Cleat Geeks

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled only winning one of their six games last week. They started at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals were swept in the three game series, only averaging three runs per game. The weekend series was at home against the New York Yankees. The Royals won the first game but lost the final two, including a 10-1 defeat on Sunday.

 

The Royals are currently 14-32 this season. They are in last place in the American League Central. The Cleveland Indians lead the division. The Chicago White Sox are just ahead of the Royals. They are 0.5 games ahead in the standings. The Royals are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball.

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Whit Merrifield has been one of the Royals strongest offensive performers. Merrifield has a .292 batting average and four home runs this season. He also has 12 stolen bases, which is the second most in the American League behind Mariners Dee Gordon. Last season Merrifield led the American League in steals. He extended his hit streak last week to 12 games before losing it on Sunday. It was the fifth longest in the MLB and second longest on the team this season. Mike Moustakas had a 14 game streak earlier this season. Merrifield had a breakout season with the Royals last year and continues to play well this season.Image result for hunter dozier royals

Hunter Dozier was called up last week to play first base for the injured Lucas Duda. Dozier made his first start this season on Monday. It was his first major league start since the 2016 season. In six games Dozier has a .250 batting average 1.000 fielding percentage at first base. Dozier initially started his career at third base and in the outfield but played first base in spring training because of the departure of Eric Hosmer. He has played well in his first week at first base in the MLB.

 

The Royals will face two opponents on the road this week. They will start against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Last season the Royals were 0-4 against the Cardinals. Cardinal outfielder Tommy Pham will be a player to watch. This season he has a .312 batting average and eight home runs. Pham has the second highest BABIP in the National League. The Royals weekend series will be against the Texas Rangers. Last season the Royals were 1-6 against the Rangers. Pitcher Bartolo Colon will be a player to watch in the series. This season he has an ERA of 2.82, ninth in the American League this season and a WHIP of 0.84, third in the American League this season. Colon’s most notable match-up with the Royals was in the 2015 World Series when he played with the New York Mets. The Royals will face two teams on the road this week that they struggled against last season.

Impact & Potential From The 2018 Saints Draft Class

There were many teams that made an impact in their present and future predicament in the 2018 NFL Draft. The New Orleans Saints are one of those teams that found help in multiple needed positions while also taking multiple big risks. The Saints needed to make a few big moves as they found themselves falling in the power rankings to teams they beat like the Los Angeles Rams, who made huge additions to the team via free agency. This 2018 NFL Draft needed to be big for the New Orleans Saints and time will tell for the answers to be discovered. Make no mistake, the Saints made multiple big picks that they think can make an impact immediately.

 

Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan to lead a high-velocity Saints pass rush

New Orleans was not going to get a top playmaker with the 27th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, so they traded up to the 14th pick with the Green Bay Packers. Through this trade, the Saints traded away their 27th overall pick, the 147th overall pick (5th round) that originally belonged to the Miami Dolphins, and the Saints’ 1st round selection of the 2019 NFL Draft. By trading up, the Saints were expected to draft LB Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech) or 2016 Heisman Trophy-winning QB Lamar Jackson (Louisville). Instead, the Saints surprised everyone by selecting a raw but physically gifted Defensive End in Marcus Davenport (UTSA).

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Linebacker and Quarterback were positions that were high on the Saints’ list of needs, but they also needed a pass rusher. Last season, 2017 All-Pro DE Cameron Jordan accounted for 13 total sacks in the 2017-2018 regular season. Outside of Jordan, the next highest sack leader was S Vonn Bell and DE Alex Okafor with 4.5 sacks each. Okafor is a playmaker for the Saints but too much is expected from a pass rusher when he is primarily a run stopper. Last season with the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, Marcus Davenport accounted for 17.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. While he accounted high solo stats, his teammates were not as developed as he was giving him not as much opportunities to make the plays.

Davenport is an excellent pass rusher and a stout run stopper at the line of scrimmage much like Cameron Jordan is for New Orleans. You add in Davenport’s 6’6, 264 lbs. measurements, this makes Davenport a special player with talent and potential of impact too good of a player for New Orleans to pass up with the 14th overall pick. Davenport does have durability issues to go along with his inconsistencies at the beginning of the play. Through a strong rookie mini-camp and a training camp setting, Marcus Davenport could find himself a starter come week 1 of the 2018-2019 NFL regular season. Likely Sheldon Rankins would have to move from the End position to his natural Defensive Tackle position. This also leaves Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata to spilt reps at the other Defensive Tackle position in the Saints 4-3 defensive front.

