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Pro Sports Wrap - by Sam Ruesler

Pro Sports Wrap - August 2011

8/2011 PSW AL Gold Glove Team Update

August 30th 2011 15:05
The statistics used are UZR, DRS, ARM, RngR, and UZR/150, and Fld from

P Mark Buehrle- He has the best rSB in the AL and the highest DRS as a result of his ability to stop base-runners. That's really the only conceivable asset a pitcher brings defensively.

C Matt Wieters- Again, the ability to snuff out base-runners is the only major asset that a catcher brings to the table defensively. It's definitely the only thing that can significantly separate catchers, and Matt Wieters has been excellent at stopping guys on base.

1B Adrian Gonzalez- A-Gone has clearly been the best defensive first baseman in baseball, and he has the best UZR and ErrR. Only Mark Trumbo has better range, and Gonzalez is the only American League first baseman with a double-digit UZR/150. The metrics say Tex is the second best, and Trumbo follows him at third. It's a pretty tight race between those two at two and three.

2B Dustin Pedroia- Although Howie Kendrick, Ian Kinsler, and Ben Zobrist have been excellent, Pedroia has been in a class of his own. Nobody can match his range at second, and his defense is what has vaulted him into the MVP discussion.

SS Alexei Ramirez- Watch out guys, a new A-Ram is in town. Alexei Ramirez has been a force in the field, and it has definitely made up for some below average hitting. While a case can be made for Alcides Escobar, I don't see how Ramirez doesn't win this award.

3B Adrian Beltre- With all due respect to Mr. Longoria and his fine season in the field, Adrian Beltre is the man to man this spot on the Gold Glove team. His fine defensive career has continued with another terrific display in 2011, and he still has incredible range out there at the hot corner.

LF Brett Gardner- Most left fielders can't play any D, but that description definitely does not hold true when you look at Brett Gardner. Even though Dustin Pedroia has been exceptional defensively this season, Gardner has been the best defensive player in 2011. He has an accurate arm, and range that no outfielder in the game can dream of possessing. He is far and away the best defensive player at his position, and I don't think anybody- save Pedroia- can compare with him defensively.

CF Jacoby Ellsbury- Poor Peter Bourjos, his wonderful season in the outfield spent chasing flyballs pitched by Jered Weaver will not net him a Gold Glove award. Unfortunately for him, Jacoby Ellsbury has been even better this year. His defense has cemented his status as an MVP candidate, and he is certainly making up for lost time last season. Even though Bourjos does have the better arm, Ellsbury is more consistent and has even better range. That's not so say that Bourjos is a slouch in the range department, it's just that Ellsbury is such a beast.

RF Nick Swisher- Before the season started, it would be crazy to name Nick Swisher as a Gold Glove candidate. But here we are at the end of August, and I am sitting here and telling you guys that Nick Swisher is my pick for the Gold Glove winner in right field. He has the arm, the range, and Swishalicious is probably one of the most consistent outfielders in the game. The highlight shows don't reward this kind of consistency enough, but the metrics do.
AL Gold Glove SS

I have decided to start a new blog segment where I talk a little bit about a now retired athlete who is most likely not a well-known player. There will usually be very little information regarding the player in question, but I will try and do my best to talk a little bit about him. The inaugural historical player profile will be Dean Hamel's.

Dean Hamel was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 1, 1961 and played his college ball at Tulsa. Hamel is currently working for a company speed and agility training company called "3 Up, 3 Down" after spending six seasons in the NFL for two rival franchises.

Back in 1985, the year Hamel was drafted, there were 336 picks in 12 total rounds, as there were 28 teams in the league at the time. Although Bobby Beathard *insert inappropriate joke here* was known for his various picks that turned into busts, such as Walter Murray, the former 'Skins GM had a penchant for finding talent late in the draft such as quarterback Mark Rypien (6th round), linebacker Monte Coleman (11th), and tight end Clint Didier (12th). With the 309th pick in the NFL Draft (12th round), Beathard and the Redskins selected defensive tackle Dean Hamel.

Even though Hamel didn't have a great career, he was still a solid role player with the Redskins. That's more than what you would normally get out of a player selected in the last round of the draft, especially when that player was picked lower than over 300 guys in a single draft.

