Thursday, February 19, 2009 Review

I know this doesn’t concern sports like all of the other posts on my blog, but this could be a great opportunity for any readers who are looking for new ways to help find money for college. is a great was for students to find money to get to college. The best part about the site is that it does not matter what your grades, test scores or anything else academically related is. Anybody can win one of the many scholarships available through the website.

In order to be eligible for a scholarship, you must enter points into the drawing, which will be held on a specific date. The points are easy to get, and using is much easier than sitting and writing a 4,000 word essay on the intricacies of the government’s new bailout plan or the difference in atomic arrangement between two specific molecules.

The easiest way to earn points is simply by logging into the website. There are also many other activities that are easy to complete which will give you points so that you can enter into more scholarships.

Overall, is my favorite site to look for scholarships because it is easy to use, requires no tedious essays, and gives me a chance to win money that I can put towards my college education.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jordan Schaffer Suspended

The MLB has just announced that Jordan Schaffer will be suspended for 50 games for violating its substance abuse policy by using HGH. Although the details are still uncertain, as there is no current approved test for HGH, the MLB must have gathered sugnificant evidence through talking with sources. Schaffer was one of the Braves top prospects and was expected to be the starting CF by next year, with a possible call-up coming as early as this summer.

The news comes just one day after Richmond Brave Scott Spiezio pleaded guilty to drunk driving and hit and run charges. Hopefully the Braves will be able to avoid any more off field issues for the rest of the year.

Yesterday the Braves dropped a one run game to the Rockies when Blaine Boyer allowed a 2-run HR to Matt Holliday in the 8th inning. Tom Glavine had his second start in which he held the opponent scoreless, although the bullpen couldn't hold the lead this time. So far, the Braves are 3-4. The starting rotation is 3-0, while the bullpen is 0-4. Tonight Jair Jurrjens (1-0) will make his second start of the year against the Rockies Ubaldo Jimenez, in a matchup that features two of the games young talent. In order for the Braves to win their bats will need to wake up, as the bullpen isn't going to hold too many close leads unless it begins improving rapidly. Jimenez struggles with walking batters, so with timely hits the Braves could put the game out of reach before their pen even has to get in the game.

As I have stated before, I think that Atlanta should trade one of its top OF prospects (Brandon Jones, Jordan Schaffer or Jason Heyward) for another RP as the season goes on. Up until this point I thought that Jones should be the one to go, as Heyward will still need more development, and I see no reason why the Braves couldn't lock Matt Diaz up and let him stay in Atlanta for a couple more years. After todays events my first thought was "Lets unload Schaffer ASAP." Although his value takes a significant hit, I still would rather not see a player who cheated staying in the Braves organization (Yes, we can get read of Jurries while we are at it). The Braves still have two other young CF in Gregor Blanco and Jordan Anderson that could both be solid Major Leaguers and provide good speed at the top of the lineup in the future.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Braves Sweep Mets, Back In First

Yesterday the Braves completed a 2-game sweep of the New York Mets to get back into first place in the NL East. Some things that I have noticed over the past couple of days that I would like to get out.

1) The Braves should be able to take the division is Smoltz and Hudson can beat Santana and Maine.

2) Smoltz really needs to stay healthy this year, I think he is still one of the best pitchers in the game, and the Braves can't replace him with their depth the way they can Glavine, Hampton and James.

3) The Braves three top prospects are OF, they have a young Jeff Francoeur and an underrated Matt Diaz. Brent Lillibridge can also play OF with a little more work. By mid-July one of these better be gone so that we can have another proven releiver (although trades for relievers don't always work out: Baez and Dotel)

4) The rotation looks really good so far

5) Mike Hampton got injured, just in case you didn't hear it again

6) Besides Tex (who hopefully isn't taking the A. Jones route to free agency), the lineup is looking great, who knows maybe Mark Kotsay can have a season hitting for a good average if he stays healthy

