Sunday, July 31, 2011

MLB Trade Deadline - 1

By Kalen Patrick

Big moves have taken place in the last 12-24 hours as we near the Trade Deadline, this is probably a minor leaguers least favorite time of year, and they are on constant watch to see if they will be headed somewhere new. It's always interesting watching the guys being traded hug it out with teammates and then essentially leave right then and there.

I will go over the moves I really like first. It seems like the NL East just got a whole lot richer with the additions of Hunter Pence to the Phillies and Michael Bourn to the Braves. I have to admit that I love the moves by both teams, and I think the Phillies are now definitely the team to beat in the NL. You combine that pitching staff, along with a lineup including Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Hunter Pence, and solid hitters in Rollins, Ibanez etc etc. pretty scary.

The Bourn addition to the Braves all but ensures them of locking up that Wild Card spot in my opinion. It will really make things interesting once the playoffs kick off. I'm already excited for a possible repeat of a Braves-Giants series. The NLplayoff contenders are stacked with pitching. Gonna be an exciting race down the stretch.

As for Ubaldo Jiminez going to the Indians, this one is interesting, I feel this could be a boom or bust move. Honestly, when you go out and commit to trading for the biggest pitching trade chip, it says that you're all in. Anything less than Playoffs for the Tribe and this trade doesn't look so great. Plus I always tend to be very skeptical when you get a SP from the NL going to the AL. It's a whole different beast, and the Indians need Jimenez to step it up. Essentially, the Indians are hoping that they get the Ubaldo from the first half of the 2010, or at least something in that ballpark. However, the Rockies did receive some real nice prospects in the deal, and it seems like they are playing it smart and thinking long term.

A trade which left me scratching my head was Orlando Cabrera to my San Francisco Giants. Honestly, I feel the Giants should have been focusing on getting a catcher like Ramon Hernandez instead of Cabrera. The Giants already have 2 guys who are capable of playing at the same level as the 36 year old Cabrera. Mike Fontenot and you could try and argue either Brandon Crawford or even Miguel Tejada could do just as good a job.

This post is just recapping whats happened so far, gonna make another post later today or tomorrow covering all the last minute deals, and possibly looking over at all the key waiver wire pickups are out there.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Best Free Agency Moves

By Kalen Patrick

Well the NFL is back in full swing, Training Camps all over the country are open, and of course there have been the usual flurry of action in Free Agency. Millions of Dollars have been thrown around and now it's time to judge the decisions of the various GM's around the NFL. Of course we won't know how all of these contracts will turn out until we see the production on the field. But it sure is fun to speculate, right?

The team I have to grade the highest so far this offseason is the Eagles. Without a doubt the best move in my opinion far and away was Nnamdi Asomugha to the Eagles. This is a guy who despite being stranded in obscurity in Oakland for years, was still recognized as arguably the best CB in all of Football. I gotta give the Eagles an A+ for their offseason. They undoubtedly have the best secondary in Football as it stands right now. For Kevin Kolb (an average backup QB) they received a quality CB in Dominique Rodgers Cromartie, in addition to a 2nd round pick from the Arizona Cardinals. So you add DRC, then you sign only the best CB in the game in Asomugha for a very reasonable price. 

Furthermore, you already have Asante Samuel, who you can now trade to the highest bidder. A team like the 49ers could very well use his services, and would likely get the Eagles another 2nd round pick. Other notable additions are Jason Babin who had a monster 2010 season (12.5 sacks), Vince Young (30-16 as a starter) and draft picks Danny Watkins (OG) and Jaiquawn Jarrett (S).

Think about this for a second. The Eagles have managed to drastically improve the secondary, Vick's backup was the average Kolb (Career QB rating of 73.2) and now the proven winner in VY, and bolster the lines with Babin and Watkins, in addtion to possibly acquiring an extra 2 2nd rounders for next years draft. Stroke of genius if you ask me, and now Philly are primed for a very deep run in the playoffs.

The next team is another usual suspect. Gotta go with the New England Patriots. For the small small price of 5th round and 2 6th round picks, the Patriots have managed to acquire Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ocho Cinco. Of course both of these guys have many question marks and issues, but lets be honest, if anyone can get these guys on track, its Bill Belichek and the Patriots. They turned Randy Moss from a lost cause to the best receiver in Football. For the small price, if they can get these guys playing at anywhere near what we know they can, then these might be the biggest steals this year.

