Morning my peeps…It is Wednesday, the day before the most anticipated Cavaliers season in history begins and two days before Halloween. My son is dressing up as “the backup QB” with his Johnny Manziel jersey, Browns hat, and clipboard. My daughter is going as Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. Because you care….Easily the best Halloween candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and there is no argument to be made….So with that, enjoy today’s WWW…..
It is no secret that the Indians have fallen short with their top draft picks since they took a high school left-hander named CC Sabathia back in 1998. The turn of the century saw a complete and utter bleep show; a cornucopia of failed top prospects that has killed an organization which saw an ownership switch and a change of course philosophically. The days of spending on veteran free agents like Roberto Alomar, Orel Hershiser, Eddie Murray, Dennis Martinez, etc were over. Player development was going to be the way this team was going to get it done. That all starts with the draft.
John Mirabelli, who somehow continues to work in the Indians front office as the Senior Director of Scouting Operations, oversaw a run first round flops that set the big league club back years before being eventually replaced by Brad Grant, who has overseen the draft since 2008. It is the equivalent of the Browns still employing Dwight Clark. For bleeps and giggles, here is that list. Avert your eyes if you must:
2000: #26 Corey Smith – SS – Piscataway H.S. NJ
2000: #37 Derek Thompson – LHP – Land O’Lakes H.S. FLA
2001: #17 Dan Denham – RHP – Deer Valley H.S. CAL
2001: #27 Alan Horne – RHP – Marianna H.S. FLA (never signed)
2001: #35 J.D. Martin – RHP – Burroughs H.S. CAL
2002: #22 Jeremy Guthrie – RHP – Stanford University
2002: #33 Matt Whitney – 3B – Palm Beach Gardens H.S. FLA
2002: #42 Micah Schilling – 2B – Clinton Institute, LA
2003: #11 Michael Aubrey – 1B – Tulane University
2003: #18 Brad Snyder – OF – Ball State University
2003: #31 Adam Miller – RHP – McKinney H.S. TX
2004: #6 Jeremy Sowers – LHP – Vanderbilt University
2005: #14 Trevor Crowe – OF – University of Arizona
2005: #33 John Drennen – OF – Rancho Bernardo H.S. CAL
2006: #39 David Huff – LHP – UCLA
2007: #13 Beau Mills – 1B – Lewis-Clark State College
The jury is still out on Grant, but his first top pick was current Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. His next two picks – pitchers Alex White and Drew Pomeranz – were turned into two and a half years and one playoff run of Ubaldo Jimenez. 2011 pick Francisco Lindor is universally recognized as one of the top five prospects in the minor leagues. As for OF’s Tyler Naquin, Clint Frazier, and Brad Zimmer, it is too early to make any sort of statement about their futures.
When you examine the two teams playing the World Series, the first rounds hits are all over the diamond for both. The Royals took DH/cleanup hitter Billy Butler in the first round of the 2004 draft. A year later, they nabbed Alex Gordon, who started out as a flop third baseman and turned himself into an All-Star left fielder. 2007 brought starting third baseman Mike Moustakas second overall which was followed bt the 2008 selection of first baseman Eric Hosmer, picked third. Their 2010 top pick (fourth) was Christian Colon, who scored the winning run in the Wild Card Game. They even fast tracked this year’s top pick Brandon Finnegan who became Ned Yost’s top lefty out of the bullpen. And those are just the first round picks.
10 of the 25 Royals playing in this World Series were homegrown draft picks like closer Greg Holland, a 10th rounder in 2007. Three other key players – starter Yordano Ventura, set up man Kelvin Herrera, and catcher Salvador Perez – were international free agents signed and developed by the Royals organization.
On the other side is the Giants who’s 25-man playoff roster boasts 12 draft picks. Those include first round hits Tim Lincecum (2006 – two time Cy Young winner), Madison Bumgarner (0.29 ERA in four career World Series starts), and Buster Posey (2008 – has won W.S. MVP and NL MVP). Their 2002 first round pick, starting pitcher Matt Cain, a three-time All-Star, missed most of the season with an injury. 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval was signed as a international free agent and brought through the ranks.
Moral of this story? Make sure you come up big on your top draft picks. It obviously helps. When you take a look at the current Indians 40-man roster, the draft picks who are helping at the big league level are not exactly a who’s who. There are only ten. Of those, Chisenhall, second baseman Jason Kipnis (second round 2009), reliever Kyle Crockett (fourth round 2013), and closer Cody Allen (23rd round 2011) are regulars. T.J. House (16th round 2008) looks like he will be the fifth starter after a solid two month stretch drive while Roberto Perez (33rd round 2008) will be the backup catcher for the foreseeable future. Josh Tomlin (19th round 2006) may be on his last legs here as a long man and OF Tyler Holt (10th round 2010) will probably be a guy who rides the I-71 shuttle for a second straight year. The final two – reliever Austin Adams (fifth round 2009) and OF Carlos Moncrief (14th round 2008) – still need long looks.
The Indians five international free agents include guys who are helping now (Danny Salazar, C.C. Lee, and Jose Ramirez) and prospects (Erik Gonzalez and Jesus Aguilar).
Drafting and developing well isn’t the only way to win in this market, but it is clearly the best and most feasible route.
