Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Giants and A's Trade Chatter

The baseball season is right about at the un-official halfway point, which means the trading deadline is just a few weeks away (July 31st). Both Bay Area baseball teams should make some deals, although both have different reasons to do so.

The A's are the only team not making a run in a very tight AL West, as they sit at 32-43, 10.5 games back of the first place LA Angels. They really need to find a way to dish off some of their veteran, soon-to-be free agents. Amongst that group are Jason Giambi, Matt Holliday, Nomar Garciapara and if he can get himself healthy before the trade deadline, possibly Justin Duchscherer. Now, outside of Holliday, none of these guys are really going to bring you a huge return package, but Giambi and potentially Duchscherer may definitely have some value to some teams. In fact, Duchscherer had a brilliant 2008 season, in which he won 10 games and sported a 2.54 era over 141 innings. He also held opponents to a .210 batting average, while carrying a 1.00 WHIP. Needless to say, he showed what he's capable of doing if healthy, a contending team desperate for a good, front of the rotation arm could turn to Duchscherer.

Matt Holiday would likely bring the most in return, although he's having an unspectacular year in his first stint away from Coors Field, and a lot of teams may feel he's not nearly the impact bat he was with Colorado. I still think he's a good, solid hitter and will be around .300 with 25 homers and 100 RBI on a yearly basis once he gets familiar with the AL (If he sticks around). Giambi is interesting as well, because he's cheap, can DH or play first, and can still yank one out of the yard with pretty good consistency, but he's not going to bring back anybodies top prospects.

As far as the Giants go, they're going to be in buying mode for the first time a few years, as they sit atop the NL Wild Card standings and are desperately searching for a bat they could attain without dealing one of their top prospects. KNBR reported today that the Giants had some people looking at Jermaine Dye, as they may have interest in packaging some players to get the 35 year-old right fielder. Dye is just the kind of bat the Giants need, as he hits right handed and has cleanup hitter type pop. He's currently hitting .287 with 18 jacks and 48 RBI's. Even though he's no spring chicken, he's certainly a capable right fielder, and still more than capable with the stick, and he probably will be for another 3-4 seasons. He's got a 12 million dollar option for 2010 which the Giants would most likely pick up if they acquired him.

The only thing that I worry about in trading for an outfielder now, is what would happen with Nate Schierholtz. The 25 year-old right fielder has really started to turn his game on as the Giants have started playing him everyday, and he could be turning into a real good player. He's a big reason why the Giants are 7 games above .500 right now. The only way they'll find out what he's capable of is if they keep trotting him out there every night though, and adding Dye would likely cut into Schierholtz's playing time drastically. As much as I like Randy Winn, and as good as he's been here with the Giants, I would try and package him in a potential deal for Dye to help clear the logjam in the outfield.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stoudemire Rumor Won't Go Away

Immediately after the draft on Thursday, rumors started flying about the Warriors potentially dealing a package of players, including number 7 pick Stephen Curry, to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Amare Stoudemire. Apparently the Suns want to do the deal more than the Warriors, but this seems like a rumor that could linger all summer long.

The proposes trade would send Amare Stoudemire to Golden State in exchange for Stepen Curry, Andris Beidrins, Brandan Wright and Marco Belinelli. Immediately what comes to mind for me, is that this is an awful lot to give up, on the Warriors end, for a guy who's had injury issues over his career and missed nearly half of last season. Don't get me wrong though, Stoudemire would look great in a Warriors uni and running the same type of offense he's so familiar with from Pheonix. I just wouldn't part with both Biedrins and Curry in the package. If the Warriors could keep Curry, and maybe spice the deal up with Kellana Azabuike or Anthony Morrow, then it would become a trade that I'd do in a heartbeat. I like Andris Biedrins a lot, but let's face it, he's nowhere near the offensive force that Stoudemire is, and the Warriors desperately need a guy who can score in the post. Wright and Belinelli could end up being solid players down the line, but I've been unimpressed with their stays in Golden State thus far, and I really don't mind letting them go, but again, I just don't think I'd give them both Biedrins AND Curry in the deal.

