For the first time last night (Friday) we started the podcast with an interview. Eric Huysman from Climbing Tals Hill came back on Sports Time Radio to discuss some Houston Astros baseball, but mostly to talk about the MLB Networks Top 10 2nd baseman rankings. On Eric’s first visit to the podcast he learned what big fans of Jose Altuve we where and tweeted out that MLB Network had him 6th on their Top 10 list. You have to look at the source of the list and try hard to not take fantasy baseball into consideration when making a list like this. That can make it tough and I try not to be to fantasy bias, but I think 6th is quite low. I’m sure the list had a lot of Sabermetics involved in it and there is some East coast bias. Then add in the fact that the Astros have been bad for a few seasons now and I’m sure those are some of the reasons they held Altuve down. Here’s the MLB Network list:
#1 Robinson Cano Seattle Mariners
#2 Dustin Pedroia Boston Red Sox
#3 Ben Zobrist Oakland A’s
#4 Neil Walker Pittsburgh Pirates
#5 Ian Kinsler Detroit Tigers
#6 Jose Altuve Houston Astros
#7 Howie Kendrick Los Angeles Dodgers
#8 Chase Utley Philadelphia Phillies
#9 Brian Dozier Minnesota Twins
#10 Scooter Gennett Milwaukee Brewers
Besides the error in ranking Altuve; where is Dee Gordon? I have no issues at all with Cano at #1 and I don’t think even Astros fans would argue that ranking. I would’ve had Altuve as the #2 2nd baseman. I like Zobrist at #3 and Gordon would be #4 for me. Give me Kinsler at #5, Walker at #6 with Utley at #7 with Pedroia at #8. Kendrick would be solid at #9 and I would have Jason Kipnis at #10. Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals would’ve been on this list, but he’s playing 3rd base this season. Am I a little bias towards Altuve; yeah I’m sure I am. If you follow this blog you know that I believe he was the MVP in the American League last season. While Houston was 70-92 in 2014 I think you could make a case that Altuve is just as important to the Astros as Mike Trout is to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Where would the Astros of ended up last season had they not had Altuve. Not only did he win a batting title; which with Sabermetrics doesn’t mean a whole lot, but he also hit clean up at times for the Astros. While Trout is the best player in Major League Baseball, Altuve hung with him stat wise in 2014. Trout scored more runs 115-85, had more triples 9-3, more home runs 36-7, more RBI’s 111-59 and walks 83-36. Altuve led in hits 225-173, doubles 47-39, strikeouts 53-184, stolen bases 56-16 and batting average .341-.287. You can just pick the stats that you like best and run with them. Now if Altuve’s numbers can compare with the best player in baseball and last seasons MVP award winner; how is just the 6th ranked 2nd baseman in M.L.B. for the 2015 season.
We where hoping to have some breaking news on the podcast last night, but it never happened as James Shields is still unsigned. Shields camp was saying that he’d sign with a team by the end of the week. Now depending on what the end of the week is to you maybe he has until tomorrow (Sunday) to sign with a team. Now that Shields contract terms appear to have changed the Chicago Cubs have shown some interest in him according to reports. I found it funny that on Chicago sports radio fans where calling in and complaining about this signing if it happened because Shields has a bad post season record. Did I miss the Cubs repeated trips to the post season and all those World Series titles that they’ve been winning. I guess since the Cubs are the trendy pick this season and in the coming seasons I guess their fans think they can be picky. I would think as a Cubs fan that you’d be excited to add a pitcher of Shields quality. Shields takes the ball every five days as he’s made 31 or more starts every year since 2007. Now at 33 years old I can understand that a team wouldn’t want to go four or five years on a contract with Shields, but you could go three years with him and maybe an option for a 4th depending on how he pitches. I guess we’re still waiting for the “end of the week” to find out where Shields pitches in 2015.
The two best teams in the NBA played last night as the Atlanta Hawks (42-9) defeated the Golden State Warriors (39-9) 124-116 in Atlanta last night. Jeff Teague led the Hawks in scoring with 23 points, but seven Hawks where in double figures. Paul Milsap had 21 points, Kyle Korver and Mike Scott had 17 points, DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford had 12 points while Kent Bazemore added 11 points. Scott and Bazemore came off the bench for the Hawks last night to add scoring. Horford grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the team while Korver had 7 boards. Dennis Schroder tied Teague for the team lead in assists with 7 while Horford also handed out 6 assists. Korver was 5 for 9 from behind the 3-point line while Bazemore and Scott both went 3 for 3 from behind the 3-point arc. Atlanta shot 55.6% from behind the 3-point line last night going 15 for 27 in the game. Klay Thompson led the warriors in scoring with 29 points, Stephen Curry added 26 points and Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green add 12 points for Golden State. Green also had 20 rebounds and handed out 6 assists as Curry led the Warriors in assists with 9. Thompson was 4 for 8 and Curry was 4 for 9 from behind the 3-point line, but the Warriors shot just 36.4% from behind the arc. The game was tied at 52 all at halftime. The Hawks where able to get a 4 point lead after 3 quarters and outscored the Warriors 35-31 in the 4th quarter for the win. Did we get an NBA finals preview last night; it’s still to early to tell, but we did get a good game. With the win Atlanta now has the best record in the NBA Golden State is in the midst of playing four games in five nights and take on the New York Knicks tonight in New York. The Hawks get a day off before visiting the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
If you’re in a fantasy hockey league like Dan the Man and I are it was a good night to play all of your Columbus Blue Jackets and a bad night to start the St. Louis Blues Brian Elliott in-goal. Elliott gave up four of the seven Blue Jackets goals and was pulled for Jake Allen; who gave up the final three Columbus goals. Nick Foligno was the only Blue Jackets player with multiple goals scoring two to bring his season total to 20. Cam Atkinson, Ryan Johansen, Corey Tropp, Matt Calvert and Scott Hartnell where the other Blue Jackets who put the puck in the back of the net last night. Brandon Dubinsky and Johansen also picked up two assists for Columbus. Paul Stastny was the only Blues player to score a goal. Curtis McElhinney got the win on goal for Columbus stopping 33 of 34 St. Louis shots. The Blue Jackets turn right around and play the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa tonight while St. Louis has a rivalry game with an early Sunday start (11:30 a.m.) against the Chicago Blackhawks.
So how was your week?