91 thoughts on “June 7, 2011: Five”

    1. It reached 100 here yesterday, the first time Sioux City had gotten to 100 in five years. It's expected to be nearly as warm today.

      1. yep, it was 99 here yesterday. the only difference from yesterday is that the winds are going to pick up

  1. for conversation's sake, and having it all in one place, here are the picks, with FT"hm"LT's legwork on the summaries:

    levi michael

    Summary :
    Michael has established himself as the best college shortstop in this year's draft, although the competition for that title wasn't very strong. But as a switch-hitter who can run and has shown he can handle the position he's almost certain to go in the first round.

    Michael has good bat speed and an excellent eye at the plate, producing contact and working the count well. He tends to meet the ball out front rather than letting it travel; between that and his size he doesn't generate much power even with some torque from his hips.

    At shortstop, Michael is solid-average, making routine plays with enough arm but will probably never be plus there. He's a well-above average runner with good feel for the game all around.

    There are very few college shortstops this year who project to stay at the position and also project to hit. Michael does, which puts him at the top of the category.

    travis harrison

    Harrison is one of the best pure bats in the high school class this year and is held back primarily by his defensive limitations.

    At the plate, Harrison squares up a ton of balls with good hand-eye coordination and plenty of torque from how he rotates his hips. He's got good balance, staying upright through contact, and shows raw power already with the potential for a little more.

    In the field, however, he's a project at best at third base and almost certainly has to move to left field or, most likely, first base, due to lack of speed and heavy feet.

    But the bat should play even at a position on the wrong end of the defensive spectrum, something he has backed up with a strong performance this spring after a cool showing at the February showcase at MLB's Urban Youth Academy, with a chance to be a middle-of-the-order bat when he's fully developed.

    hudson boyd

    Boyd comes from Bishop Verot, the same Fort Myers high school that produced first-rounder Bobby Borchering two years ago. Boyd should at least go in the sandwich round if not the late first.

    He'll pitch at 90-94 mph, showing the occasional 95, and he gets excellent downhill plane on the pitch. His curveball at 74-78 has tight rotation and good depth, while he doesn't have the same confidence in his 79-81 mph changeup. He can come slightly across his body because he doesn't always land straight. He comes from a high three-quarters slot with great extension, so the ball gets in on hitters quickly and he finishes his breaking ball. I'd like to see him stay over the rubber longer, as he starts drifting off the moment he begins his delivery, and he needs to land consistently with that front foot pointed at the plate. He's pretty well developed physically so any additional velo will have to come from mechanical tweaks.

    Boyd projects as a No. 2-3 starter with a chance for two above-average pitches -- maybe a third if the changeup comes along -- and plenty of durability from a strong build.

    twins have picks #87 and #117 coming up.

    1. Yeah, I am pretty sure Keith Law did the leg work on those write ups.

      1. well, yeah. i just meant that you went out and got them, which is like half the battle, or something.

    2. Levi Michael. Travis Harrison. Hudson Boyd. For the love of Punto, can't we draft anyone with a last name?

      And the Orlando Hudson comp pick is the one we should have used on Hudson Boyd.

      1. And the Orlando Hudson comp pick is the one we should have used on Hudson Boyd.

        Hudson Void?

        In the draftee's defense, all of them sport first names that could easily serve as surnames.

      2. With all due respect, Harrison is a last name (two presidents had it as their surname!). My real last name has occasionally shown up as a first name, but that doesn't mean it isn't a last name.

        1. My real last name has occasionally shown up as a first name, but that doesn't mean it isn't a last name.

        2. My simple test is can I right off the top of my head think of someone with X as a first name? Or X as a last name? If so, then it falls in my list of ambiguous names (the same way Robin or Pat or Leslie are not gender specific). Almost any first name could be used as a last name and vice versa, so my "who do I know?" test is my personal (and basically useless) guideline. Benjamin Harrison Ford (Presidential actor). Oil Can Boyd Crowder (baseball meets Justified). George Michael Jackson (pop singer squared).

          1. Harrison is a surname, "Harry's Son", that got coopted as a first name. Like so many of our modern youths, our Madisons and Addisons, our Tylers and Taylors, our Nelsons and Reagans, today's Harrisons have to live with a family name for a first name.

            Despite the aesthetic appeal (especially to the Mrs.) of several such names for our children, I fought on principle and gave all three personal names as their first names. (Although the son's name is often a surname, it is a surname from a given name, as most traditional English men's first names can be.)

