New York Giants: Joe Judge On Lessons Learned From Belichick And Saban

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants have a young head coach, but they don’t exactly have an unqualified one. Joe Judge took the helm in a move that surprised many, and had a lot of fans searching to find out just who this young former Patriots assistant actually is, and it’s hard to blame fans for that – while practically all of the names in the coaching search had experience as head coaches or as offensive or defensive coordinators, Judge comes in with a track record as neither one of those things.

But Judge does have a couple of things that likely played into the Giants hiring him despite coming from the background of a special teams coordinator rather than a head coach or an OC or DC. For one, Judge is from the coaching tree of not one but two of the most prestigious names in football, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. He’s earned praise from both of them, who believe he’s ready for a head coaching role, and that experience also brings lessons with it.

“I’d say the big picture things I’ve learned throughout these guys is first off, the work ethic has to start at the top, you’ve got to set the tone for the building. Those are two men that definitely did that when I worked with them and they set the tone for the staff under them,” Judge told MSG.

So far, Judge has gotten praise from multiple players and coaches who have worked with him, and one of the things praised has been his energy – which will likely help play a part in setting the tone, something that Pat Shurmur arguably failed at based on the team’s results as well as his public interactions.

“It’s about building a team, not collecting talent, so you want to make sure the players you bring in, you can unify under one voice, one vision and everyone’s playing toward the same goal,” Judge added.

The vision of the previous regime fell apart during the losing streak last season, which managed to wear on even the most positive of players and ended with whatever life the team had left seeming deflated from them.

We’ll see in 2020 if experience passed down from a couple of the top head coaches in the game helps Judge avoid the same thing, and helps in setting a more positive tone when the season starts.

New York Yankees: Have the Yankees hired a second pitching coach?

New York Yankees, Larry Rothschild

During the offseason, the New York Yankees made significant moves to improve the entire team. On October 28, 2019, they fired longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  Rothschild had been the Yankees pitching coach since 2011. In the firing of Rothschild, the Yankees were signaling a move more toward a more analytic/technological model in developing their pitchers and preparing them for games.  Following through on that, they hired Matt Blake as their new pitching coach.   They also hired Sam Briend midseason to be their director of player development and run their minor league pitching operations.

Matt Blake’s hiring was surprising as many Yankee fans said: “Matt, who”.  But Yankee fans quickly learned who he was and why the Yankees hired him.  Blake is part of a new breed of pitching coach that is focused on analytics but also uses video from all angles to find the best delivery performance based on positioning that prevents injuries.  He has been called a “pitching guru” by his old college coach at Holy Cross in New England. Matt Blake was hired by the Yankees just two days after he was promoted as head pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians.

During the winter meetings in San Diego, the Yankees sent an entourage of Yankees, including General Manager Brian Cashman, team manager Aaron Boone, new pitching coach Matt Blake, and Andy Pettitte, who was a childhood idol of pitcher Gerrit Cole.  Cole was the free-agent prize this postseason up for grabs.  With the blessing of Yankee’s General Partner Hal Steinbrenner, Cashman offered Cole the large pitching contract ever, $324MM over nine years with a five-year opt-out.  Money and the persuasion of Andy Pettitte sealed the deal.

This week pitchers and catchers prepared for the new season with two workouts at the spring training complex at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  All eyes were on the Yankees new ace Gerrit Cole.  Over the past few days, a phenomenon that might not have been expected has quickly shown manager Boone and the coaches more of who the real Gerrit Cole is.  He is a world-class talker, Boone said.  Cole, who threw his second official bullpen session on Friday morning, was quite talkative afterward. “He probably goes into the most detail [about pitching] that I’ve seen,” the Yankees manager said of Gerrit Cole.

“[It] seems like there’s no stone left unturned with him,” Boone said. “And he really has a specific understanding or intention with everything he’s doing. Which I think is really valuable not only for him, obviously, because his intelligence is part of what makes him great, along with having elite characteristics to his pitches, but his ability to communicate with myself, the pitching coach, catchers, teammates.”

