Monday, April 20, 2009

Getting drafty and some weekend observations...

I'm not a big draft guy.

In spite of how much I enjoy football, I'm not one of those guys who sits down and spends hours watching the draft. I'll flip to it, check the ticker, see who the Patriots picked, but I'm not going to wait and see - in part because I'm not really a college football guy.

That said, I find certain things related to the draft fascinating.

Let's start with the Combine...

Overall, I don't really believe this to be a useless exercise, but I do think the format and some of the perceptions surrounding it to be flawed. The idea that someone should slip precipitously due to a bad 40 time is silly, unless there are mitigating circumstances.

Let's face it, most of these guys teams already have two to four years worth of film on, unless they couldn't crack the line-up until their final year of college. Unless a guy shows up fat, out of shape, and acts like a bone-head, the workout numbers are pointless. The idea that a player can improve their positioning based on a great workout as opposed to what they did on the field is foolish. Some of the biggest draft busts were workout warriors at the Combine. Anyone remember Mike Mammula, the defensive end out of BC? He vaulted himself into the top ten with a monster performance at the Combine, when, realistically, he would likely have been better off as a late first or second round pick - expectations would have been different, and possibly his career as a result.

I'm not saying that they shouldn't have the attendees workout. To the contrary, I believe it allows a team to determine the dedication of the player, but I think much too much stock is given to the numbers that come out of these workouts. And some team is going to make someone a much higher pick in the draft than he deserves because of it.

Sox it to 'Em...

Evidently the Orioles are the tonic for what ails 'em. The Red Sox, coming off a weak start to the season got strong starts from Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, and Tim Wakefield after starting the season 2-6 - and one solid start from Josh Beckett (who continues to struggle with the big inning), the Sox have fought their way back to a 7-6 record. Coincidently, the Salem Red Sox (A ball), met with Frederick Keys for a three game set on Friday, and swept the Orioles A-level affiliate.

A few quick observations -

Lester reportedly looked like the pitcher that was the de facto ace of the staff last season. Hopefully the first two games was just Lester finding his footing in the new season - if so, then the Sox shouldn't have any issues with the starting staff moving forward.

As much as a like what Daisuke Matsuzaka potentially brings to the mound, I have to admit that he makes me nervous as the number two starter. There's something about the way he runs counts up that reminds me a little too much of Heathcliff Sclocumb. Yes, he's better than Slocumb, but his inneficiency tends to be a little nerve wracking. Masterson, on the other hand, filling in for Dice, was quite efficient in walking only two over 5 1/3 innings.

Wakefield's a monster asset. Sure, knuckleballers are the Russian-roullette revolvers of the pitching world, but Wakefield's complete game against the A's before the off-day at the end of last week gave the bullpen a much needed rest, and was the catalyst for what's happening now.

Speaking of Wake, you gotta love the way George Kottarras is calling the game when Wake is pitching. I would love to see if he could work the batting average a bit with some more starts - see if he's the Sox starting back-up of the future.

The jury's still out regarding his bat, but I like what I'm seeing of Nick Green in the field.

One final note...

The Yankees can't be happy that Chien-Ming Wang has been beaten like a cheap pinata this season. With no options, Wang would have to pass through waivers to work out his problems in the minors. What team would claim a pitcher that's 0-3 with a 34.50 ERA over six innings spanning three starts?

Sure, there's someone likely to claim him off waivers, but the Yankees aren't going to let that happen. The problem is, after his four out eight earned run start, what do the Yankees do about him?


Suldog said...

I click onto these pre-draft programs on ESPN and all I can think is that some of these guys beat their meat to Street And Smith.

Lisa K. said...

The draft is worth watching if for no other reason than to rip on Mel Kiper.

Teresa said...

The useless Combine brings us lots of dollars! So, we like it and because it is low key you can see lots of people hanging out in bars and dining establishments downtown Indy.

Kevin Smith said...

I don't think the draft is useless - I just think too many GM's fall in love with numbers that players put up at the Combine, in spite of the imperical evidence that they already have on film. How many wide outs that had sterling college careers fell because they ran a 4.5 40-yard dash? How did Mark Sanchez go from unable to beat out John David Booty, and told by a former NFL coach that he wasn't ready for the NFL, to a potential top ten draft pick - without throwing a pass since January? The guy was throwing passes to receivers that were generally running free, and suddenly he can make all the throws required in the NFL? I just don't buy it.