Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rant Sports.com: Should Mike Pelfrey Be Taken Out of the Minnesota Twins' Starting Rotation?

Check out my latest contribution at Rant Sports, looking at Mike Pelfrey's outing against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday night and what it means for his future in the Minnesota Twins' starting rotation.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/04/23/mike-pelfrey-may-not-be-long-for-the-minnesota-twins-starting-rotation/

Rant Sports.com: Fantasy Baseball-Is Trevor Bauer Worth Adding?

Check out my latest fantasy baseball post at Rant Sports, looking at Trevor Bauer's fantasy potential if he is soon called up by the Cleveland Indians.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2014/04/23/fantasy-baseball-waiver-wire-radar-trevor-bauer/

Rant Sports.com: Minnesota Twins' Top Five Prospects-Stock Up, Stock Down

My latest slideshow at Rant Sports, a "Stock Up, Stock Down" for the Minnesota Twins' top five prospects.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/04/23/stock-up-stock-down-for-the-minnesota-twins-top-five-prospects/

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rant Sports.com: Five Reasons The San Francisco 49ers Should Keep RB LaMichael James

My latest slideshow at Rant Sports, giving five reasons the San Francisco 49ers need to keep running back LaMichael James.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/04/21/five-reasons-the-san-francisco-49ers-should-keep-lamichael-james/

Rant Sports.com: Fantasy Football Keeper Profile-Atlanta Falcons TE Levine Toilolo

Check out my latest fantasy football post at Rant Sports, attempting to determine Atlanta Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo's impact in 2014.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2014/04/21/fantasy-football-keeper-profile-atlanta-falcons-te-levine-toilolo/

Baseball's Three True Outcomes and "Three True Outcome Percentage"

In baseball circles, the "three true outcomes" are a home run, walk and a strikeout. That definition is obviously angled to batters, and follows the logic that the three events are not impacted by fielders and are more "true" than other events on the field.

Recently I wondered-what if a batter had a sabermetric-style statistic centered around the three true outcomes? Maybe a percentage of total plate appearances that ended in those three things?

So with that I bring to you the formula for "Three True Outcome Percentage":

Strikeouts+Walks+Home Runs/Plate Appearances= Three True Outcome Percentage


Let's take the formula for a spin, with a current player who is the virtual definition of a three true outcome hitter,  Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox.

Let's start with Dunn's career, through Sunday's action.

2,239 strikeouts+1,259 walks+443 home runs/7884 plate appearances=.499

So Dunn's career Three True Outcome Percentage is essentially 50 percent.

Let's narrow down to his 2012 campaign:

222 strikeouts+105 walks+41 home runs/649 plate appearances= .567, or 56.7 percent.

Now I'd like to look at another, more famous hitter in Barry Bonds, who "evolved" during his career.

1990 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bonds' first MVP season.

83 strikeouts+93 walks+33 home runs/621 plate appearances=33.6 percent

Now here's 2001 with the San Francisco Giants, when Bonds broke the single-season home run record.

93 strikeouts+177 walks+73 home runs/664 plate appearances= 51.6 percent.



Bonds' emergence as a more prolific power hitter, for whatever reasons, led to pitchers being more careful with him. Couple that with his own increased selectivity, as the all-around skills he had as a younger player deteriorated with age, and you have more walks and four straight years (2001-2004) where his OPS was over 1.200.

Bonds's career Three True Outcome Percentage, for those interested, comes together as follows.

1,539 strikeouts+2558 walks+762 home runs/12,606 plate appearances= 38.5 percent

Note: Bonds obviously holds the career record for home runs, and his all-time best walk total is bolstered by 688 intentional walks.

I haven't done enough research at this point to know if Three True Outcome Percentage helps differentiate good hitters from bad or has any substantial predictive value on a wide scale. But hitters that have a high percentage of those three events will be more immune to being impacted by good or bad fortune, which would in turn make their performance easier to predict. Dunn is a shining example, as he hit exactly 40 home runs in four straight seasons (2005-2008) and then 38 in both 2009 and 2010. His RBI totals also followed suit, with between 100 and 106 RBI in five of those six seasons.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rant Sports.com: 2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report-Florida State RB Devonta Freeman

My latest post at Rant Sports, a look at Florida State running back Devonta Freeman as we get closer to May's NFL draft.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/04/17/2014-nfl-draft-scouting-report-devonta-freeman/

Rant Sports.com: NFL Rumors-Five Teams That May Have Interest In DT Kevin Williams

Here is one of my posts from Wednesday at Rant Sports, focusing on five teams that may show interest in free agent defensive tackle Kevin Williams as May's draft gets closer.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/04/16/nfl-rumors-top-five-possible-suitors-for-kevin-williams/

Rant Sports.com: Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors-Could Nikola Pekovic Be Traded This Offseason?

