Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: #55-51





Felipe M.

The following is a review of a list that was compiled way back in March of 2012.  "2012 Outlooks" are based on a summation of scouting reports (entering the 2012 MLB season) of each player condensed into a sentence or two for easier reading.

55. Arodys Vizcaino--SP-Chicago Cubs
  • 2012 Outlook: "Higher ceiling than Randall Delgado (Braves), but might be used as relief pitcher in the interim."
  • 2012 Accomplishments: Underwent Tommy John surgery in March
  • Conclusion: In what proved to be one of many, wacky Cubs' transactions since the Theo Epstein era began, Vizcaino was the consolation prize for Ryan Dempster refusing to get traded to Atlanta where the Cubs had a chance to get hihgly touted Braves' prospect, Randall Delgado.  Instead, the Cubs traded Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm in late July and acquired the mending pitcher who is projected to compete for a rotation spot by 2014. He did post good numbers in the Minors before getting hurt. 
54. Anthony Rendon--3B--Washington Nationals
  • 2012 Outlook: "Might move to 2B; would increase value."
  • 2012 Accomplishments: Named to Arizona Fall League Top Prospects' Team; Moved from Rookie to Double-A ball
  • Conclusion: Rendon could do no wrong this season as he played a total of 43 games in 4 different classes for 4 different teams in the Minors.  Unfortunately, a fractured ankle injury limited his 2012 season.  He did post an .851 OPS and showcased great plate discipline and alongside a high contact rate. His Slash Line in the AFL were .338/.436/.494. Is considered to be on the outside looking in for the Nationals roster in 2013, but it seems that Rendon has nothing else to prove in the Minors. 
53. Nick Castellanos--3B--Detroit Tigers
  • 2012 Outlook: "Hit a lot of doubles in Minors. Still developing."
  • 2012 Accomplishments: Participated in AFL; #1 Tigers' prospect, as well as Best Hitter for Average and Strike Zone Discipline; #5 and #4 Prospect in Florida State League and Eastern League respectively--Best Batting Prospect in both league; 
  • Conclusion: Despite getting recognized for Strike Zone Discipline, he posted a BB:K of .31 in 2012. He also struggled with a .642 OPS in AFL, but even GM Dave Dombrowski admitted that the young prospect simply "ran out of gas."  He is listed as a 3B, but because of Miguel Cabrera, he has been forced to play in RF (Minors) and LF (in AFL). He posted great overal numbers in the Minors the last two seasons and at 6'4", 210 lbs, his high number of doubles (68 in last 2 seasons) makes him a future, potential power hitter in the Majors. Despite showing a decrease in plate discipline, he has a chance to make the Tigers as an OF in 2013 out of spring training. 
52. Chad Bettis--SP--Colorado Rockies
  • 2012 Outlook: "Dominated hitter-friendly California League. Long-term prospect."
  • 2012 Accomplishments: N/A
  • Conclusion: The Rockies shut down Bettis' 2012 due to shoulder injury suffered in April so he will be looking to bounce back in 2013. He has posted a 1.09 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 9.1 K/9 in his Minor League career so far. 
51. Josh Bell--OF--Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 2012 Outlook: 19, switch-hitter with great power potential. Long-term prospect."
  • 2012 Accomplishments: N/A
  • Conclusion: Bell's season was cut short because he underwent surgery to repair meniscus in left knee. He did appear in 15 games and made 66 plate appearances.  He would strike out once every 3 at bats and walked a total of two times.  Nevertheless, Bell remains a very long-term prospect. 

2012 RANDOM NBA THOUGHTS: Vol, 3



Felipe M

Two games were played in the NBA on December 27, 2012.  But it was also a day filled with controversy as well.

Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder: The Mavs seemed to be on a mission to end a losing streak in OKC, while the Thunder just looked flat and blase through 3 quarters.  The Thunder turned on the intensity in the 4th quarter, however, and Russell Westbrook who played terribly throughout much of the game, took over in the Overtime period to finish off the Mavericks. 

However, the real story was not that the Thunder pulled off the victory from the jaws of defeat on an otherwise expected win at home.  No, the real story was just how well the Mavs played with Dirk Nowitzki on the court.  The numbers would suggest a different story (3-11 shooting, only one assist, and a plus/minus of -13), but this has to be filed under "intangible impact."  The Mavericks just simply played with a renewed gusto on offense throughout much of the game.  They played more confidently, more crisply, and even quicker than the suffocating Thunder Defense.  Even Nowitzki was pulling off his famous, one-legged jumpers.

Unfortunately, all of that didn't matter once the 4th quarter began, but we watched a glimpse of what it could be for the Mavericks in the near future with their best player coming back from knee surgery.  In the present, nonetheless, Nowitzki showed rust and lack of stamina.  TNT's Steve Kerr marveled at coach Rick Carlisle handling of Nowitzki's minutes, stating that the goal was to limit him to approximately 24 minutes.  Nowitzki played 25 minutes at the end of regulation.  In the overtime period, Carlisle sat out Nowitzki and one would think his night was over.  However, with a minute remaining in the OT, Carlisle, inexplicably, put him back on the court where he clearly did not want to have the ball on offense and in one play on defense, Westbrook put so many moves on Nowitzki that it looked like he would not only break his ankles, but also re-injure Nowitzki's surgically repaired knee.  

Nowitzki, after the game, admitted that his stamina was not up to par, but stated that he thinks he should be playing with very few limitations in about two weeks.  In the meantime, Mavs' fans everywhere, including the impatient Mark Cuban, will just have to patiently wait for Nowitzki to come around again.  

THE NETS FIRE AVERY JOHNSON: Not surprisingly, Johnson was finally relieved of his duties from the Brooklyn Nets, finishing his season at .500.  Not where management wanted their team to end the calendar year after an offseason full of gutsy moves and over-and-uber-hype (despite the hype, I predicted that the Nets were not as good as many people thought).  But aside from the mediocre December, anybody paying attention to this team could have seen the writing on the wall.  

The biggest bomb came when star player, Deron Williams admitted that he was not happy with Johnson's system and waxed nostalgically about his days in Utah--the same Jazz team he basically destroyed when legendary coach, Jerry Sloan resigned from his position after a heated conflict with the guard, and the club then decided to part ways with Williams by trading him to the Nets. But somehow, Williams would like to return to that offensive system.  Weird!

Along with a disgruntled Williams preferring a different offensive system (whether the motion or pick and roll, evidently), the players seemed to have tired of Johnson's act and his behind-the-scenes, ulterior motives (which is ironic because currently they have all of these cameras filming every move from every team member for THE ASSOCIATION).  Johnson was also making a big stink about a contract extension, while the team wanted to take a wait-and-see approach to decide if Johnson would be rewarded with said extension.  Most importantly of all, Johnson was not GM Billy King's guy.  Add to the fact that any NBA fan could see that Johnson was just the wrong man for the job when he was originally hired and it all results into his firing.  

Right away, I thought that Phil Jackson would be the front-runner, but David Aldridge has already squashed that rumor.  Would have been great to see a lot of angry and panic-stricken Lakers' fans.


