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Tag:Chris Young
Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 12:26 am
 

Picking the National League's best defenders



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Gold Gloves are one of baseball's toughest awards to decide -- and sometimes toughest to understand. Unlike many of the game's other awards, the Gold Gloves are voted on by managers and coaches, and every year it seems there's a winner or two that seems to win the award more with their bat than their glove.

Not only do some players seem to win it with something other than their glove, sometimes the award can be a lot like the Supreme Court, once you get elected, you're not going to lose your seat.

That said, it's a difficult award to vote for. There are better fielding statistics coming out every year, yet most are still in their infancy and can tell you only so much. Good defense, sometimes can be a lot like the definition Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart gave for pornograpy in Jacobelis v. Ohio in 1964: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embrued within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it." 

With that in mind, perhaps the voters for the Gold Gloves should be the scouts, but instead I'll try my hand at picking out the best defensive players in the National League.

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals

As tough as it is to use numbers to evaluate fielders, it's even tougher with catchers. At least the numbers with other fielders have some meaning, with catchers there's so much more to what they do defensively that it's hard not to go on reputation -- and nobody has a better reputation than Molina.

Others considered: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies; Brian McCann, Braves.

First base: Joey Votto, Reds

When Votto was coming up, people knew he could hit -- that was hard to ignore -- but his reputation at first base was nowhere near as good. Even as a rookie, he often struggled, especially on throws to a pitcher covering first. Since then, he's improved every year and this year he has proven himself to be the best defensive first baseman in the league. Votto, last year's MVP, covers more ground at first than any other first baseman in the league, which means it can be tough to get a hit if you hit it on the ground to the right side of the Reds infield, beacuse of the next guy on the list.

Others considered: Albert Pujols, Cardinals. Todd Helton, Rockies.

Brandon PhillipsSecond base: Brandon Phillips, Reds

A two-time Gold Glover, Phillips should be in line for his third. There may be no other player in baseball with as long of a highlight-reel as Phillips, who seemingly makes another amazing play every night.

Others considered: Chase Utley, Phillies, Omar Infante, Marlins, Neil Walker, Pirates

Third base: Pablo Sandoval, Giants

There are players with better defensive reputations than the Kung Fu Panda, but nobody's had a better year. The advanced stats don't tell you everything yet, but they're still pretty good. Sandoval leads qualified National League third basemen in UZR (12.3), UZR/150 (21.2) and plus-minus (20). 

Others considered: Placido Polanco, Phillies; Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals.

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

The Rockies may know a little something about drafting defensive shortstops -- they picked two of the best in the league, Tulowitzki and the Astros' Clint Barmes. Finally healthy, Barmes was outstanding defensively for the Astros, while Tulowitzki seems like the second coming of Cal Ripken. 

Others considered: Alex Gonzalez, Braves; Jose Reyes, Mets; Clint Barmes, Astros.

Left field: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies

The voting has changed this year to award Gold Gloves to each of the three outfield positions instead of three generic outfielder awards that usually went to center fielders. Carlos Gonzalez is tough to categorize, but considering he's played more games in left than any other spot, he's the easy choice here. He's started 60 games in left, 34 in right and 28 in center. He's played all three well, which isn't easy at spacious Coors Field, committing only one error on the season.

Others considered: Matt Holliday, Cardinals. Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks. Tony Gwynn, Dodgers.

Shane VictorinoCenter field: Shane Victorino, Phillies

This is one stacked category, with several deserving players. Under the old rules it would be easy, you'd have three center fielders and give them the three Gold Gloves. Under the new rules, it's a tougher choice. Victorino has had an MVP-type year, and no small part of that has been patrolling center field for the Phillies. The Flyin' Hawaiian is as good as anyone out there and his error-less season gives him the edge.

Others considered: Chris Young, Diamondbacks; Carlos Gomez, Brewers; Cameron Maybin, Padres; Rick Ankiel, Nationals; Andrew McCutchen, Pirates.

Right field: Mike Stanton, Marlins

He may be known best for the moon shots off his bat, but Stanton is a surprisingly good defensive outfielder. Stanton has the combination of athleticism and arm strength to be the best defensive right fielder in the game.

Others considered: Jay Bruce, Reds; Carlos Beltran, Giants; Jason Heyward, Braves.

Pitcher: R.A. Dickey, Mets

A knuckleball pitcher needs to field his position well -- there are plenty of bad hits coming back to the mound off poor contact. Dickey has been very good fielding his position and helped his team with his glove.

Others considered: Jake Westbrook, Cardinals; Bronson Arroyo, Reds; Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Derek Lowe, Braves.

