Archives for: 2011, week 22

06/02/11

Diamond Men Select Most Overrated Major Leaguers

Permalink 04:46:22 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

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Sports Illustrated recently polled 185 Major League Baseball players asking a simple question. Who is the most overrated player in baseball? Results were released back in May. A few names will surprise, most will not.

Let's break down the TOP 10 results with a little commentary.

MLB's Overrated Team
1 - ALEX RODRIGUEZ Alex is #1 overrated. Tough choice picking a clear cut #1. Hard to argue against this one. Former steroid user who once claimed his cousin supplied PED's is once again under MLB scrutiny for possible abuses. "The Steroid Mule", cousin Yuri, has been spotted in Yankees team hotels recently despite being banned from any team related facility. Get ready for a new scandal. Putting this aside, and his legendary stats, it's obvious to Yankees fans ARod's lack of clutch hitting in key moments of games throughout a lengthy career clearly earns this guy top honors.

"I have been on that list many, many times, it will be the same next summer," said Rodriguez.

2 - JOBA CHAMBERLAIN Joba began his career in grand style giving up just 1 run in 24 innings while striking out 34 back in 2007. It hasn't necessarily been all downhill since as Joba's settles in a set up man for Rivera. #2 ranking is way out of whack here. Perhaps it's just a general anti-Yankee venom kicking in or perhaps it's the fact Chamberlain's antics haven't won over many friends on opposing teams? It's a safe bet to conclude both. Joba doesn't crack my top 10.

Chamberlain joked to ESPN.com that, "I guess I'm disappointed that I'm not number one again," after being voted No. 1 last season. "I don't care . . . My bills are still paid and I still have a job. You can call me whatever you want, just don't call me late for dinner. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. That's why this country is so great."

3 - DEREK JETER Third most overrated player? Really? Jeter did begin the year struggling after a lengthy and public contract battle during off-season. The Yankees captain has forever been attacked. First time I can recall fellow players dissing his play. No doubt Jeter's career is winding down. But, overrated? He's still a top 5 all around AL shortstop even with diminishing stats and big season ending slump last year. The deeper I get into these rankings the more I begin to believe they're based solely on salaries. This should be an "overpaid" top 10, not overrated! Jeter is quickly closing in on 3,000 career hits. He'll become the only Yankee in their storied history to amass 3,000 hits!

"It’s the same thing they do every year, right?" Jeter asked. DJ, SI’s 2009 Man of the Year said, "I’m focused on more positive things. How about that? There’s your quote." (northjersey.com)

4 - JAYSON WERTH Werth is quickly remembering hitting outside of Philadelphia's tiny home park is hard. Especially in Washington. A stellar defensive RF, clutch hitter (13 HR, 24 XBH in 44 career playoff games) and very frustrated in 1st season as a National. Led NL in doubles last season (46) and big clutch performer voted onto this list based on last season? Or, strictly because of a big salary (signed 7 years/$126M)? Overrated, give me a break. 2011 is especially tough with zero lineup protection in Washington and lack of runners on base. No way close to a top 10 overrated player.

5 - JONATHAN PAPELBON Finally, a player in the top 10 I agree belongs. Papelbon was one of the games best closers only 2 short years ago. However, he no longer dominates. It's a guessing game whenever he takes the hill. Confidence shaken? Time will tell.

6 - NICK SWISHER Agreed. Swisher quickly became a fan favorite in New York. It's been a mixed bag for Nick in NY. Batted only .226 at home in first Yankee season when baseball's were flying out of their new Stadium. He played great last year so one wonders how he got here... until watching his play in 2011 (or lack thereof). Struggling big time in 2011. Nobody should be surprised if Swisher's average never rises above .230 this season.

7 - B.J. UPTON Here's a guy who could easily rank higher... perhaps #2? A projected 5 tool player has all the skills but lacks focus and consistency. Mostly low year to year batting averages, often spaces out in CF and lack of clutch performances earns B.J. a top 10 nod.

8 - DAVID ORTIZ Another former PED junkie cracks the top 10. How does a .313, 13 HR slugger make this list? Probably from back to back slow starts to 2009-10 seasons. He's no top 10. His second half performance of '10 should have wiped the slate clean. Obviously it didn't. Even Ortiz strikeout totals are way down in 2011. Perhaps some of these anonymous voters reside in the Tri-State area?

9 - A.J. BURNETT A.J. possesses great pitches from fastball to slider but command issues kept popping up until recently. Undoubtedly a top 5 in 2010. Coming on strong in '11.

