It's one thing to come home and write a few thoughts about a Spring Training game that I didn't get the chance to watch. It's another thing to sit through five hours of a rollercoaster Opening Day game and try to turn those thoughts into a sensible blog posting. I like it much better the second way.
What a game this was today. And it's going to be like this with the Brewers and Cubs all year. That last series of the season is going to decide something, whether its the NL Central or a Wild Card birth remains to be seen. But the race between these two clubs is going to be back and forth like today's game all year, and hopefully like today, the Brewers will come out on top.
First off, I headed out to a sports bar with a few friends around 1pm and thought for certain the game was going to be called off. From what I saw of the forecast and the pictures on FSN, I thought this one was going to have to wait until tomorrow. But when the skies cleared up and the first pitch was thrown, I was just as relieved as anyone that Opening Day would truly be that for fans of Milwaukee and Chicago.
In between a few rain delays (if you watched the FSN feed, we'll never know who the top best damn dynamic duo was), a terrific baseball game was played. A pitchers duel until the 9th inning, when the offenses of both teams took over. So much that this game wouldn't be enough for nine innings. I have a lot of thoughts about the game today, so I'm going to break them up player by player. Posts won't always be like this, and won't always be this long. But when I'm lucky enough to sit down and watch an entire game, they're going to take a few minutes to read. Let's go through some performances today.
Rickie Weeks - 0 for 3 - Tough day for our lead off hitter. Played decent defensively however. Thought he might kill Howry when he got hit.
Tony Gwynn Jr. - 2 for 3 - You're not going to see more shakier 2 for 3 performances than the one Tony Gwynn Jr. put forth today. Nevertheless, he did get two hits, the game winning RBI, and the game clinching (great) catch in center. If we can't have Cameron for 25 games, I will gladly take performances like this out of Gwynn. Bucky Channel's obvious player of the game.
Prince Fielder - 1 for 4 - Finally got going near the end with a big hit. Had a questionable call at first when he was fielding, but he needs to touch the bad instead of going for the jersey. Whether he was safe or out, the baserunner is normally going to get that call when you field it like that.
Ryan Braun - 1 for 5 - Scored a big run at the end of the 9th, and I loved how jacked he was about it. Earlier I wondered if it would be J.J. Hardy that would eventually get with Brewers sideline girl Trenni Kusnierek, but her and Braun seemed to have some chemistry doing their postgame interview tonight.
Bill Hall - 1 for 4 - Modest performance. Looked very comfortable back at 3rd.
Corey Hart - 1 for 4 - Was busy in right field today, did well. Two run double should have sealed the game, but didn't.
J.J. Hardy - 0 for 4 - Uninspiring performance at the plate.
Gabe Gross - 0 for 1 - I love Gabe.
Craig Counsell - 1 for 1 - I wasn't thrilled when I saw Jason Kendall batting ninth in the lineup today after Ben Sheets, but I guess the experiment was a success today, because of Craig Counsell. He pinch hit a double in the 8th spot in the top of the 10th, where Kendall normally would be. Had Kendall batted eight, and Craig pinched in the 9th spot, the result would have likely been different. The problem I have with this move is that even though it may have worked today, there will be days it completely backfires. And I feel the circumstances will be about even. If that's the case, why not just stick to the traditional lineup? I still just think its Ned Yost overthinking here, but so far, he's right. By the way, that double in the 10th from Craig was clutch.
Gabe Kapler - 0 for 0 - Defensive subsitution for Braun, not a bad idea. Gets him in the box score.
Ben Sheets - Another strong Opening Day peformance out of Sheets. 6 1/3 innings pitched with 2 hits and 7 strikeouts. This is what we need out of our ace, and today was a key example of why. Everyone enjoy Ben's final year as a Brewer! (maybe not, but likely enough)
Solomon Torres - Solid outing from our new relief staff (mostly).
Guillermo Mota - I could not have been more impressed with his performance today, I really couldn't have been.
Eric Gagne - Alright. Let's not jump to conclusion too quickly on Gagne. For as bad as the first few batters went, he did compose himself and close out the inning, and looked good doing it. However, giving up that 3 run homer to Fukudome reminded every Brewer fan of bullpen issues of the past, and it wasn't the best way to make your debut. That said, he did get the cheapest win in Brewers history, but let's not cast Gagne away too quickly (although my text message box is filled with messages like "we paid 10 million for this?")
David Riske - I love deep fantasy drafts. Started Riske for WHIP, end up with a save.
Bear - The man that helps me write this blog was able to attend the game today down in Wrigley. The Wrigely experience is something in its own, I can't imagine the atmosphere on Opening Day, especially if you sit behind Bonnie Hunt as Bear did. Here are some thoughts from him when talking to him earlier tonight:
"Wow, Cubs fans are delusional.... seriously, that town was just devisated after the game... holding their "ITS GONNA HAPPEN" signs. People were talking about the Cubs winning 100 games, we were all like you gotta be kidding me. One of the guys to my right was like, ive been watching games for a long time here and this is the best lineup weve ever had. Oh really... its better than Sandberg, Dawson, and Grace? Come on. 99 years since they're last WS and they think that because of that and every analyst loving the Cubs that they are are a sure bet.
Then after the game, people giving us shit saying Wisconsin lost to a mid major, and others yelled Favre blows and the Packers were 0-2 versus the Bears last year. I hate Cubs fans"
I gotta say, Bear is right in that aspect. Everytime I've been around Cubs fans after a loss they start bringing up other sports. Why do you guys do that? Why can't you just accept the loss and realize there are 161 MORE GAMES LEFT! Going 0-2 to the Bears means nothing to a team that was one win away from the Super Bowl, and talking smack about Wisconsin, after they beat Illinois in the Big Ten Tourney Finals, makes no sense. But we digress...
It wasn't the prettiest of wins, and it was hard to deal with the Cub fan I was watching the game with (although a dear friend, and not nearly as obnoxious as the fans Bear ran into), it was a very satisfying Opening Day win. From the game Sunday night between the Nationals and Braves, to the continuous flow of games on television today, how can you not love Opening Day. Even though there was a time in my life where I wasn't the biggest fan of baseball (as I've stated in a December post), I couldn't have been more happy to have it return in full today. And a Brewers win was icing on the cake.
TBC's Player of the Game: Tony Gwynn Jr. (1)
Just a quick note here, as the NFL tries to take away some PR from baseball today. The primetime games for the first weekend have been announced, and it looks like Aaron Rodgers will earn his first career start against the Vikings to kick off Monday Night Football. It seems like the Packers and Vikings play on primetime once a year lately, doesn't it? Here are the opening weekend games:
Thursday - Redskins at Giants (NBC, 7:15pm)
Sunday - Bears at Colts (NBC, 7:15pm)
Monday - Vikings at Packers (ESPN, 6:00pm)
Monday - Broncos at Raiders (ESPN, 9:15pm)
After a few games that nobody saw in Japan, and a thrilling opener between the Nationals and the Braves last night, baseball is officially back. Opening Day 2008 is finally here, and there are plenty of games to watch on TV today, including the Brewers taking on the Cubs (if it doesn't get rained out).
I'll be back later tonight with my thoughts on the game, as well as Opening Day in general. (By the way, lineups are already posted!) In the meantime, grab your first beer and hot dog of the season, and settle in for what promises to be an exciting year of Major League Baseball.
Every Sunday night (when I feel like it) I'll come out with my weekly rambles, most in the world of fantasy baseball but not necessarily all of it. Am I an expert???? You can be the judge, I really don't care. Follow my advice, or do the opposite I say or just stop by to see whats on my mind. Some people call me Mr. Fantasy Sports......OK well, I guess I'm the only that calls myself that but after 7 years and dozens and dozens of leagues...I think I got the hang of this. Questions and comments on this week will be addressed in the following week. On to the ramblings.
- First off, say what you want about G.W. Bush, booing him while throwing out the first pitch is classless. Opening Night is not the forum to express your displeasure, unless it's over the late 80's Rangers and/or because he traded a young Sammy Sosa away. Baseball people, Baseball.
- Rafael Furcal has looked great this spring. I say last year was an aberration and that this year he will look more like a 12-15 HR, 35 SB, .285 AVG guy. Trade for this guy now when he's still cheap.
- Juan Pierre will not be a Dodger by the end of the season.
- Staying with the Dodgers, Blue Jesus Matt Kemp is good but not 25-20 type good yet, I say he has more of a 20-15 type season.
- I hate Ryan Theriot..... Yet I find him on a couple of my teams, which means I expect him to produce big in the Runs category as well as being a legit 30 SB guy.
- Lastings Milledge is overrated. Has he produced at any level? The answer is no, over an extended period, not really.
- If Wily Mo Pena is available in your league, grab him now. 30 HR's are in his future. Scoff if you will, but the man has power, an everyday job, and the Nats no longer hit in the Great Abyss that was RFK stadium. He should be back in two weeks, DL stash him if you must.
- Jon Miller looks like he lost some weight... good for him, Tony Gwynn Sr. you're next big guy. Someone get Ozzie Smith and his veggies over to Gwynn's house.