DWIGHT HOWARD GETS FINED $35,000 FOR FLAGRANT FOUL: As Charles Barkley hilariously mentioned on TNT last night, "that's a lot of money, right there." Poor Dwight Howard--he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.  Earlier this month, Bobcats' forward, Gerald Henderson, put up a dunk on Howard that was so ferocious, that it had Antawn Jamison leaping from his seat on the Lakers' bench. Clearly, Howard was probably--for lack of a better term--warned to not let that happen again.
Everyday, we're finding out more and more that behind all of the goofiness and immaturity is a big kid in a man's body who has a fragile psyche.  As many young players can tell you, playing with Kobe Bryant doesn't really help unstable matters.  Ask Kwame Brown how his experience playing with Bryant went.  Or better yet, ask Andrew Bynum, whom Bryant has been treating like a personal whipping boy since Bynum was first drafted by L.A., urging the Lakers to trade him to another team so the Lakers can get more established talent around him.  That finally came to fruition this past offseason, but the Lakers have yet to reap the rewards of all the moves that brought them said talented, established stars such as Howard and Steve Nash

While Bynum admitted that playing with Bryant can do wonders for a player trying to develop his game in the NBA, Bryant can also obstruct a player's progress.  Not only that, but Bryant has a reputation for being impatient and very demanding of his teammates, which is admirable seeing how that approached worked with Michael Jordan while he was with the Chicago Bulls.  However, when he was playing with the Wizards--well, let's just say, ummmm, well, let's ask Kwame Brown what he thinks about playing with Jordan.  Basically, Bryant can be pain.

So all I'm wondering is, how much is Bryant messing with Howard's head, heretofore.  The flagrant foul that Howard committed on Kenneth Faried wasn't as bad as the one Bynum committed in the 2011 playoffs. However, Howard was out there to make a statement to the rest of the league in case they thought that they can get easy dunks and lay-ups on the supposed best center in the NBA.  While Bryant did not defend Howard after the game, one has to wonder how much did Bryant berate Howard to not let anymore easy baskets in the paint happen ever again.  Knowing how Bryant operates, Howard showed Bryant that he got the message.  

Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Clippers: What was supposed to be, in my view, a matchup of two great point guards, turned out to be an example of the visiting team's arrow going down and the home team's arrow going up--more like "lobbing up" and then being caught in mid-air and slammed down a 10-foot basket.  Neither Rajon Rondo or Chris Paul played an astonishing game in terms of statistics, but Paul got the last laugh notching 11 assists to only 3 turnovers and a +15. Rondo on the other hand posted only 6 assists, commited 4 turnovers and got tagged with a -24. 

As much as Barkley warned that the TNT audience last night that the Clippers would not be efficient when the game slowed down and their defense was still suspect, the Clippers held the Celtics to only 77 points, constricting the Celtics' offense with a rejuvenated defense (even Lamar Odom looked great with 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots), and were able to score efficiently in transition or on half-court; with their starters or their bench players.  As much as people want to question the Clippers defense, they are ranked #3 in terms of points allowed per game and 2nd in opponents' FG%.  Something else that the Clippers struggled with last season was rebound differential.  Around this time last season, they were on the negative side.  This year, they're ranked 10th in the league in that category with a +1.7. So it's looking very good for Los Angeles--not the Lakers'--Clipper fans at the moment. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

NBA PICKUP GAME 2012: Point Guards (you don't want on your team)





Felipe M

I conducted a small poll asking the simple question, "Which five NBA players would you not want to have on your pickup team?"  Needless to say, I ended up getting very different answers so I decided to split this into a 5 part series based on NBA positions.  What follows is the list of players followed by the reasoning behind the selection. 

  1. Rajon Rondo--Why Rondo gets so much hate among NBA fans is a perplexity to me.  Obviously, getting into a fight with Kris Humphries earlier this year, probably didn't endear himself to many fans.  In my opinion, Rondo would be great as playground point guard because all he would do is pass you the ball, non-stop!  However, Rondo shows up among many NBA fans' most disliked players all over the Internet. 
    • Why? He does come off pretty weird, as a guy who dances to the rhythm of his own beat--maybe a bit arrogant for many NBA fans. Also, many people think he's overrated because he looks to be too afraid to shoot and score and has yet to develop a long range shot.  I like him, but many fans don't.
  2. Ray Felton--Felton has been one of the more productive point guards since he entered the league with the Bobcats, but a reputation of selfishness and poor dieting has followed him throughout his career. His weight would be magnified as he arrived in Portland, unprepared for a shortened-NBA-lockout-induced-season and out-of-shape, flushing the Blazers' chances to make the playoffs and Felton and his weight were deemed the scapegoats.  
    • This season however, he's been playing like a man on a mission with the New York Knicks, playing admirably for the club and being the main scorer sometimes on a team full of injured players. However, as one pollster explained his reasoning in selecting Felton, "too many donuts in his system. I don't like subbing in the playground, but you know this spare tire would be out of air after only eight minutes of outdoor summer heat." Despite his valiant effort this season, Felton proves that a bad reputation is harder to shed than a few pounds.
  3. Jeremy Lin--The reason why Felton is playing so hard this season is because he's trying to make sure people know that he is a million times better than Lin. Lin is better paid and gets more publicity, but this season, Lin's inconsistent play is making NBA fans screaming out "FLUKE!" As one fan noted, "he took the money and ran...Can we please kill 'Linsanity' once and for all?"  Another fan stated that he's "one of the worst starting point guards in the NBA...the only thing this untalented PG does better is sell jerseys in Taiwan."
    • Both his FG% and 3-point% are down from last year, but he was never a deep-threat to begin with, though the Rockets are asking him to shoot more from beyond the arc. Because of his poor shooting (and playing alongside teammate James Harden) his scoring is down as well, but playing against a Knicks' Defense earlier this month, showed that he can flourish if he is asked to dribble penetrate more often during games.  The fact that his turnovers per game are down either shows smarter decisions by Lin or a decrease in handling the ball for the Rockets. Besides that, Lin provides a decent, all-around game for a player at his position, but in the playground game, if you're not scoring and hitting your shots, you're not getting the ball, period.
  4. Jameer Nelson--The reason I can't stand Nelson is because during the 2004 NBA draft, Nelson was the last player still in attendance who was yet to be picked and he looked devastated. Then Dick Vitale was interviewed during the draft's telecast and pleaded with all NBA teams to select the Senior out of St. Josephs's because he did things the right way and stayed in school and blah, blah, blah!  So by association, I've never really liked Nelson.  However, since Nelson has been the main scoring threat on the Magic this year, he has seen steady increases in production, although his 3-point% is down from last year (not so easy to hit those 3-point shots without teams double-teaming the post, huh?). However, Nelson can be inconsistent as well, scoring 28 points and dropping 10 dimes one night only to score 8 points and 5 assists in the next game. 
    • Nevertheless, I can picture myself being on Nelson's team and experiencing a guy who can dribble his way to the paint with ease, but then inexplicably dish the ball to someone and would give dirty looks each time he thought his teammates were not cutting the right way or not rotating properly. Basically, he would glare at you, as if to blame you for his shortcomings.
  5. Jerryd Bayless--Back when I covered the 2008 NBA Draft, I remember Bayless being described as an explosive guard who can one day give opposing teams trouble with his speed and raw scoring talent.  Unfortunately, Bayless has not met expectations and had one fan saying, "I spent a season watching him play and he consistently made stupid a$$ decisions."
    • Since being drafted in 2008, Bayless has already played for four different teams.  "NBA journeyman" was not part of the scouting report on him.
HONORABLE MENTIONS

Goran Dragic, Steve Nash, and Ty Lawson were inserted by me because even though they are pretty good point guards, the fact of the matter is that I can see them push the ball and running up-and-down the court constantly. In the playground game, that running up-and-down the court and trying to constantly score on transition can be beneficial as the opposing team might not see it coming and lazy, transition defense is the norm in the street game.  But for a guy like me, I'm not very interested in running up-and-down the court for a whole game.  I'll take Rondo and his half-court game any day.  

