January 31, 2004
SUPER BOWL THOUGHTS – Updated Saturday morning, I have included the thoughts of our FB Panelists as well as a number of other baseball blog writers. Take a look and see what we're all thinking about tomorrow night's game.
TIMBERWOLVES BEAT LAKERS - Updated Saturday Morning
American League West Pitchers
After finishing a six part series, analyzing the hitters in baseball, I will now begin to discuss the pitching staffs of each big league team, again, by division. In other words, my four part series, which became a nine part series, has now become a 13 part series. I was thinking I would be able to do the pitching analysis in two days. However, there is really nothing going on in baseball these days worth discussing. Also, this allows me to be a little more detailed in my analysis of the players. As always, I hope you enjoy what you read.
I want to do this analysis for a couple of reasons. First, I love fantasy baseball and love discussing what I think of certain players. Second, I know that many people who take the time to read baseball sites like this one participate in fantasy baseball leagues as well. And finally… hey, I need to start figuring out a game plan for my fantasy leagues. I am in three of them, each with different formats, so I hope this helps me as much as it helps you!
However, I do understand that not everyone gets into fantasy sports, and that’s OK too. I do not think that my “analysis” will be too “statty” and should be enjoyable for any baseball fan to read.
I know it is early to be talking about fantasy baseball, but I know that many keeper leagues have to turn in their ‘keepers’ this month. Also, aside from Ivan Rodriguez and Greg Maddux, most of the free agents still available will be bit players and may or may not affect some of the comments below. However, there could still be some trades and signings which could alter some of these opinions. For instance, if Greg Maddux signs with the Cubs, it could affect the fantasy value of Juan Cruz or Angel Guzman. It could also affect how Jacque Jones would be valued.
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Disclaimer: What you read below are simply my opinions. Obviously I have no knowledge of what will happen in the 2004 season, so please take the information for what it is worth (fun and opinion). Also, these opinions are subject to change as spring training approaches. All players listed are either projected starters, or starters based on my opinion. I will try to project where each player could be drafted, assuming a 30 round draft.
Here is the schedule for this project:
Tuesday, Jan. 20 - Part 1 - American League Central Hitters
Wednesday, Jan. 21 - Part 2 - American League East Hitters
Thursday, Jan. 22 - Part 3 - American League West Hitters
Friday, Jan. 23 - Part 4 - National League Central Hitters
Monday, Jan. 26 - Part 5 - National League East Hitters
Tuesday, Jan. 27 - Part 6 - National League West Hitters
Wednesday, Jan. 28 - Part 7 - American League Central Pitchers
Thursday, Jan. 29 - Part 8 - American League East Pitchers
Friday, Jan. 30 - Part 9 - American League West Pitchers
Monday, Feb. 2 - Part 10 - National League Central Pitchers
Tuesday, Feb. 3 - Part 11 - National League East Pitchers
Wednesday, Feb. 4 - Part 12 - National League West Pitchers
Thursday, Feb. 5 - Part 13 – Rookies and Prospects
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST PITCHERS
One great pitching staff; Two really good pitching staffs; One pitching staff that may be the worst in the majors, if not in major league history! The A’s Big 3 could be the Big 6! The Angels added two solid starters to give them a strong five-man rotation. The Mariners have good talent, but they could go either way. Finally, the Rangers; Oh, the Rangers. And we thought that the Tigers and Devil Rays rotations were bad. Wait until you see the Texas Rangers pitchers… and they wonder why they don’t win despite a great lineup.
So, let’s get going on some analysis. If you have any comments, arguments, agreements, questions or anything, please feel free to e-mail me. When this project is complete, I would like to put together a Mailbag issue with many of those comments.
SP – Bartolo Colon
The one thing I really like about Colon is that he pitches a lot of innings, and he throws hard all of the time. It is amazing to me that he has not been better or more consistent. In 2003, he was 15-13 with a 3.87 ERA. He gave up just 1.2 Walks and Hits Per Inning Pitched. Actually, in 2002, between the Indians and the Expos, Colon combined to go 20-8 with a 2.93 ERA. Despite putting up good numbers the last two years, Colon’s strikeout rate has dropped to about 6 per 9 innings. Consider taking Colon around Round 4.
