Sunday, June 8, 2014

Glam Girl of the week: Nisey Kamai

The Just Sports & Just Us Glam Girl of the week is Nisey Kamai.

The Detroit Lions keep neglecting their defense

As the NFL offseason progresses I've noticed one thing. Even though the Detroit Lions have changed coaches (again), the organizational philosophy remains the same. The team keeps trying to acquire offensive talent instead of trying to build on both sides of the ball. The pick of tight end Eric Ebron  and signing of wide receiver Golden Tate kind of proves my point. Jim Caldwell was hired as the new coach to help quarterback Matthew Stafford reach his potential and stop throwing so many game killing interceptions. They hired Joe Lombardi away from New Orleans to try and make him into a Drew Brees clone.

While it's true that having a high powered offense will excite the fans, it's defense that will carry a team to the next level. Although the Lions went defense heavy on the last two days of the draft the players picked aren't difference makers and will leave the Lions trying to finagle the salary cap and look for veteran help over the summer. And some of the available help has seen better days. The Lions had needs and a tight end or receiver wasn't necessarily one of them. The only player that has me excited is Kyle Van Noy.

Just to illustrate my point, remember when Wayne Fontes went through multiple quarterbacks with the hope that one of them would lead the Lions to a Super Bowl. Fontes said it about Andre Ware, Rodney Peete, and Scott Mitchell. Over the years the team has always tried to draft weapons to surround their quarterback on offense. Matt Millen drafted heavily at the receiver position. If you go back to the 80s they tried to get players to complement Billy Sims.

Either the front office knows something the fans don't or they're just trying to be the smartest guys in the room. Ebron better turn out to be the truth because if he isn't and the rest of the players in the 2014 draft class are projects and hardly see the field, GM Martin Mayhew needs to be fired. If the team was serious about contending this season and beyond they would've drafted defense in at least three of the first four rounds of the draft and got some much needed help on that side of the ball.  

Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to be represented by Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports

Roc Nation Sports has made yet another splash by agreeing to represent Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo.

Castillo, 26, is free to sign with a major league team. He has acquired permanent Haitian residency papers, an unblocking license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. Castillo has been training in the northern region of the Dominican Republic, though he had to take time off recently due to a finger injury.

Teams are preparing for Castillo to have a showcase soon, either in the United States or the Dominican Republic, though the dates and locations of the showcase are still unknown. Other clients of Roc Nation Sports, a joint venture with CAA, include Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and Yankees lefthander C.C. Sabathia.

Scouts don’t expect Castillo to be an immediate impact player along the lines of Yoenis Cespedes or Jose Abreu, but several scouts who have seen Castillo before he left and since he has been in the Dominican Republic have been impressed, though there’s a split on whether he profiles as an everyday player or a fourth outfielder.

At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Castillo has good strength for his relatively short stature and is an athletic player whose best tool is his plus-plus speed. He was one of the better base stealers in Cuba, going 22-for-29 in steals in 2011-12 to rank third in the league in stolen bases, one year after leading the league with 29 bags in 35 attempts.

Castillo can sting the ball from the right side of the plate, projecting as a line-drive bat who hits a lot of doubles and triples rather than home runs. He’s an aggressive hitter with good bat speed, though his swing can get long at times and he will expand his strike zone.

Castillo mostly played center field and right field in Cuba. He does have a small amount of history in the infield, but he has been working out for teams as a center fielder and is expected to sign as an outfielder.

In his final season in Cuba playing for Ciego De Avila in 2012-13, Castillo hit just .250/.352/.342 in 43 games. It was an uncharacteristically poor season for Castillo, who in 2011-12 hit .332/.395/.545 in 420 plate appearances with 16 home runs, 32 walks, 42 strikeouts and a league-leading 28 doubles.

Castillo’s international tournament exposure had been limited since November 2012, when he travelled to Taiwan and Japan for an exhibition series with the team Cuba would end up sending to the World Baseball Classic last year in March. Castillo was left off the WBC roster, however, and before Castillo left Cuba, he had been suspended for trying to defect from Cuba.

His best showing at an international tournament came in October 2011 at the World Cup in Panama. Castillo made the all-tournament team by leading the World Cup in batting average and slugging with a .512/.524/.854 slash line in 10 games, going 21-for-41 with two home runs, two triples and four doubles.

While it is still far too early to predict where Castillo will sign, the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the clubs that have reportedly scouted him recently.

I don't think Castillo has the star power of other Roc Nation clients but this is just a start for the agency getting into 'international waters'.  

Magglio Ordonez's son taken by Tigers in MLB draft

The Detroit Tigers picked a familiar name in the MLB draft Saturday. The team reached back to it's recent past and took the son of playoff hero Magglio Ordonez in the 38th round of the draft, who also goes by the same name.

For those that remember, the elder Ordonez hit the game winning home run to send the Tigers to the 2006 World Series.  His son is a senior at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Florida  and was drafted with other sons with major league ties. Sons of Bobby Bonilla, Cal Ripken Jr., Mariano Rivera, Lenny Dykstra, Paul Byrd, Charlie Leibrandt and Benito Santiago.

The younger Ordonez will have the chance to climb the ladder and make it to the majors on his own merit.