TUESDAY’S DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. I wouldn’t bury the Pirates just yet if they are to be without Andrew McCutchen for up to a month. This is going to be a stretch where the pitching staff has to carry them, no question about that. Know the schedule is brutal starting August 11 with a stretch of 22 straight games against teams with a .500 or better record, but somehow the Pirates have found a way all season to stay in playoff contention despite a terrible April, Gerrit Cole taking a step back and not staying healthy, Francisco Liriano struggling in first half, Pedro Alvarez being a disaster this season, Starling Marte regressing, the bullpen regressing, and the first base position being a complete dud.
2. On Second thought, maybe for those reasons above everything comes crashing down for them in the coming weeks.
3. We all know the high end skill Kasperi Kapanen has and he has the potential to be a very good player in the NHL, possibly an impact top-6 player within next couple years, but let’s just say it’s hard to find a scout outside of Pittsburgh who thinks Kapanen can play in the NHL this season. Some NHL types outside of Pittsburgh, have been very surprised at how GM Jim Rutherford has been drumming Kapanen up as being NHL ready. One theory out there is Rutherford’s determined for Kapanen to start the year in Pittsburgh as nothing more than a PR move. For that reason, some won’t be surprised to see him start the season in Pittsburgh. One scout on Kapanen. “No way he’s ready…..Did Jimmy see him play at all against international competition?”
Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report is spot on with his assessment of Kapanen and how most of the scouting world feels about Kapanen. They love the skill set but just because he played against “men” last year, doesn’t mean he’s ready. “Shows no physical presence, and in internatonal play against physical clubs has repeatedly come up small. He’s an exciting kid with gamebreaking skills, but inconsistency combined with lackluster showings internationally leave unanswered questions. Effort level wavers from shift-to-shift, and he’ll go long stretches where you never notice him.”
4. Why has Antonio Brown been bouncing between agents despite being signed through 2017 season? He left Drew Rosenhaus early this year, who negotiated his six year deal in 2012, to sign with Roc Nation, only to fire Rock Nation a couple months later and go back to Rosenhaus in June. Sources say Roc Nation had Brown intrigued that they could make him more marketable off the field, but he obviously wasn’t sold. Some rumblings out there on Brown, though, is he has his sights set on re-doing his contract next off-season, despite set to make $6 million in 2015.
5. If fans don’t know who Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake is, they will very soon. Blake a special teams wizard, has flashed serious upside in camp at the cornerback position and let’s just say, Steelers coaches won’t be shocked if he’s one of their top cornerbacks next season. He has potential to excel as a nickle back and could see time in that role this season. Only knock on Blake is his height.