Read more about the NBA, here.

Rocktober 2011: Bayside/Saves the Day

Solid lineup! What can possibly go wrong?



Felipe M

Pathological Hate continues to review the music shows they have attended in the last year-and-a-half or so.

BAYSIDE/SAVES THE DAY: OCTOBER 13, 2011, HOUSE OF BLUES, CHICAGO, IL

Bayside and Saves the Day are one of the coolest, more respected punk (pop-punk?) bands out there.  Admittedly, I have not listened to a new Bayside album since The Walking Wounded.  This could be attributed to perhaps a change in listening preferences. Or it could be that I have been left disappointed with their live shows before as Anthony Raneri has a bad habit of delaying and elongating lyrics on stage, making it difficult to sing along to ("If the sun... don't....shine tomo...rrow...we'll...surviv.....veeeeee.")  Also, because of this, songs that normally have a steady beat and tempo, get painstakingly and inexplicably slowed down.  

Most frustrating is that outside of the song "Masterpiece," they really don't play songs from the superb Sirens and Condolences album. Are the complaints petty?  Perhaps, but is it too much to listen to "Phone Calls from Poland," "Poison in My Veins," and/or "A Synonym for Acquiesce" in their entirety? Nevertheless, Bayside has a reputation for having some of the most loyal fans in the scene and their shows at the House of Blues have always been kind of crazy with the whole floor shaking to near earthquake levels.

However, as much as I enjoyed listening to Bayside during my college years, this night was supposed to be about Saves the Day who I finally gave another chance in 2011 when my friend, Chirs Orsini (R.I.P.) urged and convinced me to give them another listen and let me borrow some of their albums.  I was hooked and unhesitantly when out and bought Daybreak. When I found out about this show, I couldn't wait to see Bayside, but especially Saves the Day to play some of their newer songs from the newer album. 
What I didn't count on was that this was a co-headline tour and the show would start a bit early to accommodate both bands to play for an hour.

So I was late and missed more than half of STD's set, getting to the show as they were finishing up "My Sweet Fracture." One of the highlights was seeing them perform "Daybreak" in its entirety, so that was a treat in itself.  And of course, they finished with "At Your Funeral." Chris Conley's voice, is worth mentioning, sounds just like the version you would hear on the record. It is simply amazing how his voice has "Benjamin Buttoned." It's not as loud and authoritative as the early albums, but it's more precise and versatile and it's quite astonishing to listen to it live. 

For some reason, I just couldn't make it out of work in time as I not only was looking forward to seeing both bands, but bands Transit and I Am the Avalanche were also touring as well.  My tardiness sealed my fate in watching these two bands perform, however, I did see Vinnie Caruana provide guest vocals for the Bayside song "The Walking Wounded."  He looked great.  

Bayside came on to finish off the show and were up to their tricks of slowing down songs and Anthony messing around with the lyrics and playing "Masterpiece" once again.  It was still an enjoyable show, just nothing out of the ordinary.  Bayside also released another album in 2011 called Killing Time. One day, I might listen to it, but this show definitely did not make me all too enthusiastic about it. 

Please check out the rest of our MUSIC articles.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Braggin' Rights 2012: Felipe Wins a Fantasy Football Title

I am the Champion!
I AM THE CHAMPION!
(photo courtesy of Felipe M)

Felipe M

The following is a recap of my 2012 Championship-winning fantasy football team, Baraka Obama from a universal point of view.  The hope is that fantasy football owners would be able to relate. 

Despite the fact that I missed my league's draft this year, I was pretty confident of my team's chances when I saw what the draft-bot did in my absence.  However,what looked to be a stacked team after the draft, was turning into a frustrating, 4-3 bunch after a Week 7 (midway point of the 13 game regular season) collapse at the hands of a lesser team (vs. Domination) who happened to have the Bears' defense complete the comeback victory on a Monday Night game vs. the Lions when they were running on all cylinders. 

Struggling with mediocre Quarterbacks, an overworked running corps, underachieving WRs, and a revolving door at Defense, the team entered the 2nd half of the season with virtually no shot at the Division title (team MacAttack was running away with that honor and looked to be the season-long favorite to win-it-all) and their playoff hopes dwindling.  What happened in the next 6 weeks of the regular season finished off one of the wildest regular seasons anyone could ever imagine. 

I will now divide my team into their respective positions and split the season into three parts in terms of roster during those portions of the season.  Let's look at the QBs to kick things off:

QUARTERBACKS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)
  1. Phil Rivers>>>Phil Rivers>>>> Russell Wilson
  2. Sam Bradford>>> Brandon Weeden >>>>Sam Bradford
  3. N/A>>> N/A>>> Phil Rivers
In 2009, I had won a championship with Phil Rivers so when I saw that he was on my team, I was pretty satisfied that the draft-bot was smart enough to select him in the 7th round after it had filled out my RB and WRs slots first.  I knew that Rivers' arrow was going down, but was hoping that veteran guile would make up for a lack of weapons in San Diego.  After 7 games, I quickly found out that the 2009 Rivers would not be available this season and instead I got stuck with an inconsistent QB who seemed to throw more INTs than TDs and was looking to run for his life more often than looking for open receivers. 

Even worse was the backup QB position which it seemed that I was constantly holding open auditions for that slot. Even worse, it also seemed that every QB I wanted to insert for backup was getting hurt the following week: Alex Smith and Jake Locker were the other QBs that made a cameo on my team only to be cut the following week due to injuries.

It wasn't until December 5th that I received a gift when Russell Wilson was scooped up by me after another team cut him.  During that time, I was looking to make a trade for a QB, getting offered Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, and Mike Vick. However, as I shall explain later, my running backs were the heart and soul of my 2012 team and decided that I couldn't afford to trade any of them for QBs with tough upcoming schedules and inconsistent play. 

Wilson's arrow looked to be going up so I went ahead and rolled the dice with him and inserted him into my playoff lineup.  The move would obviously payoff as Wilson made plays with both his arm and his legs: in three games started at QB, Wilson passed for 6 TDs and ran in another 3 TDs while only committing 2 turnovers.  Conversely, Rivers passed for 18 TDs, but was accounted for 20 total turnovers in 12 starts for the club.  I mockingly referred to Wilson as the second coming of Seneca Wallace (the former Iowa St. product who also played for the Seahawks back in 2009) throughout the year, but Wilson came up big in the clutch and without a doubt, was the X-factor my team needed to win the championship.  


RUNNING BACKS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1. Ray Rice>>> Ray Rice>>>Ray Rice
  2. Trent Richardson>>>Trent Richardson>>>Trent Richardson
  3. Adrian Peterson>>>Adrian Peterson>>>Adrian Peterson
  4. Steven Ridley>>>Steven Ridley>>>Steven Ridley
  5. David Wilson>>>N/A>>>N/A

As I mentioned before, the heart and soul of this team were my running backs.  Despite the fact that I did not attend the draft, no owner was willing to take a chance on Adrian Peterson as he lasted into the 3rd round. Had I attended, I would have snatched him up in the 2nd round.  Combined with Ray Rice, I had a dream backfield.  What I did not expect was Trent Richardson making the squad as my #2 running back. I was not too high on Richardson (especially when legend Jim Brown publicly criticized the Browns for selecting what amounts to be an "ordinary" player), but I was still excited about Richardson because of the opportunity he would get in Cleveland as the feature back.

