Archive for December, 2019

Granted, 10-3 was an impressive end to the 2019 season.  But, as I prepare to moan, groan and bitch, 5-3 in Mountain West play was disappointing, nay, anemic.

What to do?  What to do?

I complained about the Aztec offense, or lack thereof, most every post during 2019.  Less the New Mexico State and San Jose State games, SDSU’s offense resembled an old man attempting to dodge oncoming skateboarders on the boardwalk.

Rocky chose 2019 as the year of the shotgun offense.  We resembled a squirt gun all to often in 2019.  The most points scored, less the New Mexico Bowl, was 31 (New Mexico State).  The SDSU offense scored 20 or less points in seven of thirteen games.  Four games featured the dismal frustration of less than 15 points.  Our offense was passed out face down in the glare of Saturday night lights.  Not that the opposition defense was near as good as the Aztec defense.  Was not the case.  Rather, our offense was inept.

What to do?

First, Jeff Horton needs to go.  Rocky needs a shot gun offensive coordinator.  Mr. Horton is and will always be a smash-mouth, pound and ground man, and rightfully so.  His Aztec offenses, less the last two years, were superb.  We beat opposing defenses into dust and spit.  Pound and ground does not morph into a pass oriented offense with ease, and certainly not with the same man directing the action.  Mr. Horton’s 2018 offense averaged 20.6 points per game.  2019 “jumped” to 21.2 points per game.  Zzzz material.  One final bit of proof is 19/44 in the red zone.  Well below 50% when presented the opportunity to score six.

The root of this unimpressive result is the Aztec offensive line.  Offensive line coach Mike Schmidt must follow his offensive coordinator out the door.  The offensive line’s performance not only this year, but 2018 as well, has not met past performance.  Pass protection was above average, but run blocking was far too horizontal.  3.4 yards per carry is barely worth the bother.  Twelve rushing touchdowns was less than one per game.  Rare was the sight of an Aztec offensive lineman eight yards downfield looking for a smash moment involving either a linebacker or defensive back.

SDSU football has the chance to enter a new stadium in 2022 (thereabout) with an impressive, winning football team on both sides of the ball.  Maintaining the coaching status quo will whiff on that opportunity.  Fix the Aztec offense.



SDSU 48, CMU 11

Posted: December 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

A good old fashion butt kicking.  Best bowl game since 2016 against Houston (my favorite).

The Aztec offense generated points each quarter.  Pure magic given the prior twelve games.  Jordan Byrd ran for 139 yards.  The o-line blocked and pushed the Central Michigan defensive line into their linebackers.  The defensive backs were whipped a few minutes into the third quarter.  CMU’s body language screamed, “Get me back to Mt. Pleasant!”

Ryan Agnew finished well.  18/31 with 3 touchdowns.  He led an offense that generated 510 yards and averaged almost 7 yards per play.  Now that is how to say “good-bye”.  The third and fourth quarters featured the Aztec offense on the field for 21+ minutes of the available 30 minutes.  Offense serving as defense.

Once again, the SDSU defense was this side of phenomenal.  Kyahva Tezino’s pick from his own tipped pass set the tone.  Yes, that moment occurred during CMU’s first offensive possession.  The Aztec defensive line and linebackers were camped in the Chippewas’ backfield the entire game.  Frankly, 3 sacks should have been at least 6.  The CMU qb wiggled out of a half dozen SDSU grips.  I suspect vegetable oil applications on his jersey. We will never know.

Luq Barcoo and Tariq Thompson joined the Kyahva Tezino interception parade.  Those 3 interceptions created a second guessing CMU offense that converted only 4 of 16 third downs.  Runs went nowhere.  Passes were over thrown and under thrown.

Congrats to Matt Araiza hitting 48 and 31 yard field goals.  Three more years of Mr. Araiza sits well with me.

10-3 is the end.  Something about double digit wins makes for a better place.

2020 awaits.

Go, Aztecs.


N.L. East:  Not bad, not bad at all.

