Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Seth Curry Signs With Sacramento

^That’s SETH not to be confused with STEPH ( Don’t worry GSW fans, you have Steph locked up until 2017). Seth Curry is the journey-man younger brother of Steph who’s played in 4 career NBA games with 3 different teams over the past 2 seasons (most recently with Phoenix). He’s spent the majority of his first 2 professional years in the D-League with Santa Cruz and Erie where he’s torn it up appearing in the D-League All-Star game both seasons. Last year in Erie he averaged 24 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and shot 47% from three in 43 games. 

I’ve never been an avid fan of Seth until I really got to see him play on a consistent basis in this past Summer League (for New Orleans) where he was practically running the show. In 6 games he averaged over 24 points (to lead all players), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. The kid’s performed well at every level he’s played at and at 24 I think he’s finally ready to step into the shoes of dad and brother and be an everyday guard in the NBA.

This evening, Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Seth has signed a 2 year, $2 million contract with the Sacramento Kings where he’ll play 90 minutes away from his big brother, Steph. The signing will make Seth the 8th guard on the Kings roster. However, I think this guard is here to stay if he continues where he left off in Vegas (hopefully what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas won’t apply). Forget Rondo & Cauley-Stein, I really think Seth could be low-key, vital, signing for Sacramento and I think this team is now a legit playoff contender.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Time For Sandy Alderson To Make Something Happen

Cameron Maybin
I’m no proclaimed Mets superfan by any means but when I look at what could be with this pitching rotation, I see a World Series contender (if that doesn't grab the attention of you Mets fans then I don't know what will). The New York Mets (47-42) are 1 game out of the 2nd Wild Card spot (held by the Cubs) in the National League. It’s hard to imagine them out of the playoff scenario considering they may have the best pitching staff in the MLB that have a combined 3.23 ERA, which is good for the 3rd best ERA in all of MLB. But a good pitching staff is rather worthless when they don’t have hitters backing them up. Offensively, the Mets are currently last in batting average (.233), 26th in on-base percentage (.298), and 28th in total runs scored (310). 

A look at the Mets starters this year (average age: 27). ERA's are low
but W-L aren't sensational due to a lack of run support
It hasn’t helped that the teams best player, David Wright, missed 81 of their 89 games (back injury) in the first half of the season. If you’ve been following his rehab, a return any time soon doesn’t seem to promising and it’s still unclear if the 32 year-old will be the same .300 hitter that Mets fans are accustomed to. Best case scenario with Wright is a return around the playoffs that could provide the franchise with a spark moving forward. But first they have to get to the playoffs which will not happen unless Mets GM, Sandy Alderson, makes something happen by the July 31st trade deadline. I’m going to take look at 4 different players who’s names have come up as potential targets for the Mets that could help bolster them into the playoffs.

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, Shortstop, 30 years old, due roughly $20 million/year until 2021Tulo came out and spoke highly of the Mets organization a few weeks back and immediately he became a part of the Mets trade rumors. While Tulo has mummed all the talk, a move to NYM isn’t out of the question. Wilmer Flores has played 69 games at SS for the Mets this year but his .286 OBP is laughable compared to Tulowitzski’s .351. If Troy was acquired then Flores could be used as a utility infielder at SS and 2B, where he also has experience, behind current second baseman, Daniel Murphy, as it seems prospect, Dilson Herrera, needs a bit more time to develop in Triple-A before he’s the Mets backup 2B. Tulo has hit better than .302 5 of the past 6 seasons and better than .310 each of the past 3 seasons. He will cost the Mets a lot and I’m sure Colorado won’t just give him away for next to nothing but a potential infield of Wright, Tulowitzki, and Duda is frightening. 

Justin Upton, Padres, Outfielder, 27 years old, due $14.5 million this year and becomes FA at the end of this seasonUpton’s coming off his 3rd All-Star game nomination (went 1-1 with a steal). He’s only hitting .253 this season but he’s got some pop (on pace for 25 homers) and has proven that he’s still got some burst in him as he’s stolen more bases in the first half of this season (17) then the past 2 seasons combined (16). The Padres (41-49) aren’t completely out of the playoffs just yet so if the Mets inquire about Upton, Padres GM, A.J. Preller, will most likely have the upper edge in terms of what he gets in return. Upton is set to be a free agent at the expiration of this season and the Padres will most likely pay him if he’s willing to come back. However, the Padres haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and have since suffered 6 losing seasons since so Upton may not want to re-sign. He’s most comfortable in left field but has a lot of experience in right as well. If acquired, the Mets could bump Cuddyer (who I like but is only hitting .244) to a reserve outfielder role or do something (DFA, minors, trade) with current center fielder, Juan Lagares and move Granderson back to center, where he played primarily in Detroit and NYY, and have Upton play right. 

