Archive for May, 2010

The Chosen One is Upon Us

Posted: May 31, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB

June 8, the hype meets reality. The Messiah’s Arrival has a Date.

The Washington Nationals have announced that June 8th is the launch date for Stephen Strasberg, the Ć¼ber prospect whose coming has been heralded New Testament style.

For those that don’t know, Strasburg is the truth. Period.

He was heralded as perhaps the greatest prospect ever in Major League Baseball history and hasn’t given any inclination that isn’t exactly what he is yet. From the every start hype San Diego State, the $15 million contract, the mowing down of overmatched Double & Triple A batters, everything has led to this point.

Superman had to learn to fly, even after his first cape.

When Strasberg shows up in Washington DC at Nationals Park on June 8th the prophecy will be fulfilled. Or so you would be led to believe.

Let’s be clear: I believe that Strasberg is what he is: the best prospect in the game. Nothing more.

Now I do understand that is a bit of contradiction. Being top dog isn’t easy, but the expectations for what he will be are crazy high. By no means is he going to land in the major leagues and dethrone Halliday, Lincecum, GreinkeĀ or any of the other elite aces in Baseball to win the Cy Young this year, maybe not even next year. He will join a middle of the road Nationals team and will have to work harder than ever to achieve the same level of success he has reached on the road to this point. Major league hitters are continually overwhelmed by fastballs, they adjust and lock in on them. Luckily for Strasberg, he’s not a one trick pony, he has a devastatingĀ repertoire that features several breaking balls and a developing changeup. He will be fine.

However, it must be understood that this will take time. So on the 8th if his debut is anywhere close to what I think it will be (5 innings, 7 K’s, 3 runs), don’t think you’ve been sold up the river, just remember these stat lines:

1.) 5.2 Innings, 3 strikeouts, 3 runs

2) 5.0 Innings, 5 strikeouts, 3 runs

3) 4.1 Innings, 5 strikeouts, 5 runs

Who produced these pedestrian numbers in their welcomes to the big leagues?

1.) CC Sabathia, 2.) Roy Halliday 3.) Tim Lincecum…..who now have a total of 4 Cy Young’s between them

So give “The Chosen One” a chance. I guarantee he’ll be all that he should on a lot of days post June 8.

~ M. Whitener

Quarter Horses: The Almost There All-Stars

Posted: May 21, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB

It’s almost that time again, the All-Star break. Where people vote for the guys that they see on commercials and video game covers (no disrespect Mauer, I’ll get to you in a moment), while the managers select some of the most deserving guys from the actual field.

Well, I hate that and I’m addressing it early.

Displayed here are the true All-Stars, not the All-Name Brand team. There are familiar names that belong there from video game covers and commercials (hey they’re good, that’s how they get those, what up again Joe), these are the guys that are really tearing it up so far.

All the rules of the actual ASG are respected, the 35 man rosters and representatives from each team, but I’m starting the best performers at each position thus far in the season (regardless of current injuries, much respect to Andre Either and Jorge Posada). I’m promoting quality of play over quality of advertisement/location of employment (no shade to large markets….just a little). We’ll get back to this in a few months ago when the Midsummer’s Classic is here to see who hung on.

**National League**

C-Yadier Molina-St. Louis Cardinals: The best overall catcher in the NL. He could make it on defense alone, but his clutch bat seals it.

1B-Albert Pujols-St. Louis Cardinals: Simply the best in the game. Period. By a long margin. His spot is engraved here.

2B-Chase Utley-Philadelphia Phillies: Best player on the best team in the NL. And that’s saying a lot with Philly’s cast. Utley will keep this spot as long as he wants it.

3B-David Wright-New York Mets: Finding his power stroke again this year, but Ryan Zimmerman is lurking for this spot Wright has held for a while now.

SS-Hanley Ramirez-Florida Marlins: Best shortstop in the game. Is hitting his way through his recent managerial controversy and is as much the owner of this spot as Pujols is his.

