Top Right Fielders and Future Star

By: Jon

1) Jose Bautista – Blue Jays

Jose Bautista
Jose Bautista

One of most feared hitters in Major League Baseball today, Bautista is a great hitter because of his quick wrists and brilliant eye. Bautista has some of the quickest wrists in baseball, which allows him to turn on any fastball and hit it out of the park. During the three previous seasons, Bautista hit 124 HR, while maintaining a solid .270 average. Jose has hit 124 HR over the last three seasons, although he missed half of last year with a serious wrist injury. Bautista is on pace to have another great season, .256/ 19 HR/ 49 RBI/ 55 runs. Jose Bautista is a solid fielder as well. Although he does not have any hardware to show for his efforts, Jose as one of the best arms in baseball, able to throw out any runner trying to advance. Bautista is currently third in baseball among outfielders with 7 assists.

2) Giancarlo Stanton – Marlins

Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton

If one was to ask a baseball fan who had the most power in MLB, over 90 percent of those people would answer with Giancarlo Stanton. Since completing his first full season in 2011, Stanton has hit 79 HR and 195 RBI. This season Stanton has struggled because of injuries and a lack of protection in the lineup. Similar to Cano, Stanton is not seeing the same pitches he saw the previous years because teams will not let him beat them. Besides Stanton, the Marlins have no other hitters that can intimidate a pitcher. Giancarlo feels that he must carry the entire lineup, which can put a lot of pressure on a young player, like Stanton. However, Stanton will find a way to turn it around because of his power and skill. Stanton, like Bautista, is not a great fielder, but has a great arm. Stanton can throw out any runner who is willing to test his arm.

3) Carlos Beltran – Cardinals

Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran

Although Beltran is on the wrong side of 30, Beltran is still producing great stats. After a renaissance last year where he hit 32 HR and knocked in 97 RBI, Beltran is having another great season for the second place Cardinals. Beltran is on pace to top his numbers from last season, .308/19 HR/50 RBI/44 Runs. Beltran is going to be a borderline Hall of Famer because of his great success in the postseason and his solid career numbers. The seven time All Star should be invited to Citi Field for the mid season classic because of his great start. Although Beltran does not have the speed that made him a 3 time Gold Glover at center field, Beltran still can cover a lot land in right, while maintaining his solid arm.

Future Star: Yasiel Puig – Dodgers

Yasiel Puig
Yasiel Puig

One month ago, the future star would have been Rays super prospect Wil Meyers. However, “Puigmania” has hit MLB by storm propelling him to stardom. Puig plays the game with the same amount of intensity as Bryce Harper, which many people thought could not be duplicated. Puig has played only 26 games and many people, including myself, feel that Puig should be playing in the All-Star game this July. Puig is hitting an amazing .436/7 HR/16 RBI/19 Runs/4 SB. The stats that jumps out to me the most is his WAR. Even though Puig has played less than a third of the Dodgers’ games, he is 46th in baseball in WAR and 16th among outfielders, ahead of Braun, Ortiz, Beltran, and Harper. Puig is a thrilling defensive player. In only a month of baseball, Puig has gunned down numerous amounts of greedy runners and run into walls in order to catch fly outs. Puig will definitely win a Gold Glove during his career because if his speed, arm, and intensity.

Stats from Baseballreference.com and pics from ESPN.com

Strange Wimbledon?

By: Prad

Both the Women’s and Men’s draw offer interesting insight into the complexity of sports. Not necessarily tennis, but all sports.  We have seen the greatest tennis players of this generation being eliminated before the quarterfinals of the 2013 Wimbledon. The list has just been growing, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, and yesterday Serena Williams. This tournament has been a testament to the idea that any athlete can beat any other athlete on any given day.

During this wild tournament, players outside the top 100 have been able to defeat Nadal and Federer, definitively the two greatest players of the 21st century. We have seen upsets in the world of sports, but quite frankly this might just outdo all of them. Some consider the greatest moment in sports, the epic dethroning of the Soviet Union Hockey Team by Team U.S.A. during the gold medal round of the 1980 Olympics, dubbed “The Miracle on Ice.” But, I believe these Wimbledon upsets when “combined” equal a far greater total upset. Now a “combination” is defined on my own terms as simply an amalgamation of all of these upsets, which equals the overall upset of the tournament.

Rafael Nadal Courtesy of ESPN
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has never lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament. What was particularly shocking about this loss was that Steve Darcis disposed of Nadal in straight sets. Obviously, there was an issue with a lingering injury that Nadal had to deal with, but still. Defeating Nadal will be the pinnacle of Darcis’ career, who is ranked 135 in the world and came into Wimbledon unseeded. He is the lowest ranked player to ever eliminate Nadal from any tournament ever.