Whether or not the Warriors are actively speaking with the Suns or trying to work out a deal or not, Don Nelson believes that Curry will be staying put. A few reports in Friday's papers had Nelson quoted as saying Curry will be staying here, and Nelly looks forward to working with him on the court. Curry also changed his tune about coming on board with the Warriors. Immediately after he was drafted, there were reports that Curry was less than thrilled about being selected by Golden State, but apparently he's come around. Curry mentioned how he's excited about playing "Warriors style" basketball in the Chronicle today. He also talked about some of the other Warriors players whom he's familiar with, so it looks like he's going to be fine with being a Warrior, at least for the time being. This is the type of rumor that doesn't really go away though, so don't be surprised to see it being mentioned for a while.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Warriors Not Done Dealing

The Warriors have wasted no time this off season making moves. The first move was shipping out overpriced Jamal Crawford to Atlanta for two point guards A.C. Law and Speedy Claxton. With C.J. Watson as an unrestricted free agent, it's unlikely he will be back. The good news is the Warriors will avoid paying Crawford over $19 million over the next two seasons, as Law and Claxton are signed for under $8 million this season and the Warriors can cut ties once the 2009-10 season is through.

By taking Stephon Curry, the Warriors gained a bargaining chip more so than a player they intend to implement into the rotation. The Warriors knew the Knicks had their eye on Curry, which is why the Knicks took Arizona big man Jordan Hill, hoping to entice the Warriors front office. The Warriors, who could have selected Hill, took Curry which intentions of creating some bidding competition for the Knicks. There are plenty of teams out there that need a sharp shooting guard like Curry. The Warriors get Hill, or an equivalent big, and another player, or at least some cash. The Warriors hold all the power in this negotiation.

The Knicks deserve to get blocked by the Warriors after dealing that bum Crawford out to Oakland. The acquisition of Curry and the Crawford trade have made for an eventful draft. Expect things to get more eventful as the off season progresses...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A's Take First Game in B.B. Series

For a few years in the middle of the decade there, the Giants absolutely could not figure out the A's in inter-league play, but they're hoping to get even this year. After getting swept by the Giants in San Francisco earlier in the month, the A's beat the Giants in the first of a 3-game set in Oakland on Monday night.

It's a good thing, on the A's part, that they took advantage Monday night, because the pitching match-ups heavily favor the Giants in the remaining two games. The A's had the advantage on Monday night, as their young control master, Trevor Cahill faced the Giants' Jonathan Sanchez, who's been inconsistent to say the least in 2009. Cahill only allowed 4 hits and one run while striking out 4 in 7 innings of work and the A's coasted to victory. Sanchez on the other hand, continued to struggle, allowing 11 base runners and 4 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. It wasn't quite as bad as his last start in which he didn't make it out of the fourth inning, but it wasn't a real positive start either. Sanchez's recent struggles have the Giants thinking of possibly moving him out of the rotation, which you can read more about over at the Giants Baseball Blog.

Other than the solid starting performance from Cahill, who now leads the A's in wins with 5, they got multi-hit efforts from Orlando Cabrera and former-Giant, Rajai Davis. The Giants couldn't really muster anything off Oakland hurlers, as Travis Ishikawa hit a solo homer in the second inning and that was it. It was interesting to see the A's go to Brad Zieglar to close out the ballgame. Andrew Bailey has taken over as the A's primary ninth-inning man, and has done an exceptional job, converting his last 3 save opportunities flawlessly. I guess the Geren didn't want to overwork Bailey, and maybe he's not totally done using Zieglar to close out games, so that's definitely a situation to keep an eye on.

