Thursday, November 25, 2010

College Football: Week 13 Picks

Alabama -4
LSU +4
Oklahoma +3
Texas Tech -9
Best Bet: UConn -1
Upset: Colorado +17
Record: 43-38-2 (Best Bet: 7-5; Upset: 5-6-1)

NFL: Week 12 Picks

Cowboys +4
Redskins -3
Rams +4.5
Best Bet: Jets -9
Upset: Titans +7

Record: 31-22-2 (Best Bet: 6-5; Upset 5-4-2)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Three Things That Shocked Me Today

1) Peter King insinuating (item 2 in "10 Things") that the Patriots wiretap the opponent's locker room at Gillette Stadium. How is this not a bigger deal?
2) Andrew Brandt (last line) suggesting that this weekend's matchup between Brett Favre and the Packers might not be the last of its kind. I really enjoy Brandt's work, but I hope he's wrong about this one.
3) The fact those in charge of tomorrow's football game at Wrigley Field didn't take the brick wall into consideration until a day before kickoff. Sure, this is the first game on these hallowed grounds since 1938, but how can you tell me no one considered this before today?


Thanks for the link in today's Baseball Blogs Weigh In, Mike.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NFL: Week 11 Picks

A nice 4-1 Week 10 has us 10 games over .500 for the first time this year in the NFL. When we hit that mark in college football, a devastating week followed (0-6). Let's hope we can avoid a similar fate in the pro game this week.
Bucs +3: The 49ers have done very little to garner any respect from me.
Bills +5.5: Buffalo has to be feeling good about their first win while the Bengals are filled with disappointment.
Giants +3: In a move that will shock loyal reader Lanzador27, I'm taking the Giants and the points this week.
Best Bet: Dolphins -1.5: The Bears are not good. This spread is only low because few people trust Tyler Thigpen. I think he can "manage" the game and lead Miami to victory.
Upset: Raiders +8: Oakland is a good team. Hard to believe, I know.
Record: 29-19-2 (Best Bet: 6-4; Upset 5-3-2)

College Football: Week 12 Picks

In a nice improvement over week 10's winless effort, we went 4-3 in Week 11. Time to have a big week.
Georgia State +57 - If only because I can't imagine I will ever get 57 points again. Plus, Alabama figures to rest most of its starters in preparation for the Iron Bowl next week against Auburn.
Fresno State +30.5 - The Broncos need to keep winning convincingly, but Pat Hill and the Bulldogs always compete against the nation's best teams.
Ole MIss +16 - These teams always play tight games, and remember, we cannot bet on any team coached by Les Miles. 
Army +8 - Going to the game. Need to take some action.
San Diego State +3 - The Aztecs took TCU to the brink last week. They are good again. Believe.
UConn +4 - Syracuse has certainly improved, but I'm not sure they are the class of the Big East just yet.

Best Bet: Virginia Tech -2.5 - The Hokies have won eight straight and own the ACC.
Upset: Northwestern +7.5 - Dan Persa is important to the Wildcats, but the Illini are coming off a loss to lowly Minnesota.

Record: 39-34-2 (Best Bet: 6-5; Upset: 5-5-1)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Notable Minor League Free Agents

