In 2012 kcyoungguns had Michael Rose Ivey write a review on what he thought about the Chiefs 2012 NFL draft. He is back with kcyoungguns.com to give take on how the Chiefs 2012 picks panned out. Here is the link for what he wrote in 2o12. reference. http://kcyoungguns.com/2015/05/04/rating-the-2012-chiefs-draft/
Dontari Poe DT Memphis Round 1
- Dontari Poe’s biggest negative coming out of college was that lack of production that did not match his incredible combine numbers. However, there has not been any knock on Poe since entering the NFL. Widely considered the best 3-4 Nose Tackle in the NFL, Poe has not only been dominant but consistently on the field. At 345-pounds, Poe led all defensive players in percentage of snaps played with 95% this past year. An incredible feat for a man his size who is double and sometimes triple teamed in the Chiefs 3-4 scheme. His production has definitely justified the Chiefs high selection of Poe, as he looks to be the anchor of this defense for years to come.
Jeff Allen OG Illinois Second round pick
- Jeff Allen has been a consistent piece in the revolving offensive line of the Chiefs. Allen has displayed his versatility since becoming a member of the Chiefs. Originally drafted as a OT, the third-year offensive linemen has played in 31 games (27 starts) at the left guard position. He did miss a lot of the season last year with a a torn bicep tendon but looks to be healthy and start at guard.
Donald Stephenson OT Oklahoma Third round pick
- The Kansas City native has given a surprise amount for production in his three years with the Chiefs. He has done well in his limited starting action, but looks to take on a full starting role at left tackle. The belief in Stephenson’s ability to be a solid starter is evident in the Chiefs allowing former LT Branden Albert to walk away in free agency in 2014. This will be a big year for Stephenson as the job seems to be his to lose.
Devon Wylie WR Fresno State Round 4
- Devon Wylie never flourished with the Chiefs but was not really expected to make a big impact. With a lot of other needs at the time, many questioned this selection. However, Wylie did appear in six games his rookie year, catching 6 passes for 53 yards along with occasionally being used as a kickoff and punt returner. Wylie has been a league journey man and is currently a free agent.
De’Quan Menzie Alabama Round 5
- Menzie unfortunately never played for the Chiefs and is currently retired. Menzie is just another Alabama defensive player who may have been a product of a quality system under Nick Saban.
Cyrus Gray Texas A&M Round 6
- Gray was productive coming out of Texas A&M and was thought to be a quality addition to the roster as a sixth round pick. Unfortunately, Gray has been stuck at third string behind Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. There has been little opportunity for Gray thus far, but he provides quality depth behind Charles and Davis
Jerome Long DT San Diego State Round 7
- Like many other seventh round picks, Long has had a tough time sticking with a team. Long was cut by the Chiefs and then claimed off the practice squad by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is currently a free agent.
Junior Hemingway WR Michigan Round 7 Pick 31
- Junior Hemingway is quite a surprise and even a paradox in the NFL. As a second to last pick int the draft, Hemingway has seen action and even provided a little production at the WR spot. Hemingway has two touchdown receptions to go along with 233 yards on 25 receptions. Hemingway will be a backup again but he has proven to be reliable when counted upon.
Standout: Dontari Poe NT
- Poe could even be considered the biggest surprise in the draft. A lot of people who prefer film over combine stats had more negatives than positives to say about Poe’s game at Memphis. However since coming to Kansas City, Poe has been nothing but dominant and will continue to be a staple in the Chiefs defense.
Bust: Devon Wylie
- For a 4th round pick, you would expect a little bit more production from Wylie but in his defense he was drafted higher than his value.
Biggest Surprise: Junior Hemingway
- Not much expected from the seventh round pick, but Hemingway has been productive in his limited role with the Chiefs.
Michael Rose Ivey
In Friday nights Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 1, between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning there was a controversial call that led to the game winner in double overtime for the Lightning. With 18:06 left in double overtime, Lightning center, Brian Boyle, carried the puck into the offensive zone, as he entered the zone replays showed that his teammate Valterri Filppula was slightly offsides, but there was no call made. Twelve seconds later, Nikita Kucherov scored the game winner and just like that Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal was over. Although the game was over, the talk over the controversial call was not. In his post game interview, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was very frustrated over the none call made by the line judge, and blamed the officials for the loss.
This has gotten me thinking about the idea of expanded instant replay, and a coach’s challenge in the NHL. As of right now the only replays in the NHL are on goal calls and all replay requests come from Toronto, where replay officials are sitting reviewing every goal. Areas where I see replay could be expanded and a coach’s challenge could be implemented are on plays like delay of game, icing, and offsides. All of the replays would be done in Toronto just as before.
