Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Goodbye Tim's Sports Blog, Hello Rocky Mountain Jazz and Twinkie Baseball

The inevitable has happened. This blog has been split in two. This should motivate me to post more, and each site will be easier to be focused. There aren't hundreds of Twins/Jazz fans out there you know. For Twins fans, they won't have to wade through Jazz analysis they don't want to read. And for Jazz fans, they won't have to look at my Twins thoughts they don't want to see. You can see my Utah Jazz blog at rockymtnjazz.blogspot.com and my Minnesota Twins blog at twinkiebaseball.blogspot.com. I'll see you there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What can't Mauer do?

Joe Mauer has accepted the invitation to participate in the home run derby. Admit it, you'll be surprised if he doesn't win. Here is a Yahoo article about Mauer being great at everything he does. My favorite part is the bowling story.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why Bringing Back Paul Millsap Doesn't Make Sense

It seems like almost everyone is in love with Paul Millsap and can't stand Carlos Boozer. Sometimes it just boggles my mind how biased the fans can be. If Boozer misses a game, fans will get mad at him for being fragile and not toughing it out. If Millsap misses a game, the fans love him more for it, because he is a "hustle" player.

I can understand why fans would get mad at Boozer for his comments last December about "getting a raise." I was upset as well. But we all say dumb things. Sometimes I say really dumb things. Get over it, it is a part of life. It doesn't make him a worse basketball player.

Enough about off the court nonsense. I'd like to take a look at where it really matters: on the court.

First, I'd like to take a look at Millsap's last 37 games of last season. That is almost half a season. After January 25, Millsap had only 7 double-doubles in 37 games. He scored 2o+ points only once in those 37 games. He had 10+ rebounds in only 8 of those 37 games. He had 2+ blocks in 8 of those 37 games.

Boozer came back on the 3rd to last game in February. If you look at the minutes they got, they are both in the low to mid 30's a game. In Boozer's last 23 games (keep in mind he never really got back to full strength), he scored 20+ points in 7 of those 23 games, had 10+ rebounds in 13 of those 23 games, and had a double-double in 13 of those 23 games.

Millsap is the best backup power forward in the game, but he would be one of the worst starting power forwards in the game. People forget that he has usually played against other team's backups, not their starters. Plus there is also the issue that teams didn't scout and prepare for him much when he was a backup. As a starter people noticed his weaknesses and prepared for him, hence the not so impressive 2nd half numbers.

I saw a lot of things I really didn't like with Millsap in the 2nd half of the season. He looked tired and overmatched. I don't know if he is ready to play 40 minutes a night for 82 games + playoffs. He is very small for a power forward. He isn't the inside presence that Boozer is, and that has a lot of bad ramifications for the Jazz. Boozer makes it easier for Okur and Korver to spread the floor and also makes it easier for Brewer to play inside by the rim. Millsap also isn't the offensive player Boozer is, and I'm pretty sure that he never will be. Boozer is one of the top 3 offensive power forwards in the game. And the Jazz need Boozer's offense badly. He is someone you can rely on every night, and you can't say that about Okur or Kirilenko and probably not Millsap.

So sigining Millsap is a luxury, not a necessity, and while maybe, perhaps, there is a chance that someday he might be a starting power forward that makes you an elite championship contender he isn't that guy right now. Boozer is. Boozer makes you elite and puts you into championship contention right now. In fact with Boozer and Okur in the middle, you have perhaps the best PF/C combination in the game. I really can't think of any other PF/C of another team that is better than those two right now. Not Bynum and Gasol (Bynum needs to develop), not anybody. I know they aren't great on defense but that is where Kosta Koufus steps in along with the guy who should be the new backup power forward, Andrei Kirilenko. That is another topic for another day, but the irony is that the Jazz already have a guy on the team who makes a better extra power forward than Millsap the guy they are intent on bringing back.

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 Utah Jazz Draft Review

Virginia Commonwealth University senior point guard Eric Maynor was the Utah Jazz first round draft pick last night. Utah also took 6-foot-10 Bosnian center Goran Suton of Michigan State at No. 50 in the second round.

Of course you always want to draft the best player available but going into the draft I wanted the Jazz to try and address one of three areas: A backup point guard, a backup power forward to replace Boozer or Millsap, and a backup small forward to replace Matt Harpring. Looks like they tried to address two of those areas.

I give the Jazz an A- grade in selecting Eric Maynor. There never seems to be much talent to choose from outside the lottery and that was especially the case this year. But this year there did seem to be an abundance of point guards. Hey I'm just glad that they picked Maynor before the Timberwolves snatched up all the point guards for themselves. Seriously when was the last time a team picked three point guards in the first round?

