New York Giants: Joe Judge still earning praise from 2019 season as ST coordinator

New York Giants, Joe Judge

When the New York Giants hired Joe Judge, formerly the WR coach and special-teams coordinator for the New England Patriots, they knew they were getting a stud. As co-owner John Mara stated, Judge’s resume spoke for itself, and his interview was one of the best he’d ever conducted.

Judge represents an old-school mentality of football. Smash-mouth, hard-nosed, grinding football. A similar ideology that GM Dave Gettleman brings to the table.

The New York Giants are still watching their new head coach earn accolades from NE:

However, Judge is still winning awards from last season, as he was one of seven assistant coaches to receive a vote for Assistant Coach of the Year. Across the 32 NFL teams, 96 coordinators exist and were eligible to win the award. Baltimore Ravens’ OC Greg Roman eventually won it all, but Judge earning a vote as a special-teams coordinator says something about his brilliance and stature in the league.

As per Giants.com:

Giants head coach Joe Judge was one of only seven assistants to receive at least one vote for this year’s award. Judge served as the special teams coordinator/wide receivers coach for the Patriots this past season. Under his supervision, New England’s special teams earned the seventh-highest ST grade from PFF while ranking first in average starting field position (32.7) as well as opponent starting field position (25.1). On top of that, Judge’s unit was the only one in the league to return two blocked punts for touchdowns in 2019. The Patriots’ coverage unit also did not allow a single punt to be returned for 20 or more yards.

One of the Patriots’ ST touchdowns came against the Giants, which ultimately ended up being a blowout win for the superior team. Judge undoubtedly knows the process ahead of him after seeing Big Blue last season, but only time will tell if he can turn the organization around.

New York Mets: Luis Rojas wants to get Edwin Diaz back on track

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

Luis Rojas, the New York Mets‘ manager, is already showing his commitment to the team. He just returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic to support his second baseman Robinson Cano on a charity event.

Rojas already talked at length with several Mets, including Edwin Diaz. The former All-Star closer came to the team before the 2019 season, but failed miserably and had a 5.59 ERA with lots of blown saves.

One of the Mets’ most important missions for the 2020 season will be saving Edwin Diaz. Rojas, now the leader of the squad, is taking it very seriously. He views the Puerto Rican as a very important piece to get the success he referred to at his introductory conference.

After talking to Diaz, Rojas feels that the fans will see a different pitcher than the one they saw last season. He is confident that things will change, and he said that in an interview with the New York Post.

“I saw Edwin dominating in the beginning and his confidence really high, but then he went through adversity with his stuff as well and being there last year can help me carry over some conversations,’’ Rojas said.

He talked specifically about the meeting they had, and what was discussed in the conversation.

The Mets are monitoring Diaz’ offseason

“I saw Edwin last week and he has worked so hard in Puerto Rico just to get himself in the kind of shape where he can perform from Day 1 and be consistent. The key for him is going to be his game preparation and the stuff he is doing now that will carry over. … Always maintain his confidence. He’s got a great group of guys around him and I think that is something that is going to help him out.

The confidence is a crucial part of the question. For years, folks have been saying that closers need to have a short memory. They need to put the past behind them and focus on the task at hand. The performance of yesterday doesn’t matter. Diaz has work to do physically, mentally, and pitching-wise, but he has the tools to succeed. After all, he was the most dominating relief pitcher in 2018 and had several good seasons before that.

Finally, Rojas praised the New York Mets’ roster. Many players have been active doing pre-camp workouts. “The guys want to get this going. We have a gifted team and that offseason preparation will carry over and I think that will put us in a position to be successful.’’

Why 2020 is Bigger for the Yankees Right Fielder Than Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

Everyone in Yankee land is talking about how all the pressure is on Giancarlo Stanton to show up in 2020. Here’s the thing, Giancarlo doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone during the regular season in 2020. And he was just starting to hit in the ALCS when he got sidelined by that injury. The back of his baseball card suggests that Stanton is going to be fine.

All the pressure really is on Aaron Judge.

He’s Got to Play a Full Season

Since Aaron Judge came up, he’s been injury-prone. Even his Rookie of the Year season was hampered by injury, getting his tooth chipped on Brett Gardner’s spiked helmet, and he had to get surgery on his left shoulder after the season. In 2016, he was shut down after 27 games due to a lat injury, 2018 was his wrist, and then he missed 2 months last season due to another lat injury.

