Aboslutely the Illini have everything a team needs to win it all. But man, Gonzaga is loaded. Their conference sheduled didn't test them, but the Zags earned some big victories during its run. They have so much depth. Also, Mark Few has coached in a LOT of big games. To me those are the only two teams well above the rest.
If there is a position where nobody is hitting great -- such as center field or right field so far this spring -- then Mike will have to keep giving guys a chance until somebody emerges as Edman did this spring at second base/leadoff. For much of last season guys kept getting chances by default because so many guys struggled at once.
Jake Walman is getting another start tonight, so keep an eye on him. He was a top prospect, then he wasn't . . . and now his stock is rising again. He and Niko Mikkola are pretty much it among the near-term prospects on the blue line. Scott Perunovich lost this year of development, so I bet he will need a lot of AHL time to get himself into the picture.
Yes, because that is a really really good team with lots and lots of energy. The long-suffering South Siders finally have a team to rally around. Who knows who many years Tony has left at this advanced stage of life, but I bet he will be fine this season after all those years away.
I don't see him walking away from all of that money. I just don't.
For the rookie of the year, I'll go with Ke'Bryan Hayes of the Pirates. He's all they have but I think he'll hit enough anyway. For Cy Young I'll go with Jacob deGrom and for MVP the West Coast vote says Mookie Betts.
He's trending that way, but then there will be some new names in the balloting. And with the calculator crowd playing a bigger and bigger role in the outcome, I don't know if that's good or bad for Rolen.
Yes, Craig Berube has been frustrated with group. Let's see if the gritty Schwartz can help the team regain some edge.
In Stewart's last four seasons, the Tigers missed the NCAA Tournament three times and then landed a No. 8 seed. That trend, his advancing age and frustration over the lack of deep Big Dance runs had some boosters pushing to hire the Next New Thing in coaching. That new thing was Quin Snyder. The move looked great for a while . . . and then it didn't.
It is abolutely easier to win those battles on your forehand instead of your backhand. There forechecking pressure has never been greater on defensemen, so there has never been more emphasis on keeping guys on their strong side.
If the Cardinals have players just killing the ball, I do not expect them to risk losing them on waivers to keep a struggling Carpenter. But if Sosa and Williams are also struggling, then the fact that Carpenter is getting big money could give him additional chances. Also, even a subpar Carpenter has done more at the big league level than Sosa and Willams.
The NCAA is either incompetent or corrupt when it comes to addressing obvious cheating by big revenue programs. You can draw your own conclusions about which assessment fits. As for the tournament selection committee, it relied heavily on metrics -- such at the NET, which determined that Colgate was a juggernaut this season despite playing just three different teams over and over again in a bad conference. So maybe the committee should rely less on the metrics and more on actual victories against top teams.
I agree. This should have been the third straight tourney trip for the Billikens. Imagine what that would have meant to the program.
Gorman seems like a natural for the outfield. Second base? Scouts aren't sure he will be mobile enough to play third base. Jhon Torres is probably the next outfielder to keep an eye on. He's still young and missing the 2020 minor league was not helpful. There is plenty of power potential there.
Quin was a hot coaching prospect at the time. And once he got his life together, his career finally took off -- albeit at the pro level. As for Rountree, it seems he is a mid- to late-round guy. He is not a classic NFL running back prospect. but his north-south style could make him a nice situational player.
OK, that's it for this time. We'll catch you next week. Be safe!