SP – Jarrod Washburn
The LaCrosse native, Washburn had an off year in 2003, going 10-15 with a 4.43 ERA. His strikeout numbers are low (5.1 per 9 IP), but his WHIP was just 1.25. Don’t forget the in 2002, he was 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA. Both years, he pitched more than 205 innings. With the Angels improved lineup, Washburn hopes to get more run support and his numbers should improve, making him worth drafting in the 15th round.
SP – Kelvim Escobar
Escobar had been the Blue Jays closer in 2002. That year, he pitched 76 games, was 5-7 and recorded 38 saves, with his .4.27 ERA. In 2003, he was eventually moved into the starting rotation and performed admirably. He made 26 starts and in those games was 12-8 with a 3.82 ERA. In 163 innings, he had 136 strikeouts. All of his 2003 numbers were far better as a starter than as a reliever. He comes to the Angels as a starter and should find some success. Consider drafting Escobar around Round 12.
SP – Ramon Ortiz
Now, if you compare the “other” numbers or Ramon Ortiz to those of Jarrod Washburn, you would think that Washburn would have had a better record. That wasn’t the case. Ramon Ortiz’s WHIP was 1.51. His ERA was 5.20. He even struck out one hitter less. Somehow, Ortiz ended 2003 with a 16-13 record. I don’t know what it is, but Ortiz has always found a way to win. In 2002, he was 15-9. In each of his four seasons in the Angels rotation, he is over .500 (for a career 54-42 record). Consider drafting Ortiz in the 17th round.
SP – John Lackey
Lackey pitched over 200 innings in his first full season in the Angels rotation. He finished 10-16 with a 4.63 ERA. Lackey will always be remembered for winning Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels, and may never reach that level again. But as a fifth starter, he will be just fine. But, don’t draft him too early. Wait until around the 26th round to pick him.
Closer – Troy Percival
Troy Percival throws hard. Twins fans would consider Percival a Twins-killer. In 2003, he pitched in 52 games. He was 0-5 with a 3.47 ERA. Opponents hit just .184 off him. His WHIP was 1.14. He averaged just under a strikeout an inning. Percival has had at least 31 saves in seven of the last eight seasons. He is the anchor to a great bullpen. Take him in the 13th round.
Closer – Brendan Donnelly/Francisco Rodriguez
Donnelly was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the big league in 2003. Last year, he was 2-2 with a 1.58 ERA, striking out more than a batter an inning. He made the All-Star team last year because at the break, he was 0-0 with a 0.38 ERA in 40 games. Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) made his splash in the 2002 playoffs. He had only pitched five games going into the playoffs. Big things were expected in 2003. After a slow start, he came through. He was 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA. He pitched 86 innings in 59 games. He struck out 95 batters; his WHIP was 0.99; opponents hit .172 off him. These guys are good. However, only draft them if middle relievers have value in your league.
One 2 Watch – Aaron Sele
The Minnesota native started 25 games in 2003 for the Angels. With the team’s offseason additions, his role in 2004 is not certain. I would suspect he will be moved to middle relief. Last year, he was 7-11 with a 5.77 ERA. He pitched just 121.2 innings, walked 58 and struck out 53. He could be good as a long reliever. If someone from the rotation is traded or injured, he could get a chance. But, if you’re drafting now, don’t draft Sele.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Colon, Percival and the rest of the bullpen.
The Bad – The 5th starter spot.
The Questions – How will Escobar do in a full year in the rotation? Will Colon stay healthy and pitch to his potential? Can the bullpen possibly continue to be this good?
SP – Tim Hudson
Tim Hudson has been incredible since he was called up in 1999. his career records have been 11-2, 20-6, 18-9, 15-9, and 16-7. His ERA’s? 3.24, 4.14, 3.37, 2.98 and 2.70. The last three seasons, he has pitched between 235 and 240 innings each year. In other words, he is incredible, and he is just 28. Take him in Round 2.
SP – Mark Mulder
Mulder was on his way to the AL Cy Young Award last year until he suddenly hurt his hip and was out the rest of the season. The last three years (even with the injury), Mulder has averaged 30 starts, 200 innings and over 6 strikeouts per 9 innings. In 2001, he was 21-8. In 2002, he was 19-7, and in 2003, he was 15-9, with a 3.13 ERA. Take Mulder in Round 2 or 3.
