The Atlanta Braves Freddy Tarnok has big potential. Here’s what you should know

(This is my debut article for Talking Chop. See the full article HERE.)

The Atlanta Braves right-hander Freddy Tarnok is yet another young arm in a seemingly endless arsenal of highly-rated pitching prospects. One viewing of Tarnok and three words quickly come to mind: electric, exciting, and raw.

Continue reading The Atlanta Braves Freddy Tarnok has big potential. Here’s what you should know

Boston Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi re-signs for four years keeping World Series rotation together

The Boston Red Sox are trying to keep the band together. The starting pitching staff that earned the Red Sox their fourth World Series title since 2004 is now closer to remaining complete.

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Eovaldi pitched in the majors for the first time since August of 2016 this past season. The 28-year-old righty has been well-traveled in his career, being selected in the 11th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Dodgers, traded to the Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez deal, then traded to the Yankees in the Martin Prado deal, then released by the Yankees before signing on with the Tampa Bay Rays who traded him to the Red Sox at the 2018 MLB Trade Deadline for Jalen Beeks.

Got all that?

Continue reading Boston Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi re-signs for four years keeping World Series rotation together

Here’s everything you need to know about the DII football championship semifinals

Twenty-eight teams entered the 2018 DII football championship with national title aspirations. After 15 weeks of football, just four teams remain.

The DII football championship is broken into four Super Regions with each portion of the bracket beginning with the seven teams. Three rounds of play determine each Super Region champion which moves on to the national semifinals. Three of the four teams that advanced — Valdosta State, Minnesota State and Notre Dame (OH) — were No. 1 seeds in their respective regions. The fourth — Ferris State — was the No. 2. All four teams enter Saturday undefeated.

Continue reading Here’s everything you need to know about the DII football championship semifinals

The Atlanta Braves sign former AL MVP Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal

(From MLB Daily Dish, read the full article HERE).

The Atlanta Braves are having a productive Monday. In what seemed a matter of minutes after signing veteran, fan-favorite Brian McCann to replace Kurt Suzuki, the Braves bring in third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Jeff Passan

@JeffPassan

Sources: Josh Donaldson’s deal with the Braves is done. It’s for one year and $23 million. @Ken_Rosenthal had the figures first and @StevePhillipsGM first connected the sides.

Donaldson and Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos go back their Blue Jays roots when Anthopoulos trade four players to the Oakland Athletics to land his third baseman. That turned out to be an initial success, as Donaldson won the American League MVP that same season, slashing .297/.371/.568 with 122 runs, 123 RBI, and 41 home runs.

The 32-year-old right-hander was rumored to be on the trade block for what seemed an eternity, but an injury-plagued 2018 saw him shipped to the Cleveland Indians at the deadline for a player to be named later, hardly the value of what a healthy Donaldson should command. Donaldson played 52 games last year in a very much lost season.

This is a big signing for the Braves as Donaldson has great numbers over his eight-year career, slashing .275/.367/.507 and a .874 OPS. He can find the gaps as well as launch it out of the park with 193 career doubles and 182 career home runs. He brings a veteran presence to the heart of the lineup and stability defensively at third. While he won’t win many Gold Gloves, he has a cannon of an arm having been drafted as a catcher.

It does present several big question marks for the Braves future. With Johan Camargo becoming a reliable option at third when they needed him, where does he move? Will he shift back to the super utility role, or are perhaps, Dansby Swanson’s days numbered at shortstop? Though it is just a one-year deal, does this mean the Braves don’t believe top offensive prospect Austin Riley is ready, or possibly on the move?

Stay tuned. These questions and more will be answered in the coming hot stove weeks.

What we learned in the first round of the DII Football Championship

(This was run on NCAA.com, please see the full article HERE)

Welcome to the 2018 DII Football Championship. Or should we call it Upset City?

The first round of the tournament went just as expected. That is to say, it was completely unpredictable.