On-Tap: In the final two games of the Giants/A's series in Oakland, the pitching match-ups will be Tim Lincecum vs. Vin Mazzaro, which should be another good pitching duel. On Tuesday night, the Giants will send Randy Johnson, in search of win # 302, to the mound vs. Josh Outman, who's 4-1 on the year with a solid 3.48 era.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Niners, Raiders Add Veterans To D

With NFL Training Camp starting up in about a month, teams are starting to put the final pieces to their teams together. A couple weeks back, both the 49ers and Raiders added some veteran help to their respective defense's.

After receiving news that Walt Harris, their starting cornerback for the last three years, would likely miss the season, the 49ers went out and grabbed veteran cover man, Dre' Bly. Now, Bly may not put up quite the numbers for the Niners that Harris did over the last 3 seasons ( 15 ints and 174 total tackles) but he should be pretty darn close. In his last 2 seasons in Denver, Bly has 7 picks along with 113 tackles and 22 pass deflections. Both guys have an abundance of experience, with Bly actually 3 years younger than Harris. Lining up opposite of Bly will be Nate Clements, who's entering his 3rd season in the City by the Bay, giving the Niners a pair of very good cover guys. Shawtae Spencer is supposedly healthy as well and ready to contribute after missing the last year and a half with injury. The team also has up and coming Tarell Brown who could be starting for a lot of teams. If Harris does indeed return towards the end of the season, and can contribute anything, the Niners will have their strongest group of CB's they've had in a long time.

On the other side of the bay, the Raiders added some pass rush to their defense recently by adding veteran Greg Ellis. The 34 year-old Ellis has had a couple of big years in Dallas, recording 20.5 sacks over the last two campaigns there. Ellis is definitely on the downswing of his career, but it looks to me like he's got at least 2 more successful seasons in him, maybe more if he's used right. He's a much needed add to the Raiders, who's leader in sacks in 2008 was Kalimba Edwards with 5. Ellis would have even made a lot of sense for the Niners. They have an up and coming pass-rusher in Parrys Harrilson, who had 8 sacks from the OLB position in 2008 and Ellis would have been a nice mentor for him, as well as an excellent option on passing downs for the Niners in their 3-4. Ellis will likely spell Jay Richardson on passing downs for the Raiders in '09, as he's not quite an every down player any longer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Draft Prospects Part 2

Last post we took a look at some guys who are projected to go towards the top of the first round, and guys the Warriors will likely only be able to get if they want to trade up. Today, we'll look at some guys who should be available to the Warriors if they do stay put at 7, or possibly trade back in the draft a few picks.

Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: Hill had a big year last year as a Junior, though he didn't necessarily show his best in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 18.3 ppg and 11 rpg and showed his tremendous upside by improving in each of his 3 years at Arizona. I think the Warriors would be ecstatic if he fell to them at 7, as most people have him as a top-5 pick. He's got tremendous athletic ability and has the size to bang around in the paint. He's can shoot the mid-range shot and he can score on the block when he's on, though he can be a little inconsistent at times. A front-line of Biedrins-Hill-Randolph in the future looks pretty darn good in it's own right though.
-Hill Video, Working With Warriors

Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy: Jennings has a lot of ability and he's one of the guys who can come in and help a team out right away, which is very intriguing. He wasn't overly impressive in Italy last season, but that shouldn't really hurt his draft status, which is guaranteed top-10. He's got good toughness on the defensive end and the quickness to keep up with practically anyone. He's also got a confidence he carries on the court that could be looked at as being cocky at times, but he backs it up. He'd be a nice selection at 7, and I think I'd lean towards him over Curry and Flynn, but that's just my opinion.
-Jennings Highlight Video

Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: Flinn is another pure, all-around guard like Rubio, although Flinn doesn't have the size or quite the ability as the the phenom from Italy. Undersized point guards with enough talent have done pretty well over the years in the NBA though, and Flynn has more than enough talent. He's listed at 6' but is probably closer to 5'10", but he can run and offense and has excellent ball control, and he's a natural leader on the floor. Flinn averaged 17.4 points and 6.7 assists per game last year for Syracuse. I'd lean towards Jennings if the Warriors had their choice, and I think they would as well.
-Flynn Highlight Video

DuJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh: When I look at Blair, I can't help but think of big Robert "Tractor" Traylor from Michigan in the late 90's. However, Blair is much more active than Traylor was. The 6'7", 275 pounder is a little undersized, heighth wise, but a little overs-sized, weight wise, for hte power forward position. NBAdraft.net compares him to Paul Milsap, and I think that's a fair comparison. He can move without the ball, and was one of the best rebounders in college, averaging about 12 and a half boards per night (5.6 of which came on offense), along with 16 points. Showed his value in the Tourney, putting up a double-double each night, including a 27 point- 16 board performance vs. East Tennessee and a 20-10 night vs. Xavier. A guy the Warriors could trade back 5 picks and still probably grab if they want him.
-Blair Highlight Video

Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA: Holiday's agent refused to set-up a work-out with the Warriors, so it doesn't appear that the Warriors would go this route, but it's still very much a possibility. At 6'4", he's taller and has more wingspan than your average NBA point guard, which gives him an advantage. Holiday actually makes a lot of sense as he's combo-guard that can play with Monta Ellis in the back-court, and doesn't need to handle the ball all the time. He's got what you look for in a point guard, and some, but he's still very young and is coming off of a inconsistent freshman year (averaging just 8.5 ppg and 3.7 apg). Still, talent-wise, there's probably not another point guard with the upside that Holiday has, outside of Ricky Rubio, though it may take a few years for him to fully develop it.
-Holiday Highlight Video

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects Part 1

We normally save most of our Warriors stuff for the Warriors Rundown blog, but we've been pretty busy over finishing up on the NBA finals and talking about other team news and haven't had a chance to really focus on the upcoming NBA draft, which is a tad over a week away, on June 24th.

The Warriors have pick 7, and should be able to land a top player who can come right in and help them in 2009. The logical choice for the Warriors, and the best value for the pick at 7 is at the point guard position. However, the Monta Ellis recently expressed dis-satisfaction with the prospect of the W's nabbing a point guard with 7. More on that here. Now, this post is about the draft, so I'm not going to fully get into the Ellis/Warriors situation here, but apparently, things are a little rocky with that relationship. Anyway, over the next two posts, we'll break down a few possibilities for the W's to pick at 7:

C, Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut: Now, the chances of Thabeet falling to the Warriors are slim to none, but there is a slight chance that the Warriors could move up to take the towering center out of UConn. Thabeet is 7'2" and is constantly being compared to Dikembe Mutombo. He's a dynamic defender with great shot-blocking ability, as he average 4.5 blocks per game last season. While he doesn't have the most polished offensive skill-set, he's more than capable in the post and with short-range jumpers, averaging 13.5 points and nearly 11 boards per night. Obviously Blake Griffin is going number 1, and most likely Thabeet will go number two, but as we saw with the NFL draft in April, sometimes these things don't always go accordingly, so you never know. A Front-line of Biedrins, Thabeet and Randolph would be ridiculous on the defensive end.
-Hasheem Thabeet Highlight Video

Ricky Rubio, PG, Italy: The international point guard has a huge upside and is by far the best point guard in the draft. Chances are more likely that he won't fall to the Warriors, like with Thabeet, but again, you never know. He's a pure point guard who can flat-out handle the ball, run an offense, and create for himself and his teammates. He's the total package at the point. The only knock on him though is that he's not the most explosive guy or the biggest leaper. Some scouts compare him to Steve Nash and Jose Calderon, who are both great point guards, but it took both of them some time to fully refine their games. Rubio would be undeniable though if he fell to them at 7 or if the Warriors had a chance to make a reasonable trade to acquire him. He's got that much talent and feel for the game. You can kind of pick up on that just by watching the 60 second long video attached below.
-Ricky Rubio Video

Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Davidson: Curry poses an interesting possibility for two reasons. One is that there is a very good chance that he'll either be there for the Warriors at 7, or they can make a trade up a pick in order to grab him if the want. Also, he can play the 2, and could theoretically be on the floor with Monta Ellis running the point, although he's probably a guy who's going to want to handle the ball too. He's a pure offensive genius, who can score from anywhere on the floor. He's one of the most refined shooters in the draft and can take it to the hole to boot. The only thing is, he's not prototypical NBA shooting guard size, and he's really not quick enough to keep up with a lot of the point guards in the league, so teams may have an issue finding a permanent spot for him. I think he very well could end up being a sixth man in the mold of Manu Ginobli eventually, which is very good, but not quite what the Warriors are looking for.
-Curry Video (warning- annoying background song)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

49ers' Smith Looking Stong In Mini-Camp

It was widely thought and somewhat accepted around the Bay Area that Shaun Hill would be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers to open the 2009 regular season. However, as the Chronicle reported Friday, with a surprisingly strong mini-camp, Alex Smith has apparently forced the 49ers to delay their decision on naming their 2009 starter.

I look at this two ways. From the future of the 49ers and Alex Smith's standpoint, it makes sense to delay the decision a while. If the 49ers are interested in seeing if a healthy Smith could end up turning things around after a few dismal years in the league, than so be it. He's still just 25 years old and has a lot of upside in that right arm of his. It would be better for the 49ers as a franchise to have Alex Smith as the starting quarterback in 2009, but that's only if he shows he's capable. Shaun Hill isn't the starting quarterback of the future for this team. In fact, I'd be completely surprised if he lasts the whole year in that role if he indeed is named the starter. The Niners were talking with Kurt Warner in the off-season about him possibly being a 2-3 year stop-gap for them, so that shows you how much confidence they have in Hill as a starter.

Now, I'm not trying to bad mouth Hill in anyway. He's won a some games as a starter for this team and doesn't make a lot of mistakes on the field. He's been flat-out better than Alex Smith over each their time behind center, and he probably gives them a better chance to win right now, on June 15th, 2009. I'm just trying to point out that Hill is not the answer for the future, and he may not even be the answer for the full 2009 season. Smith, on the other hand, could be the starting quarterback for the next 5 years if he could find a groove and get some confidence. The 49ers have the most talented receiving corps they've ever had in Smith's tenure here, with a more seasoned Vernon Davis, the veteran Issac Bruce and the young gun Michael Crabtree. Maybe he gets in a grove with these guys and takes off. We don't know unless we give him a shot with the first team, and apparently he's looked good during those reps. I ultimately expect Hill to be named the starting QB for the first week of the season, but the 49ers need to be keeping an open mind with Alex Smith. I just don't think he's completely toast quite yet.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cal and Stanford's First-Rounders

The MLB Amateur draft just ended yesterday, and both Cal and Stanford each had a player from their school get selected in the first round. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about those players and what can maybe be expected from them at the next level.

Drew Storen, RHP, Stanford: Storen was taken with the 10th overall pick by the Washington Nationals. The Stanford sophmore was considered the best closer available in the draft and was the first taken. In fact, it's rare to see a reliever-only go in the top-10, but the Nats felt that good about he Stanford flame-thrower. Storen has 7 saves in 2009 for Stanford, and had a 3.80 era spread out over 43 innings. In those 43 innings, he recorded 66 k's and only walked 8 while allowing 34 hits. Storen was often used for more than 1 inning at a time with Stanford though, and had a 7-1 record in 28 ballgames. I do expect to see him close as at the next level, and with that experience pitching under pressure for Stanford, he probably should be pretty prepared to move through the Nat's system pretty quickly.

-ESPN video on Storen.

Brett Jackson, OF, California: Taken by the Cubs with the 31st pick in the first round was the uber-athletic Brett Jackson out of Cal. Jackson can do a little bit of everything out on the baseball field and I was really hoping he would fall to the Giants in the second round, but that wasn't the case. At 6'2" and 210 pounds, he's got the size to drive the ball, but he's always been a leadoff hitter, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens to him in Chicago's system. He kind of reminds me of Travis Buck with the Oakland A's. Should eventually develop into a decent everyday big league outfielder that won't wow you, but will do everything pretty well. His teammate, all-around second basemen Jeff Kobernus, went just a handful of picks after Jackson to the Nationals at pick 50.