SP – Barry Zito
Barry Zito is kind of an interesting case. In the last three seasons, he has started 35 games each year. His innings have continued to increase, while his strikeouts have dropped from 205 to 182 to 146. That’s pretty drastic. His records have been 17-8, 23-5 and 14-12. His career ERA is 3.12. In other words, he has remained incredibly good. You just have to wonder what has changed. I would wait until Round 4 to pick Barry.
SP – Mark Redman
Redman was traded by the Twins in 2001 for Todd Jones. The team, and Tom Kelly specifically, were sick of his lazy rehabbing. Since then, you hate to admit it, but he has come a respectable pitcher, even if every team he has been on has been quick to rid themselves of him. Last year, Redman started 29 games for the Florida Marlins. He was 14-9 with a 3.59 ERA. He struck out just over 7 batters every nine innings and his WHIP was 1.22. In 2002, with the Detroit Tigers, he was 8-15 (remember, he was with the Tigers), with a 4.21 ERA. He pitched 203 innings. So, based on the last two seasons, Redman should provide the A’s plenty of quality innings. Take him in the 18th round.
SP – Rich Harden
Rich Harden had an incredible 2002 season, going 12-6 with a 2.94 ERA in stops between Class A and AA. He started the 2003 season at AA Midland and pitched 13 perfect innings in 2 games. He walked none and struck out 17 batters. He was then moved up to AAA Sacramento where he went 9-4 with a 3.15 ERA. He struck out 91 in 88.2 innings. That warranted a call up to Oakland where he got 13 starts (2 relief appearances) and went 5-4 with a 4.46 ERA. In 74.2 innings, he struck out 67. After getting off to a quick start with the A’s, he almost seemed to get nervous and started walking more. Expect big things from Harden in 2004. Pick him in the 10th round.
Closer – Arthur Rhodes
Arthur Rhodes has been a dominant left-handed reliever for the last 13 big league seasons between Baltimore and Seattle. Finally, Rhodes gets his chance at being a full-time closer after signing as a free agent with the Oakland A’s. For his career he has averaged almost a strikeout an inning. He will do great as a closer. Take him around the 13th round.
Closer – Chad Bradford
The submarining Chad Bradford has pitched over 70 games the last two years. He gives up a lot of ground balls. His ERA the last two years has been 3.11 and 3.04. If Rhodes struggles, Bradford could be the closer. I don’t expect it, so don’t draft him.
One 2 Watch – Justin Duchscherer
If Duchscherer was with any other organization and performed like he did last year, he would be a shoe-in for the 2004 rotation. However, with the A’s, he may only get in if there is an injury. At 26 years old, he isn’t a young prospect. He has been playing pro ball since 1996. He pitched in 5 games for the Rangers in 2001. In 2003, Duchscherer started the season at AAA. He went 14-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 24 games. He was called up to the A’s late in the season and pitched in 4 games, starting 3. He was 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA. Probably leave him undrafted, but be ready to sign him if anything happens to someone in the rotation.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Six good starting pitchers. Rhodes.
The Bad – The rest of the bullpen has questions.
Question Marks – How will Rhodes be as the full-time closer? Will Harden become the star everyone expects? Which direction will Barry Zito’s numbers go this year?
SP – Jamie Moyer
The 41 year old Moyer just continues to get better with age. His ERAs the last three seasons have been 3.43, 3.32 and 3.27. He has pitched over 200 innings each of those years. Last year, he was 21-7. His WHIP was 1.23 last year. He doesn’t strike many out (just 5.4 per 9 innings) and provide a lot of the ‘other’ numbers fantasy owners look for. But he wins games. I would draft him after the 11th round.
SP – Freddy Garcia
Cristian Guzman is an enigma for the Twins. Freddy Garcia is an enigma for the Mariners. In 2001, he was 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA. In 2002, he was 16-10, but with a 4.39 ERA. Last year, he was 12-14, with a 4.52 ERA. Each year, he has pitched over 200 innings. But his strikeouts went down last year, his home runs have been up the last two years. So, where do you pick Garcia? I think that he could have a comeback season. His ERA wasn’t much higher than previous years, so he could easily turn it around in the win-column, giving him more confidence to pitch better. (How is that for some psychological mumbo-jumbo?) Pick him in the 9th round.