Already possessed with a "Trio" of featured backs, the draft-bot selected Steven Ridley and David Wilson whose role on their respective teams were up in the air.  I immediately cut Wilson and held on to Ridley hoping that he can step in admirably during bye weeks, but his job was always in jeopardy. Nevertheless, Ridley survived the entire year on my squad, playing in four games and rushing for 348 yards and rushing for 3 TDs.

The "Trio" would finish the season accumulating 1,547 total yards  and averaged approximately 9 TDs among the three of them. In 41 games played, the "Trio" went on to average 113.2 total yards per game.  Adrian Peterson, without a doubt, is the MVP of the year, Ray Rice proved once again why he is still a dual threat, and Trent Richardson did indeed leave a mark in Cleveland and proved to be anything, but "ordinary."

WIDE RECEIVERS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1. Steve Smith>>>Steve Smith>>>Steve Smith
  2. Demaryius Thomas>>>Demaryius Thomas>>>Demaryius Thomas
  3. Percy Harvin>>>Percy Harvin>>>Mike Williams
  4. Robert Meachem>>>Mike Williams>>>Josh Gordon
  5. Mike Williams>>>Josh Gordon>>>Chris Givens
  6. Davone Bess>>>Chris Givens>>>N/A
Steve Smith being selected as my #1 WR was not what I was hoping for, but I expected him to have a bounce back year in Carolina. I was very excited about Demaryius Thomas and Percy Harvin, but questions still remained if they could emerge as #1's themselves.  Mike Williams, despite the presence of Vincent Jackson in Tampa, was a pleasant surprise and eventually emerged as the team's 2nd best WR.  

Nevertheless, as much as my young corps had upside, it was even more frustrating to see them produce pedestrian numbers sometimes.  It could be because all the other teams had elite WRs or because my running game was carrying the squad, but in the end, my receiving corps did a solid job contributing to this Championship squad. 

Thomas was clearly the best WR accumulating 1,312 yards with 9 TDs, but it was frustrating to see Eric Decker steal his touches.  Nevertheless, Thomas did indeed emerge as the #1 receiver I was looking for.

On the other hand, Harvin once again solidified his reputation as being a fragile player as he only played in 8 games for my team (675 total yards and scored 4 total TDs in that span). Smith and Williams finished with 930+ receiving yards each. 

Givens and Gordon are interesting because it seemed like they were able to survive on my squad for most of the season as role players.  Givens played 3 games, gained 263 yards and scored 2 TDs. Gordon played 7 games and gained 394 yards and also caught 2 TD passes.


TIGHT ENDS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1. Brandon Pettigrew>>>Brandon Pettigrew>>>Greg Olsen
  2. Coby Fleener>>>N/A>>>N/A
Brandon Pettigrew was a disappointment, but with a famine of TEs available in free agency, I was stuck with him for the majority of the year (491 yards; 2 TDs in 10 games played).  It wasn't until someone cut Greg Olsen and was welcomed with open arms on November 14th did I finally feel good about the position.  Even though both players ended the year with similar numbers on my team, the fact that Olsen was more likely to get more targets and had the ability to make big plays was the peace of mind I was looking for.  Pettigrew also was credited for losing two fumbles, so at least Olsen would be able to secure the ball and not lose any more points for my team. A Pettigrew injury sealed his fate and was cut from the team, making Olsen the sole TE on the club.  


KICKERS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)

  1.  John Kasay>>>Phil Dawson>>>Shayne Graham
  2. Garrett Hartley>>>Justin Tucker>>>Matt Bryant
All that matters is that Shayne Graham scored 19 points in the Championship Game.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)
  1. Patrick Peterson>>>Lance Briggs>>>Paul Posluszny
  2. Ray Lewis>>>Patrick Willis>>>Jerod Mayo
Nothing is more frustrating than having to insert a defensive player into your starting lineup. Jerod Mayo played the most games at that spot this season, but when it was time for the playoffs, I went with tackles machine, Paul Posluszny.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS (DRAFT, WEEK 7, FINAL ROSTER)
  1. Seattle>>>Minnesota>>>Carolina
  2. Dallas>>>Kansas City>>Cincinnati 
  3. Denver>>>San Diego>>>Washington
  4. N/A>>>Tampa>>>N/A
In retrospect, I should have stuck with the Seahawks, but I wasn't very confident in that defense. They would emerge as one of the most physical and unforgiving defenses in the league, but that's neither here nor there.  The Vikings carried me mostly around the midway point of the season, but cut them when the matchups got too hot for them. Despite the carousel at the position, the Bengals emerged as a solid group and carried me throughout the 2nd half until I switched out in the Championship game and went with the Panthers' defense, which proved to be unnecessary because the Bengals took care of Pittsburgh during Championship week. 

RESULTS

My team was able to surge into the 2nd half with a 5-1 record and finished the season with the most Points For in the league with 1,794.24. Was also awarded a bye week despite finishing in 2nd place in the division to MacAttack, who also got the bye week, finishing the year with the best record. MacAttack also proved to be the biggest challenge on my quest to the title, led by:
  • Tom Brady
  • Dez Bryant
  • We Welker
  • Doug Martin
  • Eric Decker (grrrr!)
  • David Wilson (so like that team to pick up my trash!)
  • C.J. Spiller
After taking care of DaRocks (183.50-128.86) in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, I was game-planning for my next opponent, which seemed to be the pesky MacAttack.  However, MacAttack would be upset in the Divisional Round to VictorysAddiction2ME. MacAttack had Chris Johnson, Alfred Morris and Dennis Pitta on the bench who had big games during the Divisional Round. Had they gone with any of those players, MacAttack would have won and would've had a good chance at winning the Championship Game.  Instead, the best team in terms of Win-Loss record gave one of their worst performances of the year at the wrong time and VA2M did enough to win and punch their ticket into the Championship Game.

In the Final, VA2M got off to a quick start and even was able to pad his lead early on in the second half of the game.  However, big performances by Thomas, Rice, and Wilson sealed the game for my squad, with the final score 150.24-105.80.  MacAttack would go on to win the 3rd place game, 162.68-137.60, trying to take out his frustration on DaRocks.  Of course, had my team and MacAttack played in the final with our rosters intact, I would be writing about a different story, but as it goes, I patiently await my trophy which was earned because of patience, perseverance, and plain-ole-luck.

To paraphrase Steve Young, "No one can ever take this away from me. NO ONE!"


Feel free to share your 2012 fantasy football results on the comments section of this article.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: #60-56


Felipe M

The following is a review of a list that was compiled way back in March of 2012.  "2012 Outlooks" are based on a summation of scouting reports (entering the 2012 MLB season) of each player condensed into a sentence or two for easier reading.