It's safe to say that Dean Hamel's rookie season was a success, and his six sacks set the rookie sack record for the Redskins. That record has since been broken by Brian Orakpo, but six quarterback takedowns is pretty impressive for a rookie. Of course he is no Ndamukong Suh, but Hamel was very good as a rookie.

Unfortunately, his career took a downward turn, and he only had 6.5 sacks during the next five seasons of his career. Hamel spent 1989 and 1990 with the Redskins' dreaded rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, after playing his first four seasons in Washington. It's important to note that he was traded, not signed, by Dallas. During his years with the Cowboys, Hamel's defensive line coach was Butch Davis.

In week 9 of the 1985 season, Dean Hamel had the game of his life in a 44-10 blowout of the Atlanta Falcons. Hamel recorded a career high three sacks, and that total was half of his season total.

While Dean Hamel's career wasn't an illustrious one, he was a solid player who was an impact rookie. He was definitely a bargain for the Redskins in the 12th round, and it's always interesting to look back at a player's career. And oh by the way, six sacks is a really good number for a rookie defensive tackle.
Drafted a Redskin, retired a Cowboy

I honestly think that Kyle Williams is the best defensive tackle in the game, and he is one of the the most underrated players in football. He's the Bills' best player, and they rewarded him by giving Williams a 6-year extension worth 39 million. Even though it is technically a reward, the deal is very cheap for the Bills. Williams is one of the best defensive players in the game, and to lock him up over the span of 6 seasons for 6.5 million per season is a terrific move.

"Meatball" was absolutely monstrous last season, and he should have been the Defensive Player of the Year. Of course, nobody gives that award to defensive tackles, but Williams should have at least been on the Pro Bowl squad. Even though the players around him are terrible, that doesn't mean that Williams shouldn't get recognized for the work he does. If you go back to the Bills' very interesting game against the Steelers, Kyle Williams was murdering Maurkice Pouncey. He showed all that he is capable of by consistently disrupting plays in the backfield, blowing up rushing lanes, drawing double-teams, collapsing the pocket, and pressuring the quarterback. Trust me, this guy more than deserved this pay check.

It was always pretty obvious to me that Chris Johnson wasn't going anywhere, because nobody in their right mind would trade their best player and only offensive star. Heck, CJ might be the Titans' only star player on the roster. In any case, losing Johnson would really hurt the Titans as a team and as an organization. The fan base would be enraged, and the team would lose respect. While I think that Chris Johnson's holdout is ridiculous, he doesn't deserve the money he wants, the Titans should pay him more than he is receiving right now.

The whole shelf-life ideal for running backs is like that weird guy from Star Wars lightsaber; it has two sides to it and can be tricky. Running backs don't last long in this league, so it's natural for the Titans to be cautious with this situation. However, Johnson needs to get paid in full now if his career really won't last that long (which is sad but true). CJ needs to make sure that he at least gets the money he deserves for what should be a good career, and the Titans should reward him accordingly. I think nine to ten million per year is fair enough, and Johnson really needs to lower that outrageous asking price.

Another star running back on a poor team is requesting a holdout, but this one is definitely less-publicized. Frank Gore- as well as Chris Johnson- want DeAngelo Williams money. The contracts that get thrown out there skew the market and jack up contracts, so we have Carolina to thank for what was an awful deal. Williams is a great running back, but 5 years and 43 million is ridiculous for a 27 year old. In any case, Gore needs to just stay put and take his five million a year. It's not like he's always healthy to begin with.
RB Holdouts

8/2011 MLB Power Rankings

August 26th 2011 11:24
1. Red Sox
2. Yankees
3. Phillies
4. Braves
5. Rangers
6. Diamondbacks
7. Brewers
8. Angels
9. Giants
10. Tigers
11. Rays
12. Cardinals
13. Reds
14. White Sox
15. Blue Jays
16. Indians
17. Rockies
18. Mets
19. Dodgers
20. Nationals
21. Padres
22. Marlins
23. Cubs
24. Athletics
25. Pirates
26. Royals
27. Twins
28. Mariners
29. Orioles
30. Astros
Offseason acquisition has Cubs highest WAR this year