“I think it really benefits him, and it’s hopefully something that speeds up that learning curve for all of us that are trying to learn and support him. As well as speeding up the building of those relationships.”

Cole seems more than willing to share his love of pitching and the techniques he uses; the Yankees just may have added another pitching coach.  As the season progresses it will be extremely interesting to see how both coach Matt Blake and Gerrit Cole develop together with the total focus being bringing a World Championship back to New York City.

 

New York Giants: 2 tackle prospects to consider in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft

New York Giants, Austin Jackson

The New York Giants hold the 4th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, and with Clemson standout linebacker, Isaiah Simmons, on the board, there’s a high probability GM Dave Gettleman looks no further.

However, there is the chance that the Giants trade back a few slots to acquire more draft capital from a QB-needy time like the Chargers or Dolphins. In this scenario, let’s assume that Gettleman picks Simmons, and he plans to utilize his second-round pick on an offensive tackle.

Here are two prospects the New York Giants should look into:

1.) Austin Jackson – OT, USC

At 6-6, 305 pounds, Jackson is a massive human being with a 1-2 round projection. If he falls to pick 36 for Big Blue, he should be their selection without hesitation. The upcoming draft is packed full of tackle options, which makes Jackson sliding to the second round very possible.

Scouts have stated that Jackson is a fantastic athlete with quick feet and agility. His ability to move and bend at the knee level enables good leverage and positioning. His athleticism has compensated for his fundamental mistakes at times, but that’s something that can be ironed out at the next level. Having a good grasp of the fundamentals and the athleticism to accompany it makes him an intriguing player and an excellent option for the Giants who need to plug the left tackle position. Nate Solder had a poor 2019 campaign and could be moved over the right tackle if the Giants are willing to give Jackson a chance on the left side.

2.) Trey Adams – OT, Washington

If you thought Austin Jackson was big, Trey Adams takes it to another level at 6-7, 334 pounds. As a 1-3 round projection, Adams is a bit rawer than Jackson with his fundamentals, but he has incredible mobility for his size.

Adams did a great job of protecting Jacob Eason last season, opening up holes of attack in the running game, and ensuring Eason wasn’t put under too much pressure. Inconsistencies have hurt Adams at times, but if he can bunker down and develop further, there’s no reason he can’t be a quality starter for the Giants moving forward.

In the scenario that both Jackson and Adams are on the board, the former would be the better pick, but don’t rule out Adams from climbing the draft boards after his interviews and combine visit. Durability remains a concern for Adams, who missed a big chunk of 2018 with a back injury.

New York Yankees 2020 Season Preview: Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is looking to bounce back from a 2019 season ruined by injuries.

The thirty-year-old California native played in just 18 games with two separate, long IL stints in 2019. In his 59 at-bats, he did manage to hit .288 and drive in 13 runs. In 2018, he hit .266 and drove in 100 runs, that being his first season in pinstripes. He won the 2017 MVP with the Miami Marlins before being traded in December.

Between him and Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees have one of the best outfield duos in the MLB. The team needs the two to stay healthy for the entire season to see what they can accomplish together. Although, the team is quite lucky to have guys like Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier to back them up.

2020 Expectations:

The Yankees are expecting a lot out of Stanton in 2020. He’s still in his prime, and there are always high expectations since he won an MVP in recent years.

Obviously, the Yankees need him healthy to have the most success. He needs to continue to hit a lot of home runs and drive in a lot of runs from the three or four spot in the batting order. The team would love if he could cut down on his strikeouts and be a bit more selective up at the plate.

His average doesn’t need to be soaring high but needs to be reasonable. High power numbers will make up for just a decent average.

The team also needs him to play solid defense and be comfortable playing every day in left field.

Hopefully, Giancarlo Stanton can bounce back from an injury-plagued season and get back on track in 2020.