60. Robbie Erlin--SP--San Diego Padres
  • 2012 Outlook: "Smooth delivery, works both sides of plate with efficiency."
  • 2012 Achievements: Pitched in Arizona Fall League
  • Conclusion: Erlin missed 3 months due to elbow tendinitis, but reports show that he may not be too far away from making Padres' roster. At 22, he's displayed amazing control. He even impressed while pitching in AFL. There's a small concern that he might be a flyball pitcher, but we'll see how he bounces back in 2013. 
59. Travis d'Arnaud--C--New York Mets
  • 2012 Outlook: "Better than J.P. Arencibia, but will have to wait."
  • 2012 Achievements: #1 Prospect, Best Hitter for Average, and Best Power Hitter in Toronto Blue Jays' farm system; #2 Prospect in Pacific Coast League.
  • Conclusion: d'Arnaud was traded to the New York Mets along with John Buck for R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole. Very likely that he will begin 2013 in the Minors. His season abruptly ended in June when he tore PCL ligament in knee. Before the injury, the young catcher was posting an increase in batting average, on-base%, SLG%, and OPS. Despite his slim chances of breaking with the Mets out of Spring Training, he will most likely take over catching duties for the Mets, eventually, in 2013.
58. Zach Lee--SP--Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 2012 Outlook: "Future top of the rotation starter, but won't compete for Big League team until 2013."
  • 2012 Achievements: #5 and #13 Prospect in both California and Southern Leagues, respectively.
  • Conclusion: The Dodgers are so fully loaded at pitching (both rotation and bullpen) that it is highly probable that Lee will begin season in the Minors in '13. His control was as good as advertised in 2012, posting 2.4 BB/9 and 3.22 K:BB. He does have a H/9 of 9.0 in Minor League career. Should be interesting to see if that number decreases a bit next season.
57. Anthony Gose--OF--Toronto Blue Jays
  • 2012 Outlook: "Progressed in Minors and is still 'blazing' fast."
  • 2012 Achievements: #8 Prospect in California League as well as Best Baserunner and Defensive OF; Appeared in 166 at bats for the Blue Jays
  • Conclusion: Gose's speed was on full display with the Jays in 2012, snatching 15 stolen bases. Unfortunately, Gose struggled mightily with big league pitching as well. He posted a BB/K of .29 (compared to .49 in Triple-A). Gose might have to start 2013 in Minors. 
56. Wil Myers--OF--Tampa Rays
  • 2012 Outlook: "Struggled in Double-A, but had good Arizona Fall League (2011). Sharp batting eye might mean turnaround."
  • 2012 Achievements: Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year; #1 Prospect, Best Hitter for Average, and Power Hitter in Royals' farm system; #3 and #1 Texas and Pacific Coast League Prospect, respectively; Best Power Hitter in PCL. 
  • Conclusion: The Royals used Myers as trade-bait to acquire an established Starting Pitcher, which they accomplished when they acquired James Shields. Myers has also been repeatedly been compared to former Braves' great, Dale Murphy (needs to be inducted into Cooperstown already!). Myers destroyed Minor League pitching, posting Slash Lines of .314/.387/.600/.987. His .44 BB/K could use improvement, but Myers looks to be the real deal.  



2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: #65-61


Felipe M

The following is a review of a list that was compiled way back in March of 2012.  "2012 Outlooks" are based on a summation of scouting reports (entering the 2012 MLB season) of each player condensed into a sentence or two for easier reading.

65. Chris Archer--SP--Tampa Rays
  • 2012 Outlook: "Command issues, but still has high ceiling."
  • 2012 Achievements: #1 Prospect and Best Slider in Tampa Rays' system. #3 International League Prospect; Made 6 pitching appearances for Tampa Rays.
  • Conclusion: Archer has the potential to strike out batters in bunches.  He also has done a great job in limiting hitters' contact rate against him, in both Major and Minor Leagues--also averaged a 1.24 WHIP in both leagues. His main issue is his control, which, along with high strikeout rate, followed him to the Majors. Despite the major overhaul in the Rays' pitching rotation, it is still unclear where Archer will fit with the Rays in 2013. 
64. Dellin Betances--P--New York Yankees
  • 2012 Outlook: "Hard-throwing, 'strikeout artist.' Top of rotation stuff, but has control issues."
  • 2012 Achievements: Participated in Arizona Fall League.
  • Conclusion: Betances is a big fellow at 6'8", 260lbs so he might need a little more time to develop if you believe in the theory that big pitchers need more time in doing so.  As promised, he did post a high strikeout rate in the Minors, but also posted a high WHIP, BB/9, and H/9.  In his defense, Betances was placed on the 60-day Disabled List because of a shoulder injury in September so perhaps those numbers were affected by that. 
63. Johnny Hellweg--SP--Milwaukee Brewers
  • 2012 Outlook: "Needs to keep control in check. High 90s fastball makes him future ace."
  • 2012 Achievements: Participated in AFL, used mostly as a Relief Pitcher; #15 Prospect in Texas League.
  • Conclusion: Hellweg was traded to the Brewers, along with Jean Segura, in the Zack Greinke trade that sent him to the Angels. He stands at 6'9", 210 lbs. It can be argued that his size, along with his hard stuff, might account for his high amount of groundballs (3.13 groundball/flyball in Double-A Huntsville (Brewers)). However, while with Double-A Arkansas (Angels), he had a mediocre K/9 and high BB/9 of 4.5). Once acquired by the Brewers, they had him coming out of the bullpen most of the time at Huntsville. Because lack of control, he won't be making the Big League club anytime soon unless they are desperate for bullpen help. 
62. Tyler Skaggs--SP--Arizona Diamondbacks
  • 2012 Outlook: "Should make the Big League team by 2013. Ace pitching prospect in most farm systems."
  • 2012 Achievements: Started 6 games for the Diamondbacks; #3 and #4 in both Southern and Pacific Coast Leagues, respectively; Best Breaking Pitch in both leagues.
  • Conclusion: Despite making starts for the D'backs, reports showed he had decreased velocity on his pitches, which may have something to do with the mediocre stats he posted in the Majors. He did display good control in the Minors in 2012 (K:BB 3.14). Nevertheless, Arizona was so impressed by Skaggs' progress, that they went ahead and traded away #1 pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. The D'backs have a loaded starting rotation, but despite of the depth, and Skaggs' age (21), he will compete for a rotation spot in 2013. 
61. Jarrod Parker--SP--Oakland A's
  • 2012 Outlook: "Most promising of the A's pitchers. Already underwent Tommy John Surgery."
  • 2012 Achievements: Started 29 games (20 Quality Starts) for Oakland A's.
  • Conclusion: After only 4 starts in Triple-A, Parker was called up by the big club performing outstandingly well for the surging A's. He still has issues with command and might be a "pitch to contact" pitcher, but there's no denying his skill. He might leave too many balls in the air, but clearly, he's in the perfect situation in Oakland. 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

All Ages Highlights II: Mike Herrera of MxPx (May/2011)

We went to a wedding and a "Punk Rawk Show" broke out!
Ladies and gentlemen, Mike Herrera of MxPx.
(Personal Collection)

Felipe M

The following is part of a series of music shows and events that I attended in the last year and half or so.  

May 27-30, 2011: Mike Herrera of MxPx Private Show--Lake Geneva, WI.

Spending three out of four weekends in May in the state of Wisconsin leaves me with a sickening feeling.  Nevertheless, it's worth going up there when I can't see some of these bands live in Chicago. In this instance, on Memorial Day Weekend of 2011, my buddy Jesse was getting married and I was part of his wedding.  The following is a quick chronicle of the Private Punk Rawk Show that broke out at his wedding. 