Delay of Game
Although almost all penalties are judgement calls, delay of game is one that is very black and white. The rule states that if a player clears the puck from his own defensive zone and it exits the ice over the tall glass, this does not include the benches, without deflecting off of anything else, it is a two minute penalty for delay of game. This call has been missed before in NHL games, although it is rarely missed. Often times it is hard to see if the puck has deflecting off of an opponent’s stick. This would be an easy call to review and could prevent a player from getting a penalty he does not deserve.
Before the 2013-2014 NHL season, the league changed its rule from a touch icing system to a hybrid icing system to prevent injuries near the boards while trying to touch up the puck. Under the new rule, which ever player wins a race to the face off dots closest to the puck determines icing. If a player on the team that cleared the puck wins the race to the dots, play continues and no icing is called. If a player on the opposing team wins the race to the dots, icing is called and a face off is taken down at the other end of the ice, with the team that iced the puck unable to make any line changes. Under the coach’s challenge I would like to see implemented if icing is called, and the coach on the team that iced the puck believed that his player won the race to the dot he could call for a challenge. This would be a quick challenge to see which player won the race. If the call is reversed, my idea would be for the team that won the challenge to get a face off in the offensive zone since that is where they would have had the puck had icing not been called.
In the NHL, the puck has to enter the offensive zone before any other player enters the zone. If a player is in the offensive zone before the puck it results in offsides. One way, that a challenge could be implemented on offsides is at the next whistle if the play ends up in a goal as it did in Game 1 between the Canadiens and Lightning, the defending team that just allowed the goal could challenge. If the referee sees in the replay that they were offsides, they would call off the goal and have a neutral zone face off just as if offsides was called in the first place.
I would like to see the NHL give this expanded replay and coach’s challenge a trail run in the future during preseason games to see how it works. In the past few years we have seen the MLB start with just home run reviews and then expand it to safe and out calls on coach’s challenges, soccer has also implemented goal line technology, the NBA has reviews in the last two minutes of games on out of bounds calls, and the NFL has had coach’s challenges for over 15 years now. So again I would like to see the NHL give the coach’s challenge a try, give each coach one challenge per game during the preseason next year and see how it works out. None of these challenges should take longer than a minute or two, so it wont hurt the rhythm of an NHL Game.
This was clearly a must for the Chiefs on the second day of the draft. Andy Reid saw glaring holes on the offensive line and at wideout. With the 49th pick the Chiefs selected offensive tackle Mitch Morse from Missouri. Morse stands at a tall 6’5″ 305 pounds. He can play several positions across the line. He has the ability to play center, guard, or tackle. All three positions are spots of need for the Chiefs. Morse is a smart, savvy, nasty blocker who projects best inside due to his short arms. He stood out at LT, RT and center vs. the SEC. The Chiefs will ask Morse to move to guard in hopes he can be ready to start in 2015.
Morse relied on timing, instincts and angles to get guys blocked as a tackle at the college level but does lack the arm length and functional athleticism to play tackle in the pros. If he moves inside to guard, his toughness will serve him well. Morse is not a mauler type of blocker because he does not have the strength. He is not a power player and must prove that he can sustain his block and positioning to be an effective run blocker. Teams were heating up on Morse the closer it got to draft day and some see him as one of the top transitional center prospects in the draft because of his intelligence.
OVERALL Grade: B
Reasoning… Again, filled a major need but I was hoping they would fill their need at receiver here once Jaelen Strong began to slip. Teams must have been scared off more than I realized about Strong’s wrist injury and how he handled it.
When the third round started the I was hoping to see Jaelen Strong or Tyler Lockett available for the Chiefs but both were selected before the Chiefs selected. When these two wide receivers were off the board, John Dorsey saw an opportunity to trade up to 76 to select Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley. The trade sent the Chiefs 80th pick and their 6th round pick to the Minnesota Vikings. In 2014 Conley had 36 receptions for 657 yards and 8 touchdowns.
A question that needs to be answered with Conley is if he is a sprinter or a football player. Corners have great success playing bump and cover defense against Conley because he struggles to get off the line cleanly. During the combine Conley was able to boost his stock with a great 40 yard dash, bench press, and board jump.While he struggles to get off the line, he dominates with a cushion off the line, and cornerbacks will demand help over the top when facing him in man coverage. He has long arms (33 ¾”) and uses his hands to get the ball out of the air. Unlike some receivers in this class, he is able to catch the ball consistently with his hands instead of letting it reach his body.
