New York Giants: Joe Judge Praised By Free Agent Kyle Van Noy

New York Giants, Kyle Van Noy

The New York Giants have their head coach, have their staff, and are soon going to enter the draft and free agency looking to load up on talent and fill some of the holes in the team that were responsible for the poor record over the past couple of seasons. It’s perhaps the most anticipated thing for the Giants in the past year or so – with the 2019 season going off the rails quickly, most turned their attention to the 2020 offseason after losing hope.

One position that the Giants may end up upgrading is linebacker, and if they do make such a move, one of their available options may be free agent Patriots defensive end slash outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a two time Super Bowl winner who has some positive views of the current Giants head coach, Joe Judge.

“He’s a ball of energy. If he can take his energy he has and consistently, each and every day, line it up with that positive energy and not go, ‘Woo woo,’ all over the place, I think they’re going to be really, really good because he’s a really good coach,” Van Noy said to the Pat McAfee Show. He joins a number of others to praise the hire, notably including figures from Judge’s stints in New England under Bill Belichick and Alabama under Nick Saban.

“I’m excited for him with the Giants. Go Giants, right?” Van Noy added.

Those aren’t necessarily empty words, as there’s a legitimate chance that we see Van Noy come to the Giants in free agency this season. As it stands such a move could put him in competition with Lorezno Carter and Kareem Martin – a competition that Giants fans likely wouldn’t complain about considering the problems with the linebacker spot over the past couple of years.

Will a deal happen? Maybe or maybe not, but it’s a good sign so far that players appear willing to play for new head coach Joe Judge despite his unproven nature.

New York Yankees 2020 Season Preview: Gerrit Cole

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees made the signing of the offseason when they were able to land Gerrit Cole on a nine-year, $324 million deal. Cole came off a historic 2019 season, hungry for more in 2020.

Despite growing up in California, Cole was always a Yankee fan. He was drafted in the first round by the Yankees in 2008 but chose to go to school instead.

The now 29-year-old was the first overall pick of the 2011 MLB draft out of UCLA by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Two years later, he made his MLB debut against the San Francisco Giants.

He was traded to the Astros before the 2018 season and had two great years there. In 2019, he was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA over 33 starts. He struck out 326 in 212.1 innings with a 0.895 WHIP. Cole never lost a game after May 22nd.

2020 Expectations

The Yankees spent all that money on Gerrit Cole with the expectation that he will be great. They are expecting a season similar to 2019 or better. His signing is a high risk, high reward situation.

If there’s one thing that he could try to improve on, it’s his early-season struggles. That’s something that slowed him down a bit last year, and the reason why his ERA is higher then his performance showed.

If he can try and get his ERA down to 2.25, that’d be great. That’s where his ERA would’ve been if it wasn’t for April and May struggles.

He needs to continue to do his thing, and that’s striking guys out. It would be great if he and Gary Sanchez could bond all spring, so that could help their communication and benefit each other on the field.

Gerrit Cole is poised for a great first season with his new team, the New York Yankees.

 

New York Yankees disrespected by ESPN lineup projection

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

There’s little evidence the New York Yankees‘ hitting order should be any lower than second in overall projections leading up to the start of the 2020 campaign.

ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle projected the top MLB Lineups this past week, and of course, they covered the eyes of regular fans by hiding the standings behind a paywall where nobody can see the abysmal place of the Yankees. He projected the Bombers as the 9th overall best lineup in 2020, which, to those with a fraction of a brain, would say is nonsense.

This was the list leading up to the New York Yankees:

  1. Astros
  2. Dodgers
  3. Mets
  4. Angels
  5. Cubs
  6. Athletics
  7. Braves
  8. Red Sox
  9. Yankees

Wait, the Mets have a better hitting order than the Yankees, who have one of the most intimidating top-four batters in baseball. Starting with DJ LeMahieu, then Aaron Judge, on to Gleyber Torres, and finishing with Giancarlo Stanton, the four combined for over 100 homers in 2019, and two of the players on the list missed significant time, or barely played at all.