No. 7 Wingate started the day by taking down No. 2-seeded West Georgia, the No. 10 team in DII football. No 6 New Haven followed suit, taking down No. 3 West Chester in a Super Region One that saw all three games end in upset fashion. Two former national champions entered the day ranked as sixth seeds. Both — Northwest Missouri State and Texas A&M-Commerce — advanced in convincing fashion. All said, there were seven lower-seeded teams that punched their ticket to the second round.

MORE: Interactive bracket | Printable bracket | Buy 2018 championship tickets

That didn’t mean some of the top teams didn’t perform, however. Here’s what we learned in the first round of the DII Football Championship.

Northwest Missouri State is back in postseason form

Last year was an odd one for the Bearcats. They battled injury, actually had a losing streak (albeit two whole games) and were eliminated in the first round in a heartbreaking 21-18 loss to Ashland. The 2018 Northwest Missouri State team put together a complete effort in the first round and look like that scary team that ran to back-to-back undefeated seasons.

Northwest Football@NWBearcatFB

TOUCHDOWN BEARCATS! Northwest’s Isaiah Strayhorn scores his second rushing touchdown of the day – this one from three yards out – and gives the Bearcats a 35-17 lead at Grand Valley State. 4:06 left in the 4th qtr. Northwest has rushed for 313 yards against the Lakers

Freshman quarterback Braden Wright has garnered most of the talk this season with an MIAA Freshman of the Year campaign, but it was his running game that picked it up today. Isaiah Strayhorn averaged 15.5 yards per carry in amassing 171 yards and two touchdowns while Josh Caldwell added 147 yards and two touchdowns as well. That notorious Rich Wright defense did its thing, limiting a strong Grand Valley State offense to just 239 yards and 17 points. Austen Eskew powered the pass rush with three sacks while Jake Richards added nine tackles and two interceptions. The Bearcats played a well-balanced game and next week’s showdown with No. 2 Ferris State may just be the game to watch.

MORE: We picked our bracket and sleepers for the DII Football Championship

Super Chargers fueled by great quarterback play

There are two Chargers — New Haven and Hillsdale — in the DII Football Championship. Both were underdogs, both are in the second round. Both were fueled by the tremendous play of their quarterbacks.

Heading into the week, NCAA.com called Hillsdale the Super Region One sleeper, mainly because, “the Chance Stewart to Trey Brock connection is as fun as any to watch in DII, giving them a dynamic duo that may surprise a few people.” The two delivered in the first round, as Stewart threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, with 170 of those yards and two of those touchdowns going to Brock. Hillsdale now has a date with No. 1-seeded Notre Dame (OH) in the second round, and its pass attack should be a fun counter to the Jaleel McLaughlin-led rush-heavy Falcons offense.

New Haven Football@NewHavenNation

TOUCHDOWN Ju’an Williams to tie the game!! 🏈⚡️

New Haven: 28
West Chester: 28

New Haven rolled through its DII slate perfect until dropping a thrilling 17-13 loss in the season finale to LIU Post. The win cost them the Northeast-10 championship, but perhaps the end result lit a fire that makes them a dangerous threat this postseason. LIU Post was upset by Slippery Rock while the unranked Chargers, with an obvious chip on their shoulder, went blow-for-blow with No. 8 West Chester, winning 35-28 and moving on to a showdown against The Rock.

Both quarterbacks played well in the game, but it was New Haven’s Ajee Patterson who had the edge. The Chargers scored five touchdowns and Patterson had all of them. He threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns and though he only netted four yards on the ground, he added two one-yard rushing touchdowns. His West Chester counterpart A.J. Long had a fine day as well but fell one touchdown short.

MORE: A region-by-region look at the DII Football Championship

Slippery Rock’s Wes Hills can run

The Rock was one of two No. 7 seeds to advance. They went into Brookville, NY facing an LIU Post rush defense that was No. 10 in DII football. That didn’t seem to bother Slippery Rock running back Wes Hills one bit.