Carlos Gomez, Brewers, Centerfielder, 29 years old, due roughly $9 million/year until 2017Mets fans will remember that Gomez originally signed as an amateur free agent with and made his debut with the Mets back in 2007. He played 58 games that season as a rookie and showed promise every now and then but Mets fans never really saw him progress as he was traded prior to the 2008 season to Minnesota in deal that made Johan Santana a Met. He really emerged in 2013 as Brewer hitting 24 homers, stealing 40 bases, and getting an All-Star nod. He missed 28 games in the first of this season and his batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage have all declined from over the past 2 seasons but he’s hitting .273 which is 17 points better than any current Mets outfielder...The Brewers are done for this season and with a group of good outfielders in the organization, Gomez could quickly be on his way out.

Cameron Maybin, Braves, Centerfielder, 28 years old, due roughly $8 million/year until 2017 (team option)I’ve been a fan of Maybin ever since his days as a Marlins prospect. He was the 10th pick of the 2005 draft who has great speed, a lot of range in the outfield, and is just learning to hit the baseball. Aside from 2008, in which he played just 8 games, he has a career high in batting average (.289) and OBP (.356) this season and at 28 may just be hitting his peak. The Braves know this though, and being a division rival of the Mets, may ask for a few of those dynamic pitchers that the Mets have in return for Maybin which I don’t think the Mets are interested in, but should listen to.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Greg Gurenlian MVP Case

Brendan Fowler (Hounds) faced-off at about 61% during his time at Duke. In 2 games
vs. Gurenlian this year he is 19/63 (30.16%). Who says it's a young mans game?
The MLL regular season is wrapping up, the playoff picture is is coming into focus, and the MVP chatter is getting hot. Some of the obvious names in the mix are once again Rabil, McArdle, Pannell, Wolf, Abbott, Schreiber - all guys who are consistently getting it done on the offensive end in what what is an offensive league. In the 14 year history of the MLL MVP award, just once has a non-offensive player won the award (2002 in goalie, Greg Cattrano). The other 13 years it’s been attackmen and middies bringing home the hardware. But could that be different this year with the numbers that Lizards FOGO, Greg Gurenlian, is producing? The 31 year-old is having a historic year at the face-off x winning roughly 78% (77.68% exactly) of his draws, to date. The closest player behind him (min. 100 draws) is Mike Poppleton of Rochester who’s won 58%.

If that’s not staggering to you then this will be: in the league’s 14 year history, the highest face-off win % (min. 100 face-offs) in a regular season is just 64% (set by Greg Gurenlian, circa 2013). I’ll say it again, he’s winning roughly 78% this year.

Perhaps he’s overshadowed by a star-studded team that includes the likes of Drew Adams, Joe Fletcher, Ned Crotty, Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell, and a terrific supporting cast. Or maybe it’s that his position is, and has never been, the most glorified.

Gurenlian is re-writing the history books, literally. I will reiterate that MLL is an offensive league filled with explosive offensive players and until the league expands and evolves it will stay that way. What’s vital to winning in an offensive league is scoring goals. The Lizards currently lead all of Major League Lacrosse in total goals scored with 183. That’s 18 more goals or about 11% more goals than the 2nd highest scoring (goals) team in the league, the Ohio Machine who’ve scored 165 goals. While it helps that the Lizards are shooting at a high rate and have those offensive weapons, the offense wouldn’t have the ball if they weren’t winning faceoffs at such a high rate (the Lizards have 20 more possessions, via face-offs, per 100 face-offs than the next best FO team in the MLL). If anything, let this post just serve as an appreciation for a remarkable feat by the man they call “The Beast”.

Some visuals for you...
You can see that (other than Charlotte) there is a correlation between a teams face-off win % and their total goals scored.

Greg Gurenlian is no rookie to the MLL record books. Here's a look at the all-time top face-off percentages in a single season entering 2015.

*all statistics and rankings are of 7/16, 7pm