7) I really wish we would call up Phil Stockman

Thoughts about the rest of baseball
-The Tigers are looking awful, I knew their pitching was that bad, but not the hitting
-Oh well, the local teams (which I hate) the Orioles and Nats were both in first, but now the Nats have lost 4 in a row and fallen, which I expect the Orioles will follow.
-The Reds might make a run at the post season with all of the young talent that they have
Votto, Phillips, Encarnacion, Bruce (who should be starting in the Majors), Cueto and Volquez (maybe one day Homer Bailey). Throw in Harang, Arroyo, Cordero, Dunn, Griffey and Keppinger (who should start the rest of the year) and the Reds have a really good collection of players on a team not expected to do much. It all comes down to whether Cueto and Volquez can continue to do well

Monday, March 31, 2008

Braves Drop Heartbreaker to Nats, Thoughts on the Game

The Braves dropped a close one to the Nationals yesterday with a 3-2 loss after Ryan Zimmerman hit a walkoff HR. Hudson gave up 2 in the first after making an error (which ended up not mattering) and the offense struggled. Although it was a bad way to start the season, the Braves will have plenty of time to get hitting, and challenge for the division lead. Tonight Tom Glavine makes his homecoming start at Turner field against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here are a few thoughts/notes on the Braves/Nats game yesterday:

-Martin Prado is now one of the backup first baseman
-We need a power bat, I didn't think it would matter, but I would have liked to see someone with some pop get up when Brayan Pena did
-Give 'em Hell Yunel (which I originally saw in Matthew Berry's Love/Hate column on is my favorite phrase ever
- Hudson looked sharp for the most part, which is great news
-The ball seemed to carry fairly well in the Nationals new park, even with the cold air
-Yes, I saw what happened last night, but I still believe the Ryan Zimmerman is one of the most overrated and overhyped players in the Majors. Maybe its because I live near Richmond and everyone loves him being a UVa grad and a Nats player, but they seem to forget he produced a .266/24/91 line last year, far from star caliber. Oh, he only hit 13 HRs on the road, so its not like RFK was the only reason for his low power numbers
-I had a bad feeling when Cox left Moylan in for the ninth

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Braves Make Final Cuts

With the season opener only a day away (The Braves play at the Nationals new stadium) the final cuts for the roster have been made. Here is the final roster:

Pitchers (12):
Manny Acosta
Jeff Bennett
Blaine Boyer
Tom Glavine
Mike Hampton
Tim Hudson
Jair Jurrjens
Peter Moylan
Will Ohman
Chris Resop
Royce Ring
Rafael Soriano

Catchers (3):
Brian McCann
Corky Miller
Brayan Pena

Infielders (6):
Yunel Escobar
Ruben Gotay
Kelley Johnson
Chipper Jones
Martin Prado
Mark Teixeira

Outfielders (4):
Gregor Blanco
Matt Diaz
Jeff Francoeur
Mark Kotsay

Thoughts on the Roster:
I was glad to see Acosta make the roster, but either he or Bennett will likely be the odd man out when Smoltz returns as they both have options left. I like Bennett to stay because he has the ability to make spot starts as the year progresses, which may be necessary with Smoltz, Glavine and Hampton in the rotation, although I think that Acosta would be better for the bullpen.

Didn't see the Braves keeping three catchers. It would appear the Brayan Pena will take over the backup first base duties, which allowed the Braves too keep Scott Thorman in the minors (what a surprise, he wasn't claimed by any other team). There are still rumors of a trade that would send Pena elsewhere, possibly Chicago where the Braves could get Matt Murton. A trade would be good because the Braves don't have a power bat on the bench, although I would rather keep it that was than have Thorman stay on the big team.

Not really sure who will be gone when Infante gets back. It could be a catcher or a middle infielder. Prado would be the solution in the middle, as he still has options left. Infante can play anywhere in the infield, and the Braves would have two backup 1B who would could spend the majority of their time elsewhere (while Thorman couldn't).

