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The most overrated player in all of baseball plays for the Chicago Cubs

Blogged under Baseball,Front Page,General,Need to Step Up by joelapinski on Tuesday 24 May 2016 at 7:55 am

When the Chicago Cubs gave 26-year old lefty swinging RF Jason Hewyard an 8-year, $184 million dollar deal over the winter it made me laugh out loud!  Here is a guy that in his first six years in the show averaged 74.3 runs scored, 16.2 homers, 59.7 RBIs and 14.3 stolen bases per season!  Sure, he has won three Gold Glove Awards and he is an excellent defender, but he has not been an All-Star since his rookie season in 2010 with the Atlanta Braves.  Heyward is hurt now and he has been awful so far in his first year with the Cubs.  He has played in 37 games for the Cubs so far this year and he is 32 of 142 (.225 avg, .611 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 1 homer, 14 RBIs and 5 stolen bases.  Heyward has now played in 872 games in his first seven years in the majors and he is 836 of 3,147 (.266 avg, .776 OPS) with 466 runs scored, 98 homers, 366 RBIs and 91 stolen bases.  By the time the 2020 season comes around, the Cubs will be wondering why they signed Heyward to the laughably awful contract that they gave him!

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The bigs on the Oklahoma City Thunder are playing way better than the ones on the Golden State Warriors

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The Playoffs by joelapinski on Monday 23 May 2016 at 4:36 pm

The Oklahoma City Thunder are not worrying about playing small to combat the Golden State Warriors…..as they are playing big and forcing the Warriors to try to adjust to them.  So far, the Thunder have had the upper hand as their bigs are playing really well so far in this series.  22-year old center Steven Adams has gotten into Draymond Green’s head already in this series.  Green kicked him in the nuts last night and he deserves to be suspended for Game #4 of the Western Conference Finals.  Adams has started the first three games of this series and he is averaging 30.0 minutes, 11.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 1.0 blocked shot per game.  23-year old power forward Serge Ibaka has moved closer to the basket at both ends of the court and he is playing well.  He has started the first three games of this series and he is averaging 32.6 minutes, 9.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocked shot per game.  23-year old Enes Kanter would be the starting center on at least 20 teams in the NBA right now, but he is a backup for the Thunder.  Kanter has played in 3 games (0 starts) off the bench so far in this series and he is averaging 17.0 minutes, 8.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game.

The Warriors will be in deep trouble if 26-year old PF Draymond Green is suspended for Game #4 of the Western Conference Finals….and he should be!  Green has played in 3 games (all starts) so far in this series and he is averaging 34.7 minutes, 13.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.3 blocked shots per game.  He is only shooting 36.8% from the floor, 20% from three point range and 69.2% from the free throw line so far in this series.  The Warriors can’t afford to play small if Green isn’t playing in Game #4.  That means that 31-year old Andrew Bogut, 26-year old Festus Ezeli and 28-year old Marreese Speights will have to play more….and that’s probably not a good thing.  Bogut has started all 3 games against the Thunder in this series and he is averaging 15.0 minutes, 2.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.  Ezeli has played in 3 games (off the bench) so far in this series and he is averaging 10.4 minutes, 7.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.  Speights has played in 3 games (no starts) in this series and he is averaging 9.7 minutes, 7.3 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.  If the bigs on the Warriors don’t step up, they could get knocked out of this series in five games!

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Bismack Biyombo might have saved the season for the Toronto Raptors last night

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Stepping Up,The Playoffs by joelapinski on Sunday 22 May 2016 at 4:49 pm

In the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the paint.  They won two dunk fests in Cleveland before the series shifted to Toronto last night.  The Raptors then stepped up at home last night to beat the Cavaliers 99-84 in Toronto.  They stopped almost every drive from the Cavs and they were getting almost every rebound, thanks to 23-year old center Bismack Biyombo.  Biyombo had 7 points, 26 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 blocked shots in 39 minutes on the floor.  He has now played in 3 games (all starts) in the Eastern Conference Finals so far and he is averaging 32.9 minutes, 7.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 2.0 blocked shots per game.  Biyombo’s rise is quite amazing.  He played in 82 games (22 starts) for the Raptors during the 2015-16 season and he averaged 22.0 minutes, 5.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game.  Biyombo has now played in 17 games (7 starts) so far in the playoffs for the Toronto Raptors and he is averaging 24.5 minutes, 6.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 1.3 blocked shots per game.  The Raptors are going to need Biyombo to stay nasty around the basket the rest of the way in the Eastern Conference Finals if they want a chance to pull the upset over the Cavaliers.