- The Giants returning HR leader is catcher Bengie Molina. He hit 19. 19. Let that sink in. 19. Newcomer, Aaron Rowand hit 27 last year, but hes not doing that again. Needless to say runs are going to be scarce in San Fran, steer clear of their pitching if you are looking for Wins.
- Speaking of Giants, or former Giants that is, why is Pedro Feliz not being drafted in leagues. This guy will be hitting 6th or 7th in the Phillies lineup and is good for 25-30 HR's. His competition, or lack there of, at 3rd is Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs. Buy Feliz people.
- As I am writing this Jon Rauch comes in for the save, and not Chad Cordero. If he's still available, would be wise to scoop him up.
- Pujols will play in at least 140 games this year, still makes him first round worthy.
And a few Brewer rambles.
- Bill Hall will hit only 15 HR's but he will have 45 doubles and an average around .275 this year.
- Fielder, Braun, Hart, Hardy, even Cameron will eclipse the 20 HR mark for the Brewers. Weeks does not, he gets 19.
- Sheets pitches in 30+ games this year.
SUPER OUT ON A LIMB PICK FOR THE YEAR: Ichiro Suzuki hits under .300 this season. Bookmark it, write it down, print screen it; do what you want so you can come back and endlessly ridicule me when he hits .350. I just feel that this guy is gonna be under .300 one of these years, why not in his 8th season. He's 34, the post season a possibility pressure, I could just see him having a down year. Call me crazy, you wouldn't be the first.
The Wisconsin Badgers Hockey team is out of the NCAA tournament as their bid for the Frozen Four falls short tonight. North Dakota was able to knock off the Badgers 3-2 in overtime.
The Badgers finish the season 16-17-1, after they made the playoffs will a sub-.500 record. They showed they belonged in their sweet sixteen last night with a 6-2 win against Denver.
I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest follower of hockey, and only caught glimpses of the Badgers hockey team this year, mainly because these games are rarely televised (unless you have the complete ESPN package, ESPNU, ESPN360, and the like). But it was nice to jump on the hockey bandwagon to relieve some of the pain caused by the Badgers hoops loss to Davidson.
If you're a Badger fan, it's all about the spring football game now baby!
UNC. UCLA. Kansas. Memphis. Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 NCAA Men's Final Four! It hasn't happened in the history of the 64 (ok, 65) team tournament, but this year we finally have all four number one seeds make the Final Four. The great thing about the NCAA Tournament is that every team in it has at least a chance to cut down the nets. Without this format, we don't have the 85 Villanova, the 06 George Mason, the 08 Davidson. But this year, there are no cinderellas.
There were few people that took all number one seeds to the Final Four, mainly because it's never happened before. The easy target to eliminate was Memphis, but they have looked as good as anyone in this tournament. The critique against them was their free throw shooting, yet it was their dominance at the stripe today that allowed them to knock off Texas and head to San Antonio.
Hate 'em or love 'em, UNC and UCLA are both back in the Final Four, lead by their stars Kevin Love and Tyler Hansborough. And Kansas, our pick to win the tourney, survived a hard fought game against Davidson.
It's been an exciting tournament (for the most part, minus that first Thursday) so far, and we're looking forward to watching four teams who had a relatively easy time getting to the Final Four dance together on the same court.
They may have been a three seed hosting a two seed, they may have had a losing record heading into Saturday's playoff game, but the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team upset Denver tonight at the Kohl Center 6-2 to advance to hockey's Elite Eight.
This was a major upset tonight, as many experts thought Denver would be the likely entrant from the Midwest region to make the Frozen Four (love the name). But with the Kohl Center behind their underdog Badgers, the Wisconsin hockey team makes it to the Elite Eight on the same night they hit the .500 mark for the season. Odd, but awesome.
The Badgers will now take on North Dakota in the regional final Sunday night at 7 p.m on ESPNU.
The next time the Brewers take the field, it will count in the standings. I've been waiting a long six months to be able to say that again, haven't you? The Crew end their spring season today with a 5-2 victory over the Royals today at Miller Park. It was an impressive Spring for the Brewers, who now head into the 2008 season with their highest expectations in years. Remember five years ago when the Brewers were starting to turn things around, and we all said, "Dude, the Brewers will be good in like 2008 or 2009, just wait." Well we waited, and that time is here. And I, for one, couldn't be more ready to go along for the ride.
As for today's contest, Dave Bush went 6 innings given up 2 runs, but it was Brian Shouse that was the pitcher of record. Tony Gwynn Jr. had two hits and plated two runs. Gabe Gross and Craig Counsell also chipped in an RBI each.
As I write this, we're just 38 hours away from Opening Day! (which is another day you should be taking off work from, by the way)
TBC's Player of the Game: Tony Gwynn Jr.
A couple of other things that I thought were noteworthy. According to Brewers.com, Mark Attanasio and the Crew have made long-term offers to Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Everyone assumes they will be Yankees in three years, so we need to lock them up while we can.
Also, thought this was cool, the Dodgers and Red Sox played in front of more than 100,000 people in the same arena where Jack Bauer and Sherry Palmer nearly died in season two of 24!
And, is anyone else aware that the MLS regular season started today?
A few weeks ago the Milwaukee Bucks hit rock bottom when they lost to the Miami Heat at home. They then took on the Heat a few days later, and lost again. Two losses to the lowly Heat in one week. Well, in one of the games the Heat beat Milwaukee they were lead by Chris Quinn and his 24 point effort. I had no idea who Chris Quinn was, even as a loyal follower of the NBA. Must have slipped through the cracks. Well, one of the readers here definitely knew the name Chris Quinn, even calling me out by leaving highlights of him in high school in the comments of this post.
Well, I had to laugh today at an article I saw on Yahoo (or is it Yahoo!) today. Not only did it have the top ten best selling NBA jerseys of all-time, it also chronicled the worst. And guess who the least selling jersey in NBA history has been? (For the record, I'm on the Chris Quinn bandwagon now, I just didn't expect to see him on this list)
I'm sure if you're a loyal reader to this blog (and if you are, I thank you, also tell your friends!), you're not coming here for Winona State updates. But after their accomplishment today, I'm compelled to give them a little attention. And since I currently live just a few hundred yards from the Wisconsin / Minnesota border, I'd be lying if I didn't say I've become a fan of the Warriors Men's Basketball team from Winona, MN over the last few years. There's some Wisconsin connections on this team too. Nine of the players on Winona State hail from Wisconsin, including Madison LaFollette alumns Quincy Henderson and Jonte Flowers (brother of Wisconsin's Michael).
Jonte Flowers was the star of today's game, as he scored 25 second half points (30 total) to lead the Winona State Warriors to a 87-76 victory over Augusta State. It's their second Division II title in the last three years. In 2006, they beat Virginia Union 73-61, and last year they lost a heartbreaker to Barton 77-75. In coach Mike Leaf's four years with the program, three of them have ended in the title game in Springfield, Mass.
This was an outstanding game if you missed it. Winona State was down 16 at one point and rallied back to the victory. The Division II championship games are usually entertaining from start to finish, and a nice addition to the March Madness we've all come to know and love. I remember when I was younger it was teams like Kentucky Wesleyan and UC Davis that would always grab my attention before I settled in and watched the Elite Eight of Division I. I never intended to watch the full game when I sat down, but always stayed til the finish because of the excitement surrounding the game. It may not be Division I hoops, but a championship game is still a championship game, and today's was an outstanding one.
Want the surest sign that the Bucks are tanking it? Jake Voskuhl played nine minutes last night! Actually, the Bucks went 11 deep last night in their 103-86 loss to the Orlando Magic. I don't have much for you on this one, as the Bucks have faded into the background for me with March Madness in full swing and Opening Day just days away. However, I have already crossed over into rooting for them to lose territory. Why? Well, the last time I played the NBA Draft Lottery on ESPN.com, the Bucks kept ending up with some foreign guy I wasn't too excited about. Now? We're up to the likely seventh spot, just in time for Eric Gordon! I'd take that.
Bucks play again tonight against the Bulls, game time at 7:30.
Baseball's back in Milwaukee, as the Brewers returned back to Miller Park last night to take on the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were too much for the Crew, as they beat Milwaukee 4-1. Jeff Suppan took the loss for the Brewers pitching five innings and giving up three runs (you'll get that sort of game from Suppan everytime, no more, no less).
A couple of notes of interest for me in this game. First off, let's talk about the fans. Milwaukee is ready for baseball to begin, as they drew over 15,000 fans to a Friday night exhibition game. A game also being played at the same time as the Badgers contest against Davidson. I found that to be impressive.
Also, Ryan Braun had four at bats last night. Ryan Braun turned those four at bats into four hits. And batting after him, Bill Hall left Ryan Braun on base each and every time. What are we expecting out of Hall this year? It seems like expectations for him have been lowered, even though he's moved back to the infield where he's most comfortable. I always said last year that if the Brewers were going to win the Central, they'd need Bill Hall to lift himself to another level. He didn't do that, and they didn't win the Central. Now, I'm not saying the reason they didn't win a division title is because of Bill Hall, I just feel like he's the wildcard again this year in the whole Brewers playoff equation. You dig?
