The New York Rangers select Alexis Lafreniere with their first overall pick

Alexis Lafrenière

The New York Rangers have made it official and have selected Alexis Lafreniere as the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. This was the first time since 1965 that the Rangers had the opportunity to pick first in the draft. That year the Blueshirts selected Andre Veilleux with the first pick.

The added excitement for this pick is that Lafreniere has been projected by almost every draft rater as a future NHL superstar. This is due in part to the fact that in his rookie season with Rimouski Océanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he scored 42 goals in 60 games, the highest goal total for a rookie since Sidney Crosby scored 54 for Océanic in 2004. In his two seasons since that rookie campaign, Lafreniere has posted 72 goals and 217 points in 113 games.

In addition, Lafreniere is represented by Emilie Castonguay, who will be the first woman to represent an NHL No. 1 pick as an NHLPA-certified agent.

Of course, all of this was made possible by the sudden turn of events in the world with the outbreak of COVID-19 which cause the NHL to shut down in March.

This changed the timing of the NHL draft so the NHL held its initial draft lottery in June, which included the seven teams that did not qualify for the expanded 24-team tournament, as well as a placeholder pick for one of the eight teams that lost in the qualification round. The placeholder pick won June’s lottery, forcing a second drawing among the teams that were eliminated in that qualifying round.

The Rangers, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, and Minnesota Wild each had a 12.5% chance to select No. 1.

The Rangers ping-pong ball was selected which gave them the first overall pick.

Lafreniere is Canadian and grew up in a predominantly French suburb in Quebec. He is the son of Hugo and Nathalie Lafrenière. He was also a talented baseball shortstop in his youth before deciding to focus on hockey. Lafreniere will turn 19-years-old on October 11.

The New York Rangers and their fans will probably be very happy that he decided to focus on hockey.

 

New York Giants: Osi Umenyiora gives his take on the sad state of the team

The New York Giants are a bad football team. They are 0-4 in 2020 and have only won nine of their last thirty-six games. These are trying times for fans who are losing hope. Even former players are losing hope.

Two-time Super Bowl Champion pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora has given his take on the sad state of the New York Giants. As one would expect, he is disappointed like the rest of the fans.

Osi Umenyiora: “What the hell happened?”

Sad and confused, like the rest of the Giants’ fan base, Osi Umenyiora asks, “What the hell happened?”

“I look at the Giants I think the same way I look at America…I think I look at the Giants with a lot of fond memories, but then I’m like what the hell happened?” – Osi Umenyiora via the NY Post

Osi Umenyiora continued that quote, saying “It’s some absolute craziness going on” in the Giants’ organization right now. Umenyiora went on to deliver some more heartbreaking quotes:

But in some form or fashion they have almost lost their way. They have lost their identity. Like, what is the New York Giants’ identity right now? I couldn’t even tell you what it is. – Osi Umenyiora via the NY Post

Like all Giants fans, Osi is disappointed with the performance of the New York Giants over the last eight seasons. He pointed out how the Giants have one winning season in the last eight years, and how the eight years prior were so different. New York won two Super Bowls in those previous eight years.

The old Giants were “hard-nosed” and “physical,” as Osi pointed out. That was the Giants’ “identity.” But now, Osi cannot pinpoint what the Giants’ identity is anymore:

I don’t know what they are as a football team and how that happened, how that transpired…I will never really understand. What do we need to do to get back to where we were? Now that’s a story all in itself.” – Osi Umenyiora via the NY Post

It is had to disagree with anything that Osi Umenyiora said in this interview with the NY Post. The Giants have been bad for years now and have shown no signs of improvement. Back when Osi was on the team, the Giants had a strong identity and were a winning football team. It has all been downhill since then. Hopefully, sooner than later, New York is able to turn it around.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Second Baseman Robinson Cano

New York Mets, Robinson Cano
The New York Mets needed Robinson Cano to prove his 2019 struggles were a fluke, and he did just that during the 2020 shortened season. Cano showed there is still plenty left in his tank at age 37 and that there is no reason to doubt him for his age 38 season.

There is no doubt the trade to bring him here was questionable, but Cano’s production is separate from it. Cano was red hot through the first 11 games he played before a leg injury shut him down for a little over a week. He slashed .412/.462/.559 though his first 34 at-bats and showed the whole field approach, which made him one of the best of his generation.