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Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:44 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Keppinger does in old team, again

Jeff Keppinger

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeff Keppinger, Giants: For the second night in a row, the former Astro did in his old team. Saturday night Keppinger singled in Mark DeRosa from second with a single just over the head of 5-foot-7 Houston second baseman Jose Altuve to give San Francisco a 2-1 victory in 10 innings. On Friday, Keppinger hit a two-run double in the fifth, good for another 2-1 victory. Keppinger came to the Giants from Houston on July 19.

Chris Young, Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks center fielder made sure fans went home happy -- and it wasn't just the because of the bobbleheads in his likeness the team gave out before the game. Young hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off of San Diego starter Aaron Harang and that was enough for Joe Saunders, who allowed just an unearned run on four hits in seven innings as Arizona beat San Diego 3-1 for their fifth consecutive victory.

Brad Lincoln, Pirates: The rookie right-hander not only notched his first victory of the season (and second of his career), but also had a two-run double off of Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter in the Pirates' four-run fourth. Lincoln allowed six hits and no runs in six innings, striking out four and walking one in the Pirates' 7-0 victory over St. Louis, breaking the team's five-game road losing streak.


Chris Marrero, Nationals: Making his MLB debut, the former first-round pick by the Nationals saw a ball hit to him on the very first batter of his big-league career come right at him -- and by him, allowing Brandon Phillips reach in the first inning of the Nationals' 6-3 loss. Phillips scored on a wild pitch with two outs later in the inning. Phillips also scored on Marrero's second error when the Nationals first baseman fielded a double-play ball and threw it into left field, allowing Phillips to score from second, starting a three-run inning for the Reds. Despite his two errors, Marrero did manage his first hit, a single off of Reds starter Mike Leake in the fourth inning.

Royals bullpen: The day after Tim Collins walked in the winning run for a Kansas City loss in Cleveland, Louis Coleman surrendered a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera for an 8-7 Kansas City loss to the Indians. With two outs in the eight and the Royals leading by two runs, Coleman gave up a single to Lonnie Chisenhall and walked Kosuke Fukudome to set up Cabrera's shot. Blake Wood also gave up three hits and a run in his 1/3 of an inning of work.

C.J. Wilson, Rangers: The same day Texas manager Ron Washington told reporters Wilson was going to be the team's horse down the stretch, pitching every five days no matter what, the left-hander gave up six runs on 10 hits and a walk in five innings. The Angels also hit four of their five solo homers off of Wilson as Los Angeles moved to within two games of Texas with a 8-4 victory.

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Introducing your 2011 NL West All-Star team

By Evan Brunell

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central
For a number of years, the NL West has been fairly balanced. Every team except the Rockies has a division title in the past five years, and the Rockies advanced to the World Series as a wild-card team back in 2007. That balance is clearly seen in the representatives of the NL West All-Star team, which you can see below.

MonteroC Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks: Poor Buster Posey. He had this on lockdown until... well, no need to rehash it, but he's out for the year. Montero's a great consolation prize. He has ripped 10 home runs and has a .275/.346/.468 mark. Montero was actually in a close race with Chris Iannetta of Colorado for this gig, but Montero outstrips Iannetta in caught stealing, nabbing 12 of 37 baserunners.

Helton1B Todd Helton, Rockies: It's quite the renaissance year for the aging first baseman who was once known for his ability to hit for average and power while drawing walks. Now, it's just average and home-run power, but it's plenty enough to outpace any other first baseman in the division -- although, with all due respect to Helton, that says much more about first basemen in the division than it does Helton. Anyway, he's cranking to the tune of a .315/.394/.481 mark, with much of his power coming from an affinity for doubles.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Chase Headley SD 3B
2 Justin Upton ARI RF
3 Troy Tulowitzki COL SS
4 Matt Kemp LAD DH
5 Chris Young ARI CF
6 Carlos Gonzalez COL LF
7 Miguel Montero ARI C
8 Todd Helton COL 1B
9 Kelly Johnson ARI 2B
Johnson2B Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: What, you'd prefer Aaron Miles? In a case of having to take the best option, Johnson edges Miles despite the latter hitting .320 and Johnson a meager .217. So why does Johnson get the edge? Because he's a better fielder and boasts more power, and he has also swiped eight bases to Miles' three. That's how someone hitting .217/.298/.431 can post a higher Wins Above Replacement mark (1.5) than Miles at .320/.339/.377, who has a 1.0 WAR. (It should be noted that Johnson has about 100 more plate appearances, but even adding those 100 PA would probably not be enough to bump Johnson.)