In the end I really wanted the Chiefs to go in a different direction to fill their need at receiver. I would have preferred Sammy Coates from Auburn or my favorite sleeper receiver Justin Hardy from Eastern Carolina.
OVERALL GRADE: C-
The selection of a wideout was the correct pick just not the right player in my opinion. Only time will tell with Conley but the Chiefs need someone to step in day one and I feel Coates and Hardy could have done that.
The Chiefs had a second pick in the third round when they selected cornerback Steven Nelson from Oregon State with the 98th pick. Nelson was a second team All-Pac 12 performer in 2015. The Chiefs want to stock pile their secondary this year because of how the NFL is being played. With the game moving closer and closer to a passing league, the Chiefs have focused on getting players that can get to the quarterback and corners that can create turnovers. I am very disappointed that the Chiefs did not fill their need at MLB with Paul Dawson. The TCU standout was selected by the Bengals the pick after the Chiefs. Kansas City needs a linebacker to play along with Derrick Johnson in the middle.
The Chiefs loved Nelson’s style of play because of the same reasons Andy Reid loved Marcus Peters. Both cornerbacks play with a competitive and confident edge. When on the field, Nelson views himself as the best player on every snap. It appears that Nelson is essentially a poor man’s Marcus Peters. Along with the same mentality, both players use their hands too much with receivers that draws too many penalties. Nelson does not have a second gear that is needed to cover faster receivers in the NFL. Also, at 5’10” offensive coordinators will target Nelson in the end zone with taller receivers.
OVERALL GRADE: B-
It is hard to hit a home run in the later rounds but the Chiefs were still able to fill a need with another young corner that can cover exceptionally in man coverage. I would have given the Chiefs an A if they selected linebacker Phil Dawson or wideout Justin Hardy. Remember these two players as great late round selection for their teams.
Want an employee that has failed a drug test, had academic problems, shows up late to meetings, and being dismissed from his previous team? This is the off the field resume of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Peters with the 18th pick. The Chiefs hope this baggage does not come back to haunt them. Peters, who many would have considered a top 10 pick if not for these issues must have wowed head coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey during his interviews. Too be honest, I trust Andy Reid. The Chiefs definitely did their background checks and see Peters as someone that can be productive without causing problems. The alarming aspect to his rap sheet in my eyes is the problems he had with the coaching staff and other Washington teammates. These off the field antics had Peters completely removed from several teams draft board but all it takes is one team to see past his issues to make his dream of playing in the NFL come true.
In 34 games for UW, Peters had 11 interceptions and 129 tackles. The cornerback allowed just 38.1 percent of the passes against him to be completed. Peters was elected to the second-team All-Pac-12 in 2013.Peters has truly prototype size for the position. He competes hard during his battles in press-man coverage and tries to intimidate receivers with his physicality. He will be active and disruptive when ball is in the air and although this may draw penalties, the Chiefs want Peters to keep his competitive edge. He is at his best when contesting catches and often times comes away the winner on 50/50 throws. Unlike other corners in this years draft, Marcus is able to step up and make open field tackles against stronger running backs. The biggest weakness in his game is the fact that he gets grabs receivers off the line when he is beaten which will draw flags from officials in the NFL.
There have been several fitting comparisons for Marcus Peters such as Jason McCourty, but I feel he has the potential to have a similar, if not better career than Aqib Talib. Overall I would rate the Chiefs pick as a B. The reasoning behind this pick is because it filled a need with exceptional talent. I am scared away from calling it an A because of his past but the pick has the boom or bust feeling. During the next two rounds the Chiefs have to address their glaring issue at wide receiver. I hope John Dorsey has some type of plan to draft WR Jaelen Strong out of Arizona State because he fits perfectly with what the Chiefs try to do in the passing game. Strong would come in and be a younger and better Dwayne Bowe. NFL.com has Bowe as their NFL player comparison for Jaelen Strong because both guys use their body to shield the ball from the defender. Neither player creates great separation but both win 50-50 balls. If the Chiefs can not land Strong, I hope they aim to cover their holes of linebacker and center. For linebacker I desire Phil Dawson because of the tenacity he would bring to the Chiefs. Like Derrick Johnson, Dawson has a nose for the ball but can find himself being caught cheating in play action.