Other teams and moves I briefly wanna touch on include: Reggie Bush traded to the Miami Dolphins, I actually love this move. While Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams put up solid numbers, the Dolphins have been lacking a big play threat, something that Reggie specializes in. I look for Bush to have a big impact in Miami, he will fit in like a glove, with the wildcat formations and all the crazy stuff the Dolphins always do on offense.

I also like what Carolina have done. A young raw rookie QB's best friend are his TE's, and the Panthers have definitely added some impact players there. Ben Hartsock will be the reliable blocker, while having Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey will be catching a ton of balls from Cam Newton. I think if Newton can step up, Carolina can be a team that quickly turns it around, a la Miami and Atlanta a few years back. They did a great job, resigning their notable players in DeAngelo Williams and Chris Johnson. Also getting Steve Smith committed is also huge for Newtons development.
Finally, I wanna touch on one of the under the radar moves which I think will end up having a huge impact. I really thought Mike Sims Walker got a raw deal in Jacksonville. I look for him and Bradford to have a very very solid season together in St. Louis. Sims Walker was a fantasy stud and surprise in 2009. Expectations were through the roof and the Jags passing game struggled mightily in 2010. I think he can have a major bounce back year with Bradford, in the Josh McDaniels offense.

That's it for now, I'm hoping for some/any news about my 49ers. Frustration is getting to an all time high. There is still time to salvage the offseason by making some possible key signings, like Olin Kreutz, Malcolm Floyd, Cromartie/Carlos Rogers, James Jones etc etc. Lets start moving forward in the Harbaalke era in San Francisco.

Friday, July 29, 2011

MLB Power Rankings

By Kalen Patrick

Its been too long to call them my Weekly Power Rankings, but here I go again with the top 5 and bottom 5 teams in Baseball. Honestly, at the top not much has changed in terms of who the better teams are. We have them figured out for the most part. The bottom there will be some surprises. Lets get it going.

Top 5
1 - Boston Red Sox (64-39) - The Red Sox boast the most productive run scoring offense in the Majors (and its not even close). Gonzalez is hitting like a mad man, Ellsbury and Pedroia have been amazing, and the pitching is more than good enough to get them deep in the playoffs.

2 - San Francisco Giants (61-44) - Tough choice between the Phillies and Giants for #2. However, the Giants just won 2 out of 3 IN Philly, and they just added Carlos Beltran. To me, right now, that puts the Giants above the Phillies. Not to mention the pitching especially the bullpen has been unhittable. Possible repeat of last year in the works.

3 - Philadelphia Phillies (65-39) - They have the best winning percentage in Baseball (.625) are looking to add another bat to the lineup, and have the best starting pitching in Baseball. I can definitely imagine a Phillies/Giants NLCS rematch.

4 - New York Yankees (61-41) - All around good team, they can hit, they have the best closer in the game, and the pitching is doing enough to keep them close to the Red Sox. Will Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes ultimately be the downfall of the Yankees? Will they acquire a SP before the trade deadline?

5 - Texas Rangers (60-46) - The Rangers are maybe the most dangerous team to face, good (not great) starting pitching, they sure can hit and they look to be very close to getting closer Heath Bell which would help solidify the 9th inning. This team if they get hot can be almost unbeatable.

Bottom 5
26 - Chicago Cubs (42-63) - It was between the Cubs and Padres for this spot, when you look at the difference in payroll. The decision was incredibly easy.

27 - Kansas City Royals (44-61) - The usual bottom feeder teams are out in full force (besides the Pirates)

28 -  Baltimore Orioles (41-60) - That strong start seems like an eternity ago.

29 - Seattle Mariners (44-60) - They lost 16 (or 17?) in a row. 3 weeks ago they were in the thick of the AL West race, now they are done. What a shame.

30 - Houston Astros (35-70) - What a joke. Not worth anyones time or money.

Post Script
Wanna make a note of how well the Pittsburgh Pirates have done this year, as of this second they are only 1 game out of 1st place in the NL Central. Who would have ever guessed that we could say that in late July/early August. Well done for them and hope they can keep it up. Nice to see their awesome stadium actually have people in it.