 

Saints get their #2 Wide Receiver in UCF’s Tre’Quan Smith

The biggest immediate offensive need for the Saints is for them to get another deep threat Wide Out for QB Drew Brees. Two of the top four leaders in receiving yards last season for New Orleans were Wide Receivers. Outside of WR Michael Thomas, the Saints do not have a dominant deep threat Wide Receiver. Ted Ginn Jr. accounted for 787 yards and 4 touchdowns on 53 receptions but can create much more of an impact as a slot receiver. Another top Receiver was needed to deal with the loss of WR Willie Snead via free agency. It would only be fitting that the 2nd player selected by the Saints with the 91st overall pick in the 3rd round was the Saints’ potential #2 Wide Out in UCF’s Tre’Quan Smith.

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Photo by; Underdog Dynasty

Last season, the Saints were 5th in the league in passing yards per game (261.8). This is due to the high-power passing ability of Quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns on an NFL season record 72% completion ratio. Last season, Tre’Quan Smith accounted for 1,171 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 59 receptions with a Knights team that was ranked 7th in passing yards per game (339.3) and 5th in total yards per game (540). Having Smith bring his durability and explosiveness as a high-velocity Receiver will be an instant impact in the passing game. Smith not only compliments Thomas as a co-deep threat Receiver but it also opens the field for Ginn to be a more diverse target and finally for RB Alvin Kamara, who was the Saints 2nd leading Receiver last season (826 yards).

 

Saints get help and depth at multiple positions later in the Draft

On top of some high picks for the Saints, the midround to late rounds of the Draft is where teams usually build on their depth. The Saints made 5 picks in the 4th to 7th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Of those five players, two of them were Offensive Linemen in Florida State’s OT Rick Leonard (127th overall pick in the 4th round) and LSU’s C Will Clapp (245th overall pick in the 7th round). Another two players selected in the later rounds by New Orleans were Defensive Backs in Wisconsin’s S Natrell Jamerson (164th overall pick in the 5th round) and Boston College’s CB Kamrin Moore (189th overall pick in the 6th round).

Having those players not only builds depth for those position groups but it also provides security for when those starters go down. Each one of the Saints main Defensive Backs (excluding S Vonn Bell) missed a small number of games that still made a negative impact in the Saints ability to defend against high efficient passing offenses. 2017-2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in CB Marshon Lattimore missed 3 games, CB Ken Crawley missed 3 games, and rookie S Marcus Williams missed one game. Having Jamerson and Moore come in and fill in slots left by the departed players in Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush will be big for New Orleans.

The Offensive Line for the Saints last season improved significantly, much like the Defensive Backs from the previous season, but they too were not immune to the long slate of injuries. OT Terron Armstead got injured early and OT Zach Strief experienced multiple injuries. G Andrus Peat played much more consistently than the previous seasons but had some injury scares as well. Saints brought in depth and security much like they with the Defensive Backs in Rick Leonard and Will Clapp. Perhaps in the future, if the Saints could not afford to keep the former Pro-Bowl Center in Max Unger, Will Clapp could be groomed into a starting spot for New Orleans.

 

6th rounder RB Boston Scott might be able to contribute early for New Orleans

One late round prospect of the Saints that could make an immediate impact on the field is former Louisiana Tech Running Back Boston Scott. The former Bulldog was selected in the 6th round with the 201st overall pick as the Saints needed to add talent and depth to the Saints backfield. The selection of Boston Scott is also important to the Saints due to the possible unavailability of 3rd year Running Back Daniel Lasco after he suffered a bulging disc in his spine in mid-November. Last season at Louisiana Tech, Boston Scott rushed for 1,047 yards and 8 touchdowns on 138 rushing attempts. Scott is a very elusive back due to his speed, motor, and ability to rush for more yards after contact despite his small 5’6 height.

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Scott might be able to make an early with the New Orleans Saints in his rookie season since the starting Running Back in Mark Ingram is currently suspended by the NFL for 4 games from PED violations. The only Running Backs left on the main roster outside of Ingram are Alvin Kamara, Lasco, and Jonathan Williams, who is looking to sticking with a team in a second consecutive season in his 4 years in the league. If Scott makes a big impression in the Saints rookie mini-camps, team workouts, and offseason training camps, he will earn a potential role as a contributing player in the Saints run game come week 1 of the 2018-2019 NFL regular season. If Mark Ingram’s suspension by the league stands then the speedster in Boston Scott can get an early impact and chance with the Saints.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Buffalo’s Milano vs. Edmunds

Who you taken’?

