Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's the deal with Nick Blackburn?

Warning - if you don't like stats, please skip everything after the first two sentences and laugh at the mullet-ed kid some more.  Personally, I can't wait to see what color he chooses for his Camaro IROC-Z with t-tops.

WWWWWW asked me to take a look at Nick Blackburn and figure out if he's any good, probably since he literally bet his house on the line based on his performance.  Before getting into the details, the numbers suggest that yes, Nick Blackburn will be a good pitcher as long as you have realistic expectations for a middle-to-back of the rotation starter.  In fact, his minor league and 2008 stats show a very similar composition to the OTHER Venezuelan starter who left the organization this offseason--Carlos Silva.

Early season stats (particularly ERA) are often worthless since the sample size is so small--Zach Greinke and Kyle Lohse are the early runners for the AL and NL Cy Young awards, respectively.

With that in mind, Blackburn's ERA stands at a very solid 3.52 after six starts, not too shabby.  There are a few keys to his early success--he's keeping the ball on the ground and not walking many batters.  The GB/FB ratio is in line with his minor league performance (and better than Silva, who is actually not much of a GB pitcher despite Bert's hype), so no red flag there.  His walk rate could be a concern, although it is a continuing trend from his 2007 season where he took a step forward.

Strangely enough, Blackburn has been both lucky and unlucky during his start.

The Twins have been a mediocre defensive team (more on that in a future post), but there's no way hitters continue to hit .388 against him when they put a ball in play.  Expect that to regress closer to the .300 range as the season progresses.

How has he been unlucky?  Double plays and HRs.  As a groundball pitcher, Blackburn is going to stand out from Bonser, Baker, and Slowey with his ability to keep the ball in the park.  On average, 11% of all fly balls are HRs for all pitchers, but Blackburn's sitting at about 4% right now.  That's going to regress to the mean.  And I don't have any stats to back it up, but it seems like Blackburn's induced more double plays that I'd expect to continue.  Again, he'll induce more than average since he keeps the ball on the ground, but the inherent randomness of baseball will leave him out to dry every once in a while.

A couple additional stats to throw onto the pile are FIP (fielding independent pitching) and xFIP (which takes FIP and normalizes the HR rate).   These are designed to have similar values to ERA (sub-4.50 is a average or better score) are particularly useful, especially this time of year, to remove as much luck as possible from the pitching equation.  For instance, Scott Baker put up solid FIP numbers even when he was "struggling" with a high ERA, and the Twins pitching staff as a whole had better FIP #s than ERAs when Tony Batista and Juan Castro manned the left side of the infield (they sucked).

Using these metrics, Blackburn still looks good.  In fact, he has a GREAT FIP (2.70) and a solid xFIP (4.03, he's hit for some extra runs due to his lucky HR rate).

To go all high school paper here...

In conclusion, Nick Blackburn appears to be a solid pitcher that will contribute as a mid-rotation starter for the next few years with the Twins if he can stay healthy.  But as a guy who allows a lot of balls in play, his ERA is probably going to fluctuate between 4.00 and 5.50, much like Silva.

Fortunately for WWWWWW, I don't think the Twins offense is good enough to allow a guy like Blackburn to get 15 wins this season.

Sioux Fans Should Not Be Allowed To Breed!

And Sioux fans wonder why fans from other teams make tractor pull and hill billy jokes. Honestly, you people make it to easy.

Here is a quick write up on the big winner from yesterdays Star Tribune.
"Three-year-old Brady Arneson is keeping a tradition alive with his first-place finish in the 2008 Minnesota Mullet Contest. His older brother won the award in 2005."

These parents need their kids taken away from them and their asses kicked. These kids already have no chance. Who would have ever guessed these parents cheer for UND... F'ing losers! If the kid wasn't three I would recommend kicking his ass also. Once Brady turns five he is a dead man. I bet that kid even wears that jersey to Friday night games.

Go Sioux!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pat Reusse is a Big Fat Idiot

As much as I hate to step on my Twins' draft posting since I really enjoyed writing it, I can't let Patrick Reusse's recent article slide, especially considering the conversations that have already taken place in the comments section similar to Reusse's piece.

It is entitled "Recruiting outweighs academics once again" and, as you could probably guess, bashes Tubby Smith and the U of M for recruiting and signing Royce White. PJS already hit this, but I could not just sit idly by without tossing in my two cents in a couple places.

"Academic mistake. Breaking rules. Gosh, what in the name of (the late) Jan Gangelhoff could that mean?"

Really? These two things aren't even related. The Gangelhoff thing was obviously a black mark on the school, but it was a different time, different coach, and different culture. It's like being afraid to go to Europe because of the plague, or being scared to travel west because of those damn uppity injuns. Old news. Let it go. Tubby is the coach now, with a squeeky clean reputation. Remember, Kentucky wasn't all that far removed from it's own recruiting-based collapse when he coached there. Sure, yes, Pitino was the one who started the return to glory, but the point is valid.

"We are nine years removed from Minnesota becoming the basketball program by which all others compare themselves when it comes to academic fraud."

Yep, nine years ago. Clearly, in Reusse's mind, this means we should only be recruiting A students. Why not become another Northwestern? Hell, why not just pack the athletic department in completely? Don't want to risk it by taking a chance on someone who made a mistake or two, so why not just eliminate revenue sports altogether? Plus, this way the Big Ten has just ten teams again, and everybody's happy. Nine years ago Michael Jordan was retiring for the second time. Nine years ago the Broncos won the Super Bowl the Vikings should have been in. Nine years ago Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela. Nine years ago Napster debuted. Nine years ago was Eric Milton's no-hitter. It is a long time.

"There's no evidence that White's verbal commitment was greeted with hesitation by coach Tubby Smith, or his boss, athletic director Joel Maturi, or Maturi's bosses.

They can't comment on the qualities of recruits before they sign, but certainly it was in Smith's power to tell White, "Let's cool it here until next fall -- make sure you have your act together academically and elsewhere before you make an announcement."

And if Smith wasn't willing to take that stand on White, then Maturi should have ordered his coach to deliver this message: Tell the young man the offer is off the table until he proves himself somewhere other than the basketball court."

Ignoring the idiocy of the whole "He should have to be a top shelf student to come to the U" mentality, how do you know they didn't do something like this? PJS touched on this exact point, but it's really, really horrible journalism. He states there is no evidence they didn't hesitate to take his commitment, and then mentions they can't discuss recruits. All true. But the tone assumes there was no second thoughts, no discussions, no worries put into this. Just as Reusse asserts there is no evidence this happened, there is also no evidence it didn't. We can't know, because they can't comment on incoming recruits. Reusse, however, takes the stance that supports his shoddy article and treats it as fact. I'm actually a Reusse fan, but this is absolutely horrible journalism, and clearly looks agenda driven. I won't presume to know what that agenda would be, but it sure looks like it's there. Expect another, similar article if Rodney Williams signs on.

On White's decision to enroll at Hopkins:
"White could have gone on the rebound to ... how about Minneapolis South? Magnet school. Strong academics and mediocre basketball. If White enrolled there, we could say: "Hey, it's true. Royce wants the classroom and the court to be of equal importance in his senior year."

But Hopkins? He's there to play basketball -- win a state championship"

Well no shit he considers basketball more important than academics. I'd be willing to wager that a very high percentage of high school athletes put their sports ahead of the classroom, and they don't even have the goal of playing for a living someday. If White is guilty of this one, and I'm assuming that he is, he's guilty of no more than being a kid. Ridiculous.

"If White's one season there preps him as well for the Gophers as did the Hopkins experience for Kris Humphries and Dan Coleman, Tubby has a chance -- come the fall of 2009 -- to find himself with a combination of a ball hog featuring inconsistent effort."

Just another example of how poor this article is. I seriously wonder if he wrote this in about five minutes and no editor even glanced at it. Yes, Humphries and Coleman went to Hopkins. And? Humphries clearly had an agenda from the beginning, and Monson lacked the strong coaching to reign him in. Coleman had some serious talent as an incoming freshman, but lacked the heart and desire and didn't get the coaching needed to get the most out of his game. I'd say the two results are more the result of Dan Monson than Hopkins high, but then again, I'm not a professional journalist.

"There is a recent precedent for the White situation when it comes to Gophers basketball. Minneapolis Henry's Brandon Smith already had signed with the Gophers when he was thrown off the team by coach Larry McKenzie in December 2004.

Dan Monson stuck with Smith and he enrolled as a freshman in the fall of 2005. He was academically ineligible for the second semester. He was suspended by Jim Molinari, Monson's interim replacement, as a sophomore. And then Tubby threw Brandon off the team, once and for all, last fall."

One final example of Reusse making spurious links between events, and another one I just can't let go. I fail to see what this has to do with Royce White, in any capacity. Dan Monson recruited him, Tubby Smith tossed him. Thus, Tubby will kick players off for the team due to their academic failures. This is good. Furthermore, Monson took a chance on a kid with poor academics, it didn't work out and he got booted, and yet the program still stands. It was not a huge scandal. There were no sanctions. This is something that happens at many schools, and, while unfortunate, is not a black eye. There is no need to make it one based on an isolated event under a different regime nine years ago.

I generally like Reusse's articles, but this was one of the most poorly written pieces of crap I've read in a long time. His point was academics need to be more important when recruiting, and he them rambled on without making a single supporting argument to back up his opinion. Sadly, I have no doubt a healthy contingent of fans will read this and find themselves agreeing, without seeing how empty it really is. Hopefully, those idiots will stay away from the Barn, and let real fans enjoy a vastly improved product.