  2. Just rode my bike into work for the first time. I got up 45 minutes early to beat the traffic and heat. I gotta say I enjoyed that and I think this will be my preferred mode of transportation. At least until I find out how ungodly hot it is when I go home.

  3. Bob Knight, right on the mark.

    I think the "infractions" that the OSU football players committed are unbelievably hypocritical. The problem here wasn't that they accepted something of value while being a student. That was a-okay. The problem was that they sold them before they left school. If they had sold them the day after their eligibility ran out, go ahead! Put your rings on E-Bay. Get all the tats you want! Knock yourselves out!

    Understand that they actually got the valuable items while being a member of the football team. It's okay to receive them, but it's not okay to sell them? Until later?

    That's ridiculous, in my opinion.

    1. The media was really trying exceedingly hard to trash the players from OSU when this broke by linking the tattoo artist to drug trafficking, or some such, but never actually said how it was critical to the story. I don't understand why they give the NCAA suits such a free pass in these situations every time, so good on Bob.

      1. Either they sold the stuff or didn't. That's the "violation", not what they did with the money. It may be a dumb thing to blow that money on tats, but again, that's not the violation.

          1. Regardless, it doesn't matter what they did with the money. Buy food for their starving mother? Violation! Take their girlfriend out for dinner? Violation! Buy diapers for an infant child of theirs? Violation! The tattoo story makes the players look like they are bad actors because they spent the money on what is most assuredly a discretionary purpose, one that makes them look irresponsible, at least in the eyes of some. Look, I think buying fancy cars is a silly idea, but to each their own. It's what is known as a red herring -- it didn't matter what they did with the money. The fact that they exchanged their own personal property for money was the violation. It was okay for them to get the items (isn't that really what the NCAA wants to police, getting things of value for their play?????) and because it was okay to get them, they should be able to sell them, too, IMHO.

            [edited for clarity]

            1. I think you're taking my above comment too seriously. I understand the policy and agree that it's stupid. However, if these guys were smart, they'd do what Shaq did. Shaq made all his money in college; everybody knows that.

              1. No, I'm just clarifying my point. It is my belief that the detail that they spent the money on tattoos was provided to paint them as bad actors (see -- they didn't actually need the money, they were just bad guys), but in fact it was not material. I think it's an outrageous display of heavy-handedness on the part of the NCAA, but then again, I might be biased because I hate the whole college sports structure as it exists today and the nonsense that it is sold as.

                As for Shaq, that must be the case, because I've heard him say he's never touched the money that he made playing in the NBA. (Although that might have changed, post-Kobe's selling him out and the resulting divorce.)

    2. I'm conflicted. On the one hand, the rules are dumb, or at least pretty silly. On the other hand it's Ohio State and I really hate those f#$%kers.

    1. Might as well paint a bullseye on your rib cage if you're going to pull a stunt like that.

      1. it appears that he was hit by a pitch the day before by a teammate of the pitcher's. i don't know if there were any brush backs, or any other shenanigans besides though.

        even if there's more, it can't be much more...

      2. Yeah, Harper was called a world-class tool (I'm paraphrasing) by many before the draft, but for him to do this to this particular pitcher in this particular game is weird. I guess it might be a Joe Horn cell phone moment, out of the blue, but my instinct was that there was more to this too.

    1. I wouldn't be surprised if the 3rd dude from the left had tight rolled those jeans just after tucking in his t-shirt.

    1. Fun stuff. I could play with that for hours. I tried Nicolas Cage, thinking of him as someone who early on did some outstanding work but then moved to decent and downward to horrible. But his graph was interesting: very schizophrenic. High highs and low lows from start to finish.

      DeNiro was a gradual downslope.

      1. i thought the example of m. night shamalamah was pretty spot on, except for the fact that the highs weren't that high.

        1. I never thought he was anything special. I hated Unbreakable and I ruined The Sixth Sense for myself by guessing the ending during the opening scene. Without that twist, there's not much there.

          1. He also suffers from the Matrix problem, where later versions make the earlier versions look dumber in retrospect.
            "Unbreakable" was so similar to "The Sixth Sense" that it made the former feel like cheap manipulation.
            I did dig that one about the aliens and "the Village."

            I've said before that the best thing he ever did was a fake documentary that aired on cable right before "the Village" came out.

            I also want to see these "horrible" recent movies just to know what's in them. "Oh, that hamburger is rotten? Well I've liked some hamburgers before, I may just want to know what that particular hamburger style tastes when it is rotten."