Anyone that knows of me has known that I’ve pegged Buffalo’s second-year linebacker Matt Milano as my breakout player for 2018. And now that the Bills drafted Tremaine Edmunds I’ve received a few notifications asking if them doing so will effect Milano and his chances of that breakout this coming season. To answer this properly we will use this article to do some comparing and evaluation of each player versus the situation. Hopefully, in the end, clarifying who may have the upper hand when it comes the time that a choice may need to be made. Please keep in mind this is not full proof rocket science. At this time I’m writing this article all we got going for us is the “hype” of what should happen. It’ll be clearer around preseason before we have a better idea of what should unfold. And even when dealing with a Rookie and a second-year player who only played a portion as a starter last season, nothing is written in stone as we all know. Let’s see what we can come up with now.

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While Edmunds combine numbers are nice and fresh, Milano’s is only a year old and still pretty viable to match-up. If anything we need to keep in mind that if Milano has gone “all in” on Buffalo’s training methods he could have improved. Don’t get me wrong on “pulling” for Milano when I mention a few things as we go thru this. I’d do the same for Edmunds if he wasn’t a rookie and had a bit more to mention about concerning him if he had a year under his belt in the NFL. Just something to keep in mind, now to the combine and from what I see, neither attended a full Pro Day workout. And shockingly to actually get the full grid of each player’s results I had to refer to Draftscout.com, and they don’t share well so you’ll have to google them. Draftscout breaks things down a little different including the 10-20 yard dash splits. And mentioning that neither player has recorded results for the 20-60 yard shuttles or 3 cone drill at the combine. I’m also not able to find out why Edmunds didn’t record a vertical jump. I do like to compare things to “known” solid players when comparing. So we are going to include two similar in size players with Atlanta Falcons MLB Deion Jones and Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly.

Edmunds: 6’4” – 253 lbs              Luke Kuechly: 6’3” – 238 lbs

Milano: 6’0” – 223 lb                     Deion Jones: 6’1”

So in general what are we looking at? Well, the whole point was to compare Edmunds and Milano to a point. And the two “known” players are our high base as both of them are considered to be current top five linebackers by most football fans and experts. So as a whole I believe that by the numbers Milano and Edmunds do stand out. So now we will take on the two we are discussing these combine results. Keep in mind without extending this article really long I have the NFL combine results for 2017 and 2018 in front of me. You can locate them HERE (Milano Bench) or HERE (Edmunds 40 YD) if you’d like.

Edmunds Take: His size compared to his speed in the top end and the short burst has him at the Beast level. His power or strength needs a bit of work. The bench press especially is glaring considering his size. And the broad jump doesn’t inspire much either to make up the difference. Looking at it now, is there a seeded reason he did not participate in the vertical jump? But in general over the last two rookie classes of linebackers, he is fast, man is he fast and larger than 90% of the NFL inside linebackers. His power will come as the Bills work with him these next couple of years. But as of now, we will just say it again, not impressed compared to his size and the past two rookie classes. I do want to ask, I wonder how often he’ll need that top end speed a season to run down guys. Just a thought.

Milano’s Take: His speed in the top end is just about average or comparable to most per combine, but his short area burst is a lot better and just above average. Likely due to his leg strength with such strong results in the jumping categories. The bench press is another story. He pushed his body weight 24 times. That’s no small feat. Comparable to the last two classes he is tied in seventh. The most was 27 reps and out of those players here are the body weights of those players, including who he tied with: 266,248,244,244,240,236,230. So I believe we may go out on a limb here as we did saying Edmunds was really fast for a big man, pound for pound Milano seems to have the power to burn. I wonder how often that top end speed matters each season for him versus his strength. Just a thought.

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

So we have split the hairs on the (physical) combine numbers, that was the easy part. Now to address tendencies on the field.

Here is where I’ll ask you that know me to trust me, and those that don’t know me feel free to follow up on what I’m about to state about each player. I’ve spent my time watching tape on both players and have researched many resources to get all this information together. Of course, depending on the same resources that never lead me to wrong very often at all. As I sat here I was trying to figure out the best way to write out this information. In the end, I’m cheating a bit. I’ll first use what the NFL draft profiles have listed by NFL.com. Because overall, I believe they are 100% correct anyhow and mirror 90% of what I’ve seen with all the other resources. And again, I watched some tape myself to see what exactly is being pointed out.

Edmunds NFL.com: Weaknesses

  • Instincts are average and relies on athletic gifts
  • Can be a step slow to diagnose
  • Lured by misdirection
  • Will take random downhill paths that trap him in the quagmire
  • Patience is lacking
  • Races ahead of plays and voids his leverage and run fits at times
  • Needs to add more upper and lower body strength
  • Average base strength and high center of gravity create issues holding up at the point of attack
  • Needs to be quicker to punch in order to maintain clearance
  • Mental busts in man coverage hurt his team
  • Takes time to process moving pieces

I 100% agree, and also happen across a YouTube video that shows and explains in depth exactly what’s listed. High five to this gentleman doing the video.