-Here is a video of Jackson roping fellow first rounder, Aaron Crow.
-Another video of a few Jackson at-bats. including a bomb to right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A's Grab Green

Day two of the MLB Amateur draft is in the books, so I figured now would be a good time to go ahead and asses how things are going with the A's.

Of course, if your an A's fan, you know by now that Oakland took USC shortstop Grant Green with their first pick in round 1. We've talked about Green here before as a possibility for the A's at pick 13, and since Tyler Matzek and Aaron Crow went just before they had their pick, it was an easy choice for them. Green brings dynamic ability to the shortstop position as he's got all five tools you look for in a player. When I look at him, I see a lot of Michael Young from the Texas Rangers. Solid power, but more of a doubles, gap-to-gap type hitter with average. Scouts expect him to be around .300 with 15-20 homers a year and plenty of stolen base ability. He had kind of an awkward year in 2009, underachieving mightily in the first half, but I don't think there is any question as far as what kind of talent he can bring when he gets to the big leagues. He's the type of guy who will move along as quickly as his play will allow him to since he's had a lot of experience in college. I really like this pick for the A's and I do expect Green to become one of the better shortstops in baseball over the next 5 years.

Following Green, the A's took a couple of catchers, a third basemen and a few starters in the remaining early rounds. With their second pick (third round), they nabbed Justin Marks, a left-handed starter from Louisville. Marks was the 83rd ranked prospect on Baseball America's top-100 draft board and the A's got him at 92, so he was definitely a good value pick. Marks was dominant at times as a junior for Louisville, going 10-2 in 15 starts, carrying a 3.50 era while striking out 116 batters in 93 innings pitched. The strikeout number and the win total really jumps out at you and shows you what you need to know about the kid; He's got good stuff and he knows how to win. After Marks, the A's took a high school catcher from Northern California by the name of Max Stassi. Billy Beane has never been one to shy away from drafting catching, but Stassi could be the real deal. He's got nearly perfect mechanics behind the plate, and although his skills behind the plate are ahead of his bat, he's still got potential to be a plus hitter in the bigs. His athletic ability and skill set kind of remind me of Russell Martin from the Dodgers. Here's a quick video on him.

Other Notable A's Selections:

Pick 153: Stephen Parker, 3B, BYU- All-around third-basemen from BYU was probably a stretch at 153.

Pick 183: Ryan Ortiz, C, Oregon St.- Good pick, great bat that really came alive as season wore on. Carried Oregon State offensively in many ballgames and a good, strong pick at 183 though he probably ends up in the outfield.
Scouting Video

Pick 303: Samuel Dyson, RHP, Columbia SC- Formerly drafted by the Washington Nationals, Dyson never signed and ended up going to school. He's got a power arm and can get it up there around 97 mph and a slider around 86 mph. He's had some injury concerns to deal with, which hurt his draft stock. I really like his easy delivery and how the ball comes firing out of his hand. He should be OK as long as he's healthy.
Scouting Video

More Draft Coverage to Come! As always, for Giants' draft coverage and news, check out The Giants Baseball Blog.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pre-Draft: Options For The A's

We've done plenty of breakdown on the Giants draft possibilities over at The Giants Baseball Blog, so check that out for Giants takes. We haven't, however, given much thought on the A's draft here. Since the draft starts in about an hour, so we probably won't have to wait long to see which one of these guys the A's grab.

