Monday, March 29, 2010
Obviously, with a new coach coming in, the biggest concern is what is going to happen with the players under scholarship and those high schoolers who have signed letters of intent to Iowa. McCaffery said that he has met with the team, and everyone was very positive about him coming in to Iowa (not sure if this included John Lickliter). He has also talked to all of the recruits, and will continue to build that relationship so right now it appears that everybody is on board with the Hawkeye program for next year. McCaffery also mentioned that he is going to analyze the weaknesses of the team and could be bringing in more players to the Hawkeye program, presumably juco guys.
He also addressed how he has talked to former players, highlighted by Jess Settles, that want to get involved with the program. I think this is extremely important, and something that Lickliter failed at during his tenure at Iowa. Not only is it great to have their experience, but it will also be a tremendous help on building relationships within the state so all of the best players stop going out of the state to play basketball.
He also stressed that Iowa will play at a much faster pace next year. This is obviously great news as even when Iowa was playing well (those rare, wonderful times), Lickliter's teams were still extremely boring to watch. He also stressed that he is going to be mixing things up on both sides of the floor, as he plans on using the press and switching between man-to-man and zone. This is another thing that really got me excited as Iowa was extremely predictable these past few years.
My biggest concern with McCaffery coming in is that his teams have an extremely low foul rate. I know that sounds like a good thing, but it worried me that they would not be aggressive on defense. The talk of putting on full-court presses made me feel good. The thing that made me feel great is he addressed the lack of fouls and basically said that he didn't have the depth where he could afford anybody being in foul trouble. This was really the highlight of the press conference for me as he seemed to be a guy who will recognize what talent he has and adjust accordingly on both sides of the floor. A game plan for a team in 2010-2011 may be completely different than a game plan for his team in 2012-2013 depending on what type of personnel he has.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't get chills listening to McCaffery. If I was any more excited after that press conference, I would have knocked a glass off the table with my boner. There's one question that I am surprised I'll be asking, but I know I will be: Is it basketball season yet?
P.S. As excited as I was with McCaffery's press conference, he was still not the highlight. When BTN went back to the studio, Tim Doyle stole the show. Mike Hall asked Doyle about why the Iowa job was more attractive to McCaffery than Seton Hall or St. John's. I was expecting the Big Ten conference to be part of that, but boy was I wrong. Doyle basically made the argument that McCaffery chose Iowa because it's a better party school than those other two. He then waxed poetically about how Iowa City is one of the most fun places he has ever been and he always has a great time there. He sounded like an 18 year old high school senior with a fake ID the way he talked about how great Iowa City is. It was awesome. Tim Doyle, I salute you.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Rodney "Sho Nuff The Master" Wallace -130 over Jared Hamman -Even - I'm basically picking Wallace because of his nickname. He's a pretty good wrestler, and if he can win the position battle, he should be able to grind out a decision.
Matthew Riddle - -250 over Greg Soto +190 - I'm picking Riddle as these guys have pretty similar styles, but Riddle is very big for a welterweight, so I think he will be able to use that to win the wrestling battle and probably TKO him in the second round.
Ricardo Almeida -160 over Matt Brown +130 - Although Matt Brown has been very impressive in his standup game against his recent opponents, I think Almeida will be able to get the takedown consistently against Brown. Once they get to the ground, it's Almeida's world, and I think he'll be able to pull off a submission.
Rousimar Palhares -225 over Tomasz Drwal +185 - Drwal does have pretty good wrestling, but I don't think it's good enough to consistently stop Palhares from getting a takedown. Palhares is such a threat once the fight gets to the ground that I think he will submit Drwal once he gets him to the ground.
Jim Miller -500 over Mark Bocek +325 - Bocek has the advantage in jiu-jitsu, but Miller is no slouch. If the fight stays standing, Miller will pick him apart, if it goes to the ground, Miller will be on top, and he'll pound on Bocek. I would rank this as the safest bet of the night.
Kurt Pellegrino -250 over Fabricio Camoes +190 - Pellegrino is well rounded, and although Camoes is very good on the ground, I don't think it will be enough to win, Pellegrino by decision.
Jon Fitch - 450 over Ben Saunders +300 - Saunders did something very smart by asking for Fitch once Thiago Alves wasn't cleared to fight. Saunders was already training for a very similar fighter in Jake Ellenberger (Not as good, but similar). Fitch was training for a much different fight with Alves, so there's different things for Fitch to worry about while Saunders knows what he's up against and his entire training camp has focused on that. I still think Fitch wins, but if Saunders were ever going to beat Fitch, these are the ideal circumstances.
Shane Carwin +125 over Frank Mir -155 - Mir's boxing has looked great in his last few fights, but even if he gets Carwin in trouble on the feet, Carwin can and will take him down. I know that Mir is very good at jiu-jitsu, but Carwin has a very good chance of keeping a dominant top control and pounding on Mir. Mir's wrestling has never been good, and since Carwin can dictate where the fight goes, I think he will be able to TKO Mir in the 4th round.
Georges St. Pierre -625 over Dan Hardy +425 - Dan Hardy's standup is good, it's not great. He's knocked out one guy in his UFC career, otherwise, he's Decision Dan, and two of those decisions were split decisions. He's never fought anybody anywhere near the same level as GSP, and this fight ends with a TKO, probably in the first round.
This is probably the strongest card the UFC has put together this year, so it should be a good night of fights.
P.S. Since I know today's posts weren't the most fan friendly pieces, go here to read an awesome article on keg tapping.