Rock Athletics

@Rock_Athletics

FB: Let’s talk about this guy for a second. Today, Jake Chapla set the SRU single-season record for made field goals (15) and took over sole possession of the all-time career record for made field goals (37). Oh yea… he’s only a junior.

Hills found a second gear five weeks ago and has been borderline unstoppable since minus a “rough” outing against West Chester in the PSAC Championship when he still ran for 92 yards. Hills posted three 200-yard games in a row to close out the regular season and he came close to another one Saturday. The senior running back ripped off 167 yards and a touchdown against a Pioneers defense that allowed just 93.7 yards per game this season. Next up is another NE10 foe in a New Haven team that allowed 169.5 yards per game and 13 touchdowns on the ground this season.

MORE: Watch the DII plays of the week for Week 11

Tarleton State is for real

In the most complete game of the first round, the Texans utterly dominated Azusa Pacific 58-0. Everyone came to play and put up some serious numbers in the process.

Running back Xavier Turner has exploded in the second half of the season, now posting seven-straight 100-yard games. Five of those games were better than 164 yards rushing, and Saturday was more of the same as Turner posted his third 200-yard performance of the season while scoring three touchdowns. Despite the ground control, quarterback Ben Holmes was in charge as well, responsible for three touchdowns of his own.

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Tarleton Athletics@TarletonSports

TARLETON PLAYOFF RECORD!

Xavier Turner is the first Texan in school history to rush for 200 yards in an NCAA playoff game! 206 yds, 3 TDs Texans lead 51-0 heading into 4Q

And how about that defense? The Texans posted their second straight 58-0 shutout and have now outscored their opponents 175-3 over the last three weeks. Up next is the defending national champion Texas A&M-Commerce, who the Texans beat on October 13, 47-21. But don’t think this will be an easy matchup.

Last season, the Lions entered the tournament the No. 5 seed and opened the postseason with three consecutive upsets, including taking down Super Region Four No. 1-seed Central Washington and the No. 1-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks. Head coach Colby Carthel whipped up some of that postseason magic in the first round, lighting up DII football’s third-ranked scoring defense with 33 points. That Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs defense came to play, scoring two touchdowns, but so did the Lions, holding the Bulldogs to just 188 total yards and scoring a couple of touchdowns itself.

Throw away the records and stats. This Lions vs. Texans matchup is a Lone Star Conference rivalry on DII football’s biggest stage. Be ready for a war.

Three surprises that shouldn’t be all that surprising

Bowie State defeated West Alabama in a shootout. Amir Hall still flies under-the-radar but shouldn’t any longer. The stud quarterback threw for 360 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 51 yards and two more touchdowns. Next up is No. 1 Valdosta State. If there is a quarterback in DII football that can hang with the high-octane Blazers’ offense, it’s Hall.

Colorado State-Pueblo’s defense held Colorado School of Mines to 37 yards rushing and 17 points. Both were the Orediggers lowest outputs of the season. Brandon Payer, Darius Williams, Kyle Rosenbrock, and company are the real deal, holding Isaac Harker under 300 yards passing for the first time since Oct. 6 and just the third time all season (twice were against the ThunderWolves). They stuffed Cameron Mayberry, the No. 5 rusher in DII football, to 1.55 yards per carry. It was sweet revenge as Mayberry scorched the ThunderWolves for 203 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season. They face No. 1-seeded Minnesota State next.

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CSU-Pueblo Football@CSUPFootball

TOUCHDOWN!!! Another BIG RUN by Marché Dennard, as he goes 40 yards on 3rd-and-2 to the end zone!! PAT blocked, Pack lead 30-10 with 12:04 left in the 4th.

