New York Giants: What We Should Expect From Will Hernandez In 2018

As the New York Giants work through the second portion of OTAs, offensive lineman Will Hernandez has begun his professional development. The UTEP standout struggled to find any sort of success with his team in 2017, as they finished the year 0-12 – but Hernandez stood tall and continued to dominate despite the woes of his team.

Now, the offensive guard has joined the Giants’ ranks, filling a major gap on the offensive line and finally providing Eli Manning with time to work through his progressions.

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Like all rookies, Hernandez will have his hiccups, especially with a strong NFC East that consistently maintains some of the league’s most feared defensive lineman. He will be forced to hold his ground against the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jonathan Allen, and now Da’Ron Payne. Standing up to these behemoth lineman will be no east feat, but it will teach Hernandez his weaknesses and help him refine his skill-set.

Hernandez enters the league on the smaller side (6-foot-2, 327 pounds). His tenacity and mean streak has made up for his lack of height in the past. As an example, let’s look at Pittsburgh Steelers guard, David DeCastro.

DeCastro is 6-foot-5, 316 pounds, which is actually lighter than the Giants’ rookie. The lack of height will be Hernandez’s primary weakness, but he can compensate with a low center of gravity and immense strength.

One of the benefits that Hernandez has during this ever-lasting offseason is his competition. Hernandez will face off against Damon Harrison, one of the best DT’s in the NFL, and Dalvin Tomlinson, a budding star. They will expose his flaws and help build them into strengths. But don’t get it twisted, Hernandez will also assist in developing the skills of his defensive counter-parts.

The bottom line, the Giants have added a stellar piece to their offensive line that will immediately compete for the starting left guard spot. He brings an anger that the line has been lacking in recent years and will leave it all on the field, even if his team is being blown out. He’s the perfect match for Gettleman’s culture change and will influence a successful future for Big Blue.

New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton’s Biggest Weakness Is On Full Display

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

As the New York Yankees push forward through the 2018 season, recently acquired outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton, has had his ups and downs trying to get acclimated with the American League style of play.

Stanton currently has a batting average of .245, with 11 home-runs and 49 hits over 200 at bats. The new Yankee has struggled to adjust to his new team and the expectations set forth for him in New York, and his most present weakness has been on full display this season.

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Stanton vs left handed pitchers:

When facing left handed pitchers, Stanton is above average, hitting .370 with 7 home-runs and 20 hits over 54 at bats. That’s stellar, and provides reason to believe his signing is more than justified, but when you take a look at his stats against right handed pitchers, things get dark.. quick.

Stanton vs right handed pitchers:

While Stanton is fantastic against lefties, his struggles have been concentrated to righties. His current batting average is .199, with 4 home-runs and 24 hits over 146 at bats. The interesting part about this statistic is that he has faced right handed pitchers nearly three times more than left handed slingers.

Being that his statistics show a serious decline when facing righties, it’s safe to say he’s failing to live up to his investment, so far. Now, there’s no doubt he will eventually live up to his expectations, but it’s important to notice his most apparent struggle thus far in the season.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard Raves About Saquon Barkley

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

Rookie running back for the New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, is already taking on a leadership role for his new team… Despite the fact that he hasn’t even taken a meaningful snap at the professional level yet.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard raved about his new teammate after OTAs this week, going as far as to say (in regard to his actions on the field), “That’s not really what you see from a rookie.”

Here’s the full quote, via Big Blue Interactive:

“The way that he handles himself, he comes into every huddle dapping everybody up and just trying to get us going. That’s not really what you see from a rookie, but he’s been doing a great job out here learning the schemes and bringing energy.”

The change in energy is exactly what you want from your first-round player, especially for a team that was plagued by negativity in the season prior. The Giants have enjoyed four full-team practices, and Barkley stuck beside Eli Manning for a majority of them – learning as much as humanly possible about the new offensive schemes and placements.

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Expectation are high for the young running back – amongst the fan-base, media, and coaches. Barkley’s influence on the team has been nothing but beneficial, and his attitude towards success has revitalized the fan-base.

Where has Barkley lined up?

Barkley has played as a tradition running back in the “I” formation, as well as from the shotgun, which he frequently experienced in Penn States’ offense. During OTA’s, Barkley also split out as a wide receiver, playing a dynamic role that put the defense on their heels. According to the rookie, he had worked on developing his route running and pass catching abilities with Odell Beckham Jr.

Dave Gettleman stated:

“The thing that makes him different is he has the feet and speed of a little guy, with the power and strength of a big guy. That’s what makes him so darn unique. He’s different. It’s like he was touched by the hand of God, frankly.”