70 Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs – Vitters would definitely make my Top 50 and maybe even Top 40. He destroyed Low-A, hitting everything in sight, and then basically got his ass kicked in 50 games at High-A. But he made up for this by doing very well during the Arizona Fall League. His defense has improved to average at third. The biggest question is his plate discipline as he doesn’t draw many walks, but he’s able to hit so many pitches, both in and out of the strike zone, that I don’t think it will stop him from being a very productive third baseman. Also, I'm assuming he'll be my buddy Peck's best friend when he plays for the Iowa Cubs. Congratulations to Peck for being in a relationship. Even if most states won't recognize gay marriage, at least Facebook will recognize gay relationships.
69 Arodys Vizcaino, rhp, Braves – I’m way high on Vizcaino as he’d be about 30 spots higher on my list. He was the reason that the Braves traded Javier Vasquez (and the fact that they wanted to save money). He’s undersized which immediately makes me like him more than any list will. He’s got a great fastball, and his curveball has already shown the potential to be a plus-plus pitch. He dominated short-season ball last year, and I expect him to do more of the same when he makes his full season debut this year. Also, I really wish Harry Caray was still around so he could say Vizcaino again. Also, Harry hated Cracker Jack.
68 Alex Colome, rhp, Rays – This guy has HUGE potential, so I could see him about 20 spots higher than where they have him right now. He dominated the New York-Penn League last year, and scouts came away extremely impressed as most feel he has the highest ceiling in the Rays farm system (which is saying a lot considering their bevy of pitching prospects). Right now, consistency with command and release point are his big issues, but if he can get that going, he’s a guy that could skyrocket up the charts next year. He is related to Jesus Colome, so that's his worst case scenario.
67 Tim Beckham, ss, Rays – Beckham seems reasonably rated at this spot. His first full season was a pretty big disappointment, but there’s a reason he was the #1 pick a couple years ago. He wasn’t a definitive #1 like Strasburg, but scouts still like his tools. I honestly don’t know enough about him to comment any more, but I do think he has the best chance of moving 30+ spots on next year’s list. Whether he moves up or down is still up in the air. He also has no relation to David Beckham.
66 Dan Hudson, rhp, White Sox – I think Hudson should probably be 20-30 spots higher than this as I am a huge fan of his. What he did was very similar to what Matt Garza did a few years ago when he made his way to the majors. He absolutely dominated Low-A, High-A, and Double-A last year. Then he was good in Triple-A and the majors when he made it there. The only concerns are that his slider needs some refinement and he works up in the zone a little too much. It was his first full season in the minors, and he has a good chance of making an impact at the major league level this year, but I see him starting the year at Triple-A. Still, a great prospect who I feel Baseball America is highly underrating. No relation to Tim Hudson.
65 Alex White, rhp, Indians – I think this is a fair ranking for White, but I do like him more than most and he’s a little higher in my book. He hasn’t pitched any professional innings, and his junior year was a bit of a disappointment, but the guy had a great college career. He’s got a very good fastball and splitter as well as an average slider, and I think he can stay in a starting role as opposed to moving to the bullpen. Really though, there’s not much to go on right now, so we’ll see how he does once he starts facing the professionals. Contrary to popular belief, he is not the son of Vanna White.
64 Jason Knapp, rhp, Indians – Here’s a guy that is rated too high for my likings. Although his strikeout rate was excellent, he still had a rather high ERA. The biggest concern is he had many injuries including a shoulder surgery that ended his season. I just think there are way too may question marks regarding Knapp to put him up this high, and I think he’s about 20 spots lower. Still, the raw talent is there, scouts love him, but I still think I’d take the wait and see approach on this guy. Although I was unable to confirm this, he is probably not as tough as Brandon Knapp.
63 Zach Britton, lhp, Orioles – I think this is a pretty fair rating for him as he did a good job in High-A last year with a 2.70 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning. The biggest thing that Britton brings to the table is a 3.4:1 ratio of groundballs to fly balls. He’s got solid stuff, but only has his sinker and slider to rely on right now as his changeup is still a work in progress. If the changeup develops, he goes up on the list, but he could still remain in this area next year if it doesn’t as any pitcher who can induce that many groundballs will find a way to the majors. He is not from Britain.
62 Ike Davis, 1b, Mets – I’d probably put Ike Davis a little lower than this. He’s a first base prospect who isn’t all that athletic, but he did hit the ball very well at Double-A last year so the guy can do enough to be a starting first baseman. Still, he struggled against left-handers, and he strikes out more than one would like. Still, he knows how to work a count and crushed righties, so I think he’ll be a starting first baseman, but I think he may end up being a middle-tier first baseman as opposed to a top tier guy.
61 Kyle Gibson, rhp, Twins – I think this is a fair ranking for him, as although I like him a lot, there are health concerns that, well, concern me. Gibson was one of the top arms in college coming into his final college season, but he lost some of his velocity late in the season, but was still able to dominate. Then, a stress fracture in his forearm was found, so he fell to late in the first round. I thought it was an excellent value pick, as he has two very good pitches (fastball, slider), and a solid changeup. He has very good command, and he is somebody who should be able to plow through the minors quickly. If the velocity is back, he is a steal for the Twins.
That's it for now, but I will be making UFC picks later today.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I have decided to go through all 100 of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects to give my opinion on each and every one of these players. I will try to make at least one off color comment on each player to keep it at least somewhat entertaining. Whenever I talk about what scouts think about a player, I am referring to the excellent work done by Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus for just about everything so big props to him. Today, we hit up prospects 80-71.