Lenoir-Rhyne scored 43 points and rolled to 22-point victory. The Bears are also a bit under-the-radar, but this offense finds a way to score points in bunches without having any players atop the leaderboards. Lenoir-Rhyne has not scored less than 30 points all season. Next up is the surprise Wingate Bulldogs who convincingly upset No. 10 West Georgia. These two have faced once before this season, with the Bears coming out on top 31-24. Expect another close one in Round 2.

MORE: Programs with the most DII football titles | DII football news

New York Yankees send top prospect Justus Sheffield to Mariners for James Paxton

Welcome to MLB hot stove season. The New York Yankees made a big splash and landed James Paxton. Early reports are Justus Sheffield in the headliner.

We took a look last week right here at Minor League Ball at why the Yankees should pursue Paxton when the rumors began. Just days later it came to fruition, with the Yankees sending their top prospect along the way.

The prized get is lefty Justus Sheffield. This past weekend, Sheffield was one of our LHP prospects we were excited about to make their MLB debut as a starter this season (read more HERE). What did we say?

Trade rumors are swirling around the Yankees and veteran starters, and you can bet that Sheffield’s name is in the mix. That doesn’t mean he will be traded, but doesn’t mean he won’t. Either way, Sheffield should make his debut as a starter in 2019 somewhere at the very least.

Sheffield came to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller deal and pitched a mere 2.2 innings in the big leagues out of the bullpen before heading to his third club. He dealt with some injuries early on in his career, but he has the stuff that makes him one of the top left-handed prospect in the game. He has three plus-pitches, with an electric mid-90s fastball, and while his slider and change are exciting, they are also inconsistent in command, though much improved in 2018.

Erik Swanson is also heading to the Mariners. Swanson was part of the Carlos Beltran deal and never made it to the Bronx, dealing with a few trips to the disabled list in 2018. The 25-year-old, 6’3” righty was once one of the Rangers top prospects, and still has very interesting stuff and back-of-the-rotation potential. He went 3-2 in 13 starts (14 appearances) in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a 78:14 K: BB ratio in 72.1 innings. Swanson was Rule 5 eligible and was going to have a tough time finding a spot on the Yankees 40-man but has a chance to contribute quickly in Seattle.

Dom Thompson-Williams, the last prospect in the fold, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of South Carolina. The 23-year-old centerfielder split the 2018 season between Charleston and Tampa. His 10 games in Charleston, his second brief stint there, was too easy and he quickly jumped to the Florida State League. There he slashed .290/.356/.517 with 16 doubles and 17 home runs, adding 17 stolen bases. He certainly has some nice tools across the board, but in a crowded Yankees outfield, his chances of becoming more than a fourth outfielder were slim.

The Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuña joins the Angels Shohei Ohtani as MLB’s Rookies of the Year

The Atlanta Braves Ronald Acuña, Jr. and the Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani are you National League and American League Rookie of the Years respectively.

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It was no easy task in either league as the rookie talent was plentiful in both the NL and AL in 2018. Acuña had to overcome teenage sensation Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers playoff star Walker Buehler in order to take home his first of many trophies. Ohtani went head-to-head against a couple of Yankees rookies in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres and came out ahead thanks to his abilities on the bump and at the plate.

Acuña entered the season No. 1 on the Minor League Ball top 175. He finished the season slashing .293/.366/.552 with a .917 OPS 26 doubles, 26 home runs and 16 stolen bases. If you weren’t aware of Acuña’s talents in the regular season, his memorable grand slam (in the tweet above) against fellow finalist Buehler put him on the map.

Ohtani is the first player to pitch 50 innings and hit 15 home runs since Babe Ruth did it in 1919 per ESPN. And he did both well. Minor League Ball’s No. 3 preseason prospect finished an injury-riddled campaign with 21 doubles and 22 home runs behind a .925 OPS at the plate while going 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA (3.57 FIP) and a 1.61 WHIP with a 63-to-22 strikeout-to-walk mark over 51.2 innings.