Miami (#1).  The Marlins join the Detroit Tigers in head spinning.  Zac Gallen had a taste of Miami last year.  He is permanent in 2020.  Most of the strength comes from AA ball.  Vincenzo Aiello, Tommy Eveld and Parker Bugg are the most talented followed by Dylan Lee, Tyler Stevens, Cody Proteet and Alex Vesia.  By the way, the Marlins have five pitchers of note in A+ ball as well.

NYM (#4).  While developing 2-9 players seems a deep, dark mystery to the Mets, pitching has plenty of hope for the future.  Harol Gonzalez (AAA/AA) is the most likely candidate to join the staff post-spring training.  Zach Lee (MLB/AAA/AA) was an unnecessary rush job in 2019.  Adonis Uceta (AA) and Balke Taylor (AA) make the team with a good spring.  Watch Yeizo Campos (A+) as the next two years go by.

Washington (#6).  Mario Sanchez (AA) should arrive in D.C. sometime during 2020.  Ben Braymer (AA) stands a chance as well.  Two rush jobs in 2019 need to gather themselves in AAA, then rise:  Eric Fedde (MLB/AAA/AA) and Kyle McGowan (MLB/AAA/AA).  Aaron Fletcher (A+/A) is exceptional.

Philadelphia (#7).  Edgar Garcia (MLB/AAA) returns to Philly fulltime in 2020.  Spencer Howard (AA/A+) is best in system.  Connor Brogdon (AA/A+) is not far behind.

Atlanta (#13).  A couple of guys in A+.  A couple of guys in A.  Yawn.

N.L. Central:  Two teams develop pitching.  Three teams need the time of day.

Pittsburgh (#3).  Blake Weiman (AA) is best in system.  Brandon Wadell (AA) joins him in Pittsburgh at some point in 2020.  Three in A+ deserve watching:  Cody Bolton, Nick Mears, and Nicholas Economos.

Milwaukee (#5).  Luke Barker (AAA/AA) moves to Milwaukee in 2020.  Adrian Houser (MLB/AAA) stays in Milwaukee.  Aaron Kurcz (AA) and Trey Supak (AA) may get an August, 2020 taste.

Chicago (#9).  Rowan Wick (MLB/AAA) will get another shot in Wrigley.  After Mr. Rowan, not much.  A guy to watch is Jeffrey Passantino (A+).

Cincinnati (#12T).  Alex Powers (AA) is best in system.  No notable AAA talent in 2019.  Same goes for AA less Mr. Powers.

St. Louis (#12T).  One guy in AAA.  One guy in AA.  Tommy Parsons (A) is a long way from the Arch.

N.L. West:  The opposite of the 2-9 success.

Colorado (#2).  Ben Bowden (AA) is best in system.  Joining him from the AA ranks are Ashton Godeau, Alexander Guillen, Rico Garcia, Heath Holder and Tate Scioneaux.

Arizona (#10).  Let the parade of non-development begin.  Except for Joel Payamps, AAA was void of contestants.  AA ball was luke warm.  Blake Workman (A) is the one to watch.

Los Angeles (#11T).  I do not share the trumpeting of Dustin May (MLB/AAA).  Mitchell White (AA) and Markus Solbach may arrive in L.A. late 2020.  Brett de Geus (A) is on the watch list.

San Diego (#11T).  When an organizations two best pitchers are in A+, much needs to be improved.  Mackenzie Gore and Steven Wilson begin 2020 in AA.  Hopefully, rush jobs are avoided.

San Francisco (#12T).  Carlos Navas (AA) is best in system.  A thin system.  Some talent is brewing in A+ and A ball.  The Giants failed to fill their top-ten, stopping at #7.


And now for pitching.  Both kinds.

A. L. East:  Not near as bad as everyday player development, yet no shining example either.

Toronto (#4).  Nate Pearson is far and away their best pitcher in development.  He traveled three levels last year (AAA/AA/A+).  Most of the Jays developmental strength is found in AA, thus perhaps one or two offers 2020 assistance in Toronto.  Jackson Rees (A) is one to watch.

