New Broncos defensive end Jarvis Moss, the team's first-round draft pick out of Florida? Upside -- Simon Fletcher, a fair sack dog in his day. Downside? All the other chumps coach Mike Shanahan has drafted and whiffed on at DE, and there have been many.
Didn't like the Allen Iverson trade when it went down, primarily due to my affection for Andre Miller's disrespected game (echoed by coach George Karl) and the draft pick compensation price. However, a healthy, assimilated A.I. could really break out next season. Carmelo Anthony, you'd like to believe will have learned yet another maturity lesson the hard way and be ready to stop all the youthful nonsense and J.R. Smith will be watching that act and getting his together too, creating the perimeter shooting and slashing troika that will be difficult for opponents to handle.
A healthy Nene and Marcus Camby should mean a Denver team that will win a first-round playoff series and have a legitimate shot at competing and winning a second series.
A healthy and happy Kenyon Martin will be a departing Kenyon Martin. The Nuggets would love to pump up his value and then dish him sweetly as a Steve Nash assist to another team.
Don't underestimate the loss of Denver linebacker and drill sergeant Al Wilson. D.J. Williams could replace his talent with some time but Wilson was the heart that fed that defense. Who knows what leadership qualities that Williams possesses.
Cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly would love any sort of pass rush. Look what Bailey did last season with only marginal pressure up front. The potential, well, yeah, baby. Both DBs are top-shelf ball hawks who will smell blood in the water if the defensive front can put any sort of consistent heat on the quarterback. Also remember the name Dominique Foxworth. Thinking he is ready to step up his game.
Still can't believe Darrent Williams is gone. Guns, fools, machismo -- a bad cocktail. Hanging around that element, a real roll of the dice with the price being life.
Look for wide receiver Javon Walker, who had Williams sitting right next to him as his teammate died, to potentially have a tremendous season, a career best.
Believe what you will, all the hype about Broncos defensive tackle draftee Marcus Thomas. The track record of the guy indicates his chances of staying clean, legally, are iffy at best.
Shanahan has quite the offseason going, doesn't he? Bringing in guys with drug and/or personal issues past (Moss, Thomas) and having off-field issues with others (David Kircus, Brandon Marshall). I think this was the Indianapolis Colts model for Super Bowl success, wasn't it.
The Rockies stink. The pitching isn't good enough, still. The real reason, though, for the pitiful place in the standings (the team just can't get out of that hood) is an offense that is inexplicably bad. Anyone with answers, call the Colorado front office, solve the problem and earn salesman of the year.
What this team needs is to start rolling out softballs on game days.
And maybe those fat toy bats.
Or a tee.
So who's going to have a better first season, record-wise -- CSU's Tim Miles, CU's Jeff Bzdelik or Air Force's Jeff Reynolds? Or am I foolishly leaving out Denver University's Joe Scott?
Naming names -- WSN Rockies Prospect Hot Sheet
AAA -- Colorado Springs -- Outfielder Sean Barker (.358) and first baseman Joe Koshansky (.333) are having their way with opposing pitchers and would be kicking down the door to Coors Field if...they were showing any power. They're not. The two have combined for a paltry 8 home runs in 78 games.
Pitching? What pitching?
AA -- Tulsa -- Outfielder Matt Miller (.300, 5 HR, 24 RBI) keeps grinding out quality minor-league seasons in hopes to one day make any major-league roster.
Dominant starter Greg Reynolds (4-1, 1.58 ERA) is out with an injury. Jarrett Grube (4-1, 0.31 ERA) is one excellent reliever. In two starts, Alan Johnson is unscored upon.
A -- Modesto -- Outfielder Dan Carte (.336, 16 2B) and first baseman Jeff Kindel (.289, 5 HR, 27 RBI) are starring.
Starter Brandon Hynick (7-0, 1.50 ERA) got laced last time out but is still one of the hottest names in the minors. Reliever Andrew Johnston (1-2, 1.88 ERA) is also hot.
A - Asheville -- First baseman Michael Paulk (.359) and shortstop Dan Mayora (.321) are hitting machines but drive like a compact -- no power.
Starter Keith Weiser (7-1, 3.39 ERA) is the best here
So, the breakdown? The hit list? Remember, this is for those producing. Obviously players like Ian Stewart or Seth Smith in Colorado Springs are top prospects but their games right now are flat so they're not on the list. With that said, here you go...
The WSN Hot Shots
- Brandon Hynick, pitcher, Modesto...baffling hitters since 2006
- Greg Reynolds, pitcher, Tulsa...injury delays expected promotion
- Joe Koshansky, 1B, Colorado Springs...power surge will prove he's ready
- Dan Mayora, SS, Asheville...might have to switch to 2B to advance
- Jarrett Grube, pitcher, Tulsa...overbearing out of bullpen
- Keith Weiser, pitcher, Asheville...wins with control and command only
- Dan Carte, outfielder, Modesto...fine talent starting to utilize tools
- Matt Miller, outfielder, Tulsa...future MLB utility player
- Sean Barker, outfielder, Colorado Springs...PCL hitters must show power
- Michael Paulk, 1B, Asheville...no power but fantastic contact hitter
Here's an early look at baseball's surprise team developments.
In the American League, everyone knew Boston was going to be very good, again, but running away from the pack like they are? Hardly. The Yankees, meanwhile, are shockingly bad, even with Alex Rodriguez playing lights out. Changes are a coming in the Bronx, maybe both GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Torre. Next up will be the players.
The Tigers and the Angels were also good bets to excel, which they have but the Indians with the second-best record in the AL?
You picked that one? Really?
The Twins and the White Sox, meanwhile, have stunk for the expectations set forth.
In the National League, when aren't the Braves quality but the Mets, while unproven, are playing better than expected and that is a minor eye opener.
The Brewers are surprisingly on top in the Central division while the Cardinals have been a major disappointment, maybe as big of one as the Yankees. Tony LaRussa, however, is entrenched as manager.
So, who could still slide and who could rise?
Boston is a lock to be the AL's power team and the Tigers are for real too. The Angels could slip and the Indians, while rollin', have no track record lately of being this strong.
The Twins and White Sox are better than they are playing so a rise could be in the cards.
The Braves would be a logical choice to pass the Mets but this isn't the same Atlanta pitching staff of yesteryear so catching the New Yorkers might be much more difficult.
The Brewers are going to keep winning and the Cardinals should improve but maybe not enough to challenge.
The Dodgers should hold off San Diego and Arizona out West.
In the end, it's Boston or Detroit taking the AL and whichever NL team gets aggressive on the trade market.
Did the Rockies just win their second-straight game in San Francisco? Come on now, ain't no way. One of us should probably volunteer to be drug tested on that one because the Giants normally know how to work Colorado on the coast. 6-1 Rockies. Starter Aaron Cook, who has historically received anemic run support fired a complete-game five-hitter and outfielder Matt Holliday drove in three runs.
So the Jazz pounced on the Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. Nice. Just don't hold out belief Utah actually has a shot at winning this series. It doesn't. For a day the two-headed monster that is Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer ate heartily and as much as their efforts and talents are highly admirable there is simply no way San Antonio coach Greg Popovich is going to let his team be weak defensively for three more games. Tim Duncan won't be human, as he was in Game 3, for three more games either.
Fun, Southern style.