White Sox

Moon: Pick Vick? Should happen

Moon: Pick Vick? Should happen

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
10:48 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Michael Vick has yet to throw an interception this season, while tossing 11 touchdown passes. That in fact should be considered good news for the Bears. Why? Hes due.

Actually, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin agrees. Coughlin said last week that Vick passes have been in defenders hands, just not caught. Of course, that would include some Giants hands because Coughlins guys didnt pick Vick either.

In his five previous seasons as the No. 1 quarterback, all with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick threw 69 touchdown passes vs. 49 interceptions. That equates to one pick-Vick every 33 attempts.

Even factoring in the new-and-improved gyroscope in Vicks inner passer, he has thrown 191 passes this season without being intercepted yet. Again, he is due.

And while he admittedly hasnt always made the right decisions for himself, he believes he is now, in more ways than one.

I think Ive gone through my progressions, keeping my eyes down field, staying balanced when I throw the football, Vick said. It doesnt necessarily have anything to do with the running game, but making good decisions with the football.

Not to make simple he-cant-be-this-good predictions, but he cant.

Vicks passer rating of 108.7 leads the NFL. The three highest ratings in NFL history are 121.1 by Peyton Manning in 2004; 117.2 by Tom Brady in 2007; and 112.8 by Steve Young back in 1994.

Vicks season right now, extrapolating it into a full season, would rank 11th all-time, just ahead of Sid Luckmans 107.5 from 1943 and below Dan Marinos 108.9 in 1984.

In Vicks favor is that hes 30 and three of the top four on the all-time list (Brady, Young, Joe Montana) were over 30 when they posted their career-best ratings.

But turnovers are the single biggest determinant of game outcomes and for all of Jay Cutlers peccadilloes, Vick against the Bears defense is the matchup that should decided this game.

And so.
Few Bears games since the Detroit opener and maybe Carolina, even with Todd Collins starting, have been pretty simple calls to make. This one, however, is arguably the hardest to date this season. The Eagles are No. 2 in scoring at 28.4, the Bears are tied for No. 1 in defense giving up 14.6 per game, and that equates to two units each eminently capable of taking over a game.

If Mike Martz continues to direct an offense that stays on the ground without putting the ball on the ground, the Bears will have their 4-0 November.

Bears 16 Eagles 14

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

mickeradolfo.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

MESA, Ariz. — You don’t need to spend long searching the highlight reels to figure out why Javy Baez goes by “El Mago.”

Spanish for “The Magician,” that moniker is a fitting one considering what Baez can do with his glove and his arm up the middle of the infield. The king of tags, Baez also dazzles with his throwing arm and his range. He looks like a Gold Glove kind of player when you watch him do these amazing things. And it’s no surprise that in his first media session of the spring, he was talking about winning that award.

“Just to play hard and see what I can do. Obviously, try to be healthy the whole year again. And try to get that Gold Glove that I want because a lot of people know me for my defense,” he said Friday at Cubs camp. “Just try to get a Gold Glove and stay healthy the whole year.”

Those high expectations — in this case, being the best defensive second baseman in the National League — fall in line with everything the rest of the team is saying about their own high expectations. It’s been “World Series or bust” from pretty much everyone over the past couple weeks in Mesa.

Baez might not be all the way there just yet. Joe Maddon talked earlier this week about his reminders that Baez needs to keep focusing on making the easy plays while staying a master of the magnificent.

“What I talked to him about was, when he had to play shortstop, please make the routine play routinely and permit your athleticism to play. Because when the play requires crazinesss, you’re there, you can do that,” Maddon said. “But this straight up ground ball three-hopper to shortstop, come get the ball, play it through and make an accurate throw in a routine manner. Apparently that stuck. Because he told me once he thought in those terms, it really did slow it down for him. And he did do a better job at doing that.”

But the biggest question for Cubs fans when it comes to Baez is when the offense will catch up to his defense. Baez hit a game-winning homer run in his first major league game and smacked 23 of them last season, good for fifth on a team full of power bats. But arguably just as famous as Baez’s defensive magic is his tendency to chase pitches outside of the strike zone. He had 144 strikeouts last season and reached base at a .317 clip. Seven Cubs — including notable struggling hitters Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist — had higher on-base percentages in 2017.

Baez, for one, is staying focused on what he does best, saying he doesn’t really have any specific offensive goals for the upcoming season.

“I’m not worrying about too much about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to play defense, and just let the offense — see what happens.”

Maddon, unsurprisingly, talked much more about what Baez needs to do to become a better all-around player, and unsurprisingly that included being more selective at the plate.

“One of the best base runners in the game, one of the finest arms, most acrobatic, greatest range on defense, power. The biggest thing for me for him is to organize the strike zone,” Maddon said. “Once he does that, heads up. He’s at that point now, at-bat wise, if you want to get those 500, 600 plate appearances, part of that is to organize your zone, accept your walks, utilize the whole field, that kind of stuff. So that would be the level that I think’s the next level for him.”

Will Baez have a season’s worth of at-bats to get that done? The versatile Cubs roster includes a couple guys who split time between the infield and outfield in Zobrist and Ian Happ. Getting their more consistent bats in the lineup might mean sacrificing Baez’s defense on certain days. Baez, of course, also has the ability to slide over to shortstop to spell Addison Russell, like he did when Russell was on the disabled list last season.

Until Baez learns how to navigate that strike zone a bit better, it might make Maddon more likely to mix and match other options, rather than considering him an everyday lock like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

But like Russell, Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras, Baez is one of the young players who despite key roles on a championship contender the last few years still have big league growth to come. And Maddon thinks that growth is right around the corner.

“I want to believe you’re going to see that this year,” Maddon said. “They’ve had enough major league at-bats now, they should start making some significant improvements that are easy to recognize. The biggest thing normally is pitch selection, I think that’s where it really shows up. When you have talented players like that, that are very strong, quick, all that other stuff, if they’re swinging at strikes and taking balls, they’re going to do really well. And so it’s no secret with Javy. It’s no secret with Addy. Addy’s been more swing mode as opposed to accepting his walks. That’s part of the maturation process with those two guys. Albert I thought did a great job the last month, two months of getting better against righties. I thought Jason looked really good in the cage today. And Willson’s Willson.

“The natural assumption is these guys have played enough major league at-bats that you should see something different this year in a positive way.”