In response to Keith Law’s outrageously early draft preview Mel Kiper has decided to chuck the 2010 NFL draft entirely and start handicapping 2011. True story. Anyway, there’s a top 50 list there, and some overall analysis:
In general, the quality of talent this year is below where it was
the last two years, and is well below what we can already see for the
2011 draft. It’s extremely light on college position players and weak
in high school catchers and shortstops, although I think by the time we
get to June the remaining groups — college arms, high school arms and
high school bats outside of those two positions — will have the same
quality and depth as they do in a typical year.
There is no Stephen Strasburg in this class, nor is there a Dustin
Ackley or a Matt Wieters, and right now we have only two players, Bryce
Harper and Anthony Ranaudo, who are expected to demand well-above-slot
bonuses (although that is simply industry speculation).
In a companion piece Law considers some of the early criticisms of Bryce Harper and dismisses them for the most part. I’m no prospect expert, but I’m not sure how you pass up someone like Harper. Sure, he’s a Boras guy and yes he’ll be expensive, but he’s a special kind of talent.
The only question is whether his therapy schedule will interfere with game times, what with all of that rush-rush-rushing his parents allowed.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.