10 - MANNY RAMIREZ Here's my NUMBER ONE overrated player. #2 isn't even close. Manny wore out his welcome in Boston. Connected numerous times to steroids/PED including back in April when he voluntarily retired instead of facing MLB disciplinary action for getting caught AGAIN! Injuries and suspensions highlighted his last few seasons. Tampa Bay gambled during the off-season and signed Manny as full time DH only to get burned by a player who NEVER respected the game, teammates, managers, fans and employers. A poster child for everything wrong with baseball. Good riddance!

Sports Illustrated photo gallery shows off 16 overrated players. You've read their top 10. The following are a couple of shockers....
13 - EVAN LONGORIA How in the world did Longoria make this list? Overrated? Not even overpaid! Great defense, big time offense, young player on the rise, plays with poise and produces in the clutch. What more can you want? Very surprising selection.

16 - ALBERT PUJOLS Ok, this poll lost all credibility when reading Pujols name. I defy anybody claim there's been a more consistent player over the past 11 years than Albert Pujols (career statistics). In 10 full seasons, 100 or more runs scored 9 times and scored 99 in only year below 100. Knocked in well over 100 runs every single season. Never batted below .312, plays solid defense, hits in the clutch, a team player. These are Lou Gehrig type numbers and to think anyone with any sort of baseball knowledge considers Pujols an overrated player speaks volumes to Sports Illustrated anonymous poll's credibility.

06/01/11

MLB All Star Game Voting Updates

Permalink 04:45:07 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

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Voting for baseball's 2011 All Star Game in Arizona is underway. Let the controversy begin. Every year we hear various folks questioning the ballot process. Should fans, players or MLB determine starters? It's an endless circle. Bottom line is there will never be 100% consensus on how the process should proceed.

The biggest of controversies always surround deserving players left out of the game in favor of a weaker performer who garnered more votes. Guess what folks? If you haven't noticed, All Star Game voting is based largely on player popularity. The best player doesn't always receive the most votes. It's a shame when players are left off AL/NL squads. But, it happens. Don't go pointing fingers at fan voting.

All Star Games have always been labeled "for the fans" so there should be no surprise when fan voting results don't necessarily represent the top players of the moment. It's up to the fans to select starters and only starters (25% of the team). So don't buy into fans keeping somebody out. Managers and MLB determine the final slots (reserves) and all pitchers. Plus, every team must be represented which further hinders the selection process.

The only problem I have is ballot box stuffing encouraged by MLB. There's no limit on how many paper ballots fans can fill out at stadiums around the leagues. Up to 25 ballots per email account can be submitted by online voters. So when a slew of players from a particular city lead in vote tallies it becomes obvious their fans are a bit more enthusiastic casting ballots. If you haven't voted yet... head over to MLB.com for an online ballot or get out the your local stadium.

Here are the current voting results as of June 1, 2011 (as posted by MLB.com)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
CATCHER
Russell Martin, Yankees: 843,459
Joe Mauer, Twins: 593,949
Alex Avila, Tigers: 407,463
Carlos Santana, Indians: 395,892
Yorvit Torrealba, Rangers: 337,737

FIRST BASE
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 827,247
Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: 685,262
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 657,594
Mitch Moreland, Rangers: 278,055
Adam Lind, Blue Jays: 256,782

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 1,185,952
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 586,361
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 502,012
Orlando Cabrera, Indians: 384,004
Ben Zobrist, Rays: 352,904

THIRD BASE
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 945,127
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 755,551
Evan Longoria, Rays: 588,463
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox: 491,422
Maicer Izturis, Angels: 199,423

SHORTSTOP
Derek Jeter, Yankees: 931,410
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: 672,105
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 560,309
Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays: 320,874
Erick Aybar, Angels: 215,991

OUTFIELD
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 1,261,659
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 994,315
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 748,240
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 674,406
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 514,006
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 494,721
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 465,984
Grady Sizemore, Indians: 457,185
Carl Crawford, Red Sox: 440,626
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 407,517
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 370,989
Shin-Soo Choo, Indians: 366,575
Sam Fuld, Rays: 310,520
J.D. Drew, Red Sox: 307,684
B.J. Upton, Rays: 277,173

DESIGNATED HITTER
Michael Young, Rangers: 646,979
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 618,609
Jorge Posada, Yankees: 414,733
Travis Hafner, Indians: 407,334
Johnny Damon, Rays: 353,340

