You won’t ever convince me that this isn’t the worst sports week of the year, ranked firmly behind last week and next week because, while there’s no baseball and no football action moving the needle, this week the sports world has decided it has no choice but to descend on the Super Bowl site for non-stop programming that offers non-stop garbage. Bits that aren’t funny, news that’s barely news, stories that get recycled so many unapologetic times that they lose whatever marginal meaning they might have had through the first cycle.
It’s a super-sized bag of RedBullExtreme-Infused Doritos Locos Tacos Turbo-Supreme. An industry deciding “Pitbull featuring Ke$ha” should be the wether bearing the bell.
Love the NFL. But . . . Uncle.
I suspect it’s not by accident that the folks for whom baseball is a 12-month venture chose this week to ping our dulled sports senses with the unveiling of the prospect lists they’ve been working on all winter.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus has seven Rangers in his Top 101 — second baseman Rougned Odor (39), catcher Jorge Alfaro (41 — Parks believes he “could crack the top 10” a year from now), righthander Chi-Chi Gonzalez (70), shortstop Luis Sardinas (72), outfielder Michael Choice (79), outfielder Nick Williams (88), and third baseman Joey Gallo (95) — which is seven more than the Angels, and in fact nearly as many as the rest of the AL West (Houston 5, Seattle 3, Oakland 1) combined. Parks adds that Texas, Houston, Minnesota, and Toronto are among the teams with the strongest minor league depth outside the Top 101.
MLB.com has Alfaro at 39, Odor at 59, Choice at 72, Sardinas at 76, and Gallo at 92, with Jim Callis calling Alfaro’s the strongest arm of any position player prospect in the game, at any position, with Gallo’s arm second only to Alfaro’s and his power second only to Minnesota’s Miguel Sano. Callis has righthander Luke Jackson among 15 players who just missed the Top 100 list.
Baseball America won’t reveal its list until later but its ranking of the top 10 Rangers’ prospects landed this morning: Odor, Alfaro, Choice, Williams, Gallo, Gonzalez, Sardinas, Jackson, Travis Demeritte, and Ronald Guzman. Ben Badler suggests the club’s “[t]op-end talent [is] lighter than usual but [there’s] plenty of depth, especially from the international program.”
ESPN’s Keith Law will reveal his Top 100 later today, but yesterday pegged Texas as the number 13 farm system in the game (Houston 1, Seattle 21, Oakland 26, Los Angeles 29). His Rangers rankings will be revealed tomorrow.
Thank goodness there’s no “Media Day” leading up to the World Series. I suppose if there were two weeks off after the two pennants were won, rather than just two or three days, baseball coverage might get so tricked up that news would be delivered by dudes wearing Colonial wigs or capes (tights for both), TV Azteca babes (no tights), or Regis (not sure).
Not every sports journalist was hitting it hard at the Prudential Center yesterday, interviewing each other. Some were in Texas (probably in jeans and a North Face) spotting Nolan Ryan leaving a meeting of some sort at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Others were checking in with Michael Young and discovering that his decision is apparently down to Chavez Ravine or retirement. Jeff Baker is reportedly close to choosing the Marlins, Nationals, or Orioles, and A.J. Burnett has evidently decided he’s not quite ready to hang them up, and between Baker and Burnett I know which one I’d be a whole lot more interested in as far as the Rangers are concerned.
What I really need to know is what some D-list “celeb” thinks the most important Justin Bieber question to ask a nickel corner is. Brought to you by VH1.
Baseball prospect lists are what they are. Whether your publication(s) of choice think Carlos Correa should be ranked higher than Taijuan Walker doesn’t mean anything. Just because Parks believes Gonzalez projects to be a “2/3 starter; most likely a 3” for Texas, and possibly sooner than you might think, isn’t “news.”
But it’s an absolute gift from the sports gods when it’s delivered in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, and if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna turn the radio off and go chase down some predictions on where Derek Fisher and Max Pentecost are slotted to go in this June’s Rule 4 Draft. No thanks on the Mountain Dew-flavored Cheetos.