The San Francisco Forty-Blunders

By Kalen Patrick

Well not 2 hours had passed before my suggestions in my last post blew up right in my face. The 49ers released Nate Clements and Jonathan Joseph became a Houston Texan. Now the 49ers need to rethink what they will do and try to, you know, improve the team? The Free Agency period so far has been a disaster for the 49ers, they have lost or in the process of losing 5-6 starters on a defense that is underrated and actually performed well. While the offense is missing its most important player in Frank Gore to a holdout. In other "shocking" news, Michael Crabtree is out with, yes, you guessed it, a foot injury.

In recent years the 49ers have gone from Steve Young and Eddie DeBartolo, to Alex Smith and bad HC's.

So what exactly have the 49ers done so far? Well Kicker Joe Nedney retired and they replaced him with the very professional long time Eagle, David Akers. One thing which is concerning are Akers numbers in Candlestick where he is only 4-8 in FG Attempts beyond 30 yards. Also QB Bethel-Thompson who was a backup for the AFL San Jose Sabercats. That pretty much sums up the 49ers activity. Leaves a lot to be desired.

So REALISTICALLY moving forward, what can I expect the 49ers to do? Well for one, I feel we really lack a tall red zone target, apparently the 49ers are interested in both Plaxico Burress and Malcolm Floyd. Personally I prefer Floyd, no baggage and you know, has played football the last 2 years. That solves 1 issue.

2nd, if I'm the 49ers I'm still going after either Olin Kreutz or Shaun O'Hara. The Offensive Line needs a veteran leader. Joe Staley is too much of a joker to be a real leader. Guys like Anthony Davis, Chilo Rachal and Mike Iupati need a leader to look up to, and a strong presence to learn what it takes to be a good professional.

3rd, 49ers need secondary help, big time, however, the 49ers Front Office ineptitude has led to them missing out on any impact players. I look for solid band-aid signings in either Richard Marshall or Carlos Rogers, maybe a Safety like Brodney Pool. Again nothing special, but band aid fixes.

4th and most important, the 49ers must re-sign Aubrayo Franklin and try and get Manny Lawson back too. Both were integral parts of a defense that has performed very well the last 2-3 years.


Overall there isn't much I can do or say to fill myself or fellow 49er fans with much optimism of the upcoming season. Essentially a completely new coaching staff, still have Alex Smith at QB, lost quality starters on defense, have not replaced them, offense has its best player angry with contract and holding out, while the top WR has yet another foot injury to possibly keep him out until the regular season starts. Sometimes you have to look and wonder at how far down this once proud franchise has become. For all intents and purposes a laughing stock in the NFL and a place where free agents avoid like the plague.

Thats it for now for the 49ers. Promise I will get cracking on reactions around the NFL.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

San Francisco 49ers Post-Lockout Updates

By Kalen Patrick

Sooooo the NFL Lockout is over? You bet it is. There has been a plethora of signings and trades already going down. I will write a piece later focusing on the rest of the NFL, but first of all, lets take a look at my San Francisco 49ers. So far it has been pretty lackluster, the 49ers as everyone predicted brought Alex Smith back (a move I actually agree with), Re-Signed Ray McDonald (another smart move) at 4 years 20 mil. The 2 players that have moved on so far are David Baas and Takeo Spikes. Both will be missed for sure, BUT both are definitely replaceable.


According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, the 49ers are looking in to bringing long time Chicago Bears Center Olin Kreutz. Also on the 49ers radar should be Giants Center Shaun O'Hara who was released. Both are veteran guys, remember the Center position is basically the QB of the O-Line, having a strong veteran presence like a Kreutz or O'Hara would be huge for the younger players on the 49ers O-Line, including, Mike Iupati, Anthony Davis and Chilo Rachal.

Next topic would be Cornerback. It appears as if the 49ers are focusing on keeping Nate Clements, but only if he is willing to drastically reduce his salary. This to me makes perfect sense. Nate is a solid player, definitely not worth what he is being paid, but let me throw out 2 scenarios and see which one you would go for.

Scenario 1: Restructure Clements deal to go from 17 mil this season to 7 million (still a handsome paycheck), with the 10 million saved, bring in Jonathan Joseph, thus solidifying the defensive backfield.

Scenario 2: Release Clements, save 14 million and give all that to Nnamdi Asomugha.