 

Milano NFL.com: Weaknesses

  • Needs to add a little more size to his frame
  • Can be outmuscled by size
  • Hand usage is inconsistent
  • Needs to improve in the art of discarding blockers
  • Just average at punching and shedding to keep himself clean in take-on situations
  • Bad habit of ducking head into crunching tackles rather than seeing what he hits
  • Tightly wound with average change-of-direction talent
  • Can improve his path to the perimeter to avoid traffic around him

Again, I 100% agree. And want to point out that most of this is more “size” related. I’d have another video added here like the “Boom or Bust” on Edmunds, but unfortunately, I can not find one that anyone took the time to make. In light of this, I did find this one if you’re interested. Hopefully, the volume works better for you than it did me. To hear it I had to boost the old laptop with added speakers. Please, if anyone out there can locate anything on Milano other than highlights and more of scouting material please let me know. Who knows one of these days I may venture into making my own.

Now on to an overall comparing of the flaws. When it comes to Edmunds it seems he has a mental lapse at times and some technique habits that the Bills will need to work on for him to reach his potential. He is just 20 years old so all this will be either worked out of him or he’ll struggle and depend on his freakish size and athleticism for the length of his career. But, he isn’t quite as polished as one may think at the moment. And some don’t “get it” for a few years. I’m betting he’ll be fine sooner than later.

As for Milano, I think we can say that he has already had the luxury to prove his potential in his rookie season and overcame the “too small” tag to play at the pro level. He has a full year to learn and acclimate to the NFL and grow. Advantages yes, but perfect, no. He did grade out well as the highest graded Bills linebacker in 2017 and also as one of the top rookies in his limited snaps as well. Again, with Milano already “showing” last season there is an unfair advantage to this part of the assessment. But I can not simply ignore his rookie season and follow this up as if he was a rookie right now. You’ll need to decide what you think about that in the end.

Position Battle: So we know by the current reports that Edmunds is penciled in as the middle linebacker and possibly calling the plays while Milano is penciled in as the likely weakside linebacker. I do agree this is the more plausible outcome. But what should be pointed out is if things go as they should both of these players will be in prime spots no matter which position they play, as long as it isn’t the strongside linebacker. Traditionally that position in the 4-3 is the least productive among the 3 linebackers. And yes I understand how Preston Brown cleaned up at the middle linebacker spot last season. And whoever, odds are Edmund, mans the middle will have an advantage. But as I’ve stated in this article HERE, the weakside linebacker can be just as viable. As someone that has followed the Bills LBs over the last few years let me just say they have not managed to have a “set” group to stay in their positions, this is why we are seeing a changing of the guard.

In Conclusion: Time to add it up.

  1. Is there a clear favorite in a clear path to the most production between these two in 2018?
  2. Does either player have a real advantage at this point and time?
  3. As you read this was there any one thing that made you waiver one way or the other?
  4. Is either of them a “sure thing” to be better than the other long-term in Dynasty?

My Conclusion: I have been toting Milano as a “breakout” player in 2018. That does not change for me. At no time did I state he would be the next top 5 linebacker in the league. I simply thought and think he’ll be relevant for our IDP purposes in our starting lineups, possibly as a third or fourth option with upside. Do I think after they have drafted Edmunds that Milano’s ceiling is as high as it would have been if they hadn’t drafted such a prospect, no I do not! Here’s how I look at it currently altogether. In 2018 I think if both players stay healthy we will see them both produce within 15% of each other per your league’s fantasy points scoring by the end of the season in 2018. Simply based on the advantages I’ve mentioned for Milano versus Edmunds being an unpolished rookie and the odds that Edmunds is the middle linebacker and Milano is the weakside linebacker. As for Dynasty, until I see Edmunds do his thing, I feel safer with Milano at this moment and will accept it in a couple years if I’m wrong and coming up on the short in of the stick in dynasty. I’m pretty confident in any drafts going forward this year that Milano’s ADP to draft him should be a bargain compared to Edmunds also. If I’m in a rookie only draft, Edmunds is the guy, the number one target overall off the board. If I’m in any sort of all player draft, I’m gambling on Milano who I can likely get at least a round or two later. That’s my thoughts.

ADP: So by this recent poll, who’ll be the better value by round?

I can’t leave Edmunds with no video love. My pride is not that strong to not give him his dues.