Tampa (#8).  Brendan McKay (MLB/AAA/AA) likely begins in Tampa this coming season.  A bit of a rush job last year, but plenty of other car wrecks litter the MLB landscape not near as bad as Tampa pushing Mr. McKay.  Joe Ryan (A+) and Shane McClanahan (A+) are the next great hope in Tampa’s system.

NYY (#9).  One of the following lands with the Yankees in 2020:  Brian Keller (AA), Clark Schmidt (AA) or Domingo Acevedo (AA).  A lot of talent in A ball, but that mound is much different than the mound in the Bronx.

Baltimore (#11).  Less Tayler Scott (MLB/AAA), not much.  Maybe Hunter Harvey (MLB/AAA) and Dillon Tate (MLB/AAA/AA) offer assistance.

Boston (#14).  Awful.  Boston’s minor league system was incapable of placing a top-ten list.  The ninth and tenth spots are vacant.  Less Rio Gomez (A), so is their pitching development.

A.L. Central:  To the continued surprise of most, Detroit tops my A.L. pitching development.  Strange days.

Detroit (#1).  2020 will feature the arrival of Matt Manning (AA) and Joey Wentz (AA).  By far the best two in system.  John Schreiber (MLB/AAA) and Eduardo Jimenez (MLB/AAA) most likely join the Detroit bullpen.  Casey Mize (AA/A+), Kyle Funkhouse (AA), Drew Carlton (AA) and Ethan Decaster (AA) complete an impressive group of arms in waiting.

Minnesota (#2).  Sensing the same theme as everyday player development results?  Randy Dobnak (MLB/AAA/AA/A+) is all but a lock to appear in the Twin Cities April forward.  Cody Stashak (MLB/AAA/AA) returns as well.  Other 2020 quality candidates include Adam Bray (AAA/AA), Griffin Jax (AA) and Bailey Ober (AA/A+)  Finally, Devin Smetzler (MLB/AAA/AA) and Lewis Thorpe (MLB/AAA) have a chance to return post-spring training.

Cleveland (#6).  Solid, yet unspectacular arms especially in AA.  Zach Pleasac sticks with the club out of spring training.  Then I bet on Aaron Civale (MLB/AAA) and A.J. Cole (MLB/AAA) to have extended time in Cleveland.

White Sox (#10).  A toss up between Jimmy Cordero (MLB/AAA), Matt Tomshaw (AA) and Kyle Kubat (AA/A+) to land in Chicago in April.

K.C. (#12).  Tyler Zuber (AA) is a rush job candidate for 2020 since the Royals failed to have a single 2019 AAA pitcher make their top-ten.

A.L. West:  One big change that many will dismiss.

Seattle (#3).  A mixture of 2019 MLB/AAA exposure.  Five pitchers (Dan Altavilla, Andrew Moore, Zac Grotz, Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn) suffered from organizational stupidity that landed them in AAA for no apparent reason other than to struggle before being rushed to Seattle.  A slower pace in 2020 means a better chance for success.  Watch for the arrival of Sam Delaplane (AA) in 2021.

Texas (#5).  A mirror of Seattle, though not quite as confusing.  Joe Palumbo (MLB/AAA), Brock Burke (MLB/AAA), Brady Feigi (AAA) and Emmanuel Clase (MLB/AA, skipped AAA) are the best in system ready to arrive and pitch in the blistering, wet heat of Texas in 2020.

Oakland (#7).  Sean Manaea (MLB/AAA) finally stays season long in Oakland.  Five quality pitchers rise from AA to AAA this coming year.  Of those five, perhaps James Kaprielian (AA/A+) gets a later shot in the Bigs.  Seth Martinez (A+) and Jesus Zambrano (A+) have a bright future.

Houston (#13 and, yes, the change you will probably dismiss).  Indeed.  The mighty of development begin to stumble.  At least with their pitching.  Nothing in 2019’s AAA and AA system is ready to offer help in Houston.  Await the two to three year arrival of Riley Cabral (A+), Humberto Castellanos (A) and Nivaldo Rodriguez (A).

LAA (#15):  Everyday development stumbled in at #13.  Pitching completes the organizational collapse.   Of their top ten, I could place only seven.  Starting pitching prospects are especially barren.