Before the injury, all of Cano’s starts came at second base. This was before Andres Gimenez/Luis Guillorme’s earing playing time along with Yoenis Cespedes still taking up space on the roster. Once Cano’s returned, the Mets used him as a DH for nine consecutive starts.

Whole Field Approach

The ability to let Cano consistently rest his legs allowed his bat to remain consistent all season. Once September rolled around, all of his starts were at second base outside of the last two season games. While the average was not as high after the injury, the power was prevalent. Cano slashed .292/.322/.540 with nine home runs and 23 runs batted in.

Cano was one of their best clutch hitters for a team that struggled with runners in scoring position. Cano batted .300 in those spots, including a .357 average with 2 outs and RISP. What brought him success was his ability to take advantage of the open field when opponents shifted on him.

Cano’s wOBA on against the shift was .432 compared to .353 without it. He also found more success hitting pitches on the outside part of the plate. Cano’s three highest average exit velocities came on pitches on the outer third of the zone.

Though his high exit velos were on the outside, seven of his ten home runs came in the middle three zones of the plate. Lastly, his highest BABIPs came on pitches up/in and middle in. Cano has supreme plate coverage, and it showed in various ways with his production.

The DH spot seems clogged, but with the Mets roster’s versatility, Cano will likely see plenty of time there if the Mets want to get 145 productive games out of him in the 2021 season. Like many great Dominican hitters, Cano seems like he will age like fine wine.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Hitting: 70 (60), What his average lacks, his powerful presence will make up for it.

Power: 70 (60), Cano was on pace for 33 homers, but 20-25 seems more realistic for 2021.

Run: 20 (20), Can’t run at full speed without getting injured.

Arm: 70 (70), Still one of the elite arms among second basemen

Field: 50 (40), Average year in a small sample size. Despite the range slipping away, anything he gets to is an out.

Overall: 70 (65), Cano was on pace for an All-Star caliber year, still high on him for 2021

New York Giants: Get ready for the Trevor Lawrence hype train

If the New York Giants don’t get it together, a lot of the narratives this season are going to be around the quarterback spot. And not about quarterback Daniel Jones, who has a fair share of criticism after the first four games of the season. Rather, the narrative will be about Trevor Lawrence if the Giants remain on course for the number one pick. Specifically, whether the Giants should take the Clemson star with that pick.

Right now, the Giants nearly do edge out the other bad teams in the league to claim the top spot in the Draft. They’ve made it onto the path to the number one pick, a pretty far spot from where most thought this team would be a few weeks earlier. And now that the Giants look to be on this path, there’s naturally speculation.

Lawrence is one of the most accomplished players in the college ranks right now, to the point where he may be an option for the Giants with the first pick even though they already have Daniel Jones. Assuming they get the first pick, that is. From the looks of it, they’re just one of a number of teams positioned near the bottom of the league standing.

As for Lawrence, his performances in college haven’t slowed down – and that will only boost his draft stock barring a big drop off in play or an injury. He has 73 touchdowns so far and he’s not even deep into his third college season yet.

He’s been called the most accurate college quarterback by PFF based on their data, too.

Daniel Jones, by comparison, has earned a lot of criticism through the first games for his vision and his inability to prevent turnovers. Jones is still a young quarterback, and his offensive line isn’t good, but when there’s a prospect like Lawrence available soon, it’s hard to only keep eyes on what the Giants have already.

Jones has the benefit of being relatively new – the Giants will want to give him a full chance before throwing him out. But that’s not the same thing as invulnerability. If GM Dave Gettleman goes, Jones will be another player of the previous regime. That’s not always the safest spot as a starting quarterback.

Currently. the Giants are set to draft number three as more games happen. But the season is still young and the team’s record may improve or get worse when given the rest of the season. So it’s worth keeping an out for potential prospects the Giants may draft soon.

The Giants may end up with the top pick and they may not. But wherever you stand on Daniel Jones, it’s time to get used to the takes about Trevor Lawrence to the Giants, because we should see a ton more of them as both sides continue through their seasons.

New York Yankees: Ray’s broadcasters suggest Judge and Stanton re-injury (Audio)

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have taken game one of the ALDS from the Tampa Bay Rays.  Both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton had a big part in the win.  Judge hit a homer and Stanton a Grand Slam, and the Rays are not happy about it.  They admit that they were lucky taking 8 of 10 games from the Yankees when key players were injured and on the IL.  Now they are faced with an entirely different team that they haven’t had to face all season.