Also, it looks like we saw Ned's official lineup last night. Weeks, Cameron (when he's back), Fielder, Braun, Hall, Hart, Hardy, Suppan, Kendall. Yep, the pitcher in the 8th spot. Never when I first heard Ned might be considering that did I think it would become a truth.
One more exhibition game today against the Royals, and then onto Opening Day!
TBC's Player of the Game: J.J. Hardy
Oh man. What the hell was that? A terrific Badgers season comes to a crashing halt after they run into a ten seed on a mission.
The Badgers either played like they didn't want to be there or like they took a victory for granted, because Davidson absolutely walked all over them. I thought Stephen Curry was a good story of this tournament along with everyone else, but I didn't honestly think their magic could continue against the team I was rooting for. If you didn't know the name Stephen Curry before the night, well, you do now. He lead the Wildcats to a 73-56 victory over the Badgers.
There was absolutely no way Davidson was going to lose this one. Once they went into halftime with the Badgers tied at 36, they knew this was a game they were going to win. Curry couldn't miss in the second half, ending the game with 32. He had Gus Johnson fired up, and I much as I love Gus Johnson, I've never heard him excited against my team before. That was terrority I never wanted to explore.
For the Badgers to win this game, they needed Flowers and Hughes to play well. Hughes got hurt mid way through the first half, and Flowers didn't defend well enough. Then he couldn't make a shot. And nobody really stepped up in their place.
Let's see. Didn't we just see a team from the Badger State exceed expectations to not only win their division but become the favorites in a critical playoff game, only to lose to an underdog (the Packers)? If this is the new way things are done around here, I'm not sure I like it.
Nevertheless, this should go down as a great season for the Badgers. They won the Big Ten season, and then the Big Ten Tourney. They made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Even with all of that being true, why does this season seem like a huge disappointment?
Well, time to focus on my bracket. Let's go Jayhawks!
With a win tonight, the #10 seed Davidson will be advancing to the Elite Eight. At least that's what a lot of the national media is saying. The Badgers are being written off again, mainly because everyone is on the Stephen Curry bandwagon. Oh Stephen Curry. He's great isn't he?
The main arguments are that Georgetown plays a similar style of basketball that Wisconsin plays, and Davidson was able to knock them off. That being said, Georgetown had a huge lead on Davidson, but eventually collapsed. I don't imagine the Badgers falling to the same set of circumstances the Hoyas did. Second, some wonder if Wisconsin will be able to guard Curry and Jason Richards, forgetting that they just shut down Kansas State and Michael Beasley last week.
We'll finally see what happens tonight. Coverage starts at 6pm on CBS. I'm saying Badgers by 10.
Before the Packers could even get the chance, a different institution was able to retire Favre's number. Not unlike how the Miami Heat have retired the number 13 in honor of Dan Marino (seriously), Math has retired the number four in honor of the Packers quarterback. Check out the full story over at The Onion.
Someone give this man a high five!
I'd be amiss if as a blog writer I did't give my predictions on the upcoming MLB season. I'm probably going to be a bit of a homer with where I rank the Brewers, but that's part of the fun.
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Toronto Blue Jays
4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5. Baltimore Orioles
I'm going with the World Series champs to win the division, even though many people like them as the Wild Card this year. Only one team is coming out of this division, which is a shame because even though I hate the Red Sox, its good to have them and the Yanks in the playoffs (at least for FOX). And I don't see the Yanks getting in, even though they won't miss a step with new manager Joe Giradi. The Blue Jays need to wait about ten more years for the Red Sox / Yankees dominance to blow over before they can get a chance. The Devil Rays could put up 80 wins, they have a good sqaud and are turning things around. Expect them to compete for the wild card in 2009. The Orioles are just kind of floating by.
1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Minnesota Twins
The Tigers, with one of the toughest lineups in baseball, are going to come out of the always tough AL Central. I like their lineup, I like their staff, therefore I like their chances. The Indians are going to build off their success from last year and make a return trip to the playoffs as the Wild Card. The White Sox, now a few years removed from their World Series victory, aren't what they used to be but still have enough piecies to contend through August. I like how the Royals have been rebuilding, and led by Alex Gordon I expect decent things for them this year. They could possibly take third in the division. The Twins, after losing Hunter and Santana, still have enough in place to make them competitive, but I think it's going to be a very down year for Minnesota. I bet a friend that they don't finish over .500, I can't believe I actually got someone to make that bet. Maybe I'm putting too much on them losing Santana, but besides that I don't think Liriano is fully ready, and their outfield concerns me. Couple years away.
1. Seattle Mariners
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Texas Rangers
A lot of people are taking the Angels to win the West, so I'm going to shake it up a bit and throw Seattle in their. The Mariners think they can compete position by position with LA, and I don't see why they can't. I see a big surprise year out of Richie Sexson, who will lead them to a divison title. Los Angeles will miss out on the Wild Card in the season's final weekend. The A's are still rebuilding, but should compete for a while, Texas will start to see some payoff from last year's Teixera trade, and are building a good foundation for the future.
1. New York Mets
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Philadelphia Philles
4. Washington Nationals
5. Florida Marlins
The Mets free willing will pay off for them this year, unlike last year when they suffered a late season collapse. I'm going to go with the Braves to win the Wild Card, I like what they did at the end of last season and think they're a solid team. The Phillies deserve to be better than a third place team, but they're in a tough division. That's not counting the Nationals and Marlins however. The Marlins are one of the weirdest teams in pro sports, in terms of history. They've been around about 15 years, won two World Series six years apart, but were lousy the other thirteen years. Florida needs to show signs off rebuilding, otherwise the future of baseball in Miami could be in jeopardy (If I'm not mistaken, I think they are going to officially change their name to the Miami Marlins next year).
1. Milwaukee Brewers
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Houston Astros
5. Pittsburgh Pirates
6. St. Louis Cardinals
Call me a homer, but I think the Brewers have finally assembled a team that can get them to the playoffs for the first time in my entire lifetime. They have the lineup, an improved defense, and a bullpen I can believe in. Side note about the Brewers. In one of my fantasy leagues, which is full of Brewers fans, Sheets and Bush were drafted. Parra and Villanueva were just picked up off waivers. Yet the Brewers number two pitcher, Jeff Suppan, isn't on a single roster. How can that be? Maybe I'll take a flier on him after I'm done with this. Anyways, I think the Brewers are going to reach the NLCS, and then make a run at the World Series next season. Next up the Cubs, who have a scary team, but will have one bad month that eventually dooms their season. I think the Brewers win the division by 5-10 games, but the Cubs are going to miss out on the Wild Card thanks to that last series of the year against Milwaukee. The Reds will be Brewer Killers again, and take the 3rd spot. The Astros aren't very good, but they're not that bad either. I like what the Pirates are doing and for some reason I'm really down on St. Louis.
1. Colorado Rockies
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Diego Padres
5. San Francisco Giants
The Rockies, fresh off a World Series appearance, will make a return trip to the postseason. They are almost like the Brewers, except with playoff experience. The Diamondbacks are solid too, I wouldn't be surprised if they won the division at all. The Dodgers and Padres will be right in the mix, but the Giants are probably the worst team in baseball.
Tigers over Mariners
Indians over Red Sox
Tigers over Red Sox
Brewers over Braves
Mets over Rockies
Mets over Brewers
2008 World Series
Tigers over Mets
What do you guys think?
What better way to end Spring Training then to match up against your bitter rivals, the Chicago Cubs? (those shirts can be found here.) It may have been a game where the major leaguers were out quickly while career minor league guys got their chance to shine, but the rivarly was ever present.
The starting lineups were pretty true to form for both team, but it was Mike DeFelice who took the mound for the Brewers, and Cory Bailey for the Cubs. (I'd say I don't know who either of these guys are, but then someone will send me video of them playing in high school ala Chris Quinn)
After five innings, the Brewers were up 8-4, in large part because of a J.J. Hardy two run double, a Rickie Weeks two run triple, and a solo shot from the bat of Mike Cameron. After that, many of the major leaguers hit the showers, and then most of them left the ballpark even before game's close.
Even though the next four innings of Brewers / Cubs wasn't anything like we'll see Monday on Opening Day, these guys were playing with the intensity of the big league rivalry. When big league Mike Fontenot pinch hit late in the game, he got beaned. They say it wasn't intentional, but everything's intentional when it's Brewers / Cubs.
The game went into extra innings, and the Brewers took a 10-9 lead in the 10th after a couple of throwing errors and a wild pitch. The Cubs tied in up in the bottom frame, and the game was called as a tie.
In other Brewers news, Yost is still working out the lineup, Capuano is going to try to avoid surgery, and could Ned Yost IV be with the big league Brewers after all?
TBC's Player of the Game: Mike Rivera
We found this over at thebratwurst.com, and had to share it.
Yes We Can!
First, I love this commercial. It's too awesome.
Second, ask the team at the 34 second mark if there are no Cinderellas.
Georgetown's exit from the tournament means the Badgers are next for Davidson, a team lead by Stephen Curry, this year's tournament created star. After their big come from behind upset Sunday, it appears Davidson is as good as a candidate as any to wear the glass slipper.
Are there really no cinderellas? We'll know in five days.