The Yankees have adopted a home-run centric mentality towards their hitters, which has helped in run production and overall efficiency with runners on base. Increasing launch angle by tweaking fundamentals has made hitters like Gio Urshela dangerous in the batter’s box.

Considering the Bombers won 103-games in 2019, it’s fair to assume they will topple that mark in 2020 with the return of a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar. Of course, it’s impossible to guarantee anything, but spending $324 million on Gerrit Cole and returning a relatively healthy group should indicate an uptick in production and efficiency.

The statistical factors that Doolittle considers range from contact to speed — here’s the full list of factors he used to compile the list:

“Each team’s ranking is listed for the following categories: contact (strikeout percentage); patience (walk percentage); power (isolated power, i.e., slugging percentage minus batting average); speed (based on a statistical speed score, not actual measured foot speed via Statcast), and balance (how well a lineup matches up against both lefties and righties). All numbers mentioned in this piece have been converted to a park-neutral context.”

If you’re going to utilize these metrics to determine the strength of the batting order, it should consider many other factors, including timely home-runs with runners on base, and the return of players who missed time in 2019. I believe the Yankees are far better than this list indicates, for apparent reasons.

New York Yankees: Believe in Luke Voit

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

It’s funny to me how a lot of people aren’t talking about New York Yankees’ first baseman, Luke Voit, heading into the 2020 season. Some people are even suggesting that there is a first base competition with him and Mike Ford. I’ve even seen a bunch of people make the argument that the Yankees should go acquire a lefty to play first or go after a guy like Josh Bell who is a switch hitter. For the life of me, I cannot think of why some folks have seemed to sour on Luke Voit. Yes, Voit didn’t end up on the ALCS roster, but that was strictly due to the injuries that had hampered Voit the second half of 2019. Prior to the core injury in 2019, you could make the argument that Luke Voit was the best hitter the Yankees had.

Luke Voit sustained an injury during the London series at the end of June, but prior to that, Voit was having a tremendous season. At the time of his injury, he was on pace to hit .280 and have 30+ HRs and about 90 RBIs. Luke Voit came out of nowhere in 2018 after he was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for reliever Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos. In just 39 games, Voit hit .333 and had 14 HRs and drove home 33 RBIs. Voit was absolutely incredible and reminded some folks of 2016 Gary Sanchez with the way he was swinging the bat. After the season, many Yankees fans were questioning if Voit was legit or did he just have one of those magical runs.

Well, Voit answered those doubters in the first have of the 2019 season. Voit obviously wasn’t hitting at the same clip that he was in 2018, but he was very productive and was someone all New York Yankees fans should want to see at first base moving forward. Yes, the glove is not the best. That is the one area that he really needs to continue to work on over the next couple of seasons. -10 runs saved in 2019 is not something you want to see at first, but hopefully, he can improve his glove at first the same way that Gary Sanchez has at catcher. The offensive production is going to be there so if he can just become an average defender, he’s going to be one of the better first basemen in all of baseball. One thing is for sure, Luke Voit is going to put the work in to be the best player that he can be, and I think all Yankee fans should be expecting big things from Voit in 2020.

Edge Rusher Still a Priority as Giants Enter Offseason

New York Giants, Markus Golden

The New York Giants head into the offseason with a load of question and quite a bit of needs. They recorded only 36 sacks in 2019, 22nd in the NFL, and will be looking for pas rushing help in both free agency and the NFL Draft.

Other positions such as cornerback and offensive tackle are also on the list according to the folks at Pro Football Focus:

NEW YORK GIANTS: A RELIABLE EDGE RUSHER

Secondary needs: cornerback, offensive tackle

With the fourth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Giants aren’t likely to win the Chase Young sweepstakes. But Young or no Young, they need a reliable pass-rushing option off the edge. Markus Golden impressed with a double-digit sack total this season, but he enters free agency with a PFF pass-rushing grade of 63.0 that indicates he wasn’t as strong there as his sack total would suggest. The Giants will be in the hunt for edge defenders across free agency and the draft — either to play alongside Golden or replace his production from this season.