Honestly, I would prefer Scenario 1 of Clements and Joseph than just Nnamdi. With Scenario 1 you have Joseph, Spencer and Clements as your top 3 CB's. Immediately turns a weakness into a major strength.

Nate Clements and Jonathan Joseph (pictured above) would make a nice starting tandem at the CB position

I would also look for the 49ers to Re-Sign Aubrayo Franklin. The 49ers have money to spend, and it is so difficult to find a top NT, you can't let him walk. Other moves I look for the 49ers to make is to add another veteran QB (Marc Bulger perhaps?) and I think the 49ers will add a 2nd tier Safety (Dawan Landry/Brodney Pool?). Also don't count out the 49ers in the James Jones sweepstakes. He would be another weapon in the offense, and would fit in perfectly with the likes of Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker and Josh Morgan.

The next 48 hours will be very interesting in Ninerland. I am eagerly checking twitter and updates for any news and info. My next post will be regarding general NFL news and updates and there is plenty of that to cover. It's good to have football back. Only 6 weeks to the season. Great time to be a football fan. Anyone want to make a fantasy football league?

San Francisco Giants Updates

By Kalen Patrick

Things are pretty good for the Giants right about now. 16 games above .500, 3 games ahead in the division, pitching is as good as ever (well Zito stinks as usual) oh and the Giants just added Carlos Beltran. Beltran will immediately become the leader in HR's and RBI's and is 3rd in Average (behind Pablo Sandoval and Jeff Keppinger). Here is the Giants offensive philosophy: timely hitting, score just enough to win, not flashy, just get the job done.

The Giants are a Major League leading 28-13 in 1 run games. The Giants know how to win these games, they are used to it. Now runs should become a little easier to come by with the addition of Beltran. Lets forget about what the Giants gave up to get him, Wheeler may become a legit starter, or we may never hear from him again (Alderson ring a bell?). The Giants now have a pretty solid middle of the order in their lineup. The leadoff position mostly manned by Andres Torres is still shaky, but he really is due by now to get somewhat hot. After that you have, 2 guys hitting around .300 with Keppinger and Sandoval. Now you add in a guy like Beltran, who hits for average and power, well suddenly the Giants lineup isn't so much of a walk in the park.

Furthermore, adding Beltran essentially pushes every one else down a spot in the lineup and thus taking pressure off of, well, everyone. I think we can expect to see the best of Beltran and here's why. He is in a contract year, he is now going to be putting his talents on display in a pennant race and hopefully in the playoffs, not only this but rather than playing for a mediocre at best Mets team, he is now on a World Series Contending team. Plus beside for not having any HR's in AT&T, he has excellent numbers there and is gonna be a double machine.

Why I love the trade even more is that, unless you are the Red Sox, Yankees or Phillies who almost have limitless money to spend, the window for winning a World Series is always going to be relatively small. The Giants have all the pitching you need to win a World Series and then some. Honestly, I would expect the Giants to try and acquire a catcher too. Whiteside and Stewart just isn't going to get it done. The whole trade has been summed up perfectly by Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News:

"It's the kind of move -- if it's done at the right moment, for the right player -- that fans should embrace, if chasing greatness is the goal here. And it should be. It's a bit of an epochal shift for the Giants: They're no middle-muddle franchise anymore, just happy to win the N.L. West. They're in control of the West, and they're trying to become a mega-team, a multi-title team; and they're willing to risk large piles of chips to try to do it. I think the Beltran Bet is a strong move -- one of the strongest and boldest the Giants have made in a while. To win big, you have to risk big, too"

There are just under 60 games left and the Giants have basically just added a guy who will be the best offensive player to a team that desperately needed it. I like the Giants chances, especially if Jonathan Sanchez can get back on track and take Zito's spot in the starting rotation. Fun times ahead folks

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Updates Coming

Been MIA for a while, been really really busy with work. Gonna write some stuff on the various trades in Baseball, and a WHOLE LOT of Football talk coming soon. Be prepared!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Off Topic: blink-182

By Kalen Patrick

For those that don't know me, I am a HUGE blink-182 fan and that would probably be the understatement of the century. Ever since I can remember I have been listening to them. Growing up in Ireland I always felt like blink were my way of connecting with the US. I imagined them being huge in the US (which they were) and imagined that countless kids like myself would listen to them night and day. Of course I was devastated when they broke up (or hiatus as they called it) happened. It was approximately 4-5 years that blink were apart. Various side projects like +44, Angels and Airwaves and the Transplants were good, but never came close to blink. It's weird, I can't remember where or when I heard they were back together but safe to say that day is up there among my favorite days.