Trying to take down a 230-pound running back with 4.3 speed is nearly impossible. Barkley had some of the most impressive measurables dating back to the beginning of the NFL Combine, making him a near sure-fire generational talent. If he can reach his potential at the professional level, we might be seeing one of the best running back and wide receiver duos in the history of the game.

 

New York Yankees Prospect LHP Josh Rogers May Have Debut in Detroit

New York Yankees

Josh Rogers, 23, is a lefty pitching for the Yankees in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The southpaw has been reported by Randy Miller of NJ.com:

“…as a serious contender to get a first big league call-up to make a spot start for the Yankees during their day-night doubleheader in Detroit June 4.”

Who is Josh Rogers and how has he flown under the radar for so long?

Rogers, 6’3, 220 lb, came out of the University of Louisville, an elite baseball institution, after his sophomore year and was drafted by the Yankees in the 11th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft.

Despite being unranked on multiple top lists, Rogers has quickly navigated the lower ranks of the Yankees system and risen to AAA in 2018.

Ben Green of Yanks Go Yard noted that Rogers:

“…has a 4 season ERA of 2.80 and a 1.091 WHIP in the minors. Most of all, he pitches deep into games and threw 182 innings for 3 minor league teams including AA Trenton before finishing at Florida A+.”

While Rogers was perhaps expected to play in AA Trenton this season, he was assigned on April 6 to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Pinstriped Prospects Matt Kardos ranks Rogers at number 39 in their top 75 Yankees prospect list for 2018. Kardos said of Rogers before the season began:

“Rogers has well-above average control, having  walked just 41 batters in 241 1/3 innings of work in the system. He is equipped with a fastball, curveball, change-up arsenal that generates lots of weak contact. His fastball generally sits 88-91 MPH with some mild sink down in the zone. The change-up usually comes in between 83-85 MPH with late life; it is a pitch that he throws with good action and conviction at this point.”

Rogers has been better than than even Pinstriped Prospects predicted.  According to Miller, Rogers is ranked fourth in the International League in ERA with a 2.48 through May 30, has held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in eight of 10 starts, and opponents are hitting .230 against him.

With the success he’s had this season, Rogers has attracted the Yankees’ attention, and fans can look forward to seeing him in Detroit on June 4 making his major league debut.

New York Mets Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (5/31-6/3)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

After a 3-5 road trip that included the New York Mets hitting “rock bottom”, they return to Citi Field for a monumental nine game home stand. They start off with a four game set against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs just finished a series where they took two out of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs took four out of the six games against the Mets in 2017.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(5/30, 7:10 PM) Jose Quintana (5-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (1-1, 2.48 ERA)

(6/1, 7:10 PM) Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.10 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-4, 5.40 ERA)

(6/2, 7:15 PM) TBD vs. Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.52 ERA)

(6/3, 1:10 PM) Jon Lester (5-2, 2.71 ERA) vs. TBD

Lugo Gets The Spot Start

The Mets will trot out Seth Lugo to the mound for the series opener against the Cubs. This is Lugo’s first start of the season and is in the place of Noah Syndergaard who landed on the 10-day DL. Lugo has been dynamite out of the bullpen this season and had his first real hiccup in the first game of Monday’s double header against the Atlanta Braves. In his career as a starter, he has a 12-6 record with a 4.09 ERA. This is expected to be his only start and will likely be limited to 65 pitches.

The Mets offense has slowly clawed their way out of the mess it was in last week. Brandon Nimmo has emerged as the Mets leadoff hitter and a quality everyday player. His .969 on-base plus slugging would be the ninth best in baseball, if he qualified. Amed Rosario has also seen his bat come to life over the last week. He is hitting .333 over his last seven games and has a .583 slugging percentage which is almost 200 points higher than what it is now.

The Cubs Without Arrieta

The Cubs come in with a 29-23 record with puts them 4.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. They still remain as one of the better teams in the NL with their young lineup and their revamped pitching staff. Kyle Schwarber has produced a bounce back season with 10 home runs and a .374 on base percentage. Javier Baez found his power stroke to lead the team with 13 home runs and is still one of the best fielders in baseball.

Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are also quietly making their contributions to the Cubs lineup. Rizzo had started the season slowly but has hit .429 with 10 walks over his last seven games. When he is on his game, the Cubs possess one of the most feared lineups in baseball. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks continue to anchor the Cubs rotation with the loss of Jake Arrieta and are both in the top-15 for ERA in the NL.