 

The Giants should also be on the lookout for cornerback help after the recently drafted cornerbacks they ran out there this season failed to produce. DeAndre Baker, Grant Haley, Corey Ballentine and Sam Beal were all drafted within the last two seasons, and they all failed to produce a 60.0 coverage grade, while all four also allowed a passer rating of at least 100.0 into their coverage. Along with looking for improvements to a tackle duo of Mike Remmers and Nate Solder that allowed more combined pressures than any pair in the NFL, the Giants should look to the secondary this offseason.

 

The Giants had 12 different players record sacks in 2019 led by Golden’s 10 and 4.5 each from Lorenzo Carter and rookie Oshane Ximines. It wasn’t enough, and now with Golden possibly leaving via free agency, the push will be on to find a replacement or replacements.

They won’t get Young, barring something unforeseen, so they may have to turn their focus to a player at another position. in the first round.

I’m going to blame the poor secondary play on coaching. The Giants played a passive style of football under defensive coordinator James Bettcher, which allowed opponents to carve them up with ease. This year with Joe Judge in charge, they’ll be no free lunch for opposing quarterbacks and receivers.

No question the Giants will be looking at several offensive tackles in the first round of the draft. Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills of Alabama, Louisville’s Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs of Iowa will four players that should be on the board when the Giants select at No. 4 overall.

New York Mets: David Peterson is a potential impact arm for 2020

New York Mets

The New York Mets have enviable depth in their starting rotation. They have the unquestioned ace in Jacob deGrom. They have the high-upside number two in Noah Syndergaard. Marcus Stroman is the rock-solid number three, and for the last two spots, the team will have a competition between Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Steven Matz.

That’s six arms right there. Nowadays, MLB teams need between 8-10 arms capable of starting games adequately to navigate a season. They have to fend off fatigue, injuries, transactions, suspensions and unexpected struggles.

Fortunately, behind those six, the Mets have a very good prospect that, if things break right, might be ready to contribute in the summer. His name is David Peterson.

MLB Pipeline ranked the lefty as the seventh-best Mets prospect last season. They identify his fastball as “average in terms of velocity, as he’ll sit at 89-91 mph and touch 93,” but also praise other traits: “Few starters in the Minors can sink and command the fastball as well as he does. He combines his heater with an above-average slider that nets him whiffs as an out pitch, while his changeup, which flashes above-average, gives him a weapon against right-handed hitters. He fills out his four-pitch mix with a fringy curveball that he can throw for a strike.”

A great skillset at the Mets’ service

In other words, Peterson does not have overpowering stuff, which limits his ceiling and prevents it to reach ace upside. However, his fastball command, overall control (2.87 BB/9 in Double-A last season) and ability to get grounders (52.6 GB% in 2019) augment his floor.

The 2019 was a very positive one for the Mets prospect. He was 3-6 in 24 starts, hurling 116.0 frames. His 9.47 K/9 was an improvement of his career norm.

One of the most attractive things in Peterson’s profile is his ability to limit the long ball. The Mets could certainly use that. In his 116.0 innings, he allowed only nine home runs, or 0.70 HR/9. That’s elite and is backed by past performance.

His 3.19 FIP is a better indicator of his talent than his 4.19 ERA. Remember that minor league defenses aren’t very good and that is reflected in the numbers.

Peterson will start the season in Triple-A. However, if he shines there like he did in Double-A, Class A-Advanced and Class-A, he will could find himself helping the New York Mets secure a postseason spot by August or September.

New York Yankees History: Babe Ruth, the man behind the legend!

New York Yankees, Babe Ruth
 
George Herman “Babe” Ruth, born in 1895, is the greatest baseball player to have ever to play the game. He would go on to hit 714 home runs, 2,213 RBI’s, over 2,000 bases on balls, with a slugging percentage of .690 and an OPS of 1.164, two records that still stand today. He was not only a great baseball player but still, today, stands as one of America’s greatest sports icons in American culture.