Biyombo was the #7 overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats.  That night he said that one day he would lead the NBA in both rebounding and blocked shots!  Well, that hasn’t happened yet.  He has played in 366 games (158 starts) in his first years in the NBA and he is averaging 21.2 minutes, 4.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game.  After being a backup his whole career, Biyombo is getting a chance to shine and he is taking full advantage of it!

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Fernando Rodney keeps rolling along for the San Diego Padres

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Stepping Up by joelapinski on Saturday 21 May 2016 at 5:12 pm

The San Diego Padres signed 39-year old righty reliever Fernando Rodney over the winter with the idea of using him as the closer and it has paid off in spades so far this year.  Rodney has pitched in 16 games (0 starts) for the Padres so far this year and he is 0-1 with 10 saves, a 0.00 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.  He has given up only 7 hits and 7 walks while whiffing 17 batters in his first 16 innings so far this year.  He has now pitched in 716 games (0 starts) in his first 14 years in the majors and he is 37-56 with 246 saves, a 3.63 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.  He is now #34 in Major League history with his 246 saves!

In Rodney’s first nine years with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels, he pitched in 419 games (0 starts) in which he was 22-38 with 87 saves, a 4.29 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.  Rodney always had good stuff, but he didn’t really know how to pitch that well until he signed on with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012.  Pitching coach Jim Hickey taught Rodney how to get the most out of his stuff and the results were outstanding in 2012.  Rodney pitched in 76 games (0 starts) for the Rays in 2012 and he was an amazing 2-2 with 48 saves, a 0.60 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP!  Rodney only gave up 43 hits and 15 walks while whiffing 76 batters in his 74 2/3 innings in 2012!  He was an American League All-Star in 2012 and he finished #5 in the voting for the Cy Young Award and he was 13th in the voting for the MVP Award in 2012!

Since the 2012 season, Rodney has pitched in 296 games (0 starts) and he is 15-18 with 159 saves, a 2.64 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.  He was an All-Star in 2014 for the Seattle Mariners and he led the Major Leagues in saves with 48 that year!  Rodney is showing no signs of slowing down and that bodes well for the San Diego Padres!

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Could we please stop with the Mike Trout trade rumors?

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Trade Rumors by joelapinski on Saturday 21 May 2016 at 4:55 pm

The Los Angeles Angels are not trading 24-year old righty swinging CF Mike Trout!  If they do, they might as well fold up the team!  Trout is the best all-around player in baseball right now (sorry Bryce Harper).  Trout has played in 42 games for the Angels so far this year and he is 51 of 158 (.323 avg, .986 OPS) with 29 runs scored, 10 homers, 31 RBIs and 4 stolen bases!  He has now played in 694 games in his first six years with the Angels and he is 795 of 2,606 (.305 avg, .958 OPS) with 506 runs scored, 149 homers, 428 RBIs and 117 stolen bases.  He has been an All-Star the last four years and he has won a Silver Slugger Award in all of those years too!  Trout is also an elite defender, despite not winning a Gold Glove Award yet in his career.  Trout was the Rookie of the Year in 2012 for the Angels, when he played in 139 games in which he was 182 of 559 (.326 avg, .963 OPS) with a Major League leading 129 runs scored, 30 homers, 83 RBIs and a Major League leading 49 stolen bases!  He also won the American League MVP Award in 2014!  He played in 157 games for the Angels in 2014 in which he was 173 of 602 (.287 avg, .939 OPS) with a Major League leading 115 runs scored, 36 homers, an American League leading 111 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

Even with the Angels sitting at 19-23 (45.2%) on the season, I don’t think they should entertain any trade offers for Mike Trout.  They play in Los Angeles and you need a star for the fans to come out and pay their money to watch the games and Trout is that guy!  Even if they did put him on the market, only the teams that could sign him to a long term deal would be interested in trading for him.  If I’m running the Angels and say the Cubs called me……I would ask for at least Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, SS Gleyber Torres (their best prospect according to Baseball America) and catcher Willson Contreras (the Cubs’ #2 prospect according to Baseball America)!  The crazy thing about that….is the Angels might still be getting the short end of the stick in a deal like that one.

In summation, I will be absolutely shocked if the Angels deal Mike Trout…..ever!

 

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The First and Second Team All Rookies were picked by the NBA today

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Rookie Report,The NBA Draft by joelapinski on Thursday 19 May 2016 at 5:28 pm

The First Team All Rookie and Second Team All Rookies were picked earlier today by the NBA.  Not all of the first team had high picks on it, as Devin Booker (#13 overall) and center Nikola Jokic (#41 overall, second round) both made the cut.  Here are a look at the First and Second Teams:

FIRST TEAM ALL ROOKIE:

Karl-Anthony Towns, center, Minnesota Timberwolves – 20-year old Karl-Anthony Towns was named the NBA Rookie of the Year earlier this week.  He played in 82 games (all starts) as a rookie for the T-Wolves and he averaged 32.0 minutes, 18.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game.  Towns was the #1 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft!