Free-agent slugger Carlos Beltran is in Kansas City meeting with the Royals front office. The club is hoping for a big-bang reunion with Beltran, who began his career in Kansas City in 1998. He was traded to the Astros during the 2004 season. He batted .287 and compiled a .835 OPS for the Royals. Most impressively he produced four seasons of 100 runs and 100 RBI in a five-year span from 1999-2003. Beltran arrived in Kansas City on Monday and is staying through Tuesday to meet with club officials and listen to the Royals’ pitch to have a homecoming with the right fielder. The Royals most likely will need to be willing to go to three years to sign Beltran. The Mariners also have a big interest in adding a bat like Beltran’s and are expected to make a serious offer to Beltran to get him to be their designated hitter. ESPN reported Beltran has a three-year offer on the table for $48 million, though it did not specify which team made such an offer.
The leader in the Beltran sweepstakes is the Yankees because of their payroll and chances to make the playoffs. The main reason Beltran is still a major free agent at the ago of 36 is because he brings a clutch bat that can push these teams into the playoffs. The Royals have seen in first hand how important Beltran can be in a lineup. One thing they haven’t been able to see is what he can do with hitters around him such as Billy Butler and Alex Gordon. Signing Beltran will help Butler and Gordon’s RBI numbers because Beltran gives protection to the middle of the lineup. At some point fans and front office executives will have to worry about carrying two designated hitters on the same team in aging Beltran and Butler. The Royals may be able to play Beltran in right field for this season but in 2015 he will be most effective as a DH. I personally wanted the Royals to pull the trigger for Dexter Fowler for one of the relievers. This trade made sense because the Royals needed another outfielder and had a surplus of relievers. The Astros were able to jump on the low asking price the Rockies put out there on Fowler. The best-case scenario would be the Royals sign Beltran and in 2015 they decide to move Butler for a needed piece at that time. The only way this signing makes the Royals better is if both Butler and Beltran are in the lineup together for the first two years. In addition, if the Royals can’t make that work, the return for Butler should be high because of his consistency at the plate. While the Royals will lose their draft pick to the Cardinals for signing Beltran, they will gain a draft pick from who ever signs Ervin Santana. Lastly, The Royals lineup next year will look like this… LF Gordon, RF Beltran, 1B Hosmer, DH Butler, C Perez, CF Cain, 3B Moustakas, SS Escobar, 2B TBD. This lineup now puts fear in opposing pitching staffs. If the Royals are able to sign Carlos Beltran it will most likely be their biggest free agent signing since David Cone. The cheers at opening day when Beltran takes the field will be the loudest I will hear at the K in my short life so far.
After going back and watching last night’s draft in its entirety, I could only come up with one word to describe it: Awkward. From Anthony Bennett going number one overall to the Cavaliers, to the awkward exchange between Doc Rivers and Bill Simmons , it was a draft night that I want to forget. For starters, let’s never have Rece Davis and Jay Bilas work a draft night with Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons again. The commentary was all over the place and the two pairs clearly have a different style on covering the draft. The whole night was one big awkward mess. It certainly did not get any better after the news of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce’s trade to Brooklyn either. Next year’s broadcast just has to be better. Based on the talent in this draft it is certainly a weak one, but by no means is it the worst in history. That award goes to the 2000 NBA Draft whose top three picks were Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift (who reportedly hated basketball), and Darius Miles (who is probably best remembered for his cameo in Van Wilder). Nevertheless, here is my breakdown and grades of the lottery picks in 2013.
