March 11, 2017 9:28:09 PM
Thank y'all for coming through in the clutch with your questions. To contribute to the next mailbag (always taking questions for them), tweet at me (@Brett_Hudson) or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Shoutout to my man James Roger Craig (@jamescraig276) who came hard with some solid Twitter Mailbag questions, so let's start with those.
- Which pitcher will have the most strikeouts?
- Who ends with the best ERA?
- Who will lead the team in homers?
- Who's you dark horse for homers?
For fun, I'm going to answer these questions two ways: gut reaction rapid fire with no research, then I'll look at the numbers and make educated guesses. Rapid fire guesses: Konnor Pilkington, Konnor Pilkington, Brent Rooker, Brant Blaylock.
Now, I look at the numbers. Pilkington is leading the SEC in strikeouts right now, and I don't see anybody on this team that's going to have more opportunities than him: I wouldn't be surprised if he ended the season with at least 15 more innings than any one else on the staff, and he's a strikeout guy to begin with. I'll stand strong with Pilkington.
For the ERA crown, by educated guess will shift to Trysten Barlow. We heard MSU coach Andy Cannizaro talk about him as the team's clear lefty-on-lefty specialist (or, at least you did if you read my last blog post, so give that a read if you haven't) and he's got great stuff for it. I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in that role all year long. He's bound to get hit at some point, sure, but I don't think it's going to be often. His ending the year with an ERA at 1.75 or below won't surprise me, and I'm guessing that'll be good enough after the SEC grind hits Pilkington.
I'm sticking with Rooker on home runs king. He leads the team and he seems to hit everything with some gusto behind it. Luke Alexander is another solid contender, I'm aware, but I think as the guy behind Stovall in the 9-hole and Mangum at No. 1, he's going to be in more contact-centric situations. I like Blaylock as an under the radar home run guy because I was told by someone in the program earlier this year that Blaylock is, "toolsy." He's a raw product -- a freshman, no less -- that's already flashed the ability to go yard. As he progresses what seems like pretty consistent playing time coming his way, I wouldn't be shocked to see close to seven or eight home runs out of him if he gets hot at some point.
Next, @lounge_dawg on Twitter asks: Who do you think will be the permanent Sunday starter in conference play?
This question is brutally difficult. I really wish today's games hadn't been rained out so I could answer this question after watching Denver McQuary start, but I digress. Before this week, I thought MSU would stick with Ashcraft, but hearing the things Cannizaro has said about Ashcraft out of the bullpen lead me to read between the line and propose that he will keep Ashcraft there to strengthen a lacking bullpen.
For the same reason (despite my own opinion), I really think he's going to keep Riley Self in the bullpen, too. So, under my hunch that Ashcraft and Self will at least start SEC play in the bullpen (let me be clear: I have not been told such by anyone), I'll submit the following as a list of nominees: Denver McQuary, Jacob Barton and an outside chance to Jacob Billingsley. A part of me thinks Cannizaro will eventually bite the bullet and find a way to piece together the bullpen with Ashcraft in the rotation, but that's the ideas I have for if he never makes that move.
And finally, one that cracked me up. Austin Crow (@acrow_32) asked, sticking to one of NFL Twitter's most famous memes: Is Joe Flacco elite?
I even looked up the definition of elite on Merrian Webster: the two definitions I'm using are, "the best of a class," and, "a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power of influence."
Flacco is far from the best of his class -- Matt Ryan was in his draft class, and Matthew Stafford was just a year after -- and I don't think anybody would call Flacco an influential quarterback: not with that dude in New England, that other dude in Green Bay and some guy in New Orleans you may have heard about.
Now, the real question here is whether any of you should be watching the NFL at all. The answer is no. The NFL is terrible in a multitude of ways, the nation's best form of football is played on Saturdays. Adjust your lives accordingly.