Archive for April, 2011

King of the Mound returns, as Jacob Sports continues to count down the top fifty current starting pitchers!  Tune in later tomorrow as we hope to get all the way down to 20!

Pitcher #39 John Danks

At 0-4, Danks can only wipe his head in disgust.

It pains me to put him on here now, because he is winless so far this season, but with a fastball hitting 95, this guy has great command when he’s on the mound… As soon as the White Sox get hot, Danks’ production will sore sky high! A tangent-like detail, Danks ranks 86th amongst current pitchers with wins, at a total of 46, the number may seem low, but mind you, consider the fact that he’s only 26 years of age!  He goes deep into games, as he showed last season, throwing 213 innings, and winning 15 games.  The greatest aspect of Danks is that batters often times swing and miss, resulting in his decent six strike-outs per start.  Danks will only go up from here.

Pitcher #38 Derek Lowe

Fifth on the active “W” list, Derek Lowe is starting to age, at 38.  His speed numbers has dipped but he still is in total control.  If he can keep his pitch count low, Lowe will see a drop in his ERA.  He’s only averaging about 5 and a third inning per outing, albeit Lowe currently has two win this season, while maintaning an ERA of 3.21… Still, if the Braves can sort out all their drama, Lowe will begin to thrive.

Check back later tomorrow!

Join us as we continue to count down the top 50 current MLB Starting Pitchers! Disagree?  Let us know! Also, most of our posts have been longer, but as I informed you viewers, posts are shorter during the weekdays!

Gonzalez slowly is becoming an elite ace

Pitcher #40 Gio Gonzalez  The Oakland starter has proved why he was recently moved up in the rotation, already winning two games this season, while maintaining a low ERA.  He struggles slightly so early in games, but gains more control with every pitch… He often get’s locked in, and finds himself going deep into almost every start.  Now entering his fourth season in his career, Gonzalez has 24 wins under his belt and is looking for more!  He probably will be re-signed and noticed by bigger franchises, as his contract is under 500,000 dollars… Soon though, Gonzalez will see the light of ace-hood.  No pun intended to rap fans.

Update time!  Join us, as we count down the Top 50 Current Pitchers, 50-46 were named last night, and in case you missed it… Click here: https://jacobsports.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/king-of-the-mound/

NOTE: Only pitchers currently on the 25 Man roster of a MLB team count… Whereas Jake Peavy is not currently eligible, nor is Stephen Strasburg.  Santana made this list because he is only on the 15 day DL.

Pitcher #45 Kyle Lohse

Call him "K-Lohse"

The day after he threw a complete game shut out, I hurried to make a quick post about him, because I find this guy as the most underrated pitcher in the National League.  He’s not going to strike anyone out with pure speed, but his off-speed stuff can get pretty nasty, just ask the Nationals.  With three wins under his belt, the 32 year old has already proven to himself, and his team, that he can run the show.  More importantly though, Lohse’s arm seems to be healthy, and well-rested, and for a good pitcher, those are the essentials to become a great pitcher.

Pitcher #44 Johan Santana

He'll be back, you best believe it.

If this list was created four years ago, he would be the King.  Unfortunately, four years and a lot of injuries later, Santana would seem to fail in comparison to almost everyone else on this list.  Out of everyone who I mentioned so far, viewers are more than likely uneducated on Johan Santana.  He is currently on the 15 Day DL for a shoulder injury, and last season he pitched 199+ innings, but with an 11-9 record.  His fastball is no longer fast, his slider barely slides, but still… Santana, now a veteran, knows how to win games, and when he steps off of that DL, watch out.

Pitcher # 43 Aaron Harang

Wild. Wild. Wild.  That was almost always the case for Harang while he was on the Reds, but now, he’s changed.  A Padre now, Harang has transformed as if he’s taken in the name, Optimus Prime.  Throwing in only four starts thus far, Arroyo has been flawless, a 4-0 record complimented by 21 K’s.  The main reason to his success with the struggling San Diego team is his control, he’s kept his pitch count low, he’s beginning to throw far more strikes than balls and most importantly? He’s throwing plenty of first pitch strikes.  He deserves to be the Padre’s ace, not the fourth starter.