Headley3B Chase Headley, Padres: Not usually a name you see at the top of leaderboards, but Headley is enjoying a career year -- and is taking advantage of injuries to notable third basemen in the game to put his name in the conversation. Due to playing in cavernous Petco Park, his slugging percentage this season is a meager .404, but it's an impressive .465 on the road. His value comes from taking a walk, which is why he leads off this All-Star team despite just eight stolen bases. He boasts a .302 batting average along with a .392 OBP. If Pablo Sandoval hadn't missed so much time due to injury, he probably would have claimed this spot.

TulowitzkiSS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: What is there left to say about Tulo, who right now can lay claim to being the best shortstop in the game? While he hasn't performed up to snuff compared to his last two seasons, he's still plenty valuable and easily the best shortstop in the division, hitting to the tune of a .271/.339/.495 line and 37 extra bases. Oh, and he can pick it on defense.

GonzalezLF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: CarGo hasn't hit as well as his awe-inspiring 2010, but he can be forgiven for that as he set impossibly high standards. Colorado will take a .296/.363/.497 line, and so will we to honor him with the left-field starting job on the NL West All-Star team. He still has a remarkable home/away split, but no other left fielder truly threatened for this spot.

YoungCF Chris Young, Diamondbacks: Let's get this out of the way first. For those wondering where Matt Kemp is, hold your horses. We'll get to him in a minute. Young snags the center field job thanks to his strong defense and a power display that we haven't seen from him since 2007, when he slammed 32 home runs. He has exactly half that total (16) in 88 games so far, so he stands a shot of cracking the 30 HR barrier. He's currently hitting .255/.324/.478.

UptonRF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Anyone else think Kevin Towers is relieved he didn't trade the 23-year-old in the offseason? Upton's walk rate is less than last season but not out of whack with the league, and he is striking out much less. That increased contact has lifted his batting average to .295 (.377 OBP, .502 slugging percentage), the second-highest of his career. (He hit .300 in 2009.) He's hammered 14 homers on the year, just three off his 2010 total.

KempDH Matt Kemp, Dodgers: And here Kemp is, occupying the DH spot. Yes, the DH doesn't exist in the NL West, but regardless of what team, league or stadium holds the All-Star Game, the DH is used. So there. Kemp earns this spot with a season that's already given him a 20 HR, 20 SB season -- and with three more home runs, he'll reach 25/25. So yeah, he'll definitely hit 30/30 this year, and 40/40 is not out of the question if he hits a hot streak. He DH's with a .324/.408/.603 line because the dude simply cannot field and needs to be moved to left soon.

KershawSP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the entire game, never mind one of the best lefties or youngsters. One of the best, period. The 23-year-old has already tossed 122 2/3 innings on the season and posted a 3.23 ERA. That ERA would actually be the highest of his full seasons in the majors. But his third year actually boasts stronger peripherals, leading to a 2.66 xFIP that is currently a career best. He has punched out 138 and walked just 33.

RomoRP Sergio Romo, Giants: Romo or Mike Adams was a very, very difficult choice to make. So why did Romo get the spot over Adams? Simple: K/BB numbers. Romo has punched out 12.87 batters per nine innings and walked 1.26, good enough for a 2.20 ERA and 1.65 xFIP in 28 2/3 innings. Adams actually beats the ERA (1.35) and innings-pitched (40), but his K.9 is 9.23 and BB/9 at 1.13, with an xFIP of 2.59.

BellCL Health Bell, Padres: Bell won't be a Padre for much longer, I'm guessing, so better get him on here while we still can. He has had quite an impressive career so far as a closer, and this year is no exception. He has 26 saves, but his strikeout numbers are way down and would actually be a career-worst. Who knows why, but he's not having trouble getting by as his 2.55 ERA and 3.78 xFIP indicate.

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 10:59 pm
Edited on: May 28, 2011 12:31 am
 

Another violent collision at the plate

Humberto Quintero

By C. Trent Rosecrans

For those wanting a rules change in the wake of Buster Posey's injury, there's more ammunition after Astros catcher Humberto Quintero was helped off the field after a collision with Arizona third baseman Ryan Roberts in the seventh inning of Friday's game in Houston.

Quintero has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a high ankle sprain, according to MoiseKapenda Bower of FoxSportsHouston.com on Twitter. Houston called up Robinson Cancel to take his place.

See the play here. 

With bases loaded and one out, Chris Young hit a slow roller between the third-base line and the mound. Astros pitcher Wilton Lopez fielded the ball and made a quick throw to Quintero, but it bounced off of Roberts, who then plowed over Quintero.