80 Mike Moustakas, 3b, Royals – I would put Moustakas at spot 100 or barely missed. He was the second overall pick a few years ago, but the tools have not translated into stats outside of a couple months late in 2008. He’s rough defensively, and he just hasn’t shown an ability to dominate in the minor leagues. Tools can lead guys to stardom, but his two years of disappointing performances makes me feel that a ranking this high is not justified. This is Justified:
79 Tony Sanchez, c, Pirates – I like Sanchez more than this ranking. He was overdrafted at #4 overall, but I think people are underrating him because he was seen as an overdraft. He was a very good college catcher, and he had a very good minor league debut last year. I don’t think this guy is going to be a legendary catcher, but I could see him being a catcher who hits .280 and has 15-20 home runs. That’s a guy who will probably make some All-Star games, and somebody that just about any team would be happy to have behind the plate. There is a 100% chance that some Pirates blog is going to start referring to him as Dirty Sanchez, but until that happens, there's this.
78 Chad James, lhp, Marlins – This seems a little high for James. He was a late riser in last year’s draft, and he already has three pitches that are average or better, including a fastball that gets into the mid 90s. Still, scouts worry about his mechanics as they aren’t that pretty and it leads to problems with his command and control. He’s a guy that probably wouldn’t make it in my Top 100, because he has yet to throw a professional pitch and the scouting reports are good but still leave a few too many question marks for me. Here is a picture of a homosexual Marlins fan for everyone's enjoyment.
77 Fernando Martinez, of, Mets – I’d put Martinez higher as I am one of the few that still has faith that he can reach his potential. I still think he can be a consistent All-Star who slugs over .500 in an outfield corner. He’ll struggle with plate discipline, but he can be an above average corner outfielder who could steal 20 bases and hit 30 home runs. He didn’t turn 21 until after the season last year, and he’s been a top prospect since 1992 (approximately). Although I don’t think he’s going to develop into a superstar, the guy still has every opportunity to become a great pro player.
76 Austin Jackson, of, Tigers – I think this is too high for Jackson. The crazy thing is that his 2009 was nearly identical to his 2008, and he did it at a higher level. Sill, Baseball America decided to drop him about 40 spots, and I don’t think that’s enough. People stop believing in prospects if they don’t play for the Yankees apparently. But this guy hasn’t really shown greatness since 2007 when he crushed the ball the entire season. I think he’s a guy that needs to hit .300 to have a lot of value, because he doesn’t have great plate discipline or power, and he strikes out quite a bit. I don’t think this guy is a Top 100 prospect.
75 Josh Reddick, of, Red Sox – I like Reddick a little more than this as he really hit the ball well at Double-A while showing good plate discipline. He got pressed into major league action and he quite simply wasn’t ready. He lost all his patience and just pressed way too hard when he was up there. I think giving him time to mature his game at Triple-A will be good for him, and he should be ready to compete for a starting job in the Red Sox outfield for 2011. Don't make the mistake of confusing him with Riddick.
74 Brett Jackson, of, Cubs – This is a pretty fair ranking for Jackson, although I could see him a little bit higher. He’s a five tool player who smoked the ball when he made his debut in the lower levels of the Cubs system last year. His ceiling is higher than most of the people around him at this ranking, but he has a big problem with strikeouts, so that is going to be the key to whether he can actually reach his potential. The downside is what Chris B. Young is, the upside is what Chris B. Young was supposed to be.
73 Jiovanni Mier, ss, Astros – I like Mier more than this. He has great defensive potential as he’s able to make some awesome plays, but he also needs to work on his fundamentals as he can mess up on the easy ones. The big thing with him is that his bat was way better than expected in short-season ball last year. He hit .276/.380/.484 which was far better than most were expecting. This is a guy that should be fun to follow when he makes his full season debut this year.
72 Mike Leake, rhp, Reds – This guy is a stat-guru’s wet dream. He actually had a better statistical year than Strasburg, because of his excellent command and ability to fill the strike zone with four different pitches that all rate out as average or better. His stuff isn’t great, but it plays up due to the fact that he has excellent command. It shouldn’t take him much time in the minors to move up, and he definitely has the ability to be like the good version of Kevin Slowey. That’s meant as a compliment, although I’m not sure if it comes across as one.
71 Jhoulys Chacin, rhp, Rockies – Eh. Chacin sounds like he’d be a fireballing Dominican, but he’s not. He’s got four average to above average pitches that he does a good job of mixing in, but he doesn’t have the stuff to overpower hitters. He depends on mixing it up and using good command to get hitters out. That is not going to get me real excited, so I’d probably put him lower. The bad news is that he’s not a top-tier starter in anybody’s imagination, but the good news is there’s a great chance of him being a solid pitcher in a big league rotation.
That's all for now, keep it real.
P.S. I still have no RBI Tournament Recap. It was so long ago that I'm not sure I even remember what happened. I remember something about a clinic and Nolan Ryan throwing the heat, I'll assume I won.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
90 James Darnell, 3b, Padres – I would put Darnell higher than this as he showed that he could hit the ball very well at both Low and High-A last year. He is athletic for a third basemen, and has all the tools to succeed both at the plate and in the field. The big issue for him so far is his tools in the field have not translated to good fielding. He makes a lot of dumb mistakes and leaves people baffled as he should be much better than he is in the field. Still, the guy has shown a great bat, and as long as he keeps hitting, they’ll deal with the problems in the field. This is one way where baseball and pickup differ, you can hit it without having to be good in the field.
89 Mat Gamel, 3b, Brewers – Gamel is what he is at this point, and I like it a little more than this. He’s one of the oldest people on this list as he turns 25 this year, but I think he was downgraded because he struggled in his time in the majors. Most prospects do struggle with their first go around, so that doesn’t concern me as much. He’s a bad third baseman, so a move to the outfield would greatly help him, hence a change of scenery would greatly help him, because I doubt the Brewers will get rid of Ryan Braun to placate to Gamel. Still, the guy can definitely hit, and he seems like a guy who will get sold on the cheap for relief help. If he can't beat Braun, maybe Braun will hook him up with a server at his new restaurant.