    2. The difference in average trajectories for directors and actors makes sense, too. Directors tend to get better and better, but as actors get better and better, there's no guarantee that they'll be in better movies unless they have a great agent or a great eye for scripts. I think this tool is useless for actors, actually, since the Tomatometer judges films as a whole, which is indicative of a director's job but not an actor's.

      1. I wouldn't go so far as to say useless for actors. Of course, any tool like this must be taken with a lot of grains of salt, but they can still tell big picture stories. For actors, it's really less about their performance and more a reflection of their ability to spot (and land roles in) great material in good hands. See Toms Cruise and Hanks, who broke through and took advantage of opportunities that resulted. Unlike many others who won an Oscar and then churned out a lot of clunkers...

        1. My point is, the ability to land a role in a good movie doesn't say much about an actor's ability. The graph can tell us something about the movies an actor is in, but it doesn't say anything about that actor's ability. Meanwhile, it speaks volumes about the director's ability.

          So, even if it's not "useless" as far as actors are concerned, it tells me something that I just don't think is nearly as interesting as what it tells me about directors.

          1. I think we are basically in agreement. My emphasis is that in order to have the power to choose great material consistently, an actor likely needs to have enough talent (either acting ability or possessing star charisma) to be given repeated opportunities.

            1. That's true for the character actors. Where it fails, unfortunately, is with the big-name stars. For the most part, they're offered roles not based on how good their last film or performance was, but how many tickets it sold.

              It sucks, but that's what producers are for, and that type of decision can yield a lot of money and allow the great pictures to be made on a smaller scale.

      2. I don't think that the graph on the average scores by film number says that directors get better. That's one possibility, but I think more likely is selection bias -- crap directors, or directors with the misfortune to direct crap movies early in their careers get selected out.

        1. I don't know how I feel about the term "directors with the misfortune to direct crap movies." If a director directs a crap movie, that's on him.

          1. Oh, wait, I see what you're saying regarding film numbers. That makes more sense, although crap movies are still on the director.

            1. I'm thinking that a director, no less than an actor, can be seduced by a pile of cash to take on a dog or lowbrow project. But I could be wrong.

              1. In my experience, that's not really the case. Directors tend to be far more protective of their names than actors are. Even in the case of Uwe Boll, he honestly believes he's making art (if you've never read one of his rambling, angry, self-aggrandizing interviews, you owe it to yourself to do so). Of course, there are directors that are specifically in it for the lowbrow, or the cash. What I see, though, is that when a guy like Spielberg wants to be the financial beneficiary of a stupid movie, he won't direct it, but he'll put up money to get it made so he can get a large cut of it.

        2. Right, I believe that in the article, it mentions that they limited the database to those with five or more movies. If you're a bad director, you're not making that many.

          I plugged in two actors names at random: Giovanni Ribisi and Halle Berry. Both fluctuate so widely, I can't see if there's any pattern to their careers or not. Doing a regression based on the size of the role might help. I looked at Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman and their tracks are made noisier by an unlisted role in "Tony N Tina's Wedding" and Uncredited additional Voice in "The Prince of Egypt."

          Also, as actors get to be in many more movies than directors get to direct, so there's more need for middling actors than for middling directors.

  4. As much as I hope Grantland, Sports Guy's new project for ESPN, has great content and proves entertaining, I think a countdown clock to the launch date on ESPN's front page is a little much.

  5. SethTweets With their 14th round pick (448th overall), the #Twins drafted Adam McCreery, Bonita HS in California.
    SethTweets LHP Adam McCreery is 6-8... Twins like their tall pitchers

    Twins hunting for a new, nice guy Neck Tat.

        1. You had better believe it. That guy had Twins tattooed all over him.

  6. DK, tough luck on Anderson. Let's hope that it is limited to 15 days.

    1. No kidding. I made that trade for the future (obviously) but I should've paid closer attention to his velocity drops across the board this year; I think there's a good chance he's got those two first names all pitchers dread to hear in his near future.

      1. My buddy (an A's fan) sent me an e-mail linking to the A's Nation article detailing velocity drop and possible DL trip coming up. I knew when you made the trade it was in part for the future but still, ugh. What a bummer. I will keep it in mind for future dealings with you.

      1. For a guy with the flu I expected more out of Dirk.


  7. Lebron just watched Dirk go right by him. James has looked... disinterested at times this game to say the last.

  8. Big night for the Boy. He jumped from Green Belt all the way to 1st-degree Brown (the top of the three grades of Brown). On target to earn his black belt by Christmas. We celebrated with double-doubles, animal style, fries and shakes. I feel fat.

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