Cleveland Cavaliers, Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
No one saw Anthony Bennett going number one. And I mean no one. With the speculation and predictions about the 2013 Draft seemingly changing every minute since March, not one mock draft I saw had Bennett going number one, as tweeners (between the 3 and the 4 positions) rarely do. However, I’ve long believed that Bennett was one of the top 5 players in this draft and was one of the best bets in this draft as long as he could stay healthy. I think that Bennett’s size and versatility can really help Cleveland on the offensive end, especially if he can improve on his jump shot and keep the extra pounds off. Imagine Bennett and Kyrie Irving in a high screen pick and pop scenario. Bennett could 20 and 10 guy. Cleveland fans have reason to be excited. Draft grade: A-
Orlando Magic, Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Oladipo is a guy with a motor that’s always running and that is exactly what the Magic will need down the road. He appears to be one of the most NBA ready prospects and will make a difference on the defensive end from day 1. If the Magic want to truly get the most out of this pick they do have to be patient with the way his offensive game develops. Oladipo is one of the few players I could see becoming a legitimate superstar in this draft. I love Bill Simmons’ worst case scenario of Oladipo as a Tony Allen type player with a better offensive game. Draft grade: A
Washington Wizards, Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
This seemed to be the only predictable pick of the entire night. Porter has immense upside and with his 6’9” frame, he can be plugged in right away at the 3 and help John Wall and Co. make a push for the playoffs. He’s a perfect fit for the Wizards from a basketball standpoint and from a personality standpoint. Look for Porter to have a long career in the capital. Draft grade: A+
Charlotte Bobcats, Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
After the Bennett pick, this was my next biggest WTF moment of night. The Bobcats need help all over the floor and with potential All-Stars like McClemore, Noel and even Len still available, this move just left most scratching their head. Zeller will have to make the transition from the 5 to the 4 and will have to improve his toughness and motor if he wants be effective. Here are some other “notable” first round picks by the Bobcats: Sean May, Adam Morrison, DJ Augustin, and Bismack Biyombo. I think Zeller will soon join this list of misfits. The Bobcats miss the mark for yet another year. The Bobcats will continue to have the worst roster in basketball. All Charlotte fans can do now is cross their fingers for the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. P.S. Adam, wherever you are, I’m sorry. Draft grade: D
Phoenix Suns, Alex Len, C, Maryland
This is an OK pick for the Suns considering what was left on the board. Beyond the top 6-8 picks there were really no clear cut choices remaining, so Phoenix went with one of the few options they had and chose Len. However, once again, McClemore and Noel were still on the board. I can see Len becoming a future version of Brook Lopez, so long as he works on his positioning and moves with his back to the basket. He also needs to improve on his consistency. There were times last year for Maryland in which Len would disappear for game long stretches and be a non-factor. Phoenix can’t afford another poor draft pick if they intend on rebuilding in the near future. Draft grade: C+
New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Philadelphia) Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
You always feel bad for the guys who slide. In this case, I felt like much of Nerlens Noel’s slide could have been avoided. In a lot of pre-draft reports, it was said that Nerlens Noel and his camp had been difficult to get ahold of for pre-draft interviews and no one really knew who was representing Noel. That’s never a good sign. Those issues, combined with his injured knee, caused concern to grow and thus his slide to number 6. I think it was a stretch for Philadelphia to trade their young All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday for a young, potentially damaged 7 footer, who apparently weighed in at 206 lbs at a pre-draft camp. Noel will have to add muscle to his wiry frame and an offensive game if he wants to validate his potential as a prospect. Draft grade for PHI: B Trade grade for NO: A+
Sacramento Kings, Ben McClemore, SG, Kansas
By far the best value pick in the 1st round of the draft. McClemore, who had been projected as going as high as 1, fell right into the Kings lap at pick 7. While there are some concerns about McClemore’s desire and killer instinct, there is no denying his fantastic shooting stroke and superb athleticism. I think he has one of the highest ceilings of any player in the draft given those attributes. Hopefully McClemore can help the Kings franchise steer the ship in the right direction. Draft grade: A
Detroit Pistons, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, SG, Georgia
Not many people saw Caldwell Pope in action last year at Georgia. While I thought that the Pistons might stretch and take McCollum with the 8th pick, this one makes sense too. The Pistons have been back and forth on where to slot Brandon Knight in the future and this pick all but solidifies his spot and the PG position. Caldwell Pope will provide a great shooter for the Pistons and will combine with Knight for one of the better young back courts in the league in the future. Draft grade: B
Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Utah), Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
I think that this pick/trade worked out great for both sides. Minnesota got the guy they wanted in Shabazz Muhammed and Trey Burke found his ideal situation with Utah. The Jazz gives Burke the opportunity to start right away with a young and talented team. There will certainly be some growing pains along the way, but Burke, the best point guard in the draft will have no problems with the learning curve. He was arguably the fiercest competitor in the country last year and will continue to put that competitiveness into his game at the pro level. As a guy playing with a chip on his shoulder, Burke should be feared. Draft grade for MIN: B+ Draft grade for UTA: A+
Portland Trailblazers, CJ McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
This pick left me scratching my head a bit. The Blazers currently have a very talented combo guard in Damian Lillard, who is very proficient on the offensive end. My feelings tell me that they just drafted the same guy in McCollum. Starting those two together gives the Blazers a pretty undersized backcourt and has virtually two PGs on the floor at the same time, given that McCollum starts right away. With issues at the center position, Steven Adams made more sense here. From a talent standpoint it’s a good pick, but from a needs standpoint, not so much. Draft grade: B
Philadelphia 76ers, Michael Carter Williams, PG, Syracuse
After the trade sending Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans, this pick made the most sense for the 76ers. They are now clearly committed to a rebuilding effort around the young core of Noel, Turner and Carter Williams. Carter Williams will get big minutes right away, but will need to work on his scoring if he wants to join the ranks of the upper echelon of point guards in the NBA. I still think it was a stupid trade to give up a talent like Holiday especially for someone as unproven as Noel. We’ll just have to wait and see. Draft grade: B-
Oklahoma City Thunder, Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Given what this pick was supposed to be, I’m not happy. The Thunder gave up Harden for this?! A raw 7 foot big man who is still clearly learning the game of basketball (see Bismack Biyombo)?! This must be what it’s like to be a Charlotte fan (again, sorry Adam). I’m not buying that trade nor will I ever. Now, time to be logical. At this point in the draft, with the talent remaining, I’m OK with this pick. I desperately wanted to see Sam Presti and the Thunder front office go out on a limb and take Jamaal Franklin, who will end up being the steal of this draft, but that was wishful thinking. Giving Adams some time in the D-League to get a better feel for the game will be beneficial and hopefully he develops enough to find a spot in the Thunder’s starting 5 (I’m still hoping the same about Jeremy Lamb). Draft grade: B-
James Harden trade: F—- (bitter much?)