Some say I’m being too hard for including his broken wrist in 2018 as part of his injury history. Well, it doesn’t change the fact that Stanton (including the 18 games played last season) has appeared in more games since 2016 than Aaron Judge.

He’s Still a Strikeout Machine

His Rookie of the Year season was incredible, but not without flaws. On top of leading the league in walks, runs scored, and home runs, Judge lead the league in strikeouts. In fact, in 396 games played in his career, Judge has struck out 543 times. In 2017, 38% of his at-bats ended in strikeouts. It was 37% in 2018 and 2019 as well. Yes, he’s a big guy. Yes, the umps call a lot of low strikes on his 6’7″ frame. It’s on HIM to adjust to this fact. He has to learn to hit lower pitches with greater regularity. By comparison, Mike Trout has a career strikeout rate of 26%. Stanton is at 32%.

He Has to Improve in the Playoffs

The deeper the Yankees get into October, the weaker Aaron Judge becomes offensively. Judge finished the 2017 ALCS with a .250/.357/.708 slash line, 3 home runs, 7 RBI’s, 4 walks, and 11 K’s. Last year, .240/.321/.360 slash line, with 1 home run, 2 RBI’s, 3 walks, 10 K’s, and a .681 OPS. This was after clubbing the Twins in the ALDS, which was a continuation of how he fared against Boston in the 2018 ALDS, after posting a .050 batting average against the Indians in the 2017 ALDS.

It doesn’t matter what you do in the Divisional Series. You have to win the CS to get to the World Series. And the regression Judge had in the CS last year, doesn’t bode well for him if the Yankees make the playoffs.

I understand and fully appreciate just how important Aaron Judge is to the Yankees as a whole. But this man IS our lineup. If he’s not right, the team doesn’t look right. He has to post another full season, the first of several in a row. End of discussion. The back of Stanton’s baseball card suggests that he’ll have a good/okay season in 2020, and then crush it like he’s known to by 2021. He showed with respectable (for a power hitter) numbers that he can produce offensively in 2018.

Judge has yet to show, aside from his 2017 season, that he’s half of what Giancarlo Stanton is. It’s tough for me to write that as a fan of his, but it’s the truth. And we need to accept his very human qualities.

New York Jets: Aldon Smith Is Worth A Flier

New York Jets

Aldon Smith was the 7th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was a prolific pass rusher for the early part of his career. After troubles with the law and suspension from the NFL, Aldon Smith has disappeared from the football world. According to Jay Glazer, Smith is preparing for a comeback and he is sober. Barring reinstatement, Aldon Smith could be worth a shot for the New York Jets. 

Aldon Smith Was REALLY Good

Aldon Smith was a prolific pass rusher for the bulk of his shortened career. In his rookie season, Aldon put up BIG numbers. Smith had 37 tackles, 13 TFLs, 14.0 Sacks, 4 PDs, 2 FF & 1 FR. His game wrecking ability was prominent early and high expectations were exceeded in year 2. Aldon Smith was both an All-Star and a member of the First All-Pro Team in 2012. Smith had 66 tackles, 19.5 Sacks, 18 TFLs, 1 PD, 3 FF, & 1 INT. Smith lit up the stat sheet and was a top defensive player in all of football. However his off the field issues began to be an issue in 2013. After 4.5 sacks in his first 3 games, Smith was arrested for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. Smith went through rehabilitation and returned after missing 5 games. He was in a limited role and ultimately finished the season strong when his role grew back to regular size. He finished the season with 34 tackles, 11 TFLs, 8.5 Sacks, 1 FF & 1 FR. Despite the limited time, his performance was impressive especially after battling back from drug issues. He seemed like a success story but issues worsened. Smith has suspended nine games for substance abuse policy violations. Upon reinstatement, he had 2.0 Sacks, 15 tackles and 4 TFLs. He had a limited role and after more legal issues in the offseason, he was released. After a short and unimpressive run with Oakland, his run came to an end when he has suspended again and at this time has not received reinstatement.