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova was eliminated in straight sets by a 131st ranked 20 year old player named Michelle Larcher de Brito. Sharapova attributed this loss to a hip injury. Last year, she was highly successful on the tour, attaining the #1 ranking in the world. Just last Grand Slam, this year’s French Open, she reached the finals but lost to her biggest rival, Serena Williams. I don’t consider this to be a terrible defeat for Sharapova considering she had consistency issues in the past. She didn’t win a Grand Slam for four years between 2008 and 2012. Nevertheless, one of the most respected women on the tour fell to the hands of a barely 20 year old from Portugal.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

In my opinion, Federer’s second round exit is the biggest upset of the tournament. He had the longest consecutive appearances in Grand Slam quarterfinals in tennis history with 36. This consistency that Federer is noted for evaporated in hours when 116th ranked Serhiy Stakhovsky eliminated Federer from Wimbledon, Federer’s most successful tournament, in four sets. To put this in perspective, Federer hadn’t lost a match in a Grand Slam before the quarterfinals since the 2003 French Open. But a player ended that streak, a player 113 ranks below him.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Serena Williams, the current #1, reigning French Open champ, reigning Wimbledon champ, and the reigning US Open champ lost to Germany’s Sabine Lisicki. She lost in three sets to a 24th ranked player. Though, Lisicki is more respectable and established within the sport than the victors in the other matches I’ve mentioned, she ended one of the most dominant displays of tennis in WTA history. This ended the best winning streak of Serena’s career, 34 consecutive matches. It is one shy of her sister’s streak of 35, which she set in 2000 and is a record since the turn of the 21st century.

Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens

In both the Men’s and Women’s draws, there remains a sole American left in the quarterfinals. Sloane Stephens, a 20 year old who has elevated her game to new heights in the last year, has reached the quarters. She reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open as a 19 year old. Stephens has had some trouble getting into the quarters of Wimbledon though. She had to endure three set matches in the last three rounds. I don’t believe that she can beat a higher ranked Marion Bartoli in the quarters to advance to the semi’s because of the length of her previous three matches. But, tennis critics call her America’s future in the sport after Serena Williams dominance comes to an end.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Only two of the Big Four in Men’s tennis remain. The original two members have been eliminated before the third round. And the one who’s usually thought of as the last leg, Andy Murray looks the strongest in the tournament thus far. He has had a chip on his shoulder from the time he turned professional. He was supposed to be British tennis’ savior. A British man has not won Wimbledon in 77 years, when Fred Perry won it back in 1936. Although he has finally broke through at a Grand Slam with last year’s US Open, a Wimbledon title has been at the front of his mind for the last five years. Nadal, Federer, and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, ranked #6, were all on Murray’s side of the bracket. With all of them gone, this is his best chance to win the elusive Wimbledon. Since Murray is seeded #2, he’ll likely go to the finals and face Novak Djokovic, which will make for an exciting Wimbledon finals match.

From 2004-2010, Nadal and Federer won 24 of the 28 Grand Slams. This is sheer domination in the sport. Nadal will easily go down as a top 10 player in tennis history, maybe even better, and the greatest of all time on clay. Federer will go down as the greatest ever in the sport. Are all of these upsets a coincidence or signaling an end of an era that was dominated completely by these great players? If it is a coincidence, then the idea that any given athlete can beat any other athlete on any given day is true. If it is the end of an era, then it will be one that will go down as arguably the greatest in the history of the sport and one that will surely be missed by all tennis fans including myself.

All Statistics and Pictures courtesy of ESPN

Pettitte makes history for the New York Yankees, but does it warrant a Hall of Fame entrance?

By: Jon

Of the thirteen Hall of Fame pitchers that pitched for the New York Yankees over their 110 year career, no pitcher has ever recorded more strikeouts than Andrew Pettitte. On Monday night, Andy became the Yankees leader in career strikeouts by striking out Justin Morneau in the fifth inning. During Pettitte’s 18 year career, 15 of his years has been with the New York Yankees. Pettitte has struck out 2386 batters during his lengthy baseball career, 1958 of the strikeouts are with the Yankees. Although Pettitte may not be the best pitcher to ever play for the Yankees, he is one of the best statistical pitchers in Yankees’ history.

Andy Pettitte
Andy Pettitte

Now the debate begins. Is Pettitte deserving of entering Cooperstown? Although Pettitte has been a great Yankee pitcher and a fan favorite, he will probably not enter the baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is suppose to be only for the best and most dominant baseball players of all time. Although there are a few players, who do not deserve to have their name be in the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame committee usually makes the correct selections. Although Pettitte may have the stats, 250 wins, 2000+ K, and a five time World Series champion, he was never the most dominant pitcher in the game. Personally, I feel that the Hall of Fame should be reserved for the players who are the most dominant at their respective position. Although Pettitte was close to winning the Cy Young Award in  1996, Pettitte never won the award, which will greatly diminish her chance of making it into the Hall of Fame. Other stats that hurt Pettitte’s chances is his WHIP and ERA. Andy only had an ERA under 3.00 three times in his career, which shows his lack of dominance (career ERA 3.87). Along with his ERA, Pettitte’s WHIP does not scream Hall of Fame worthy, 1.352 career WHIP. Pettitte only had a WHIP under 1.20 twice during his 18 year career.

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 10.32.26 AM

However, many people, who believe Pettitte should be in the Hall of Fame, will point to his great postseason accomplishments. Pettitte has pitched in the postseason 14 times during his 18 year career. He has made 44 starts and won 19 career games. Pettitte’s 19 wins during postseason play is a MLB record. Along with most wins, Pettitte has the most starts and innings pitched in postseason history. All three of his records are destined to stand for at least another decade. No other active pitcher is close to topping Pettitte’s records. Unless the Yankees can rebound and make the playoffs again, Pettitte will not be able to pass John Smoltz for most career playoff strikeouts. Most importantly, Pettitte has led the Yankees to five World Series championships.

Five time champion
Five time champion

Although Pettitte is one of my favorite pitchers and an absolute gamer, who gives it his all during every start, he is not a Hall of Famer because he has not been one of the most dominant pitchers during his era.

Stats from Baseball reference and pics from espn.com