PLAYS. . . OF. . . THE WEEK!!!!!!!!
All right. Here is the beginning of regular posting.
A few comments:
1) Durant apparently tested very poorly at the NBA combine - 0 bench presses of 185 - smaller vert and slower than Oden. Blah, blah, blah. Did anyone not expect this? The misperception of Kevin Durant is that he is some sort of 6'10" athletic freak ala Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, or Shawn Marion. What in the hell were you people watching? Oden is the physical freak. (Although KD did measure a freakish 7'4" wingspan.) Durant isn't nuts athletically but neither were Dirk Nowitzki, Scottie Pippen, or Larry Bird. Kevin Durant, is frankly one of the most skilled basketball players I've ever seen. His absolute basement as a player is less athletic/worst defensive, much better offensively Shawn Marion. His basement! (Can anyone help me out with a better comparison. Super super Tim Thomas maybe . . .maybe his basement is More talented, super-motivated Tim Thomas.)
2) Just beginning to buy the Oden hype. He really is going to be the best center in the NBA for 5 years. Just think about ALL the shitty 7 footers that have been drafted. Other than Yao, the only serviceable center to come out of the draft in the last 7 years is Chris Kaman, right? Al Jefferson could maybe play some center, but he can't guard anyone. Let me know if I'm wrong.
3) Wow, do I love baseball. Although, I swear to god the Yankees and the Red Sox play every weekend. I'm convinced of this. Every Sunday night game is Yankees-Sox. And you know what? I always watch it. Usually because the Red Sox always have an entertaining pitcher on the mound. I love good pitching and getting to watch Beckett, Schilling, Dice-K, and Wakefield is usually worth it.
4) Other pitchers that you should really mark down to watch him throw this year:
1) Danny Haren - this guy has more guts than any pitcher in the league. Only strikes out guys when he needs to, and will always have entertaining facial hair. He has been hands-down the AL Cy Young so far. He's a durable Roy Halladay.
2) Cole Hamels- long hair, laid back, but a totally huge power pitcher. A little inconsistent, but he's always the coolest guy in the ballpark. Always capable of a Pedro-like 9 inning 15 strikeout masterpiece.
3) Chris Young - if only because he is 6'10" and incredibly awkward but effective. Effortlessly throws the ball in the low 90s. Yet, is so effortless and big it takes him forever to get the ball to the plate ANYONE can steal on him. In 2006 he gave up 41 stolen bases on 42 attempts. This year I've seen Edmonds, Rolen, Preston Wilson, and So Taguchi steal off him. Always exciting.
5) This list will be updated: But, currently, this would be my uber baseball team:
1. SS Jose Reyes
2. 2B Chase Utley
3. 1B Pujols
4. RF Vlad Guerrero
5. CF Beltran
6. LF G. Sizemore
7. C R. Martin
8. 3B Aramis Ramirez
9. P J. Santana
Now the explanation. Feel free to skip this whole section.
1. I take Reyes narrowly over Hanley Ramirez and by a few more paces over Jeter and Renteria. Jeter and Renteria have both been smashing the ball this year. But, Renteria's days of an elite fielder are finished and Jeter has even been worse than his usual self at his position this year. He has zero range and this year he's making errors. Not much to choose from between Ramirez and Reyes, accept to say that while Ramirez is a good SB guy. Reyes is the best since Henderson at swiping a bag. I was watching a Mets game. They were tied with 2 outs bottom of the ninth. The opposing team throws a pitch-out, and Reyes still stole the bag! Still wondering where Reyes power is that he showed last year, though . . . Ramirez may overtake him. I actually didn't love Reyes leading off here, cause I like a guy who's going to get on base. But you can't have anyone in front of him to clog the paths up. And a quick hello to Adam Everett who has been the game's best defensive SS for about 5 years running.
2. Utley is far and away the game's best second baseman. A shout-out to Dan Uggla and Brian Roberts who are having very good years in their own right, but Uggla doesn't have the defense or average and Roberts is great on defense but has zero power. Should probably be batting further down in the order on this team. But I don't see much use in putting a basestealer on in front of Pujols or Vlad. You'd like them to hit whatever pitch they want.
3. Pujols is the best offensive, defensive, and baserunning 1B in the game. The game's best player hits in the three-hole. Obviously, Fielder and Lee have been outstanding this year as well.
4. Vladimir Guerrero has been the game's best player so far this year. Has to be included in any talk of the best outfielder of our era. Still has a cannon and is having his greatest season hitting this year. He'll be a perfect hitter behind Pujols because no pitcher EVER wants to throw to Guerrero - just too damn scary to face.
5. I believe Beltran is one of the game's best defensive CF at this point in his career and also one of the best on offense.
6. Sizemore gets the call in Left. Sure he's a CF in real life, but this is my ueber team, and he'd make a hell of a left fielder. A solid gamer, and could jumpstart the offense by stealing a bag or two right after the power guys are through.
7. Catcher was the toughest call to make. Mauer has been banged up and hasn't developed quite as much power so far as I expected him too. But he's probably still the choice if he had been healthy. Don't love McCann or Posada's defense and I HATE V-Mart's D. So I'll go with Russel Martin who's healthy and would swipe 20 bags for my team.
8. I'm sorry, A-Rod is just too awkward and too weird to put on my team. That and he can't play defense, and he can't celebrate a home run. Rolen, as usual, isn't living up to his potential for the 10th consecutive year, and I LOVE Cabrera as a hitter, but he would have to play outfield for me because he has zero range. I hate Aramis Ramirez, but in the 8th spot all I really want is a lot of pop, and Aramis has as much pop as anyone. And, sadly, his defense has gone from god-awful to slightly above average. But, David Wright, A-Rod, or Cabrera would all make fine choices. It seems like 3B is turning into 1B. You just put a big bomber there and hope he makes up for his defense with his offense.
9. I have to go Santana. He hasn't been great this year. But in about 4 weeks, he'll turn it on and win 10 straight with a 1.03 ERA. It happens every year. I don't like passing up on Peavy or Haren here -who have been dominant. But I have to go with track record. And even though he hasn't been phenomenal so far. He's still been easily top 10 in the league.
SU and C: Papelbon and Nathan have assumed the role of game's best closers. I like Papelbon to get a tough strikeout with men on in the 7th and Nathan to have a clean slate in the 9th. It's that simple. Mo Rivera has finally dropped off completely. Something isn't cutting, because I see guys hang around for 10 pitches against him. That NEVER used to happen. Hell of a career for a guy who only had one pitch. I will say I've never seen Al Reyes pitch. Statistically, he looks impressive though considering his division.