Ruth’s beginnings:

So goes the story of the real Babe Ruth that few may know of. Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland. With his father working long hours in his saloon and his mother often in poor health, Little George (as he was known) spent his days unsupervised on the waterfront streets and docks, committing petty theft and vandalism. Hanging out in his father’s bar, he stole money from the till drained the last drops from old beer glasses, and developed a taste for chewing tobacco. He was only six years old.
Most biographies of Ruth say: Having been declared incorrigible at the age of seven by the Baltimore courts, his parents sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School. After a month passed, they brought him back home to see if he had changed, and reconciliation could have been achieved, he hadn’t, and it would lead to several attempts by his parents. That is only partially true, the truth is that his parents had a very ugly divorce. His mother left leaving his father George Sr. with young George, a boy he did not want to deal with, he sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School. His father would later die in a family fight at one of his saloons. During the fight, George Sr. would be thrown out the front door and would hit his head on a curb and die from a fractured skull.
In 1904, at the age of nine, Ruth would meet the Roman Catholic Brother Matthias at St. Mary’s. Later in life when asked about Brother Matthias, Ruth would say. He changed my life, “He taught me to read and write and he taught me the difference between right and wrong, He was the father I needed and the greatest man I’ve ever known.” Ruth would end up living his young life at the school until the age of eighteen. During that time his mentor would throw balls at the boys to catch. Young George was thrilled to catch and throw the ball. He imitated the Brother’s hitting style, holding the bat at the knob and taking big swings. As he grew older he began to actually play baseball at St. Mary’s. In one of St. Mary’s games in 1913, Ruth, then 18 years old, caught, played third base (even though he threw left-handed), and pitched, striking out six men, and collecting a double, a triple, and a home run.

Ruths start in baseball:

That summer, he was allowed to pitch with local amateur and semipro teams on weekends. Impressed with his play a Baltimore scout Jack Dunn signed Ruth to his minor-league Baltimore Orioles club the following February. The Orioles short on money sold the young Ruth to the Boston Red Sox. Just five months after leaving his home at St Mary’s, he was on the mound for his major league debut at Fenway Park. He won that game 4-3 but lost his second game. Ruth was benched and finally sent down to the minors. Ruth returned to Boston for the final week of the 1914 season. On October 2, he pitched a complete-game victory over the Yankees and doubled for his first major-league hit.
During the offseason, the Babe married his girlfriend and Boston waitress Helen Woodford. In the following season, he shined for the Sox, winning three complete games in a span of nine days in June. Between June 1 and September 2, Ruth was 13-1 and ended the season 18-8. The personality of the younger Ruth began to show it’s head as he caroused at night and began to argue with umpires. In one game feeling squeezed by home plate umpire Brick Owens, Ruth stormed off the mound and punched Owens in the head. He had to pay a $100 fine ($1,600 in today’s money) and had to endure 10-day suspension. In that game, he combined for a no-hitter even though he didn’t strike out a hitter. He only pitched to two hitters, the first he walked, then came the Owens altercation. After which Ruth was thrown out, his replacement, Ernie Shore, retired the next 26 batters in order. In his six seasons with Boston, he won 89 games and recorded a 2.19 ERA. He had a four-year stretch where he was second in the AL in wins and ERA behind Walter Johnson, and Ruth had a winning record against Johnson in head-to-head matchups. But also during the time, he fought with management and was as a headache. His continued outright refusal to adhere to the team’s curfew earned him several suspensions and his non-stop salary demands infuriated owner Frazee.

The big sale:

Just after New Year’s 1920, the worst deal in Major League history would be made. The Boston Red Sox would sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000. Frazee would comment that Ruth was one of the most selfish and inconsiderate men that ever wore a baseball uniform. He also said Ruth ate and drank excessively, frequented prostitutes, and had been involved in several car accidents. He was jailed for speeding twice in Manhattan in the same month and sentenced to spend the rest of the day in jail. Released 45 minutes after the start of that day’s game, Ruth put on his Yankee uniform underneath his suit and sped off with a motorcycle escort in time to play for the Yankees. It would have surprised no one if, for whatever reason, Ruth was out of baseball in a year or two. It was a gamble that the Yankees were willing to take.
Jane Leavy, in her recent best selling biography of Ruth, stated that he spent his entire life gorging on beer and hot dogs. She gave the fact that he was allowed meat only once a week at his St. Mary’s reform school as the reason. That meat was always hot dogs. He was even noted for eating hot dogs during games throughout his career.
According to Marty Appel in his history of the Yankees, the transaction, “changed the fortunes of two high-profile franchises for decades”. The Red Sox, winners of five of the first sixteen World Series, those played between 1903 and 1919, would not win another pennant until 1946, or another World Series until 2004, a drought attributed in baseball superstition to Frazee’s sale of Ruth and is sometimes dubbed the “Curse of the Bambino”. The Yankees, on the other hand, had not won the AL championship prior to their acquisition of Ruth. They won seven AL pennants and four World Series with Ruth and led baseball with 40 pennants and 27 World Series titles in their history. Previous to the sale, the Babe would start his transition from being a pitcher to being a hitter. In 1919 he pitched in 17 games and hit in 130 games.