Dallas Mavericks (traded to Boston), Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga
There’s not a whole lot to say about Olynyk. He’s a decent big man who can run the floor, face up in the high post and get to the basket. His game lacks in almost every other area. While it is the “sensible pick” at 14 and might have been the best available for the Celtics, I don’t see Olynyk making much of a splash in Boston or anywhere. Picture Raef Lafrentz, but not as tough (if you can imagine that).
Utah Jazz (traded to Minnesota), Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
I think this is a decent fit for both parties. The combination of Rubio, Love and Pekovic will hopefully allow for Muhammad to feel less pressure on the offensive end and just do what comes naturally, something he was seldom allowed to do at UCLA, being the primary scoring option. He’s offensive rebounding prowess will also continue to bolster the Minnesota front court and add more size to their rotation. I think if Muhammad can grow up a little bit more, he may turn some heads in Minnesota. Draft grade: B+
So that wraps my take on the lottery picks of the 1st round. Before I wrap up I figured I should give some credit where credit is due. Today, I applaud David Stern. Stern turned the NBA into the marketing monster it is today. While many were critical of his methods and approach to handling players, he grew the NBA more than arguably any other professional sport during his 30 year tenure. The NBA and its players owe him gratitude. Even more so, we, the fans, owe him thanks. Thank you, David Stern. How’s about you bring back that killer stash for retirement?
Over the past three weeks or so, the Cardinals have kept up their great style of play. They have gone 13-7 in their last twenty games, with a big three game sweep of the Washington Nationals. In addition to picking up key wins against the Nationals, the Cards have played solid, fundamental baseball against their division rivals. In the last twelve NL Central games, the Cardinals are 8-4. As I begin this recap, they have just completed their four game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. They put up a ridiculous twenty-nine runs in those four games, while only giving up thirteen. As play concluded on Sunday, the Cards held a two and a half game lead over the Reds for the lead in the NL Central. St. Louis is on a six game winning streak, with good timing, too, because the Reds are on a three game streak of their own.
As the season is progressing, player statistics are becoming more realistic. Unsurprisingly, Yadier Molina is the offensive MVP of the team so far. Through thirty games played, Yadi is hitting an impressive .328, with two bombs and seventeen runs batted in. Allen Craig is also proving himself as an everyday, middle of the lineup hitter. Through twenty-nine games played, Craig is batting .291, with one home run and twenty-five RBI’s. Once Craig gets the long ball going, watch out.
On the defensive side, the starting rotation has been nothing short of phenomenal. Jake Westbrook is the only starter that doesn’t have at least four wins. Wainwright, Miller, and Garcia each have four, while Lance Lynn of all people leads the team with five. Lynn, also, has yet to lose a start. The story of the rotation (again) is Mr. Adam Wainwright. Since I last wrote about him, almost nothing has changed. Through almost fifty innings of work, Wainwright has only three walks. THREE! That’s unheard of! Things tend to go well when you avoid walks and record an average of at least one strikeout per inning pitched. That’s exactly what Wainwright does.
The Cards should have at least two more wins coming up in the next few days. They have a two game series coming up against the Cubs, which unfortunately for me being from Chicago, should mean two easy wins against the Cubbies. Other key upcoming series include the Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, and the surprisingly good Kansas City Royals.