I have no problem with fans believing academics should be very important in recruiting. I don't agree with it, but I respect it. I can't respect this kind of article.

Twins Draft History

Although the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft is still a couple months away, since my season on Out of the Park Baseball has gotten to that point (and I can't recommend this game strongly enough, plus it's only $19.99 to download) I've been in the draft mindset. Why not take a look at the Twins' draft history? We kind of know it a bit, but nobody pays all that much attention to the MLB draft. I'll take a look at the Twins' first pick and how it is working out, players they missed, and the rest of their picks overall. I won't focus on players missed by looking through the whole thing, there's like 50 rounds. We've heard about Piazza going in round 62, Mark Buehrle in round 38, and Roy Oswalt in round 23, but that would take all day to look it. Instead I'll focus on the picks right around the Twins, and see who was missed.

2007: Twins take Ben Revere, High School CF, 28th overall (pictured). Although he was considered a cost-saving pick by many, Revere looked good in Rookie ball last season, as mentioned below and is the Twins' third best prospect according to Baseball Prospectus. The big miss here wasn't passing on any name in particular that stands out, but that Rick Porcello, considered by many to be the best high school right hander to enter the draft in years, was nabbed by Detroit one pick before the Twins'. He was good enough to make his debut in High A ball this season, his first as a pro after a year at prep school, and has posted a 0.93 WHIP and 2.18 ERA in five starts. I haven't heard of any of the Twins' other picks from 2007, but a couple who show promise are CF Andrew Schmiesing (.321 BA/.421 OBP in Rookie ball last year) and SP Daniel Berlind (1.93 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 56 innings).

2006: Twins take Chris Parmelee, High School RF, 20th overall. After playing well in rookie ball is first year, Parmelee has struggled a bit in A ball over parts of the past three seasons. Last year was his first full year in A, and he hit just .239 and has followed that up with a .227 so far this season. There are encouraging signs, however. He gets on base (OBPs of .313 and .366) and can slug (.414 and .561). Despite the low average, the OPS is there, .927 this year, so he should come around. Glaring mistakes in this draft include passing on both Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. I'm assuming since those two were both college pitchers, this was once again a cost saving draft pick. If that's the case, then the better pick would have been SS Adrian Cardenas, another high school player who is ranked the 3rd best prospect in the Phillies system, whereas Parmelee isn't in the top 11 for the Twins. The Twins were able to grab excellent pitching prospects Tyler Robertson in the third, and Jeff Manship in the 14th.

2005: Twins take Matt Garza, pitcher from Fresno State, 25th overall. We all know about Garza, since he made the bigs, basically rocketing through the minors. That success hasn't quite translated to the majors as of yet, and he's now laid up with an injury for the Rays. Garza's evaluation will be forever tied to Delmon Young because of the trade, so let's just say for now it looks like Garza can't hit. It's hard to say if they made any mistakes here with the pick, because Garza still has the ability to end up being the best pitcher out of this draft. One name that glaringly stands out as a guy the Twins passed on is pitcher Clay Buchholz in the Red Sox system, taken by them at #42. You know, the guy who already has a no-hitter in the majors. The rest of the Twins' draft looks promising, with P Kevin Slowey in the second and P Brian Duensing in the third looking like top prospect types, and SS Andrew Thompson in the second, 1B Erik Lis in the ninth, and P Brian Kirwan in the 11th looking like decent picks.

The Twins had five first round picks this year, taking SS Trevor Plouffe at 20, P Glen Perkins at 22, P Steve Waldrop at 25, P Matthew Fox at 35, and P Jay Rainville at 39. Plouffe I covered below, so I'll skip him. Perkins has been up and down in the bigs, so you probably know who he is. None of Waldrop, Fox, or Rainville makes the Twins top 10 list, Rainville was solid in A ball the past two years, but has been getting ripped around after being promoted to AA for this season. Fox has been an ok middle reliever in rookie and A ball so far in his career, and Waldrop has been ok as a starter, moving up the system at a decent pace to land in AA ball and the end of last year. Overall, for five first round picks, this is a pretty disappointing group, especially when some of the guys they passed on include the Yankees' Phil Hughes, Oakland's Huston Street, the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo, and Boston's Dustin Pedroia. The Twins did pick up some good later picks, with P Anthony Swarzak in the 2nd, P Eduardo Morlan (since traded) in the third, and C Javier Sanchez in the 14th, but overall this draft was a failure, at least at this point.

2003: Twins take high school third baseman Matt Moses at #21 overall. Moses is beginning his sixth season in the minor leagues this year, and even worse is starting in double-A after getting a shot at Triple-A late last season. He doesn't walk much and doesn't hit for much power, and has posted a .258/.311/.388 in his minor league career. I'm pretty much calling him a bust at this point. Unfortunately, Moses was taken over guys like Chad Billingsley, Eric Duncan, Jarrod Saltamacchia, and Adam Jones. Oof. This was overall a nightmare of a draft, as none of the guys taken have spent so much as a minute on the Twins' major league roster, and it looks like none of them ever will.

Twins take high school outfielder Denard Span at number 20 in the first round. We finally got to see Span this year, and he looks like he might end up being a good pinch runner. He's an ok hitter, with a decent OBP, but doesn't have and will never had much power. Unlike, say, Jeff Francouer who was taken by the Braves four picks later and has already put up major league seasons with 29 and 19 homeruns or Cincy's Joey Votto, who hit all through the minors and is putting up a very nice rookie year so far, taken 24 picks later. If you're curious about pitching passed up, Joe Blanton and Matt Cain were taken within five picks of Span. The rest of this drafted netted Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek, as well as a possible contributor down the line in the 49th round of Brock Peterson at third base. Peterson is still just in AA, but has posted an OPS of .800+ at pretty much every stop.

That leads us to 2001, which was the Joe Mauer draft and ends this post on a positive note, which I need because the rest of this draft review is making me a little sick.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Didn't see this coming...

Livan Hernandez - 5.05 ERA, 1.46 WHIP,  after Sunday's start against Texas

On the bright side, Mike Lamb's now hitting over .200

Friday, April 25, 2008

Some Other Prospects

There are a lot of Twins' prospects you hear about, and quite a few who you really don't. Since we pretty much know Carlos Gomez is a poor man's Vince Coleman, Delmon Young is really Jacque Jones, Boof Bonser's only chance is as an innings eater type, Kevin Slowey gives up too many homeruns, Scott Baker is boring, and Nick Blackburn is the new Jesus, I'm going to attempt to take a look at some guys who haven't hit the bigs yet.

1. P Deolis Guerra.
You probably recognize Guerra's name, as he was the other key piece to the Santana deal. Guerra is currenly ranked the #1 prospect in the Twins system, and is putting up the numbers to back it up at Fort Myers. In 19 innings over 4 starts, Guerra has given up 14 hits and 9 walks for a WHIP of 1.21 and only three runs, leaving his ERA at 1.42. He's struck out 15 (good) and given up two homeruns (ok). He's also impressed scouts, despite a fastball that is currently hitting only about 88 on the gun. He has a plus curveball and a plus-plus changeup, which is already considered an average changeup for a big league pitcher. Considering Guerra is just 19 years old, if he picks up some speed on the fastball he could be a star. Even as is, he has the tools to be a big league pitcher, if just a 4/5 type - which the Twins are loaded with.

2. OF Ben Revere.
The Twins' 2007 first round pick ran through the Gulf Coast League last year, to the tune of 21 steals in 30 tries in just fifty games. He was already known for his speed, but showed a excellent ability to drive the ball (.461 slugging including 10 triples in just 191 ABs), plate patience (13 BB/20 K, OBP of .388), and hit for average (.325). All these stats point to an excellent player, and hopefully in about 2-3 years he'll be playing CF and leading off for the Twins.

3. P Anthony Swarzak. With all the hype surrounding Garza, Baker, Slowey, and Bonser you never heard much about Swarzak, but he's turned into a top prospect while putting up excellent numbers each year. Swarzak followed up last year's 1.18 WHIP between A and AA with a hot start at AA New Britain, posting a WHIP of 1.00 and an ERA of 1.35 in four starts covering 20 innings. He doesn't give up many HRs (0 this year), he strikes out a good amount (24 in 20ip) and doesn't walk many guys (4 this year). Keep your eye on Swarzak, either this year or next he should be making his big debut.

4. P Tyler Robertson. A big (6-5) lefty down at Class A Fort Myers, Robertson is a guy jumped up Twins' prospect lists last season. After an uninspiring initial season in Rookie Ball, Robertson pitched very well at Class A Beloit last year. At just 19 years old, he pitched 102 innings, giving up just 87 hits, 3 homeruns, and 33 walks compared to 123 strikeouts on his way to a 1.17 WHIP and a 2.29 ERA. He's been a bit shakier so far this season at High A Fort Myers, posting a 1.60 WHIP through four starts and 19 innnings, but he still hasn't given up a homerun this year and posts an excellent K/9 of 9.94. Big lefties are always good to have around, so rest assured Robertson will get his chance.

5. SS Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe is a guy I'm very interested in, seeing as he's a shortstop and the position has pretty much been a black hole for the Twins for years and years, other than a handful of average seasons from Jason Bartlett, Greg Gagne, and Pat Meares and one hellaciously awesome season from Cristian Guzman. Of course, other than being a SS, Plouffe is fairl unremarkable. However he is an excellent fielder, with good range either way and a great arm. His hitting is suspect at best, as he's never hit better than .283 in a full minor league season, although he's up to .284 this season so far in AA. He shows decent plate patience and has fairly good speed. If he can develop a better bat, he could be a nice player. Ranked as the #11 prospect in the system, he has potential.

Other names you may not know: P Jeff Manship, P Jeff Duensing, OF Joe Benson

Oh, and if you're wondering about the other two 'tards from the Santana trade, they're both at AAA Rochester, where Kevin Mulvey has been lights out (1.16 ERA/1.16 WHIP) and Phil Humber has gotten absolutel lit up (5.09/1.70).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Sidler's Twins Notes - Now with Positivity

The Good

Brendan Harris – His defense has been better than advertised and his bat has matched his 2007 performance. Harris' patience at the plate really stands out in this lineup of hackers and he should find himself at the top of the lineup on a daily basis…plus there's probably more power (doubles mostly) on the way. He's not a star, but he's a competent bat.

The young pitchers – Should I be lame and label Bonser, Baker, and Blackburn as the killer Bs? Naa. Bonser's actually a strange case so far, his ERA puts him as a solid middle-of-the-pack starter, but his strikeout rate has plunged and he's looked shaky. Oh well, he's certainly no worse than what other teams trot out for #4 and 5 starters. Blackburn shot up to Baseball America's #1 Twins prospect spot and his early season performance has backed that up—he keeps the ball in the ground and doesn't allow many walks. His K-rate is back down to his minor league average but he's maintained effectiveness. Yet another potential 3 starter for the Twins. My guy Baker's rebounded from potentially being the odd man out last year to a solid #2/3-type pitcher (had to use a Bert-ism). As I said all along, very few guys with a K-rate as high and walk rate as low as Bake's turn out to be bad pitchers. He'll always get stung by HRs, but he's going to be a solid pitcher for a long time, even if he leaves the ball up in the zone, stupid Bert.

Joe Nathan
– No surprise here, the dude's awesome. It still doesn't make financial sense for a small budget team to lock up an ace closer to a big deal, but as a fan, I don't care about that.

Morneau/Kubel – Both of these guys are hitting the ball hard, particularly the Canadian Club. Morneau had an ugly start but has really turned it around and Kubel is good despite the haters. Awesome.

The Bad

Twins broadcasts – I just heard Dazzle call an A's player "E-Mail Brown." Dick-n-Bert are as obnoxious as ever and KSTP's in-studio guys are awful.

Delmon Young – Less power and patience than Jason Tyner had last year. Yes, it is early, but this is just a continuation of a multiple-year trend of evaporating power. As the media often reminds us, no one doubts his talent, but at some point the results need to be there.

Bunting – This team can't bunt; it just can't. Two guys who bunt all the time suck at it, Punto and Gomez. And Span didn't look any better last night.

Liriano – He's human. His control is non-existent, but it isn't like he's the first guy coming back from Tommy John surgery to have problems. I just want him to progress as the year goes on and to stay healthy. Today's outing was not encouraging.

The Ugly

The Astros Rejects – Everett's only value is his defense and he can't make a throw across the diamond right now. Sweet. Mike Lamb is off to a terrible start.

Carlos Gomez – Yes, he's fast. Yes, he's exciting. No, he can't hit worth a lick. He's had 80 games at the MLB level and he's looked completely overmatched the entire time. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 12-1 and he's K-ed in 27% of his at-bats. U-G-L-Y. Of course, as I type this he hits his first HR of the season…But how long do you let him hack away before sending him to Rochester to get back on track? The Twins have two guys, Span and Pridie, able to spell Gomez at CF. At the very least, he should be moved out of the leadoff spot. Getting on base > speed

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Royce White is a Mutha F-ing Gopha!

Tubby landed a bona fide super star, blue chip recruit. Yeah Royce had some minor indiscretions involoving a little harmless classroom peak a boo at another kids test and an alleged tossing of a teachers lap top into the garbage can, but who really cares. If needed, Boagart will provide the legal representation. Sorry Snacks but he will probably need a real lawyer.

Royce is ranked the #32 top prospect in 2009. He is also ranked the #9 Small forward for 2009.

This is a great follow up to a superb 2008 recruiting class that included 3 top 100 recruits and 2 junior college studs.

Next on Tubby's 2009 wish list will be:

DaShonte Riley, Center, 5 star recruit, 6-10 220 lbs, Detroit
Mfon Udofia, Point Guar, 4 star recruit, 6-2 180 lbs, Georgia
Johnnie Lacy, Point Guard, 4 star reruit, 5-10 160 lbs, Milwaukee (would be huge to steal from Bo's back yard)
Rodney Williams, SG/SM, 4 star recruit, 6-6 185 lbs, Birdtown USA (aka Robbinsdale)

I could see Royce's decision influencing Rodney's decision to become a gopher. DaShonte Riley is most likely a one and done player. However his talent would be welcomed with loving arms as his talent would be complimentary to all of the other pieces already in place. His arrival and imminient departure would not set the program back ala Kris Humphries.

Congrats Tubby on another awesome recruit. Can't wait for 2008 and beyond!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Have a Small Window

With baby and momma taking a nap, I actually have an opportunity to write some things. I know, you've missed me. I'm sorry. I'll try to do better. Anyway,

1. I don't watch a whole lot of the NBA. It bores me to be honest with you. However the playoffs are a different story. I haven't seen much, what with having a new baby and all, but it seems to be a pretty good year so far. The Suns/Spurs game 1 may have been the greatest game one of all-time, and there are just a lot of good young players and intriguing teams these days, although it's looking like Tracy McGrady is the new KG. Looking both at regular season stats, as well as games I've been able to watch, if I'm starting a new franchise Chris Paul is my first pick, and it's not even close.

2. The first ever post on DWG was on April 6, 2007 - which means DWG is officially over one year old. I think we've gotten better. The extra writers, a lot more banter, and just overall a more fun atmosphere these days. I like it. So thanks.

3. Lots and lots of debate about Jason Kubel. Check the comments section of the post below this one for a lot of the comments. My main comment was, "In Kubel's minor league stops, his OPS+ numbers were 109, 144, 132, 115, 151, 126, and 114. Simply put, he could rake. In 2004, between AA and AAA he hit .352/.416/.590. Absolutely sick numbers.

Even after getting hurt, he's still an above average hitter. Last season's .273/.335/.450 was good enough for an OPS+ of 109, good for fifth on the team. [REDACTED]

More simply put, Kubel is currently an above average hitter with past performance which indicates he has the potential to become more than that."

And that's exactly right. The guy was an all-star caliber hitter in the minor leagues before he got hurt. He had a pretty decent year last year, and is doing ok so far this year. I see no reason at all to give his ABs this year to any of the other crap-factory players on the Twins' bench. That being said, he's not exactly all-world, but he is serviceable. If he can raise his game and give them something like .290/.350/.500, which is not a far cry from last season, he becomes a high caliber weapon. Basically, he has an upside of Matt Stairs with a downside of Matthew LeCroy.

4. Last thing quick is, in case you missed it, Shaun Alexander was released by Seattle today. Damn, dude, that guy fell off in a hurry. Very Vanilla-ice like. The fact that he is only on the hook for $4.4 million next season, and that they are comfortable going into next year with career backup TJ Duckett and perpetual disappointment Julius Jones speak volumes. And this coming from a guy who has him on my keeper league team and apparently held on to him for one season too long. That being said, he could be a good gamble for a team who can get him on the cheap. I doubt he has anything left in the tank. Watching him last year was like watching an old man try to order soup at a deli. Even so, could be worth a gamble.

5. Having a baby is hard.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Punto's Back and Better Than Ever!

For all those nay sayers who said Nick Punto is washed up, what do you have to say now. Sure he has no RBI’s and sure he has no extra base hits and he has a slugging percentage that is equal to his batting average. But that batting average is sitting at .300 and he is playing the field better than Brooks Robinson ever dreamed. Put me on record as saying Gardy is an idiot for not playing Puntozy more. Also, when was the last time a utility player won a gold glove?

You can also put me on record as saying "We" need way more Punto and far less of "I am really fat and can’t catch balls that hit me right in the glove" Kubel. When I say put me on record, I am not talking about the kind of record Snacks goes on where he flip flops his way into convincing himself he made a call ;). I am talking about going on record like the Flying Dutchman back in 1986 when he called World Series during fan appreciation day. By the way Fatboy "WWWW I am talking to Kubel here, not you" nice attempt at stealing 2nd base on Saturday. That steal reminded me of the scene in Major League when Willie Mays Hayes tried stealing 2nd in spring training but comes up short of the bag. Instead of coming up short of the bag your fatass was just out by 10 feet. You should have spared yourself the embarrassment of getting tagged out and just "sprinted" to the dugout as soon as you left first base. That would have been far less embarrassing than your attempted steal...."Shit house!" By the way nice .266 average! God Kubel sucks.

I am smelling MN baseball in October!

P.S. Hoff Sucks! Eat it Dawger!

P.S.S. WWWWW congratulations on baby WWWWWW!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Newest Gopher Fan

Abigail W (pictured above with Mamma W) arrived at 6:37pm last night, weighing in at 5 lbs. 6 oz. and 17 inches long. She was technically premature, arriving after just 36 weeks and 5 days, but is in good health as is Mamma.

I will resume blogging when I can. In the meantime, hopefully we'll get plenty of Dawg, Sidler, and Snake's crap to entertain us all.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Faber loves Shitty Arenas

Apparently Krys Faber signed with DePaul because he's even dumber than he looks. I'd like to write more, but I'm about to become a father.

FYI - They have wireless in the hospital now.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Faber: Coming Soon?

I'm a little late on this, mainly because I don't generally read Myron Medcalf, but it sounds like Krys Faber may be a Gopher soon. The late signing period began yesterday and runs through May 21. Now, Myron isn't exactly a world class source, as chronicled by From the Barn throughout the season, but still, at this point news is news.

Medcalf doesn't have a ton of information (actually, zero) but says "Since L.A. prep big man Krys Faber appears to be headed to the U of M next season" [the Gophers have no interest in Marquette transfer Trevor Mbakwe.]

Since there's no facts in there whatsoever, I took a look at Faber's page on, and found he just recently got back from a trip to DePaul and considers the Gophers and Blue Demons "neck and neck." I'm going to assume they didn't bother showing him Dumpster Arena, or there's no chance in hell he'd even consider going there. Will "Wheel" Walker is going to be back for Depaul, but that's pretty much it, so they're going to be even more garbage next year. Would be a terrible choice. However the sights and sounds of Chicago definitely influenced him. After spending the weekend in Chicago and checking out the downtown scene and places like Navy Pier and Soldier Field, he moved DePaul up to co-favorite, a position previously held by just the Gophers.

Of additional concern is the recent offer given to him by Tim Floyd and the USC Trojans. Not only is USC a better program right now, but they have a commitment from Malik Story, a good friend of Faber's. Add in the fact that Faber is from SoCal, and I have to think the Trojans are going to be right in the running. Plus, Lil Romeo is on the team.

Faber is a 6-11, 246 lb center who averaged 13 points and 13 rebounds per game last season, and would give the Gophers a very nice rotation of Sampson, Iverson, Faber, and Williams on the blocks.

In other news, the rich get richer, as Memphis signed the top unsigned player, swingman Tyreke Evans yesterday. Evans is the #6 overall player in the class, and joins #27 Angel Garcia and #47 Matt Simpkins in another stellar class for John Calipari. The Tigers are also still in the hunt for #13 Devin Ebanks and #56 Wes Witherspoon. Nice little program he's got going there, until he gets busted for cheating, that is.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fear and Loathing in New Jersey

Sorry I've been away for so long, but I've been between jobs and essentially computerless. If I had been able to post, I was going to pick Trevor Immelman to win the masters. I still don't know who won, so maybe I was right, who knows? The important thing is I'm stuck in New Jersey with a twelve pack (well, eleven now) of Coors Light on ice in the sink. I had a couple with dinner as well (Ruby Tuesday - not good but it was close) so I'm ready to post deep into the night. It's 7:20 right now, I have 12 (11) beers, and I have to be up at 8:00. What will the night bring? Insightful posting? Drunken rambling? Neither? Both? Only time will tell.

- Let's start by taking a look at the future Gophers (maybe) since this is primarily a Gopher blog. Although perhaps it should be a Gopher/Twin blog. I don't know. I'm just typing man.

* Royce White and Rodney Williams played together on the Howard Pulley AAU team in the Boo Williams Invitational (wasn't that that one TE for the Saints that one year?) along with Hopkins's's Mike Broghammer (offers from Purdue and Iowa). They went 3-1 in the tournament before falling in the quarterfinals, scoring over 100 points twice. White was called one of the "standout players" in the tournament by Royce scored 10, 12, 10, and 20 in the four games, and had highs of 10 and 7 rebounds in two of the games. Williams chipped in with 8, 17, 10, and 16.

*'s Evan Daniels had this to say about White: "Royce White, PF, Howard Pulley – The skilled face up four man showed off his full game on Saturday. Against Team Texas Elite he hit a spot up three, made a bunch of moves to the basket and hit at least four jumpers from 15 to 18 feet. White is equipped with good balls skills and impressive footwork." No comments on White or Broghammer, but Howard Pulley faced DaShonte Riley, a big-time Gopher target, in the first game and held him to zero points. He'll fit right in with the Gopher big men of the past. He's practically a lock now.

* Ralph Sampson III played in the Capital Classic on the 13th of April. I know it already happened, but my source doesn't have a recap, just a preview so deal. There are a good deal of top recruits playing, and could give an insight into just how good Sampson could be. Among the big man signees involved are Olek Czyz (Duke), Henry Sims (GTown), Ty Walker (Wake), Roscoe Davis (WVU), Maurice Sutton (undecided), and Kris Joseph (Cuse).

* Verdell Jones visited Indiana's campus on Friday, although why anybody would want to go to that mess is beyond me. Kentucky, Georgetown, and Texas have all gotten involved with recruiting perhaps the best unsigned point guard available, and I have to say the Gophers' chances are dwindling at this point. Jones would be perfect for Minnesota, with Joseph and Hoff as shooters and Sampson, DJ, and Iverson on the block, his penetrating style would work well and hide his perimeter shooting deficiency (hit only 32 threes last season).

- Sheesh, enough of all that serious crap, I'm just happy the Red Sox/Indians are on TV. I was worried I wouldn't get to see the Sox this year since they're never on.

- We need more Dawg movie reviews around here. Srslsy.

- So I watched about 20 minutes of that one movie about gambling with that guy who I don't know who he is and Drew Barrymore. Partially to see just how accurate the poker scenes were, but mainly because it was 12:30 and I was in a hotel in New Jersey with no alcohol and no hope of alcohol - stone cold sober. I know, i was scared too. Anyway, the overall poker scenes weren't bad, but right at the end he's in the world series of poker and it's him, some dude from some other movie, and his dad played by the guy from the godfather. Anyway, he has his dad beat after the river, and his dad goes all in, and he calls, and then when he sees what his dad's hand was he mucks his cards even though he had him beat, basically taking of a dive. I turned it off right there. That guy who I don't know who he is is a pussy. If I ever took a dive against my old man, I'm pretty sure he'd knock me out.

- That was a lot to write about a shitty movie. And I spoiled it for you. Oh no. Rent Superbad instead.

- GopherLady and that other guy need to email me their addresses so they can claim their awesome prizes in the DWG Tourny bracket. Come on people. I've stuff here to get rid of. And it's awesome. Although I should probably just send the Baseball Prospectus book to Dawg. That dude has a lot to learn.

- Is there anything less exciting that people get retarded for than the NFL draft? And I'm even a football fan. Not like basketball or baseball, but I dig the game, and it's nice to have an excuse to get all liquored up on Sundays. But people lose their minds for this stuff. It's on like 9 hours on day one and 6 hours on day two, and people will sit in front of their TVs all day on both days and watch the whole thing. It's like the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, except take out the drama, excitement, and fun. It's for retards. Although let me give you a sleeper QB: Jonathan Moxon, West Texas High. He got a scholarship to Brown, and I haven't seen his stats in college, but in high school he was a true double threat. He could sling the ball like QB Eagles and run like QB Eagles. Whoever takes him is hitting the absolute goldmine.

- Princeton is the UMD of the Ivy League.

- By the way, if you watch the 1997 One Shining Moment (search Youtube, ass) the Gophers you see are Goldy, Quincy Lewis after a Toby Bailey dunk, Eric Harris getting schooled by Ron Mercer, and a couple guys in the background after a Kentucky celebration. That's it. The whole tournament. For a final four team. It's like the One Shining Moment producers knew they were crooked and would get wiped off the books. There might be a Charles Thomas in there at the beginning too. I don't know, all black people look the same to me.

- Granted it's early, but let's look at my predictions:

1. Mauer will have less than 80 rbi. If he plays all 162 games, he'd be on pace for 68. Considering he's going to play more like 140, this may as well be a win already.

2. Delmon Young will show more power. Wow. I am a completely idiot. He's a slap hitter.

3. Morneau and Cuddyer slip. Cuddyer can't be judged, even as we look at such a small sample. Morneau has 3 dingers, but is hitting only .225 with an OPS of only .808. Undecided.

4. Twins Pitching will not be good. Clearly wrong so far, but may come back into line. I hope not, but young pitchers and old pitchers can both fade in a hurry.

5. Twins will suck. Undecided. 6-6 is ok, but it's still early. I did say they'd score less runs than last year, and they're on pace for 581, over a hundred worse than last season.

6. Torii Hunter will be average. OPS+ of 151. Fine. He's good now. I get it. Shut up, mom.

7. Johan will dominate the NL. Despite being 1-2, a WHIP of 0.97 is outstanding. an OAVG of .258 with a HR/9 of 1.75 is not. Undecided. Oh, and a K/9 of 8 is pretty stellar.

8. Yankees collapse. Last place in the NL east. 26th in runs scored, 22nd in OPS, 17th in earned runs allowed. Yeah. It's over.

9. The Indians will miss the playoffs. 4th in the AL central, 18th in runs, 26th in batting average, 23rd in OPS, 25th in ERA, 21st in WHIP. Oh, and remember how I said Sabathia/Carmona would get hurt/suck? Sabathia ERA 11.57/WHIP 2.35 and Carmona somehow has a 2.20 ERA with a 1.65 WHIP, so expect the ERA to balloon in a hurry.

10. Other predictions about players and teams, my favorite of which was the Blue Jays would make the playoffs, for which I was called an idiot. Yeah, they're leading the AL east.

11. I know it's really early, shut up I'm bored. And drunk.

- I just figured out you can sponsor a page on for only $5 a year for the vast majority of players. I want to sponsor somebody. Any ideas?

- Oh, and for those of you gays who hate walks, the current division leaders rank 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 16 in walks. But you're right, it's not important.

- I'm starting to get drunk. So Twins talk though. As Sidler mentioned below, I'm getting sick of Go Go Gomez and the constant bunting. Sure, it worked a time or two. Hell, on MLB 08 for PS2 I bunted with Gomez his first time up and he got a hit. Since then I've gotten out the last six times. Much like Gomez. I love the guy, I do, and he's showing plate discipline and an understanding of being a leadoff hitter I never expected, but you can't bunt every single game. You just can't. If Vincy Coleman couldn't pull it off, you can't. It should be a weapon, but not such a predictable weapon. Give it a rest for a game or two, then bring it back out. It's not rocket science. Jesus Gardy sucks.

- Do you realize Chris Paul averaged 21 points and 11.6 assists per game this year? That's insane. The internet is being a dick right now, so I can't find any useful info, but I'd bet that's one of the better seasons for a point guard in history. And it turns out Wake has a pretty awesome all time team with Paul, Randolph Childress, Josh Howard, Rodney Rogers, and Tim Duncan. Not to mention Rusty LaRue, the greatest three sport athlete of all-time. It would certainly kick the piss out of any Gopher team you could put together.

- According to my gametracker, it appears Guerrier and Neshek have combined to destroy the game and let the Tigers back into what was a Twins' killing. I only have two questions, 1) Is it over for Neshek and 2) why the hell was some chick wearing a Twins jersey with Guerrier on the back the last game I went to? Even worse, her boyfriend had a Twins jersey with the number 96 and his own name on the back. Seriously, if you have a team jersey and put your own name on the back you might as well kill yourself now.

- This is going to shock you, but Joe Borowski just blew a save for the Indians here. Amazing that guys like this keep getting closer jobs. Let's see, prior to tonight, this season he has an ERA of 4.19 with a WHIP of 2.19. Last year, 5.07 and 1.43. Previous season, 4.75 and 1.38. Those are three out of his four seasons being a closer. He had one good year in 2003 with the Cubs where we went 2.63 and 1.05, which he followed up with 8.02 and 1.97. No way in hell should this douche be a closer. It's like the Tigers and Todd Jones. In his past two years as a full-time closer (before this year) he's put up ERAs of 3.94 and 4.26 and WHIPs of 1.27 and 1.42. These are not closer numbers. He, like Borowski, had one good year, and he continues to get paid and treated like an elite closer. Hell, watch either of these two girls pitch and it's the least impressive thing ever. It's like me hitting off Timdogg's wife's supposed pitching. They are basically like that middle reliever guy (JC Romero) who has that one fluke year. Except they had that one fluke year as a closer and for some reason everyone decides they are a good closer. The good news is that as I was posting that Borowski gave up a homerun to Manny and now Papelbon is in for the save and he's on my fantasy team. Now Papalbon comes on and shuts down the Indians like a real closer, three batters, two strikeouts. Seriously, some guys are closers. Papelbon, Rivera, Nathan, Hoffman (hells bells). Guys like Jones and Borowski are not, and I don't get these retards who don't see it. And the tigers refuse to use Zumaya, who is a complete closer type, in that role. He's hurt this year, so it's kind of irrelevant here, but even when he wasn't they made him be a setup guy. And do you know why this keeps happening? It's because of you morons who refuse to look at stats they way you should. The guys who don't understand why walks are so important, even from three and four hitters. Who don't look at WHIP and think that "this guy seems tough." Who continue to think of "statheads" as guys who live in their mother's basements crunching numbers. Baseball is the most easily quantifiable of all sports. It's essentially one on one, pitcher versus batter. So please, stop being stupid and look at the numbers, just once. I'm pretty sure all managers other than Sparky Anderson and Earl Weaver are idiots. I could do that job. I'm applying.

- Holy christ is family guy stupid.

- oh, and the picture up there, I just thought it was funny.

- Good news, I managed to snag two Amstel Lights from the bar lady downstairs, even though they've been closed for over an hour. Probably because she wants me. I just hope I can think of something intersting to type now.

- In case you're curious, the most recent info I can find on former Georgia Tech forward James Forrest is that he played in Europe in 2002 and averaged 12.5 points per game. But he made this shot that one time:

So he's beter than you.

- A link from there goes to here, which is one of the most fun games I've ever watched. Funny story about this game, is that I was with my dad and my uncle all afternoon that day, and my dad hates beer but loves vodka, and he decided to try to keep up with me and my uncle as we drank beer and he drank vodka. Well, predictably, he couldn't handle it, so, even though the three of us watched the whole game together, he has no memory of this game at all. One of the best games i can ever remember watching. Unfortunately the douchebag who recoreded this won't let me embed it, so you'll have to click on the link. How amateur.

- By the way, there's no way I could have opened these Amstel Lights without the bottle opener on my key chain. So those of you who think only rednecks have bottle openers on their keychains can eat a dick. Mine is a basketball.

- Christ, on Letterman tonight is Trevor Immelman and David Wright. Yet somehow when I went it was Dr. Phil and Roger federer. My kharma is all messed up.

- I'm very proud to announce that if you put "suck my crank" into google we come up as the second site. We're also second if you put in "goldy is a fag". I've never been so proud.

- Well, this is coool:

- Here are your officially announced 2008 NBA drafttes:
Joe Alexander - meh. ok. probably a dcent palyer
Ryan anderson - awesome. will be a great late pick if he says in
Nicolus Batum - I have no idea who this is
Jerryd Bayless - 8 million times better than Eric Gordon
Michael Beasley- superstar. sick good
Chase Budinger - dude, really? Like Laettner, has no NBA skills.
Derrick Caracter - stay. seriously stay.
EArl Clark - seriously, why? Better than Caracter ,but no reason to go
Eric Gordon - go ahead and draft him, I dare you
Donte Green - guy is seriously flawed, but those flaws will work for the NBA
richard hendrix - No
JJ Hickson - one more year and he'd be a star
Lester Hudson - just keep ripping up the OVC, it's all you got
DeAndre Jordan - if you're tall and not retarded, you can get drafted now
Brook Lopez - I thought he was a queer, but is actually quite good
Robin Lopez - stay for a year and try to prove yourself without your brother around. worst decision out of anybody so far. Needs to take another year to prove himself.
OJ Mayo - Proved me wrong this year. Still think he's overrated. If the Wolves take him i quit more than I already did.
Javale McGee - I don't know who this is
Trent Plaisted - you have to be kidding
Anthony Randolph - I should know this guy, but I don't.
Marrese Speights - if this dude gets drafted I quit the NBA. Just a tall stupid idiot.
Ronald Steele - he's Eric Harris. Not a chance in hell.
Robert Vaden - shouldn't be drafted. Could be signed as a free agent as a shooter, or could end up ripping up the Australian league.
Shawn James - No idea. Probably not even real.

- Rico Tucker had a knee injury that ended up knocking him out of the WCC tournament and likely affected his play all season long. yet he still ended up finishing third in scoring and tops in both assists and steals for Pepperdine. The knee was clearly bothering him all year, as he only shot 42% from the field and 29% from three. Expect Rico to dominate next year after he's healthy.

- I'd drunk and tired. Oh, and if you read all this you probably need to get a life or a better job. I'm going to bed. go f yourself.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Twins Notes from The Sidler

I'm back to talk Twins, even though I haven't had a chance to watch over half of their games.  It looks like I'm really down on the squad, but that's not entire true, I just have low expectations and some of those are being met.

1. STOP BUNTING.  For the love of God, just because a player is fast doesn't mean he should try to lay down a bunt 1/2 his at-bats.  Gomez isn't going to develop much power at this rate.  Guys like Rod Carew and Brett Butler got on base 50-60% of the time on a bunt hit attempt, but other speedsters like Chone Figgins and Harold Reynolds have been far less successful (think 15-20% in their worst seasons).  Gomez isn't Puntonian squaring around to bunt, but he's far from a sure thing.  Sadly, it isn't just Gomez laying down bunts too often.  Funny that the bunting leads directly to my next two points...

2. The Twins offense is letting pitchers off the hook.  Bunting the first pitch back to the pitcher doesn't help...take a pitch or two, fellas.  I know this is going to bring out the "walks are for pussies" crowd, but it seems like opposing pitchers are getting through 6 innings with 70 pitches on a nightly basis.  For a team that focuses on how bad walks are for their own pitchers, the Twins sure don't seem interested in how it can help their offense.

3. Where is the extra-base power?  No right-handed HR yet, only two guys with HR, and a 28th ranked Slugging % and HR total.  Unfortunately they're also bottom-third when it comes to doubles and triples.  Of course bunting twice every time through the lineup will knock the SLG% down quite a bit...  This team has also been ridiculously ground ball heavy so far, led by Delmon "Tyner" Young.  Just think how much worse it would be without The Kube. 

4. I'm thrilled with Livan's performance so far, but I'm sticking with the Livan ERA > 6 prediction.  Remember this--Razor Ramon Ortiz had a 2.57 ERA at the end of April last year and was mercifully removed from the rotation in mid-June after his ERA ballooned to 5.75.

5. The infield defense has taken a step back.  Punto's much better than Lamb at 3B and Castillo was much better than Harris.  Tolbert isn't really a SS, but he's worse than Bartlett and Everett hasn't been as impressive as I thought he'd be.

6.  Twins broadcasting is terrible; maybe I should say baseball coverage in this town sucks.  Dick & Bert are ridiculously bad, Gladden should never do play-by-play on the radio (otherwise I don't mind the actual radio broadcast), and KSTP has a bunch of grade-A morons providing their "analysis."

7.  The young pitchers are showing some positive signs.  I'm only writing about one of them, but Baker and Bonser have been solid, too.  Blackburn's minor league stats and peripherals suggest he's a 4/5 starter, but if he can keep striking guys out at the rate he is, he can be much more than that and he's one of the few groundball pitchers on the roster.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gerbe, Gerbe, Gerbe!!!

The 2008 Frozen Four Championship game is all set. The Final will match Boston College against Notre Dame. Boston College will be playing in their 3rd consecutive championship game (they lost the last two) while Notre Dame will be playing in their 1st championship game in school history.

So how did they get here? Boston College got to the championship game be completely, and I do mean completely dominating the University of North Dakota. If this was a high school game they would have started running time about halfway through the 2nd period. The two big difference makers in this game where Nathan Gerbe and Philly Lamerioux. Gerbe completely dominated the game and was so impressive that a gitty Bear called my just before the first intermission and was almost giggling uncontrollably as he described the Sioux ass raping Gerbe was administering. Gerbe finished the game (actually the first two periods) with three goals and 1 assist.

The other star of the game was Lamerioux, North Dakota's buffoon goalie. He was so remarkably bad in this game that wrote an article last night titled "sieve, sieve, sieve.",15683/SieveSieveSieve.html. I can't think of a better way for one of the biggest pricks in all of college hockey to end his career. Thanks for the lasting memory frenchy! One last Lamerioux note, in his last two frozen four games Lamerioux has allowed 12 goals...ouch. Briggs was better than that!

This game also places the great coach Hakstol right up on top of the list of greatest choke jobs of all time. 4 straight trips to the frozen four and nothing but participation medals for his efforts. Don't forget this was also suppose to be "the greatest" Sioux team in 25 years and the mouth breather still couldn't get it done. Banners hung in Mariucci the last four years =4. Banners hung in the Nazi bunker the last four years =1. Hakstol equals Doug Woog without the class and personality. And the answer is yes, I do take pleasure in others misery!

On a sad note, this will most likely be the last time sexy TJ Oshie laces up his skates in a college hockey game. God I am going to miss watching that sexy son of a bitch glide up and down the ice!

The other semi-final game pitted #1 ranked Michigan against Notre Dame. Notre Dame raced out to a 3 goal lead before Michigan battled back and tied the game 4-4. The game went into overtime before Frosh Calle Ridderwall scored the game winner. To be brutally honest, I could really careless about this game. I woke this morning and felt like a million dollars because of the gift Boston College gave me last night. If your interested the Championship game will be played tomorrow night on ESPN. My National Championship came last night so I don't really care what happens Saturday. I am going to pick Boston College to beat Notre Dame 4-2. I just can't see Gerbe being stopped. Go Eagles...Caw-Caw-Caw!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Punchless Demon

What is wrong with Delmon "Demon" Young? He's become a slap hitter. A good number 2 guy who will hit for a pretty good average, but has zero power. We already have one of those in Joe Mauer, except Mauer will at least walk to get on base, whereas Young is like the guy in softball who intentionally swings at ball four because "no way am I walking, I came here to hit balls." Might as well slap #69 on his back at this point.

When Young came here, the idea was he'd be a power bat to add to a lineup sorely lacking in said skill. With Morneau the only real power hitter, along with Cuddyer, who you never know what you're going to get from, and Kubel, who can never stay healthy, Young was needed to add some pop. Instead we got Bucky Dent.

There was a lengthy discussion in the comments of this post about Young, which mostly centered around two points - his plate patience made Kirby Puckett look like Ricky Henderson, and how the Twins added another power bat. Well, the only thing that conversation proved is that Snake and Dawg don't know jack about baseball, and everybody was wrong about Demon's "power" except Sidler, but I'll get to that a little later.

Have you looked at Demon's numbers? .286/.306/.314. It is not good when the OBP and SLG numbers are that close to the batting average. In fact, it's the exact profile of a slap hitter with no plate discipline. Ozzie Guillen, a notoriously free swinging spray hitter, had almost the exact same profile, particularly in 1989 when he hit .253/.270/.318. Other players with a similar trend were Rafael Santana, Tim Foli, and Rey Ordonez. Shortstops. Delmon Young hits like a god damned shortstop.

Small sample size? Yes, obviously. I'm not a retard. I recognize that. But there's more. An extremely disturbing trend Sidler brought up in the linked conversation above. Here are Young's slugging percentages, year-by-year going back to his first year in the minors: .538, .527, .474, .476, .408, .314. That's five years of either declines, with one small improvement. At this point, I'm starting to think the two issues are related. As team's get the book on Young, they know he's a hacker, and get him to swing at bad pitches he can't drive.

I still think he's an excellent talent, and believe he can turn back into a power hitter. Vladimir Guerrero is known as a notorious hacker, but he has also had at least 50 walks in every season except for his rookie year, and had 84 one season. Young needs to develop at least a modicum of plate patience, or he's not going to be able to succeed at this level.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Grandslam is back with some extra words for Masters Week:


Well last week there was a first time PGA tour winner in the likes of Johnson Wagner. Wagner a former alumn of Va. Tech won his first tournament, thus giving him his first ever trip to Augusta. Normally i might make a big deal of this, but blah blah blah.

I hope all of you have your office pools ready for this weeks tournament. Did everyone know that this week the tour will head down Magnolia lane to Augusta National Golf Club for the 74th playing of The Masters. This may be the greatest weekend on earth to sit on your ass and watch golf (at least that's what i will be partaking in)

I think the best part of this year's tournament, is that for the first time in the coverage of The Master's is that they will be televising the Par 3 tournament on ESPN. I see highlights year after year and have always wondered why they never have shown this, but this year we will see the PGA Tour's version of a game of darts. In last years tournament first time major winner Zach Johnson won with a score of -1 which equaled the highest ever 4 day total for the tournament. Zach Johnson had an interesting strategy last year, not going for a single par 5 in two all week long. Although many questioned his game plan, come sunday afternoon it would appear that this was the right thing to do.

Yes, we have seen many long hitters win this tournament recently with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Vijay Singh, but The Masters is a tournament where a good ball striker with the right game plan can sneak up on anybody which Johnson was evidence of last year. Lately the scores at The Masters have resembled scores of the second major of the year The US Open. I would pretty much say this is the toughest test of golf the players will see all year. You have to drive your golf ball not only straight, but with alot of length. If you don't you will be in some pretty deep rough, and your distance control is a must at Augusta because these will be the toughest greens the players will see all year, and I will guarantee that whether its putting or chipping/pitching around the greens.

They have done alot within the last ten years to change this course. They have lengthened the course by almost 600 yds, they have made the fairways more narrow and very fast, and of course making the greens lightning fast. Back then the shortest players on tour could still reach #13 and #15 in two, now there are only a select few that will do this on a regular basis. Unlike the US Open, the Masters will challenge every club in your bag for the week. If the weather is hot and dry this week, look for the scores to resemble last years tournament.

One thing that i look forward to, as i do year after year is who is gonna be right there, but just won't win it. With the likes of Greg Norman, David Duval, Johnny Miller (although i hate that bastard)and Ernie Els, its seems almost every year there is drama right up to the 72nd hole which makes this the most exciting tournament to view.

The other story that will intrigue me this week is can the #1 player in the world Tiger Woods win the first major of the year and possibly win the Career Grand Slam in one season?? Of course Tiger will be the favorite this week, next week, basically every tournament he tees it up in. However this week, although i see him being right there at the end, I don't think he wins this week. My pick to click this week is Geoff Ogilvy. The reason being he has really been on a roll that last month or so, but not only that but I think he's got the perfect game for Augusta. He drives the ball long and straight, he has a wonderful short game, a decent putter, but most importantly he probably hits the highest long irons on tour which is a must to play well at Augusta with the fast hilly greens.

I would love to give you a pick of "my sleeper of the week", but its just too hard. I know for a fact that there will be a name on top the leaderboard that many of you have never heard of, but more than likely come Saturday afternoon that name will fade, I just don't know who that is.

Everyone enjoy the greatest week of golf that we get to see every year. Peace Out!!!


Penn State Forward is "Handsy"

In case you missed it, as I did, Penn State senior-to-be guard Stanley Pringle got busted for masturbating in the school's library. To be precise, he offered a female student "hand lotion" then, after she declined, sat behind her and began self-pleasurization.

Pringle will actually be a pretty valuable member of the Nittany Lions next year, relatively speaking. He averaged 7 points, 2.5 rebs and 2.5 assists per game last season. He also leads the team in pervy-ness. Although you have to admire the smoothness of "Would you like some hand lotion." I can only imagine some of the student section signs/chants he's going to hear next season.

Full article here.

Thank God!

Some good news from the world of Gopher Hockey. Jeff Frazee has left the program and signed a contract with the New Jersey Devils. Thank god this waste of talent and locker space has finally left the program. I had high hopes for this kid when he entered the program and all he ever gave the gophers was a good two or three months at the end of the 2007 season. The one thing I will miss are the easy cheap shots Frazee gave me every week. I will just have to turn my attention more towards ripping the Hoff!!!! Thats right Dawg!

Attention Dawg- I am not Holy Hell. I went back and read HH's post and that person is clearly a mouth breathing knuckle dragger. You now owe me an apology for calling me HH. Snacks and I are both waiting for our apology......and Hoff still sucks!

Rock. Chalk. Gayhawk.

I can't believe there is no highlight of Mario Chalmers three pointer last night up on youtube yet. Would have been a great way to open this post. Stupid internet nerds.

First thing, congratulations to GopherLady, who won the first ever Down with Goldy NCAA Bracket Pool. Top Five below:

1. GopherLady
2. Theory
3. Sam Jacobson's All-Stars
4. Snacks
5. GopherKev

If these five would please shoot me an email at with their address and prize they want, I'll send them off. Prize list can be found at the bracket site.

Anyway, back to the game. How fun was that to watch? Obviously, there was a lot more inside action then I had predicted, as the perimeter defense was just way too good on both sides. Not to mention the way they got back on defense. Several times one team or the other would look like they might have a break going, but the defense would get back in time to break it up.

Kansas looked like it had the game in the bag the whole time, basically by getting the ball to Darrell Arthur and letting him destroy Taggert, Dorsey, or Dozier and by keeping Rose under control on the defensive end. Once Rose got going in the second half, it looked like Memphis had this one in the bag, but that free throw problem, which hadn't been a problem all tournament, finally came back to bit them in the ass - they missed four out of their last five attempts in regulation.

It was interesting to watch CDR and Brandon Rush, as they are competing for similar draft position ( has them going #17 and #18) and they were matched up on each other most of the game. CDR ended up with more points (22 on 7-16 compared to 12 on 5-9) but Rush had more rebounds (6 to 1) and assists (2-1). Most telling, however, was when they would try to go one-on-one against each other. Roberts got his shots off, but Rush stayed in front of him and they were difficult shots, usually over Rush. When Rush drove, however, he was able to go right by CDR and get to the rim. He didn't score more because Memphis's help defense was so good. I'd definitely take Rush over CDR if I'm drafting.

Overall, it was just a great, great game, one I'm happy I didn't miss. Probably the best championship game I can remember watching.

And here is this year's One Shining Moment in case you missed it:

And yes, Joey Dorsey will be in jail within three years.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Championship Game


1. Memphis wins

2. Rose and CDR once again get to the rim over and over in transition, as Kansas has no answer.

3. As easily as Russell Westbrook scored on the Tigers Saturday night, Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers will do the same as this game is dominated by the guards on both sides. Dozier, Dorsey, Taggart, Arthur, Kaun, and Jackson are relegated to mostly just rebounding and second chance points - expect possibly for Arthur who can get out and run and might be able to score on the break.

4. Cole Aldrich heads back to the bench and plays less than three minutes, if at all.

5. The game goes over the posted total of 148.5, and will be more like 160.

6. Will go pretty much down to the wire, with Memphis pulling ahead in the final minute to win 83-78.

7. Most Oustanding Player: Chris Douglas-Roberts

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Semifinal Review

Unfortunately, the location I was in yesterday during the games was not the most conducive to reviewing basketball, but I was still able to watch quite a bit and can give you some thoughts. I'm sure you're thrilled.

- I was wrong. Nobody can stop Derrick Rose. I've pretty much underrated him most of the year. No more. Despite the Jayhawks' athletic guards and good defense, they won't have an answer for Rose either. I would still take Beasley over him in the NBA draft, but you can't go wrong either way. Really depends on team needs, and for the Wolves I think Beasley is more what the need.

- That Memphis/UCLA game was a game for athletes, and nothing symbolized that more than CDR's dunk over Kevin Love, see below:

Except it wasn't really even over Love, because it didn't have to be. CDR (the athlete) had the body control and ability to swerve around him in mid-drive and hit the dunk anyway, while Love (the non-athlete) couldn't get there quite in time, and when he did was completely irrelevant to the play, other than trying to take a Chris Paulus-like dive. It pretty much symbolized the whole game. The guys who played well for UCLA were their best athletes Russell Westbrook and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. I would put Collison in that athletic group too, but he couldn't get it going at all. Meanwhile guys like Shipp and Love struggled, and the Bruins had no answer on defense for CDR or Rose, or the Memphis fastbreak in general. Pretty much a thorough ass-kicking.

- I won $43 rolling dice with Theory, Dr. Acula, and Pee Wee. Go me.

- I don't know that I've ever seen a team play better than Kansas last night, particularly the opening 8 minutes in jumping out to a 33-10 lead. Offensively they were perfect, and defensively they were perfect. It was such a thorough beating that senior peon Jeremy Case even got to play in the first half.

- Cole Alrich is a beast. Played a season-high in minutes last night, scoring 9 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the final four. Nice. That was his second highest scoring game of the year, and third highest in rebounds. More importantly, he smacked Hansbrough around and kept him off his game, helping to limit him to just thirteen shots while Ellington and Green kept chucking from the outside. They got hot for a bit and made a game of it, but taking away Hansbrough made the game an easy KU win. With Kaun and Jackson graduating this year, and Arthur probably 50/50 to enter the draft, Aldrich is going to be a key for the Jayhawks next year, and will be an absolute stud.

- Early Prediction: Kansas takes the final. But it's going to be a hell of a game.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Semifinal Saturday

Woo-hoo, the Final Four is here, and it should be a good one. Of course, two years ago I was in Vegas to watch, and this year I'll be at a BW3. Advantage: 2 years ago.

I'm still picking UCLA to take out Memphis and hold down Rose. Now, I don't mean hold down like 2 points, I mean more like going 4-14 with 12 points and a 1:1 TO/A ratio or worse. He's still going to get points, but he's also going to struggle. I will also go ahead and guarantee Dorsey is in foul trouble most of the game.

An interesting note on the second game is that Kansas plays at a lot slower tempo than I thought, ranking 132nd in the country in tempo compared to Carolina at 9th. I thought maybe it was a reflection on the Big 12, and it is a little bit as Kansas ranks fifth in the conference, but that doesn't completely explain my misperception, and they obviously don't run as much as I thought. I don't think a faster paces bothers them however, seeing as they were 16-1 in games where more than 145 points were scored. I'm also thinking it may be that they rank lower in tempo because they were in so many blowouts, where they slowed things down in the second half because they were up by so much. I'd love to see a first half vs. second half tempo split, but have no idea where to get that if it even exists. In any case, I'm still picking Kansas.

In Twins news, they picked up a good win over the previously undefeated Royals, but lost Cuddyer with a dislocated finger. I actually thought the Cuddy Bear would be tough and be back in a couple days, but he's already been put on the 15-day DL like a little whiny girl. I'm much less fond of Cuddy these days. This means we'll see more of Kubel (good), but also more of Monroe (bad). I don't know who they're calling up to take Cuddy's place, but chances are he really sucks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stuff about Things

1. First and foremost, the final four kicks off tomorrow. With all the hubbub about baseball starting up, I haven't spent much time thinking about it. But really, there's not much to think about. You have the four best teams in the country left, so it's not really even about matchups at this point, it's more about how well the teams play and execute. I think UCLA will take down Memphis and Kansas stops UNC.

I'm not sure why in the first game. I even had in the scrolling text up above that I was picking Memphis, but not anymore. I think Love will get Dorsey in foul trouble early, and I think Westbrook/Collison can handle Rose. CDR is the guy I'm worried about, not sure how they'll handle him. As far as the Bruins go, I think Love will destroy Dorsey by out smarting him, and their overall defense will slow down Memphis. Remember, just because UCLA generally plays a slower game doesn't mean they don't have the athletes to handle a team like Memphis - they do. Memphis also won't have Andre Allen, who got kicked off the team for smoking the ganj, a top defensive player.

In the second game, two of the worst big game coaches square off. Kansas has certainly looked more vulnerable in the tournament so far, but I think they have exactly what is needed to take down the Heels. Big men to handle Hansbrough (Arthur and Jackson), somebody quick enough to deal with Lawson (Chalmers, Collins, and Robinson), good defense (#3 defensive efficiency), the ability to run with the heels (check), and good overall athleticism (check). Look for the Jayhawks to take 'em down.

2. Took in the Twins game yesterday with Dr. Acula, and we decided it was a great way to spend a day, but once that outdoor stadium was here it will be even better. Interesting how our tickets were $7 but a 20 ounce glass of 3.2 beer is $6.50. Overall, this team is really boring, just because the offense is so anemic. Slowey was taken out in the fourth (which I predicted) due to a biceps strain (which I didn't.) He'll skip his next start, but should be back. Sidler's guy Kubel hit a homerun, which he just destroyed, but it didn't really matter as Torii Hunter hit one as well to lead the Angels to a 5-4 victory. The good news being the Twins doubled their total run about put, adding that 4 to the 4 they had in the first three games combined. On pace now for a total of 324 runs this season. It's going to be a long year.

3. Congratulations to Ohio State for running through the NIT on the way to the title. I guess they were a decent team after all. They probably should have gotten some of those quality wins during the season and made the tournament. Is a first round loss in the NCAA tournament better than an NIT championship? Yes, yes it is.

Meanwhile, the CBI championship was forced to a deciding game three with Bradley's win over Tulsa on Wednesday night. That was just weird to type overall, and no, I don't know when the final game is and I'm not going to look it up.

Fine, it's tonight at 8pm.

4. In NFL news, Chris Henry is still an ass, he got arrested again and released this time, and Brett Favre is an attention whore. It doesn't even matter if he is or isn't interested in coming back, the story is out there, and either he or his agent was the catalyst behind this. He just can't stand not being the top story, it's pathetic. Combined with the dance of will he/won't he retire for the last three off-seasons, and this douche is doing everything he can to keep his name in the paper. What an ass. He's even more like the Pete Rose of the NFL now.

5. Caught the College Slam Dunk and Three Point Contest. Best part of the night was when New Mexico's J.R. Giddens hit his first dunk, and did a spot on impression of the Carlton from the Fresh Prince dancing impression. LaSalle's Darnell Harris beat out Tennessee's Chris Lofton in the three point contest, and Arkansas's Sonny Weems won the dunk contest. Weems was a top JuCo player two years ago, so let's add Dunk Contest Winner to the possible upside for Devron Bostick.

6. "My better is better than your better" is the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life. Plus Nike's shoes fall apart.

7. Look out for Johnny Cueto

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Watson v. Elk

Hey, Grandslam has decided to write again. Here we go:

What was the most intriguing/interesting story last week at the Zurich Classic? Was it the fact the young argentinian Andres Romero won his first PGA Tour title, or was it the fact for the second week in a row mother nature had a big say in the weeks tournament?? Hell, it could even be the fact that alot of the top finishers in the field made significant jumps in the World Golf Rankings. If you say that anything that i had mention was the standout story of the week, then you clearly did not watch Friday's coverage on the golf channel.

This might possibly one of the funniest things i have ever seen on Live TV.

Now obviously for young Bubba Watson this was a situation that was happening for the majority of the first two rounds. Of course it was, for gods sake Bubba Watson hits it 40 yds. past the majority of his playing partners. The one thing that i did not like about the situation was how Steve Elkington's caddie stormed off the 18th green with his employer. I had no problem with the way Elkington reacted, cuz lets face it if you get alled out like a little bitch, your gonna be pretty pissed. And this maybe just my opinion, but Elkington should have stayed and at least shook hands with the rest of the caddies, if for anything to show them the respect.

This week the tour will head to Houston for the Shell Houston Open. This tournament has absolutely been dominated by international players in the last ten years, especially the Aussies (ie: Stuart Appleby). International players have won 7 out of the last 10 years here. 4 of those wins have gone to the Aussies (Scott, Allenby, and Appleby), as for Stuart Appleby he has 2 wins and 2 seconds in 7 career starts here.

Usually the week before a major (Masters next week) the fields are usually pretty weak. Surprisingly this week is a very strong field considering the circumstances with 5 of the top 10 in the fed ex cup standings. With this all being said, my pick for the week is an international player, and its the Aussie Stuart Appleby. With his dominance in this tournament he's someone you have to think will be right there come Sunday.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Twins vs. Angels - Game 3

I haven't watched all of the game, but I figured WWWWWW would complain if I didn't post about the it.

This one has stunk so far, but it isn't without positives.

Good: Broadcast in HD
Bad: Bremer & Blyleven are still the announcers

Good: Blackburn's looked great tonight, striking out more than I'd expect, inducing plenty of ground balls, and pounding the strike zone.
Bad: The Twins "offense" has no runs through 6 and Saunders has thrown 59 pitches.  I make the pitcher work harder in MLB 08 and I swing at everything.

Good: Punto got a hit
Bad: Morneau's hit like Punto since about July of last year and has accounted for 4 outs in 3 at-bats tonight

Good: Gardy's lineup makes sense tonight.  No need to play Mauer against a lefty if he's going to sit one of the next two games and Lamb is terrible against lefties.
Bad: That means Monroe and Punto are in the lineup.  It sucks, even if it is the right move.

Good: MLB Extra Innings free preview is going on, allowing me to watch competent offenses
Bad: Jeff Brantley is a commentator for the Reds

Blackburn uncorked a wild pitch with a runner on 3rd to give up the first run of the game and is now in line for the loss.  This is why using wins and losses is dumb for pitchers.

I might update this again before the end of the game, but the Twins offense is terrible tonight and will be terrible for many more nights throughout the season.  

Before I go, another prediction--the bullpen, as a whole, is going to be significantly worse than last year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Who needs baseball?

Excuse me, WWWWWW, it seems you have forgotten about the most exciting team in town, the one with a blueprint for success.

The masses want their Timberwolves coverage, just look at the excitement building in the Target Center before the game against Detroit!

Nevermind, the Wolves suck. At least they seem to have a sense of humor--this is the best April Fools joke I've seen all day.

See you at Target Center on the 16th!

Tuesday Night Twins/Angels recap

Just a few thougths on the game as it was a pretty dull game from a Twins fan's perspective.

-- Diet Boof had a rough 1st but seemed to get into a mini groove in the 2nd inning. Final line:
6 IP 8H 3ER 4Ks

-- In the 3rd, the hometown score keeper felt bad for Tori after he blew Garlands no hitter so they gave Kubel an undeserved hit, rahter then an error to Hunter.

-- Top of 4th, Everett-sy and Morneau-sy combine for a sexy defensive play (I know I stole that from DB who stole it from Dan from Woodbury but I still think its funny)

-- Bottom of 5 Chrissy Everett gets a 2 out RBI single finally putting the Twins on the board 4-1.(which was a make up for his shat throwing error in the top of 5 which lead to an unearned run)

-- During the Livan interview I discovered that his Spanglish is worse then Go-Go's. His Spanglish is slightly better then Diekembe Mutombo's Wookie dialect.

--Crain comes on to pitch the 7th and does a decent job which further demonstrates the magical healing powers of HGH. There is no way that he should be pitching like 8 months after surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.

--Delmon looked a little shaky out in left field again tonight. I guess he is having a little trouble switching OF positions. The Dome may not be aiding in his transition.

-- Delmon had another great night at the plate including a single that he stretched into a double. He should have scored at least one more time but Sidlers guy Kubel stranded 4 guys on base.

-- Jerry White decided to go with the DQ helmet giveaway rather then a baseball cap. ( I learned later in the game that base coaches have to to wear those silly things this year??? Is this little league or what?)

-- Stinky Rinky or Juan Stincon, whichever you prefer, still sucks in 2008 in case you turned the game off after the 7th inning and missed his 9th inning melt down.

All and all this game sucked. Garland forced a lot of ground balls and his defense was exceptional. The Angels offense was clicking. Howie Kendrick impressed me as did Napoli. Napoli drilled a fast ball that was low and outside deep to left center for a HR.

The Twins should hope for a split.

PS Go-Go hit the ball hard all 4 times and was swinging at good pitches.

Twins = World Series Bound (and some Basketball)

First off, I added three new blogs to the link list over on the right. The National Anthem before a Cubs Game (TNABACG), a general Minnesota sports blog, and Aaron Gleeman and Stick and Ball Guy - two Twins blogs. Check them out. Additionally, I'm going to try to recap as many Twins games as I can, and certainly which ever ones I get a chance to watch - although with a kid on the way in the next few weeks and a new job, who knows if I'll have time. Hopefully Dawg and Sidler will post plenty of Twins related material for your amusement.

Livan Hernandez: According to Bert, "Livan Hernandez isn't like Johan Santana, he has to change speeds to be successful." Wasn't Santana's out pitch his changeup? Thanks again for all your wisdom, Bert. That's probably why you aren't in the hall of fame, jackass. Anyway, Hernandez was beautiful last night. Kept the ball down, didn't walk anybody, pretty much made the Angels hit his pitches on the ground, and gave up just two runs in his seven innings. I doubt he can keep this up all year, but nice start to be sure.

Carlos Gomez: Granted it's just one game, but he really impressed me. And I'm not even talking about the double, the bunt hit (holy crap is this kid fast), or the two steals. He showed a lot of patience at the plate, not only by drawing a walk but even in his strikeout at bat he drew the count out to 3-2. That was my big knock on the kid, but if he's figured out how to be a little more patient (not quite Rickey Henderson, which was another Bert comment last night) he could be deadly up there already. He's going to be a fan favorite in a hurry.

Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan: Good to know that if the Twins can get to the eighth with a lead, they have a very good chance of winning as these two were lights out once again. They each gave up a hit (Neshek's was a bloop that will be caught in the future as the left side of the defense gets used to each other and the dome) and struck out four between them, including a big Neshek K of Vlad Guerrero.

Torii Hunter: It was nice to see Hunter get a standing ovation. For all about him that drove me crazy, I can't deny his heart, effort, leadership, or charisma and what he meant to this franchise over the years. Of course, it was even nicer to see him strikeout in a close game in the ninth.

Johan Santana: Naturally, Santana rolled through his first NL start, going seven and giving up 3 hits with 8 K's. He's really good.

A couple quick basketball items:

1. There is a new ESPN Top 100 out. In it, Rodney Williams comes in at 66 and Royce White at 71. Fellow Gopher target DaShonte Riley is ranked #54.

2. Speaking of Royce, in case you missed it, he's transferring to Hopkins. He'll be joining top recruits Raymond Cowles, Trent Locket, and Mike Broghammer on a loaded Royals team that will surely be the top team in the State. Hopefully Royce can pull his act together and make the most of this opportunity.

3. Former UCLA Bruin J.R. Henderson is dominating in the Japanese league, and has become a full-fledged Japanese citizen, including changing his name to J.R. Sakuragi. His real first name is Milton. So he's now Milton Sakuragi. Must be odd to walk around Japan being 6-9, what with all the 5-2 people and ninjas and all.