Artwork for blink-182's new single 'Up All Night'

I have seen blink-182 live twice and will be seeing them for a 3rd time in October of this year. The first time I saw them was at the Point Depot in Dublin, Ireland. Funny, that was there last show together before they broke up, then I saw them play with Taking Back Sunday and Weezer at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. That show in Mountain View was a part of the best day of my life. I believe the date was September 13th, 2009. That Sunday, the Giants beat the Dodgers, the 49ers beat the Cardinals, then later was at the blink show. Best day, hands down, not even close.

My blink-182 tattoo, Artist: Justin - Let it Bleed, Polk St. San Francisco

EDIT: Tattoo now healed and looking awesome
blink-182 tattoo for your viewing pleasures

Now to the present, yesterday blink launched their first new song in approximately 8 years. From Take Off Your Pants and Jacket to the self titled album, blink matured like no other. The gap between those albums was only 2 years, this time around we are talking 8 years. These guys are in their mid 30's, things change, and so do people. The song 'Up All Night' is a great one, of course I am biased in my opinion, BUT when I don't like a song, I will say it. Example, there are quite a few Angels and Airwaves songs I don't like. But I love 'Up  All Night'. When I hear it, I get a mixture of Box Car Racer, Self Titled blink era and some angels and airwaves computer effects thrown in. Great song and I cannot express how excited I am for the album. It's gonna rock.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

NFL Lockout Update

By Kalen Patrick

Sooooo looks like the NFL Lockout will only be lasting another 24-48 hours. Awesome news for football fans all around the world. Of course this is great news, but the better news is that it seems as if the Lockout will resolve many of the major issues regarding the NFL.

Look the NFL was never really at risk of losing money, this isn't the NBA, where 20 teams are losing money. The NFL is a money making machine, the main issues were how to split up all the money that IS being generated. The 2 main issues that appear to have been solved are as follows:

Reinstatement of the Salary Cap - I for one was always a very big fan of the salary cap, further reinforces that every team has equal opportunity. The New York or Boston teams don't have any financial advantage over other franchises, like that exists in Baseball. What is even better news is that 2 of the 49ers bigger rivals are going to be in salary cap trouble immediately, the crosstown Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys.

Rookie Salary Cap - There is no question that the money rookies (especially top 5 picks) have been making is insane. It just puts unrealistic expectations of the players and should they not work out it can kill a franchise for years. The Draft is meant to help the teams who did the worst, but the way the rookies got paid meant that more often than not, it held the franchise back. Should Matthew Stafford get paid more than pro-bowl caliber QB's? No way.
Not only this, but think of it as a rookie. You are Cam Newton, imagine being GUARANTEED $35 Million. What incentive do really have to work your tail off? You're 21 and have more money than you could ever imagine. Hard to blame someone who just can't find the motivation to give it 100%.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Mystery that is Barry Zito

By Kalen Patrick

Barry Zito may be the most overpaid player in Baseball, no, Professional Sports, he may always be remembered for this and on numerous MLB Network and ESPN shows for Baseball/Sports worst contracts, he may be a lot of these negative things, but one thing he definitely is, is pitching excellently. Coming off the 60-Day DL Zito was expected to just fill innings while Jonathan Sanchez gets healthy and back in the groove of things, but now, Zito is making a serious legit case to keep him in the starting 5 rotation.

In his last 3 starts Zito has put up the very impressive stat line of: 21 IP, 3 ER's, 11 K's to only 4 BB.

Looking at that in his 3 starts he has averaged going 7 Innings and giving up 1 Earned Run in each appearance. Of course we have seen this before from Zito, even in a Giants uniform, but there seems to be something very different this time around. Before he was trying to thro w 5 different pitches and just trying to do too much to justify his contract. Zito now has stuck to his 3 pitches which he has got down, his Fastball, Changeup and of course that lethal Curve Ball. Zito's curve may be one of the best in the Majors when he's got command of it.