And of course, there’s my breakout player pick, with some college highlights. Was the 2017 class that deep he slipped thru the holes? And a special shout-out to Brian Serrano @Ano_611 For turning me loose and bringing Milano to my attention shortly after the 2017 draft. Thanks, Brian! He has some great stuff and should be followed on Twitter. When he talks, I listen.

Additional Thought: Micah Hyde should see an uptick in production in 2018 as the young linebackers adjust to the pro level. And as long as all goes well 34 years old Lorenzo Alexander will man the strongside linebacker position where he’ll be solid, but unlikely to top his 73 combined tackles from last season.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to catch me on Twitter @HBogart27, I love talking IDP. And catch my other articles HERE if you would like to see more.

D’Backs 1st Quarter Grades; Offense, Defense, Pitching, & Managerial

Monday’s home game for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Milwaukee Brewers signified the quarter pole in the season for the team and the first chance for us to do our season grades. While the D’backs own the best record in the National League West, not everything has gone smoothly – especially of late – for the soft-hitting club from the desert. Here we’ll dissect all of the on-field play from the team – hitting, defense, pitching – as well as the coaching, by assigning letter grades to each facet and an overall grade for the team as a whole.

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Photo by; Venom Strikes

HITTING – D-

While outfielder A.J. Pollock won the Player of the Month award for the month of April, the D’backs offense as a whole is off to a franchise-worst start in 2018. The Diamondbacks rank 30th – MLB worst – in both hits per game and batting average, while also ranking bottom five in on-base and slugging percentages. The offense is on pace to finish with the worst batting average in their franchises 20-year history. While no team in franchise-history has finished below .246 in any season, through the first-quarter of the season the current club is just barely hitting above .220. There’s a lot of ground to make up these next 4+ months if they expect to get out of the cellar in that regard. Besides batting average, the D’backs also rank bottom three in team history in on-base% (2nd worst), Slugging% (3rd) and OPS (2nd). Without A.J. Pollock – plus David Peralta and Daniel Descalso – the D’backs offensive grade would’ve been firmly an F. This fact was heightened when Pollock fractured his thumb in Monday night’s loss to the Brewers and will possibly miss the next two months. Sigh.

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Photo by; AZ snake pit

DEFENSE – A+

Even though the Diamondbacks are second in baseball in Total Chances and first in Total Putouts this year, their 12 errors this season – best in MLB – has them on pace to finish with only 48 on the season, 27 less than their current franchise-low mark of 75 in 2013. For comparison’s sake, the Miami Marlins made the least amount of errors last season with 73. The 2013 Diamondback team currently holds the mark for the best fielding percentage in team history at .988. The D’backs .992 fielding percentage also leads all of MLB, just ahead of the Astros .991. Diamondbacks finished 26th in baseball with 108 errors and 24th with a .982 fielding percentage last year. The biggest reason for the increase in production from the defense lies up the middle. In 213 combined games last season, Brandon Drury (10 in 114 games at 2B; .977 fielding %), Chris Owings (11 errors in 54 games at SS; .943%) and Daniel Descalso (7 in 45 games at 2B; .963%) accounted for 26% of the teams errors. This year the D’backs have had a healthy Nick Ahmed at shortstop and they also made Ketel Marte their everyday second baseman. The two have combined for just three errors – all three by Ahmed – for a fielding percentage of .990 in 305 total chances. The 2018 D’backs scored a 100% on the fielding part of their quarterly test.

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Photo by; Call To The Pen

Pitching – A

The 2017 Diamondback pitching staff set team records for fewest runs, hits and lowest ERA (3.66) Not bad considering the dynamic duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling donned the purple pinstripes together for 3+ seasons. Through Monday’s game against the Brewers, the D’backs are on pace to finish either first or second in team history in ERA (1st; 3.16), Runs (1st), Hits (2nd) and WHIP (2nd). The 2018 staff’s ERA is currently second in all of baseball, only behind Houston’s minuscule 2.49. Even though the Diamondback starting pitchers have the 11th best ERA in baseball, the pitching staff as a whole are still in the top three of MLB in batting average against, quality starts, hits, WHIP, saves, and bullpen ERA. Hard to say anything else other than when the team loses there’s a good chance it’s not because of the pitching.