It's clear to everyone now that the Bucks chances of making the playoffs are obsolete. So the question becomes do they begin to play spoiler, or do they take the tanking rout and go for a better draft pick. The answer should be obvious to any fan of the NBA, because the lottery race is just as fun as the playoff race!
The Hawks beat the Bucks 115-96, in their quest for the eighth seed. The Hawks are 31-41, and would currently make the playoffs, so good for them.
Meanwhile, the Bucks have a pretty good shot at getting the 8th pick in the NBA draft! Let's go Bucks!
You know, when the Packers recently announced the signing of long snapper Thomas Gafford, I wondered what this meant for Rob Davis. I mean, long snappers have been brought in before, but with Davis getting up there in age, I thought he might want to be hanging them up as well. Turns out we were on the same page, as Rob Davis has announced his retirement from the NFL.
Yeah, it's easy to lead into the Rob Davis story by refering to Brett Favre's retirement, but it shouldn't be done jokingly. Rob Davis, like Favre, was a Packer in every sense of the word. The last remaining player from the 1997 Super Bowl team, Davis is hanging them up after 12 years as a Packer. For 11 of them, he was our long snapper.
Davis has always been one of my favorite Packers. How do you stay with a team as their long snapper for 11 seasons? Year after year I thought the Packers would eventually cut him, and sign a guy who could play line and also long snap, but they never did. Long snapping was the only thing Davis did, and we saved a roster spot for him every year. I always thought it was cool that no matter what, Rob Davis would be returning to the Pack.
Davis also spent a lot of time in the community. Often, when the Packers send people on visits throughout the state, they usually send a couple of rookies and maybe a guy on the injuried reserve. But the loyal veteran Rob Davis was always there with them, giving his time as a representative of the Packers.
Davis's career with the Packers isn't over, however. Ted Thompson announced today he will stay with the team as the director of player development. We wish him the best.
It was a rough outing for Ben Sheets in his final tune-up before Opening Day, but the Brewers had enough offensive power to earn a victory over the Chicago White Sox, 12-10. Sheets gave up nine runs in five innings, giving up four home runs. His ERA for the Spring finishes at 9.56. No need to worry here, he's had bad springs before, and should be the best pitcher who succumbs to an odd illness for another season.
Turnbow, Mota, and Torress all pitched scoreless innings, as did former Brewer Scott Linebrink. Linebrink, who was brought in to help the Crew contend for the playoffs, has had a pretty decent spring with the White Sox.
At the plate for the Brewers, it was a solid afternoon with 12 runs off 15 hits. Kendall and Gross each had a pair of hits, while Hart and Braun each knocked one over the fence.
The Brewers spring is nearly complete. They play the Cubs tomorrow for their last game in Arizona. Then, they'll travel back to Miller Park to take on the Royals Friday night and Saturday afternoon in exhibition games (all tickets are 10 bucks). After that, it's an off day, then Opening Day.
TBC's Player of the Game: Ryan Braun
The Brewers sent Eric Munson down to Triple A, which means Mike Rivera has earned the nod at backup catcher. This means that the 2008 Opening Day Lineup for the Milwaukee Brewers is set and ready to go. Let's meet the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers!
C Jason Kendall
C Mike Rivera
1B Prince Fielder
2B Rickie Weeks
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Bill Hall
INF Craig Counsell
OF Ryan Braun
OF Tony Gwynn Jr.
OF Corey Hart
OF Joe Dillon
OF Gabe Kapler
OF Gabe Gross
SP Ben Sheets
SP Jeff Suppan
SP Dave Bush
SP Manny Parra
SP Carlos Villanueva
RP Seth McClung
RP David Riske
RP Solomon Torres
RP Guillermo Mota
RP Derrick Turnbow
RP Brian Shouse
RP Eric Gagne
Of course, Gallardo starts the season on the DL, and Mike Cameron has to serve a 25 game suspension. What do you think? How much have the Brewers improved in the last year? And is this the best 25 Ned and Doug could have put together?
In other Brewer related news, Sports Illustrated says the Brewers aren't making the playoffs. And they're not even going to take 3rd in their division! It's pretty hard to take this magazine seriously, however, when they pick the Cubs to go to the World Series.
He's trying to run Favre out of town! He won't sign any free agents! He won't resign Marco Rivera! Yeah, there were many reasons not to have faith in Ted Thompson when he came over to the Packers in 2005. But lest we forget, this is a man who was hand picked by Ron Wolf. The genius of all Packer geniuses. And according to The Sporting News, his last call wasn't half bad. (someone fact check me on the Wolf thing, he had input on that didn't he? Whatever, I'm a blog, who says I have to be credible.)
Anyways, according to the magazine / budding internet powerhouse, Ted Thompson was the top NFL Executive of 2007. I'm not sure how many people still hate the man, but you can't argue with him for how he assembled a team that went 13-3 and were a few plays away from the Super Bowl. Yeah, not every move has been a success (Adrian Klemm anyone?), but taking a team from 4-12, to 8-8, to 13-3 is worth NFL Executive of the Year honors to me.
By the way, did anyone know he played for the Houston Oilers in the mid-70s? How did I not know that?
(The JSOnline Blog explains why this award may be a bad omen for Thompson.)
With the releasing of Claudio Vargas earlier today, three pitchers that were in limbo of their status learned they'd be in the Brewers starting rotation. One was Manny Parra, who pitched ok Monday, the other two, Dave Bush and Carlos Villanueva went today. Again, I wish there was something else the Brewers could have done besides flat out releasing Vargas. But now it's time for the remaing pitchers to prove that it was indeed the right move.
Today, they didn't do so bad. Villanueva gave up 6 hits in 6 innings but only gave up 2 earned runs (his Spring ERA is now 2.63). Dave Bush gave up a run in 3 innings, but his Spring ERA is 6.43. That's much lower than Vargas's was, but apparently the Brewers like him more. I agree with Bush over Vargas, but I might have sent Villanueva or Parra down to start the way. That way at least, you still have everyone. I never thought anyone would get released.
Offensively, only four hits from the Crew, but they still managed three runs. The interesting battle of note is between the catchers. Mike Rivera was 1 for 3 (.286 spring AVG), while Eric Munson was 0 for 2. I've read conflicting reports on who they'll keep between the two of them. If I had to guess, I'd say Munson (and then maybe call up Rottino in the July/August range).
TBC's Player of the Game: Carlos Villanueva
Honestly can't say I saw this one coming. Claudio Vargas has been cut from the Milwaukee Brewers. In five Spring Training starts, Vargas was 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a strong candidate to fill the rotation. I had him penciled in as the five starter, even when Gallardo returned from his injury. He was pitching well, and though he was a reliable veteran.
This means that Sheets will start Opening Day, followed up Suppan. I would say Bush is the three, but he could be pused back to the Brewers Opening Day on Friday for some veteran presence on the mound. Not sure where Villanueva or Parra will be slotted, but one of them will likely be the long reliever / spot starter for the first couple weeks of the season when only four starters are needed.
Vargas will get picked up by someone for sure, and you can bet rather quickly.
Anyone know who the man in this picture is? Not Mo Williams, the other guy. The guy who was a late insertion into the starting lineup for Jason Williams. The guy who put up 24 points. The guy who led a few other fellow D-League alums to a 78-73 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. I didn't know him either, but the Bucks know him now. The Bucks know Chris Quinn.
The Bucks can beat LeBron James and the Cavs but they can't beat Chris Quinn and the Heat? This is getting pathetic, if it hasn't already. And since when does a team only put up 73 against the Miami Heat?
Meanwhile, the search for a new GM has been quiet the last few days. The guys from The Bratwurst say former Sonics GM Rick Sund is the leading candidate (the benefactor of the Ray for Gary and Desmond deal). We still like Bill Simmons, but apparently the Bucks aren't interested.
A four-run first inning by the Colorado Rockies doomed the Brewers early in this one, as the Rockies beat them 6-5 Monday afternoon. Manny Parra gave up 5 runs in 3 innings, and Mota gave up one run as well. Torres, Gagne, and Turnbow all pitched scoreless innings.
The Brewers offensively performed well enough for the George Webb deal, but still weren't able to pull out the victory. Rickie Weeks, Alcides Escobar, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and Joe Dillion each had two hits. Tony Gwynn Jr., who appears to be close to starting Opening Day, pitched in with an RBI single.
A couple points of interest in this game were, first off, a shot to left field early on that Ryan Braun leaped for but wasn't able to come up with. It was a tough ball to get, but it was very reminiscent of the efforts Bill Hall used to make in center a year ago. I've always felt that, at least early last season, Hall tried to be too flashy in the outfield, and that's how he ended up missing a ton of balls hit his way. Hopefully, Braun doesn't fall into the same trap.
Also, Kendall once again batted ninth in the order, something I have never been, nor will be, a fan of. Today there was an instance where with two men on and two out, Manny Parra struckout in the eighth spot to end the inning. So that's two men left on base because of Ned's little concoction. But then the next inning, when Kendall is the lead-off hitter, he gets on base and ends up being batted in. So was it the right move? At best, it seems like a wash. If that's the case, why even do it? This is going to be something that is going to bug me all year, and you can bet we'll be there to call Ned out everytime it fails.