Anyways, about Maynor, he sounds like he is a true point guard. He's always been a point guard, he's not converted from a shooting guard, like a Ronnie Price. He is a winner. He is skinny and could put on some more weight. He is very lucky that he can learn from Deron Williams from the start of his career. The Jazz rarely have had a quality backup point guard, and they'd love to see Maynor be able to be the new Howard Eisley for the Jazz.

There are two revealing things I have heard the past couple days. One was Jerry Sloan talking about how Maynor will be a nice #3 point guard this year behind Williams and Ronnie Price. Price, may I remind you, is a free agent. Looks like the Jazz know who they want to backup Williams next year. I'm glad they will have Price and Maynor as backups, that means they won't be wasting lots of precious money on an expensive veteran backup point guard. Really if Price resigns, I think the Jazz have the best point guard situation in the league.

The other interesting thing that has come out is that Maynor's dad came very close to making it to the NBA. He was about to sign with the Chicago Bulls, but he was cut by the coach, who just happened to be named Jerry Sloan. Apparently Sloan doesn't remember that and nobody in the Jazz organization knew that Maynor's dad was cut by Sloan until after they had selected Maynor. I don't know how that plays into this. I hope it doesn't make anything awkward. Maybe it makes Maynor work harder to impress Sloan. If anything it just shows how old Sloan is getting.

As for Suton, I haven't heard much. He has a nice outside shot for a big guy. The Jazz have probably had better luck in the second round than the first so I should research more about him. Looks intriguing though.

All in all it was a bizarre day with Shaq and Vince getting traded and the whole draft being overshadowed by the death of Michael Jackson.

I give the Jazz an A- this year for the draft. They did what they could with their position. I don't know as much about these guys but I will cut they some slack because they have been one of the top 5 drafting teams since 2005. They've gotten Williams, Miles, Brewer, Millsap, and Koufos through the draft lately and who knows maybe even Fesenko will turn out to be good.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Joe Mauer on Sports Illustrated cover

SI Article

Mauer makes his second Sports Illustrated cover. It is a good read.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Milton Bradley, entertainer

http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200906125009239&c_id=min Do yourself a favor and look at today's Twins/Cubs game highlights. With one, repeat one out, Mauer was at-bat with Harris and Punto on 1st and 3rd. He hit a fly ball to Bradley, who caught it, posed for a few seconds then threw the ball into the stands. Classic. One of the funniest baseball moments I've ever seen. To make things better in the inning before he lost Kubel's fly ball in the sun and missed the catch then two batters later he tried to make a diving catch of Cuddyer's sinking fly but missed it as well.

"I almost kind of laughed when I saw him throw the ball into the stands," Harris said.

"That's life," Milton Bradley said. "These people have high expectations. I have high expectations for myself. I never made a mistake like that in my life. Sue me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Punto on DL, Casilla called up

The words "Punto" and "DL" go good together. And I've always liked Alexi Casilla. So I'm glad to see that after tonight's game that Casilla was called up to replace Nick Punto who was placed on the DL.

I've always been extremely opposed to Nick Punto taking up a roster spot. The reason is that his bat belongs nowhere near the big leagues. In 2006 he received 472 at bats, and hit .210/.291/.271, good enough for one of the worst offensive seasons ever for a player with that many at-bats. So far this season he has been even worse in 123 at-bats. He is "hitting" .187/.290/.211. It's never good to see a batting average below .200, it's worse to see an on-base percentage below .300, and it's even worse when you have that low of an on-base percentage and have a slugging percentage nearly .80 lower than the on-base percentage. Oh, did I mention that he only has 3 extra base hits this season?

Ok I admit Alexi Casilla was terrible with the Twins earlier this year. But it seems like he has been getting back on track at AAA Rochester with a much better line of .316/.353/.392. He was a huge piece for the Twins last year and we need another boost from him again so that we actually get something from the middle infield.

It sounds like Casilla will take over second base and Brendan Harris will be the shortstop with Matt Tolbert the backup. It's about time Tolbert be forced into a backup position, it is where he belongs. If Casilla can turn things around and Harris can hold off Punto and Tolbert for the last starting infield spot (not likely with Gardenhire's sickening love for Punto and Tolbert) then the Twins lineup will be very solid:

LF Denard Span
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
RF Michael Cuddyer
DH Jason Kubel
3B Joe Crede
SS Brendan Harris
CF Carlos Gomez
2B Alexi Casilla