NATIONAL LEAGUE
CATCHER
Buster Posey, Giants: 785,314
Brian McCann, Braves: 633,987
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 595,576
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 354,680
Ramon Hernandez, Reds: 350,771

FIRST BASE
Albert Pujols, Cardinals: 988,784
Joey Votto, Reds: 806,346
Prince Fielder, Brewers: 540,269
Ryan Howard, Phillies: 521,220
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 200,886

SECOND BASE
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 837,778
Rickie Weeks, Brewers: 562,071
Chase Utley, Phillies: 561,585
Dan Uggla, Braves: 465,219
Freddy Sanchez, Giants: 347,713

THIRD BASE
Placido Polanco, Phillies: 724,724
Chipper Jones, Braves: 540,168
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 522,037
David Wright, Mets: 500,200
Scott Rolen, Reds: 370,271

SHORTSTOP
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 975,777
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies: 454,782
Jose Reyes, Mets: 408,699
Alex Gonzalez, Braves: 328,021
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks: 303,811

OUTFIELD
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 971,809
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 927,778
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 872,434
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 776,971
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 549,215
Jason Heyward, Braves: 484,291
Shane Victorino, Phillies: 476,644
Carlos Beltran, Mets: 389,561
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: 354,231
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: 338,487
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: 337,728
Jay Bruce, Reds: 337,380
Raul Ibanez, Phillies: 294,294
Drew Stubbs, Reds: 292,907
Martin Prado, Braves: 284,558

05/31/11

NBA & NHL Championship Predictions

Permalink 11:07:36 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

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2010-11 basketball and hockey displayed jaw dropping highlights all year long. From pre-season NBA signing antics of LeBron James to Dirk's unbelievable Western Conference Championship performance leading the Mavs into the Finals. Miami's big 3 vs Dallas balanced attack promises to thrill viewers from minute to minute.

NHL ice action kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout playoff action. The Stanley Cup Finals displays two of the games gutsiest teams. Vancouver vs Boston will showcase hockey at its' very best.

So who will be crowned 2010-11 Champs?

NBA
Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks. Fans from both cities firmly believe their team is best. Miami has James, Wade and Bosh. Dallas has the deepest squad in the game led by Nowitzki and veteran PG Jason Kidd.
Miami's defense must be Johnny on the spot if the Heat expect to win it all. Dallas brings an excellent ball movement offense and aren't too shabby in the fast break category either.
For Dallas, eliminating unnecessary turnovers is a must or Miami will turn them all into fast break opportunities.
Defensive match-ups for both teams are challenging.
Dallas in 6!

NHL
Vancouver Canucks vs Boston Bruins
This will either be a very close series minute by minute or a Vancouver route. Boston defense and goal tending is tops. Vancouver's high flying offense will put them to the test. Bruins power play has been non-existent but they've overcome offensive deficiencies by playing stellar defense.
Two teams couldn't be more opposites than Boston and Vancouver. Here they are, going for it all.
I've been a big Bruins fan since the days of Esposito, Orr, Cheevers. Followed them intensely during the brutal 70's with O'Reilly, Milbury & Co. Then came the Ray Bourque era. Those days are long gone. Now's the time for the new look Bruins to plant a flag on their place in NHL history.
Bruins get it done in 7!

05/30/11

MLB: Memorial Day Power Rankings

Permalink 04:48:02 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

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2011 has been a strange season. Baseball injury bugs are swarming. Players beware. Injuries are contagious. Multiple players have made visits to disabled lists around the league for oblique strains. Next up catchers. Buster Posey was lost for the year in a jarring home plate collision. Guess what happened next? Another trend. Catchers being lost by ankle and knee injuries due to collisions. Fantasy managers have their work cut out for themselves like never before. Injuries creating roster emergencies. It's been reported more than a few skippers absorbing up to 12 injuries at once decimating rosters leaving them to scramble for replacements.

Cleveland continues to dazzle. Phillies almost back at full strength. Mets announce a new minority owner. Yankees sliding. Red Sox surging. Time for power rankings (through games of 8/30/11):

1 - Philadelphia (34-20)
2 - Cleveland (31-19)
3 - St, Louis (32-22)
4 - Florida (30-21)
5 - Boston (30-23)
6 - Yankees (28-23)
7 - Arizona (29-24)
8 - Atlanta (30-25)
9 - Milwaukee (29-34)
10- Tampa Bay (28-24)

Happy Memorial Day Americans!