Kristaps Porzingis, power forward, New York Knicks – 20-year old power forward Kristaps Porzingis played in 72 games (all starts) for the Knicks in 2015-16 and he averaged 28.4 minutes, 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.9 blocked shots per game.  He had 21 Double-Doubles as a rookie for the Knicks.  He was the #4 overall pick (1st round) of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Devin Booker, shooting guard, Phoenix Suns – 19-year old shooting guard Devin Booker played in 76 games (51 starts) for the Phoenix Suns last year and he averaged 27.7 minutes, 13.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.  He averaged 19.2 points per game after the All-Star Break.  He was the #13 overall pick (1st round) of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Nikola Jokic, center, Denver Nuggets – 21-year old center Nikola Jokic played in 80 games (55 starts) as a rookie for the Denver Nuggets in 2015-16 and he averaged 21.7 minutes, 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steal and 0.6 blocked shots per game.  He had 16 Double-Doubles as a rookie last year.  In his 10 games (9 starts) in which he played at least 30 minutes, Jokic averaged 33.2 minutes, 16.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game.  Jokic was the 41st overall pick (2nd round) of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Jahlil Okafor, center, Philadelphia 76ers – 20-year old center Jahlil Okafor had off court problems as a rookie and his season was cut short due to injury.  But, when he played….he was really good.  Okafor played in 53 games (48 starts) for the 76ers in 2015-16 and he averaged 30.0 minutes, 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game.  Okafor was the #3 overall pick (1st round) of the 2015 NBA Draft.

SECOND TEAM ALL ROOKIE:

Myles Turner, PF/C, Indiana Pacers – 20-year old power forward/center Myles Turner played in 60 games (30 starts) for the Pacers in 2015-16 and he averaged 22.8 minutes, 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals and 1.4 blocked shots per game.  The only thing that kept him off the first team was that it took Pacers’ head coach Frank Vogel a little while to start playing him a lot of minutes.  Turner has a huge upside!  He was the #11 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Justise Winslow, SG/SF, Miami Heat –  20-year old SG/SF Justise Winslow gets by in large part because of his effort, as his motor always runs hot.  Winslow played in 78 games (8 starts) for the Heat in 2015-16 and he averaged 28.6 minutes, 6.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.9 steals per game.  He is going to need to work on his shooting this summer.  That being said, he still has a nice upside.  He was taken with the #10 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.

D’Angelo Russell, SG, Los Angeles Lakers – 20-year old shooting guard D’Angelo Russel played in 80 games (48 starts) for the Lakers in 2015-16 and he averaged 28.2 minutes, 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  He will need to work on his shooting and he will also need to mature as a person in the near future.  Russell was the #2 overall pick (1st round) of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, Denver Nuggets – 20-year old point guard Emmanuel Mudiay played in 68 games (66 starts) for the Denver Nuggets in 2015-16 and he averaged 30.4 minutes, 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steal per game.  But, he only shot 36.4% from the floor, 31.9% from the three point line and 67% from the free throw line last year and that just isn’t going to cut it.  He better be in the gym this summer to work on his shooting.  Mudiay was the #7 overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Willie Cauley-Stein, PF/C, Sacramento Kings – 22-year old Willie Cauley-Stein played in 66 games (39 starts) for the Sacramento Kings in 2015-16 and he averaged 21.4 minutes, 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.0 blocked shot per game.  Cauley-Stein was complaining during his rookie season that head coach George Karl wasn’t using him right.  He might have a point.  In the 12 games (11 starts) in which Cauley-Stein played at least 30 minutes, he averaged 34.0 minutes, 10.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game.  He was the #6 overall pick (1st round) of the 2015 NBA Draft.

 

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The Atlanta Braves have fired manager Fredi Gonzalez

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Coaching Changes,Comings & Goings,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Tuesday 17 May 2016 at 1:31 pm

The Atlanta Braves have fired 52-year old manager Fredi Gonzalez.  They probably did him a favor as he doesn’t have to make any more lineups with the lousy players the front office gave him to work with.  The Braves were only 9-28 (24.3%) on the season.  Gonzalez led the Braves to the playoffs in two of his first three years on the job.  He was 434-413 (51.2%) during the regular season and 1-4 (20%) in the playoffs in his six years in charge of the Braves.  He is good at getting the most out of the talent on his roster.  Gonzalez is now 710-692 (50.6%) during the regular season and 1-4 (20%) in the playoffs in his first 10 years as a Major League manager.  I’m sure Gonzalez will get another shot down the road to manage in the show.  Good luck to Brian Snitker, who has been named the interim manager.