8/2011 QB Rankings

August 24th 2011 14:50
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Peyton Manning
3. Tom Brady

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8/22 Football Talk: Start Cam Newton

August 22nd 2011 14:51
There is no reason why this should be a quarterback competition at all. It's pretty clear to me that Jimmy Clausen doesn't have much of a future in the NFL. It is probably extremely harsh of me to say such a thing, but Clausen was beyond awful last season. Not only was he incapable of completing a pass, but he was also failed to make good decisions and was the worst quarterback in the league last year. Newly signed backup Derek Anderson is almost as bad, and his personality doesn't make him a good mentor either. I understand that his one big season came under current Panthers' offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, but there's also no reason for me to believe that he can come anywhere close to repeating that kind of success.

What I'm getting at here is that Cam Newton is clearly this team's starting quarterback. You don't draft a QB at number one for no reason. If you spend the first pick in the draft on a quarterback, you are essentially saying that you have nobody on this roster who is capable of taking the reigns; well, that statement was totally true before Carolina picked up Newton

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The Tampa Bay Bucs have one of the worst and most overrated lines in the league. Players such as Donald Penn, Jeff Faine, Jeremy Trueblood, and Davin Joseph are players who are considered to be good; but they are in fact among the worst offensive linemen in the league. Penn is considered by some to be a top ten tackle, but he is a major liability at left tackle. Jeff Faine signed a massive deal to play for Tampa, but he is one of the worst centers in the game. Davin Joseph recently re-signed and was given far too much money, and Trueblood is the player I will examine in this post.

To illustrate how poor Trueblood is as a run blocker, the Bucs were the 25th worst team at runs to the right tackle and the 26th worst at runs to the right end. These numbers are according to Football Outsiders. While Trueblood was excellent in 2008- the same with fellow tackle Donald Penn, he was absolutely awful in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Although Penn still has some value, Trueblood is a player who really shouldn't be starting at this level. He's really only a depth-guy at best

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8/18 NFL Rumors: Aaron Maybin signs

August 18th 2011 15:04
This post will talk about the top rumors and bits of news of the week. Michael Vick told GQ that he didn't want to sign with the Eagles, because he didn't want to be a third stringer behind McNabb and Kolb. Both of those guys have since been traded, and Vick has become one of the best ten QBs in the league. He wanted to sign with the Bills or Bengals, but Roger Goodell told Vick that the Eagles were the best team to choose. Good thing Vick followed the commish's advice, otherwise there would be no Super Bowl talk for the Eagles.

While Vick did have a great year in 2010, he was fairly mediocre towards the end of the season thanks to disguise blitz packages that confused Vick. He especially struggled against the Vikings, and he had a ton of trouble recognizing cornerback blitzes involving Antoine Winfield. This year, he has arguably the league's best possession receiver in Steve Smith, and the additions of Danny Watkins and Ryan Harris will bolster a line that was very poor last year. Harris is one of the most athletic linemen in the league, and he was one of the best tackles out there under Mike Shanahan's zone blocking scheme. He's recently struggled with injuries, and the man blocking scheme employed by the Broncos last year did not suit Harris's skillset. Since Vick is a lefty, Harris is his blindside protector, and he should have an excellent 2011 season

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8/2011 Team Scope: Seattle Mariners

August 16th 2011 14:15
The Mariners have the worst offense in baseball, and Dustin Ackley is the only player with at least 200 plate apperances who has an RC-plus of over 100. Franklin Gutierrez, Miguel Olivo, and Chone Figgins have been so bad that they might as well sign Carlton Lassiter (for you Psych fans out there). I mean really, this team just can't hit! Ackley has been outstanding, but nobody else has been around the league average in hitting (100 RC-plus ). Chone Figgins? He has an atrocious 35 RC , has a -0.8 WAR, and he only provides value on defense (marginal value really).

The funny thing is that offseason acquisition Brendan Ryan has the highest WAR on the team. His RC is only 90, but that's the fourth highest on the team. We all know Ryan can't hit, and the reason why he has value is because of his glove. He has been very good in the field, and Ryan has also been smart on the basepaths this year

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8/2011 Team Scope: Detroit Lions

August 15th 2011 15:19
The Detroit Lions have certainly helped themselves again this offseason, but I still don't think they are a playoff team just yet. While the return of Matthew Stafford will certainly be a boost to this offense, I think the Lions are overrated offensively.