TBC's Player of the Game: Prince Fielder
For those of you still prepping for a fantasy baseball draft, we wanted to give you one more piece of fantasy draft advice before you settle in by a computer for three hours (that, and we told our league we'd do some sort of review for them). Enjoy, and remember, draft's are like snowflakes, no two are ever the same. (OK, that was stupid).
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Hanley Ramirez
3. Jose Reyes
4. David Wright
5. Matt Holliday
6. Jimmy Rollins
7. Johan Santana
8. Chase Utley
9. Miguel Cabrera
10. Prince Fielder
11. Ryan Braun
12. Ryan Howard
13. Albert Pujols (Winks)
14. Jake Peavy
15. Carl Crawford (Bear)
16. Alfonso Soriano
Winks: It's hard to say who the best pick in a first round is, because unless you really reach for a guy (I've seen Fielder go at the number two pick already), you can't go wrong. Keep in mind during these, we were in a 24 round, 16 man draft, no question the biggest draft I've ever done. I don't see anything wrong with any of these picks. I'm surprised I was able to get Pujols where I did, although some people are concerned with the injury risk. A good round for everybody involved, although nobody goes into a draft hoping for Alfonso Soriano or Carl Crawford in the first round.
Bear: No one is truly going to go wrong in the first round by drafting any of the usual suspects. Either way you choose to go, you are going to get a stud. If a top player does end up struggling then its just bad luck. My first three or four rounds I typically go for "Best Available" and ignore position. That being said I drafted Carl Crawford, the one guy I said I didn't want going into the draft but in my opinion was the best player available. At pick 15, I couldn't over look the possibility of a 100-20-110-5-.290 guy. Not saying he'll hit those numbers, but after years of those kinds of predictions he has to cash in sometime.... right??? Right???? I really like Pujols at 13, injury risk aside, Pujols is one of the safest players to own in fantasy baseball, you know what he'll bring.
1. David Ortiz
2. Carlos Beltran (Bear)
3. Ichiro Suzuki
4. Grady Sizemore (Winks)
5. Vladimir Guerrero
6. Ben Sheets
7. Brandon Phillips
8. Carlos Lee
9. Manny Ramirez
10. Brandon Webb
11. Lance Berkman
12. Mark Teixeira
13. B.J. Upton
14. Curtis Granderson
15. Justin Morneau
16. Victor Martinez
Winks: I like everyone of these picks in the second round, except for the Sheets. On draft day, you really can't go round in the first couple rounds. Sure maybe you'd like Carlos Lee over Brandon Phillips, but that just depends on who you like and who you've already drafted. I went with Grady because I'm a Grady fan, although I may have took him a few spots too early. I can't understand the Sheets pick here, Brewer fan or not. I'm as big of a Brewer fan as the next guy, and I was able to get Sheets as my fourth starting pitcher in another league. You can't always be a homer in these things, it'll kill you.
Bear: Ben Sheets in the second round. Yikes. I'd say the guy who drafted Sheets is about as big as a homer as there could be. But really, even if he tops out with a "healthy" Sheets season, hes on about the same level as Sabathia, Oswalt, and Zambrano and a 4th rounder at best. I took Beltran because I like the 100-35-100-20 potential. In terms of a 2B I like Upton better than Phillips. Using peripherals as a indication, Upton's Slugging % was 23 points higher and his On Base % was 55 points better. This suggests that Upton has a better plate discipline and is doing more with his hits. Plus I just like what the Rays have around them this year. Not sure I like taking a catcher in the 2nd round, but hard to argue with 25-100-.300 from the C-spot, and the fact that if you want him, and you are sitting at that 1 position, you know he won't be around come round 4, pick 64.
1. Alex Rios
2. Russell Martin
3. Magglio Ordonez
4. Adam Dunn
5. Brian Roberts
6. Aramis Ramirez
7. Troy Tulowitzki
8. C.C. Sabathia
9. Erik Bedard
10. Chone Figgins
11. Roy Oswalt
12. Josh Beckett
13. Cole Hamels (Winks)
14. Derek Jeter
15. Derrek Lee (Bear)
16. Justin Verlander
Winks: Might have taken Hamels too early here too, although I've liked the guy since he came into the league. Sometimes you'll see people draft guys higher than they should because they had them the year before, that's what I did here. Could have maybe went for Papelbon or Haren, although I did get Haren later. Alex Rios as the first guy in the 3rd round is a little too high for me I would have taken Mags. I'm not an Adam Dunn fan either, but to each his own.
Bear: Winks placed a lot of stock in Hamels but I feel its just. He's a great pitcher, and an ERA of 3.50 and a WHIP of 1.15 with K totals around 200 is a great candidate to be a top 5 pitcher. Add that to a strong Phillies offense, and you are looking at an 18 game winner too. Picks I don't like: Roberts - I realize 2B is a premium category, but with Roberts you are drafting purely for SB. Hes 30 and his days of 15+ homers are likely behind him. Plus he's on a very young, inconsistent team like Baltimore, so his runs will likely be affected as well. Jeter - When are people going to start passing on this guy in the first 5 rounds. Seriously, you can get Michael Young this year in the 5th round in our league, for basically the same stats save runs. In roto leagues Jeter is much more valuable, but in head-to-head he just isn't.
1. Robinson Cano
2. Ian Kinsler (Bear)
3. Jonathan Papelbon
4. Dan Haren (Winks)
5. Travis Hafner
6. Carlos Zambrano
7. Carlos Guillen
8. Aaron Harang
9. Felix Hernandez
10. Rickie Weeks
11. John Smoltz
12. Garrett Atkins
13. Eric Byrnes
14. Bobby Abreu
15. Scott Kazmir
16. Francisco Rodriguez
Winks: Again, came away with Haren, happy about that, as I was trying to solidify my pitching. I wouldn't have taken Ian Kinsler, but Bear goes by the moniker "Mr. Fantasy Sports", so who knows what I think. Atkins and Abreu are solid picks in this round, as is Harang.
Bear: Homer came out in me with this round. I see Kinsler hitting 100-25-80-25 a top the Rangers lineup, plus he plays in a hitters paradise in Rangers Ballpark, but the real reason I took him, he absolutely carried me in the first half of last season. I did reach with Kinsler, but hes a player I wanted, and the last of 2nd tier 2B. Weeks was a bit of a stretch, but he has awesome potential. Abreu is very underrated, as is Atkins. Both are good picks. Not a big Guillen fan but he does have SS,1B which is nice, probably the last year of SS availability with Renteria there.
1. Michael Young
2. Corey Hart
3. J.J. Putz
4. Joe Mauer
5. Joe Nathan
6. Gary Sheffield
7. Chipper Jones
8. Brian McCann
9. Hunter Pence
10. Fausto Carmona
11. Carlos Pena
12. Jorge Posada
13. Nick Markakis (Winks)
14. John Lackey
15. Bobby Jenks (Bear)
16. Chris Young
Winks: I came away with Markakis this late in the draft, and I think it was the steal of the night. Markakis is loved by a lot of people this year, going as high as the mid-30's. To get him in the mid-70's is something I'm very happy with. Carlos Pena is a nice grab in this round too. Three more catchers went in this round, I probably would have gone with McCann.
Bear: After McCann and Mauer went, the catchers should have stayed silent for 4-5 more rounds but someone selected Posada. Posada's career BA is .277, last year he hit .338. It's not happening again. He's 36, and will probably hit 15 homers. Not a smart pick. Especially when Nick Markakis is still there. Winks got away with murder, 100-25-100-12-.310 in the 5th round is sick, I was hoping and praying he'd fall to more spots to me, but he didn't. I took Jenks who, barring injury, is a solid candidate for 40 saves and last of the 2nd tier closers with K-Rod and Nathan. Pena probably went where he should have but, a player whose HR totals the last 5 years have gone 18, 27, 18, 1, 46 does scare me. Last season he also batted 30 points above his career average. Pence and Hart are great pick ups, both will be fantasy OF main stays for years to come.
1. Jason Bay
2. Tim Lincecum (Bear)
3. Torii Hunter
4. Ryan Zimmerman (Winks)
5. Miguel Tejada
6. Billy Wagner
7. Ivan Rodriguez
8. Rafael Furcal
9. Adrian Gonzalez
10. Mariano Rivera
11. Juan Pierre
12. Jose Valverde
13. Takashi Saito
14. Vernon Wells
15. Chris Young
16. Howie Kendrick
Winks: Took Ryan Zimmerman to grab a 3rd basemen, which is weak this year. Love the Kendrick pick here, but there's no way in hell I would have grabbed Furcal. Judging from past teams, he's the single least effective fantasy player I've ever had in any sport. And that includes Stacey Mack.
Bear: I disagree with Winks on the Furcal pick, he has looked phenomenal this spring and seems to past his days of an injured ankle. I say he reverts back to his 2006 numbers where he hit 15 and stole 37. Wells is great pick, as was Gonzalez. I took Lincecum, I like his K projections around 180 and his ERA and WHIP should be stellar. I probably won't get anymore than 10 wins out of him however, because the Giants offense is awful. Pierre was a terrible pick, and a waste of an OF spot. One catagory guys are never an option this high, and he'll be battling Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp for at bats. Closers were a theme, I don't mind Wagner but Saito is one rough stretch away from the uber-talented Jonathan Broxton taking over, and Valverde has been taken every other year off: ERA 2.15, 4.25, 2.44, 5.84, 2.66. He was hot last year for a tough team in Arizona, but this year I'll pass and take a lower risk guy down further in the draft.