OF-Ryan Braun-Milwaukee Brewers: One of the most feared hitters in baseball and is just getting started. There is nowhere he can’t hurt you, whether at the plate or on the base paths.

OF-Andre Either-Los Angeles Dodgers: A legit Triple Crown contender when a broken finger derailed his all out blitzkrieg on NL pitching. We’ll see if he gets back to claim an actual spot.

OF-Jason Werth-Philadelphia Phillies: The lesser known bookend of the heart of the Phillies lineup, Werth is having his best season yet…..coming off his previous best season yet. Stud headed into free agency.

SP-Ubaldo Jimenez-Colorado Rockies: Dominant may be an understatement. With a no-hitter and a 25 inning+ scoreless streak already in place, Ubaldo is the class of the league in a year of great starting pitching.

– Bench –

C-Bengie Molina-SF

1B-Joey Votto-CIN, Ryan Howard-PHI

2B-Dan Uggla-FLA, Kelly Johnson-ARI

3B-Ryan Zimmerman-WSH, Casey McGehee-MIL

SS-Stephen Drew-ARI

OF-Andrew McClutcheon-PIT, Matt Kemp-LA, Marlon Byrd-CHI, Shane Victorino-PHI, Jason Heyward-ATL

SP-Roy Halladay-PHI, Tim Lincecum-SF, Adam Wainwright-StL, Chris Carpenter-StL, Roy Oswalt-HOU, Josh Johnson-FLA, Jaime Garcia-StL, Livan Hernandez-WSH, Barry Zito-SF

RP-Matt Capps-WSH, Heath Bell-SD, Brian Wilson-SF, Tyler Clippard-WSH

**American League**

C-Joe Mauer-Minnesota Twins: The best overall hitter in the league. Despite an early foot injury is still hitting at his usual stunning clip and playing solid defense. Leaps and bounds above any other at this position. He’s earning his video game cover.

1B-Justin Morneau-Minnesota Twins: The powerhouse of the Twins attack, Morneau has knocked in everything in front of him this year it seems like. Looking every bit Better from a season ending injury in 09.

2B-Robinson Cano-New York Yankees: The most consistent bat in the best lineup in baseball so far this year. Has been the class of all two baggers this year.

3B-Evan Longoria-Tampa Bay Rays: The best player on the best team in baseball so far. Longoria has officially made the jump from star to Uber star this year and is roaring towards a potential first MVP nod.

SS-Elvis Andrus-Texas Rangers: Elvis has entered the building. Andrus is delivering on his substantial potential in his second year and while the popular choice may go to Derek Jeter, this spot is clearly his by performance.

OF-Ichiro-Seattle Mariners: The most consistent hitter of his era, and maybe of all time, is at it again with his usual ridiculous performance across the board. In direct contrast with the M’s poor start.

OF-Vernon Wells-Toronto Blue Jays: The roller coaster that is Vernon is back at a peak so far and has propelled the surprisingly powerful Jays lineup.

OF-Carl Crawford-Tampa Bay Rays: The tablesetter to the Rays entire attack and 2009 ASG MVP, he’s making another tremendous run (his blazing specialty) with his best Tampa Bay squad yet.

DH-Vladimir Guerrero-Texas Rangers: The demise of Vlad was greatly exaggerated as he is tearing up Arlington during his second wind with the Rangers

SP-David Price-Tampa Bay Rays: The former top pick and October phenom is shutting down all comers in the AL this year, perhaps exceeding even his high ceiling.

– Bench –

C-Jorge Posada-NY

1B-Miguel Cabrera-DET, Kevin Youkilis-BOS, Billy Butler-KC

2B-Dustin Pedroia-BOS

3B-Alex Rodriguez-NY

SS-Alex Gonzalez-TOR

OF-Alex Rios-CHI, Brett Gardner-NY, Austin Jackson-DET, Torii Hunter-LA, Nick Markakis-BAL

SP-Matt Garza-TB, Phil Hughes-NY, Francisco Liriano-MIN, Zach Grienke-KC, Dallas Braden-OAK, Ricky Romero-TOR, CC Sabathia-NY,Ā  Andy Pettitte-NY, Fausto Carmona-CLE

RP-Mariano Rivera-NY, Jose Valverde-DET, Jon Rauch-MIN, Rafeal Soriano-TB

~ M. Whitener

The Morning After: Draft Lotto Numbers

Posted: May 19, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NBA

It’s the morning after and part of the picture is painted on what worst of the NBA woke up with.