Pitcher # 42 Javier Vasquez

The veteran has played on seven teams, the most recent and the current team being the Marlins, Vasquez has showned that they Yankees should have resigned him.  Or maybe not.  Vasquez is currently 1-1, with an ERA I shouldn’t mention, out of kindness.  But you see, that’s just the thing, Vasquez still has control.  Believe me.  I remember back in the day when he was an Expo, he would just zip the ball past a batter, and on occasion, he still does.  Albeit, with the line-up that the Marlins have, they only need him to throw strikes.  He will do just that.  Watch out fantasy owners, this guy’s got one last whiff in his arm.

Pitcher #41 Matt Garza

Former Ray's, Pena and Garza are yet to produce big for Chicago

He was better when he was a Ray. Enough said, right?  Its not like anything has changed, his fastball still hits 92, his curve ball still does sink in on a left handed batter, its just… He’s not going to win as many games this season, because the Cubs aren’t winning many games.  Still, Garza keeps the ERA low, and he strikes out a good number of batters, and that gives any team a chance to win… Thats all you can ask of a starting pitcher, right?  Garza, won 14 last season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit 14 again.  Remember though, he’s a Chicago Cub, and historically, the Cubs have been an organization where big names go to become a scrub.

Check in early this afternoon, for another update!

The pitcher.  With no starting pitcher you have no start to a game, with no good pitcher, you have no good team, but who is the best pitcher?  Here at Jacob Sport’s we break down the Ruler’s of the Mound one by one.

King of the Mound.  What is, King of the Mound?  I will rank 50 top Starting pitchers, counting down a few at a time in each post… Disagree with me?  Agree with me?  I figured this would happen, so just comment in the comment section, with your opinions, let me know what you think!

Pitcher #50 Ervin Santana

Ervin Santana will see his stock take a large jump very soon.

Its hard not to show bias in this, but I tried not to.  Santana is an elite pitcher when his change up is under control, but that has slowly become a rare thing.  When he makes it out of the fifth inning, you know the team is going to win.  With a little work, Santana could move up this list in a heart beat.  Still though, with the line up and bull pen of the Angels, Santana will surely hit double digits in the win column, and more than likely exceed 115 strike outs.  The twenty eight year old has started off slow this season, yet to win a game, but the fact that he’s gotten out of the seventh inning twice, signals good things to come.

Pitcher #49 Daisuke Matsuzaka

"Dice-K" is alive...Again.

The shock does not come to a viewer because Dice-K is featured in the Top 50, but because he comes before Ervin Santana. But, why?  If anyone remembers Daisuke’s rookie debut season, he threw 15 wins.  Then the next season, he became the league’s best, going 18-3.. But minor injuries has plagued him since the beginning in 2007, and I finally believe that he’s back.  His fastball is again in the lower-middle nineties, and he seems to grow more confident with each and every pitch.  With an ERA over six, I seem crazy, but the more you look at his most recent outing (eight innings, with a zero ERA) the more it seems fitting that the Tokyo Native belongs on this list.  In almost every fantasy baseball league, Dice-K is a free agent, I’d wait to see how he fares in his next start before you pick him up.

Pitcher #47 Justin Masterson

Again, I promise you, I am not crazy, but my predictions are schizophrenic.  Masterson has seen velocity work his way this season, as the opposition is hitting a low 2.19 against him after four starts.  The Jamaican has sort of been a big deal ever since his arrival at San Diego State, and he’s finally proving to be a major difference maker in the MLB… A prime reason why the Indians, a team of “scrubs” by most critics, are currently boasting a comfy lead atop the AL Central Standings.  With an ERA under two, the twenty six year old will continue to keep his pitch count low, as he forces many routine ground balls early in the at bat… Albeit because of this, his “K” count is pretty low, currently at 16, though in a 6.1 inning outing against the Mariners, Masterson retired nine on strikes… This guy is certainly no joke.