SP – Joel Pineiro
The 25 year old Pineiro had a great 2003 season, going 16-11 with a 3.78 ERA. That follows his 2002 season where he was 14-7 with a 3.24 ERA. That earned him a nice big contract for the next three years. I think 2004 will be a huge year for Pineiro. I think he will take the step to stardom. I would think he is worth an 8th round pick (although, because he is relatively unknown, you may be able to get him later).
SP – Gil Meche
Meche was another pleasant surprise for the Mariners in 2003. After missing all of the 2001 and 2002 seasons because of arm surgeries, Meche came back in 2003 better than ever. He started 32 games and pitched 186 1/3 innings. He was 15-13 with a 4.59 ERA. He struck out over 6 batters per 9 innings. I suspect that Meche will improve in 2004, another year removed from surgery. I would take him in the 12th round.
SP – Ryan Franklin
Now, Ryan Franklin didn’t have the record that Pineiro or Meche had, but his ERA was better than either of them and he pitched more innings. In 2003, Franklin was 11-13 with a 3.57 ERA. He only struck out 4.2 batters per 9 innings though. His ceiling is not as high as the others, but he did start 32 games last year and should find himself in the rotation again all of 2004. If that ERA stays there, expect a better won-loss record. I can see taking him in the 21st round.
Closer – Eddie Guardado
I wonder if they will chant “Eddie! Eddie!” in Seattle every time the 33 year old Guardado enters the game? I was frequently critical of Guardado, saying that every time he entered the game, he made things interesting. But then you look at his numbers. 3-5 with a 2.89 ERA. 60 strikeouts in 65.1 innings. A WHIP of 0.98. I realize that he was pretty successful (which I knew). With the Kaz Sasaki retirement, Guardado should be the closer for the Mariners. He has had 86 saves the last two seasons with the Twins. Draft him in the 11th round.
Closer – Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Hasegawa was another reliever to make the AL All-Star team last year. For the year, he was 2-4 with a 1.48 ERA. Opponents hit .235 while his WHIP was 1.10. He doesn’t strike out many (just under 4 K per 9 IP). The 35 year old was the team’s closer for a couple of months and recorded 16 saves. Unless he gets saves, don’t draft him.
One 2 Watch – Rafael Soriano
2003 was the year 23 year old Rafael Soriano became a successful major league pitcher. In 40 games, he pitched 53 innings. He struck out 68 batters (11.55 per 9 innings). He was 3-0 with a save. Opponents hit .162 and his WHIP was 0.79. Incredible! I just don’t know what role Soriano will hold in 2004. Depending on that, he is worth a late-round pick.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Guardado and Hasegawa, Moyer.
The Bad – the rest of the bullpen.
The Question Marks – Will Garcia pitch well again? Can Franklin, Meche and Pineiro take a step forward? What role will Soriano pitch in in 2004?
SP – Kenny Rogers
39 year old Kenny Rogers is back with the Rangers, back where he wanted to be the whole time. After being the Twins 4th starter last year, he comes to the Rangers and becomes their ace. Now, I like Rogers as much as anyone. He pitched 195 innings last year and was 13-8 with a 4.57 ERA. He gave up a lot of hits, but he was productive. That said, if he is a teams’ ace, that does not bode well for the Rangers 2004 season. Rogers should be drafted in the 22nd round at best.
SP – Colby Lewis
26 starts. 10-9 with a 7.30 ERA (how is that possible?) WHIP was 1.83. Don’t Draft Him!
SP – R.A. Dickey
Dickey has no cartilage in his elbow, but somehow he has pitched in the big leagues. He was 9-8, with a 5.08 ERA. He started just 13 of the 38 games he pitched. Don’t Draft Him!
SP – Joaquin Benoit
8-5 with a 5.49 ERA. But, he did have 87 strikeouts in 105 innings. Don’t Draft Him!