1. Shane Victorino
2. Roy Halladay
3. Brad Hawpe
4. Trevor Hoffman
5. Kenji Johjima
6. Javier Vazquez
7. Jermaine Dye
8. Huston Street
9. Paul Konerko
10. Dontrelle Willis
11. Dan Uggla
12. Kelvim Escobar
13. Edgar Renteria (Winks)
14. Daisuke Matsuzaka
15. Rich Hill (Bear)
16. Chien-Ming Wang
Winks: Wasn't in love with my Renteria grab, but I needed a shortstop, and Tigers are popular this year with that lineup. A lot of good value in this round, I especially like Bear's pick of Rich Hill, Cubs hatred and all.
Bear: I really love Rich Hill. That's what it comes down to, a giant man crush, and I fully expect him to have 200 K's, win 18 and keep his ERA under 4. Uggla is a nice source of power at the 2B spot and Victorino and Hawpe are great value grabs. Wang is really inflated by his wins from an offensive juggernaut like the Yankees. He doesn't do much else, but could have an ERA of around 3.80. Another catcher taken... Look at these 2007 season stats Player A: 504 AB/57-14-61-0-.287 Player B: 457 AB/56-11-55-2-.263. Now consider that Player A(Kenji Jojima) was taken in round 7 and Player B(Ronny Paulino) was taken in round 22. That's some 240 picks for 24 points in the BA and 3 homers while having less steals. This is why, outside of the top 4 catchers, it just doesn't make sense to take them until the end, the gap just isn't big enough for it to matter.
1. Orlando Cabrera
2. J.J. Hardy (Bear)
3. Yovani Gallardo
4. Kelly Johnson (Winks)
5. James Shields
6. Hideki Matsui
7. Delmon Young
8. Manny Corpas
9. Andruw Jones
10. John Maine
11. Francisco Liriano
12. Francisco Cordero
13. Chad Billingsley
14. Nick Swisher
15. Adrian Beltre
16. Matt Cain
Winks: Went for Kelly Johnson in the 8th in an uncharacteristically strong year for second basemen. Swisher and Gallardo are fine picks in this round. I wouldn't have taken Matt Cain (remember, I was told to not take any Giants by someone who saw them in Spring Training). Liriano you have to have faith in, put that's a pick that could pay big dividends.
Bear: Hardy was the last decent SS left in my book, so I felt like I had to grab him. Now I'm hoping he repeats his first half and not his second. He'll probably do something in the middle. Shields is a good pick, and its nice to have the power out of Swisher and Matsui out of the 8th round. I like Kelly Johnson and Andrew Jones. In fact the only pick I didn't like this round was either my Hardy pick or Manny Corpas. He only took over after Brian Fuentes struggled down the stretch, and he didn't pitch that bad. That would be enough for me to shy away and grab a more sure thing in Co-Co or Rafael Soriano.
1. Jered Weaver
2. Jeff Francoeur
3. Brett Myers
4. A.J. Burnett
5. Todd Helton
6. Rafael Soriano
7. Mike Lowell
8. Hank Blalock
9. Placido Polanco
10. Ian Snell
11. Jim Thome
12. Jeff Francis
13. Dustin McGowan (Winks)
14. Ryan Garko
15. Alex Gordon (Bear)
16. Matt Kemp
Winks: I'm a big Dustin McGowan fan, but I probably could have got him later. Polanco and Snell are good picks here, I don't like the Mike Lowell pick though.
Bear: Picks I love are Francour, Myers, Gordon, Snell, and Kemp. All great values. Thome disappears for large stretches at the point in his career and its only Util, available. Garko should be good, and Burnett is solid. I hate the Lowell pick. He's only had 2 years good enough to justify this draft position in his 10 year career, and those came 5 years apart. I'll take a higher potential guy in Longoria or Gordon.
1. Eric Gagne
2. Oliver Perez (Bear)
3. Pat Burrell
4. Kosuke Fukudome (Winks)
5. Ken Griffey Jr.
6. Tim Hudson
7. Pedro Martinez
8. Jeremy Bonderman
9. Joe Borowski
10. Todd Jones
11. Josh Hamilton
12. Aaron Rowand
13. Jacoby Ellsbury
14. Brad Penny
15. Jeremy Hermida
16. James Loney
Winks: Went with Fukudome in the spot where he's typically falling. Ellsbury, Penny, and Hamilton could all be good picks too.
Bear: Hamilton is going to be a stud. Excellent value for round 10. Everyone else has there strengths. A couple of pitchers I noticed have fallen in drafts and are great grabs if they are still around in round 10-12, Penny, Bonderman, and Perez. All are on high profile teams that will get 12-15 wins they also have 2nd strengths such as Penny in his ERA, Perez in his K's and Bonderman as a solid K's and ERA contributor.
1. Joba Chamberlain
2. Raul Ibanez
3. Chad Cordero
4. Jhonny Peralta
5. Bill Hall
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
7. Joey Votto
8. Moises Alou
9. Johnny Damon
10. Dustin Pedroia
11. Jason Isringhausen
12. Ted Lilly
13. Matt Capps (Winks)
14. Kevin Kouzmanoff
15. Michael Cuddyer (Bear)
16. Edwin Encarnacion
Winks: Needed a closer, went with Matt Capps. Not the ideal number one closer for a team, but I'm hoping someone will pop up on the waiver wires. Peralta is a good pick in this round, Encarnacion will probably be a disappointment.
Bear: I agree with Winks, I think Encarnacion will disappoint. If you are taking Edwin based on power implications, his average went up while his slugging percentage when went down nearly 35 points. His stat line looks more like Casey Blake than Ryan Zimmerman. Give me Kouzmanoff, Longoria, or Glaus instead, in fact I'd take actually I'll take Blake, in round 17 over Edwin in round 11. Joba is a great pick if hes a starter, and a good pick if hes a reliever. One of the biggest mistakes you can do as a fantasy owner is to ignore middle relievers, they are imperative in giving you garbage wins, and K's and keep your ERA and WHIP's low. You should always have your RP and Util-P spots filled with relievers when your SP's aren't taking them up. Ibanez and Cuddyer are great safe picks, you know what you are going to get. Matt Capps is actually a good bet to be a top 15 closer this year.
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Joakim Soria (Bear)
3. Aaron Hill
4. Geovany Soto (Winks)
5. Luis Castillo
6. Troy Glaus
7. Justin Upton
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Josh Willingham
10. Tony Pena
11. Brandon Lyon
12. Khalil Greene
13. Evan Longoria
14. Brad Lidge
15. Phil Hughes
16. Willy Taveras
Winks: Loving those Cubbies this year as I grabbed Soto. Mainly, I just needed a catcher, and he was the best option. I wish I would have had another chance to grab Evan Longoria, maybe even Brad Lidge. I would have stayed away from Adam Wainwright, although he could have a decent year.
Bear: Soto is decent value here in round 12, but still, there are better players that can fill your roster out. Think of the catcher position like Defenses in fantasy football. 12-15 are great rounds to take fliers on possible sleepers. Longoria, Hughes, Upton, Soria, and Soto all fit that bill. Greene and Glaus bring good power numbers in round 12. I'm assuming Tony Pena was draft on the thought of being the guy, and oddly enough Brandon Lyon was taken after him. Either way, both will prove to be solid RP's whether they are closing or not.
1. Clay Buchholz
2. Orlando Hudson
3. Josh Fields
4. B.J. Ryan
5. Melky Cabrera
6. George Sherrill
7. Frank Thomas
8. Derek Lowe
9. Rick Ankiel
10. Andy Pettitte
11. Carlos Delgado
12. Jose Guillen
13. Mike Cameron (Winks)
14. Kevin Gregg
15. Rich Harden (Bear)
16. Bronson Arroyo
Winks: Mike Cameron was a stretch here for me, but I wanted a Brewer and I wanted that Brewer to be Mike Cameron. Last year in this league, I took Francisco Liriano in round 13. He never played an inning, but I still won the league. Thought it'd be safe to take a chance in this round. Fields and Delgado should provide decent value here, as with Harden. Best pick of the round in my opinion is Kevin Gregg. They say don't trust a man with two last names, but always trust a Gregg with two G's.
Bear: Rich Harden was a target of mine. I'm sure I'll get 2 good weeks from him.... But if he does stay healthy this season, hes a top 20 pitcher. I really like Buchholtz and Ankiel. A couple guys I would have passed on were Thomas, Delgado, and Guillen.