N.L. East:  A top, middle and bottom.

Washington (#2T).  Four potential future studs await.  Carter Kieboom (MLB/AAA), Jose Marmolejos (AAA), Taylor Gushue (AAA) and Andrew Stevenson (MLB/AAA).  All four should leave spring training bound for D.C.  Next in line is Alec Keller (AAA).

Miami (#6).  Yes, the Fish have improved.  2020 features the arrival of Austin Dean (MLB/AAA and best in system), Isan Diaz (MLB/AAA), Rossell Herrera (MLB/AAA) and Harold Ramirez (MLB/AAA).

Atlanta (#7).  Austin Riley (MLB/AAA and best in system) finds a permanent home in Atlanta in 2020.  Johan Carmago (MLB/AAA) may find company with Mr. Riley.  One to watch is Trey Harris (A+/A).

Philadelphia (#10).  A thin, brittle #10.  They slotted five of ten guys in their top-ten.  Unless you are hitting a baseball, 50% is awful.  And given the Phillies approach to hitting in the minors, hitting is rare.  Nick Williams (MLB/AAA) hangs around in 2020.

NYM:  And, the Mets.  Bringing up the rear.  The system rear that is dragging on the ground and making a crevice.  They had two guys in their top-ten.  Two.  The Mets are the poster child of how not to draft, sign and develop position players.  Congratulations.

N.L. Central:  Spotty at best, less the top two teams.

St. Louis (#2T).  Randy Arozarena (MLB/AAA/AA) is St. Louis bound in 2020.  He’s good.  Justin Williams (MLB/AAA) is almost as good.  Rangel Ravalo (MLB/AAA), Dylan Carlson (AAA/AA) and Tommy Edman (MLB/AAA) need a good spring to make the team, but 2020 will feature a St. Louis appearance at some point.

Cincinnati (#4).  A team learning how to develop everyday ball players.  Josh Van Meter (MLB/AAA and best in system) will be accompanied by a combination of the following in Cincinnati in 2020:  Aristides Aquino (MLB/AAA), Phil Ervin (MLB/AAA), Brian O’Grady (MLB/AAA) and/or Chadwick Tromp (AAA).  Lots of talent in AA will push in the near future.

Pittsburgh (#8).  A lot of talent in A+ and A ball.  Pirates fans be patient.  2020 features Bryan Reynolds (MLB/AAA) and Hunter Owen (AA) in Pittsburgh..

Milwaukee (#9T).  Trent Grisham (MLB/AAA and best in system ) and Keston Hiura (MLB/AAA) offer help in 2020.  Milwaukee gets thin quick.  Only one player each from A+ and A ball made the top-ten.  The last four spots are vacant.

Chicago (#9T).  Guess which spots are vacant?  See Milwaukee.  Maybe Clayton Daniel (AA/A, skipped A+ ball) arrives in 2020.  Maybe.

N.L. West:  Talent galore brewing and ready to pour into MLB.  Ready your glasses.

Arizona (#1).  Idelmaro Vargas (MLB/AAA) and Kevin Cron (MLB/AAA) begin 2020 in Phoenix.  Choose from the following to join them:  Yasmany Tomas (MLB/AAA), Domingo Leyba (MLB/AAA), Tim LoCastro (MLB/AAA), Jamie Westbrook (AAA) and Ben DeLuzio (AAA).  However, Dalton Varsho (AA) may push them all aside.

Colorado (#2T).  Four MLB/AAA players impress.  Yonathan Diaz, Brendan Rogers, Pat Valaika and Brian Mundell.  A short step behind are Elliot Soto (AAA) and Roberto Ramon (AAA).

San Diego (#2T).  Ty France (MLB/AAA) will find a position to play in San Diego in 2020.  Josh Naylor, Adeline Rodriguez and Rodrigo Orozco all had impressive 2019 AAA production.

San Francisco (#3).  Jaylin Davis (MLB/AAA) plays in S.F. in 2020.  Chris Shaw (MLB/AAA), Mauricio Dubon (MLB/AAA), Steven Dugar (MLB/AAA) and Mike Gerber (MLB/AAA) make 2020 spring training interesting.