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Photo by; Call To The Pen

Managing (Torey Lovullo) – B

It’s hard to nitpick someone too bad when they’ve managed their club to one of the franchises fastest starts in team history, but it also doesn’t mean that manager is perfect either. While Paul Goldschmidt is enduring his worst 41 game start to a season in his career, Lovullo hasn’t sat him down for a full day off yet. Goldy started 40 of the first 41 games this year, but in his lone off day he still came in to pinch-hit then stayed in the game at first base. If anyone on the team could use a full off day or two – besides Alex Avila and his sub .130 batting average – it’s perennial all-star and MVP candidate, Goldschmidt. Another knock on Torey could be his unwavering faith in his players. Even though Alex Avila has one hit in May and his hitting well under the mendoza line, he has played in 30 of the teams first 41 games this season and has hit as high as 6th in the lineup this month.

Overall Team Grade – B+

While the team come out of the gate hot, they have soured in the month of May, by winning only 4 of 13 games this month through Monday’s game. With an extensive D.L. list pilling up, it feels like the team is hanging on by a thread trying to recapture any momentum they had gathered through the first month plus of the season. The return of Robbie Ray and Jake Lamb (activated off DL on Friday) should help, but the team is going to need more than just those two to right the ship.

South Side Sluggers; White Sox vs Pirates

The White Sox traveled to Pittsburgh for a 2-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In their previous 2 meetings in Chicago (May 8th and 9th), the Pirates swept the White Sox.

These were the results for the series in Pittsburgh:

Tuesday: White Sox 0 Pirates 7

Wednesday: White Sox 2 Pirates 3

Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives from this series for the White Sox.

Positives: It may be hard to find any positives for the White Sox on Tuesday but I was really impressed with the 7 hits that the Sox had. Jose Abreu went 2-4 at the plate, raising his batting average to .290 for the season. For his first game back from the DL, Yoan Moncada went 1-4. Chris Beck had a very impressive outing from the bullpen as he went 3.2 innings allowing no hits and striking out 3. On Wednesday, Hector Santiago was the starting pitcher (originally scheduled was Carson Fulmer) and was very brilliant. Santiago went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits. Jace Fry pitched one inning, allowing no hits, no runs while striking out 2. The offense improved from Tuesday, however, it wasn’t a huge improvement. The Sox were able to score two runs against the Pirates. Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez each hit solo home runs for the two runs. With their home runs, Garcia and Sanchez have a total of two home runs each for the season.

Image result for hector santiago mlb

Photo by MLB.com

Negatives: On Tuesday, Reynaldo Lopez had a bad outing which is a rarity because he is a consistent pitcher. Lopez went 2 innings, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits. This was Lopez’s first start that he was unable to go at least 5 innings. Staying with Tuesday’s game, the White Sox’s offense was unable to score a run as they were shutout, 7-0. Although the offense was able to get seven hits, they left 17 runners on base. On Wednesday, Joakim Soria allowed one run to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead and eventually the win. It was very disappointing to see the Sox give up the run and not give enough run support for Hector Santiago. Santiago was brilliant for a pitcher that isn’t a starter. The offense only scored twice which is was not enough to give Santiago the win. The Sox ended the season series against the Pirates with a 0-4 record. The White Sox are now 10-29 for the year.

The White Sox return to Chicago for a 8-game home stand against the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. Keep having faith, White Sox fans! Let’s hope the South Siders can get it going during this home stand. Go White Sox!

 

 

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: Tremaine Edmunds

Buffalo Bills Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds

 

Drafted: 16th overall

Team Defense: 4-3 Base

State of Team’s Offence: Rebuild

Rookie Tier: #1

Rookie IDP Draft: Wave #1

All IDP Position Draft: Wave #2

Potential 2018 Position Tier: High #2

Position Competition Level: Moderate

Potential 2018 Combined Tackle Range: 80-110

Play Making Ability Potential: High

Dynasty Value: High

 

Why he has the potential to succeed at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Physical Beast.
  2. Lack of real competition at his position.
  3. The state of the Buffalo Bills offense as it rebuilds.
  4. Draft status
  5. Defensive Scheme in favor of his skill set.

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Youth (20)
  2. Instincts.
  3. Mental mistakes.
  4. Matt Milano presents.
  5. Acclimatizing to pro level.

 

The “Brain” Take:

The perfect example of the perfect situation in landing with the Bills. At only 20 years old and a physical beast with above average size and speed combo he will rely on those traits until he mentally can process the pro level of play. He’ll likely be “coached” up and given priority by the coaching staff to help him along and be as ready as possible for week one. With the Bills having a lack of youthful talent, other than Matt Milano, with some proven aspects of their game he’ll dominate as an opposing figure in camp. The 4-3 scheme is well suited to his style of play as either the middle linebacker or the weakside linebacker. If there is any struggling he still could play the strongside with his size at 6’5” and 253 lbs, which in turn would still likely leave him on the field every snap available increasing his odds of producing stats. Unless he just completely flops and cannot get his head into what the coaches are saying the Bills have no real other choices but to make him a part of the plans in 2018. With the Bills in a rebuilding mode on the offensive side of the ball, he could be a leader in the league in snap counts among linebackers if he can stay healthy.