Some Concerns:
The Braves don't have a power bat on the bench, which is something that likely will have to be filled out through a trade as Lopez and Thorman weren't the answer. They also don't have someone on the team who has played a lot of SS on the bench, and if anything were to happen to Escobar, I think Lillibridge would get the job (until Infante is back).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Evil Empire? Not Really

The New York Yankees have come to be known around baseball as the evil empire. But really, the Yankees stepped up when it meant most to Virginia Tech, and helped in the healing effort after the tragedies that happened on April 16th. Today at 3, the Yankees beat the Hokies 11-0, but the game really didn't matter.

Before the game, the entire Yankee team that made the trip (including Jeter, A-Rod, Damon and Posada) toured the monument and spent time with the student body, doing their best to help Virginia Tech move on from what had happened. Immediately after the shooting event had happened, the game was scheduled, and Steinbrenner donated 1 million dollars to the Hokie Spirit Memorial fund. For the players who played in the game, it must have been a thrill, getting to play the New York Yankees, the most famous baseball team in the world.

With all of the problems that have gone on in professional sports (cheating, dogfighting, steroids, referee scandals, etc.) the Yankees are showing what is rights. The team took their only off day during spring training to go and help a university that needed it the most. I believe that I speak on behalf of all of Hokie nation in thanking Steinbrenner and the Yankees for making the trip and lending such a large helping hand to Virginia Tech.

In other baseball news, the Red Sox also did the right thing by refusing to play a spring training game and refusing to board a plane to Japan until Major League Baseball came threw and paid what they promised to the coaches and trainers who also had to make the trip. This was another case of baseball players doing what was right, as the team took a unanimous vote to stand up for the coaches and trainers who don't get noticed nearly as much as the players.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bob Knight: He's Right

So I have pondered the question for a couple of years now, it seems to come up every time the tournament has decisions to make. Should the NCAA expand the tourny? Bob Knight gave two suggestions, both of which I think would work well, one of which is the best advice the tourny committee has probably ever gotten.

Knight's first suggestion was to simply add one more game to the tournament, whether it be for all teams (which would allow 128 in) or just some (which would allow more deserving teams such as Virginia Tech and Arizona State to get in). His defense was that the highest seeds (13-16) which often consist of conference winners from garbage conferences who are nowhere near the 65 best teams. He proposed that teams ranked 1-64 get to play at home, which could be good as it would allow the best teams to have another home game, and give the best 64 teams an edge at getting into the tournament.

The second option that Knight listed was better than his first, and is the best thing that the tournament can do. Eliminate the Auto-bid. ELIMINATE THE AUTO-BID. It would make sure that no teams who lucked their way through the tournament (Georgia) or played bad but won a conference that was so bad that no teams were near the top 65 were kept out. There would still be mid majors like Gonzaga, Drake, Butler, Xavier and Memphis among others. This would also ensure that the teams that are now on the bubble, who people thought were easily among the best 65 teams in. Yes, there would still be questions about who were on the bubble, but at least teams wouldn't have to sit on the outside knowing that Coppin State has a chance and they don't. Teams in bad conferences would still have a chance, they would simply have to win games against other bad teams, or play a good schedule and have a decent record. A lot of teams such as Virginia Tech could probably dominate some of these garbage conferences. This would mean that the best 65, or at least the best 60, would get into the tournament, and it would make the opening round games more competitive, as well as allowing teams to be rewarded for their top 65 seasons.