BREAKING: New York Yankee sign pitcher Chad Bettis

New York Yankees, Chad Bettis

The New York Yankees have signed Chad Brettis, former pitcher of the Rockies, to join spring camp. While the deal is likely a minor-league bargain, Bettis adds more competition to a bullpen that currently consists of Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Tommy Kanhle, and much more.

Bettis is a back-end reliever who can spark solid outings at times. During the 2015-16 season, he tossed 301 innings with a 4.75 ERA and a 4.11 FIP.

However, Bettis contracted testicular cancer in 2016, which derailed his career and forced him into a recovery program. His return is impressive and well-deserved after years of regaining his previous form. The 2019 season was the first year he was able to return to normal function, posting a 6.08 ERA.

Bettis has spent seven-season with the Rockies, a hitter-friendly park. Moving to the Yankees’ organization will be no easy feat for the right-handed pitcher, but it presents him with a fantastic opportunity to latch on with one of the best teams in baseball. The Yankees are preparing for a strong 2020 season, which often brings the best out of players, so hopefully, Bettis can rise to the occasion.

New York Rangers Steal a Win in Minnesota as Igor Shesterkin Sits With an Ankle Injury

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers took a victory from the jaws of defeat Thursday night when they rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to defeat the Minnesota Wild in an overtime shootout.  Pavel Buchnevich brought New York within 3-2 at 11:51 of the third period, and Mika Zibanejad tied the game 3-3 at 18:54. The highlight of the game may have come in the overtime shootout when Artemi Panarin used a flurry of dekes to score on Wild goaltender Alex Stalock, which needed to be reviewed to make sure that Panarin followed shootout rules in scoring.

New York Ranger’s top goaltender sits with an ankle injury

Igor Shesterkin missed his start tonight due to the ankle injury he suffered on Tuesday in Winnipeg. Coach David Quinn described Shesterkin’s situation as “day to day” meaning he could possibly start Friday night in Columbus. Recently, Quinn doubled down on his earlier statement that “keeping people sharp is no longer a high priority of ours,” and unequivocally declared Igor Shesterkin the current No. 1 goalie. The ankle injury kept him from starting tonight but it was unlikely that Shesterkin would have started on back-to-back nights. Quinn didn’t rule him out for the second leg of this road back-to-back Friday night in Columbus. The 24-year-old rookie, who made his NHL debut Jan. 7, is 6-1-0 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in seven games.

New York Rangers Head Coach Quinn very pleased with the character of the team

After the game, an obviously very pleased Coach David Quinn was quite impressed by the effort of his team in coming back from two goals to earn a hard-fought victory. “We just never quit. We’ve been talking about the belief we have in each other, and it continues to grow throughout the season. It was never more evident than it was tonight.”  Quinn also praised the maturity of his young team when he stated that: “Our team has come a long way. I think before you might have seen some panic and some pressing and some frustration. But I thought for the most part in the third period, we were calm on the bench.”

 

New York Mets’ J.D. Davis comes clean about sign-stealing scandal

The New York Mets currently employ two former members of the Houston Astros’ team that won it all in 2017. That same team was the one punished by MLB for using technological equipment to steal opposing squads’ signs.

Jake Marisnick already issued his apology, and in the past few hours, it was J.D. Davis’ turn. The 2019 breakout star of the Mets, who was with Houston in 2017 and 2018, opened up about what happened back then and backtracked from comments made in the offseason, where he said he wasn’t aware of what was going on.

“Back in December we had that same question, and I spoke a little bit prematurely. I spoke before the MLB or during the investigation. And so again, I was a rookie and I was going up and down the system and I was fighting for my life. MLB called and I cooperated with them. I made my statements. Again, back to the December comment and the interview — I spoke prematurely,” he said to the New York press, quoted by Danny Abriano of SNY.