The “Gut” Take:

I see no reason that Edmunds won’t reach his potential as a rookie. In this case, the “brain” take above coincides well with the “gut” take. As I have toted Matt Milano as a breakout player for 2018 with the situation in Buffalo it is not surprising to me that I was likely now going to tote whoever the Bills selected at linebacker as long as it was one of the upper prospects. There are two questions in my gut on this take, but neither seem enough to worry about at this moment. If I had a rookie pick in a draft and I needed a linebacker, he would be my safest pick every time. Off the top and after doing my research and watching his college tape I do agree with many “gurus” that his mental approach to his game needs to catch up to his physical traits. His youth is likely the collaborate there and will be overcome by simply being thrown into the fire because the Bills just don’t have any other viable choice. The other thing of no real concern will be that he’ll have to outplay Matt Milano for the prime opportunities to stack the stat box. All I can say for now is don’t let Milano’s draft status versus Edmunds fool you into thinking there is a large gap between the two. There were 15 defensive players selected in this year’s class in the first round. I 100% believe that was due to the lack of talent in this years class versus last years class overall versus the league’s needs. But no matter this situation between picking Milano versus Edmunds, which I plan on writing an article soon about, know that Edmunds will be viewed as the top linebacker prospect to succeed his first year in the league because of his situation. Opportunity is where a rookie lands are just as important to his chances to succeed as anything. Hence, see Preston Brown, who Edmunds will be replacing him somewhere in the lineup. With the difference being that Edmunds looks like a better talent on paper at this time.

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board.

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. (Soon)
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

 

Missed any of the ten? Check it all out and more HERE.

 

Thanks as always for reading and please find me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomahawks and Touchdowns: Schedule Breakdown Weeks 5-8

The Kansas City Chiefs week five opponent will be the Jackson Jaguars. It will be the Chiefs second home game of the season. They last played the Jaguars in 2016 where they won at home 19-14. The Jaguars had a breakout season in 2018. Last year the Jaguars had the second ranked defense in points allowed at 16.8. Jacksonville will be a good test for a young Chiefs offense.

Image result for kansas city chiefs vs jacksonville jaguars

The Chiefs week six match-up will be on the road against the New England Patriots. Last season the Chiefs faced the Patriots in the NFL season opener where they won 42-27. The Chiefs have won the last two regular season match-ups with the Patriots. Kareem Hunt had a big impact in the game last season. He had 148 yards rushing and one touchdown after fumbling on the opening series. The Patriots have been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL the last few seasons but the Chiefs have been able to play well against them.

Image result for kansas city chiefs vs new england patriots

The week seven game for the Chiefs will be at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs last faced the Bengals in 2015 when they lost 36-21. The Bengals have had success against the Chiefs in the last few match-ups. The last time the Chiefs beat the Bengals was 2007. The Cincinnati offense struggled last season finishing last in the NFL in average yards per game at 280.5. The Bengals have played well against the Chiefs recently but they should be a team that the Chiefs match-up well with.

Image result for kansas city chiefs vs cincinnati bengals

The week eight match-up for the Chiefs will be at home against the Denver Broncos. It will be their second game against the Broncos in the 2018 season. The Broncos are 5-2 against the Chiefs at Arrowhead since 2011. Denver’s new quarterback Case Keenum last faced the Chiefs in 2013 when he was a member of the Houston Texans. He threw for 271 yards and one touchdown. The Chiefs won the game 17-16. Keenum will be an interesting match-up for the Chiefs because he has only faced the them once in his six year NFL career. The Chiefs have played well in the division in recent years but the Broncos are a tough opponent at Arrowhead.

Royally Yours: Week in Review

The Kansas City Royals struggled this week losing both of their series. They started the week on the road against the Baltimore Orioles. The Royals won the first game 15-7 but lost the last two games in the series. Their weekend series was on the road against the Cleveland Indians. The Royals started the weekend strong with a 10-9 victory but lost the final two games in the series. The Royals are 13-29 this season and 6-6 in the month of May.

The Royals are in fourth place in the American League Central. The Cleveland Indians lead the division with a record of 20-19, 7.5 games ahead of the Royals. The Chicago White Sox are at the bottom of the division with a record of 10-27, 1.5 games behind the Royals. The division has been tight so far this season but the Cleveland Indians are starting to separate from the other teams.