SP – Ryan Drese/Chan Ho Park
Drese was 2-4 with a 6.85 ERA in 11 games (8 starts). Opponents hit .314 off him, and his WHIP was 1.85. Please, don’t draft him! Park was 1-3 in 7 starts in which he pitched just over 29 innings. Not good. The career path of Chan Ho Park may make people want to draft Jeff Weaver though! Think about it. Park was one of the better pitchers in the National League with the Dodgers from 1997-2001. He got the big salary because of that. Then he went to the Rangers, got hurt, and hasn’t been the same pitcher since. Don’t draft Park, but with Weaver going to the Dodgers, consider drafting him in the late rounds!
Closer – Francisco Cordero
The lone bright spot in the entire Rangers pitching staff, Cordero pitched very well throughout the 2003 season. Early in the year, he set up for Ugueth Urbina. When Ugie was traded, Cordero performed well in the closer’s role. For the season, he pitched 73 games and almost 83 innings (struck out 90). He was 5-8, but had a 2.94 ERA. He recorded 15 saves. I assume he will be the Rangers closer, so don’t be afraid to draft him after the 19th round.
Closer – Jeff Zimmerman
Zimmerman was great in 2001. He pitched in 66 games and went 4-4 with 28 saves and a 2.40 ERA. He struck out a batter an inning. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately for him and the Rangers, Zimmerman has not been able to pitch since. He had arm surgery and last year, during his comeback attempt, he had a set back. It will be interesting to see if he is able to come back in 2004, and if so, how good he can be. Don’t draft him!
Two 2 Watch – Juan Dominguez
It’s hard to come up with much positive to say about Rangers pitchers! Dominguez had a very good minor league season and was called up to the Rangers late in the season. Sure, he was 0-2 with a 7.16 ERA, but he did strike out 13 in 16.2 innings. The problem was that he also walked 12! If he can gain some control, the 23 year old may provide some hope for this team. Don’t draft him.
Team Fantasy Summary -
The Good – Cordero.
The Bad – Everything. I mean, Kenny Rogers is the ace
The Question Marks – Who will fill out the rotation? Can the team get the games to Cordero? Will Zimmerman be able to come back?
Well, that is it for Part 9 of my Fantasy Baseball Preview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. The same format will be used next week when I discuss the National League team’s pitching staffs. Please let me know what you think. Any comments or suggestions would be welcomed! E-mail me.
It appears that Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is set to sign a 4 year, $40 million contract with the Detroit Tigers today. Another bad signing for the Tigers. Except for one thing; the Tigers have included a clause getting them out of the deal if Rodriguez is on the Disabled List for more than 5 weeks with a lower back injury. Then, the deal makes sense for them.
SUPER BOWL THOUGHTS BY BASEBALL PEOPLE
Seth’s Thoughts -
My thoughts on the Super Bowl. First, I should be honest. I haven’t even watched SportsCenter the last two weeks because I assume that they will mainly be talking about the game. All of the hype leading up to one game? It bores me. But it is the Super Bowl, so it is necessary to make predictions. I also have to warn everyone that after getting three of four Wild Card weekend games right, I am 0-6 in the last two weeks of games. So, my predictions may mean nothing. But, here goes…
Rod Smart (aka - “He Hate Me”) will return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. On the ensuing drive, Tom Brady will go 7-7 for 76 yards and an 8 yard touchdown pass to Deion Branch to tie the game. After a 3-and-out, Brady will orchestrate another long drive, with Antwain Smith scoring on a 3 yard run. The Patriots will maintain the 14-7 lead through the first half.
After the Patriots punt on the first possession of the second half, Jake Delhomme’s first pass will be intercepted by Ty Law and returned for a touchdown. As the 3rd quarter winds down, Adam Viniteiri will add a 39 yard field goal. Entering the 4th quarter, the Patriots will be ahead 24-7. Needing to pass, Jake Delhomme drops back and hits Steve Smith on a 57 yard reception. On the next play, Delhomme finds Muhsin Muhammed for a 14 yard touchdown.
Then, Tom Brady shines, leading a 15 play, 82 yard drive, consuming 9:13 off the play clock. It leads to a 19 yard Viniteiri field goal giving the Patriots the 27-14 lead. That will be the final score. Brady will be the game’s MVP.
And as soon as the game is done and all the awards are presented and all of the interviews are completed, Survivor All-Stars first episode is on. I can’t wait to see Jenna L, Jenna M, Amber, Alicia and Jerri!