Since the balls have dropped and spots along the bar are picked, we can see who the winners and losers are. Not everybody walks away with the desired spot, but how you workout what you’re dealt with is the true measure of success. So lets take a look at what is what among Lotto loungers from last night and where I see them going.

Wall is next in line of recent DC sport phenoms headed to town

1. Washington Wizards (26-56): John Wall-PG-Kentucky: Sometimes chips fall in interesting places. While the Wizards have plenty of backcourt depth and Gilbert Arenas at point right now, this is a no brainer. Wall makes this a completely different team and gives flexibility in dealing with Arenas, on and off the court.

2. Philadelphia Sixers (27-55): Evan Turner-SG/SF-Ohio State: Turner is another inexact need, but is an undeniable talent that can help at three spots on the floor. This pick makes Andre Iguodala potential expendable to improve a thin front court and gives a potential replacement go-to player.

Turner is great land at two for Philly, who can use him in many ways.

3. New Jersey Nets (12-70): Damarcus Cousins-C/PF-Kentucky: The Nets have to take the most talent that they can. While Cousins has some maturity problems, he’s an undeniable player with great potential. Paired with Brook Lopez, he gives the Nets a tremendous pair of athletic bigs to continue to build around.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-67): Wesley Johnson-SF-Syracuse: Minnesota is a team that needs to add a bridge between the Al Jefferson/Kevin Love front court and the plethora of backcourt talent they have built up. Johnson is the best pure small forward in this draft and provides a valuable and matureĀ building piece for this very young team.

5. Sacremento Kings (25-57): Derrick Favors-PF-Georgia Tech: The Kings definitely are setting up their future with their recent moves of moving out lead scorer Kevin Martin and giving the keys to Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. By landing Favors here they pair Evans with an athletic scorer thatĀ gives this team a two tremendous young talents for both inside and outside growth.

6. Golden State Warriors (26-56): Greg Monroe-PF-Georgetown: This team has tons of backcourt talent, but has very little up front to match it. While there are concerns about his toughness, he will be an upgrade of providing some true frontcourt scoring option.

At #4, Johnson is everything Minnesota is missing in one package.

7. Detroit Pistons (27-55): Cole Aldrich-C-Kansas: This is a team that is in transition, but was definitely ravaged by injuries and inconsistencies this year. Aldrich isn’t the most athletic player or high ceiling one, but he is consistent and brings size and toughness to front court that has little to none. An investment stability for Detroit.

8. Los Angeles Clippers (29-53): Al-Faroaq Aminu-SF-Wake Forest: He’s raw, but has a tremendous upside and can add another penetrator and athlete to a Clippers team that is always on the look out for another answer to their seemingly eternal search for the daylight ofĀ  non-lotto finish.

9. Utah Jazz (from New York via Phoenix): Hassan Whiteside-C-Marshall: The Jazz walk into the Lottery straight from the Western Semis to land a post player with lots of potential, who could have competed for the top 3 with one more year. Whiteside shows potential on both ends of the court, butĀ despite beingĀ very raw right now, will have time to learn on the talented Jazz squad.

10. Indiana Pacers (32-50): Xavier Henry-SG-Kansas: The backcourt in Indy needs a boost and Henry is the best guard on the board and has a very diverse skill set that lets him step in immediately and help across the board. He came on towards the end of the season and justified some of the hype that followed him into Lawrence.

11. New Orleans Hornets (37-45): Donatas Motiejunas-PF-Lithuania: A young talent that has good size potential and could rise with good workouts, but for now he fits in around this area. Sounds like typical young foreigner with size and a decent in between shot. With Chris Paul back and healthy inĀ ’11,Ā this will be a much better team that he would have time to develop with.

