Friday, August 27, 2010

The Next Mark Prior

Future All-Star game starter. Future Cy Young Winner. Future Hall-of-Famer.

Future Mark Prior?

Such is the all-too possible scenario of one Stephen Strasburg. The news comes out today that the savior of the Nationals (and possibly the universe the way people have talked about him) has a torn ligament in his pitching arm, needs Tommy John surgery to fix it, and will likely be out for 12-18 months. Maybe the Nats can get Bryce Harper pitching again.

You had to wonder as soon as Strasburg flashed the triple digit fastball at the major league level: can any man's arm sustain throwing that hard as a starting pitcher? "But his delivery is so effortless- the ball just jumps out of his hand." That's what we all said- myself included. Apparently it only looked effortless. Apparently the massive torque on that long right arm was more than it could handle.

It is not all gloom and doom for the future of Strasburg. There are those who have come back from Tommy John surgery to have phenomenal major league careers, most notably Chris Carpenter, who is 31-9 with a 2.55 ERA since he had his. The surgery's purpose, after all, is to be an arm/career saver. But one now has to wonder if it is more likely that Strasburg, if not the next Mark Prior, is the next Kerry Wood: a future good closer.

Wood is actually a good comparison because most folks said the same things about him that they did about Strasburg, despite the different body type. Triple digit fastball. Ridiculous slider. Mechanics and control well beyond his years. Strasburg had 14 K's in his major league debut. Wood matched Roger Clemens' still-MLB-record 20 K's in one game his rookie year. But Wood learned quickly what Strasburg is now facing: perhaps the arm cannot sustain the skill. Inigo Montoya with a dull blade.

And it all brings up this point: for all the wonder and awe that Strasburg came up with, there is simply no guarantee that anyone, pitcher or hitter, will match the potential. In a mere moment we have gone from discussing whether or not he should have been on the all-star team (almost exclusively because of how exciting he is) to waiting for at least a year to see if he'll come out on the other side with a starter's arm.

In spring training this year some of Strasburg's teammates took to calling him "Jesus" because of how much hype surrounded him. The namesake pulled off a pretty impressive resurrection. We'll have to wait and see if Stephen Strasburg follow suit.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Darelle Revis needs to get over himself.

Just to remind every Jest fan who the Defensive Player of the Year was.

Anyway. Anyone who's been following football this summer/preseason (Yes I love football and have no life, get over it) has probably heard that Darelle Revis, the best cornerback in the league, did not a contract massive enough for his ego, and wants a new one. He reportedly turned down a 10 year, $120 Million contract, because he wants to be paid like the best CB in the league (that being Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders, who (surprise surprise) was overpaid by Al Davis). Asomugha earns $16 Million per year, so that's how much Revis wants. Makes sense right? Well here are some of the issues.

1. This isn't baseball. In a salary capped NFL, teams can't just spend as much money as they want. Just because Al Davis overpaid Asomugha, doesn't mean the Jest can afford to do the same with Revis. I mean seriously, turning down $120 Million dollars by saying it's not enough is just foolish. Also, Revis needs to remember that there is a possibility of a lockout next year meaning, no football. How does a football player get a job playing football if there is no football to play? I don't know. But getting paid $12 Million to sit on your butt waiting for the Owners and NFLPA to work something out sounds fine by me.

2. There's no guarantee that Revis plays like the best CB in the league for however long his contract runs. Sure, he probably deserves a raise from the 1 Million he's earning now, I'll give him that, but one good year does not make you a proven player, just look at Matt Forte. Now I know what you're thinking. Probably something like "But Matthew, he shut down all the best receivers of EVERY team he played, like Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, Randy Moss (Twice), Reggie Wayne, etc. Doesn't that make him proven?" And to that I say, no. Because he did not shut down every receiver he played every time he played them, so he's not proven. Unless you count staring at the back of Ted Ginn Jr.'s Jersey really hard (twice) as shutting down. Then I guess he shut him down. If he's excellent against every receiver he plays against again, pay the man his money. Just not a mega-contract.

One other thing I laugh at is how the Jest think they can win or even sustain a respectable defense without him too. He allowed them to blitz like maniacs because he could lock down one side of the field. If I were a player on the Jest, I'd hate the man. I'd probably be writing an angry blog post like this. If I were a Jest fan, I'd be even angrier. The dude just comes off as ridiculously selfish. Definitely not deserving of a ludicrous, Yankee-esque contract.

Now if he were to just leave the Jest and take his talents to Green Bay, Wisconsin....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Some Thoughts on Fantasy Football: Three I like, Three I don't: QB

It's been a while since the last post here (and my brother needs to get off his lazy butt and contribute a bit, before this turns into "Stranded Brother who Likes Sports") and my main league's fantasy football draft is coming up. So even though it's probably bad strategy to give away some players I'll probably reach on and some I won't, I'm going to do it anyway. I'm just going to share 3 players at each position I like relative to where they're being picked in drafts, and 3 I don't. I'm only going to talk about the three main positions, those being Quarterback, Running Back, and Wide Receiver, and I'm going to do this in three separate blog posts.

1. Joe Flacco - Who doesn't like this guy? He's finally got more than one decent receiver around him (he's got Boldin, Mason, and Stallworth, if you consider the last one decent, which I do.), his running game is excellent at both running and catching passes, and his O-Line is among the best in the league. Flacco is being drafted as a great backup (kind of like Matt Schaub last year), when he will perform like a starter.
2. Matthew Stafford - Yeah, he plays on the Lions, and yeah, he's probably gonna get sacked quite a bit. But his offense is much better this season compared to last, and he's (hopefully) learned his system. Calvin is Calvin, Burleson will ideally take some of the pressure of Calvin, and there's also 2 great pass catching Tight Ends in Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. His teammates love him for his grit in the Detroit - Cleveland Shootout, and assuming he holds up, he should be solid.
3. Matt Moore - Yeah, I know the Panthers are going to run a lot, and there's also that Jimmy Clausen guy on that team, but when you're a coach on a contract year, you need wins. Moore went 4-1 as a starter last year, beating teams such as the Giants and Vikings. He takes great care of the Football, and won't lose a game. I had him at the end of last year, and he was fantastic, a big reason why I finished 2nd (I play in a 2QB league, my other starter was Schaub). He's better for his team, and his coach knows it.

1. Peyton Manning - How in God's name do I justify not liking Peyton Manning? Simple. Assuming his team is performing Peyton-esque down the stretch, he's sitting in your fantasy playoff weeks. In addition, there's QBs going after him with slightly worse stats such as Brady, Romo, and Schaub. Not worth reaching for when he'll ditch you when you need him most.
2. Kevin Kolb - I don't draft a guy as if he's a proven starter when he's not. There's plenty of upside, but I'm not comfortable drafting him as a starter because he hasn't proven himself yet. People like to point to last year's 2 starts, when the Saints Defense owned him, and he owned the Chief's Defense. Owning the Chiefs defense is nothing special, and does not a guaranteed fantasy starter make
3. Jay Cutler - No, this isn't just my inner Packers Fan speaking. I just don't think Mike Martz can make a difference at all with this guy. He's just not careful enough with the ball. In a Martz offense, which specializes in putting huge numbers with lots of Interceptions and lots of Sacks, Cutler could very easily be sacked 40 times, and throw 35 picks. Plus, he doesn't have anyone great to throw to. Johnny Knox is fast, and Devin Aromashodu can catch. Not exactly Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce there.

Writing a post like this makes me feel a bit sorry for the guys who do this on ESPN regularly. It's much tougher than it sounds, at least if you want to give any decent reasoning behind it.