Archive for February, 2013

Atlanta Braves position battle: Juan Francisco versus Chris Johnson


Couch Side examines the Atlanta Braves third base position battle between Chris Johnson (left) and Juan Francisco. Johnson photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr. Francisco photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

Couch Side examines the Atlanta Braves third base position battle between Chris Johnson (left) and Juan Francisco. Johnson photo by: Bridget Samuels / Flickr. Francisco photo by: Charles Atkeison / Flickr

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Replacing a lengend certainly isn’t an easy task.

That’s going to be the spring training chore for Atlanta Braves third basemen Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson this season as they’ll attempt to succeed the recently retired Chipper Jones. I’m sure neither player expects to come even close to Jones’ worst season in this position battle, but both players are above-average options to take over Atlanta’s hot corner. The Braves have to love that both players are under 30 years old. It’s also a plus that the pair had their best seasons at the MLB level in 2012. Regardless of what Francisco and Johnson have done in their pasts, their future will probably be determined by what they do in 2013.

There’s a lot of speculation that this hot-corner duo will platoon for the Braves at third base this year. And while it would be nice to have a permanent starter penciled in on the everyday lineup, the fact is that these two players compliment each other quite nicely simply because Francisco bats from the left side and Johnson bats from the right. However, neither player can hit lefties very efficiently and their defense won’t win them any golden gloves soon. The question marks around both players are easily noticeable by one glance at their career statistics and their splits. That’s why I personally believe this will be a position battle. So who will emerge as manager Fredi Gonzales’ favorite? To truly understand the answer to that question, one must take a deep look into the pros and cons that Johnson and Francisco will bring to the Braves: (more…)


Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top five first basemen for 2013


Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part two of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto looks to bounce back from an injury plagued year last season. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto looks to bounce back from an injury plagued year last season. Photo by: Keith Allison / Flickr

When it comes to raw power, first basemen usually take the cake.

Currently, there are still some super sluggers playing the position, but surprisingly, the big fly isn’t as common as it used to be from first baseman. Guys like Albert Pujols and Joey Votto can still crush. Yet, their games are becoming much more complete as both of those top players have been known to chase the triple crown. Usually, when ranking first basemen, power would be the ultimate factor. However, like everything in sports, the position has changed. A young core of first basemen is on the rise and a handful of veterans are still proving that they’re some of the best still in the game.

Couch Side’s official preseason first basemen power rankings will cover my six through 10 briefly before jumping into the heavy hitters. I must apologize to some who will come up just short: Billy Butler, Ike Davis and Anthony Rizzo, but the good news for them is they’re still very young and could make me look very stupid as I rank the top 10 first baseman in the MLB for 2013:

 

 

10. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (.259 AVG, 23 HR, 94 RBI):

With Chipper Jones hanging up his cleats, Big Fred may actually be the hitter to watch out for in Atlanta. Yes, I know they have the Upton brothers now, but this 23-year-old is destined for greatness.

9. Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals (.271 AVG, 33 HR, 100 RBI):

The big question surrounding LaRoche is can he do it again? The 33-year-old set career highs in home runs, RBI and WAR last year. For that reason and that reason only is why the big man makes this list.

8. Paul Konerko, Chicago Whitesox (.298 AVG, 22 HR, 75 RBI):

In the first half of last season, Konerko was far better than Pujols. He may not be able to repeat that this year, but this crafty veteran is one of the best contact-hitting first basemen in all of baseball.

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers (.299 AVG, 18 HR, 108 RBI):

Gonzales still hasn’t earned his large paycheck. His dismal numbers with the Dodgers after he was traded to the boys in blue also raise some red flags. If he can find his old form, which he definitely could by returning to the NL West, Gonzales may just regain some of that lost respect.

6. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees (.251 AVG, 24 HR, 84 RBI):

The reason big tex is so high on my list, is simply because I’m a sucker for the Yankee slugger. He had a year to forget in 2012 and was bit by the injury bug. However, I think he may just bounce back with a New York lineup that is much weaker than year’s past. That added pressure could bring back the Texas version of Teixeira.

5. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (.286, 20 HR, 82 RBI):

Now that I’ve finally cracked into my top five, Goldschmidt had better not make me eat my words this year. I predict Goldschmidt to have a golden year because of what Snakes general manager Kevin Towers did this offseason. He made room in his starting lineup for top prospect Adam Eaton and acquired Martin Prado, two players who should score a lot of runs with Goldschmidt’s power drving them home. Mlbdepthcharts.com has Goldshmidt slotted in the No. 6 spot in the D-Backs’ batting order, but don’t expect him to stay there for long. Eaton should prove to be a prominent lead off guy and I believe Prado will eventually become the team’s No. 2 hitter, giving Goldschmidt plenty of opportunities to drive in his two new teammates. Also, a fun fact: Goldschmidt led all first basemen in steals last season with 18.
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Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: The Great Steroid Discussion


Couch Side hosts Craig Paul (left) and Wade McMillin jive about juice in this week's podcast.

Couch Side hosts Craig Paul (left) and Wade McMillin jive about juice in this week’s podcast.

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BY Couchsideshow.com staff

Couch Side gets back to its roots as Craig Paul and Wade McMillin pump up the crowd with their usual sports banter. This week’s topics include the rather boring NBA trade deadline, the biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA, steroids and where NFL quarterback Alex Smith might wind up. Also, Craig and Wade share a special message about a worthwhile benefit in Powell, Wyoming. If you live in the area, please attend the “Bring Brad Home Benefit” in Powell, Wyoming at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Park County Fair Grounds. For more information please click hereClick below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast!

•  Click here to stream the Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to download the Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: All-Time NBA Fantasy Draft, via our host site, TalkShoe

• Click here to stream, download or subscribe to the Couch Side Podcast Episode 48: The Great Steroid Discussion, via iTunes


Quick Read: Bonilla will collect more money than any outfielder on Mets’ roster


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This is something that has been talked about for years, but Bobby Bonilla signed one of the greatest contracts of all time.

The Mets were really eager to get rid of Bonilla, so in 2000 they agree to buy out his contract. Bonilla’s terms were the $5.9 million he was owed, to be paid out to his estate with interest over 25 years starting on July 1st, 2011.

So, Bonilla’s annual salary, until the year 2035, once the interest kicked in is $1.19 million.

If you take a quick look at the Mets roster for 2013, you will see that makes Bonilla is one of the highest paid Mets players on the payroll, even though he has been retired for years. No wonder the Mets have had financial difficulties over the last few years.  Who signed off on this deal?

If only more athletes, would think like Bobby Bonilla, we would have never had a 30 for 30 BROKE documentary.  Thanks to the Big Lead for all the details.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Preseason Position Power Rankings: Couch Side’s top 10 catchers


BY SEAN SCHOONOVER, Couchsideshow.com blogger

Editor’s note: Couch Side is very pleased to bring back its annual MLB preseason position power rankings. This year, we will offer two positions every Wednesday and Friday. Each blog ranks the top 10 players at each position and is written by some of Couch Side’s best bloggers. The following is part two of what will be a 12-part series. Enjoy!

2012 National League MVP Buster Posey tops Couch Side's top 10 Catcher list. Photo by: Dave Nelson / Flickr

2012 National League MVP Buster Posey tops Couch Side’s top 10 Catcher list. Photo by: Dave Nelson / Flickr

When identifying the top catchers of the MLB, one must consider a players defensive capability as well as their offensive ability. The catcher position is the most demanding position on the field and offense is usually the last thing on their minds, as these players have to manage full pitching staffs, mull over game plans, as well as rest their aching legs. Offensive focused catchers now days are finding more ways to get into the lineup on a daily basis, whether it is at 1B or DH. Last season only 6 catchers managed over 500 at bats, which is an improvement of only two in 2011 and one in 2010. The following list includes the 10 best catchers going into the 2013 season, starting with players 6-10 and their 2012 statistics. Players left off the list and who most likely make up the 11-15 spots include: J.P. Arencibia, Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Brian McCann, and Alex Avila. With that here are your projected ten best catchers for the 2013 season:

10. Jesus Montero (SEA)- 135 GP, 134 H, 15 HR, 46 Runs, 62 RBI, .260 AVG, .298 OBP. .386 SLG, -0.2 WAR

- A tall 6’3”, slightly slow footed catcher but has the potential to hit 25 HRS and 80 RBIs

9. Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)- 96 GP, 101 H, 12 HR, 46 Runs, 58 RBI, .320 AVG, .369 OBP, .513 SLG, 3.9 WAR

- Defensively sound catcher with the ability to hit over 20 HRs with a .300 AVG

8. Wilin Rosario (COL)- 117 GP, 107 H, 28 HR, 67 Runs, 71 RBI, .270 AVG, .320 OBP, .530 SLG, 1.9 WAR

- A power hitter, whom needs improvement on the defensive side. but offensively has a lot of up-side hitting behind Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez

7. Salvador Perez (KC)- 76 GP, 87 H, 11 HR, 38 Runs, 39 RBI, .301 AVG, ,328 OBP, .471 SLG, 2.8 WAR

- Only 22 years old and known for his sound defensive ability, but it is his offensive potential that seems intriguing with his limited experience. This is hands down my sleeper for the position this year.

6. Miguel Montero (ARI)- 141 GP, 139 H, 15 HR, 65 Runs, 88 RBI, .286 AVG, .391 OBP, .438 SLG, 3.7 WAR

- Defensively sound, ranking third best in caught stealing rate last year with 42%, he is one of the best overall catchers in the game and yet does not get enough credit.

5. Matt Wieters (BAL) – 144 GP, 131 H, 23 HR, 67 Runs, 83 RBI, .249 AVG, .329 OBP, .435 SLG, 3.2 WAR

The .249 Average and 112 strikeouts are two statistics that bring Wieters down, however he still has shown the last two years that he is a well-deserved starter in one of the toughest divisions. He is one of six catchers from last year that compiled over 500 at bats, with 526 in 144 games played. The last two years have proved that Wieters is a legitimate top five catcher in the league tallying 55 HRs, to go with 151 RBIs. However, it is the defensive side that Wieters excels, being awarded golden gloves both in 2011 and 2012, throwing out an average of 38 percent of attempted base stealers for both years. The defensive piece is in place and I would not be surprised to see his offensive game take off this season.

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Quick Read: MJ’s trainer says he would be Bobcats’ best player


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Could Michael Jordan really make an impact as a player with the Charlotte Bobcats at age 50? Photo by: simplistic.designs / Flickr

Could Michael Jordan really make an impact as a player with the Charlotte Bobcats at age 50? Photo by: simplistic.designs / Flickr

Michael Jordan just turned 50 and you would have had to have been in a coma to have missed that fact with all the celebration going on.

Much of the debate the past week has been about what Jordan would do to LeBron James or any other player in the prime of Jordan’s career. The question now though is what would MJ do today, right now if he was the starting shooting guard for the Charlotte Bobcats?

If you asked Jordan’s long time trainer Tim Grover, lets just say he has all the confidence in the world in Jordan.  During a recent radio interview with WFNZ in Charlotte, Grover said not only would “Jordan be the Bobcats best player on the floor today, he’d still average 20 plus points.”

Tell me why you truly believe if he made a comeback, he’d be the best player on the Bobcats right now:

“First of all, the Bobcats are a very young team, so he knows how to create [things] and how to take away guys’ strengths. … Just the way he would compete, that if one of the players actually did beat him, he would take it so seriously that he would get himself in better shape and re-challenge that individual until he’d be able to beat him again. His skill set was so high. … I guarantee it’s still higher than most of the guys out there.”

What kind of numbers would he put up?:

“He’d average 20. Yeah, he’d average 20. … Listen, would he be able to go out and get through an 82-game season? One thing people also [forget], he had no major injuries. … But yes, Father Time is undefeated. But again, there’s so much advancement out there … in anti-aging and so forth, so it is possible. I don’t think that he would come back unless he was 100 percent ready.

I know most of my readers are going to say but it’s the Bobcats.  Still to be 50 and average 20 in the league or be the best player on an NBA franchise.

I’m just saying.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

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