Not only this but the biggest change I have seen is that he just seems focused and confident. He isn't doing too much and can focus on what he does right and now has the confidence on the mound. Of course there will be games that Zito will get beat up on, but if he can give the Giants a bunch more games like he has done so far since coming off the DL, that would be huge.

The Giants are stuck with Zito, so if Zito can contribute that makes either Jonathan Sanchez or Ryan Vogelsong expendable, especially with a guy like Zach Wheeler in the minors who will be up in another year or two. Sanchez could be the trade bait in order for the Giants to get themselves another bat. A good Zito gives the Giants so much pitching and flexibility. And that is always a good thing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Most Spoiled and Tortured Sports Towns

By Kalen Patrick

Real fans only know what it's really like when things are good and when things are bad. Real fans will stick by their teams through thick and thin no matter what. But which cities have it the best and which cities have it the hardest? Lets take a closer look....

Most Spoiled
Boston. My aim is to keep it in the recent years, Boston have celebrated a World Championship in all 4 major sports in recent years. The Bruins won just a matter of weeks ago, the Celtics won in 2008, the Red Sox in 2007 and 2004, the Patriots have won 3 Superbowls this decade. Not only this, but the Celtics have been to numerous Finals, Patriots were in a Superbowl a few years ago. All of the Boston teams are always in the playoff discussion and most are legitimate championship contenders. Honestly, if you are a fan in the Boston/New England area, you have absolutely nothing to complain about and just relish these times because they won't always be this good.

Most Tortured
Cleveland. It has to be Cleveland right? Lebron leaves the Cavs, the Browns are well the Browns, the Indians gave the city some hope but have crashed all the way back down to reality, and since Lebron left the Cavs only had the 2nd worst record, tied a record for most consecutive losses and had the 1st and 4th overall picks in one of the weakest drafts in recent memory.
While the teams do have some glimmer of hope, doesn't it just seem like they are cursed? The Browns are in a division with 2 of the best run franchises in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The Cavs have a serious inability to attract any kind of talent and the Indians are the definition of mediocre. How things could have been different if the Cavs traded for Amare Stoudemire and not a 40 year old Shaq.

Break Out Players - 2011 NFL Predictions

By Kalen Patrick

Every year there are players who just seem to take the league by storm and no one saw them coming. I remember predicting Frank Gore to have a break out 2006 season and he ended with 1695 rushing yards that year. Last year both Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis were huge Break Out players, also Michael Vick was quite a surprise too. So the plan here is to predict who I think will break out this year and then re-visit and see how my aim was. So lets get this started.

Matt Stafford QB Detroit Lions - This guy would already be a rising superstar were it not for his injuries, this year I predict him to play more or less the entire season and possibly lead the Lions to the playoffs. He has all the tools and talent in the world, he is a leader (watch the Lions - Browns game where he dislocated his shoulder and came right back out to throw the game winning TD and 2-point conversion). Not only does he have the talent himself, but he also has more than ample talent around him, of course there is Calvin Johnson who is a top 3 WR in the NFL, he also has some other nice options in the passing game with Nate Burleson, Bryant Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. Also rookie Titus Young the WR from Boise State is the perfect slot receiver. Stafford has been in Scott Linehans offense for a few years now and I see a big year for him.

Michael Crabtree WR San Francisco 49ers - The 3rd year is always the year where WR's are gonna show their true colors. Crabtree has put up more than solid numbers, in only 27 games with the 49ers he has 103 REC, 1366 YARDS and 8 TD's. All this with a super conservative defensive minded HC dipping his thoughts in to the offense way too much. Now Crabtree is gonna be under the tutelage of HC Jim Harbaugh, and according to many experts, Crabtree's skill sets are tailor made for the West Coast Offense. I'm definitely not saying he is gonna be Jerry Rice Part 2, but he will have a big season, I'm thinking 1000-1100 YDS, 8-12 TD's and in the conversation for a pro-bowl selection.

James Laurinaitis MLB St. Louis Rams - A natural born leader who coming out from Ohio State had all the qualities you look for in a great linebacker besides for elite athleticism. So many of these guys get overlooked in the 1st round and then have the instincts to just be great. Another example in Brandon Spikes in New England. I see Laurinaitis is his 3rd year with Coach Steve Spagnoulo having a HUGE year. The rams have the outside rushers, they have a good line in front of him, it is his chance to explode on to the scene and put him in the discussion with the likes of Jon Beason and Brian Urlacher.