Today on Twitter, a Ray’s Radio Broadcast was released, wherein the broadcaster suggested that maybe Judge and Stanton should be injured while making plays on the field.  There is no question these two teams don’t like each other but suggest or hope that opposing players become injured so you can win is just sick.

Tonight at 8:10 pm EDT, the two teams will meet up again in San Diego in game two of the ALDS. New York Yankee prospect Deivi Garcia will be on the mound for the Yankees and Tyler Glasnow for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The game will be broadcast on TBS.

Should the New York Giants sign veteran WR Mohamed Sanu?

Mohamed Sanu, New York Giants

It is no surprise of the New York Giants are struggling on offense considering the lackluster talent and effort their wide receivers have been portraying on a weekly basis.

No wonder quarterback Daniel Jones can’t get anything going, his wide receivers are unable to create separation and provide windows to throw through. That could call for management to allocate resources toward acquiring a veteran option like Mohamed Sanu, who was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers, according to Ian Rapoport.

With the 49ers gaining back Deebo Samuel, they had no need for Sanu any longer, and he represents a potential puzzle piece for the Giants in their efforts to retool their offense this season.

As the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL, averaging just 11.8 points per game, a wide receiver with some experience and proven talent could go along way. While it would take him a bit of time to adjust to the Giants’ scheme, let’s take a look at what he could potentially bring to the offense.

Sanu spent his 2019 season with the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. He totaled 520 yards and two touchdowns with a 66.3% catch rate. However, he was much more effective in 2018 with the Falcons, playing in all 16 games and tallying 838 yards and four scores.

He was a reliable threat for quarterback Matt Ryan alongside Julio Jones, and he could be a decent option in the intermediate passing game for the Giants and Daniel Jones. He averaged just 8.8 yards per reception in 2019 but landed at 12.7 in 2018. He’s currently 31 years old and spent the first three games with the 49ers, so he might be a cheaper option with some gas left in the tank. He was on a one-year deal with the 49ers for $705K, so nothing too pricey for the veteran pass-catcher. He offers a big body at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds as a potential red-zone threat and possession WR.

Personally, I would prefer the Giants go out and re-sign Corey Coleman, who showed some spark earlier this off-season and would be a bit cheaper. Giving opportunities to younger players with potential is where the Giants are headed at 0-4, but Sanu would undoubtedly bring another factor to the offense and might provide some sort of support in the meantime with Sterling Shepard out.

New York Yankees Player Profiles: Giancarlo Stanton; can he power the Yankees to a 28th World Championship? (video)

For the New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton spent much of the 2020 season on the IL with a hamstring injury, when he came back into the lineup during a Blue Jays game on September 15th. On the 16th, Stanton went 4 for 4, including a home run and a double.  He ended the season playing in only 24 games but hit 11 home runs.  Now he has hit a home run in each of his last four games, including one in each of the postseason games. Last night he hit a Grand Slam helping the Yankees to a huge win in game one of the ALDS.

Giancarlo Stanton is hot right now and hitting the ball as he did in his 2017 MVP season.  This all started when returning from the IL; he had better plate discipline and cut down on the strikeouts.  He is presently batting .286 with seven RBI’s in the postseason games. If he keeps on playing as he is now, could Giancarlo Stanton have the bat that powers the New York Yankees to a 28th World Championship?

The Baseball superstar Giancarlo Stanton

Like many New York Yankees players, some we know and some we don’t know about their private lives. Stanton is no different, but here is what we do know. He is liked by many Yankees fans because he is a great player and disliked by many because he makes so much money, is frequently injured, and doesn’t always hit the ball.

His early life in California

But back to his early life. He was born to Michael Stanton and Jacinta Garay in Los Angeles, California, on November 8, 1989. He has an older brother and older sister. He was brought up in the Sunland-Tujunga area of Los Angels near the San Gabriel Mountain’s foothills.

In Stanton’s mind as a child, he didn’t care for his given name. Friends called him Carlo or Gene; his Mother called him Cruz (his middle name), although she wanted to name him Fidel, the Father objected. So Giancarlo decided he wanted to be called Mike from now on, and so it was until 2012 when he reinstated his preference for his real name Giancarlo. Stanton is of Irish African American descent, although his mother had Puerto Rican ancestry.

The future Yankee Giancarlo was a dominant player in just about every youth league sport he tried, including football. He continued playing sports after enrolling at Verdugo Hills High in Tujunga in 2003. He pitched and played the outfield for the varsity baseball squad. In 2005, as a sophomore, he hit a game-winning homer for the Dons in the city’s quarterfinals.

