Doubles and .470 On-Base Percentage. Out of the three men ahead of him, two were confirmed PED users and the other was Frank Thomas. However he had the better season when it came to total bases and extra base hits. Only Giambi got on base more and well we know why he did so well.
 Then there was 2003, this time Carlos came in second in the MVP voting. But even though he had the better season, he lost to a PED user. Carlos had a .302 Batting Average, 38 Doubles, 42 Home Run and a league leading 145 RBI. He also led in OPS and OPS+. But everyone loved A-Rod, right?
 But two seasons aren't enough for the Hall of Fame, so let look at the twelve he spent in Toronto. During his time in Toronto let say he broke a few team records including Home Runs, RBI, Runs, Slugging Percentage, Walks, Doubles, Total Bases, Extra Base Hits, OPS, Times On Base, Hit by Pitch, Intentional Walks, Runs Created and at bats per Home Run. Is it just me or is breaking that many records enough to get into the Hall of Fame? I guess you're not convinced.
 Carlos didn't end his career at twelve years though. he spent four and a half more years with the Marlins and Mets. There he was able to hit another 140 Doubles, 137 Home Runs and 454 RBI. That would bring his career totals to 483 Double, 473 Home Runs and 1512 RBI. Pair those numbers with a .280 Batting Average and a .383 On-Base Percentage and you have a Hall of Famer.

Hall of Fame Profiles: Pedro Martinez

When it comes to Pedro Martinez, I could type until my fingers fell off or talk until my throat collasped, but I'll keep it short. Pedro Martinez is easily the best pitcher of the late 90s and early 00s. The short, skinny, PED free Martinez made Hall of Fame calibur and PED hitters look like they had never picked up a bat before. He had the complete arsenal when it came to pitches. He threw his fastball with Bob Gibson velocity and Greg Maddux accuracy. His 2-Seamer would catch the corners or make hitters screw themselves into the ground. Hitters could time his nasty curveball and couldn't see his Bugs Bunny change-up. But stuff alone doesn't get you into Cooperstown. Martinez is a five time ERA Champion and a three time Cy Young Award Winner. He has the best single season Adjusted ERA+ in the history of the Modern Era and the best career Adjusted ERA+ for a Starting pitcher. He also had the lowest single season WHIP by a starting pitcher ever. His eight All-Star selections were highlighted at Fenway Park when he struck out Barry Larking, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire in order to start the game and struck out Jeff Bagwell to end the second inning. Pedro is also the reason I believe a starting pitcher should never win the MVP. Pedro Martinez had two back to back seasons that made recent MVP winners Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw look like amateurs. Instead they gave the MVP to Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Giambi's MVP Crown will always be tainted with PEDs so that makes it so much more frustrating. Rodriguez however was a very deserving player who just barely beat out Pedro. So if Pedro can't win MVP then neither should another starting pitcher. Greg Maddux got into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot and rightfully so because Greg Maddux beat pitchers. But that's the difference between Maddux and Pedro. Maddux would beat you, Pedro would dominate you. Because of all these reasons Pedro Martinez should get one hundred percent of the votes, but I'll settle for him being a first ballot Hall of Famer.
I have another article about Pedro Martinez, if anyone is interested.