Jesse (left) on guitar;
Mike (right) on bass.
(Personal Collection)
Mike Herrera, lead vocalist/bassist of the band MxPx flew down from Bremerton, WA to perform during the "Happy Hour" portion of my friend's Jesse's wedding--except that Jesse didn't know anything about Herrera's arrival.  It was his wedding surprise, all planned out by his wife-to-be.

He thought he was getting an acoustic guitar from Herrera's folk music project, Tumbledown. As much as Jesse was content with the guitar, the look on his face when Herrera came out to greet his is simply, for lack of a better term, priceless.

From what I remember, Mike had flown into Chicago and was being driven to the small town resort of Lake Geneva, WI. He looked fatigued and hungry. None of us knew what to expect of the encounter.  Somebody handed Jesse his electric guitar, Mike took out his bass and what followed was an impromptu set, guitar lesson, and jam session all rolled into one as Jesse and Mike played what had to be 3 hours of MxPx's music catalog.  They literally could have played all night if it wasn't for the fact that, you know--there was a wedding to prepare for and poor Mike was still exhausted and hadn't eaten a thing since arriving in Wisconsin, but he was such a good and humbled sport about the whole ordeal as he toughened it out for our entertainment--one of the most lax people I have ever met.  And really, as an entertainer, Mike knew that the show had to go on, even it was in a small room of just about 20 people watching.  As I would later learn, Mike takes his musical obligations very seriously.

Some of the highlights:

  • Announcing that he and MxPx were working on a new album (eventually being Plans Within Plans). 
  • Giving us an inside scoop of the current music scene.
  • Updating us on the band and its other members, Tom Wisniewski and Yuri Ruley, and how they're now providing and caring for their respective families.
  • How he continues to tour without the band with Tumbledown and the MxPx All-Stars
    • Basically, he explained how blessed he was for having the opportunity to perform for a living and will continue to tour and use his musical and songwriting talents.
  • Performing two song requests from me: "Begin to Start" and "Teenage Politics"
    • Mike tried setting me up to start doing the vocals for "Politics," but I forgot the words and choked.  The song was abruptly ended, understandably so.  
(Here's a video of my boy Jesse playing guitar and Mike playing bass.  The name of the song is "Heard that Sound" by MxPx.)

video



Yours Truly on the left.
Mike was definitely dressed for the occasion as well
(Personal Collection)
As mentioned before, Mike was there to do a one hour solo acoustic set before the wedding.  The one song that stuck out that he did play was "Final Slowdance," which I always thought was appropriate for events such as these.  A lot of people at the wedding who never heard of Mike or MxPx came out very impressed and quickly became fans.

Eventually, I did have, what proved to be a very long conversation with Mike.  After praising his work as a musician and thanking him for creating music that people like me can relate to--despite the fact that I am not a Christian and MxPx has always had the label of a Christian Band--we began having a conversation about stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  With respect to Mike, I was not conducting an interview and if I was somebody of importance, we would have been speaking "off the record," but I will try to tip-toe the major issues that were discussed over whiskey and tequila drinks.

  • Found out we have something in common: we both enjoy listening to Bad Religion
  • His close relationship with the bands Thursday and Strike Anywhere
  • What it means to be part of a band that has been labeled as a "Christian band." 
    • I shared with him, that despite not being a Christian myself, that I enjoy listening to bands like Emery and August Burns Red. Again, he reminded me that he likes Bad Religion.
  • How he and Chuck Ragan's acoustic music differ despite both coming from punk rock backgrounds. 
  • We discussed the pros and cons of technology on the music industry. He explained that there was more exposure, but getting paid as a musician was a lot harder to achieve despite Internet services claiming that they pay a percentage to musicians for letting them use their music for their streaming and downloading services (which is really not news as many bands can attest to this fact). 
    • In the August 2012 issue of Alternative Press, he had a more optimistic and detailed view about technology being used as a beneficial tool to succeed as a musician. 
  • The real highlight--Mike telling me that I have a place to crash the next time I visit Seattle, Washington. Don't know if he was serious or if I should take his invite with a grain of salt, but I considered it a small victory as annoying as I must have been with all my questions.  Plus it gives me another reason to go back to Seattle.  
  • Of course, was able to get his autograph. 
Mike proved to be a very cool, humbled, patient, guy who thankfully, takes his craft seriously.  He's gone through his ups and downs in 2012 (gear stolen in Vancouver), but continues to tour, all over the world--most recently, he went to Australia to play bass for Goldfinger. We at Pathological Hate continue to wish him lots of luck and I personally wish to thank him again for a very memorable wedding in late May. 


Great to meet you too, Mike!--Felipe M (Personal Collection)

All Ages Highlights I: Hot Water Music (May/2011)

Jason Black (left) and Chris Wollard (right) jamming. George Rebelo on drums
as he was going back and forth between Hot Water Music and Against Me!
Felipe M

I have not done a Concert Review in ages as other projects have taken up a lot of my time.  Thought now would be a good time to play some catchup and quickly highlight the last shows I've had the good fortune of attending. 

May 22, 2011: Hot Water Music @ Turner Hall Ballroom--Milwaukee, WI.

As you may or may not know, Hot Water Music is one of the more influential bands in the punk/hardcore community.  Their work speaks for itself with punk rock staples such as "Rooftops," "The End of the Line," and "Paper Thin."  Up to this point, Hot Water Music had not released an album since 2004's The New What Next as they went on hiatus back in 2005. The show last year was part of a short reunion tour in the spring, which included a stop at Bonnaroo (2011).

That is indeed Chuck Ragan.  Stupid
Blackberry phone.

Since the band's hiatus, Chuck Ragan has been super busy with his solo career, where he plays folk music, fused with bluegrass elements and a punk runk ethos.











Chuck Ragan (left) playing guitar.
Jason Black (right) plays guitar.






Meanwhile, drummer George Rebelo filled in for Against Me! when ex-drummer Warren Oakes decided to open up a Mexican restaurant in Gainesville, FL. Bassist Jason Black was playing in the band Senses Fail.



















Not to be outdone, Chris Wollard, the other main vocalist in Hot Water Music, has also had a respectable solo career and even went on to form another band with the other band members of HWM called The Draft.













The real treat: getting Chuck Ragan and Revival Tour
violinist Jon Gaunt's autograph before HWM's set.

Highlights: Buying a t-shirt from Chuck Ragan and getting his autograph along with Jon Gaunt.  Ragan proved to be a very nice guy and had a short conversation with him. The look on Gaunt's face when Ragan explained to him that I wanted his autograph was one of bewilderment.  Don't know if he was shocked that someone asked for his autograph or if he wasn't in the mood to give them out, but either way, he signed my ticket stub.... The band playing a majority of their songs from landmark album No Division.... Since listening to it live, I've grown to like the song "Not for Anyone."

Lowlights: Having to drive to Milwaukee on a stormy, rainy day... having to deal with yet another annoying Milwaukee crowd... losing my Hot Water Music t-shirt... not getting Joe Ginsberg's autograph to complete the set. He too was in attendance at this show, but just didn't find the right time to ask for his signature...having to take pictures with my crappy Blackberry phone.  Sorry about the pics being of poor quality.



