Thursday, May 31, 2007

Meet The Newest Bucs -- Sabby Piscitelli

Most Bucs fans from the Bay area, even those who watch college football, probably did not know who Sabby Piscitelli was when he was drafted by the Bucs with the last pick in the second round of the NFL draft. Most east coast football fans don't get a chance to see west coast games or west coast talent. While Buc fans may not know who Sabby Piscitelli is, they sure know the man that Piscitelli is compared to, John Lynch. Ask most scouts and even his coach Mike Reilly who he reminds them of and they will tell you John Lynch. Piscitelli has the blend of size, speed, and aggressiveness that made Lynch a staple in the Tampa secondary for years. Piscitelli also has another trait of Lynch's that may be even more important, a die hard work ethic. In Piscitelli's first interview with Justin Pawlowski on 620 WDAE the day of the draft he told Justin that he wanted to be the hardest working guy in the locker room and he would be the hardest working guy in the locker room.

Piscatelli was a four year starter for Oregon State University and played in 50 games. Piscitelli's career stats are: 188 Tackles, 28 Pass Break Ups, and 15 interceptions. He had his best year his senior year compiling 75 Tackles, 11 Pass Break Ups, and 5 Interceptions, and had a huge game against USC in a stunning upset. Piscitelli plays with a nasty attitude and is very aggressive, but is also a great leader out on the field. Piscitelli is great in run support and coverage, which is critical for a safety in the Tampa 2 system. The Strong Safety should be the person who leads the team in tackles in the Tampa 2 and Piscitelli looks like he can do that just like his idol Lynch was able to do.

The weaknesses that scouts have commented on about Piscitelli include having trouble with the deep ball, he is a tweener, he is not physical enough for his size and he takes bad angles. The tweener part is exactly why he fits into the Tampa 2 system and he is the mold that the Bucs are looking for in that spot so that really is not a weakness. After watching him play i am not concerned about him being physical enough, trust me this guy can hit and will make the bumps when he has to. As far as bad tackling angles and trouble with the deep ball goes, that has to do with coaching where to be. He has trouble with the deep pass and angles because he has played out of position due to his aggressive nature. Raheem Morris is back to coach the secondary and I know that he will learn where to be and when to be there from Morris. Morris even made the comment after the first mini-camp that he has no idea what people were talking about with his bad angles. Raheem will have Sabby in the spots he needs to be and coach him up to make the plays.

Safety was a big concern for the Bucs last year and they addressed that not only by drafting two safeties, but also by rehiring Raheem Morris. Morris is so critical to this whole thing because he knows his stuff and can teach these guys where they need to be and when they need to be there. The Tampa 2 is all about knowing your assignment and being there to do it. Piscitelli probably;y won't see too much time at safety this year with Allen and Phillips still being back there and because it takes a while to learn the Tampa 2 system and be comfortable on where you need to be. Sabby will be a great contributor on special teams and my get some looks at safety sometime during the year. While he may not get much time this year, look for Sabby to be a staple in the Buccaneers secondary for years to come and a leader on this time just like his idol John Lynch.

Gators lose Donovan to Orlando Magic?