88 Wilmer Flores, ss, Mets – The scouting reports are much higher on this guy than his stats indicate. Yes, it is impressive that he played at Low-A before his 18th birthday, but he wasn’t all that impressive. He’s a guy that won’t be able to stay at shortstop, and that’s another pretty big knock against him. I can’t see putting a guy like this, with no track record of success, in the Top 100, unless he has other worldly potential. The scouting reports are good, but they ain’t that good. I'm just happy that I can claim a new favorite Wilmer.
87 Lars Anderson, 1b, Red Sox – I would put Lars near 60 on my list, and I realize that is ridiculous considering how bad he was last year. His season would have been considered awful for a slick-fielding shortstop, much less a first baseman. But up until last year, he absolutely crushed the ball. Scouting reports from this past year matched his stats, so it was a really awful year. There is nothing saying positive to say about his 2009, but I really do think that with everybody doubting him, he can relax and start hitting the baseball with authority. Or he can basically kiss his baseball career goodbye, no pressure.
86 Austin Romine, c, Yankees – I’m kind of torn on Romine as he has been known to chase way too many breaking balls, but he’s also athletic for a catcher and has all the ability to be a solid defensive catcher that can hit for power. Looking at a lot of the guys around him, I would probably put him below the Top 100 Prospects. He definitely could be in the Top 50 next year with a strong performance, but right now I think this is a case where the Yankee mystique bumps him up 20 spots.
85 Mike Trout, of, Angels – I like Trout more than this as he fell a little in the draft, but dominated when making his debut. He has great speed and the power potential is there where he could hit 25 homeruns a season. He showed an advanced approach last year, and he is a guy to watch this year at Low-A Cedar Rapids. I expect Burlington Bees Broadcaster Nick Devlin to get an exclusive interview with this guy.
84 Hank Conger, c, Angels – This guy ranks #1 on awesomeness. He’ll be a solid offensive catcher who needs to work to get his defense to acceptable, but he’s heading in the right direction. Really, none of that matters. All that matters is this:
83 Adam Moore, c, Mariners – This guy could be a very solid hitter for a great fielding catcher, the problem is that scouting reports don’t reflect him as a great fielding catcher. He will be an above average hitting catcher I think, but below average defensively. I, personally, think I could find 100 prospects that I would rather have over him. This may be the most boring prospect in the Top 100.
82 Jaff Decker, of, Padres – I think this is a fair ranking, and I’m still not sure how to pronounce his name as I have been told that Jaff is pronounced Jeff. I really hope they were just fucking with me. The big problem with him is that he is short and pudgy, and he doesn’t present any defensive value, nor does he project to have any defensive value. Still, his OBP was .442 last year which is ridiculously high. The guy was able to hit well last year, and as long as he keeps getting on base and hitting the ball well, I’m sure they can take a slight defensive hit out in left field.
81 Travis d'Arnaud, c, Blue Jays – This is a fair ranking for d’Arnaud. He wasn’t great at Low-A, but has above average potential both defensively and offensively for a catcher. He could project to be a 20 homerun catcher with good defense, so the ceiling is definitely there for him to be an All-Star, but he’s far away and really has to prove it on the baseball field before deserving a higher ranking.
That's it for now.
P.S. Ricky Stanzi loves America more than I ever thought possible. He's now Americanizing Tyler Sash's dog.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
From Basketball Prospectus, a more serious look at Lickliter's firing.
Here is a link to a six-part series on the decline of Iowa Basketball.
I was going through the NCAA basketball bracket (still can't find Iowa) and was shocked when I saw that Syracuse would have to play their arch-nemesis, Vermont. In this epic game, my buddy, who I will refer to as Simple Peck, screamed for Boeheim to rally his troops against Vermont as he picked them for the Final Four. When Vermont finally defeated them, in a drunken, Panama City induced stupor, asked "Where's Vermont anyway? Connecticut? New York?" I feel the public school system failed him. But because of this memory, I may pick the first ever 16 over 1 upset in NCAA history.
Every year, I like to pick a surprise entry into the Final Four, because it gives me a team to cheer for as they make their way through the brackets. Well, that is ideally what would happen if they advanced at all. Last year, it was Tennessee, this year, it's BYU. When filling out a bracket, don't pick BYU.
P.S. Last night, I had a dream where I came up with the idea of a bar where only in-shape people could come in, and wowee, there were some promiscuous ladies at my bar. It was awesome.
Monday, March 15, 2010
As everybody knows by now, Todd Lickliter was fired as Head Coach of the Iowa Varsity Men's Basketball team. Although most Hawk fans are rejoicing, I am left with mixed emotions about Lickliter's time at Iowa. Was it successful? No, definitely not. But could it have been? That's what I'm trying to figure out.
Everything went wrong for Todd during his time at Iowa. He inherited a bad team that immediately lost its best player in Tyler Smith. That one didn't take anybody by surprise, but it became a theme for Lickliter's teams during his tenure at Iowa. This was probably the third biggest problem that Iowa fans had with Lickliter.
Hence the 2007-2008 team was led by Tony Freeman and Justin Johnson. Their seniors were Seth Gorney, Kurt Looby, and Johnson. That is not a recipe for success. With that talent level, Iowa predictably struggled to a 13-19 record, going 6-12 in the Big Ten. The highlights included a win over Northern Iowa, and a win over #6 ranked Michigan State. The problem was that even though they beat Michigan State, it was an atrocious game to watch as Iowa scored just 43 points in a 43-36 victory. This was the second biggest complaint that Iowa fans had with Lickliter (I'm speaking for the majority of fans, as this was my biggest problem with the team). His first year was bad, but everyone expected that, so hopes were high that the following year could be better for the Hawks.