Possibilities for the A's at:

RHP's Jacob Turner, Shelby Miller, Tanner Scheppers and Kyle Gibson: It's almost a certainty that one of these arms will be available for the A's at 13. Gibson or Turner would be my first two choices, as they're both projected top-10 picks and have a chance to be front-line MLB starters. Scheppers has had some injury issues, but his stuff, if healthy, is unquestioned. He may have the most powerful right arm in all the draft, it's just that medical report holding him back. I'm thinking Shelby Miller may be the guy the A's take here. He's a hard-throwing righty from Texas who's been compared to Josh Beckett by a few scouts. Any of these guys would really be good choices as all of them are really top-10 talents, but I'd go Turner, Gibson, Miller, Scheppers in that order if they're all avaialable. Here is some video of them below:

Tanner Scheppers Video
Jacob Turner Video
Kyle Gibson

Other Possibilities:
The A's will most likely take an arm, but if they decide to grab a position player, a few guys they may look are Grant Green (shorstop out of USC), Michael Trout (prep outfielder from New Jersey), AJ Pollock (OF, Notre Dame) or Tim Wheeler (CF, Sacramento State). I'd rank them in that order as far as their draft value goes. Green could end up beeing a premiere middle infield prospect, although he may end up at second or third. He's got Michael Young written all over him. Trout is a tremendously athletic center fielder with huge upside. Wheeler is a little closer to the bigs, having played a few years at Sacrarmento State, but Trout might have more long-term potential, as he's got all five-tools and really understands the game well at age 17. Wheeler and Pollock are both polished, patient college hitter who really carries the philosophy that Billy Beane preaches at the plate. Neither have the power potential of Trout though. I'd take Green out of all of them, with Trout and Wheeler as my 2nd and 3rd choices.

Tim Wheeler Video
Grant Green Video and Video
Michael Trout

**Update: A's grab Grant Green with their first round pick. Good job by Beane who knew Green would be a guy who could come up and contribute as quick as anyone in the draft. It wouldn't surprise me to see the kid get his feet wet this September. With their second pick (compensation B round), they got Justin Marks, a tough left-handed starting pitcher out of Louisville. More on the draft coming very shortly!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Giants and A's Notes

Randy Johnson made history Thursday in Washington, as he beat the Nationals to earn career win number 300. Sure, he's only gotten 5 of those in a Giants uniform, but when The Unit is on, he's still a treat to watch. Not only was it a historic victory for Johnson, it also was his third dominant start in a row, and it looks like that rough stretch he went through in mid-May is completely out of his system. Enjoy watching the Unit pitch this year Giants fans, cause we may never see another pitcher reach that milestone... For more information on Randy Johnson's feat and more in-depth Giants news, remember to click on over to The Giants Baseball Blog. Right now we're talking MLB amateur draft, which is just a few days away.

Speaking of the MLB draft, be on the lookout for our A's draft preview which will feature in our next post, likely either Sunday or Monday. The A's have also gotten themselves back on track recently. They've won 4 of their last 5 ballgames as they've seen their best player step up his game. Matt Holliday, who may be starting to kick it into gear so he can garner some interest of a contender as the trade deadline approaches. Regardless the reason though, since may 1st, through early part of June, he's seen an increase in his production. Holliday's hitting .307 with 6 home runs and 21 RBI over the last 30 games, so he's starting to pull out of that long slump he started the year with. The A's are still dead last in their division, and aren't going to make any real noise or playoff run this year, but it will definitely help them for 2010 and beyond if Holliday starts ripping the ball like he did in Colorado from now until the trade deadline. It's almost a given that the A's will deal him in July and they're going to get a lot more in return for him if he's hitting .300 with power and run production. One team said to be currently interested in Holliday are the St. Louis Cardinals. The guy I'd target from St. Louis if I were Beane is Cards super-prospect Colby Rasmus. I don't know if the Cards' would deal their premiere young outfielder for a 2 month rental in Holliday, but A's GM Billy Beane is known for getting the most out of his trades, so you never know.

Note: If your interested in NBA Finals talk, be sure to surf on over to The Warriors Rundown, where Brian has been analyzing and breaking down the happenings in the 2009 NBA Playoffs. There really hasn't been much going on in the Warriors world lately, but that will change as soon as the Finals end and free agecny and draft plans begin.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Moneyball" to Hit Big Screen

It had been in discussion for a while, but now it's official. Michael Lewis' popular book that documented A's GM Billy Beane and opened the baseball worlds eyes to a different way to scouting and implement baseball stats. It's a little surprising that the movie is actually making it to the big screen, appearing that it would only appeal to baseball enthusiasts. However, it looks like Brad Pitt is in line to play Beane and it's supposedly lined up to have an all-star cast, so it should be interesting to see how it turns out.