The Florida Gators may have lost basketball coach Billy Donovan to the Orlando Magic. According to the Orlando Sentinal Donovan, who was in contract negotiations with the University of Florida on an extension, was offered a 6 year 36 million dollar contract by the Magic who had recently fired head coach Brian Hill. Donovan had turned down an offer to coach Kentucky earlier this year after winning his second consecutive National Championship, but apparently the lure of the NBA was too much to ignore this time. Donovan has been a great success in the college ranks and he must believe that the NBA is a new challange or the money was just too much to turn down. I hope that it is the latter after what Donovan said about being happy at UF and wanting to stay where he is happy.
I believe that this is a mistake for Billy Donovan. Donovan, who is known as a disciplinarian, will be going into a league that has not had many successful coaches who were big on discipline like Donovan. In fact the Magic's previous coach, Brian Hill, was also a disciplinarian who stressed defense first, which is similar to Donovan. Also, Donovan runs a similar system to Rick Pitino and we all know how well that turned out for Rick in Boston. One has to wonder if Billy talked with his long time friend and mentor about this and what was Pitino's response.
While I am disappointed that Donovan maybe leaving, I am not overly surprised. Throughout the past couple months his name has come up for a couple NBA jobs and he had never denied interest in any of the jobs. The Orlando job makes sense as it is still in Florida, it is substantially more money, and they are a team that is not that far off from contention in the pathetic Eastern Conference. Also, the team is very young and most of the guys are just out of college or in Howard's case did not go, but would be of graduating age. It will be a huge blow to the University of Florida to lose Donovan and i am a little upset that he did it at this time after the big coaches have been signed to other schools.
The name I am hearing the Gators may turn to if Donovan leaves is former assitant Anthony Grant. Grant is the current coach of VCU and beat Duke in the opening round and just fell short of beating Pitt in OT of round 2. Grant runs the same type of system as Donovan and was a long time assitant for Billy D. Other names that have been thrown out are John Calipari and Steve Lavin.
I do want to thank Donovan for all he has done for the Gator basketball program and the University in General, if this is true you will be missed Billy D.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Embarrassing loss to lead to changes

The Rays suffered there most embarrassing loss of the season last night giving up 14 runs on 22 hits. Outside of a four inning stretch by Corcoran, the Rays pitchers were hit extremely hard and looked horrible. Casey Fossum started the game, but only lasted 1 inning before being pulled after giving up 3 runs and leaving the bases loaded with no outs. Jae Seo, who the Rays were hoping would be helped by a stint in the pen, pitched the last 2 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits.
The Rays started the year off with 5 starters, but have discovered they have 2 starters, 1 pitcher showing a little promise, and 2 bums. Every game I watch in which Jamie Shields or Scott Kazmir are not on the mound I just know we are going to lose the game or will need to score 10 to win. It has been obvious to most of us that Jae Seo and Casey Fossum are not Major League pitchers and need to be removed, but the Rays kept waiting to see if they would turn it around. From what I am hearing that ended yesterday. Apparently Rays GM Andrew Friedman, who was in attendance last night, stormed into the locker room after the game was over irate over what he had just watched. The Rays have been quiet only saying that they are having conversations and looking into who may be able to come in and pitch, but expect changes to come soon.
As I have said before I am in total agreement with the Rays on the need to season our young pitchers in the minors, but there are some guys who are ready and couldn't be any worse than the pitchers we are throwing out there now. I have mentioned Andy Sonnanstine before, Jason Hamel and JP Howell are two other pitchers who have looked good in Durham and are likely to be called up to fill out the rotation and the pen. It is time to make a move and I believe the Rays front office has seen enough as of last night. The time the Rays 5th starter spot comes up coincides with Andy Sonnanstine's turn in the rotation in Durham; coincidence? I believe that JP Howell, who almost made the team out of ST and is a lefty, will be the other starter to come in and take Fossum's place. Howell on the year in Durham so far has compiled a 3-5 record with a 3.96 ERA, 64 strikeouts, and a 1.26 WHIP. Hammel is also a poss ability as he has better numbers, but I think the fact that Howell has more MLB experience and is left handed gives him the edge.
While Jeff Niemann and Mitch Talbot may be the most talented of the Durham pitchers and people want to see them, they are simply not ready. Talbot has struggled for much of the year, but has turned it on recently. Niemann is only in his first full season pitching after coming back from shoulder surgery. These two pitchers will be great additions to the Rays staff soon, but not now.
It was painful to watch the Rays last night and apparently that pain finally go to the Rays front office. All I can say is that if the loss finally made the Rays realize that these pitchers are not MLB pitchers that we need to keep starting, than i am glad for the loss. The addition for Sonnanstine and Howell/Hammel will be welcome addition to the staff. I am looking forward to watching a game when Shields or Kamir is not pitching and actually believing at the start of the game we have a chance to win.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Is it Sonnanstine time?