So, there you have my thoughts on Sunday’s Super Bowl. Hopefully it will be a decent game, as described above. (Probably more likely, it will be a low-scoring defensive battle. The Patriots have somehow won 15 games in a row. I don’t know if I picked the Panthers all season. So, what do I do?)
I asked our FB Panelists (LINK ), the people who picked all of the NFL football games on this site all season, to give me their thoughts and predictions on the Super Bowl. So, here they are:
Melissa Olson - the SethSpeaks webmaster and editor
I pick Carolina....28-20!
Ben Jacobs - Universal Baseball Blog
Here's my prediction for the Super Bowl:
The Tom Brady-Joe Montana comparisons will intensify as Brady wins his second Super Bowl MVP award. This time, however, he will earn the award by throwing three touchdown passes in New England's 27-14 victory.
Aaron Gleeman - Our League’s Champion - Aaron’s Baseball Blog
New England 24, Carolina 14
New England's defense dominates Carolina all night, picking Delhomme off a couple times. Brady wins MVP.
Anthony Fox - The Bad Twin
I like the Patriots in a tight game. I think they hit Delhomme hard and early. I think that Stephen Davis will have trouble running on that New England front seven, especially when they throw Rodney Harrison in the box. I think that Brady will dink and dunk his way to about 220 yards and 2 TD's, and I'd expect that Delhomme throws a pick or two and is utterly unspectacular. The turnovers will cost Carolina the game.
For MVP, I'm picking Tedi Bruschi, just cuz good things seem to happen around him.
Michael Labuda - ChiSox Daily
Well, I didn't think either team would get this far. And the Patriots must be the least dominant team to ever win 14 games in a row. I think it will be a close game but the Patriots will pull out a win, 27-20.
David Lee - Braves Buzz
You gotta go with the Pats. Yes, the Panthers have proven me wrong every week of the whole season, but none of that matters when you play in the big game. The Pats have experienced players who have been through this before. They'll pull it out.
Mike Brasel - fantasy football guru
I haven't been following all the hype since I've been working quite a bit, but I do have some thoughts on the Super Bowl. I see CBS is covering the Super Bowl this year. That sucks! Now we have to listen to Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms the whole game. I may just mute the TV and listen to the radio announcers, unless Paul Allen and Joe Senser call the game, which won't happen. I really can't put my finger on what annoys me about them, but I feel like walking out of the room whenever I hear their voices. I have definitely taken less interest in this year's game than past Super Bowls. My Bowl pick this year is for Team Euphoria. I think Nikki Ziering will throw all day on Team Dream's defense. Besides Eric Dickerson is coaching Team Euphoria, I think he will put together a much better 'game plan' than Lawrence Taylor. Wait a minute, I got my Bowls mixed up. I thought you meant the Lingerie Bowl being played during half-time of the Super Bowl on pay-per-view. You want a pick for the other game, I see now. I'll pick the Patriots, 20-17.
Vic Quick - Sports Director at KDUH-TV, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Panthers 20, Patriots 16
In big games, what wins is running and defense. Both teams have very good defenses. The difference in this game will be Stephen Davis and Deshaun Foster. Look for them to combine for over 125 yards. Jake Delhomme will also hit his receivers for a couple of big plays when he needs to. My pick for MVP is Stephen Davis.
I also asked some other Baseball Blog writers to drop me a quick e-mail if they cared to throw in their two cents on the Super Bowl. Here they are, and please be sure to check out the links to their great websites.
Cliff from Clifford’s Big Red Blog
I'll take the Pats by two touchdowns. The Panthers seem to me to be a Super Bowl team in the mode of the Falcons and Chargers, just good enough to be there. There's nothing impressive about them, and they seem destined to be seen as a fluke, especially with a no-name QB like Delhomme under center. The Pats, on the other hand, have done a lot to impress (stopping the Colts, their win streak, two Super Bowls in three years). I think they're an underrated team. As for an MVP, the winning QB is always the favorite, but I'll go with Ty Law. I think New England's defense wins this one.