The Jets Could Use Him

According to Jay Glazer Smith is clean and ready to return. The New York Jets are in a situation where they should take as many fliers on inexpensive pass rush solutions as possible. Smith would fit into a Gregg Williams defense and likely have a lot of success. Having only played a few seasons and only being 30, Smith is still in his athletic prime. The Jets could get him on a solid deal and pair him with a free agent acquisition and Tarell Basham and begin to build a solid edge rush. This could be a pipe dream but Aldon Smith would be a great flier for the Jets to take.

New York Yankees: 2 top prospective pitchers to watch during Spring Training

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

Pitchers and catchers report next week and New York Yankees fans can’t wait to see their new player, Gerrit Cole, pitching in a Yankee uniform. Luis Severino and James Paxton also bring excitement to fans as they’re also going to be a big key to the season this year.

Besides the obvious premier pitchers and relievers on the Yankee roster, there are a few prospective pitchers that should get Yankee fans excited as well.

Deivi Garcia

Once believed to be the New York Yankees’ savior when they lacked starting pitcher, Deivi Garcia no longer has that weight on his shoulders after the acquisition of Gerrit Cole. Garcia is one of the top-ranked prospects in the Yankee system and is believed to have a big shot at pitching in the big leagues this season.

Despite some concern with his control, Garcia has shown some serious talent. His best pitch is a high-spin rate curveball that devastates hitters when thrown properly and works his fastball in the mid to upper 90s. Brian Cashman has said that they’re going to take a close look at Garcia during Spring Training and possibly come out of the bullpen for the Yankees.

Albert Abreu

Someone who’s been in the Yankee system since 2017 after being traded from Houston, Albert Abreu might just have his debut season this year. He’ll most likely begin his season in triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders but will have a shot at maybe coming up for a few games.

Abreu has a high-velocity fastball that runs up to 97mph. He flashes a tight curveball and has a high swing-and-miss rate.

New York Knicks trade deadline rumors starting to heat up

New York Knicks, Bobby Portis

The New York Knicks have a lot of trade rumors circulating.  For the most part, it appears that the Knicks are willing to trade everyone except RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

Last night, the Knicks defeated the Cavaliers, 139-134 , to win their second straight game.  However, all the attention was on the players on the trading block.  This was the last game for Mike Miller to showcase the veteran players before the trade deadline.

The deadline is this Thursday at 3pm EST.

NBA Trade Deadline Rumors

D’Angelo Russell

Again, the Knicks have made it clear that everyone is available for a trade except Barrett and Robinson.  The Knicks are linked to D’Angelo Russell.  They’ve, allegedly, offered Bobby Portis, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier and a 2nd second pick.

That is way to much to give up for Russell.  The Warriors didn’t seem to like that package and, allegedly, want Mitchell Robinson added in deal, along with a 1st round pick.  The Knicks should’ve been trying to get the restricted free-agent last summer.  And now, he’s making over 27 million a season.  But, that’s the Knicks for you.  At least, they don’t want to part with their 1st round picks, for now.

Julius Randle 

The Charlotte Hornets have been reported to have interest in Randle.  This comes after the Knicks always seem linked to Malik Monk around the deadline.  ‘Scary’ Terry Rozier has been reported to be in the deal, another point guard to add to the roster.  Rozier is like Randle but at the guard position.

Speaking of point guards, the Knicks have interest in Thunder’s Dennis Schroeder.  The Knicks continue to search for that everyday point guard, which they don’t have.

Marcus Morris and Bobby Portis

The New York Knicks have been trying to get rid of Portis rather than Marcus Morris.  Morris said that he wants to help the young players and be a Knick for the long-term.  However, his trade value has never been higher considering this is his best offensive season.

The Knicks have strong feelings that they would be able to re-sign the free agent Morris this off-season.  However, he’s going to be 31-years old and not getting younger.  The Knicks need to think about how his leadership was this season and consider their options.

With the Knicks off until Thursday night, the team could look very different come 7:30 pm against the Magic.  The Magic have interest in acquiring Dennis Smith Jr., who wants out of New York.  With his strong performance last night, he very well could be on the way.

However, as we all know, this is the Knicks.  There will be all of this noise about trades and nothing will happen or they will do something out of left field that gets fans scratching their heads.