Image result for salvador perez 2018

Salvador Perez has been strong since returning from his injury late last month. He has a .278 batting average and five home runs in 20 games. Last week he hit three home runs against the Orioles and Indians. Perez missed the beginning of the season due to a tear in his knee. Salvador Perez is a big part of the offense and he has been strong to start the 2018 season.

The Royals have been one of the strongest defensive teams to start the season. They have a team fielding percentage of .987, which is the fourth best in the American League. All of the Royals regular starters have a fielding percentage over .974. Jon Jay and Salvador Perez both have a perfect fielding percentage. The Royals are not only consistent in the field but they also have range. They rank in the top half of the American League in Ultimate Zone Rating. The Royals have struggled to start the season but their defense has been strong.

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The Royals have a six game home stand next week. The first series will be against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals were 4-3 against the Rays last season. Whit Merrifield will be a player to watch in the series. Last season he had a .280 batting average and three home runs against the Rays. The Royals weekend series will be against the New York Yankees. Last season the Royals were 2-5 against the Yankees. Rookie Gleyber Torres is off to a hot start with the Yankees. The second baseman has a .319 batting average and three home runs in 20 games. The Royals will have two good tests against American League East opponents this week.

Orioles Bird Feed May 4-12

There are some signs of life, finally!

May 4 Lost to A’s 6-4

May 5 Lost to A’s 2-0

May 6 Lost to A’s 2-1

May 7 Off

May 8 Lost to Royals 15-7

May 9 Beat Royals 5-3

May 10 Beat Royals 11-6

May 11 Beat Rays 9-4

May 12 Beat Rays 6-3 Game 1

May 12 Lost to Rays 10-3 Game 2

There are some good signs. Manny is out of his mind at present including average .351; Home Runs 13; RBI 36; .676 Slugging and 52 Hits.

Schoop and Trumbo are back and hitting the ball well. Mancini is getting hits in bunches too.

Pitching continues to be a problem and Orioles are getting crushed in giving up first inning runs. This has to improve soon!

Again, some signs of hope so let’s see what the next week brings.

Go O’s

 

TK

SABERmetrics Sunday: Jorge Finding His Place In The Sun?

It was just after the 2016 season when the Kansas City Royals acquired OF Jorge Soler in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. At the time it seemed like a real good deal for Chicago as they got All Star closer Wade Davis in the deal. While it worked out good for the Cubs as Wade Davis had another All Star season in 2017, the Soler return has looked mighty good for the Royals this season.

Jorge Soler was originally one of the prime building blocks for the rebuild in Chicago. He tore it up in the Cubs farm system and made the majors in 2014. Over the next two seasons, Soler struggled to find consistency at the plate and had a number of nagging injuries. The potential was always there, but not staying on the field and having a crowded roster to begin with hurt his development. Luckily they did win a World Series with him, but that was the end of his tenure in Chicago. He totaled 101 games in 2015 and just 86 in 2016.

Soler’s first year as a Royal in 2017 was very rough. Just 35 games while missing the rest of the season due to injury with one home run, a .245 OBP, .503 OPS and -0.9 fWAR.

This year we are seeing a revitalized Soler who is doing it all offensively. Getting on base, hitting for power and generating runs. Before diving into detailed analysis, here are the key stats for Jorge Soler in 2018 (through 5/11).

Image result for jorge soler

.425 OBP / .525 SLG / .950 OPS / .405 BABIP / 23.6% K / 14.9% BB / 157 wRC+ / 5 HR / -1.8 Ultimate Base Running / 2.3 Ultimate Zone Rating / -3 DRS / 1.4 fWAR 

Looking first and foremost at his batting stats, the numbers are really good. His career-high BB rate previously was 11.7% in 2016 so if he keeps up the higher walk rate around 15% then that will continue to help his OBP. Soler will likely always be in the top-half of strikeouts, which is where he is at currently, so that is no surprise. The one thing to note is the .405 BABIP, that is not insanely high, but still unsustainably high. It will go down as the season goes, however that does not mean he will tank later on. He can keep up some real good numbers throughout the year while the BABIP goes down. If he continues to drive the ball and take more walks like he is now, we could see him make his first All Star team.

Just some notes on his defense. He was never a good defender, with career UZR and DRS numbers well in the negatives, but if he can be serviceable, the Royals will take it and he can DH if need be.

If Soler stays healthy and can maintain most of these numbers, then it can be safe to say he finally reached his potential. He was a top-prospect for a number of years coming up. This year he can play everyday and get more consistent at-bats. Chicago Cubs fans may miss the potential he had especially now, but him changing scenery was probably the best thing for him.

 

 

 

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