1. J.R. Towles
2. Carlos Marmol (Bear)
3. Joe Blanton
4. Matt Garza (Winks)
5. Troy Percival
6. Geoff Jenkins
7. J.D. Drew
8. Mike Napoli
9. Jason Bartlett
10. A.J. Pierzynski
11. Ubaldo Jimenez
12. Brian Wilson
13. Billy Butler
14. Kazuo Matsui
15. Ty Wigginton
16. Michael Bourn
Winks: Like the Marmol pick here for Bear, I took Garza because of my Devil Rays bias. (Just caught myself, still not used to just the "Rays".) Rosters are starting to be filled out in this round, and with how deep this league is, I guess it's ok to take chances. But I'll be the first to admit I'm no fantasy expert (although, again, I won this league last year), and here's the point of the draft where guys are being taken that I've never heard of.
Bear: As a huge Brewer fan, I hate the Cubs. Thank god in fantasy land I don't have to hate the stats next to the name. I love Carlos Marmol, even if he doesn't close. He posted a 1.45 ERA while K'ing 96 over 69.1 innings. Wigginton is a nice pick here he offers 1B, 2B, and 3B flexibility and is a safe bet to smack 25 homers this year. He was sandwiched between two other Astros that are clearly SB picks. Still too early for that in my mind. Joe Blanton is a good value and Butler and Jimenez are good risks.
1. Jeremy Accardo
2. Zack Greinke
3. Curt Schilling
4. Jonathan Broxton
5. C.J. Wilson
6. Mark Reynolds
7. David DeJesus
8. Adam Jones
9. Jeremy Guthrie
10. Orlando Hernandez
11. Mark Buehrle
12. Gil Meche
13. Yunel Escobar (Winks)
14. Conor Jackson
15. Jeff Kent (Bear)
16. Jack Cust
Winks: Took Escobar just because he's flexible. Don't mind the picks of Schilling, Pac Man Jones, Meche, or Jackson. Don't like Jeff Kent, and Jack Cust reminds me of Chris Shelton, so I would have stayed away from those guys.
Bear: Jones and Escobar are have good potential. Meanwhile Meche and Buehrle have been sliding the past couple years. Broxton should be a stud. Jeff Kent is usually someone I would never draft but in round 15 I'm getting a guy who still can hit 75-20-75-.300 at the age of 40. I'll take that kind of production out in a Util spot.
1. Hideki Okajima
2. Adam LaRoche (Bear)
3. Freddy Sanchez
4. Pat Neshek (Winks)
5. Tom Gorzelanny
6. Aubrey Huff
7. Scot Shields
8. Heath Bell
9. Colby Rasmus
10. Wily Mo Pena
11. Rocco Baldelli
12. Mark Teahen
13. Jon Lester
14. Jason Varitek
15. Rafael Betancourt
16. Homer Bailey
Winks: Homer Bailey will come around, good pick there. Baldelli might not end up playing at all again this year, at least not in Tampa. Tom Gorzelanny is probably decent in this round, and I'm not in love with my Neshek pick at all. Although someone took Okajima this round too, that just again shows how deep this league is, in the fact that you take relievers for strikeout, ERA, and WHIP help.
Bear: A bunch of middle relievers went here. All smart picks too, Betancourt, Okajima, Shields, Neshek and Bell will all be main stays on their respective teams. Baldelli's career looks to be over due to some sort of muscle dysfuction. 6 years ago he was considered the next Joe DiMaggio. Kind of sad when you think about it. Rasmus will be a stud when hes called up, and Teahan is a great value pick. I like Wily Mo this year as well, he could put up some big homer numbers in Washington's new hitter friendlier ballpark.
1. Stephen Drew
2. Scott Rolen
3. Garret Anderson
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Carlos Villanueva
6. Kerry Wood
7. Corey Patterson
8. Nate McLouth
9. Casey Blake
10. Joel Zumaya
11. Chris Duncan
12. Nomar Garciaparra
13. Casey Kotchman (Winks)
14. Greg Maddux
15. Eric Chavez (Bear)
16. Mike Jacobs
Winks: Casey Kotchman I took because I've heard of him before and I needed depth. We're at the 2 1/2 hour mark in this draft, and I'm just taking guys I'm comfortable with. I didn't do a lot of research coming in, which I could regret. I will say thought that the best way to do research is do just do a draft before your main draft. Just sign up for a public league or something, it doesn't matter. It's good to get a draft under your belt before your real thing.
Bear: Picks I like - Drew, Anderson, Duncan. Picks I hate - Chavez and Rolen. These two 3B's are done offensively. Honestly right before this pick I somehow talked myself into thinking Chavez could revert to his pre-injured days about 3 years ago. It won't happen, an I'm sure this will be a wasted pick.
1. Andrew Miller
2. Lastings Milledge (Bear)
3. Bengie Molina
4. Barry Zito (Winks)
5. Richie Sexson
6. Ramon Hernandez
7. Akinori Iwamura
8. Randy Johnson
9. Ryan Freel
10. Gary Matthews Jr.
11. Ryan Theriot
12. Tom Glavine
13. Cameron Maybin
14. Felipe Lopez
15. Franklin Morales
16. Tadahito Iguchi
Winks: Sexson might be a great pick here with the way he's been playing in the Spring. These late rounds are usually the rounds where old vets or young prospects are usually taken, I followed that trend with Barry Zito.
Bear: Winks is right on. I love Milledge here. Maybin looks to be a SB only threat, but we are in the rounds where its safe to pick those players. Two guys I like to bounce back a little bit are GMJ and Lopez. I think Theriot is garbage, and only a decent source of SB.
1. Dave Bush
2. Brian Fuentes
3. Jason Giambi
4. Boof Bonser
5. Scott Baker
6. Matt Diaz
7. Xavier Nady
8. Manny Parra
9. Jeff Suppan
10. Octavio Dotel
11. Livan Hernandez
12. Chris Capuano
13. Jon Rauch (Winks)
14. Noah Lowry
15. Jason Kubel (Bear)
16. Luke Scott
Winks: Jon Rauch was a pick designed to wait for Chad Cordero to get hurt or traded. I know it's late, and a lot of the guys are Brewer fans, but I would have strayed from Suppan or Capuano. Neither will be a reliable fantasy guy, especially Suppan. Couple of Twins pitchers went in this round, which could be decent. Dave Bush and Manny Parra also went in this round, Parra might have an impact later in the season.
Bear: 4 Brewer pitchers, and the only ones justified are Parra and Bush. Bush is your typical better fantasy player than real player. Meanwhile Capuano and Suppan should be unowned. What about Suppan draws you to draft him. Not his 4.61 lifetime ERA, or his 1.43 lifetime WHIP or his lifetime .56 K/IP. Sure he'll get you 11 wins but at what cost, he kills you in all other phases. 10 game winners are a dime a dozen on the FA wire each year. Dotel was another horrible pick. I do like Diaz and Nady. I already cut Kubel, but he has decent upside potential.
1. Justin Duchscherer
2. Chris Carpenter (Bear)
3. Micah Owings
4. Reggie Willits (Winks)
5. Jake Westbrook
6. Brendan Harris
7. Dmitri Young
8. Shaun Marcum
9. Ian Kennedy
10. Jacque Jones
11. John Patterson
12. Gio Gonzalez
13. Mark Prior
14. Paul Lo Duca
15. Bob Howry
16. Andre Ethier
Winks: I've already cut Reggie Willits, so that's a wasted pick. Dmitri Young will be good for the first two months, and then fade away. I thought about Ethier here, even though he doesn't start. A lot of these guys being drafted aren't just backups for our fantasy teams, but backups in real life as well, so you're really taking fliers on guys that this point.
Bear: Carpenter is purely a second half run pick and a DL stash. We have two in this league, so I like my move. Ethier is a solid pick as is Kennedy, and Owings. I don't like Young who may split time with Nick Johnson, and John Patterson is years past his fantasy relevance. Plus Patterson only pitched well at RFK, and well, they don't play there anymore. Pass. Gio Gonzalez and Mark Prior could be good sleepers.
1. Chuck James
2. Jason Schmidt
3. Mark Ellis
4. Travis Buck
5. Adam Loewen
6. Ervin Santana
7. Julio Lugo
8. Nate Robertson
9. Al Reyes
10. Claudio Vargas
11. Matt Morris
12. Austin Kearns
13. David Riske (Winks)
14. Brandon Backe
15. Scott Olsen (Bear)
16. Jon Garland
Winks: Doing it over, I would have taken Olsen over Riske. I only took Riske just in case Gagne amounted to nothing. Vargas could be alright here.
Bear: Olsen is the Marlins ace. That really isn't saying much but he does have 150 K's in him and could be a surprise candidate to win 12 games. Most people are simply rounding out rosters at this point.....would be a perfect time to get a decent catcher.
1. Joey Gathright
2. Shawn Hill (Bear)
3. Tim Wakefield
4. Lyle Overbay (Winks)
5. Chad Qualls
6. Kevin Millwood
7. Nelson Cruz
8. Ryan Church
9. Nick Johnson
10. Ronny Paulino
11. Andy Sonnanstine
12. Doug Davis
13. Carlos Ruiz
14. Henry Owens
15. Peter Moylan
16. Daric Barton
Winks: Not much to say about these last picks. Took Overbay just because he used to be a Brewer.
Bear: Cruz pick was maybe a bit of a stretch, I see him as the 5th OF on the Rangers. I do like Church and Barton to have nice seasons. Shawn Hill was purely an ERA and WHIP buffer as he will provide little else.