Pitcher #46 Edwin Jackson

When/if Peavy returns, the White Sox will have the best rotation in the AL.

Give the guy credit, he threw a no hitter last year, against a healthy, all the while electrifying Rays line-up, which is one of the main reasons the White Sox signed him.  The White Sox batting order has been in a slump lately, and their bull-pen?  Well… Let’s put it nicely, they’ve been awful.  If it wasn’t for those two reasons, the 27 year old would be 4-0, instead of 2-1.  With an incredible command, Jackson is fifth in the AL with strike-outs, at 26.  He’s a guy who wastes too many pitches striking guys out, but he certainly can complete a game, but most importantly, Edwin Jackson is a guy who can do it against the best hitters, if the White Sox make the playoffs, you best believe that Jackson will carry that team through a few games.  Fantasy wise, Jackson deserves to be on a roster.

Stay tuned tomorrow, as in the morning pitchers 45-40 will be proclaimed, and then later on, 39-35 will be announced.

I smile to myself as I watch the Nationals game, knowing that the Cardinals starting pitcher, Kyle Lohse, is on all three of my fantasy teams.  He threw his sixth strike out of the game, and that’s when I finally realized Lohse would go the distance.

If Lohse keeps throwing, his baseball card demand will go way up.

Lohse isn’t young, but I still deem him as the most under rated pitcher in the National League, Gavin Floyd being the most underrated in the American side.  It wasn’t Lohse’s complete game shut out that struck me as amazing, but its his stats this season that strike me.

In just four start’s Kyle has proven himself to have some nasty stuff, throwing just over 31 innings, with an ERA just over two runs… This guy is someone who you need to have on your fantasy team!  He won’t get a lot of K’s, but the innings and wins will pile up for you.

One might ask, why is this guy so underrated as you say he is?  The answer is simple.  Lohse has not always put up W’s… In fact outside of 2008, he never really got out of single digits in that category, throwing for 15 that season.

Still though, with 91 career wins, and three already this season, this guy is one heck of a sleeper.

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The Nationals.  What comes to your mind when you think of them?  And I can guess what it was too…

A) Your an average fan, your thinking, a team that probably will never see the playoffs, and trade away any prospects they have.

B) Your a baseball fanatic, your thinking, other than the Royals, they have the best minor league affiliation there is.  They will see a trophy someday.

Now, if this is a test, the correct answer is B.  As of this morning, the Nationals are 9-9, with lots of hope, Bryce Harper just hit his second career homer down in AAA the other day, and Strasburg is slowly recovering.

Veteran Livan Hernandez goes for consecutive start #450 tonight

Much like the Cardinals, they have an underrated pitcher in, Livan Hernandez.  A guy whose now a total veteran, throwing 168 W’s in 16 MLB seasons, more impressive though is his start this season. 2-1, with an ERA under three, the thirty six year old goes for his 450 consecutive start tonight against the Pirates.

The shocking part of this post is that I think the Nationals will make the playoffs this season, if they stay healthy.  Sure, it’ll be tough, the Phillies and Marlins are both in their division, but the Hernandez and the Nationals might be able to pull out a miracle.

Just a note, until summer, Jacob Sports will not be in full out coverage of the sports world.

West:

San Antonio Spurs (1) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8)  Its hard not to take the one seed, especially when they have the experience that the Spurs possess.  Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobli all know how to win games late in the year, Spurs show off their number one seed early.  Spurs in five.

Oklahoma City Thunder (4) vs. Denver Nuggets (5) The average fan would have given up on the Nuggets after Anthony and Billups were given away to the Knicks, but the Nuggets have as good a chance as any now! Although, as I say, you need a guard who can score at any time, in the playoffs.  The Thunder have that in superstar Kevin Durant.  Thunder in six.