Eric from The Baseball Boys
Pats 24, Cats 13
How the Panthers even made it to the dance is beyond me. They beat a St. Louis Rams team that is not only overrated, but also cursed by the coaching of Mike Martz. They played against an injured Donovan McNabb who had to be taken out of the game and replaced with Eminem. The stars just lined up perfectly for them. The Panthers have a couple good weapons on offense in Stephen Davis and Steve Smith, but not enough to overtake the terrific Patriots defense. This is like Apollo Creed going up against the big Soviet dude in Rocky IV. The Patriots are going to send the Panthers to their grave, and Ty Law will have a good shot at MVP, depending on how much the VERY average Delhomme actually throws the football and doesn't just dish it off to Stephen Davis (103.1 ypg) all day. If not Law, then Brady for MVP.
The real bottom line is that the NFC is much, much weaker than the AFC and the Patriots are going to crush the Panthers.
Bryan Smith from Wait Til Next Year
I'm gonna say: Patriots: 24, Panthers: 10
Bill Belichek is the best in the biz at creating game plans. I'll say Brady wins MVP, although the whole defense will be more deserving.
David from The Baseball Savant
The Baseball Savant predicts that the New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl. I say this because their defense is just too good and Bellichick has had too much time to prepare for Carolina to win. I think it'll be close, but New England is an excellent team in getting a lead and then just protecting it for the rest of the game. This is one of those games that will probably make the adage of, "Whoever scores first, will win the game" ring true. Besides, does anyone really think an NFC team should win the Super Bowl this season?
Mike from Mike’s Baseball Rants
I'm totally unqualified to answer this, but I won't let that--or the fact that my pathetic Eagles are again not going to the party--get in the way. Patriots 35-10 (though the Panthers D will only give up 21 of those). The Panthers are a well-balanced team, but the Patsies are just better on both sides of the ball. Brady will be the MVP. Most annoying commercial: AOL. Best commercial: any NFL one with Don Cheadle.
JD Arney from Reds Faithful Baseball Blog
Patriots 17 - Carolina 7
MVP: Tom Brady
I'm still a bit shocked that Carolina has gotten this far. I've thought they'd lose every week in the playoffs. Obviously I've been wrong, and I hate picking the favorite as it feels like the easy way out, but New England and Carolina are on completely different levels.
Al Bethke from Al’s Ramblings
Let everyone know I'm looking forward to the ads and Survivor All-Stars...oh, is there a game? Opening Day is only a couple months away, let's not let football spoil it.:)
Rich Lederer from Rich’s Weekend Baseball Beat
New England 27, Carolina 10
MVP: Tom Brady
Ty Law returns an interception for a TD. Adam Vinatieri kicks two FG.
NE's defense keeps Stephen Davis under 100 yards.
David Bloom from Ya Gotta Believe
I am going with the Panthers. I give the edge to the Panthers due to the running lift with a healthy Steven Davis.
Steve Smith will be a big factor too. On Defense, look for Dan Morgan to shine.
Tom Swift from Nickel Curves
A take-it-to-the-bank prediction: A team with a nickname beginning with the letter P will win the game as I enjoy a good book.
And on that note, thanks to all of the above for taking a moment to send me their thoughts. To everyone, have a great weekend! Enjoy the game, or the commercials, and Survivor All-Stars! I’ll be back on Monday!
TIMBERWOLVES BEAT LAKERS
Flip Saunders, Kevin Garnett and presumably Sam Cassell will be back at Staples Center in LA in a couple of weeks to participate in the All-Star game and weekend. Latrell Sprewell stole the show there last night as the Wolves overcame a 44-35 halftime deficit to defeat the Lakers. Actually, his half-court three pointer at the buzzer going into the half seemed to instigate the Wolves turnaround. The Wolves outscored the Lakers 29-22 in the 3rd quarter, then really dominated the 4th quarter with a 33-18 advantage to finish out the 97-84 win.
Sprewell ended the game with 35 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Sam Cassell played 48 minutes because Troy Hudson was unable to play and Darrick Martin (who has been with the Wolves two other times and signed a 10-day contract) was not available yet. Cassell scored 28 points and dished out 11 assists. Kevin Garnett scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers with 22 points.
Next up for the Wolves? They host Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday afternoon at 2:00 (central time). The game will be airing on ESPN, so be sure to watch that.
On that note, I’m going to call it a day, and a week! Again, I hope you enjoyed today’s entry. Remember to check back later today for our panel’s Super Bowl thoughts. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, arguments or anything, just e-mail me!
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