Check out my latest post at Rant Sports, looking at the possibility the Minnesota Timberwolves look to trade center Nikola Pekovic this offseason.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2014/04/17/minnesota-timberwolves-rumors-should-nikola-pekovic-be-traded/

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rant Sports.com: The Minnesota Twins Acuire IF Eduardo Nunez

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at the Minnesota Twins' acquisition of infielder Eduardo Nunez from the New York Yankees on Monday the move's potential implications.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/04/07/the-minnesota-twins-finally-make-a-move-to-replace-pedro-florimon/

Rant Sports: 2014 NFL Draft-Five Day 3 Prospects the Minnesota Vikings Must Target

Check out my latest slideshow at Rant Sports, looking at five prospects the Minnesota Vikings need to have on their radar during day three (Rounds 4-7) of this year's NFL Draft.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/04/07/2014-nfl-draft-five-day-3-prospects-the-minnesota-vikings-must-target/

Rant Sports.com: Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire-Oakland A's P Ryan Cook

Check out my latest fantasy baseball post at Rant Sports, looking at Oakland Athletics reliever Ryan Cook as a potential fantasy asset now that he is healthy.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2014/04/07/fantasy-baseball-waiver-wire-ryan-cook/

Friday, April 4, 2014

National Football Post Intro to Scouting: Scouting Reports

As part of the "Intro to Scouting" class I took, hosted by National Football Post, we had to write scouting reports as we covered positions each week.

Without any more build-up, here the reports I wrote, for those who may be interested. 

Note: Teacher comments came from Greg Gabriel, a former scout and director of college scouting in the NFL, most notably for the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.


Quarterback
Derek Carr, QB. Fresno State
Strengths
Has a quick, compact throwing motion; maintains a high release point and gets the ball out of his hands quickly to allow receivers to make plays after the catch. Is very accurate on short and intermediate throws; exhibits excellent ball placement and velocity. Shows excellent recognition pre and post-snap; knows where to go with the ball and gets through progressions quickly. Shows solid functional mobility when necessary and keeps his eyes downfield. Rarely makes bad decisions; takes care of the ball very well.
Weaknesses
Played primarily in a shotgun-based offense that featured a lot of horizontal throws (screens, etc.). Will need to prove he can take snaps from under center and read defenses while dropping back. Struggles to maintain timing and accuracy when under duress in the pocket. Struggles with consistent accuracy on vertical throws; tends to put too much air under the ball (see vs. Utah State-2013). Struggled against better competition (see bowl games vs. SMU and USC). Production is inflated by pass-happy offense and low level of competition in the Mountain West Conference.
Overall Impression
Has NFL bloodlines; brother David was the #1 overall pick in 2002. Has clear-cut strengths and weaknesses on a physical level, and the gap between the two will need to lessen for him to consistently succeed at the next level. Would benefit most by landing on a team that would not need him to start immediately as a rookie, since he needs time to develop a more complete overall skill set. Has a chance to be a first-round pick due to the scarcity of high-level quarterbacks in this year's class, but his long-term NFL future may be as a high-level backup/spot starter.
Grade: 6.5 D

Teacher comment

Not bad.... I wouldn't worry about not having played under center other than mentioning it. That's the case with most college QB's now. Just saying he plays in a spread style offense with few snaps from under center says it all
Offensive and Defensive Lineman
Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
Strengths- Plays with good balance, uses hands effectively, is an aggressive blocker and seems to play with an bit of an edge, has experience playing tackle
Weaknesses-Plays too upright at times, does not look like a natural "knee bender", needs to improve pass protection technique
Summary
Could be one of the first guards drafted and start immediately. Experience in an up-tempo offense should eliminate any conditioning concerns that may come with his size. None of his flaws should prevent him from having a good NFL career, as all can be fixed with coaching. Appears to play with real aggression as a run blocker that can't be taught, but needs to bring the same attitude to pass protection along with better technique.
Grade: 6.8 T
Morgan Breslin, OLB/DE, USC
Strengths-Shows good burst off the ball, has a high motor, has excellent athleticism, was used across the defensive line in a three-point stance and standing up, chases down plays from the backside well
Weaknesses- Is occasionally over-aggressive and puts himself out of position, plays with poor balance at times, does not have a wide array of pass rush moves, lacks ideal height (6'1")
Summary
Had season-ending hip surgery last November and battled injuries before that as a senior last season, so health is a concern. Was a Combine snub, so college pro day and team visits will provide an opportunity to further evaluate him. Is a tweener, without all the necessary attributes of a complete 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end. Looks like a situational pass rusher at the next level, with limited upside beyond that if durability issues linger.
Grade: 5.9 X Z
Teacher comment
Don't totally agree on Richardson. He is too heavy and his lack of knee bend will hurt him in NFL. While I agree he has talent, his wgt and stiffness worry me. Good job with Breslin
Running Back
Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Strengths
Shows top-notch initial quickness, burst and lateral agility. Is able to make defenders miss at the second level, using excellent vision and ability to make sudden cuts at full speed. Runs with solid forward lean; keeps legs churning to finish runs strongly. Is a willing and capable blocker; does not shy away from contact. Has soft hands as a pass receiver and shows good burst after the catch. Showed excellent durability as a workhorse back over the last two seasons.
Weaknesses
Lacks excellent straight-line speed (4.70 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine). Is not powerfully built (5'10", 207 lbs.) and does not run with terrific power. Will leave feet in short yardage situations (see vs. UCLA 2013), which exposes the ball to defenders. Past character concerns require further investigation. Is not a very polished pass catcher; lets the ball into his body too often and struggles with balance and body control in pass routes at times.
Overall Impression
Plays faster than his timed speed. Has all the attributes to be a three-down back in the NFL. May not step into in an immediate role as he learns a pro offensive scheme, but being drafted by a team that employs the spread would lessen that learning curve.
Grade: 6.9 J D