I have no dog in the fight so I come into this without a skewed view. The Ohio State Buckeyes were once again the Ohio State “Luckeyes” thanks to some of the worst officiating I have seen in years during their double overtime win at Penn State on Saturday night. Yes, the refs were putrid both ways, but there were completely egregious mistakes that directly resulted in ten Ohio State points.
Vonn Bell’s “interception” of a Christian Hackenberg pass clearly hit the ground, yet it was ruled a pick on the field. Replays clearly showed the play should have been overturned, yet inexplicably it wasn’t. The Bucks took the ball over at the Penn State 39 and scored a TD.
Then there was the second quarter 49-yard field goal attempt by the Buckeyes where the play clock hit zero and stayed there for three seconds before the snap. The kick was good and somehow not one official saw the play clock expire. Not one.
The good folks at Onward State, a Penn State football site, were none to thrilled:
Would these calls have affected the outcome of the game? Figuring that out is always the most frustrating part. The fact that Penn State fought valiantly and took the 13th best team in the country into overtime when nobody said they could is reason for optimism, and we should all be proud of this team. But thinking about what could have been — and what a win like this would have meant to the program — well, I should just stop watching that GIF over and over again.
Check out the GIF and video in their post. The Buckeyes truly caught a couple of major breaks.
Speaking of Big Ten college sports, Michigan will undoubtedly be looking for a new Football coach once this horrific season comes to an end when Ohio State will more than likely destroy Brady Hoke and his Wolverines in late November. But will the “Leaders and Best” be in the market for a new athletic director as well?
David Brandon, the former Dominos Pizza CEO, is great at making money for his school, but running an athletic department is a completely different ballgame, pardon the pun. Brandon likes to talk a big game but his baby, the football program, has become a colossal disaster under his watch. His hand picked hire – the “Michigan Man” Hoke, can’t win on the road and can’t beat teams with winning records. Alumni and students alike are livid with the current state of the program, which continues to sink to new lows this season, including a loss to Rutgers, a 30-10 home destruction by Minnesota, and getting blown out by rivals Notre Dame and Michigan State. Then you had the Shane Morris concussion situation where Hoke spoke out of both sides of his mouth when allowing his clearly shaken QB to go back onto the field when he had no business doing so.
It’s over for Hoke. Brandon has the opportunity to at least try and save himself. The biggest of the big money UM boosters, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, has come out with his support of Brandon, but after yesterday’s latest leak, I just don’t see how new school President Mark Schilssel can keep him around.
Michigan’s MGoBlog site has come across some fascinating emails between Brandon and a name-redacted Blue fan looking for answers from the embattled AD. Instead of either ignoring or giving a canned P.C. answer, Brandon decided to troll right back, Phil Savage-style:
We are sick of all the talk, excuses, and most importantly the losses. You throwing Coach Rodriguez under the bus like you have this week was an embarrassment to the University and more importantly a big cheap shot on all of the players from his classes. Would you classify the game today as “big-boy football?” Would you consider Urban Meyer’s offense “big-boy football?” Was that poor excuse of a defense today playing “big-boy football?” Not only was this season an embarrassment to this University, but your conduct over this past week puts a further black eye on this season and has no place at Michigan. Michigan is now truly a middle of the road Big Ten team and we have you (not Rich Rodriguez) to thank for that.
BRANDON: Quit drinking and go to bed.
Thanks for the classy response. You may have just lost another season ticket holder.
BRANDON: Getting advice from you on what constitutes a classy email is really a joke.
There is much more to read in the story. Brandon is clearly cracking under the pressure. Come December 1, things are going to come to a head one way or another in Ann Arbor.
I will be the first one to admit it – I am in the tank for Colt McCoy. There are certain guys that have played and/or coached in this town that I am an apologist for. Colt, Eric Wedge, Manny Acta (yes, I loved ActaBall until the end), Cedric Henderson (kidding)….. But in all seriousness during his time here, I truly thought McCoy could be the guy during that run of starts when he was forced onto the field in 2010.
Yes, he only won two games, but those were over the Patriots and the Saints in back to back weeks. He almost pulled off three in a row, but the Browns lost at home to the Jets in overtime. The legs, the improvisational skills, and the energy he interjected into the Browns gave the fans and the team some life that wasn’t there when Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace were under center. However, that excitement was short lived.
A season later, the book was out on McCoy. He was what he was, an average QB with a weak arm who could make things happen with his legs. James Harrison’s dirty head shot and the Browns subsequent handling of his concussion was essentially the end of the Colt McCoy experience in Cleveland. The Browns brought in Brandon Weeden and a year later, Colt was the backup in San Francisco.
Fast forward to Monday night where Colt went from third stringer to a guy who went into the largest venue in his home state of Texas and led his Washington Redskins to an overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Colt was 25-30 for 299 yards in the upset win and got to relive his glory days at the University of Texas for one night with his parents (including stage father Brad McCoy who ESPN showed about 50 times) there watching him.
After his on-field postgame interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, this happened:
Gotta love crazy PR guy. Tony Wyllie gave his rationale to TMZ Sports:
“Normally we set these [postgame interviews] up before [the end of the game]. They’ll say, ‘This is who we want to talk to.’ They didn’t do that.”
Your old school hip hop track of the week comes to you from a group that hailed from Roxbury, Massachusetts. They didn’t have many songs that resonated, but their first album “Life of a Kid in the Ghetto” was fantastic. I still remember having the tape on a constant loop in ninth grade. Easily their best track was “I Got to Have it.”