1. Kyle Kendrick
2. Jay Bruce
3. Joe Crede
4. Coco Crisp
5. Zach Duke
6. Jason Bergmann
7. Ian Stewart
8. Yadier Molina
9. Asdrubal Cabrera
10. Fred Lewis
11. Dallas McPherson
12. Mike Mussina
13. Yuniesky Betancourt (Winks)
14. Milton Bradley
15. Joaquin Benoit (Bear)
16. John Buck
Winks: Jay Bruce is a good pick in this round. Thought Kyle Kendrick would go higher because of the prank that was played on him earlier in the year, I almost took him just because of that. That's why I'm no good at fantasy (although I did win this league last year!)
Bear: Winks keeps talking about how he won the league, he won because of the hot streak he hit at the end of the season winning 6 weeks in a row. It wasn't like he was dominating the season all year long, but sometimes it takes only a couple big weeks to get a win. Jay Bruce is definitely second half of the season guy, he was recently sent down but should be a great talent when recalled later this year.... and he will be recalled, probably sooner than later. If you are gonna own a young Giant OF... don't make it Fred Lewis, make it Rajai Davis.
1. Barry Bonds
2. Dioner Navarro (Bear)
3. Randy Winn
4. Kevin Slowey (Winks)
5. Mike Hampton
6. Eddie Guardado
7. Juan Cruz
8. Joe Dillon
9. Bobby Crosby
10. Ray Durham
11. Mike Pelfrey
12. Tony Gwynn
13. Brad Hennessey
14. Russ Springer
15. David Weathers
16. Melvin Mora
Winks: Thought about Bonds, but passed. Someone had to take him though. This is the round where you take guys, "just in case", although Melvin Mora as Mr. Irrelevant in a draft where more than half the the active players in MLB were taken is a solid pick.
Bear: I took Navarro with my last pick, a catcher, and guess what.... Shortly after I was able to grab Carlos Ruiz off of the FA list. Ruiz is a projected top 12 Catcher. Interesting. Mora was Mr. Irrelevant and is actually a great selection. Durham was also a good pick. Gwynn and Dillon are dumb picks because they are likely to split time with Kapler and Gross as well, for 25 games while Cameron is out and after that, they will be virtually useless. The last 10 rounds of drafts are great times to pick some guys that could really fit the "sleeper" mold, to make novelty or humor picks is really dumb. Last year in the final 5 rounds of our draft players like Oliver Perez, Andre Ethier, Alex Gordon, Mike Lowell, Rafael Soriano, Troy Tulowitzki, J.J. Hardy, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Chris Duncan and Jeff Francis were drafted.
Quick programming note to pass along. If you got the day off, or can sneak to a TV at work, there's one more chance to catch a Brewers spring training telecast. The Brewers play the Colorado Rockies today on FSN Wisconsin, game time 3:05pm.
Highlights from the week that was at The Bucky Channel:
* The NCAA Tournament dominated the week in sports, here are our random thoughts from Thursday morning, Thursday afternoon, and Friday.
* Speaking of, the Badgers roll to the Sweet Sixteen, while Marquette exits.
* The Badgers are in the final sixteen for hockey as well.
* Farewell, Larry Harris.
* The return of NFLN vs. ESPN!
The problem of the Brewers pitching surplus may be solved very shortly. That solution, however, could be season ending surgery for Chris Capuano.
According to Brewers.com (which has a new look by the way, check it out), "An MRI scan last week revealed that Capuano has a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and at best he will choose to skip surgery for a three-month rehabilitation. But the overwhelming odds are that Capuano will instead opt for the second season-ending Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery of his career, then a year-long rehabilitation."
Cappy had a rough second half of the season after being named to the All-Star last season, and subsequently has been the subject of trade talks since the season ended. I'm guessing it's surgery for him, and his career as a Brewer could be over.
In other news, the Brewers roster is clearing up after Laynce Nix was sent down to the minor leagues.
A three-run home run from Rickie Weeks was the difference for the Brewers Sunday as they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4. It's been more than a week since Weeks has seen action, but his performance today was encouraging, especially after the rough spring he's been having.
On the mound, Jeff Suppan got the start and pitched five innings, giving up three runs to "improve" his ERA to 9.17 for the Spring. Seth McClung got the win, Brian Shouse the save.
TBC's Player of the Game: Rickie Weeks
If I were to tell you about a team with a losing record that still was able to make the playoffs, you'd probably think I was refering to a team in the NBA's Eastern Conference. The fact is, we're talking about the Wisconsin Badgers' men's hockey team. The Badgers, at 15-16-1, were selected as an at-large bid in the 16 team NCAA tournament, and will host Denver this Saturday night. Denver is 26-13-1, but Madison was already deemed the host site.
The Badgers made the tournament thanks in part to some mysterious criteria and computer formula used to determine the at-large bids. Wisconsin made the team over Minnesota State, who was 19-16-4. Minnesota State won every head-to-head comparison with Wisconsin this season, but the lost out in the computer formula. So instead, it's the Badgers who will take on Denver this Saturday at 6:30pm. Hey, anyone want to go to the game?
If you're new to the site, you may not be aware of a game we like to play every so often called NFLN vs. ESPN. It started after I stated the NFL Network is better than ESPN, so I randomly check in with both channels to see if my statement holds true.
ESPN: Sportscenter, a program I really don't watch anymore, at least not with volume (I'm usually in a bar when I watch). They're talking college basketball, which is good. Uh oh, here comes Stu Scott, which is bad.
NFLN: Here's a pleasant surprise. NFL Replay featuring the Packers and the Charges from Week 3 of the 2007 NFL Season. A blowout victory of the NFLN tonight. (Single tear, Favre just threw a touchdown to Bubba Franks, both ex-Packers.)
NFLN 4, ESPN 3
Yikes. That was rough. In a back and forth game, it was eventually the Stanford Cardinal that came out ahead in one of the best games the tournament has had to offer so far. They topped the Golden Eagles in overtime, 82-81.
They went into overtime tied at 71, and then traded a few 3 pointers in overtime before a jumper from one of the Lopez boys with 1.3 seconds to go gave the Cardinal the final lead of the game. Jerel McNeal had 30 points in the losing effort for Marquette.
It's a tough way to go, but Marquette easily would have deserved to be Sweet Sixteen teams. They had a great season, and it's a shame it couldn't have continued further.
(In other shocking news, the Bucks beat the Cavs 108-98 tonight).
While many people outside of the great state of Wisconsin thought the Badgers wouldn't make it past the second round, the Badgers continued to play some of their best basketball of the season. After holding Cal State Fullerton to their lowest point total of the season, the Badgers do the same thing to Kansas State as they come away with the 72-55 victory.
Freshman phenom Michael Beasley was able to get his 23 points, 13 rebounds, but didn't get enough help around him as the Badgers were able to shut down the high scoring offense ofthe Wildcats. Offensively, they were just as hot, getting 25 from Trevon Hughes, 15 from Michael Flowers, and 14 from Greg Stiemsma.
The Badgers are now headed to the Sweet Sixteen, where they will face the winner of Georgetown / Davidson. Don't count the Badgers out no matter who they play. They should be the two seed in this region anyways, and I would consider them the favorite next weekend. There are a lot of Big Ten haters out there, but Wisconsin plays their basketball a certain way; they work the clock, and they clamp down on defensive. They won't put 90 points down on you night in and night out, but if they wanted to, they're capable enough to do so. Stop making excuses for why the Badgers are winning. They won the Big Ten, they're in the Sweet Sixteen, they're a good basketball team. Next week, they'll just get yet another chance to prove that.
Last week it seemed every Brewer pitcher on the fringe of making the starting rotation was pitching incredible. This week, it's as if they are playing themselves out of the job. The latest rough outing was from Claudio Vargas, who gave up 4 runs in 3 2/3 innings of work. The Brewers also gave up 4 late runs from Chris Narveson, and lost today to the Giants 8-1.
The Brewers only had six hits in this one, two of them coming from Tony Gwynn. Their lone was scored on an a throwing error by the Giants.
The Brewers wrap up Spring Training this week before heading back to Milwaukee for some exhibition games against the Royals, and then face the Cubs on Opening Day, March 31st.
TBC's Player of the Game: Tony Gywnn Jr.
It was a 3 run shot from Ryan Braun that put the Brewers out in front in the first inning, and eventually led them to a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres. Dave Bush pitched five innings giving up two, while Carlos Villanueva pitched four innngs giving up one hit, both in convincing efforts as they battle their way into the rotation, or onto the team for that matter. Again, Kendall batted ninth in today's contest, which might not turn out to be a bad move in the long run, but it's one we're still not in support of. Whether or not that move will be a part of the Opening Day lineup or not remains to be seen, but it appears Ned is pretty close to knowing just what that lineup will be.
I highly recommend checking out NFL Predictions and out Free College Football Picks from the legendary National Sports Advisors as well as updated daily NFL Odds and College Football Odds this football season. NSAwins.com posts updated 2013 Super Bowl Futures Odds and Super Bowl Betting Props in addition to BCS Championship Odds and College Bowl Odds throughout the season. Also be sure to get Free NFL Picks and the best Sportsbook Reviews daily from NSAwins.com.