Unfortunately, Giancarlo’s grades were not measuring up to his stats. His parents, in the process of a divorce, switched him to a private school, Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, about 30 minutes away. Almost immediately, Giancarlo began coming into his own, both on and off the field. As he approached his final height of 6’6″ and packed on more muscle, few doubted he would make a living in sports. The only question was, which sport? He had accepted a scholarship to play baseball for Tulane and received offers from UCLA, UNLV, and USC to play football.

Stanton selected by the Miami Marlins

In 2007 when selected by the Miami Marlins in the second round of the draft, he was happy to receive a half-million signing bonus. He was again considering the Miami location, glad that he was not named Fidel. In 2008, Giancarlo spent the entire season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the Class-A South Atlantic League. Playing for manager Edwin Rodriguez, he was just 18 when the season started, but he torched enemy pitchers for 39 homers in 125 games. Giancarlo followed up his first campaign in pro ball with an outstanding 2009 season, as he moved steadily up the organizational ladder.

He spent 50 games with the Jupiter Hammerheads and hit .291 with 12 homers. Giancarlo started the 2010 season back in Jacksonville. That May, in a game against the Montgomery Biscuits, he hit a ball that cleared the scoreboard in left-centerfield later to be found to have gone 500′ from home plate. A month later, Giancarlo had surpassed 20 homers in just over 50 games. He got the call from the big club and was in the lineup at age 20 on June 8 against the Philadelphia Phillies with a $325 million contract.

In Stanton’s first major league game, he went 3 for 5 with two RBI’s. He continued to have success after success and award after award: two Silver Sluggers, two Hank Aarons, two home run Leaders, four All-stars, until he reached the MVP of the National League in 2017.

Giancarlo Stanton becomes a New York Yankee.

After the 2017 season, the Marlins dumped salary, Giancarlo Stanton was traded to the New York Yankees after a 59 home run season. The trade was for cash considerations, and the Marlins got Starlin Castro and minor leaguers. In 2018 he made his New York Yankees debut hitting two homers in his first game. He ended up the year with 38 homers and 100 RBI’s. Although he carried the team during Judge’s injuries and others, many fans criticized him for his team-leading 211 strikeouts.

On April 1, 2019, in a cruel April fool’s joke, placed him on the 10 days IL with a bicep strain. He returned to the lineup on June 20 to go back on the IL seven days later with a knee injury that limited him to just nine days on the playing field last season. With the Yankees unrelenting injuries last year and the departure to the IL of Hicks, Tauchman, and Encarnacion, the Yankees looked forward to returning to the outfield. Manager Aaron Boone is hoping Giancarlo can have a big impact on the postseason.  He came back to play in nine games in September, but then went back on the IL.

Stanton came back from a knee ailment in time to play in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins. He wasn’t much help as in three games, he hit .167 with no home runs and only 1 RBI.  Stanton suffered a right quad injury during Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros while running out a single in the second inning. He hit a home run in the sixth during the Yankees’ 7–0 win before the club realized after the game he was injured.

During spring training, Stanton played in only one game before going on the IL with a calf strain.  He was expected to miss the start of the regular season, but when the start of the season was held back, the coronavirus Stanton was given the time to heal. After an August 8th game at Tropicana Field, he came down with a hamstring injury, keeping him away from the field until September 15th. Now that he’s back, he’s hot and eager to get a World Series ring and a win for the Yankees.

Giancarlo’s personals:

As I have said before, Stanton’s private life is pretty private he is not married but has been attached to several beautiful women over the years. He supposedly has a main squeeze right now, but it is doubtfully not the only one based on the previous history. On the lighter side, women know and appreciate Stanton as a sex symbol. In 2013 he posed gold clad and nude for ESPN’s body issue, something Bryce Harper of the then Nationals, Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots, among others, have done as well. Other than that, there are no scandals attached to his name.

Last year in September, he was featured as the love interest in singing star Lexy Panterra’s “Deep End” video. However, the star says they are just good friends. As if for now, the media beam is pondering the strong rumors of him dating a brunette beauty, Terez Owens. Owens is a model and sports blogger.

EmpireSportsMedia’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

Yankees re-instate SP Domingo German, what now?

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankees have reinstated starting pitcher Domingo German from the restricted list. After striking his girlfriend in a domestic dispute in front of an MLB employee, German was suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season.