Tony Freeman (as well as Dan Bohall) decided to leave the team in the offseason. I'm not sure that this sucked more that Tony Freeman left, or that it mattered that a player of Tony Freeman's caliber leaving was a big deal for the Hawkeye program. Still, this was the year that the savior was finally going to arrive. Matt Gatens, who I believe committed to Iowa 18 months before he was conceived, was finally arriving to play for the Hawkeyes.
Although, very few will remember it as such, 2008-2009 was a step forward for the Hawkeyes program. Yes, they were only 15-17 and lost an extra game in the Big Ten, but they were pretty competitive in most games. They beat both Northern Iowa and Iowa State, but then got blown out by Drake in an absolute embarrassment. They beat Wisconsin and Penn State (who wasn't bad that year), but gave Indiana their lone Big Ten win. Finally, they laid an egg in the Big Ten Tournament against Michigan. Still, the positives were there. They had four players score in double digits (Kelly, Gatens, Anthony Tucker, and Jeff Peterson), all those guys were freshman or sophomores, an they were losing JR Angle and Cyrus Tate.
A step forward was expected for 2009-10, but those chances took a big hit when Peterson, Kelly, David Palmer, and Jermain Davis all left the program. Although Kelly was the toughest to lose, Peterson was the biggest red flag. Most guys will transfer if they aren't getting playing time, but if they are playing, you'd think that you could keep them in the program. Peterson either would have started or gotten significant minutes, but he still didn't want to be a part of the Iowa program.
Then we get to this year, and Lickliter's biggest problem, he never won. This year, the team took a huge step backwards. They showed improvement during the middle of the season, but they were an absolute joke at the end of this season. Their last four road games during the Big Ten regular season they lost by 23, 17, 27, and 35. That is an absolute joke. Another scary thing was that despite Iowa being a very young team, only one player played consistently better as the season wore on, and that was Aaron Fuller. Everybody else would show signs of improving, but then take a big step backwards.
This all led to what happened today, Lickliter was let go. Was it the right choice? It depends. If he truly had lost the players (Gatens looked lackadaisical a lot this year), then yes, he had to go. And yes, I know there were a ton of rumors of guys saying they didn't want to play for Lickliter, but that is always going to happen if the team is losing. Nobody likes losing, and there's no doubt that players hated it. Still, all of those were just rumors.
If they weren't true, then this was a poor decision by Gary Barta. If this was forced by boosters or the fans, it's very unfortunate. I love Iowa, but Iowa fans have not shown the support that a Big Ten team deserves. Giving a college coach only three years to succeed is an absolute joke. He had gotten his best recruiting class coming in, ranking 26th best in the nation. The transfers were unfortunate, but next year was a year that Lickliter deserved so he could show progress.
We may never find out all the true details of the situation, but I don't think Lickliter got a fair shake at Iowa. I wish him (and even his son, John) the best of luck and believe that the next team that hires him will be pleasantly surprised with their new basketball coach.
P.S. Should I start this campaign back up again?
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
100 Noel Arguelles, lhp, Royals – I would actually probably put Arguelles higher than this, and that is based off barely anything. He’s got four pitches, so that’s pretty cool. He’s Cuban, so he knows a thing or two about cigars. He got a big time major league contract, so they’re probably going to be pretty aggressive with him, and that’s impressive for a 20 year old. I get boners for potential, so I might put him around 75.
99 Jake Arrieta, rhp, Orioles – I like Arrieta a little more than this, but I understand putting him this low due to concerns about his secondary stuff. Most believe he has the best fastball in the system, but his secondary pitches need work. He was still able to dominate Double-A and do pretty well at Triple-A, so I would put him higher on this list, but the progress of his secondary pitches will determine whether he can reach his potential of #2-#3 starter of if he’s a back-of-the-rotation/bullpen guy.
98 Jay Jackson, rhp, Cubs – I like Jackson more than this as I could see him about 20 spots higher. He did very well at Double-A, striking out nearly a batter per inning. Then he got too badass for the Cubs liking, so they sent him down to High-A for disciplinary reasons. He then decided to murder-rape opposing hitters in that league just to show he felt no remorse for his actions. He’s got a good fastball-slider combo, and also has a decent curve and a change. I think he’s the Cubs best pitching prospect, but that’s kind of like being the prettiest girl in Nebraska, it’s nice, but not anything to put on a resume.
97 Peter Bourjos, of, Angels – This is a fair ranking for Bourjos. He is one of the fastest players in the minor leagues and he had a solid year at Double-A last year despite battling wrist problems. His plate discipline took a big step forward last year, so there’s a good chance he can be a solid leadoff hitter that plays good defense in center field. He’s not a superstar, but he’ll definitely contribute on a major league team. Also, I can understand knocking him down a peg or two, because his last name looks kinda French.
96 Thomas Neal, of, Giants – This guy is a pure hitter who absolutely dominated at High-A last year. The only problem with that is that a lot of people have been known to smoke the ball in the California League. Still, many scouts think that he can hit for a .300 average with average power as a pro. He’ll pretty much have to as the bat is his only tool (must be tough to get a girlfriend), but he will definitely have a spot in the majors if he can reach his potential.