Mikel LeShoure figured to be an important piece in Detroit's offense, but we won't be able to see how he fits in this year. Jahvid Best is a mediocre back, and I think Jerome Harrison will win the starting job. He isn't a special player by any means, but Harrison is a better rusher than anybody on this roster

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Let me say this right off the bat: John Beck is completely unfit to start in this league. Rex Grossman, on the other hand, is actually a startable player. Ideally, you don't want him to have to be "the guy", but Grossman is one of the league's better backups. I think he's going to be the starter when week 1 rolls around, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has a strange affinity for Grossman.

I don't have high hopes for the 'Skins offensively at all. Santana Moss is a very good wideout, but the players around him don't necessary ease off that much pressure. Anthony Armstrong, Leonard Hankerson, Donte Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney are all mediocre to subpar receivers. Chris Cooley is overrated right now, and he's taking too many targets away from the guy who is actually the best tight end on the roster; Fred Davis

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8/2011 Team Scope: Carolina Panthers

August 13th 2011 18:34
Going into free agency, the Panthers had a ton of key players that they had to re-signed. To say their free agency period was a success would be an understatement. They were able to re-sign two very good linebackers in James Anderson and Thomas Davis, they re-signed Charles Johnson who was the second best end in the league last year, and they kept DeAngelo Williams- even though they paid too much for him.

You can tell that Jerry Richardson was gearing up for this though. He never signed anybody the past couple of years, and he was the most vocal about a new CBA that would "help out" the owners. Most coaches' contracts and player contracts were set to expire this year. This was all in Richardson's grand plan

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To qualify a running back must have at least 100 carries. Thanks guys for your feedback, and feel free to comment and criticize. Do you think I should give an extra bonus to the guys with more carries? It seems as if the players in the 100-199 range have the advantage, but this is- after all- and efficiency stat. (The groupings should not be interpreted as tiers, as they are only used to make it look less messy)

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I have finally formulated a decent looking total efficiency statistic to evaluate running backs. There is a huge craze over quarterback stats, but I decided to come up with a simple, yet efficient running back stat. It isn't great, but I think it is better than what we've had. It isn't objective only because of the way I account for the run blocking variable.

Yards per carry is the single most important statistic for a running back, and it's efficiency in its simplest point. However, running backs who carry the rock more tend to have lower yards per carry totals. Also, backs with poor lines- in terms of run blocking- in front of them take hits in that department. YPC also doesn't take into account fumbles or touchdowns either. Although both of those factors aren't as important as once thought, they are necessary to come up with a running back stat that can actually work

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The Colts aren't contenders anymore, but I still think they will edge out the Texans and win the AFC South. Although the Texans got much better in the secondary with the additions of stalwarts Jonathan Joseph and Danieal Manning; I don't think their defense has the right personnel to successfully run the 3-4. I also think the Colts' offense is far more consistent and more potent. Even though the Colts don't have a dynamic back like Arian Foster, Joseph Addai is a more than capable player.

I don't think I even need to talk about the Colts' at quarterback. Peyton Manning is a beast, and he's going to play every game this season. If he somehow doesn't; then Curtis- well, we don't need to talk about that either

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8/2011 Player Profile: Mike DeVito

August 7th 2011 13:28
The New York Jets are one of the best run-stuffing teams in the NFL, and a large part of their success is due to the work of defensive linemen Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito. One of the best 3-4 ends in the NFL against the run, DeVito is one of the most underrated players in the game today. There are many great players on the Jets defense who deservedly get a ton of the spotlight, but that doesn't mean that Mike DeVito's contributions should be overlooked.