Click here to read about Chuck Ragan's headline show during Cinco de Mayo 2011 in Chicago.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: #70-66


Felipe M

The following is a review of a list that was compiled way back in March of 2012.  "2012 Outlooks" are based on a summation of scouting reports (entering the 2012 MLB season) of each player condensed into a sentence or two for easier reading.

70. Gary Sanchez--C--New York Yankees
  • 2012 Outlook: "Good power-hitting prospect, but needs to work on catching skills."
  • 2012 Achievements: #3 Prospect in Yankees organization as well as its Best Power Hitter; #5 South Atlantic League as well as its Best Power Prospect; #9 in Florida State League. 
  • Conclusion: Sanchez is only 20 years-old so he has a long way to go, obviously, but the hitting talent is real, putting up 29 doubles in 2012.  As far as his catching skills go, he threw out 30% of base stealers in 2012.  He produced very well in Lo-A ball, but struggled a bit in High-A. Needs to show more discipline at the plate, but Sanchez has time on his side to improve all facets of his game.
69. Alex Liddi--3B--Seattle Mariners
  • 2012 Outlook: "Needs to cut back on strikeouts or he'll be the next Brandon Wood."
  • 2012 Achievements: Played for Mariners in 2012
  • Conclusion: Liddi still strikes out too much and his approach at the plate has proven to be flawed time and time again--since 2010, Liddi's on-base% and OPS have decreased.  Still, he's only 24 years-old so he's not a bust quite yet, but how much longer will the M's wait for him to improve?
68. Brett Jackson--OF--Chicago Cubs
  • 2012 Outlook: "5-tool player, but strikes out too much.  Might make Big League club sometime in 2012."
  • 2012 Achievements: Called up by the Cubs; #15 ranked prospect in Pacific Coast League.
  • Conclusion: Just like 3B, the Cubs have had plenty of recent hot shot, CF prospects (Corey Patterson and Felix Pie) and just like the players before him, Jackson is proving to be a bust in the making. While in Triple-A, he sacrificed patience for more power, which resulted in an increase in extra base-hits, but decreased OBP% and OPS.  While with the Cubs, Jackson struck out once ever 2 at bats. It seems that the Cubs have more patience with Jackson than with fellow Cubs' prospect, Josh Vitters, but Jackson needs to find a different approach at the plate and cut back on the strikeouts. 
67. Matt Davidson--3B--Arizona Diamondbacks
  • 2012 Outlook: "Power hitter, but might be the next Mark Reynolds. Still young enough to improve."
  • 2012 Achievements: Played in Arizona Fall League; #12 Prospect and Best Power Prospect in Southern League.
  • Conclusion: Davidson improved his BB:K, strikeouts per at bats, OBP%, and OPS in 2012. Only 21 years-old, he's still has a ways to go before he's in the conversation to join the D'backs.
66. Daniel Corcino--SP--Cincinnati Reds
  • 2012 Outlook: "5'11" pitcher, was dominant in 2011.  Will pitch in hitter-friendly California League."
  • 2012 Achievements: Made Reds' 40 man roster; #17 Prospect in Southern League
  • Conclusion: Corcino was riddled with control issues in 2012.  To his defense, he was promoted from Lo-A straight to Double-A last year, which might have explained his unimpressive numbers last season, but regardless, lack of control is a concern. Also proving to be a flyball pitcher early on in his career.  If he is to pitch for Reds, he needs to cut back on that as well. 




2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: #75-71



Felipe M

The following is a review of a list that was compiled way back in March of 2012.  "2012 Outlooks" are based on a summation of scouting reports (entering the 2012 MLB season) of each player condensed into a sentence or two for easier reading.

75. Jeurys Familia--SP--New York Mets
  • 2012 Outlook: "Hard-thrower, but has control problems.  Might contribute in 2012."
  • 2012 Achievements: #14 International League Prospect; Made 8 pitching appearances for the Mets last season.
  • Conclusion: Familia's control problems did not get any better in the Minors last season, but after 28 starts, the Mets called him up anyway and placed him in their bullpen--he did not fare any better.  Despite the lack of results, many experts think he can be a closer, at best, for the Big League club and was reportedly going to pitch in the Dominican League as a reliever this fall. He will be competing to come out of the bullpen for the Mets in 2013.
74. Addison Reed--RP--Chicago White Sox
  • 2012 Outlook: "Competing for Closer's role in 2012." 
  • 2012 Achievements: Notched 29 saves for the White Sox
  • Conclusion: Very surprisingly, Reed did indeed end up being the closer on the South Side of Chicago, even though there was wide speculation that the Sox would option him back to the Minors out of Spring Training and wasn't named the official closer until late May.  He only had 2 full seasons of Minor League ball, but quickly moved up the White Sox system, making 56 appearances. He posted a respectable strikeout rate in the Majors and proved to have good control.  However, he did prove to be hittable (9.79 H/9 in 68 big league appearances) and is proving to be a flyball pitcher who pitches in a small ballpark in Chicago. Despite the need to improve his command, Reed looks to have the edge to close for the White Sox in 2013. 
73. Deck McGuire--P--Toronto Blue Jays
  • 2012 Outlook: "Might arrive mid-season. 'Safe,' but unspectacular."
  • 2012 Achievements: N/A
  • Conclusion: McGuire spent 2012 at Double-A, where he ended up having a disastrous season full of command and control issues and an inability to keep the ball in the park.  To top it off, his strikeout rate plummeted as well.  Clearly, he will need more time in Minors to fix his problems.
72. Taylor Green--2B--Milwaukee Brewers
  • 2012 Outlook: "Lit up AAA (in 2011).  The next Ben Zobrist."
  • 2012 Achievements: Played in Dominican League; Appeared in 103 at-bats for Brewers.
  • Conclusion: After struggling in Triple-A (decreased power numbers, on-base%, and BB:K), the Brewers called him up for infield depth. Green posted ordinary numbers for the big league club and at 26 years-old, Green's time is running out. 
71. Starling Marte--OF--Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 2012 Outlook: "Already fast with raw power. Needs to be more patient. Might join Big League Club in 2012.
  • 2012 Achievements: Played in Dominican League; #2 Prospect in International League as well as Best Batting Prospect, Defensive OF, and Most Exciting Player in League.
  • Conclusion: Marte played in 47 games for the Bucs last season and is expected to compete for LF spot in 2013. Marte has indeed displayed high contact rate and power potential in the last two seasons in the Minors, but has a lot of work to do in improving plate discipline.  Marte is also a decent base-stealer.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 RANDOM NBA THOUGHTS: Vol, 2

Felipe M

Today's Random NBA Thoughts are based on the games that were played on Monday, December 17, 2012. 

Chicago Bulls at Memphis Grizzlies: This game matched the top two defensive teams (in terms of Average Points Allowed Per Game) in the NBA. And judging by the score, it was definitely an offensive stalemate. For the Bulls, this marks the 5th consecutive game that they have failed to score over 100 points.  While the Grizzles' center, Marc Gasol was held to only 4 points, we did experience a Wayne Ellington sighting as the former Tar Heel scored 11 points, on 3-4 from 3-point-land, grabbed 2 boards, and 2 assists in 20 minutes of playing time.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Orlando Magic: In what could've been the weirdest game of the night, the T'Wolves took a commanding halftime lead as they scored 32 points in the 2nd Quarter--and then they went on to score only 32 points in the entire 2nd half.  Despite having two players grab double-digit rebounds, the T'Wolves edged out the Magic in the rebound department by only 1 (43-42).  Even then, the T'Wolves grabbed more offensive rebounds (15-6). The rest of the game was evenly matched for the most part, but the most glaring stat of the night was that the Magic hit 42.9% from beyond the arc, while the Wolves struggled at 28% which might have proved to be the difference in the game.