95 Andrew Cashner, rhp, Cubs – I think this is a fair ranking, although I do not see him staying a starter when he gets to the majors. The Cubs have tried the conversion, but his power stuff takes a step backwards when he is used in longer stints, and his changeup only projects to be an average pitch. If they put him in the bullpen, they’ll have a guy who can dial his heater up into the high 90s as well as having a plus slider to compliment it. On top of that, his delivery isn’t the smoothest so a move to the bullpen would increase his chances of staying healthy. Also, he is one of two guys that reminds me that I should draft for the Cubs, as I would have taken Tim Melville this year, and I would have taken Travis Snider instead of Tyler Colvin. I do approximately 15 minutes of researching amateurs, and I could still do a better job than the Cubs.
94 Miguel Sano, ss/3b, Twins – I like Sano way more than this, as he’s easily in my top 40. This is based off absolutely nothing stats wise, but he may have been the best player in the international market this year, and I like that the Twins ponied up the money for him. The Twins do a good job of recognizing talent, and I think they could have themselves a very special player here. Now, this premonition that I have really means nothing and won’t mean anything for possibly up to three years. He’s a far ways away, but he should be a fun guy to watch make his way up the ladder (or be a complete bust).
93 Phillippe Aumont, rhp, Phillies – I like Aumont more than this, and that is almost strictly based on me seeing him one time in 2008. That is very little to go off of, but if you would have asked me who I would rather have between him and Jarrod Parker of the Diamondbacks, I would go Aumont hands down. He pitched about five innings and made people look silly the entire game. He was overpowering, and nobody made good contact the entire day. He pitched in relief last year, but with the Phillies moving him back to starting, I think he will take a major step forward for 2011 prospect lists. Unfortunately, when it comes to French-Canadians, his athletic prowess will always trail GSP and Jacques Rougeau.
92 Drew Storen, rhp, Nationals – I like Storen a lot, but this is probably a fair ranking for a relief prospect without the shit-your-pants overpowering stuff. He dominated at three different levels last year (although a short time at each stop), and he actually has a decent shot to get called up before Strasburg does this season. The ceiling isn’t unbelievable, but the probability of this guy being a closer is very likely so that definitely helps his cause.
91 Jordan Lyles, rhp, Astros – I could probably bump up Lyles a little bit from this spot. He dominted Low-A last year where he had 167 strikeouts in 144 innings. He has a good fastball, and his secondary pitches are average right now, but they could definitely get better as he’s a young guy and experience could definitely refine him some. I love strikeouts, they may not give me a boner, but I’ve definitely got a chub just thinking about them.
P.S. If you want to see a really disturbing video, check this out.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
SD TEAM QTRS SEMI FINL CHMPThis video sums things up quite nicely:
4 Wisconsin 100 83.4 51.6 34.1
2 Purdue 100 87.6 57.0 26.1
1 Ohio St. 100 84.8 41.3 24.5
3 Michigan St. 100 62.8 27.3 9.5
6 Minnesota 73.7 31.7 11.8 3.4
5 Illinois 100 16.6 4.4 1.3
8 Michigan 82.2 14.4 2.7 0.7
7 Northwestern 77.5 11.4 2.8 0.4
11 Penn St. 26.3 5.5 1.0 0.1
10 Indiana 22.5 1.1 0.1 0.004
9 Iowa 17.8 0.8 0.04 0.003
And yes, there is a chance. Tomorrow at 1:30, Iowa plays Michigan. Yes, Michigan beat Iowa twice this year, but the Hawks went from getting completely blown out at Michigan to losing in overtime at home. I realize that Michigan has eliminated us the past two years from the SAI, but this Hawks team is too savvy to lose to these Wolverines. Since we were royally screwed by officiating in the second game, I'm going to predict an 8-point Hawkeye victory advancing us on to the second round to face Ohio State.
Now, here is where a very little known fact comes into play about our leader, Todd Lickliter and his performance in the Big Ten. No team has beaten Lickliter's troops three times in a single season. This will be Ohio State's biggest problem as they have already gotten two wins, and Matt Gatens plans to finally start trying and absolutely school Evan Turner. In fact, I actually have rough video of what it is going to look like if Evan Turner is dumb enough to try a layup around Gatens:
After Gatens dominates Turner, I say Devan Bawinkel hits a late three for a 39-37 victory for the Hawkeyes.
Then we get the winner of Wisconsin/Illinois. Illinois has everything to play for, and Wisconsin really isn't going to change much about where they're going in the tournament. Hence, I'll pick that douchebag, Bruce Weber to beat Wisconsin (mostly because we need him to). By the way, I really wasn't expecting this when I Gooogle Imaged Bruce Weber (although I can't say I'm surprised). Because of this new discovery, I predict an Iowa blowout, because they aint' losing to a bunch of naked fairies, 54-39.
In the final, it could be any one of six teams making it in, so I won't even try to predict who the Hawks will have to play. But Iowa will win, because of an unsung hero, a man that nobody is expecting, Brennan Cougill. It's his time to shine. He truly is our wildcard, bitches.
Cougill will get a near triple-double, that's right, I said it, expect 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist from the big man in a dominating win for the Hawkeyes, 38-31.
Here's the best news, the Hawkeyes will be put in the West division of the NCAA Tournament as a #14 seed to set up the matchup of the century when they play #3 seed New Mexico. Steve Alford only has one weakness, and it's #14 seeds, so buckle up, shit's about to get interesting.
P.S. If you're looking for a good laugh, check out the roster on Wikipedia's page for the 2007-08 Iowa Hawkeyes Men's Basketball Team. Although I love our assistant coaches, I think I laughed the hardest at big #53.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I had written it off. The storylines were lame, the main eventers weren't good wrestlers or all that good on the microphone. Nothing about it made me stop channel surfing so I could find something better. After 20+ years, pro wrestling had lost its appeal to me.