Predicting the New York Mets Starting Rotation

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard, yankees

The New York Mets come into the 2020 season with a pitching staff spearheaded by back-to-back Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. The rest of the rotation following deGrom continues to be one of the best in baseball and puts itself up there with the best in the National League.

The #1: Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom is good at getting hitters out. That is all you need to read.

The #2: Noah Syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard was inconsistent throughout the 2019 season but rejuvenated his Thor persona during the second half of the season. Despite having a 4.28 ERA, highest of his career, he made 30+ starts for the first time since his All-Star season in 2016. In the second half of 2019, he pitched to a 3.82 ERA, and his K per BB ratio was on par with deGrom. Heading into his age-27, Syndergaard can easily become ace 1a with deGrom.

The #3: Marcus Stroman

Whether the antics please you or not, the substance meets the style with Marcus Stroman. When he joined the Mets at the trade deadline in 2019, he did not pitch at his expectations, but the numbers were still solid. He had a 3.77 ERA over 11 starts, and his K/9 increased from his time with Toronto. No longer the ace, like he was in Toronto, Stroman should settle in nicely to the top three the Mets have. Stroman would easily be the best pitcher on a third of the teams in baseball and gives the Mets a high caliber third starter.

The #4: Steven Matz

Steven Matz has always been a compelling case for the Mets. He shows glimpses of brilliance but is never consistent enough to rise up the rotation. During 2019, Matz set career highs in games, innings pitched, and strikeouts. Taking away his nightmare 2017, he has a 3.77 career ERA, which is above average for a fourth starter. Anywhere between his career 3.77 and 2019, 4.21 ERA should be the expectation for him in 2020.

The #5: Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello is coming off a lousy 2019 season, where his home run rate went above one for the third straight season. Throughout his career, he rarely puts together back to back years that resemble each other. For the Mets’ sake, they hope to get a good year out of him. He should have an easier time pitching in the NL East where the DH does not exist along with having the face the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays. If Porcello pitches well enough to get through 180 innings, his production should be in line with what the Mets expect from a fifth starter. The fifth starter becomes a reliever in the playoffs, so any season he had before 2019 would be fine for Porcello, barring injuries to his fellow starters.

New York Mets news: Rojas talks about the team’s direction, important spring training dates and more!

The New York Mets will soon start their spring training activities. Luis Rojas, the manager, talked about where the team is headed and how they are going to approach things.

Here are the New York Mets’ news and links of the day:

NY Post: New Mets manager Luis Rojas talked to Kevin Kernan about his first season at the helm. “Everything is going to be positive,’’ he said. “We have a positive group of guys, tool-wise and skill-wise and personality-wise, so we are going to hit on that a lot. We are going to talk about what we are targeting in spring training.’’

Rojas talked about the direction of the team. “Number one is moving in the same direction,’’ he stated. “We come in from different areas, but we have to move in the same direction. There are some things that we are going to bring up that we are going to have that communication with the guys. Things are going to be specific to the product that we have. A play is going to work because we have Amed Rosario there; a play is going to work because we have Robinson Cano there. We want everything to make sense in the product that we have.’’

Kernan said that everybody in the Mets knows their role, and that Rojas is a “unifier.”

MLB.com: Anthony DiComo, in his latest article, answered several important questions about the Mets heading to spring training. He also identified some key dates.

Baseball Prospectus: Jake Mintz of Baseball Prospectus interviewed baseball man Phil Regan, who coached this winter in the Dominican League (LIDOM.) In the exchange, Regan talks about his origins, the first opportunities he had, and a lot more.

The interview is available to basic subscribers, which means that it can be read for free.

MLB.com: The league’s official website reviewed each team’s closing situation. Of course, when the New York Mets acquired Edwin Diaz before last season started, everybody knew that was going to be his role. After a bad season, that hasn’t changed, but his role isn’t as secure.

The writeup said about Diaz: “In the Mets’ perfect world, Díaz will show up to camp in dominant form and make their decision easy. The team acquired Díaz in December 2018 to be its lockdown closer and still feels he can fill that role despite seven blown saves with a 5.59 ERA in his debut season with the club. (This winter, Díaz spent time working in Puerto Rico with new pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, along with a team of trainers and health professionals.) That said, the Mets aren’t committing to Díaz just yet. Seth Lugo registered six saves late last year and could again be a factor in the ninth, as could free-agent acquisition Dellin Betances. Odds are, all three will notch saves at various points this season, even if Díaz earns the lion’s share of chances.”