The Atlanta Braves Izzy Wilson homers again in Arizona Fall League action

(From Minor League Ball, please see the full article HERE)

Young hitters keep hitting and Peoria wins again. Good morning everyone and welcome to the Arizona Fall League Morning Roundup for Sunday, November 11.

Let’s take a look at how it went down Saturday in Arizona.

Continue reading The Atlanta Braves Izzy Wilson homers again in Arizona Fall League action

DII Football Championship: Everything you need to know about Sunday’s selection show

(From NCAA.com, please see the full article HERE)

The DII Football Championship selection show is set for 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 11. The heavyweights of DII football anxiously await their postseason fates, hopeful to fill out one of the 28 spots in the tournament.

The 2017 DII Football Championship was a memorable one, as it pitted two first-timers against each other. Harlon Hill Award-winner Luis Perez led Texas A&M-Commerce to its first DII title over West Florida. The Argos’ remarkable run was unmatched by any other in history, as they made it all the way to the finals in just their second year as a football program.

Continue reading DII Football Championship: Everything you need to know about Sunday’s selection show

3 things to know about Ferris State’s historic start in the DII Women’s Soccer Championship

Ferris State defeated Ohio Valley 1-0 Saturday to advance to the third round of the DII Women’s Soccer Championship. The Bulldogs’ magical season continues as it picked up the program’s second NCAA tournament win in its history.

This is the Bulldogs’ first trip to the NCAA tournament, and they are certainly making the most of it. They won 2-0 on Thursday against McKendree and now advance to play the winner of No. 1 seed Grand Valley State and No. 4 Walsh. So, who are these history-making Bulldogs?

MORE: 2018 interactive bracket | Print the bracket | Selection show

Ferris State continues to pile up historic wins

The Bulldogs now sit at 17-3-3, rebounding from a 4-0 loss in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game to Grand Valley State to win their last two in a row. The 17 wins is most in program history, and they hope they aren’t done adding to that number just yet.

Ferris State Soccer@FSUWSO

The previous record was set in 2015, when Ferris State went 14-5-1, missing out on the NCAA tournament with a GLIAC semifinals one-goal loss to Ashland, 4-3. The Bulldogs set the program record with a 4-1 victory on Oct. 30 against Davenport in the GLIAC quarterfinals.

Wins No. 16 and 17 will also go down in the record books. Win No. 16 was the first NCAA tournament victory for the Bulldogs. Win No. 17 ensures that Ferris State remains perfect in postseason play, an impressive start to what it hopes is the start of a long November run.

Single-season goal records continue to fall

This Bulldogs offense has been the most dominant in school history. When Pia Nagel scored the first goal in the Bulldogs’ NCAA tournament history, it was the team’s 47th of the season. That’s one more than the record set by the 2006 and 2007 Ferris State teams. The Bulldogs now sit at 49 goals after Saturday’s second-round victory.

MORE: 6 teams to watch in the tournament

Nagel’s tally was also her seventh game-winning goal of the season. That adds to her single-season record, which she set with her fifth game-winner back on Oct. 10 against Tiffin. The freshman has had a sensational debut, scoring a team-best 10 goals on the season.

Postseason heroes

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Ferris State Soccer@FSUWSO
It’s been the Pia and Tia show on offense thus far for Ferris State this postseason. Nagel scored the first goal against McKendree, while defender Tia VanSuilichem iced it with her first goal of the postseason. Two days later, VanSuilichem played hero, scoring the lone goal in Ferris State’s 1-0 victory.

And how about the red-hot play of junior keeper Alison Chesterfield? She entered the postseason with just three shutouts on the season. Chesterfield has now posted consecutive shutouts and worked hard to get them making 14 combined saves. Her nine saves against Ohio Valley matched her season-high set in a Sept. 2 win over Bellarmine.

MORE: Complete DII women’s soccer championship history

Welcome to the future site of waynecavadi.com. Formerly the Wayniac Nation, you can find all of my work and writing samples right here. Welcome back!

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