I found it interesting that a bunch of former players, coaches and scouts are all signed on to themselves. Of those who have already agreed are former A's first basmen Scott Hatteberg, former A's Manager Art Howe and former pitching coach Rick Peterson. For some reason, I have a hard time believing Peterson and Howe are going to be very good, but they're just being asked to do something they're very familiar with, so they might just pull it off. A firm date hasn't been set for an opening, but they are going to start filming this summer and I'm guessing we'll be seeing "Moneyball" in theatres sometime late next year. Regardless, it should be more interesting than the product that the current 20-30 Oakland A's are trotting out there night in and night out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Niners and Raiders Quick Take

Welcome to our first "real" sports post here at the Bay Area Sports Journal. This thing is still in the early stages of construction, but we have a basic platform down, and have a bunch of things to talk about, so I'm going to get things started today, June 2nd, 2009. I also wanted to point out that for more in-depth team news on the Giants or Warriors, check out The Giants Baseball Blog and The Warriors Rundown. We'll still talk about some of the things that go on with them on this site, but most of the stuff we'll save for those blogs so check 'em out.

Now, right off the bat, I'm going to tell you, we are sort of a San Francisco-biased Sports blog. If I had my choice, I must say, I'd rather sit down and watch the Giants or Niners over the A's and Raiders. Don't worry though Oakland fans, we'll still delve into Raiders and A's stuff when necessary. That said, since this blog just launched, and our other blogs are Giants and Warriors specific, I wanted to talk a little bit about the state of the Bay Area football franchises. Since we are brand new, we didn't get a chance to discuss the NFL draft, so I wanted to throw my two-cents in on the top picks for both the Raiders and Niners.

The 49ers are still probably sending their gratitude towards Al Davis and the Raiders for allowing them to grab Michael Crabtree, the drafts best all-around reciever, about 7-8 picks later than he should have gone. Crabtree finally gives the 49ers that high-profile receiving threat that they haven't had since Terrell Owens. The Niners also plan on throwing Crabtree into the mix right away as well, something they haven't really done with high-round receiver choices in recent years. And don't worry 'Niner fans, there is no chance that he ends up like the last receiver the Niners took at pick 10; it was J.J. Stokes in 1996. The kid from Texas Tech is the real deal. He's big and strong, and although he's not a burner, he still moves very well on the field and is very much a home run threat. In addition to his skills as a pass catcher, route runner and playmaker, the dude also is a force in the run game as well. He even made it a point in some of his draft-day interviews to mention that he loves blocking for the run and can't wait to get to do so for Frank Gore. The 49ers are also bringing him into the prime situation. He's got one of the best receivers from the last two decades, Issac Bruce, to learn from, and I'm sure some guy named Rice will pay him a few visits between now and kickoff '09 in September. Sure, they did need an offensive tackle, and they sure could have used a big, athletic defensive lineman that can get after the passer, but they took the best player available to them at pick 10, and I think it's going to pay huge dividends.

The Raiders were a little more of a mystery. Most educated football people had Darrius Heyward-Bey going around the mid/late second round at the earliest, but Al Davis decided to take the speedster from Maryland near the top of the first. Now, it's not that the kid doesn't have talent. It's just that his is more projectable than guys like Crabtree's and Jeremy Maclin's. He has a chance to be just as good as those two guys, based purely on athleticism, but he's nowhere near the route-taker as Maclin and has nowhere near the hands or physical prescence of a Crabtree right now. I don't want to keep beating this issue to death, because it is old news by now, so I'll stop there, but it's still beyond me why the silver and black passes up an opportunity to get JaMarcus Russell some help right now.