Ruth would be cheated:

In 1920, the Curtis Candy company launched its new Baby Ruth 5 cent candy bar. It was nothing new it was their old Kandy Kake bar with a new wrapper taking advantage of Baby Ruth’s fame. The candy bar was a staple and led in sales for the company for the next 70 years. The Curtis Candy company was eventually sold to the Nabisco company and then to the present owner, Ferrara Candy company who still earns money off the Ruth name. Back in the day, there were not the protections in place that there are today. Ruth sued the Curtis Company but lost his suit as the company attributed the name to President Cleveland’s dead daughter. Ruth would never see a penny from the candy bar that bore his name.
In 1920 Ruth led the league with 54 home runs, 158 runs, and 137 runs batted in (RBIs) for the Yankees. Ruth’s arrival in New York began a stretch of offensive dominance the game will likely never see again. In the 12 seasons between 1920 and 1931, Ruth led the AL in slugging 11 times, home runs ten times, walks nine times, on-base percentage eight times, and runs scored seven times. His batting average topped .350 eight times. In exactly half of those 12 seasons, he batted over .370. Ruth’s effect on the national game was nothing short of revolutionary. Leigh Montville, the author of The Big Bam, wrote that Ruth’s teammates reacted with the same sense of wonder like everyone else in America. “They never had seen anything like it. The game they had learned, was being changed in front of their faces.

Ruth the fighter:

On May 25, he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double and, furious at the call, threw dirt in umpire George Hildebrand’s face. On his way towards the dugout, he spied a heckler and jumped into the stands, ready to fight. The fan ran away, and Ruth ended up standing on the dugout roof, screaming, “Come on down and fight! Anyone who wants to fight, come down on the field!” Ruth was fined $200 and was replaced as captain by shortstop Everett Scott. In mid-June, for his part in an obscenity-laced tirade against umpire Bill Dinneen, he was suspended for three games. When Ruth got the news the following day, he challenged Dinneen to a fistfight, and his suspension was increased to 5 games. In 1923 in their ballpark, directly across the Harlem River in the borough of the Bronx, Yankee Stadium was dubbed the House That Ruth Built, but with its short right-field porch, a more appropriate title might be the House Built for Ruth.
Babe returned to his battering ways with a vengeance. He hit .393. The Yankees won the World Series. Ruth won his only batting title in 1924, easily topping the AL at .378. Between 1923 and 1925, Ruth’s hard life was starting to take its toll. He collapsed several times and would be hospitalized several times. He had convulsions and had surgery. Many of his teammates intimated that his illnesses were all caused by his alcoholism. Ruth, by his point, had reached 260 pounds. Ruth spent part of the offseason of 1925–26 working out at a gym, where he got back into shape.
In 1926, in Game Four of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Ruth belted three home runs. It was the first time he had ever hit three in one game, and it was the first time that it had been done in a World Series game. But in the deciding game 7, Ruth was caught stealing; it was the out that ended the game and the series for the Yankees. The 1927 Yankees were often talked about as the greatest team in baseball history. New York finished with a 110-44 record, winning the league by a whopping 19 games and sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. They scored 976 runs, 131 more than second-best Detroit Tigers. But in 1927 Lou Gehrig out hit Ruth .373-.356, he led the major leagues in doubles, RBIs, and total bases and was second in the American League in triples, home runs, hits, and batting average.
In 1928 the Yankees were not quite as good but still got the AL pennant. The Yankees swept the Cardinals that year, and Ruth hit 54 home runs on the year. During this time the Yankees were known as Murderers’ Row because of the power of its lineup, In January 1929, Babe’s first (estranged) wife, Helen, died in a house fire in Watertown, Massachusetts. It was reported that Ruth wept uncontrollably. Babe married Claire Hodgson on April 17th just four months later. The following day, the Yankees, with numbers on the back of their uniforms for the first time, opened the season against the Red Sox. Babe, wearing his new #3, whacked a first-inning home run to left field and doffed his cap to Claire as he rounded the bases. On August 11 in Cleveland, Ruth hit the 500th home run of his career.