NCAA Snubs Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech was on the bubble coming into today's NCAA selection show, despite showing that they have the talent and teamwork to beat any team in the country. Yet come NCAA time for the selection commitee to select who gets in, they get left out. The RPI, which the NCAA commitee uses as part of its judgement for who gets in, shows that the ACC as the best conference, yet the number 4 team doesn't get in? Incredible. Tech posted a 9-7 conference record, which was good enough to get them a first round bye. Yes, they are lacking a good record against the top 50, but they definitely deserved to be in the tournament. They are a better team than Baylor (who lost its first game against Big 12 #12 Colorade in the tournament), Kentucky, Oregon, South Alabama and Villanova. They had the 36th best strength of scedule in the country, and once again (the same way that it happened it football, where Tech was #1 in the computers) the NCAA has decided that it is better to play bad teams and win then go down to the wire with good teams. Maybe the only reason that Virginia Tech didn't make the tournament was that Georgia won the SEC title and took away their slot, but it shouldn't have mattered. Virginia Tech was easily one of the 31 best at-large teams, yet they didn't get into the tournament. Why? Because the head of the tourney commitee came out and said something to the extent of "[We don't look at how good your conference is]." Why, because there are problems with the selection committee. 1) The ACC has no representatives, while the Big East, SEC and Pac-10 do (see Villanova, Kentucky and Oregon). 2) Although the power conferences dominate college basketball, there are 6 members who come from mid-majors (aka Garbage conferences) which easily explains why they got a generous 6 at large bids this year (including South Alabama). 3) The committee can't decide whether RPI should be used or not. 4) The RPI is flawed even if it is used. Its obvious that Virginia Tech got snubbed from the NCAA tournament just like they got snubbed from the BCS National Championship game. Now all I can do is hope that their basketball team doesn't come out dissapointed and play a not great game because they are less than excited from getting screwed by the NCAA.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spring Training News and Notes

There have been about a week and a half of spring training games, and here are some of the Braves who have stood out so far, as well as an updated list of who I think will be on the teams opening day roster. The Braves open the season on March 30th against Washington in the Nationals new ballpark.

Hitting Standouts:
  • Chipper Jones has hit well, but has only had 10 ABs due to injury issues
  • Yunel Escobar has hit .545 in 22 ABs, but has made 2 errors in the field
  • Joe Borchard has hit well in 14 ABs, and 5 of his 6 hits have been doubles
  • Matt Diaz, Brian Anderson and Jordan Schaffer are all over .333 and have 1 SB
  • Tyler Flowers has hit over .300, the best of any Braves 1B by far
Hitting Woes:
  • Javy Lopez hit a quick HR but has struggled to a .154 average
  • Brandon Jones has hit only .150 with no extra base hits
  • Brent Lillibridge has hit .217, although he does have 2 doubles
  • Brian McCann has hit only .133
  • Scott Thorman has hit only .125
Pitching Standouts:
  • Blaine Boyer has thrown 6 scoreless innings in 3 games
  • Mike Hampton hasn't allowed a run in 3.1 innings, but left after pulling his right groin (he isn't expected to miss any significant time)
  • Jair Jurrjens has given up only 1 run in 5 innings
  • Phil Stockman, Jeff Ridgeway and Tyler Yates have yet to give up a run
Pitching Woes:
  • Tom Glavine has had some troubles giving up 3 runs in 4.2 innings
  • Buddy Carlyle started off good before struggling against the Reds
  • Jeff Bennett also struggled against the Reds in the split squad game today
  • Manny Acosta has given up a lot of hits, although he does have 3 k's in 3.2 innings
  • Royce Ring has had control problems, walking 4 men in 3 innings
Although there is still a lot of spring to go, some players have already began shaping whether or not they will have a shot to start out the season with the big club. Here is an updated look at who will be on the opening day roster.

Brian McCann- McCann is going to start even if his poor spring continues
Mark Teixeira- Another lock to start, regardless of what happens
Kelly Johnson- Lock
Yunel Escobar- Great Spring so far, Lock
Chipper Jones- As long as he stays healthy, he will start
Matt Diaz- Good spring so far, will make the team, although still a risk of a platoon
Mark Kotsay- Will start in center until he provides reason that he can't
Jeff Francoeur- Lock