Quintero stumbled a little on Young's bat and had his left knee on the ground when Roberts made contact. He immediately grabbed that knee.

Two runs scored -- which were the tying and go-ahead run in the team's 7-6 victory -- and Quintero had to be helped off the field by two members of the team's medical staff.

One big difference between tonight's play and Posey's was that Quintero had the plate completely blocked.

Diamondbacks color commentator Mark Grace said, "Oh, no, not again," immediately after the play.

According to MLB.com, Quintero suffered a sprained left ankle, which is good news that it isn't more severe -- because it looked a heck of a lot worse.

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Posted on: May 25, 2011 11:26 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 11:54 pm
 

Chris Young saves game for red hot Arizona

By Matt Snyder

Don't look now, but the Arizona Diamondbacks -- picked by nearly everyone to finish last in the NL West this season -- have won 10 of their last 12 games and are above .500 for the first time since winning on opening day. A cursory glance at the box score Wednesday night would lead you to believe the hero was ace pitcher Ian Kennedy, as he worked eight innings and allowed just one run. Only he nearly lost the lead on the final batter.

Ty Wigginton lifted a Kennedy fastball to dead center field that would have tied the game, had it not been for D-Backs center fielder Chris Young's homer-preventing snag.

Click here to watch video of the play on MLB.com.

The D-Backs went on to shut down the Rockies in the ninth and win 2-1.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 10, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: May 10, 2011 10:58 am
 

Pepper: Aces meet in Florida



By Matt Snyder

WEST AT IT AGAIN: Another game, another ejection by Joe West's awful excuse for an umpiring crew. Monday night, Ron Gardenhire of the Twins was West's victim. MLB Network studio analyst Larry Bowa said MLB executive Joe Torre needs to find a way to get West under control. You know I agree, and here's a link to my rant from last week on West's crew.

UH ... REALLY? During Justin Verlander's no-hitter in Toronto, Blue Jays' outfielder Juan Rivera ran by the mound and told Verlander he was just "getting lucky." Verlander even confirmed this after the game. "He was probably just trying to get under my skin," said the righty. (sportsnet.ca ) I know sometimes things are said due to frustration, so maybe Rivera backed off the comments later. Only he didn't. Instead he stood behind the remark. Look, there are certainly times where a run-of-the-mill pitcher has everything break his way and throws a no-no, but Verlander now has done it twice and is one of the elite arms in the game. There's no other way to spin the situation than to say that Rivera was just jealous.

QUITE A LEAP: From running a small hot dog stand to the Wrigley Field public address announcer within a few days? Yep, that's what Andrew Belleson did. Pretty cool story. (Chicago Tribune )

OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED: The Twins have had a putrid offense pretty much all season. Before Monday's game against the Red Sox, a reporter asked manager Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano's next start, saying "you don't need another no-hitter." Gardenhire's reply? "We don't? Who are you kidding?" (Twins Now via Twitter)

MONEY MATTERS: While Chris Young's season -- and maybe even career -- hangs in the balance, the Mets still have money woes. Thus, it's worth looking at Young's contract. He has a base salary of $1.1 million with incentives that could have pushed the deal all the way up to $4.5 million. He obviously hasn't reached any of those yet, so it's looking increasingly likely the Mets will only owe the initial $1.1 million. (ESPN New York )

MAD MILTON: When Milton Bradley was clipped by the Mariners Monday, the reaction across the baseball-loving world was anywhere from jubilation to relief to mockery. The always-great Geoff Baker of Mariners Blog (Seattle Times ) offers up a very thoughtful piece on Bradley, in that now he should be trying to figure out what makes him happy and get himself straightened out. It's very fair. While pointing out that Bradley has never been accountable for his actions, Baker also points out that teams continuing to sign Bradley have been enabling his behavior instead of forcing him to solve his personal demons. Meanwhile, Jerry Brewer of the same outlet discusses that Bradley's career is probably over. I tend to agree. When he was productive, it wasn't surprising that teams would give him a shot. But, to put it succinctly, he sucks now. There's no reason for anyone to give him a shot.

TURNIN' BACK THE CLOCK: Hanley Ramirez has had an awful beginning to the 2011 season. Back in 2009, he hit .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI, finishing second in MVP voting. So Hanley went back into his storage closet and found his bats from 2009. He started using them Sunday and has since gone 3-9 with two runs scored. He also scorched a pair of balls Sunday that didn't work out (one was a foul ball that easily had home run distance, the other was a line drive double-play that was right at the shortstop). Hey, if he thinks that will help, it very well might. Baseball is such a mental game, any little adjustment could get things on track. (Fish Bytes )

THE ROAD BACK: Josh Hamilton has been out several weeks with an injured shoulder, but he's going to take batting practice Friday (Evan Grant via Twitter).