Ruth’s fraudulent job change:

At the end of the 1929 season, Yankee manager Miller Huggins passed away, and Ruth applied for the job but was never seriously considered for it. By the end of June 1930, Ruth was ahead of his 60-homer pace of 1927, but injuries slowed him down, and he finished with 49. In 1931, at age 36, Ruth had one of his finest seasons. He hit .373/.495/.700, with 46 home runs, 162 RBIs, 128 walks, and 149 runs scored. The Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series, giving them wins in 12 straight World Series games. For the previous few years, Ruth’s hard living and injuries were catching up with him. In 1934 due to his declining health and stats, Yankee’s owner Ruppert gave Ruth a pay cut of 50%. Ruth accepted knowing his 20-year career was coming to an end. On July 13, against the Detroit Tigers, Ruth would hit his 700th home run.
Ruth had always wanted to be a manager, so Yankees manager Ruppert worked out a secret deal with the Boston Braves manager to offer Ruth a contract that would include the titles of Assistant Manager and Vice President. When Ruth would present the deal to the Yankees owner, he said he wouldn’t stand Ruth’s way, so Ruppert’s trick worked. In 1935 with the Braves, Ruth would play in only 28 games batting .181. Ruth did get the final six home runs of his career that year. Ruth is the only major leaguer to pitch in at least ten seasons and have a winning record in all of them. Ruth had winning records in 10 seasons: 1914-1921, 1930 and 1933. Andy Pettitte now holds the record at 13 seasons (1995-2007). Ruth concluded he was finished even as a part-time player. As early as May 12, he asked Fuchs to let him retire; Ruth retired on June 2 after an argument with Fuchs.

Life after retirement:

In the years after his retirement, Ruth would make appearances both paid and for charity. He would schmooze with fans and sign autographs. On September 30, 1945, baseball superstar Babe Ruth delighted 2,500 fans in Hartford, Connecticut, by participating in an exhibition game between two local semi-pro teams: the Savitt Gems of Hartford and the New Britain Codys. On that morning, the Hartford Courant breathlessly announced that “the greatest attraction ever known in baseball and the home run king of all time, Babe Ruth,” was scheduled to appear “in person” at Bulkeley Stadium in Hartford. He was to “give a demonstration of hitting the ball over the fence” before pinch-hitting for the Savitt Gems.
That afternoon, wearing a brand-new Gems jersey with a bright red baseball cap and matching stockings, the 51-year-old Ruth managed to hit off a handful of home runs before the game, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. His game-time performance, however, resulted in a few unexciting balls and strikes while at-bat. Later he would tell reporters, “Some days the pitches look like watermelons and other days like peanuts.” No one would know it at the time, but it would be the last time Ruth would ever wear a baseball uniform. A few months later, he was diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer in 1946 and died from the disease in 1948. A living legend took the plate for the last time in front of thousands of adoring fans that September in Connecticut history.
What few know about Ruth is that despite his drinking and his other personality problems, the Babe was an inherently kind man who never forgot from where he came. During his prime in baseball, he frequently would visit orphanages to hang out with the boys, to tell stories, to play ball with them and take some of them on field trips. At games, at the Stadium, and around baseball, he would always sign autographs and stand for photos, especially with children. Ruth loved children. In 1947 when he was dying from cancer, that Christmas, he met with children in Santa garb, listening to them and giving them gifts. Far before it was acceptable to engage with black ballplayers, Ruth was an advocate.