When asked if he was embarrassed by his acts, Davis said: “I think not only the fans want the game to be fair. I know you guys want it to be fair as well. You want to cover a game where it’s fair to everybody. Again, to the peers as well. And of course, everybody that’s part of the 2017 Astros, they feel regrettable about that decision. Looking back, as a young guy being exposed to that in 2017 and looking back now and getting a full season under my belt, of course, it’s regrettable. You feel ashamed (to be) a part of it. I’ve learned what not to do and I’ve applied it to the 2019 season having a breakout. Again, (you have to learn) from it and get ready for the 2020 season with these guys.”

A new clubhouse

When Davis broke on the big leagues, he came into a clubhouse that already had a scheme to steal signs in place. Today, he is a New York Mets’ player and intends to leave it all behind.

“Obviously as a 24-year-old at the time I was pretty starstruck with the whole thing of being around some of the veteran guys, being in a big-league clubhouse,” Davis said. “Just growing up there through the system. And again, what I’ve applied as the years (have gone by) and I applied last year. And again, having a breakout season last year and I’m trying to learn from the failures and the success and apply it to this 2020 season. And I’m excited.”

He was, indeed, aware of the system. But the Astros’ clubhouse was the first one for him in the bigs and he explained he wasn’t sure if what they were doing was applied on other teams. The Mets are only his second organization.

“Didn’t really think much of it going up there fresh, new, being part of the major league clubhouse, among major-league guys,” Davis stated. “Maybe what they did was the norm. I have no idea. I had never been in another big-league clubhouse to compare the two. Looking back at the situation, the details of it. It’s terrible. It’s terrible for the game of baseball.”

A couple “steps backward”

He recognizes that “baseball took a couple of steps backward because of these events and the investigations that applied to it. Anybody that gets crowned World Series champion, it’s not only a big deal but it’s a big deal for the baseball world for how they’ve earned it and gone through 162 games and through the playoffs and everything. To have the incident is very unfortunate for the game of baseball.”

Davis said he wasn’t sure if the Astros would’ve won the World Series had it not been for the scheme. “That I do not now. They’re a pretty talented team. That’s a pretty big ‘if’ question. I really don’t know. Their up-and-down the lineup is pretty good and their pitching staff at that time was incredible.”

He is now fully focused on the upcoming New York Mets’ season. He is slated to earn a lot of at-bats and defend left field.

New York Yankees: Will No.1 pitching prospect Deivi Garcia hit the big time this season?

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

Baseball America ranks the New York Yankee pitching prospect Deivi Garcia the #2 pitching prospect, MLB Pipeline rates him as #1. Back in 2015, the Yankees signed the then 16-year-old Dominican for a $200K signing bonus. He made his professional debut in 2016 and played in the rookie leagues for two years. In 2018 he really started to develop and ended the season in double A. 2019 would see the young star zip through from A+ Tampa through Trenton and all the way to AAA Scranton Wilkes/Barre and, the Rail Riders.

Garcia and another top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt are at spring training in Tampa competing for a starting spot in the rotation, which most likely will not happen even with the loss of James Paxton. Because the Yankees did not trade J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka will take Paxton’s place in the rotation, and J.A. Happ will move from fifth to the fourth spot in the rotation. That open spot that Garcia and Schmidt will try for will most likely go to the tried and deserving Jordan Montgomery.

Deivi has attracted a lot of attention from the media in the few days he’s been in Tampa. Garcia is known as a strikeout machine as he struck out 165 batters in just 111 innings this past season. With his swift progress last year, he can smell the majors getting closer. “Of course, I would love to contribute, right, in some way. It’s always — you understand that you’re getting closer.” Garcia said. “Being here, I have an opportunity to learn a lot from all the veterans in this room, that’s something that I want to do,” All of Garcia’s comments are translated by the Yankee’s Dominican born translator Abreu.

Last year as the season was nearing an end, Garcia bombed out as he appeared to be tired. When questioned about it, he said: “When I was there, and I was pitching, I felt good physically,” Garcia said. “But at the same time, you have a lot of people looking at you with a lot of experience in the game. They’re pointing out, maybe I’m a little bit tired. But physically, I felt good.” He said he was very happy to be at camp and couldn’t wait to get started. “Super happy with the opportunity to be here in camp. I want to stay healthy and just make the team happy,” he said.