MASKED MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN: "We are constantly looking for ways to connect and engage with our great fan base," said Angels vice president of sales and marketing, Robert Alvarado. And Tuesday night in Anaheim, the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "largest gathering of people wearing costume masks." Specifically, everyone in attendance is going to get an Angels wrestling mask. Sorry, this is stupid. Can't the fans just go watch a baseball game? (MLB.com )

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: May 8, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2011 8:17 pm
 

Mets' Young possibly reaggravated old injury

By Matt Snyder
 
Sunday, the Mets placed Chris Young on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder tightness. This came one day after Young was forced to miss a scheduled start when he failed to get through his pre-game warmups.

Young had an MRI Sunday afternoon and the results are troubling. According to Mets' general manager Sandy Alderson, Young has "swelling in the back of his shoulder in the area of an old injury … We’re not sure the extent of this injury." (ESPN New York )

There is reportedly some concern in the organization that the issue is related to Young's torn labrum in 2009, which relegated him to only four starts in 2010 and could be quite serious. It was repaired with surgery but the MRI showed the swelling was right on the area that had been repaired.

Young will have a second physician look at the MRI Monday, but Alderson noted that he would be surprised if Young's DL stint was only the minimum 15 days.

To put it succinctly, it sounds bad.

Young, 31, has been the Mets' most effective starting pitcher this season when he's been able to take the ball. In four starts, he's 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 24 innings. But the glaring number there is the four starts. He missed a few turns due to biceps tendinitis in April and it now appears he's due a lengthy absence on the disabled list.

In fact, that's been the story of Young's career of late. He's normally a quality pitcher when on the big-league mound, it's just that he hasn't been able to make it to the mound very often. He hasn't made 30 starts in a season since 2007 and only 40 total since then.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 1, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 12:05 pm
 

On Deck: Mish-mash in the Central

on

By Matt Snyder


Upside-Down Central: Coming into the season, the AL Central was said to be a three-team race between the Twins, White Sox and Tigers. Go grab a look at the standings as we head into May, though. They appear to be almost completely upside down from what we've seen in recent years. The Indians have won five straight and a franchise-record 18 in April. They don't appear to be going away. Meanwhile, the Tigers, Twins and White Sox have lost a combined 14 consecutive games. The Twins and White Sox are already nine games out of first. The Royals have won two straight after it appeared they were coming back to Earth. Does the turning of the calendar to May bring a complete reshuffling? Ozzie Guillen is ready to forget about April and I'm guessing Jim Leyland and Ron Gardenhire have the same feeling. I do expect the three bottom teams to get better in the coming weeks, but the Indians don't look like pretenders. This could actually be one of the most exciting divisional races. Or, if things don't change, the most boring. We'll see.

Still Streaking: Andre Ethier's 26-game hitting streak (an April record) is the talk of baseball. He's hitting .400 with a 1.059 OPS, 10 doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI and 15 runs during the streak, so he's not just squeaking by with a single per game. Dustin Moseley is the opposing hurler Sunday. In three career at-bats, Ethier has three hits, including a home run, against Moseley. That's far too small a sample to make any judgements, other than to say that he certainly won't be feeling anything less than confident when stepping into the box. That matters. Expect the streak to be at 27 come Monday.

Underrated Pitching Matchups: On a day when we're treated to Jered Weaver (update: nevermind, he's out ), King Felix and the surprising Justin Masterson, there are quite a few pretty solid, yet under the radar, pitching matchups. Jordan Zimmermann has not pitched nearly as bad as his record (1-4) or ERA (4.55) would indicate and he's facing an anemic San Francisco offense with Matt Cain opposite him. Expect a low-scoring affair. How about Jaime Garcia against the recently-arrested Derek Lowe? Dustin Moseley only has a 1.99 ERA to this point, and he takes on Jon Garland, who hasn't been bad. Ricky Nolasco against Bronson Arroyo is another pretty good match. Cliff Lee squares off against Chris Young (1-0, 2.65) in Philly. Over in the AL, young gun Zach Britton toes the slab against the White Sox -- who trot out Gavin Floyd (3-1, 3.60). Matt Harrison is looking to get back on track against the A's and Gio Gonzalez (2.70 ERA). As I said, lots of good pitching matchups that wouldn't necessarily immediately turn heads.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com