Although he is a poor pass rusher, 3-4 ends are rarely guys who are asked to put pressure on the QB on a consistent basis. Rex Ryan runs his dad's 46, and it's a hybrid scheme; there really is no base personnel. Usually, though, the Jets run a 3-4 to allow Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace to get more opportunities to rush the passer

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8/2011 Center Fielder Rankings

August 6th 2011 14:07
One of the premier positions in baseball is center field. First off, it is the second most important position on the diamond- after shortstop- and many of the game's greats were center fielders. Below are my rankings of the center fielders in baseball today. (Minimum 750 plate appearances as a center fielder since 2009)

1. Rangers Josh Hamilton

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8/2011 Team Scope: Boston Red Sox

August 5th 2011 15:31
Even though it's tough to say it, the Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball. Their pitching may be too thin, but their hitting is incredible. Only the Yankees can compete with these guys offensively, and the Red Sox have three players who are getting serious MVP recognition right now; Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez.

I must say this; Pedroia has been nothing short of spectacular in 2011. His WAR is at 6.7, he's stolen 22 bases, his RC is 148, he is hitting .311, Pedroia is walking more than he is striking out, and he has been flawless on defense. While Jose Bautista is still my pick for MVP, Pedroia is just a hair under him right now

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8/4 MLB News: A-Rod and poker

August 4th 2011 13:53
I thought Alex Rodriguez was just about done with his shenanigans, and then this came up. We've always known that A-Rod has had some gambling problems- namely poker- but this is the farthest it's ever gone. He was in trouble with the league for gambling in 2005, and then he held a charity poker game. The current allegations against Rodriguez are far more serious with this incident.

Bud Selig has definitely had enough of A-Rod's circus in the past few years, and this is just another major headache for the commissioner. It's a known fact that Rodriguez is going to be suspended, but the question really is the length of his suspension. Because he's done this before, I suggest that Rodriguez is suspended for the same length as players who take PEDs; 50 days

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Sports Betting Online

August 3rd 2011 18:00
Recently, I came across a website called Sports Betting Online. At first, I thought it was just another one of those gambling websites that seemed sketchy. But when I first went on to their site, my first impression was proved totally wrong; and it was a good kind of wrong.

I'm not a fan of actually betting on games, but what does interest me is stories- like those rise and fall archetypes- about people in history who bet on games. This website has book and movie reviews about such events in history, and they are very detailed in their reviews

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The second best shortstop in the Majors, Hanley Ramirez has had a disappointing 2011 campaign that has been riddled with injuries. He is listed as day-to-day with a left shoulder injury that was sustained after falling on it while trying to catch a pop-up against the Mets. I hope he isn't out for long because it's tough to see a guy- especially a team's star- get injured. Even in a poor season, Hanley is still the face of their franchise.

The Rangers have designated reliever Arthur Rhodes for assignment, and the Cardinals are interested in picking him up off waivers. The former Reds reliever has been terrible this year, but the Cardinals need a lefty reliever. Recently acquired Mark Rzepczynski is their only lefty in the pen right now, and Rhodes isn't that bad of a reliever. He enjoyed some success last season in Cincy, and I think a change of scenery would do the veteran- to say the least- lefty some good. Even if it means switching to the "dark side" in a Reds' fans eyes

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8/2011 Team Scope: Oakland Athletics

August 2nd 2011 17:57
It is pretty much a known fact that the A's are one of the worst teams in the Majors, and that's due to their abysmal hitting. Their pitching is solid, and they do have some nice young talent on the roster as well as in the Minors. However, their hitting is more than sub-standard right now, and really only two players have been significantly helping the cause on offense.

Right now, Coco Crisp is the best non-pitcher on the team. He's still great on the basepaths, and he is the team's second best hitter behind Josh Willingham. Crisp leads all the "fielders" in WAR, and there is nobody else who is anywhere close. Willingham is the better hitter, but he is slow and a terrible fielder

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Football Talk is just a segment where I ramble on about the sport I love the most. I am going to start off by talking about the Seahawks' passing game with the additions of Sidney Rice and Tavaris Jackson. The 'Hawks were 7-9 last season, but they still made the playoffs despite being a poor team. Offensively, they were a mess to say the least.

Darrell Bevell was Minnesota's offensive coordinator, and he has brought along Tavaris Jackson and Sidney Rice from the Vikes. Rice had a great year in 2009 when the Vikings were a contender, and Brett Favre was under center. With a capable quarterback, Rice can once again turn in a year like that. The problem is that he hasn't had a capable QB, and I don't consider Jackson startable

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