Los Angeles (#5).  Yep, the “worst” development system in the West is #5.  Gavin Lux (MLB/AAA) likely sticks in L.A. from game 1 to game 162 in 2020.  Zach McKinstry (AAA), Conner Joe (MLB/AAA) and Kyle Garlick (MLB/AAA) wait for a chance in L.A.  Will Smith may soon be elsewhere given the substantial talent of Conner Wong (AA) and his 52% toss rate and ability to hit the baseball.


A.L. East:  Weak.  Can’t get out of bed weak.

Tampa (#8).  Immediate help is available led by Jake Cronenworth (AAA and the best everyday  position player in system).  Kean Wong (MLB/AAA), Mike Brousseau (MLB/AAA), Christian Arroyo (MLB/AAA) and Kevin Padlo (AAA) should all see time in the Bigs during 2020.  Watch Wander Franco (A+/A) as the next two years wander by (pun intended).

Toronto (#9).  Rowdy Tellez (MLB/AAA) should finally stick in Toronto in 2020.  Same with Cavan Biggio (MLB/AAA).  Next in line is Santiago Espinal (AAA).  Then a thinness develops

Baltimore (#10).  Given the lack of players in Baltimore (truly a bad baseball team), Mason Williams (MLB/AAA), Ryan Mountcastle (AAA) and Rylan Bannon (AAA) all get a chance to move to Baltimore at the end of spring training.

Boston (#11).  I rate the top-ten players for each team.  Boston’s developmental system stopped after #8.  Enough said.  Notable help at AAA does not exist.  Wait for the 2022 arrival of Marcus Wilson (A+ and best in system) and Jarren Duran (A+ and little to separate him from Mr. Wilson).

NYY (#13T).  The Yankees did not place a player in the last four of their top-ten.  Perhaps Ryan McBroom (MLB/AAA), Mike Ford (MLB/AAA) and/or Breyvic Valera (MLB/AAA) get a couple of weeks here and there to see the sights of NYC.

A.L. Central:  A big surprise awaits.  Your head may spin.

Detroit (#1).  Your head is spinning.  You cannot believe I or anybody would rate the Tigers #1 in anything except how-not-to-play-baseball-while-living-next-to-Lake-St.-Clair.  The Tigers’ system is loaded with ready help.  Jaime Candelario (MLB/AAA and best in system) will be followed by Ronny Rodriguez, Frank Schwindel, Victor Reyes, Dawei Lugo, Harold Castro, Willi Castro and perhaps Christian Stewart.  Less Mr. Stewart all enjoyed time in Detroit and AAA during 2019.  Additionally, Kade Scivique (AA) may be an ill advised early arrival in 2020, though the Tigers will be better served by waiting until 2021.  Mr. Scivique can hit and has toss rate of 37%.

Minnesota (#2).  Brief separation between the Twins and Tigers.  The following players split time between Minneapolis and Rochester:  Jake Cave, Ramon Flores, Williams Astudillo and Luis Arraez.  Mr. Arraez traveled quickly in 2019 beginning his journey in AA ball.  Luke Raley (AAA) will also be in the mix to receive a ticket to Minneapolis in 2020.

Kansas City (#5).  Yes, the billion dollar team (bat shit crazy money for the Royals) improved to #5 during 2019.  Nicky Lopez (MLB/AAA) is the best player in system.  Nick Dini (MLB/AAA) and Bubba Starling (MLB/AA, no AAA 2019 exposure) join Mr. Lopez in K.C. during 2020.

Cleveland (#8).  I choose Daniel Johnson (AAA) as most likely to help in 2020.  Most of the Indians talent is in A+ ball.

Chicago (#12).  No depth.  Especially in AA and A+ ball.  Ramon Torres (MLB/AAA) and Nick Madrigal (AAA/AA) are the only two position players to get a look during spring.  Yermin Mercedes (AAA) makes the team in 2020.  He can hit and had 2019 toss rates of 44% in AAA and 43% in AA.