The Rays have tentatively penciled Jae Seo in as the starter for Tuesdays game according to the St. Pete Times. The Rays organization says it may call up Andy Sonnanstine to take that spot in the rotation which would move Jae Seo into the bullpen. I hope the Rays make this move as it would finally show that they are willing to improve on what is wrong with this team. Jae Seo got a win in his last outing, but he gave up 6 earned runs in 5 innings. Seo is sporting an 8.10 ERA and has struggled all year long. We have been patient long enough, it is time for a change and Andy Sonnanstine is ready.

The Rays organization has said that they learned from their past mistakes with calling up young talent too early, see Dewon Brazelton, and i applaud them for coming up with a plan. Andrew Friedman has stated that the pitchers will need a combined 200 IP between AA and AAA before being called up and I am in agreement that this is the right move for the future of this franchise; Andy Sonnanstine 244.1 IP between AA and AAA. Now of course there is more to being ready than having the required amount of innings, there is also what you did with those innings. Andy stats from Montgomery Last year: 185.2 IP, 15-8 record, 2.67 ERA, 153 strikeouts, 34 walks and held batters to a .224 average against him. Andy has continued where he left off in Duram this year going 6-2 with a 2.30 ERA, striking out 60, walking 12, and batters are only hitting .199 off of him. I saw Andy in Spring Training this year and the guy impressed me. Andy is not an overpowering guy, but he is a smart guy and knows how to pitch. Andy reminds me of Greg Maddux; he is a guy who will go on the mound with a plan of attack and will place his pitches where they need to be to get the outs.

I am so tired of watching the Rays games and knowing that 3 out of the 5 days they play we need to score over 8 runs to win a game. The Rays have given Jae Seo long enough to try and show that he can make improvements and he couldn't. The Rays need another starter who can go out there and give them 6 to 7 strong innings and not put too much pressure on the offense to score 8 runs. Andy will be a nice boost to this team and who knows, maybe Jae Seo could work out his problems in the bullpen and be a nice change there.

Fantasy Impact

Andy Sonnanstine is going to be a guy who will go out and help you keep your ERA and WHIP down. He is not going to strikeout a lot of people, but he will not walk a lot either. The Rays are scoring runs and if the pen can hold Andy may get you a couple of wins as well. Sonnanstine has looked dominant in AA and AAA, he is ready for the majors. Keep an eye on him in the deeper leagues and if he pitches the way i know he can he may be a welcome addition to your staff for the playoff run.

Monday, May 21, 2007

NO NO - Not Navarro

I remember listening to 620 WDAE the day the Rays acquired Dioner Navarro and Jae Seo from the Dodgers. Andrew Friedman was doing an interview on the Steve Deumig show and was gushing over Navarro and his potential. Friedman told everyone that the Rays were getting a catcher who called a great game, played great defense, and had gap power that they were certain would develop into home run power sometime in the near future. I was excited to have him hearing all of this from Friedman and couldn't wait to see him play. I have watched and waited and i am still waiting for any of the above to happen. Navarro is no where near the player we were told we were getting. Navarro not only can't hit, but his defense is also horrible. I watch every game with my wife and every time Navarro gets up she looks over to me and says, "why is it that every time we are getting a rally going he gets up and gets an out?" I would love to be able to tell her that he does so much for the team that we have to over look his horrible bat, but that is just not the case. Navarro is one of the worst defensive catchers in the league allowing 22 of 28 base runners to steal on him. I have never seen base runners steal 3B on a catcher with such ease as i do when Navarro is behind the dish. Further, he doesn't even call a good game. The team ERA when Navarro is behind the plate a hefty 5.51 while the team era when "back-up" catcher Josh Paul is on the mound the is almost half a point lower at 5.14.