Dallas Mavericks (3) vs. Portland Trailblazers (6)  Everybody has a chance to see the light of the Finals in the Western Conference, except the Spurs.  While everything is bigger in Texas, their chances of winning it all are very slim.  While Big Dirk is a great player, I believe that the Mavericks are overrated.  Upset, Trailblazers in seven!

Los Angeles Lakers (2) vs. New Orleans Hornets (7)  Kobe and company are hungry for a three-peat.  Only, that didn’t show in the last five games of the season, where the Lakers went 1-4, their only win coming against the top seeded Spurs.  Still, the Lakers will sweep here.

East:

Chicago Bulls (1) vs. Indiana Pacers (8) The Bulls are led by the Great Drive, Derrick Rose.  In marvelous fashion the Bulls won today, 104-99, after trailing the whole game.  Derrick Rose proved that his Bulls are the best, although their inexperience may give way to one game in this series..  Bulls in five.

Orlando Magic (4) vs. Atlanta Hawks (5) Late in the season Dwight Howard and Quentin Richardson both were given suspensions, a shame as the Magic have what it takes to go deep.  A monster in the post, Superman, a stellar leading guard, Jameer Nelson, and the shooting (Gilbert Arenas, JJ Redick, Ryan Anderson).  Albeit, the Hawks are a tough customer,  the Magic will be fine if they stay suspension-free.  Magic in seven.

Boston Celtics (3) vs. New York Knicks (6) If the Knicks actually decide to show up on the defensive end, this could be the greatest first round series of all time.  The Celtics big three haven’t seem as hungry as of late, but in a playoff atmosphere, you better believe the green jersey’s have an appetite.  Interesting to see how the Knicks fare in their first real test as a new group. Celtics in five.

Miami Heat (2) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7) Outside of the state of Florida, just about every casual fan has hated on the Heat since the arrival of Lebron James and Chris Bosh.  Writers acclaimed the Heat to have the best season of all time, which they did not.  I believe the Heat are starting to mesh together well, and that they can win playoff games.  Heat sweep.

Tomorrow I hope to post my second round predictions.

That seems to be the theme this year.  Make the field, then take it from there.

First, the Packers had a triumphant week seventeen win against the Chicago Bears, their arch-rival.  The Bears could have finished them off right then and there, but they didn’t.  They then later faced the Packers in the playoffs, the Packers won that game.  The Packers didn’t stop at that point, oh no… They cruised all the way to the Lombardi Trophy.  Winning it all, as an underdog.

Then there’s the mischievous case of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams, a team many basketball scholars doubted, bashed, and criticized, highly acclaimed Dick Vitale said, “They don’t deserve to be in the bracket.”  The Rams had to win a game to make it into the legitimate 64 team field, they did indeed win the play-in game.  Like the Packers, they didn’t stop once they reached the play-offs, they kept going like the Energizer bunny.  The Rams made it all the way to the marvelous Final Four stage.

In more recent affairs, I picked Tiger Woods to win the 2011 Masters.  People told me I was crazy, people told me he wouldn’t make the cut… He not only made the cut, he survived all the way to the end, finishing with ten points under par…. While he didn’t win the tournament, he boasted that the Tiger of old was back… And in full out attack mode, Tiger Woods will be a huge competitor throughout this 2011 golf season.

And now we seemingly have a new element developing in the chastising plot of which haunts betters, the defending Stanley Cup champions are in the playoffs, as the last seed.  The Hawks could have secured a spot yesterday with at least a a point, but they lost 4-3 in regulation to rival Detroit.  Captain Toews, and his Chicago team thought their season was over…. But the Stars lost to the Wild, and now the Blackhawks are in the playoffs, with a good as a chance as any.

Yeah, I’m making the safe bet…. By not betting.