A.L. West:  Better than the East, almost as good as the Central.

Texas (#2T).  Three guys to watch in 2020.  Nick Solak (MLB/AAA), Scott Heineman (MLB/AAA) and Ronald Guzman (MLB/AAA).  Hunter Cole (AAA), Andy Ibanez (AAA) and Willie Calhoun (MLB/AAA) are next in line.

Houston (#4).  I know Yordan Alvarez played and played well during the A.L. playoffs, but he spent considerable time in AAA in 2019, thus I include him in my ratings.  Abraham Toro (MLB/AAA/AA), Taylor Jones (AAA) and Josh Rojas (MLB/AAA) keep the Astros swimming in quality prospects.  Watch Seth Beer (AA/A+) and Lorenzo Quintana (AA) arrive in 2021.

Oakland (#6).  Mark Payton (MLB/AAA), Sean Murphy (MLB/AAA) and Sheldon Neuse (MLB/AAA) make the team 2020 spring training forward.  Accompanying them will be the impressive Jonah Helm (c) who threw out 54% of AAA runners and 51% of AA runners in 2019.  Plus, he hits.

Seattle (#7).  A lot of AA talent.  Yet, their best is Julio Rodriguez (A+/A).  Jake Fraley (AA), Donnie Walton (AA), Chris Mariscal (AA) and/or Evan White (AA) spend time in AAA to start 2020, then arrive in Seattle later in the season.

LAA (#13T).  What a mess.  The Angels placed six in their top-ten.  Need four more and a whole lot more in 2020.  I’m not convinced Jo Adell is savior in waiting.  Play a full year injury free in AAA, then we’ll talk.  However, I am convinced that both Jarred Walsh (MLB/AAA) and Taylor Ward (MLB/AAA) deserve a long look during spring training.



SDSU 13, BYU 3

Posted: December 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

Thank goodness.

Beating the Cougars is always sweet.  Always the best medicine.  Coming into the game at 8-3/5-3 and in bad need of a shower and shave, the Aztecs came through.

For the twelfth time this year, the Aztec defense wins the game.  Tariq Thompson was the  man among men.  One pick, one sack and one fumble recovery (yes, I’m separating the sack and fumble recovery into two occurrences).  Combine Mr. Thompson’s sack (10 yard loss) with Troy Cassidy’s sack for a total of a quarter of the football field in lost yardage for the guys from Utah.  The Cougar qb had a line of 32/54/2 for 338 yards.  All for 3 lousy points.  Their offense was on the field for 81 plays.  3 points.

Carson Baker, playing for the injured Ryan Agnew, posted an impressive first effort of 19/25 for 172 yards and zero interceptions.  Heady play for a redshirt freshman in his first performance as a college football quarterback.  Plus, Mr. Baker puts zip on the ball.  Just ask the 10 different Aztecs who caught at least one of his passes.

The 2019 “running game” is finally closing.  A bad Broadway play with seven customers in the stands with rotten tomatoes in hand.  97 poor yards.  Mostly to no real effect.  Between this game and the Hawai’i game, the SDSU running backs and o-line totaled 186 yards.  The Aztec running game used to generate 186 yards in the first half . . . of a single game.  Oh, yesteryear.

And, yeah, the punting guy, Heicklen was again on fire:  7 punts for 46 yards on average, 4 of which were inside the 20.  Yawn.

Await the bowl designation with glee.

9-3 (which is so much better than 8-4)/5-3.

Go, Aztecs.



Hawai’i 14, Aztecs 11

Posted: December 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

How many division one football teams complete 25 passes to 11 different receivers and do NOT score a touchdown?


How many division one football teams allow 347 yards in total offense resulting in only 14 points . . . and lose?


The running game continues on football life support.  We are past the point of more oxygen.

The Aztec defense continues a marvelous year.  Staggering results in keeping opponents out of the end zone the entire year.  Brandon Heicklen is the best punter in the MWC by far.

Good bye to the West division title.  Good bye to playing Boise State in the MWC championship game.


Go, Aztecs.