On a fun note, this game matched up starting centers Nikola Pekovic vs. Nikola Vucevic. I can only imagine how much the broadcasters of this game enjoyed having to announce both players' names on a constant basis tonight. More importantly, both players achieved a double-double.

Los Angeles Clippers at Detroit Pistons: Having seen Chris Paul live, I can honestly say that he is without a doubt, the smartest point guard in the NBA. And tonight, he proved once again why he might be the best point guard in the NBA despite the lack of athleticism that has been on display by his younger, more explosive counterparts. Dropping 7 dimes, swiping 3 steals, and scoring 14 points to go along with numerous plays that could have made tonight's highlight reels.

However, the real treat (well, for any real NBA junkie, that is) came in seeing just how far away Brandon Knight is from even sniffing Paul's elite status.  Shooting 5-16 from the field (3-10 from 3-point-land), Knight scored 16 points, but committed 5 turnovers (which cancelled out his 5 assists).  Perhaps Knight was missing the play of fellow backcourt mate, Rodney Stuckey, but it's safe to say that Knight was definitely schooled tonight.

Check out more articles on Brandon Knight, here.

Houston Rockets at New York Knicks: The date we have all been waiting for--the #1 team, in terms of average 3-Pointers Made per Game, was hosting the #2 team in the Rockets.  And both teams did not disappoint as they combined for 60 attempts from the 3-point line.

And, of course, the biggest sports story of the night, the triumphant return of Jeremy Lin to Madison Square Garden.  Lin has had an up-and-down season as he has struggled to find a proper role on a Rockets' team that revolves around superstud James Harden. Lin also had to face a Knicks' team determined to spoil his return, especially Ray Felton who clearly was trying really hard to prove that he's better than Lin despite not getting the same publicity (and getting paid a lot less as well).  However, Lin proved to be up for the moment as he scored 22 points (on 9-15 shooting from the field), 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.  More surprisingly, Lin was able to maneuver his way down the paint against a tough Knicks' defense which is anchored by Tyson Chandler, who looked to intimidate Lin by committing hard fouls on the guard. But that did not stop Lin from continually driving down the lane time and time again, frustrating Chandler and whoever the Knicks assigned to defend the determined point guard.

San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder: On most nights, this would be the marquee matchup of the night, but you knew that the Spurs would not go 100% against their biggest rival on the road and the Thunder were able to even the season series at one. While not a single Spurs' player logged over 30 minutes in this game, the Thunder were clearly determined to win this game as they had four players (including both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) logging in over 30 minutes. This will prove to be a more competitive game when these two teams meet up in San Antonio on March 11, 2013.

Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns: If there was ever a microcosm to describe the Kings this season (heck, even in the last 2-3 seasons), it would have to be the 3rd quarter of this game where the Kings only scored 14 points after leading by as many as 19 points before the game reached halftime.

Some would say that the Suns have had a tendency to comeback from large deficits this season, but the Kings have proven time and time again, that despite having highly talented and athletic players, they are clearly the dumbest team in the NBA.

DeMarcus Cousins has already gone through his annual wacky episode(s) where he has gone after Spurs' color analyst, Sean Elliot, admitted that he's been lacking confidence this season, visibly getting into confrontations with coach Keith Smart, and getting suspended for hitting O.J. Mayo below the belt.

Cousins is the biggest problem on a team full of problems and despite all of the lottery picks that they have accumulated in the past few years, there seems to be no direction, goal, or structure on this team (except getting a new fancy stadium from the highest, bidding city).  Brand new year, same old story in "Swerve City."

For more on the wacky Sacramento Kings, click here.

Want more NBA? Click here.




2012 MLB PROSPECT REVIEW: #80-76

Felipe M 

The following is a review of a list that was compiled way back in March of 2012.  "2012 Outlooks" are based on a summation of scouting reports (entering the 2012 MLB season) of each player condensed into a sentence or two for easier reading.


80. Tyler Saladino--SS--Chicago White Sox

  • 2012 Outlook: "Power/patience combo.  Majors by 2013."
  • 2012 Achievements: Best Strike Zone Discipline in White Sox farm system and in Southern League.
  • Conclusion: Played 21 games at 2B last season where versatility will help both player and Big League team. .82 BB/K ratio at Double-A Birmingham. While the patience was in full display, he experienced a power outage (.315 SLG% in 2012). He posted a low batting average, but still posted a high on-base%.  Once he gets on base, he can be a threat on the basepaths.  Despite his superb patience, Saladino will more than likely start 2013 in the Minors. 
79. Manny Machado--SS--Baltimore Orioles
  • 2012 Outlook: "19, suffered knee injury, but still highly talented on offense."
  • 2012 Achievements: Played 51 games with Orioles; 2nd youngest player to hit a homerun in MLB Post-Season history; #1 Prospect in Eastern League and its Most Exciting Player; Best Defensive SS and Infield Arm in Eastern League.
  • Conclusion: After only playing 2 games at 3B in the Minors, Machado was called up by the Orioles to play all of his games as the team's starting 3B. Pretty fitting seeing how there have been comparisons to Alex Rodriguez. Machado has shown solid plate discipline in the Minors and an ability to get on base.  Power, however, was nothing to brag about, but his age and inexperience definitely played a role in power outage. Once he got to the Majors, Machado did show flashes of full potential, but he clearly struggled in Majors. Nevertheless, the Orioles seem committed in having Machado develop his game in the Majors.  
78. Nestor Molina--SP--Chicago White Sox
  • 2012 Outlook: "Might be called up by late 2012."
  • 2012 Achievements: Best Control in White Sox system.
  • Conclusion: Molina's move up to Double-A proved to be a setback as he was very hittable.  Nonetheless, control was as good as advertised, but his K/9 dropped significantly as compared to his 2010 figures. He will need more time in the minors as he needs to show that he does indeed possess the stuff to dominate hitters. 
77. Casey Kelly--SP--San Diego Padres
  • 2012 Outlook: "Not in team's top 5 anymore."
  • 2012 Achievements: Started 6 games for the Padres last season.
  • Conclusion: Kelly is a former SS turned pitcher.  He posted solid peripherals in Big Leagues, but high WHIP was caused by a very high hit rate (12 H/9 in 2012). However, solid control translated well in Majors, but will need to prove to the Padres that he can limit the number of base hits he gives up if he expects to crack the starting rotation in 2013. 
76. Gary Brown--OF--San Francisco Giants
  • 2012 Outlook: "Speedy contact hitter; might start by 2013."
  • 2012 Achievements: Participated in Arizona Fall League. #16 Prospect, as well as Best Baserunner and Defensive OF in Eastern League.
  • Conclusion: Brown's BB:K declined at Double-A Richmond. He managed to hit 32 doubles, but power production dropped in Double-A. Brown continued to display his speed on the basepaths, as he increased the number of stolen bases to 88 bags in 277 career games. Even though Brown has the ability to make solid contact, he needs to show improvement in on-base%. Giants will more than likely bring him up slowly, unless there are major injuries in their OF next season.