Earlier this week, the official list of minor league free agents was announced. Here are 35 (of 533) that interested me.
The "What Could Have Beens: First Rounder Edition" 
Clint Everts (Blue Jays) - Drafted fifth overall in the 2002 Draft by the Montreal Expos (R.I.P.), Everts never appeared in a Major League game. In fact, he only saw action in 11 games above the AA level. Oh yea, in that same draft, Zach Greinke went sixth and Prince Fielder went seventh overall. Salt, meet wound.
Chris Lubanski (Blue Jays) - Although he has yet to see any Major League action, the fifth overall pick in the 2003 Draft (Royals) still might have a future in the game. He will only be 26 on Opening Day 2011, and he slugged .538 in (hitter-friendly) AAA Las Vegas in 2010. Drafted in large part because of his speed, Lubanski has only swiped 69 bags in eight professional seasons.
Eric Duncan (Braves) - Selected in the first round by the Yankees in 2003, Duncan - a local product from New Jersey - was supposed to be the next "big thing" to hit the Bronx. Unfortunately, things never panned out for him as his .720 minor league career OPS would attest. I remember it being a huge deal around this area when he hit the facade of the old Yankee Stadium during a pre-draft BP session. I also remember hearing a story from a trusted source that played on a rival youth team which claimed Duncan made only one out during the entire summer when he was 12-years old (a scorching liner to center).
Joe Borchard (Giants) - The White Sox selected Borchard 12th overall in 2000 and gave him a record $5.3m signing bonus to convince him to give up football. It worked...for Borchard. He hit all of 12 homers for the South Siders between 2002 and 2005, not exactly the return on investment they had hoped for. The team was able to recoup some value when they dealt him to Seattle for reliever Matt Thornton in 2006. Borchard has not returned to the bigs since 2007.
Russ Adams (Mets) - Following a strong junior campaign at UNC Chapel Hill that saw Adams steal 45 bases, the Blue Jays selected him 14th overall in 2002. Adams has done absolutely nothing of note as a professional in any facet of the game.
Chad Cordero (Mets) - Arm troubles have spelled doom for the former 47-save closer. He was popped by the Expos 20th overall in 2003.
Lou Montanez (Orioles) - Selected third overall by the Cubs in 2000 as a slick-fielding shortstop, Sweet Lou never lived up to the billing. He eventually moved to the outfield where he had a cup of coffee with the Orioles in each of the last three seasons. [For what it's worth, the 2000 MLB Draft could be one of the weakest on record.] 
Ryan Harvey (Rockies) - Drafted sixth overall by the Cubs in 2003, Harvey has never reached any level above AA.
John Van Benschoten (Yankees) - Since being picked eighth by the Pirates in 2001, JVB has given up more earned runs (92) than innings pitched (90) in the Majors. He has walked (68) more batters than he has struck out (65). He has also allowed 125 hits. Not exactly what the Pirates had in mind.
The "What Could Have Beens: Second Rounder Edition"
Dallas McPherson (A's) -  A classic four-A hitter done in by his lack-of contact skills. At one time, he rated as high as 12th on Baseball America's minor league prospect list.
Michael Restovich (Dodgers) - Picked by the Twins in the same draft as Michael Cuddyer, the two came through the minors together. Restovich, however, stalled in Triple-A.
Eddy Martinez-Esteve (Mariners) - A hitting machine at FSU, EME's skills never translated to the professional game, posting more than nine homers in only one of his seven minor league seasons.
Jeremy Reed (White Sox) -  Drafted by the White Sox in 2002, his career has come full circle. Unfortunately for all teams that employed Reed - White Sox, Mariners, Mets, and Blue Jays - he never came close to living up to the hype that once surrounded him. A complete lack of power is to blame.
The "What Could Have Beens: Everyone Else Edition"
Andy Marte (Indians) - Marte ranked as a top-50 prospect as early as age 19. He was going to be the Braves' franchise player, and his hype at that time nearly rivaled that of Jason Heyward. Clearly, he never met expectations.