Lots of sports coverage coming your way these next three days, great way to start it off? Making some picks, and posting a short article about the Boston Red Sox.

All was well in Boston this off-season, in January the Celtics were atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Bruins had great goal-tending on their side, and the Red Sox were slated by many to go to the World Series, if not win it.

Only that was January, this is April.  The Boston Celtics still are going to make the playoffs as a high seed, probably as the second seed, possibly the third seed.  Only it is obvious that the Chicago Bulls are far superior to them, as they just were stomped on in a 97-81 loss to Chicago just last night.  Clearly Chicago is their certain superior.

Boston is currently 0-6, no team with that bad a start has ever gone onto a World Series, albeit I believe all will be well there eventually, that kind of start is just unacceptable for a program who goes out and spends over 100 million dollar’s on player salaries.

Their hitting is supposed to be their strong point, and as a whole, fewer teams have hit at a lower average than Boston.  Hey Terry, how’s Crawford doing for you?

Will either Boston team make it to a championship? Is Derrick Rose the MVP?

Picks:

I’m taking the Phillies, over the Braves.

I’m taking the Brewers, over the Cubs.

 

Fans stood idol on either side of the basketball court, but of course the Charlotte fans behind the rim tried to rustle up as much noise as they could to try to distract Dwight Howard, there wasn’t a soul in that arena who was excited for the free throw, it was the second quarter, and just an average free throw.

Oh, how it was not.  Second year Charlotte guard, Gerald Henderson (a former Duke Blue Devil) stood with both hands in the air behind the free throw line, ticking off seconds in his hands, trying to get the referee’s to call a ten second free throw violation, a rule barely exercised, especially against a star like Howard.

The whistle blew after Henderson sardonically smiled with ten fingers in the air, glancing over at the ref, a question raised solely by his eyebrows, ten count?

The answer was yes, the whistle went off, average fans stood confused, heck, most people don’t even know that rule exists, but it does… As Dwight Howard walked backcourt, saying something inapropiate to one of the officials, again the whistle blew.  This time, a T was made with the ref’s hand. Technical Foul.  What’s worse?  It was Howard’s 18th, because of that he is now suspended for the game against Chicago on Sunday.

Gerald Henderson stood again.  This time near his baseline, in front of an enraged Quentin Richardson, who then shoved Henderson smack dead in the face.  His punishment?  Two game suspension.  Two key factors out for the Bulls verse Magic game.

Gerald Henderson’s words? Your welcome, Chicago. He didn’t quite say this, but he does indeed deserve a thank you from Chicago.

Not only did he prove that he had a stingy love of strategy, he proved that he could run the show in the NBA come later years.  I remember a Duke verse Maryland game where he did a reverse dunk, and got clobbered, but still made the basket.

He’s one of the most athletic players in the game, and watch any highlight real, his jump shot has improved miraculously since leaving Duke University.  You may ask, how did he prove it?  He put up 32 point and five rebounds against the Magic last night.

Speaking of Chicago, I thought of Derrick Rose.  My pick to win the MVP award this season, although Dwight Howard’s case against his is decent, Howard’s suspension swings the edge to Derrick Rose.

The Bulls play the Celtics in a very important 1 vs. 2 match-up.

Magic won that game last night, in overtime.

Hi guys, a standings update will come this weekend, so please, be patient.

Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees I respect the Yankees, more like I “like” the Yankees, I like to root for them. Knowing that and that they lost in extra innings in a shocker last night, makes it no surprise that the Yankees are my pick in this one.

Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians I, as a Yankees rooter, can not stand the BoSox, and it pains me to admit this, but Daisuke Matsuzaka is my favorite pitched, and with him on the mound, I’ll be taking the winless Red Sox.

Astros at Reds Another favorite, Edison Volquez is on the mound, so Im taking the favorite Reds.  If you are a betting man, do not bet this game, take the Red Sox and Yankees, and the over in the Red Sox game.