The Rays have options at the Catcher position and they should use those options now. Josh Paul could take over as the starter and the Rays could bring up Shawn Riggans to back him up when he comes off of the DL in a couple days. Paul is batting .245 with a .302 OBP in 15 games. Also, Pauls's percentage of throwing out runners is double Navarro's with a respectable 42%. Riggans played extremely well in spring training and is having another solid year in Durham. On the year Riggans has a .295 avg., .348 OBP, and 4 Home Runs. Riggans is a decent defensive catcher with a 30% caught stealing percentage and Durham has a 4.15 ERA when he is behind the dish. The Rays could also go to stud catcher John Jaso in AA Montgomery as the backup. Jaso is crushing the ball right now and is a great defensive catcher.

One other option the Rays could look at is to make a trade for Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamachia. Salty was the future catcher of the Braves, but with the emergence of Brian McCann and his long term deal Salty has become expendable. Salty is a great Offensive and Defensive catcher. Salty was one of the top catching prospects in the minors for the past couple years and now is up with the big club. Going into 2007 Salty had thrown out 61.5 % of runners who attempted to steal on him. Before being called up to the big club Salty was batting .309 with 6 Home Runs in 22 games. To get the deal done the Rays would most likely have to deal either Dukes, Upton, or Rocco, but wouldn't it be worth it? The Rays have a glut of OF and we need a great catcher.

The Rays have a variety of ways they can go at the catcher position and i hope they choose one of the options not named Navarro. I can understand not making the trade for Salty or not wanting Riggans to be the starter, but at least let Paul be the starter and get the majority of the games. I am tired of watching Rays games and knowing that every time Navarro gets up to the plate there will be an out and every time a runner gets on he can steal any base he wants. Navarro is not the guy we thought he was and its time to remedy that mistake.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time to Move Fossum to the Pen

I can just imagine what was going through Jamie Shields mind as he watched the game last night. I mean Casey gives up 6 earned runs, raises his ERA from 7.43 to 7.80, and still manages to get the win; where was the run support for Jamie in his past two starts? Fossum could easily have given up even more runs as 2 of his outs in the 5th inning were caught at the warning track. It was just another bad outing in a long line of bad starts for Fossum. Casey looked good after he went through the lineup once, but after the hitters got the timing down they were teeing off on Fossum. I am not one who believes that every pitcher needs to throw extremely hard, but Fossum does not throw hard and is not getting the movement on the pitches he needs to be effective. Meanwhile the Rays have no left hander in the bullpen and they are the only team in the league that doesn't. In today's league you need a left hander in the bullpen for special match ups late in the game. Also, Fossum would be a nice change of pace after our other power starters have have been pulled from the game. Fossum seems to get through the order well once, but then gets lit up; so why not let him go to the pen and only see a couple batters late in the game when we need to hold a lead. With the combination of how Fossum pitches well once through the order and the need for a lefty in the pen it seems like a no brainer decision, but Joe Maddon has always stood by his players when they are playing horribly and waits for them to get out of the funk, even when they never do. Maddon needs to sit down and do what is right for the team, put Casey into the pen.

If Casey were to go to the pen that would open up a spot in the rotation for one of the younger guys in Durham to come up and fill. The Rays should look to Andy Sonnastine to fill the spot in the rotation. Andrew Friedman has said that he wants the pitchers to have over 200 innings pitched between Montgomery and Durham, Sonnastine has 231.1 IP. Sonnastine spent all of last season in AA and ended with a 15-8 record, 2.67 earned run average, striking out 153 while only walking 34. So far this year in Durham he has compiled a 5-2 record, 2.05 earned run average, striking out 57 and only walking 9. It looks to me like Sonnastine has gotten his innings and deserves a shot and the rotation. Sonnastine could not be any worse than Fossum and he will gain experience while the Rays also get the left hander they need in the pen. The move makes sense, which means the Rays won't do it, but we can hope i guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Harris Leads Rays past Rangers

