Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bronco breakouts; Nelson surging

Colorado Warrior on Pig

Three Broncos are predicted to bust out and big this season, according to the crystal ball of Dennis Dillon of the Sporting News. The names named are quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and guard Chris Kuper. Cutler is an easy choice, as was Marshall for how he ended his season a year ago but Kuper's selection takes some stones. Only the insiders know of his quality college resume even if he didn't play at a school anyone knows much about (North Dakota). Matter of fact, the Broncos offensive line could be ready to start turning over with Kuper and 2007 draft selection Ryan Harris to blend with the aging center Tom Nalen and left tackle Matt Lepsis, coming off of injury.

First-round draft choice Jarvis Moss is visualizing and speaking Defensive Rookie of the Year to himself. The poor guy has no idea that he won't be playing Vanderbilt or Mississippi State in 2007. And maybe he should focus on building and keeping his body strong to prove his case. Point blank, the best rusher on this team is Elvis Dumervil. If Moss can mirror ED then the Broncos might have something goin'.

Early shots in the dark -- CSU signal caller Caleb Hanie and Air Force counterpart Shaun Carney are going to lay down impressive seasons in 2007. Both are experienced, more than capable athletically and driven to succeed. Hanie could even lead the Rams to a bowl game.

Wonder why schools like USC stack prep All Americans several deep at many positions while other quality programs struggle to get one all star to commit to their school? Outside of the prestige of saying you're a Trojan, Gator, Longhorn or Wolverine there is Memphis basketball coach John Calipari's approach to selling the deal. If a recruit hesitates on him due to the logjam of talent in the Tiger's program, Calipari questions if what he's doing talking with the kid, adding that good players don't worry about who else is in the program (Sporting News).

Rockies Rap

Aaron Cook again showed he is capable of being a shutdown arm with his performance Tuesday against Florida. What Cook, however, is not, but has been often written to be, is an ace. While he can flash like one at times, he is also quite undependable in that role. That is not beating down the man because what he is is still of great importance. Cook is a quality no. 3 pitcher on a staff, which is no slight and he's a top-level no. 3. Teammate Jeff Francis, who pitches like an ace frequently, is a rock solid no. 2 guy in a rotation. What this franchise needs is a no-doubt no. 1 or another Francis to take the next step towards being a playoff team.

Don't look now but the Rockies first-round draft choice in 2004 and development-slow poke Chris Nelson is becoming an exciting player. At Single-A Modesto, Nelson is controlling the strike zone, and producing extra base hits. His average might be a disappointing .280 but he has banged out 28 doubles, six triples and 14 homers while driving in 74 runs. The shortstop also has 21 steals. What this all says is exactly what the Rockies organization preaches, which is patience. If Nelson can duplicate his numbers next season at Double-A Tulsa, he might the future impact stick in the middle of the infield the parent club is desperate for, adding a feature that the lineup truly needs.

Rodrigo Lopez down with an injury, Jason Hirsh comes back from the Springs to replace him. Hirsh started fast then fell apart. He needs to be the quality pitcher he's capable of being for the Rockies to balance the rotation.

A pitching surprise so far from the 2007 draft class is Bruce Billings, a 30th-round selection from San Diego State, who has proven to be difficult to hit (28 knocks in 38 innings) and with excellent stuff (48 strikeouts and only five base on balls). Now, that is what you call scouting.

On the other hand, outfielder David Christensen, a second round pick a year ago, is still struggling mightily, hitting but .219 with three walks and 46 strikeouts at Casper in a rookie league, a sickly and similar repeat to last season. The question now has to be can he play at all?


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