12. Memphis Grizzlies (40-42): James Anderson-SG-Oklahoma State: A big time scorer that can extend the shooting range for the team and potentially pad any potential departure by Rudy Gay. Anderson is instant offense for a team that will make a hard push to crack the playoffs next season.

13. Toronto Raptors (40-42): Patrick Patterson-PF-Kentucky: Having proved himself equally capable as prime time scorer and role player, Patterson fits in ideally with a Raptor team needing to add both a scorer and rebounder in preparation for the departure of Chris Bosh.

14. Houston Rockets (42-40): Ed Davis-PF-North Carolina: As the only team in the Lotto with a winning record, Houston landed where they should. Despite not being a traditional banger down low, Davis still provides another scoring option for a Rockets frontline awaiting the return of their franchise player in Yao Ming. He was hurt at the end of the season and could land higher if ready to workout.

~ M. Whitener

4th & Short – The End of the JaMarcus Era

Posted: May 12, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

It could be judged as a study in inaccuracies. A perfect storm of going against the grain and getting all of the bumps that should be expected from it.

The Best that $68 Million can't Buy

When the Oakland Raiders released quarterback JaMarcus Russell it was the end of the one of the most criticized runs at any position in NFL history. The pressure that comes with being the first selection in the draft is tremendous, but being average while taken in this position is somewhat acceptable. Ask David Carr. However, being terrible, well….that isn’t taken as easily.

Ask JaMarcus.

It was reported that he made $110,000 per completion. Which means that he didn’t complete very many moves to anything other than his bank account. Which, in all fairness, hopefully protects him much better than imaginary linemen in Oakland. Still these things have to fall somewhere and he will be the blunt of all blows for the failure in Oakland. However, JaMarcus was a study in every field of high risk areas blowing up into the absolute worst ending possible.

Lets have a glance.

Early Entry: It is said that it is always a risk to take an underclassmen high in the draft. There are questions on readiness and both on and off field maturity. This was the perfect storm of that backfiring. He immediately showed supreme lacks in all three of these fields almost as soon at the 07 Draft ended. He showed an ability to read the field that was tremendously under developed and with his extended holdout, he showed and proved on the lack of maturity.

Draft Holdout: Most years players will holdout of some camp to get “their due” from where they are drafted. It usually works itself and the youngster blends into camp and eventually onto the field. Well its hard to blend into camp as the number one pick. It’s almost difficult to blend into camp if you never show up for it. JR showed up to the Raiders, a rock of consistency, on September 12th, more than two weeks into the regular season. So, he decides to miss the most necessary part of the season for the most difficult position in all of sports, and then show up ready to go? This is why showing up for work late NEVER pays off (well performance wise).

The Oakland Raiders: This almost speaks for itself. Its not like he was going to show up to decent scenario to learn and get ready to compete. Son, you’re going to the Raiders, the NFL’s garbage yard. Where careers go to die, young or old. And after signing for $68 million, Oakland’s Overlord, Al Davis, will use you immediately to run his 1970’s, Techmo Bowl vision of offense. So, you’re not gonna get a Carson Palmer style mulligan rookie year. You better go play. And by December he was playing. The result: a typically JR performance of hitting seven of 23 passes for a touchdown (rare) and three interceptions (not rare).

Way to go.

Bad careers are short stories that feel long. This story ended quicker than any other of it’s kind, because for all of the shared struggles of the Tim Couch’s and Alex Smith’s of the world, NO number overall pick’s tenure with his team end quicker. The only thing that moved quicker than his Raiders career was his interception total and the climbing of his weight. So here’s what $31 million guaranteed buys you in this NFL economy:

352 completions at 52.1% clip, 18 touchdowns to 23 interceptions, 4083 yards over 3 years and a 65.2 QB rating.

But at the end of this story two positives come from it. At least for all future #1 quarterback’s taken, the bar has been set much higher for your margin of error and accepted failures. So breathe easy Matt Stafford and Sam Bradford, you can thank JR. He added plenty of slack to your career’s leash.