With just a couple days left for fans to vote for the starters of the 2009 MLB All Star Game, it’s time to look at which players deserve that honor. First up, the American League:
Catcher: Joe Mauer
This one is easy. Mauer leads all American League catchers in Batting Average, Home Runs, RBI, Runs, Hits, On-Base-Percentage, and Slugging Percentage. He’s made just one error on the season and has thrown out 9 of 26 batters who have tried to steal against him. The one negative for Mauer is that he missed the first month of the season with an injury. That just makes Mauer’s stats all that more remarkable as he leads all AL catchers in all those categories despite many fewer at-bats.
First Base: Justin Morneau
One of the tougher choices in the AL, First Base has many deserving players. Kevin Youkilis leads the league in OBP, 38 points higher than Russell Branyan who is in second place, but has just 12 home runs and 42 RBI on the year. Carlos Pena leads with 23 home runs, but sports just a .238 avergae. Mark Teixeira has 20 homers and 60 RBI, but just a .276 average. Only Justin Morneau is complete in all the stats with 18 home runs, 63 RBI (most amongst first basemen), and a .309 Batting Average. His .389 OBP is 5th between AL first baseman and his .960 OPS is 4th. He has made just one error this season and has the second highest Zone Rating amongst AL first basemen. Read more…
The 2009 NBA Draft came to completion today as the Clippers took Blake Griffin with the number one overall pick as expected. After that though, everything was up in the air in a draft filled with very little talent. Let’s look at the clear winners to begin:
Memphis selected Hasheem Thabeet with the number two overall pick and got DeMarre Carroll with the 27thpick. Then, they got one of the steals of the night with Sam Young at the 36th pick. Thabeet will boost the Grizz’s defense big time and Carroll and Young are both solid players. Neither will be a superstar, but each will give work-man like performances day-in and day-out while adding energy and more defense.
The Nuggets traded their one pick in the draft, but also acquired Ty Lawson from Minnesota for a future first round pick. Lawson is quick, plays strong defense, and runs the point well. He fell all the way to 18th for Minnesota and now sits as a solid back-up point guard for Denver. Read more…
The United States Men’s National Team needed an improbable 3-0 victory over Egypt and for Brazil to beat Italy 3-0 last Sunday afternoon. It happened. This time, all the US had to do was knock off #1 ranked Spain, who had not given up a goal all tournament, had won 15 games in a row, and had a 35 game unbeaten streak. They did that as well, beating the Spaniards 2-0 and advancing to the finals of the Confederations Cup.
In no way did the US outplay Spain. Spain had almost three times as many shots as the US (11-4) and had exactly three times as many corner kicks (9-3), but the US played the exact style necessary to win. Spain would have had 20 shots on goal, but the backline of Jay Demerit, Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, and Jonathan Spector blocked chance after chance to prevent Spain from scoring. Every cross into the box the US had marked perfectly. Spain never had an open header or wide open shot. Everything was covered. The midfield came back extremely well, with the US always seeming to have 7 or 8 guys behind the ball. Read more…