Teacher comment

Brad - not bad, but tell me more of a story in the Summation. Under weak points you wrote lacks excellent straight line speed. All you need is "lacks speed" or "timed speed". The reader knows it is a weakness so be brief.
Wide Receiver
Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Strengths- Highly productive (174 receptions in 2012 and 2013 combined), shows dynamic ability after the catch (see Ohio State 2013), has good size (6'2"), is able to find soft spots in zone coverage, is a fluid athlete and changes direction well, has a wide catch radius
Weaknesses-Is a body catcher at times, slim build, lacks great deep speed, is not an overly willing blocker for a receiver his size, needs to improve overall focus and awareness (ex: knowing where the first down marker is and running routes slightly beyond)
Overall Impression
Has the talent to move into an immediate role as a rookie, even with refinement and improvement needed in some key areas. May have benefited from another year in college, but will follow coach Bill O'Brien to the NFL. Would seem to work best in a timing-based West Coast Offense, where his skills after the catch can be displayed and used most effectively. Has the potential to become a very productive starter at the next level in the right situation, and may be widely overlooked in such a deep class of wide receivers this year.
Grade: 6.5 B J

Teacher comment

Good report. as I have said to others, most college receivers are poor blockers. I look for willingness...techniques can be taught





Rant Sports.com: Fantasy Football Impact-The Buffalo Bills Acquire WR Mike Williams

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at Mike Williams' potential to re-establish himself as a solid fantasy option after being traded to the Buffalo Bills.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2014/04/04/fantasy-football-impact-the-buffalo-bills-acquire-mike-williams/

Rant Sports.com: Five Free Agents the Minnesota Wild Should Target This Offseason

Check out my slideshow from Thursday at Rant Sports, honing in on five free agents the Minnesota Wild should target this offseason.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nhl/2014/04/03/five-free-agents-the-minnesota-wild-should-target-this-offseason/

Rant Sports.com: Five Breakout Candidates for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014

Check out my latest slideshow at Rant Sports, taking a look at five players who are ready to breakout for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/04/04/the-minnesota-vikings-five-biggest-breakout-candidates-for-2014/#slide2

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rant Sports.com: 2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report-UCLA LB Anthony Barr

Check out my latest 2014 NFL Draft scouting report at Rant Sports, profiling UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2014/04/02/2014-nfl-draft-scouting-report-ucla-lb-anthony-barr/

Rant Sports.com: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies-Kevin Love Leads The Way

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at Wednesday night's game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2014/04/02/timberwolves-vs-grizzlies-minnesota-moves-toward-the-only-goal-left-this-season/

Rant Sports.com: 2014 Fantasy Football Rebound Radar-Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III

My latest post at Rant Sports, looking at the chances Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III becomes a top-tier fantasy quarterback again in 2014.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/fantasy/2014/04/02/2014-fantasy-football-rebound-radar-robert-griffin-iii/

Rant Sports.com: Five Golfers Who Will Benefit From Tiger Woods Missing The 2014 Masters

My latest slideshow at Rant Sports...looking at five golfers who will benefit from Tiger Woods missing the 2014 Masters.

Link: http://www.rantsports.com/golf/2014/04/01/five-golfers-who-will-benefit-from-tiger-woods-missing-the-2014-masters/

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I am a sportswriter based in Minnesota, and I contribute currently to a few sports related websites. I intend to use this blog to create visibility for my work.

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