The bench is where the spring training stats likely will affect who is there more
Backup Catcher
-Javy Lopez has really struggled, although I still think that he has the edge on the job, although if he doesn't continue it could go to Bryan Pena who has had the best spring of any catcher
Backup First Baseman
-Scott Thorman has stuggled while Tyler Flowers has hit well. Thorman is out of options, so I don't think the Braves will risk losing him unless he plays extraordinarily awful
Backup Infielder
-Omar Infante will likely be out for the beginning of the season, so the job for utility player opens up. I think that Brent Lillibridge will get the job, because he can play SS, and neither he nor Martin Prado has had a good spring
Backup Outfielder
-Josh Anderson has played much better and it appears that without Infante the Braves will likely want an OF who can play all 3 positions. Although Schaffer has played well, the Braves will probably let him play in AA because he has so little experience. Brandon Jones has played his way out of a role with his bad hitting and has seemed to be lackadaisical on defense at times
Final Bench Spot
-Before I thought that Lillibridge would get this spot because Infante should have been there and he was versatile. At this point, there is no clear choice, and I think that the Braves will reward someone who has had a good spring. So far, I think that this spot could go to Joe Borchard who has hit well, and has always had the tools to be a good MLB player

Tim Hudson-Lock
John Smoltz- Lock, even if he gave up a base hit to Tiger Woods
Tom Glavine- Lock
Mike Hampton- Lock, Assuming that he is able to stay healthy
Rafael Soriano- Lock, although he has been battling a virus
Peter Moylan- Lock, although he too has had some health issues
Will Ohman- Lock, the club acquired him to be their lefty reliever, and he will get his chance
Tyler Yates- Has pitched well and has been expected to be here, although I don't think he is a lock
Blaine Boyer- Has pitched great, and barring an awful end of spring, he is pretty much a lock

The last 3 spots (including the 5th starters spot) are looking a lot less certain at this point in time
Fifth Starter:
-Chuck James is still battling injury issues and he is looking less and less certain for the start of the season. If he is unable to go, I think that Jair Jurrjens will get the nod because he has
had a tremendous spring, while Jo-Jo Reyes and Jeff Bennett haven't
Bullpen (2 spots)
-Even though he hasn't thrown well yet, Jeff Bennett is out of options, and is a favorite of Cox, so I think he will get a spot
-Manny Acosta (who I previously predicted would get this spot) hasn't pitched well and still has options, so I think he is on his way back to the minors. I think this spot comes down to either Chris Resop or Royce Ring, who are both out of options. I think that the Braves will keep Ring because he is a lefty that they acquired last year and he will definitely get picked up if he gets waived. Resop has pitched better this spring, but I don't see him making the team over any of the other guys.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fantasy Preview: Second Baseman

The Studs:
Chase Utley- A legit first round pick, especially at a weak position
Brandon Phillips- Great year last year, possible repeat of 30/30 season and could reach 100 RBIs. Just as much power, and more speed than Utley.
BJ Upton- Although he will likely be playing OF this year, much more value at 2nd base. 25 HRs and steals are a possibility
Brian Roberts- Roberts gets the nod because he is a great steal threat, who once again could post 50 steals

The Sleepers:
Chone Figgins- Has a chance to steal as many, if not more bases than Roberts, and will likely hit for a higher average, although he is getting drafted much lower (20 picks) becuase he doesn't have a lot of power, but that can be found elsewhere
Kelly Johnson- Double digit SB and could hit around 20 HRs and is getting picked around 175 overall. Should score plenty of runs in front of Tex and Chipper
Howie Kendrick- Will produce just as well if not better than Robinson Cano, but he is getting picked about 60 picks later
Rickie Weeks- At this time you might not have any faith left in him, but I think he will rebound from his aweful year and hit 20 HRs while stealing 25 bases. Many others will be scared because of his poor performance, so he should be available at a bargain.

The Busts:
Kaz Matsui- After hitting .288 and stealing 32 bases last year, he reappeared on the fantasy map. I think he falls back to his old self with a much lower average, meaning less opportunities to steal, and decreasing his value
Dan Uggla- He is young and has great power for a second baseman, but his average tumbled to .245 last year, and I think that his power totals will fall as well, especially hitting in a weak lineup.
Ian Kinsler- 20/20 season last year, but something can be seen is his second half numbers, but he doesn't have that much power, so I don't think he will be able to repeat his performance.
Dustin Pedroia- Good BA and solid RBI, but someone will draft him too high because he is on the Red Sox, it has happened in all 5 of my drafts, and 2 mocks so far.