Former New York Giants quarterback says Daniel Jones struggled processing information in 2019

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

When the New York Giants initially drafted Daniel Jones in 2019, the plan was to enable his development behind Eli Manning, while the veteran passer carried out his final campaign in the NFL.

After Manning lost the first two games of the season, former head coach Pat Shurmur didn’t hesitate to swap in Jones, who subsequently won his first two starts, bringing the team to a 2-2 record. While he started his young career strong, the Giants failed to build upon their 2018 season. The defense was stale, young, and unable to lock down opposing teams in the fourth quarter, forcing Jones to sacrifice his body to keep his team in the game.

Despite his success, former quarterback Kurt Warner noticed plenty of negatives regarding Jones’ development and performance in 2019, stating:

“His ability to see the field and process information,” Warner told NJ Advance Media when asked the area Jones must show the most improvement in. “There were a lot of times, it seemed like it was tough for him to see, process information, and react to it. That’s what you see with a lot of young quarterbacks. It’s really hard to practice that. That’s where he needs to make the biggest strides.”

Daniel Jones had his fair share of struggles, but the New York Giants struck gold:

While Warner undoubtedly has a lot more knowledge on the quarterback position than the average Joe, it’s fair to mention Jones’ positive qualities. Adapting to an NFL-style offense requires time, and factor in the injuries to his play-makers, and we can justify his confusion at times.

Playing alongside third-string wide receivers can often cause miscommunications and confusion. Warner did advocate for Jones as a franchise passer, which is all we ever wanted to hear at the end of the day.

“I liked a lot of what Daniel did,” Warner said. “He had a lot of ups and downs. He had some moments where you got really excited, and as much of anything, you hope you see games or moments where you go ‘ahh, I think this guy’s got it, that was definitely the right pick,’ and we definitely saw that with Daniel Jones.”

New York Yankees talk back: Gerrit Cole ranked 3rd best pitcher in MLB – do you agree?

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

MLB Network uses a tool called “The Shredder” to determine the rankings of starting pitchers for the upcoming season, and this time around, New York Yankees newly signed ace, Gerrit Cole, landed in the No. 3 overall spot.

The top three are as follows:

1.) Jacob deGrom

2.) Justin Verlander

3.) Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees can’t catch a projections break:

While some might agree with these rankings, I believe Cole should be rated ahead of Verlander, if not just overtaking deGrom for the top spot. However, deGrom is a worthy competitor and should be rated neck-and-neck with the $324 million-dollar man.

Cole, who earned career-highs in strikeouts (326) and ERA (2.50) in 2019, will enter his first season with the Yankees at 29-years-old. His AL-best 2.64 FIP and MLB-best 13.8 K/9 indicates further dominance, and “The Shredder” projects him to earn a 14-6 record, 3.24 ERA, 1.065 WHIP, and 247:53 K:BB ratio across 186 innings.

With the return of Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar in 2020, 14-wins seems a bit conservative, especially since the Bombers reached 103-wins last season. Cole is their ace, with Luis Severino and James Paxton filling the No. 2-3 spots, but the projections imposed on the new addition might be affected by Yankee Stadium, a place where pitchers often need time to adapt to.

My primary question here is: Why is Justin Verlander in second place?

At 37-years-old, it’s questionable to place him ahead of Cole, who’s almost a decade younger. Baseball-Reference projects Verlander to earn a 15-7 record, 3.12 ERA, 0.995 WHIP, and 238:37 K:BB ratio across 193 innings. Interestingly, Verlander ranked at the No. 5 pitcher in the league ahead of the 2019 season, and his massive jump this year is directly correlated to a second-consecutive World Series appearance.

With the Bombers boasting one of the best hitting orders in the league, the run support they will offer Cole will be significant, making the six losses a bit unrealistic. His improvement over the last two seasons should indicate a trend, as his ERA dropped from 2.88 in 2018 to 2.50 in 2019. If he continues this movement, the projections will be far off.

Comment below if you think Cole should be rated higher or lower in these projections!