The Devil Rays took the first game of a 3 game set against the Rangers in Orlando thanks to Brendan Harris. Harris went 4-5 in the game including the game winning single in the 10th. The Rangers walked Dioner Navvaro to load the bases in the 10th; an interesting move as Navarro was 0-4 and Harris was 3-4. Harris, who led off the ninth with a double, but was left stranded, came up to the plate with no outs in the 10th and hit the first pitch he saw to win the game. Harris could easily have gone 5-5 as he was robbed of a rocket shot in his first at bat and was feeling it all night long. Harris also had some great defensive plays in the field as he has solidified himself as the Rays everyday shortstop.
Rays starter Jamie Shields was once again dominant, but did not get the run support he needed. Jamie got a no decision after going 8 innings giving up 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5 and walking none. Al Reyes came in the ninth and nly allowed one runner on an error. Brian Stokes actually pitched well in the 10th and came away with the win. BJ Upton continued his mini slump going 0-4 with 3 strikeouts.
The Rays did get some bad news during the game though as Rocco Baldelli pulled up lame running to first base during his first at bat. The Devil Rays are saying that it is a left hamstring strain and he will be re-evaluated tomorrow. Rocco was replaced in center by Upton and Josh Wilson came in to play third with Wigginton moving to second. Whatever comes of the evaluation tomorrow the hamstring issues with Rocco are getting to be worrisome. Rocco has been hampered by nagging injuries all year and this has been a reoccurring theme throughout his career. If Rocco were to miss anytime look for Dukes to take his spot in Center.

Meet The Newest Bucs -- Aaron Sears

The Buccaneers continued to address their offensive line when they drafted Aaron Sears out of Tennessee. The Bucs quietly brought Sears into town before the draft and worked him out. The coaching staff really loved his tenacity and versatility and fell in love with the guy. Sears was a 3 year starter at Tennessee and played every position on the Offensive line except center for the Vols. His Senior year Sears won the Jacobs award which is given annually to the best blocker in the SEC. Sears played against tough talent day in and day out in the SEC and dominated most of them. Sears is a big guy who plays with a nasty streak and is a great run and pass blocker. Sears is great run blocker and the addition of Sears to the offensive line will only help Cadillac Williams and the running game even more. Sears is also a great pass blocker and adding him to the left side with Davis and Petigout in a rotation will help give the Quarterback, whoever it may be, have more time to make some throws. The addition of Sears to the line also may allow the Bucs to move Dan Buenning to Center to back up John Wade who is getting up there in age Finally, having Sears to further help solidify the line should allow Gruden to allow the TE to go out into the pattern and not make them stay back to block, which will open up his offense. Although Sears did play all positions in College he projects to be a better Guard than Tackle in the NFL. Sears has a little smaller arms than you would like and also struggled against speed rushers in college. Overall this was a solid need pick for the Bucs and a great addition to the Buccaneers. Welcome to the Bucs Aaron.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hey Maddon -- Change the Lineup!!

Since May 1st Rocco Baldelli has gone 2 for 49 and his average has dropped .80 points. After the Toronto series Maddon was asked what he would do with Rocco to which he responded that he would stay in the lead off spot because we did not have any other viable options to lead off. I guess Mr. Maddon forgot that he has Carl Crawford and BJ Upton on the team. Crawford has lead off before and was successful at it. Bj Upton is leading the team in total batting average and average with runners in scoring position. Also, BJ and Crawford offer something that Rocco can't at the moment, stolen bases. Rocco has been slowed by injuries to his hamstring and his knee and has not been able to run like he is able to. Meanwhile Crawford and Upton are stealing bases left and right when they get on the base path. Maddon told everyone that the reason Upton was batting down in the lineup earlier in the year was to remove the pressure and get him some confidence. It looks like Maddon's plan worked for Upton, but he refuses to do the same for Baldelli. Right now Baldelli is going through a rough time and he could use a change of scenery and remove some of the pressure. I am not saying to move Rocco all the way down to the nine spot, although that may not be a bad idea, but a move out of the lead off spot could do Rocco some good and give him some confidence. This team does have viable options for the lead off spot and in fact those options are better than Rocco when he is not slumping. Mr. Maddon please take a look at your team and make the move to help this team.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Brendan Harris -- A Wonderful Surprise

