I’m going to begin this week’s blog by including a few lists. I enjoy making lists and watching the reaction they bring. So, let’s get started! The list below includes some of the best High School baseball players in our area. I have put together 20 players that “caught my eye” this year. They are not necessarily the best players in the area (although most are). However, these guys made a difference for their teams and stood out to me. They are in no particular order. I was lucky enough to see most area teams this year because of my unique job. There are guys and teams I didn’t get to see. If I had watched every team in our area my list might be different. Did you get a chance to see any High School baseball? Who are players that stood out to you this year? What do you think of my list?
High School Baseball
- Graham Ruopp – Notre Dame
- Adam Pope – Notre Dame
- Logan Heisserer – Notre Dame
- Palmer Campbell – NMCC
- Landon Vaughn – Kennett
- Trent Pobst – Scott City
- Tyler McLevain – Cooter
- Riley Hickerson – Cooter
- Trey McDaniel – Greenville
- Cameron Misner – Poplar Bluff
- Brandon Stuckensnieder – Poplar Bluff
- Michael Houchin – Jackson
- Jacob Priggel – Oran
- Blake Wolferding – Sikeston
- Jacob Clark – Sikeston
- Trevor Lewis – East Carter
- Nate Finney – Bell City
- Josh Morse – Cape Central
- Devin Trammel – Bernie
- Daniel Bergtholdt – Valle Catholic
Lets continue with my “list” theme for the next topic. There are a bevy of great pitchers in the game of Major League Baseball. It seems like virtually everyone is throwing 95 MPH or higher. Of course just because you can throw hard doesn’t mean you will be an effective pitcher; but I will admit it does make it easier. Pitching sets the table. Good pitching helps your defense and helps to take pressure off the offense. Starting pitchers in particular are so important in today’s game of baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in baseball. They also have the best starter’s ERA in the game at 3.00. So, who are the best starting pitchers in the game today? Here are my top 10 pitchers in the game right now. I have few restrictions. I do not include any injured players. ERA, efficiency, innings, and track record are pretty high on my list of qualifications. What do you think? Would you change anything? Is there a guy that missed the list you would put in?
Rusty’s MLB Starting Pitchers Top 10 List
- Clayton Kershaw – LA Dodgers
- Felix Hernandez – SEA Mariners
- Chris Sale – CHI White Sox
- Madison Bumgarner – SF Giants
- Max Scherzer – WAS Nationals
- David Price – DET Tigers
- Johnny Cueto – CIN Reds
- Zack Greinke – LA Dodgers
- Cole Hamels – PHL Phillies
- Dallas Keuchel – HOU Astros
Just missed my Top 10
- Corey Kluber – CLE Indians
- Jordan Zimmermann – WAS Nationals
Young Pitchers on the cusp of being really good! If they had more Major League time they would probably crack my top 10 list.
- Matt Harvey – NY Mets
- Sonny Gray – OAK Athletics
- Gerrit Cole – PIT Pirates
- Michael Wacha – STL Cardinals
- Chris Archer – TB Rays
- Yordano Ventura – KC Royals
Guys that would probably be in top ten if not hurt…
Adam Wainwright* – STL Cardinals – Would be #4 in the top 10 if not hurt.
Jose Fernandez* – MIA Marlins – At least in my top 15 players.
Sigh…Without the St. Louis Blues still in the playoffs I have lost some interest to be honest. Two teams are left, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since I am a Blues fan, well…I can’t bring myself to root for the Hawks. I have to go with the lightning. I actually like their chances as well. Ben Bishop has been a stud in goal for the Lightning. I have always liked Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan. In the finals if you have a great goal scorer like Stamkos and a hot goalie like Bishop, it can be good enough to bring home the Cup. The Lighting rank first in the league in goals per game. It won’t come easy that is for sure. The Hawks are second in goals against. They have a tough defense. Plus, you can’t overlook Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Corey Crawford’s experience. What is my pick? Lightning in 7 games.
Another quick NHL note:
I think it was a good move to bring Ken Hitchcock back as the head coach for the St. Louis Blues. He signed a one year deal to stay with the Blues last week. I think you give the post season underachieving Blues and Ken Hitchcock another crack at it. At least with a one year contract the Blues can cut ties after next season. That is why I think it was wise for the Blues front office. Yes the coach is very important, but ultimately it’s up to the players. They are the ones on the ice, not the coach. Blues need better goal scorers not a different coach.
First, the University of Alabama-Birmingham Football program is back! In December the UAB “big wigs” decided to shelve the UAB program. Why? Simply…money. In an article by espn.com, University President Ray Watts said, “The fiscal realities we face — both from an operating and a capital investment standpoint — are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the athletic department and UAB.”
Now, just 6 months later UAB has reversed that decision. Why change it now? Why reverse the decision? In the article below it mentions the University “received pledges…”from the “…community matching the $17.2 million needed to reinstate the football program…”
Bottom line is Football is back for UAB. Good for them for making it right. Job, scholarships, hopes, and dreams were crushed in December. But at least now they can start rebuilding what they tore down. Unfortunately, this will be a huge disadvantage for the football program that is now behind in signing players and preparing for the upcoming season. Will they be ready for the 2016 season? Not sure, but at least football is back. How can you not? At least for me it pulls at my heart strings when you see how it effects the student athletes, coaches, and anyone else involved with the program. Watch this video of UAB Players and Coaches when the announcement is made. Do you think it matters to them? Glad to hear football is back!
Here is another Football story:
This story comes from the NFL, reported by ESPN. St. Louis Rams defensive ends’ Chris Long and William Hayes experience “homelessness” in this video. It shows the two spending time on the streets, dressed in disguise, experiencing what it is like to be homeless. It’s admirable in my opinion for these two guys to take a step back from the life they live, and put on another person’s “shoes.” Chris Long says, “…We were just hoping to gain a little perspective and put kind of a feeling with the cause that we had been [donating to] from a distance the last couple of years.”
Chris Long and William Hayes were moved by a few people they met during this process. They both have a better appreciation of those on the streets. Kudos to Chris, William, and the St. Louis Rams. This is the type of story I wish I saw more often. May we be more aware of how we can help our community. Click on the link below to see their story.
Agree or disagree with my opinion? Let me know your thoughts! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me (@rusty_hendricks).
Information gathered from USA Today, Youtube, and ESPN.