Ruth’s many accolades:

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of the first to ever be chosen. In November of 2018, Babe Ruth was awarded The Medal of Freedom, which is considered the nation’s highest civilian honor by President Trump. His Grandson Tom Stevens accepted the award for Ruth. Trump said in an extended riff about the trade from Boston that brought Babe Ruth to the Yankees. “People don’t know that Babe Ruth was one of the best pitchers. He still has records today,” Trump said. “In 1920, he started with the New York Yankees. And I have heard for many years, what’s the worst trade in the history of sports? Babe Ruth, a 19-year-old pitcher, for $100,000, and a 35-year-old third baseman. That was not a good trade. Who was out of baseball the following season? That was not good. Of course, $100,000 is probably like $25 million today, but it was still a lousy deal.”
Micheal Gibbons, the director emeritus and historian at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore, said: “He became the brand of America.” Jane Leavy, the author of “The Big Fella,” said it best when she said: “He carried this country on his back during the Great Depression.” Babe Ruth will always be remembered as the best baseball player ever to play the game. Hopefully, my biography has enlighted you as to who the real man was behind the legend.
EmpireSportsMedia.com columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

New York Giants: Deciding between Chase Young and Isaiah Simmons

New York Giants, Isaiah Simmons, Chase Young

Recent reports have suggested that the Washington Redskins may trade back to a quarterback-needy team in an effort to gain draft capital to help expedite their rebuild. In addition, Tua Tagovailoa’s agent has been petitioning for a team like the Detroit Lions to draft him so that he can benefit from a year of sitting behind an established NFL quarterback.

If Chase Young and Isaiah Simmons are both miraculously available when the Giants select, who should they choose?

If both of these situations occur and the top three selections in the draft are all quarterbacks, the Giants would be in the enviable position of selecting between dominant edge rusher Chase Young of Ohio State University and highly versatile linebacker Isaiah Simmons of Clemson University.

While both players are supremely talented game-changing defenders, they would both bring completely different skill sets to the New York Giants. A scenario where the Giants were forced to choose between the two of them would force the team to determine which is a better fit for their new defensive scheme.

Chase Young is an edge rusher who is the ideal defensive end in a 4-3 defensive scheme or potentially an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. However, possessing an incredibly high football IQ, Young is capable of lining up at various positions on the field, including as an interior defensive lineman, when needed.

An elite athlete, who has the long muscular frame that looks every bit the part of a top-notch pass rusher in the NFL, Young uses his powerful physique to bring a physicality to his pass-rushing ability that allows him to dominate his opponents.

At 6’5″ and 265-pounds, Young is a physical freak. He is adept at utilizing his strong handwork to grab, punch, and stun opposing offensive linemen. Young has a dominant first step and an arsenal that includes a plethora of different pass-rushing moves and counter moves that allows him to get to the quarterback with ease.

Athletic enough to drop back into coverage when needed, Young is also excellent at containing his opponent’s run game. However, his elite pass-rushing skills are what his game is predicated around. Young is such a menace to opposing teams that he could often be seen drawing double and triple-team coverage from opponents while playing at Ohio State.

Meanwhile, Isaiah Simmons has been called a “unicorn on defense” by a number of analysts. This is due to the insane athletic ability he possesses, which has allowed him to become one of the most versatile defensive players ever to enter the NFL draft.

Despite a large 6’4″ and 240-pound frame, Simmons was athletic enough to split time at linebacker, safety, cornerback and on the defensive line. Incredibly, he excelled at all positions on the field.

This year at Clemson, Simmons played 14% of the time on the defensive line, 18% at safety, 32% at linebacker, and an incredible 36% of the time at cornerback. That kind of versatility makes defensive coordinators salivate at the plethora of options that a player of the caliber of Simmons allows for in defensive playcalling.

With speed that rivals that of his former college teammate and running back Travis Etienne, coverage skills that are on par with an elite cornerback, an innate ability to blitz with high efficiency and the propensity to make bone-jarring tackles regularly, Simmons is a unique defensive player that the league has never seen the likes of before.