German sustained an 81 game suspension from the league for breaking their domestic violence policy. He began serving it last year, missing nine games in the regular season and nine in the postseason. He wasn’t charged with a crime, but hopefully, he learned something important from this significant flaw in his personality. Striking women or engaging in any physical behavior should not be tolerated, and he was publicly humiliated for this mistake.

Despite not being charged with a crime, Commissioner Rob Manfred made it a priority to discipline him and show him why it is unacceptable to do such a thing.

German’s fluctuation the past two months have been interesting, going from stating his retirement from baseball on Instagram to making a 180 and apologizing for his inauspicious messages.

What happens now with the Yankees and German?

In 2019, German was solid, finishing the year with an 18-4 record in 27 appearances, logging a 4.03 ERA. He earned 153 strikeouts over 153 innings. He has a 10.1 strikeout per nine innings in his career.

Despite being reinstated, German will not be available for the postseason and will have to wait out the remainder of the 2020 campaign before he can re-join the Yankees.

New York Islanders: What does Sebastian Aho’s new contract mean?

New York Islanders, Islanders, Sebastian Aho

New York Islanders‘ defensive prospect, Sebastian Aho was recently given a 2-year extension. This move seems small, but in the grand scheme of everything, it’s a huge move. Giving someone like Aho two more years at his age guarantees he’ll be playing soon. But, who could he possibly start over? Noah Dobson has priority over him. And the Islanders still have Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk around for a while. Well there’s the answer, right? One, if not two, of the Islanders defenseman, will be traded very soon.

Why?

Now I know you’ve just told yourself that I’m absolutely crazy for thinking this contract means anything. I’m not though, and the reason is in the contract. Aho signed a one-way deal. What does this mean? His salary doesn’t change if he plays in the AHL. Also, his contract clearly states “If he doesn’t play at least 58 NHL games in the next two years, he will qualify to be a UFA.”

Why would Lou Lamoriello sign Aho for two years if he doesn’t have a plan for him? Don’t act like Aho isn’t a good defenseman either. Aho recorded 46 points in 2019 and 30 points in 2020. I know that happened in the AHL, but those are some good stats regardless. Islanders could use another offensive-defenseman.

Trades

The Islanders need to move one of their older defensemen if they want Aho to finally get his real shot. There are only two players that come to mind: Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Everyone knows that Boychuk should be traded. He’s old and always hurt and carries a big contract. Who can handle that contract though? Oh, I don’t know, maybe the Red Wings who already had a ton of cap space and now just bought out Justin Abdelkader.

I can see why some people don’t want to trade Leddy. He’s a good defenseman, he’s offensively-minded which is great, and he’s a great veteran in the locker room. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the Islanders need the veteran experience right now. The Isles have a bunch of older guys who can guide the younger guys.

New York Yankees: Are the Rays being cocky or just confident after Game 1 loss?

New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Kevin Cash

While their body language projected sadness and disappointment after falling 9-3 to the New York Yankees on Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays’ quotes after the game did project a sense of confidence that they will be OK, even though they dropped an important first game and now have to win three of the next four to advance to the American League Championship Series.

According to NJ Advance Media, while the Rays did acknowledge that the Yankees played good ball on Monday, they also said that they aren’t too worried about falling 0-1 in the best-of-five series.

“Not overly concerned,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. The Rays ended with a 40-20 record, the best in the American League, and they took eight of ten games against the New York Yankees.

“I don’t think we’re too frustrated by one game,” losing pitcher Blake Snell explained. “I think we’re right where we need to be.”

The Yankees have been able to consistently hit to this point

The Rays’ strongest unit is pitching, and that group couldn’t contain the Yankees yesterday. In fact, the Bombers have scored 31 runs in three games so far in the postseason, with a total of 11 home runs.

“We still have confidence that we’re still going to win,” Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi said.

Tonight, talented right-hander Tyler Glasnow will have the responsibilty of keeping the New York Yankees’ bats at bay.

“I like our depth pitching wise,” Snell said. “I like how we’re feeling in the clubhouse. I expect a big game out of us (Tuesday). I just think we’re that good of a team. I know how good they are, and they had a great game. So they got us (in Game 1), but I think (Tuesday night) we’ll be ready to go. We got Glasnow on the mound, so that’s exciting for us.”

“They (the Yankees) can hit,” Cash said. “There’s no secret in that. So there was nothing that was unexpected. They just got some guys back that are healthier. There were a handful of players that didn’t have consistent reps specifically against us or throughout the 60-game season for injury reasons. They looked healthy tonight.”