One thing I learned early in my marriage is that my wife is always right. During this years fan fest my wife looked at Brendan Harris and asked me who he was. I told her he was a utility infielder that we got from Cincinnati for cash and a player to be named later. I also told her not to expect much because of the glut of infielders and that he would have to play hard in spring training to even make the team. My wife took another look at him and told me he was going to be a good player for the Rays this year, he would be the starting shortstop soon, and was her new favorite player. As we watched Ben Zobrist strike out and look horrible at the plate my wife kept calling for Maddon to let Harris play. I kept telling my wife that Zobrist was our shortstop and Harris would get his chances every now and than, but not to get to attached because he won't be around much.
I was right about one thing, Harris got his chance to play. Harris has made the most of every chance he has been given to play for the Rays. Harris is in an oranization with a glut of highly rated prospects, and it would seem he shouldn't be able to compete, but the guy just plays hard. Harris gives his all every play of every game and has been rewarded with the starting shortstop position. Since being put into the lineup Harris has hit .342 with 2 home runs, 9 runs, and 8 RBI. Harris has the second highest average on the team behind only BJ Upton, who just so happens to lead the League in average. Harris seems to get the clutch hit when needed and plays great defense at short. Harris and Upton seem to have a great chemistry with each other and are slowly becoming one of the better double play duos in the league.
While the future for the Rays at shortstop looks to be Reid Brignac, the Rays are in in good hands for now with Brendan Harris. Every time he does something great my wife reminds me that she called Brendan playing this well before he ever hit the field. As much as I hate to be wrong, this is one time that being wrong has had its benefits. Brendan if you read this, your biggest fan, my wife, would love an autograph.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Impact of Rookie Running Backs

As fantasy football owners we all know the importance of running backs to winning the league. No matter what the scoring system the running back becomes the most important and sought after piece of the team. Every year the fantasy owners are looking for the edge on the competition. Owners salivate at the thought of new talent at the running back position and look for the next great back to carry them to the title. One place I advise fantasy owners not to look early is to rookie running backs. Reggie Bush was drafted number 2 overall in the NFL draft last year and many fantasy owners sought Reggie Bush early in the fantasy drafts also. Bush had a great rookie year in the NFL, but for fantasy owners in most leagues he only scored enough points to make him the 17th best back.

Here are the top rookie backs from 2000-2006 using the following scoring system -- 1pt per 10 rush yards, 1pt per 10 receiving yards, 6pts per TD, and -2pts per fumble lost. The point value corresponds to what they would have scored their rookie year and the draft number is where they were drafted in the NFL draft.
Jamal Lewis (#5 overall) 198
Thomas Jones (#7 overall) 82.1
Ron Dayne (#11 overall) 106
Sean Alexander (#19 overall) 43.3

LT (#5 Overall) 210.3
Deuce McAlister (#23 overall) 37.7
Anthony Thomas (#38 overall) 178.1
Travis Henry (#58 overall) 110.8

William Green (#16 overall) 132
TJ Duckett (#18 Overall) 80.8
Deshaun Foster (#34 Overall) 75.6
Clinton Portis (#51 Overall) 283.2

No running back was even worth it.

Stephen Jackson (#24 Overall) 108.2
Kevin Jones (#30 Overall) 165.3
Tatum Bell (#41 Overall) 63.6
Julius Jones (#43 Overall) 128.8

Ronnie Brown (#2 Overall) 135.9
Cedric Benson (#4 Overall) 28.2
Cadillac Williams (#5 Overall) 145.9
JJ Arrington (#44 Overall) 60.9

Reggie Bush (#2 Overall)174.7
Lawrence Maroney (#21 Overall) 133.9
DeAngelo Williams (#27 Overall) 93.4
Joeseph Addai (#30 Overall) 184.6
MJD (#60 Overall) 210.7

The top Backs from last year in order and their points:

LT 416.3
LJ 329.9
Stephen Jackson 325.4
Frank Gore 262
Willie Parker 257.6
Brian Westbrook 253.6
Tiki Braber 240.7
Rudi Johnson 211.3
MJD 210.7
Edgerrin James 185.6
Joeseph Addai 184.6
Ladell Betts 183.9
Deuce McAlister 183.5
Ahman Green 177.2
Travis Henry 174.9
Jamal Lewis 174.7
Reggie Bush 174.7
Thomas Jones 170.4
Corey Dillon 169.9
Fred Taylor 164.8
MBIII 163.7
Chester Taylor 162.4
Warrick Dunn 161
Kevin Jones 158.9
Ronnie Brown 154.4
Julius Jones 144.6
Willis McGahee 136.6
M. Bell 131.5
Sean Alexander 130.4
T. Bell 116
Cedric Benson 106.1
Brandon Jacobs 95.4

Using this scoring only 7 rookie running backs in the past 6 years, with 3 of them being drafted last year, would have ended last season in the top 20 with their rookie season stats. When you look at the backs that have succeeded they were in a good situation and had were "The" back. To get a rookie running back going they need time just like any other player. Running back has the easiest transition from NCAA to NFL as far as fantasy scoring goes, but it still takes time. Looking at the top backs this year:

Adrian Peterson -- Great back, will have a great career, but right now he is in a committee and in an offense that does not stress running the ball.

Marshawn Lynch -- Good back, but in a bad spot. Willis McGahee couldn't even run for 1,000 yards behind that line and he will lose carries to Anthony Thomas.

Kenny Irons -- Chris Perry anyone? The Bengals have drafted another running back high that will sit behind Rudi Johnson.

Brandon Jackson -- Will be a part of a committee and not the most talented back out there.
Running backs are the big hitters in fantasy football and owners are always looking for the next stud back to burst onto the scene and carry them to a championship. Now I am not saying that rookie backs have no value, but too often people count on unproven rookie running backs to carry them to the championship. Do yourself a favor and let someone else in your league draft the overly hyped rookie.

Meet The Newest Bucs -- Gaines Adams

The Buccaneers finally addressed the defensive side of the ball in the draft. For the first time since drafting Booger McFarland in 1999, the Bucs used a first round draft pick on a defender. Adams was the consensus best defensive player in this years draft and it just so happens the Bucs needed help at that position as well. Adams is very similar to another DE that the Bucs may be familiar with, Simeon Rice. Like Rice, Adams accelerates off the ball very well and gets up the field fast putting a lot of pressure on the Quarterback. Unfortunately, also like Rice, Adams struggles against the run as he is on the small side. The good thing about the Tampa 2 though is that the DE are not supposed to be that big in the run stopping game. Adams job will be to do what Simeon has done since being here and what the Bucs severely lacked last year, get to the Quarterback and create havoc in the backfield. Adams actually graded out higher than former teammate and last years #1 overall pick Mario Williams. Adams played 8 man football in High School, so he has only played 11 man football for 5 years, which means he has room to get better than he is right now. Monty Kiffen was excited to get this guy and was jumping up and down describing what this guy can do on the football field; when Monte gets that excited about a player, you know you have something special.

Lugo Demoted -- Orvella to take his Spot

The Rays have finally ended our suffering by demoting Lugo to AAA and calling up Chad Orvella. Lugo was surprised as he is coming off of two great outings, but those two outings were not enough to save him from what has been a dismal season so far. In 11 appearances Lugo was sporting a hefty 9.28 ERA while walking 13 and striking out 8. Lugo is not the only problem in the pen, but this will definitely help the Rays out late in games. Orvella struggled when he first went back down to Durham, which in my opinion it had to do with being demoted after having the best spring of Rays reliever. Since the first couple of games Orvella has turned it around and dominated in Durham. In his last 10 games he has pitched 14.1 innings with an ERA of .63. Orvella has struck out 19 batters and walked 6 in that time period and batters are hitting .143 on him for he season in Durham. I was surprised that Orvella was sent down after Spring Training and i am glad to see him back up in the pen. The Rays are competing right now and they need to give Reyes and the starters some help and this will definitely do that. I hope the Rays make a couple more moves involving the pen, but this is definitely a good start.