With both players bringing elite game-changing talents to the NFL if presented with the unique option of selecting between Chase Young and Isaiah Simmons, who should the Giants select?

While aware of the fact that elite pass rushers are an integral part of the defense, rushing the quarterback and making the lives of defensive players who are in coverage that much easier, it is difficult to ignore the options that a versatile player like Simmons could bring to a defense.

With new Giants defensive coordinator utilizing a defensive scheme that is a hybrid combination of a 3-4 and a 4-3 defensive schemes, that leans heavier towards a base 3-4, it becomes easier to make a case for Simmons because Young projects better as a 4-3 defensive end than an outside linebacker and due to the fact that Simmons, could line up all over the field in exotic blitz packages.

Either way, if the Giants are miraculously presented with the opportunity to choose between the two players, they really cannot go wrong. Both players have the unique ability to single-handedly transform the face of a defense. Having the choice between the two players would undoubtedly present the Giants would a very difficult decision, one they would certainly embrace.

 

 

Should the New York Mets Go for Kris Bryant?

The New York Mets are in on the sweepstakes for Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Let’s face it, the New York Mets AND the rest of baseball is in on the Kris Bryant sweepstakes. But should the Mets pull the trigger on a trade for the former World Series champion and former NL MVP?

Space is Already Tight on the Roster

Jed Lowrie is coming back from injury. Then you got JD Davis and Jeff McNeil also duking it out for the spot at third base. Lowrie is expected to get enough reps in Spring Training to be the starting third baseman next year, meaning you have to figure out where to find playing time for McNeil and Davis, both offensive forces in the lineup last season. Davis and McNeil will undoubtedly find time at other positions, as they did last season as well. But will you trade Bryant just to have him, platoon, with the older Lowrie?

The Mets Won’t Make the Trade Based on Marte Trade

The Cubs will make offers similar to what the Pirates asked for Marte. Bryant has better numbers and a better future than Marte does. Marte is on the wrong side of 30, and Bryant is just entering his prime as a player. Trading away key players like McNeil and Davis for Bryant, on top of prospects, just to make room for Bryant, is a terrible gamble for the Mets to make. Bryant is the third baseman by trade, who the Cubs have given starts to in the outfield. The only sensible thing for the Mets to do would be to start the man at third. Should injury befall the Mets at places McNeil and Davis could fill in, and they trade both for Bryant, then the Mets have shot themselves in the foot.

I, honestly, would pass on Bryant for now until next season. And I think Van Wagenen will do the same as well.

Former New York Giants star running back praises Joe Judge

New York Giants, Tiki Barber

The New York Giants hired Joe Judge, formerly of the New England Patriots, to be their head coach for several essential reasons. First, he brings an insight tailored to success and fundamentals. The hard-nosed style of football Judge expects to bring to New York matches up precisely with what GM Dave Gettleman views in terms of team-image.

Second, his evaluation process will be detailed and specific, finding which players can feature at different positions and maximize value across the board. However, his love for football might be the most exciting aspect of Judge, who lives and breathes the sport.

Former Giants running back, Tiki Barber, had only good things to say about Judge, as per SB Nation:

“You know, I’m excited for the steps they’re taking. I don’t know Joe Judge…but when you look at him and how he holds himself and how he carries himself and the things that he says, it gives you that belief that there is that focus on detail that coach Coughlin obviously espoused. The details and toughness.”

“And then the staff he built, I love,” said Barber. “I’m biased because Jason Garrett is a friend of mine, but I think he’s a great offensive mind and he’s brought in a lot of experience. Not necessarily pro head coaches but people who have experience in leadership positions, and that’s going to help this team.

 

“The talent is there,” added Barber, speaking on the Giants roster. “Obviously there’s some deficiencies but the talent is there. They just need to start executing and focusing on those details.”

The New York Giants took all precautions with the coaching staff:

Barber hits on an important question — is Judge ready to be a head coach? That’s where Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens enter the mix, as their leadership experience will help Judge adapt to the role. It will also ease the burden of managing the entire team when you have capable coaches at each unit who can hold their own.

If Barber is right about Judge, the Giants will be in a good spot moving forward, but it ultimately boils down to the players they bring in this offseason.