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Karl-Anthony Towns is named the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2015-16 season

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Stepping Up by joelapinski on Monday 16 May 2016 at 11:55 am

20-year old center Karl-Anthony Towns has been named the 2015-16 NBA Rookie of the Year.  Towns played in 82 games (all starts) for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015-16 and he averaged 32.0 minutes, 18.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game.  He shot 54.3% from the floor, 34.1% from three point range and 81.1% from the free throw line last year.  He had 51 Double-Doubles as a rookie!  Towns got better as the season went along for the T-Wolves.  He played in 28 games (all starts) after the All-Star Break and he averaged 20.8 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 blocked shots.  He won the Rookie of the Year Award unanimously, which only happened four times in NBA history until 2015-16.  The Timberwolves are a team on the rise and it’s going to be because they have one of the best centers in the NBA in Karl-Anthony Towns!

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The Indianapolis Colts finally saw the light in the 2016 NFL Draft

Blogged under Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General,Milestones,The NFL Draft by joelapinski on Saturday 14 May 2016 at 3:05 pm

The Indianapolis Colts finally decided that it was time to invest in the offensive line after watching Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst get bludgeoned all year long.  The Colts had to sign two guys off the street (Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley) to play in their last game of the season!  The Colts didn’t waste any time in the 2016 NFL Draft.  They wanted an offensive tackle in the first round, but all of the elite ones were gone.  So they took the best center (Ryan Kelly) in the first round of the draft.  Then they took OT Le’Raven Clark (3rd round), OT Joe Haeg (5th round) and center Austin Blythe (7th round) in the 2016 NFL Draft.

There is no Matt Hasselbeck to save the day if Andrew Luck gets hurt again in 2016, as Scott Tolzien is his new backup.  It is imperative that the Colts block better to give 26-year old QB Andrew Luck the time needed to do his thing.  He played in 7 games (all starts) for the Colts last year and he completed 162 of 293 passes (55.3%) for 1,881 yards with 15 TD passes and 12 INTs (74.9 QB Rating).  Luck also carried the ball 33 times for 196 yards (5.9 ypc) last year for the Colts.  The Colts were only 2-5 when Luck started, as he was playing hurt in all of those games.  Luck has played in 55 games (all starts) in his first four years with the Colts and he has completed 1,224 of 2,106 passes (58.1%) for 14,838 yards with 101 TD passes and 55 INTs (85.0 QB Rating).  He has also carried the ball 222 times for 1,101 yards (5.0 ypc) with 12 TD runs for the Colts.  Luck is 35-20 (63.6%) as the Colts’ starting QB so far in his career.  Luck is already #4 in passing yards (14,838) in Colts’ history, behind only Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Bert Jones.  He is also #4 in TD passes (101), #25 in rushing yards (1,101) and he’s tied for 21st with Norm Bulaich in TD runs (12) in Colts’ history.

Luck has been a Pro Bowler three times and he has gotten the Colts to the playoffs three times in his first four years with the team.  So you can see the importance of keeping him in one piece.  Luck has played in 6 games (all starts) in the playoffs so far in his career and he has completed 147 of 260 passes (56.5%) for 1,829 yards with 9 TD passes and 12 INTs (70.8 QB Rating).  He also has carried the ball 20 times for 142 yards (7.1 ypc) so far in the playoffs.  The Colts are 3-3 in Luck’s playoff starts.

Kudos are in order for the Colts’ front office for finally seeing the light and drafting some offensive linemen to protect their franchise QB.

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Clayton Kershaw continues to shine for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Milestones,Stepping Up by joelapinski on Saturday 14 May 2016 at 2:49 pm

If you get an opportunity to watch 28-year old lefty starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, you should drop everything and do so.  He is a throwback type of pitcher, as he likes to complete what he starts.  He just threw a complete game shutout on Thursday Night against the New York Mets.  Kershaw has pitched in 8 games (all starts) so far this year for the Dodgers and he is 5-1 with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP.  He has only given up 41 hits and 4 walks while whiffing 77 batters in his first 62 innings pitched this year.  The innings pitched and strikeouts both lead the Major Leagues right now!  Kershaw has pitched in 252 games (250 starts) in his first 9 years with the Dodgers and he is 119-57 with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.  He already has 23 complete games in his career with 14 of them being shutouts!  He is #4 among active pitchers in complete games and he is the leader of active pitchers in shutouts!  In his last five seasons, Kershaw has won 3 Cy Young Awards and he finished 2nd once and 3rd once.  He also has won an MVP Award in his career!  He led the Major Leagues in every season between 2011 and 2014!  His only blight on his career has been his pitching in the post-season, which he started to fix last year.  He started 2 games against the Mets in the playoffs last year and he was 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.  He has now pitched in 13 games (10 starts) in the post-season so far in his career and he is 2-6 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.

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