Matchups to Lookout For

Anthony Rizzo vs. Jacob deGrom: 5-16 (.313) 1 Double, 1 Home Run, 2 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera vs. Tyler Chatwood: 4-13 (.308) Home Run, 3 Walks, 2 Strikeouts

Ben Zobrist vs. Jacob deGrom: 0-9 (.000) Strikeout

Jay Bruce vs. Jon Lester: 3-23 (.130) Double, 2 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Interesting Stats

Kris Bryant vs. Left Handed Pitching in 2018: 19-43 (.442) 5 Doubles, Triple, 5 Home Runs

Brandon Nimmo During Day Games in 2018: 15-40 (.375) .545 OBP, 1.270 OPS

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Shows Off Massive Legs At Yankees Game

When you come across your local tree, you usually think, “hmm, just another tree,” but don’t be mistaken, you might just be looking at New York Giants‘ running back Saquon Barkley’s legs.

Barkley was taken with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, and just as the EPA would say… “We are going green!”

The Giants have provided not one, but two tree trunks to sprout some new life into the offense.. Just check them out here!

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The rookie running back brings an elevated sense of confidence and versatility for an offense that has lacked serious gusto and unpredictability in recent years. His unparalleled ability to jump cut away from pressure and bounce the ball away from defenders will be an essential tool to keep plays alive and converting on third down.

Who’s Barkley hanging with?

Barkley has spent a lot of time hanging around with Odell Beckham Jr., who seems to have returned from his injury with a more mature mentality and a renewed dedication to his team. After missing OTAs last season and grabbing negative attention from the media, Beckham turned the tables this time around, enjoying practice with his teammates for the first portion of the voluntary workouts.

Beckham and Barkley have had a growing relationship since before the 2018 NFL Draft, which only benefits the Giants, as their two best players now have a healthy chemistry to work with.

Utilizing Barkley and OBJ on the offense will be extremely interesting, as defenses will now have to honor the run game, forcing them to leave Beckham in single coverage – a daunting task for any cornerback. It will also open up the field for tight end Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. Finally, quarterback Eli Manning has the tools to show off his best self – a play-action and audible connoisseur.

How Much Time Does Eli Manning Really Have Left With The New York Giants?

New York Giants, Eli Manning

New York Giants‘ quarterback Eli Manning might be at his last life with the organization if he doesn’t step up his game for the upcoming season. With Manning only having two years left on his contract, people are doubting his potential to impress the Giants brass enough to deserve a contract extension beyond 2020.

Taking into consideration that Manning is a 37 year-old quarterback with a not so persistent front line; obviously he isn’t going to be able to play to the best of his ability. On the other hand, Giants fans believe that this Eli is the same QB from past years and still has some fuel left in the tank.

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That being said, maybe the Giants need a fresh, young QB to lead the pack. Let’s be honest, Manning’s play-action passes have been weak and his audible calling inadequate, primarily due to the previous offensive scheme Ben McAdoo implemented. With new coach Pat Shurmur taking the reigns, we should expect to see Eli utilize his strengths. But, if Manning has degraded to the point where those strengths might be average at best, it could spell the end for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

With newly acquired running back Saquon Barkley, Manning will have a dynamic and versatile back that can catch passes out of the backfield and extend pays with his legs. Due to the fact Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard were injured in 2017, it hurt Manning profoundly considering they were two of the Giants’ top receivers. Don’t forget that wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris were also injured, leaving Eli Manning with mostly 3rd and 4th string receivers.

Eli’s band of misfit toys at WR dropped 45 passes, which would have brought his completion percentage from 61.6% to 69.5% given those passes were caught. Of course, there will always be some dropped passes, but the Giants led the league by a land-slide.

Being that Manning will enter the 2018 season with a heightened sense of confidence due to the return of his most lethal weapons, and the addition of Barkley and an upgraded offensive line, the franchise QB might be able to extend his stay with Big Blue.

Eli’s brother, Peyton, played until he was 40 years old and was fresh off a herniated disk in his neck. Peyton was forced to travel to Germany to receive the surgery that would ultimately allow him to continue playing in the NFL.

Eli on the other hand has never missed a professional game due to injury, which should allow us to expect quality from him throughout the upcoming season. Backup quarterback Davis Webb has performed well during organized team activities thus far, showing off his big arm and accuracy. The second-year signal caller is making a strong case that he can be the future of the franchise, but a few pre-season games under his belt will be the deciding factor for fans and coaches alike.

Eli Manning predicted stats:

Passing yards: 4,142

Passing TD’s: 28

Interceptions: 13

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres Named A.L Player Of The Week

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

After a week in which we seen New York Yankees rookie Gleyber Torres become the youngest player in A.L history to homer in four straight games he has been named A.L Player of the Week.