Joel Guzman (Orioles) - A big-time prospect in the Dodgers' system, he quickly outgrew the infield and his lack of consistency prevented him from accomplishing much at the big league level. His claim to fame might be the fact he was traded for Julio Lugo, as sad as that may be.
D'Angelo Jimenez (Twins) - A player once regarded as a better prospect than Alfonso Soriano, Jimenez's career was derailed - and he was nearly killed - in an automobile accident near his home in the Dominican Republic.
The "Really? We Made a Big Deal About This Trade" Guys
On December 12, 2006, the Rockies traded Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio to the Astros for Willy Taveras, Jason Hirsh, and Taylor Bucholz. Four short years later, Jennings (A's), Hirsh (Yankees), and Taveras (Rangers) find themselves on the free agent list proving once again that this trade was a complete waste of time.
The "Ones That Still Might"
Angel Salome (Brewers) - The most surprising name on this list to me, as recently as two years ago, Salome was considered the future backstop in Milwaukee. After requesting a position change, the vertically-challenged, far-from-starving Angel finds himself in limbo.
Wily Mo Pena (Padres) - Limitless power with no way to harness it. Someone will take a chance on him yet again.
Wladimir Balentien (Reds) - Yesterday, Balentien signed a deal in Japan, but for my money, I don't think we've seen the last of the Mariners' former top prospect.
The "Once Upon A Timers"
Chris Shelton (Astros) - Fantasy baseball players will remember that Shelton made waves back in 2006 when he hit 9 homers in the Tigers' first 13 games. He then proceeded to hit only seven more in his next 102 games. A fun run while it lasted.
Dontrelle Willis (Giants) - If you don't know his story by now, how on Earth did you find this blog?
Gookie Dawkins (Marlins) - A great name from the past despite the fact he accomplished very little as a big leaguer.
Josh Barfield (Padres) - The former top prospect who was traded for Kevin Kouzmanoff after a promising rookie season (13 homers, 21 steals), Barfield has never come close to producing again at that level.
Mark Prior (Rangers) - See Dontrelle Willis.
Mike Maroth (Twins) - It probably shouldn't really surprise us that a player made famous because he lost 21 games in a season finds himself on any type of free agent list.
The "Notable Ex-Mets"
Endy Chavez (Rangers) - The person responsible for the greatest defensive play of all time, Chavez was a grind-it-out type fan favorite in New York even before that play. I will never forget "The Catch."
Carlos Delgado (Red Sox) - The end is finally upon Delgado after one last-ditch effort in 2010. He has nothing to be ashamed about as his career included two All Star appearances, five top-12 MVP finishes, 473 home runs, and a career OPS+ of 138.
Jason Isringhausen (Reds) - A member of the Mets' famed "Big 3," Izzy ended up being the only decent player. [For those trying to remember the other two: Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson.] He was a two-time All Star and racked up 293 career saves, leading the NL once with 47. He earned just north of $56m for his efforts. A very solid career which probably should have concluded a few years ago.
Kaz Matsui (Rockies) - We were told he was "the next great thing from Japan." Clearly, we were lied to.
The "Ones I Played Against"
Brandon Jones (Tigers) - Easily the best player I ever competed against, Jones hit a 400-foot shot against us as an eighth grader. His Team Florida squad mercy-ruled us in all of three innings. My OBYJ team's performance that day can be described in the exact way I would summarize Jones' professional career: forgettable.
Reid Gorecki (Yankees) - Never really a top prospect, my high school team played (and defeated) his team twice in 1999. He was a 12th round pick of the Cardinals and saw action in 31 games with Braves during the 2008 season.
And, Finally... The "Joke's On You" Guy
Ryan Braun (White Sox) - Never really a huge prospect, but he brings to mind a funny memory. In my first year of doing fantasy baseball auction drafts, someone brought up his name with the hopes that another player would mistake him for the Brewers' Ryan Braun. It worked perfectly when another newbie to auction drafts spent $35 on the Royals' middle reliever.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Great News