Yankee coaches and manager Aaron Boone will be watching Deivi very closely. He will probably not make the team, although it’s not out of the question. He will likely start the season with the Rail Riders. What the Yankees see from him during spring training and how he does at Scranton will tell if he plays at the Stadium this season. If the Yankees lose any pitchers to injury, Yankee fans may get to see Deivi Garcia pitch on the big stage this season.

Alex Rodriguez is considering bidding for the New York Mets

New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

After the Wilpons’ failed sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen, many fans thought that they wouldn’t be selling anytime soon. That doesn’t appear to be the case, though.

Shortly after the deal Cohen and the Wilpons fell through, the current owners clarified that they would still consider giving up control of the team. Now, a new buying option appeared on the horizon.

According to the New York Post, which cites sources and reports, former MLB star and current baseball analyst Alex Rodriguez is interested in buying the New York Mets.

That means that the soap opera regarding the Mets’ ownership is far from over and got yet another shade of craziness to it.

“Kicking the tires” on the Mets

The Post wrote that baseball and Wall Street insiders revealed to it that A-Rod is “kicking the tires” on the idea of getting into an auction for the Mets.

Cohen backed out of the deal on the table last week upon learning that the Wilpons wouldn’t be surrendering control of the team for the first five years of his ownership. That pact was worth $2.6 billion for 80 percent of the Mets.

A potential issue is that Cohen, a noted New York Mets’ fan, isn’t giving up on his pursuit, according to sources. But A-Rod’s interest seems to be high. “He’s a businessman and a baseball man based in New York,” said one A-Rod ally. “Why wouldn’t he be looking at this?”

As it turns out, Alex Rodriguez calls himself a Mets fan growing up. His idol was Keith Hernandez. He considered signing with the team back in 2000 but his contract demands were too high for then-GM Steve Phillips.

The sources, however, still think that the odds of a purchase are low, and caution that A-Rod would need to put together a wealthy ownership group of investors, like Derek Jeter did to buy the Miami Marlins.

“[Rodriguez] genuinely loves the Mets,” said one source familiar with A-Rod. “He and J.Lo have talked about him buying a team ever since Jeter got the Marlins.”

New York Giants could pursue underrated LB Matthew Judon in free agency

New York Giants, Matthew Judon, Baltimore Ravens

With players like Yannick Ngakoue and Jadeveon Clowney plastered across the free-agent boards, the New York Giants have been no exception to their allure. However, underrated options like Baltimore’s Matthew Judon have crept up in the preliminary stages of the offseason.

Judon is one of those small-school players that quietly made a difference in the first four seasons of his career, but in 2019, his 9.5 sacks and 33 quarterback hits stood out. The Giants currently have about $61 million in cap space available, but after roster cuts, they should reach about $80-85 million, opening the door for a big pass-rusher signing.

Judon fits the bill perfectly as an outside linebacker. With Patrick Graham preparing to install a new defense, we have already confirmed that he will use a bevy of looks and utilize a hybrid scheme. Since the Giants have already tailored their youth around the 3-4, I estimate that Graham will use that system more frequently. This further promotes the signing of a player like Judon, who is just entering his prime.

How much would the New York Giants have to dish out for Judon?

Spotrac values Judon at about $16.3 million per season, which is a hefty sum but necessary if the Giants are looking to add a genuine threat off the edge. Even if they do lure a player like Judon to New York, they will need to pair him with another solid pass-rusher, which is where Markus Golden enters the fold.

Golden logged 10.0 sacks in 2019, proving he can be a force on defense. While he wasn’t given much support on the opposite side of the line, Golden has an unstoppable motor and strong hands. Pairing Golden and Judon together would give GM Dave Gettleman the freedom to draft a player like Isaiah Simmons and a tackle prospect in the earlier portion of the draft.