Still, I decided I would give it a shot, maybe it was Hulk Hogan wrestling again that made my inner-child need to see it, maybe it was just morbid curiosity on how far pro wrestling had fallen.
So I watched. And HOLY SHIT. TNA Impact was awesome last night.
The show opened with Hogan and Abyss in the ring, and they called out Ric Flair and AJ Styles to START the show. They decided to put the main event right at the beginning. Bold move, TNA, very bold move. So they're fighting, and all of sudden, the lights go out, and STING comes out to help Hogan and Abyss. At least that's what Hogan and Abyss think. Bad move guys. I've watched enough pro wrestling to know that there was something evil lurking in Sting. Sting turned on Hogan and Abyss and repeatedly hit them with his baseball bat.
Sting leaves and pushes a woman into a wall. She must have spilt his coffee.
All of a sudden, without warning, this man appears:
That's right, Eric, Motherfucking, Bischoff. Why is he around? I don't know, nor do I care, but he makes an X-Division Three-Way Title Match. It was solid, and I think the champ retained his belt. Then Shannon Moore, excuse me, SHANNON MOORE, came out and beat up the champ to set up their match. I had trouble getting as excited as Tazz was for Shannon Moore, especially since he has adopted a punk rock gimmick after being in one of the greatest musical acts of all time.
Then there was a chick match. Yep.
So then the bitch that got knocked down by Sting (who is apparently the new Jack Tunney, as she is president of TNA) decided to make Sting fight a mystery opponent. Old school wrestling taught me one thing, and that is that all mystery opponents will be Savio Vega. Needless to say, I was shocked when I found out that they got star of the hit movie, Wrong Side of Town, RVD. RVD beats Sting in about fifteen seconds with a Five-Star Splash, because he is Mr. Monday Night. Then RVD makes a crucial mistake. He decides to celebrate on the ropes, turning his back on a man that has a baseball bat lying next to him. Sting hits him, not once, not twice, but eleven times (I rewatched the video) with a baseball bat. Also, he hit a couple refs, a security guard, and Hulk Hogan twice. I quickly flipped to RAW for a second to see what was going on, and Dave Batista was in his dressing room watching TV. What was he watching? Probably Sting beating the crap out of everybody with a baseball bat because it was awesome.
Then Scott Hall steals the show as only someone who oozes machismo can. He and Sean Waltman challenge Kevin Nash and Eric Young. Then Eric Bischoff pops up again, and says that if Hall and Waltman win, they get a TNA contract, but if they lose, they're out of TNA forever. Scott Hall responds with, "It's a dealdo." Somehow, he found the coolest way to say deal, and mixed it with the coolest way to say dildo. It was amazing. Nash then says he'll see them at the PPV, and Hall responds with, "I'll be the one that looks like Elvis." If any TNA executives are reading this, MORE SCOTT HALL PLEASE! Not only is he in the best shape of his life, but he's got street cred too.
Who's next? Oh, you know, just the US ARMY, bitches. They come out in support of the American Hero, Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle. He has a problem with some Mr. Anderson dude, and I didn't really care, until I realized that Mr. Anderson is the fake name for a different Mister, Mr. Kennedy...Kennedy. Fucking sweet. Kennedy gets his ass kicked by Angle, and by America. Bad night for him, great night for the USA, I'm surprised Ricky Stanzi didn't jump in and beat his ass.
Then Jeff Jarrett loses to two guys in a match reffed by Mick Foley, but the big takeaway from this match is the fantastic head of hair that Jeff Jarrett is sporting.
Overall, this was an AMAZING night of wrestling. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking about ending your life. Usually, I would give this advice:
But luckily, Spike is replaying it on Thursday at 8:00 CST. Don't miss it, because the Monday Night Wars have brought Pro Wrestling back.
P.S. DJK must have missed wrestling, because he was busy tweeting this.
Friday, March 5, 2010
The Bulls got rid of Tyrus Thomas. Also, the Bulls game I went to in Seattle, both Thomas and Deng sat out. They hate me the least.
The Cubs got rid of Glenallen Hill, Juan Cruz, Jason Dubois, and Michael Wuertz. They also shredded Mark Prior's arm. They hate me the most.
And now we have the Bears. After today, they clearly hate me somewhere in the middle.
Although I did advocate going on a spending spree this offseason (since I knew they wouldn't go for my original plan of releasing everyone but Lance Briggs), they aren't spending wisely.
Each year, I pick a player that may be traded or is a free agent who I don't want the Bears to get. Last year, that player was Jay Cutler. After that debacle, nothing this offseason could top it, but I'm still bitter about it.
(Begin Rant)I think that if a person thought Jay Cutler was good before this season, they should not be able to have opinions on any NFL player for the rest of their life. I'm hoping that nobody actually watched him play and thought he was good, because that's damn near impossible. I hope it was just the ESPN hype machine that confused people, because Cutler sucks. For those that say he just needs a better offensive line, Ron Jaworski looked at all 26 of Cutler's interceptions to see how many were caused by poor offensive line play. You know how many were? Zero. Yep, he just makes bad decisions. (End Rant)
This year I picked another player that I know will suck, and some team will greatly overpay him. No, I'm not talking about Julius Peppers, I'm talking about Chester Taylor.
Julius Peppers was a necessary commitment, because the Cover-2 depends on pass rush from the front four defensive linemen to succeed. Although it's a six year deal, I glanced through it quickly and it looks like it's more of a three year deal where the Bears can get out of it pretty easily after that (Note, this may be incorrect, but always remember, very few multi year NFL deals actually last as long as the contract says).
But Chester Taylor? Are you kidding me? If they wanted a 30 year old without much wear on his body, why not go for Aaron Greving? He hasn't played for eight years, he should be fresh as a daisy.