Joe Haden CB Cleveland Browns - It's rare for a rookie CB to have a good year never mind a great year. I see Joe Haden as the next elite CB in the league. I imagine in 2 years time Haden will be in the thick of the discussion with Revis and Asomugha as the top CB in the league. As early as next year I predict offenses game planning away from him. The Browns added a stud DL in the draft and if their pass rush can improve and force opposing QB's in to mistakes. Expect some nice numbers from Haden.

There we have it, 2 players on offense and 2 players on defense. Let me know what you guys think of my predictions and give me feedback on who you think will be the breakout players.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Warriors Come Out To Playyyyyyy

By Kalen Patrick

Fans of the 1970's Cult Classic "The Warriors" will get this reference
While I do love the movie, I am of course talking about the Golden State Warriors. This offseason has been incredibly busy and exciting for Golden State. Bring in Jerry West, MarkN Jackson, Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler.

Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler are 2 of the 3 draft picks made by the Warriors in the recent NBA Draft. Thompson the 11th overall pick is a 6'7 mixture of a SG and SF. I don't see him playing too much initially but as the season goes on (if there is a season) I expect his minutes to add up and for him to effective off the bench. As for Tyler, this is a guy the Warriors just paid straight up money for to get. He is a major boom or bust prospect at the Center position. I expect the Warriors to take is very slow with him, don't expect to see him at all unless the Warriors get crushed with injuries.

Rumors are the Warriors are very interested and serious about wanting to bring in Nene, a free agent who has played in Denver. I expect the Warriors would only do this if they can somehow dump the majority of Andris Biedrins contract. Nene would be a solid fit in GS. He would play beside PF David Lee and they would be very effective on the offensive end. If Mark Jackson can get them playing better defense then it could be a real nice duo in the paint.

As much as I love Monta, I'm still in favor of trading him for Andre Iguodala, time for the Warriors to put out a more typical NBA starting 5 out on the court. Sure we all love watching Monta, but do we love watching the team love 45+ games a season too?

Lots of changes in Warrior Land but I expect them to be ready to "come out to play" in the upcoming season.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

MLB Weekly Power Rankings

By Kalen Patrick

So here we go with another addition of my Weekly Power Rankings, posts have been few and far between with a hectic work schedule. Don't worry, haven't forgotten about the Sports Cave. Lets get to the top 5

Top 5
1 (1 ) Philadelphia Phillies (53-31) - An incredible 22 games above .500 and not even at the All-Star Break. Best record in Baseball and THE team to beat in the NL

2 (3) New York Yankees (50-31) - On a hot streak (8-2 in their last 10 games) and they have by far the best run differential in baseball at +122.

3 (4) Atlanta Braves (49-35) - This team is so consistent, 7 games above .500 at home and on the road. Pitching has been amazing and the hitting will get better, maybe they trade for a bat too

4 (NR) San Francisco Giants (48-36) - Team has been hitting a lot better, In their last 6 games they have had games where they scored 13, 15 and 6. Also Barry Zito has been a pleasant surprise off the DL.
5 (2) Boston Red Sox (48-34) - Red Sox had a rough time recently but the Astros cured that nicely. Every team goes though slumps, the Red Sox will rebound right now I expect.

Bottom 5
26 (NR) Baltimore Orioles (35-45) - 2-8 in their last 10 games. Remember when they started the season hot? And everyone said they'd come back down to Earth? Everyone was right.

27 (28) Chicago Cubs (34-50) - They got some lucky timely wins against the Giants, this team is still awful and a waste of money.

28 (NR) Minnesota Twins (35-46) - Twins got hot for a while but now back to reality, and its a bleak one

29 (29) Kansas City Royals (33-50) - Said it before and will say it again, check back on this team in 2013

30 (30) Houston Astros (29-55) - They stink.

Who's Hot?
Drum roll please........San Diego Padres! They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and while odds are they will be crash landing back to Earth soon but hey, they should enjoy it while they can.

Who's Not?
Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics, 2 teams who rarely know what it feels like to score runs, both are 3-7 in their last 10 and both still kind of have a shot in the division? God the AL West is awful.