The Sports Banter App has just passed the "500 Download" mark. Eddie Murray's next (504). Gary Sheffield (509) will follow shortly thereafter. I'm hoping to pass Bary Bonds by Christmas.
Thanks for the continued support.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NFL: Week 10 Picks

Patriots +5 - New England was embarrassed last week on the road. That rarely happens in back-to-back weeks. I'll take the points.
Bucs -6.5 - The Jimmy Claussen Experiment, Take Two.
Lions +3 - The Bills are winless. How can they possibly be favorites?
Best Bet: Vikings -1 - They might win this game, but the Bears are not good.   
Upset: Rams +6 - St. Louis' playoff hopes would be greatly enhanced with a road W here. In Sam, I still trust.
Record: 25-18-2 (Best Bet: 6-3; Upset 4-3-2)

College Football: Week 11 Picks

It was an awful week of picks last week (0-6-1), and I'm hoping for a nice bounce back week. I'm counting on a number of 'dogs to get me back to my old winning ways.
I apologize for the brevity again, but it has been an incredibly busy two weeks with marathons, weddings, work, and other good stuff. We should be back in the swing of things next week.
Clemson +7.5
Texas Tech +14.5
Kansas +35
Texas +5.5
San Diego State +28
Best Bet: Oregon / California - Over 58
Upset: Purdue +12.5

Record: 35-31-2 (Best Bet: 6-4; Upset: 4-5-1)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

NFL: Week 9 Picks

Another 3-2 week...I can get used to this.
Bucs +8.5 - Someway or another, Josh Freeman seems to lead these guys into competitiveness each week.
Dolphins +5 - Miami is 4-0 on the road. Let's see someone knock them off before betting against them.
Seahawks +7 - I bet against the Giants every week and get bitten so take this with a grain of salt, but Seattle plays really well at home, and I think they can keep this close.
Best Bet: Oakland -2 - Are the Raiders back? If they can win this game, the NFL will take note.
Upset: Bills +3 - It's about time Buffalo got off the schneid. 

Record: 23-16-1 (Best Bet: 5-3; Upset 4-3-1)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

College Football: Week 10 Picks

The lesson we've learned thus far this season: the more you gamble, the better the results. Last week, we only took three games and lost two of them.
Let's go back to the well with a full slate of seven games.
Auburn -38 - The Tigers go out of conference to take on a Chatanooga team coming off a loss to perennial powerhouse, Elon. Why are they even playing this game? Cam Newton will rack up four TDs before resting the whole second half. Auburn 49-3.
Utah +5 - The Utes have not lost a home game in over three years (Air Force, September 2007). Until it happens, I'm taking the points.
Hawaii +23 - Quietly, the Rainbows (I'm holding strong to this nickname) are riding a five-game winning streak and sit atop the WAC. Arguably, this is the Broncos' toughest game remaining.
Oregon State -4 - The Beavers play the most difficult schedule in the country. By year's end, they will have faced five teams in the top-10. They need to pick up W's where they can. They actually control their own destiny as it pertains to the Pac-10 crown too.
Arizona +10 - My preseason pick to win it all came up a bit short against Oregon State earlier this year, but that has been their only slip-up. They have looked great ever since.
Best Bet: Oklahoma -3 - This is more of a wager against Texas A&M than it is for Oklahoma, but until the Aggies can win a big game (haven't done so since 2006), I cannot support them.
Upset: Baylor +7.5 - Tough to figure this spread as the Bears are fresh off a huge road victory at Texas while the Cowboys struggled with Kansas State a week after getting smoked by Nebraska.
Record: 35-25-1 (Best Bet: 6-3; Upset: 4-4-1)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Things That Make Very Little Sense

Listen closely. That celebration you hear comes from Adam Dunn's representation. Why are they so happy? Elias just released their official free agent rankings.
Grant Balfour and Arthur Rhodes will be Type A free agents. Adam Dunn will not.
He will be a Type B free agent.
The man has hit 38 or more home runs in each of the last six seasons while racking up an OBP of .381 and OPS of .914 over that same time. His OBP+ was 134 (or 34% better than league average). A dream DH if I have ever seen one.
Luckily for Dunn, he will be able to sign with any other team without that team having to surrender any picks. 
Washington will receive a supplementary first rounder from MLB, but they grossly miscalculated Dunn's value at the trade deadline this year. Dunn likely would have brought back a nice crop of prospects. Instead, they'll get the (approximately) 40th best player in the draft.