At this point, you should probably be thinking, hey, he sounds like an average running back. But let me bring this point up, he was running behind three Pro-Bowl caliber linemen in Bryant McKinnie, Steve Hutchison, and Matt Birk. The Bears don't have any Pro-Bowl caliber linemen (Olin Kreutz sucks these days), and it's debatable whether they should be pros at all.
The Bears decided to pay $7 million guaranteed to, at best, an average backup. Oh yeah, and since the Bears were so speedy to do it, the Vikings can now sign a free agent which they would have been unable to do until somebody signed away one of their players.
I know, somewhere, deep down, the Bears still care about me. Jerry Angelo, you know what you have to do. It's so simple, just three simple letters...
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The commercial is pretty entertaining on face value. With a guy who is so cheap he is looking for a special deal at Taco Bell combined with the fact that this Taco Bell happens to employ the best looking Taco Bell employee of the history of the company, there is a lot to like about this commercial. Here is the commercial for those who don't own a television:
The deeper meanings of the commercial are fascinating as well. It is one of the few commercials where we see multiple people, and they are all white. Nearly every commercial uses minorities of some sort to show diversity, but Taco Bell does not do this in their most widely used commercial. Why? Well, they really didn’t have much of a choice.
There are three characters in this commercial:
Sneaky Taco Bell Guy
First Taco Bell Employee
Denise - Taco Bell Employee with the Hookup
I’m going to use African Americans (AA) in my example as I feel it is most prevalent, although I feel that all minorities can be substituted and provide similar results.
I we make the Sneaky Taco Bell Guy an AA, the discussion turns away from the 5-Layer Burrito and turns into how cheap the AA is. They are trying to get some sort of special deal, even when going to a dirt cheap place like Taco Bell. Clearly, the AA must be unemployed, or he just wants to save his money so he can buy some booze later on. This is extremely offensive to AA everywhere, so it is really a risk that is not worth taking on Taco Bell’s part.
If we make the first female employee AA, it is a simple case of a white man not trusting an AA with his Taco Bell order. Only the white employees are smart enough to handle his amazing prowess at ordering at Taco Bell.
If Denise is black, it portrays the stereotype that AA do not value their jobs and will hook up people with special deals, hence screwing over their company. The white guy knows that no white person would lose their job over this, but an AA would most definitely give him a 5-Layer Burrito for 89 cents.
So, clearly, it would be a very bad idea to make one person AA in this commercial, but could it work with multiple? No.
If the guy and first T-Bell employee are AA, it will reinforce the stereotype of AA only wanting white women, so that probably isn’t the best message for Taco Bell to send.
If it is the guy and Denise, it is going to make it look like AA do not trust white people, or that AA will hook up each other with special deals that white people are not allowed to know about.
If both employees are AA, it portrays that only AA would work at Taco Bell. Let’s face it, Taco Bell is not a glamorous job, and it could definitely be conceived as racial stereotyping that AA are not educated and could only manage to get jobs working at Taco Bell.
If all three are AA, it makes AAs look cheap as well as Taco Bell being too cheap of a place for a white American to eat at. It also portrays the poor stereotype of the above example.
Personally, I love this commercial, but it did surprise me that there were only white people in it. As I delved deeper (and let’s face it, way too deep) into the meanings behind the commercial, I feel that the Marketing people made the necessary decision in the Sneaky Taco Bell Guy Commercial.
Yep, I have too much free time.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Why is any of this important? Baseball Prospectus did a study and declared Wuertz tied for the third best reliever in all of baseball. He finished behind Jonathan Broxton and Joe Nathan while tying with Mariano Rivera. All of you haters can now suck it, because this fist pump isn't for you.
Oh yeah, and he cares about kids in the hospital.
Wuertz 4 Life
I can't believe it's necessary, but there are more douchebags at the gym that need to be brought to the world's attention. Here are four more guys that should not be allowed out in public.
Polo Guy – There is a serious problem if you worry about what you are wearing to the gym. Every day I come up with the crushingly easy decision of shorts and t-shirt. It’s simple, and I cannot believe how few people are able to come up with this combination before going to the gym. As I have already talked about Under Armour dude, I wanted to focus on another douche of the highest magnitude, the Polo Guy. I don’t understand the thought process it takes to decide that a polo is the best option when going to the gym. Nobody thinks, “Wow, that guy knows how to dress.” They just think, “Wow, that guy is a giant douche, and I bet he doesn’t have any friends.” Wearing a polo to the gym is equivalent to wearing a tuxedo to McDonalds, you don’t look nice, you look like an idiot who deserves to be robbed (Special thanks to Joel Campbell for reminding me about this guy).
Prayer Guy – This is an amazing person to behold. He is the most intense guy at the gym, but he is so intense that it ceases to look like a guy who is focusing and more of just a cartoon character of what a person should act like at the gym. He paces in front of dumbbell rack as he pumps himself up for a big lift. Then he stops, puts his hands on the 25 lb dumbbells and focuses intently on the mirror. Just when I think it can’t get any douchier, he decides that he needs to get a little more energy. What does he do? He makes the sign of the cross, bows his head, and gets his prayer on. Then he curls those 25 pounders, like a badass. This is the most shocking thing I had seen since Video Guy, and it was amazing. My advice for people working out, if you need to pray to lift the weights, maybe you should just use less weight.
Too Much Weight Guy – What is better than lifting a bunch of weight? Lifting a bunch of weight correctly. Unfortunately, many in the gym just go with more is better and try to put up as much weight as possible while showing awful form and throwing their entire body into lifts instead of using focused muscles. If you are this guy, or even impressed by this guy, you are a douche: