Friday, March 29, 2013

Buster Posey is the Giants

By Kalen Patrick

Today the San Francisco Giants gave Buster Posey a HUGE extension, 9 years for $167 Million with a team option for a 10th season. While many will question the amount and the length of the contract I think it is a great move by the Giants. Locking up one of the best young players in Baseball is never a bad move for any team. Despite the big numbers I think the Giants actually got a very good "deal" here, the most comparable player and contract would be Joe Mauer from the Minnesota Twins who got an 8 year $186 million deal. Not only do I think Buster Posey is a better player than Joe Mauer but I think he will remain much more healthy and reliable.

Lets take a look at Buster Posey's career so far, Rookie of the Year in 2010 and won the World Series, having a great 2011 season until the injury from the home plate collision. 2012 Buster Posey won the National League MVP, won the NL batting title, won the World Series. In terms of individual achievements Posey has won just about everything besides for Gold glove and St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina just about has that reward locked up every year for his superb ability behind the plate.

Buster Posey clearly is the future of the Giants along with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. These will be the 3 keys guys the Giants will have going forward. I really wish I could put Pablo Sandoval on that list but he has yet to prove he can play a full season consistently and of course his weight issues are always a concern. Posey is a franchise player that any team would be lucky to build around and the Giants did right by him and the team by making sure he won't go any where.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

San Francisco 49ers Draft Preview

By Kalen Patrick

The 2013 NFL Draft takes place on April 25th, the 3 days of drafting will shape franchises for years to come. Some players will become stars, some will become busts, some will surprise and some will disappoint. The NFL Draft is one of the biggest events on the NFL Calendar and there is certainly a lot of intrigue as we lead up to the main event. Of course this is the San Francisco Sports Cave so I am gonna take a look at some of the 49ers draft needs and which players the 49ers might be looking at. Overall the 49ers have 15 picks in this years draft, and with multiple big contracts looming in the coming years, being able to draft effectively is going to be key for the 49ers to remain towards the top of the NFL.

49ers Position Needs and Potential Targets
What is very interesting is that the 49ers have been known for their stout defense, but this time around the 49ers have multiple needs on the defensive side.

Safety: The departure of Dashon Goldson in Free Agency and the decline in performance from Donte Whitner makes Safety arguably priority number 1 for the 49ers heading in to the draft. The 49ers hold the 31st, 34th and and 61st picks within the first 2 rounds. I am making an absolute guarantee that with one of those picks (or via a trade) the 49ers will draft a Safety in either round 1 or 2. In my opinion, some of the main Safety prospects the 49ers will focus on will be Jonathan Cyprien (Florida International) and Matt Elam (Florida). Addressing this position early is vital, I don't think any of us 49er fans will forget Joe Flacco torching Whitner and Goldson on all of those deep passes in the Superbowl.

Note: The 49ers did sign Free Agent Craig Dahl, but he in my opinion is definitely a backup talent but may see time in Nickel or Dime packages.

Defensive Line: There are 2 reasons why defensive line is a huge need for the 49ers. 1- The 49ers lost valuable depth in Free Agency with Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois gone. 2- We all saw how much the absence of Justin Smith effected the 49ers defense. While Justin will be ready to go for Training Camp, he will be turning 34 around the start of the Regular Season. This means he won't be at his high caliber for many years and also he is more likely to get injured and "dinged up" and miss time. With the now lack of depth the 49ers will need to address the defensive line. The 49ers could target Sylvester Williams (North Carolina) if he is available at the end of round 1, the one issue with him is the recent bust Kentwan Balmer played the same position and came from the same school. This may affect the 49ers thought process with Williams. Other potential prospects around the 49ers early picks which could be targeted are Kawann Short (Purdue) and Bennie Logan (LSU).

Note: The 49ers signed Glenn Dorsey who I think could blossom in San Francisco, however the need is still there and I expect the 49ers will add another D-Lineman early.

The 49ers starting offense is all but set in stone, the key for the 49ers will be acquiring key depth at certain positions.

Tight End: We all know how much the 49ers love using the pistol offense and 2 Tight End formations and the departure of Delanie Walker means there is a notable void. I don't believe Garrett Celek is ready to be that guy, with other teams Celek could be a number 2 TE but with the amount the 49ers utilize that position, expect an upgrade somewhat early in the draft. The ideal selection would be Zach Ertz (Stanford) with the 61st pick but it's very likely he will be gone by then. Another possibility could be Jordan Reed (Florida).

Backup QB: After Colin Kaepernick, the only other QB on the roster is Scott Tolzien, who looks solid in the pre-season but should be nothing more than the #3 QB option. Kaepernick is the Franchise QB but with the abundance of picks the 49ers have, it never hurts to have a very solid backup QB. Also with Jim Harbaugh's ability to develop and get the best out of QB's, it's possible the 49ers could develop the back up QB and the trade him to stock up on picks in a similar trade to Matt Schaub to Houston or Alex Smith to Kansas City. Some options the 49ers could look at in the 3rd round are Matt Scott (Arizona), Tyler Bray (Tennessee) or Tyler Wilson (Arkansas).

Lets not forget the 49ers also have two 3rd rounders, (74th and 93rd overall picks). The 49ers will have a lot of flexibility in being able to move and trade to get the players they want. This draft could really set the 49ers up for the next 5+ years and the 3 draft days in April and its success could cement Trent Baalke's reputation as being the top GM in the NFL.

That's it for now. Check back soon for more updates. Over and Out.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

San Francisco Giants Starting Pitching Preview

By Kalen Patrick

The biggest strength of the Giants through the 2 recent World Series Championships has been the pitching, will this trend continue as the Giants look to defend the title this season? Ultimately I think the Giants will get another very strong season from the pitching staff.


Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are pitchers #1 and 2 at the top of the rotation. Matt Cain is the ace of the staff and Mr. Consistent (consistently very good), while Bumgarner provides similar stability for the Giants. Bumgarner did have some control issues leading up to the playoffs last season, but judging by his amazing performance against the Tigers in the World Series, these were fixable problems for him. He is a confident, heavy throwing pitcher, who is developing and refining his pitches. He will have another very good season. The 3rd pitcher of the rotation in my opinion is Ryan Vogelsong. Wow what a story he has been. The Giants will look for another strong year from Vogelsong, and I see no reason as to why this wouldn't happen.

The 2 big question marks on the remaining projected starters are Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. Zito overall had a pretty solid 2012 regular season, some surprisingly good starts, the expected rough patches that left your face in your palm and then the average Zito type games (5-6 innings with 2-5 runs allowed). Something happened to Zito in last years playoffs and he had the biggest game of his career against the Cardinals winning in St. Louis. While Zito will never really earn the money he has made, I expect another solid outing this season. Probably finish 13-13 with an ERA around 4 or maybe a little higher. As good as he was in the playoffs and World Series, this is Barry Zito after all and over the course of a season he will have quite a few terrible outings I'm sure.

Tim Lincecum, well he may just be the biggest question mark in the Majors. 2 time Cy Young winner, who last year had the worst ERA for a starting pitcher (who met the innings pitched to qualify). The 2 biggest issues with Timmy were his fastball and his confidence. His fastball has lost 4-5 MPH since his Cy Young years (95/96 to 91/92). Timmy was able to use his higher velocity fastball to set up hitters with his deadly off-speed pitches. With his decreasing velocity, this clearly effected Lincecum's confidence as he battled control issues all year and he couldn't strike people out nearly as efficiently as before. Not only this, but he was very hittable which led to his inflated ERA. While I do expect a bounce back year from Timmy, he will not regain Cy Young form, maybe become a 3.4-3.8 ERA type pitcher, middle of the pack. I am making a prediction right now that this will be Timmy's LAST SEASON as a Giant, you heard it here first!

Check back for further posts about all your favorite San Francisco based Sports Teams

Over and Out

Friday, March 22, 2013

49ers Aim to Make Their Special Teams Special

By Kalen Patrick

In my opinion one of the biggest misconceptions of the 49ers is the fact that we have a dominating Special Teams unit. That may have been the case in 2011 with standout ST players like Blake Costanzo on the roster and David Akers being Mr. Automatic, but the 2012 version left a lot to be desired. It's a terrible sign when you feel incredibly uneasy about your kicker when the Field Goal attempt is less than 40 yards. Also all us 49er fans will remember the first play of the 2nd half in the Superbowl when the Baltimore Ravens returned the kickoff for a Touchdown.
There were many cases during the season where the Special Teams cost the team big, in particular the kicker. So what did 49ers GM Trent Baalke do? He only went out and signed the best Free Agent kicker and one of the better kickers of the last decade in Phil Dawson. Dawson has been overlooked and in obscurity due to the fact that he kicked for the consistently bad Cleveland Browns his entire career. Looking at the Numbers Dawson has been among the most consistent and accurate kickers in the league. While this is obviously a temporary solution at the position, you really can't do much better than Dawson. He has experience kicking in an outside stadium where weather conditions are hardly favorable. He will have to adjust to the wind at Candlestick Park, but that is something where his experience will prove invaluable.

Another one of the main areas of concern in my opinion was punt and kickoff coverage. Losing Blake Costanzo to the Chicago Bears in Free Agency in 2012 hurt, also trading Colin Jones to the Carolina Panthers just before the 2012 season also was a noticeable loss on the Special Teams unit. The 49ers have made an effort here by signing Dan Skuta from the Cincinnati Bengals. A standout Special Teams player who will be a vocal leader along with other members of the 49ers ST unit such as CJ Spillman and Tavares Gooden.

Ultimately I feel Trent Baalke and the 49ers have done a great job in addressing a significant weakness in the team with the additions of Dawson and Skuta. Lets not forget that most Special Team additions occur during the draft where the 49ers have a boatload of picks (14 in total).

Coming up on the SF Sports Cave: Gearing up for the SF Giants 2013 season, and a look at the 2013 NFL Draft.

Over and Out

Monday, March 11, 2013

Anquan Boldin to the 49ers

By Kalen Patrick

Today the 49ers have pulled off a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to acquire Anquan Boldin for a 2013 6th round draft pick (insert picture of smiling Colin Kaepernick). The 49ers had 2 draft picks, their own and also owned the Miami Dolphins 6th rounder too. I'm guessing the 49ers gave up the Dolphins pick (earlier pick) but the details have yet to be announced.

So what does this move mean for the 49ers? Well for one, to me it confirms 100% that Randy Moss will not be back. It also means that currently injured Wide Receiver Mario Manningham will have to take a pay cut if he wants to remain on the roster.

The 49ers current Wide Receiver depth chart looks like: Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and AJ Jenkins. Now that is a very talented group of receivers, and when you throw in talents like Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter, the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick are in a great position.

Specifically looking at this trade, I feel it is a very low risk/high reward trade for the 49ers. Anquan Boldin is a vocal veteran leader, amazing work ethic (someone AJ Jenkins can emulate) and still very productive. While Boldin does not provide much in terms of a speed threat, he is a big body receiver and very sure handed and can make plays after the catch. The 49ers hope and expect AJ Jenkins to be the deep threat they need. Ultimately, this is another great move by GM Trent Baalke, demonstrating why he is so highly regarded in NFL circles.

Over and Out