Torres slashed .368/.429/1.158 with five home runs and nine RBI over six games between May 21-27th. Gleyber started the week off blasting two home runs against the Texas Rangers in his first multi-hr game and had three multi-hit games during the stretch.

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GT is slashing .317/.379/.606 with nine HR, and twenty four RBI for the season. Torres leads all A.L rookies  with his .606 slugging, nine HR, twenty four RBI, and 1.7 WAR.

The 21 year old phenom has been everything a Yankee fan could dream of, breaking multiple records already including a few that belonged to the legendary Yankee Mickey Mantle since his call up on April 22nd. GT is making himself a strong candidate to win Rookie of the Year, and we will continue to watch to see if he can keep up this pace all season.

Gleyber and Gardy It’s a Party as the New York Yankees Win in Extras

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The Yankees won in extras on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros with a display of clutch hitting by an unlikely pair of teammates—Brett Gardner and Gleyber Torres—who hit the tying and winning walk-off runs in a stunner at the Stadium.

Katie Sharp points out the irony of their achievement:

Torres, it seems, makes history every night and so it is fitting that he and Gardner are linked by this terrific stat.

Torres made two of the five errors that plagued the Yankees on Tuesday night; however, he doesn’t let lapses in the field affect his play at the plate.  Torres was 2-5 on the night with 2 RBIs and that spectacular 10th inning hit to walk-off the win for the Yankees.

Gardner was off to a slow start this season, hitting a mere .198 on May 8, but he’s been hot of late.  His lead-off homer off Charlie Morton on Tuesday night was his second in four games—and came against a pitcher who’s known to be tough on lefties. In his first multi-homer game of the season, Gardner blasted his second homer in the ninth inning to tie the game.  He has raised his batting average to a respectable .256.

According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, CC Sabathia said of Gardner after the game, “He makes this team go.’’

And not only on the base pads, but with his elite defense and clubhouse leadership as well.

Didi Gregorius‘ famous post-game tweet singled out the veteran Gardner, represented by the clown emoji, and the rookie Torres, represented by the baby bottles:

Gregorius is absolutely right. The veteran and the rookie combined to bring the Yankees back against a fierce rival and that’s what makes this Yankee team a winner.

The mix of talent and skills between seasoned, battle-tested veterans like Gardner and Sabathia and the raw talent of the Baby Bombers, like Miguel Andujar and Torres is proving to be an explosive combination for the Yankees this season.

 

 

Expectations For New York Giants Tight End Evan Engram In 2018

The New York Giants selected tight end Evan Enrgam in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, a pick that was thought to be ludicrous at the time, but proved to be beneficial for an offense that has lacked a true tight end in recent years.

The last time the Giants stepped on the field with consistent confidence in their tight end, was when Jeremy Shockey still bullied linebackers throughout the game. You could throw a bone to Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, but they simply weren’t of the elite caliber.

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With the likes of Engram prowling the seam and exposing mismatches, the Giants can truly say they have a dynamic and versatile option at TE.

In 2017, the rookie hauled in 64 receptions for 722 yards, in addition to six touchdowns.

Here’s a look at Engram’s very first touchdown – where he exposes the seam and marks the beginning of a new era at tight end for the Giants.

There’s evidence that proves Engram can be an elite pass-catching TE in the NFL, despite leading the league in dropped passes (11). Here’s an interesting stat: Overall, 75.8% of Eli Manning’s passes were considered catchable, which ranked fifth in the league.

Of the 571 attempted passes Manning threw, his receivers dropped 45 of them. Let’s imagine they caught all of those balls – Manning’s completion percentage would increase to 69.5% from 61.6% in 2017.

That statistic alone should give you an idea of how detrimental dropped passes were for the Giants last season. Consider this, just based on Engram’s drops alone, Manning would have increased his completion percentage to 63.5%.

Engram’s 2018 expectations:

There’s no doubt that rookie players have their fair share of hiccups, and Engram certainly had his, but he should return in 2018 with a heightened sense of confidence and a refined skill set.

Engram will be looking to develop his blocking technique and cut down on the dropped passes. Part of the reason the rookie tight end dropped so many passes was due to the lack of aid around him. Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard were all injured for some, if not the entire season.

Engram will now have a healthy balance of assistance in the passing game, which should give him better looks and enable him to expose mismatches. Expectations will be raised for the second-year tight end.

Predicted stats:

Receiving yards: 875

Touchdowns: 7