Good morning, everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of ATL AM, where you can get all the must-see links for Atlanta Sports. I hope you don’t have any issues accessing the site, as you can see it looks different than it used to. We recently implemented Fansided 3.5 to make your reading experience even better.
In edition to a new look, ATL All Day has also added a few new writers over the past couple of days, and you will be hearing from them soon if you haven’t already. Dustin Black had his first piece up earlier this week and has an excellent piece analyzing the Atlanta Falcons defense scheduled for 11:00 am today! Be sure to check it out. Great things are happening on the site, and we can’t wait to hear from all of you about them.
Let’s jump to the links:
MLB–With the recent injuries to Braves relief pitchers over the past few years–including two already this year–Mark Bowman looks into the questions that are being asked around Braves camp, and the league, about the problem:
Some will argue the increase in Tommy John surgeries is a product of the extra wear and tear put on pitchers’ arms while pitching nearly year-round on travel teams during their youth. But that argument does not fit the case of Brandon Beachy, who underwent the surgical procedure last year despite not pitching on a consistent basis before the Braves signed him late in the 2008 season.
“I don’t have answers,” Hall of Fame pitcher and current Braves broadcaster Don Sutton said. “Like many of you, I have a lot of questions. I don’t know where to begin with the answers. I think what we’re all trying to do is come up with a simple answer so that we can blame one thing. It’s led to the pitch count and innings limitations. We’re doing those things and the surgeries are increasing.”
While totaling 756 starts and 5,282 innings over 23 Major League seasons, Sutton stood as a model of durability. Like many players of his generation, he is baffled by the amount of injuries incurred by today’s starting pitchers, who have worked within the constraints of pitch counts and with the comfort of pitching once every five days.
But Sutton does sympathize with the toll placed on the arms of today’s relievers, who have inherited the negative consequences of the fact that starting pitchers are not consistently working as deep into games as they did during his era.
BloggingDirty–Robert Stephens gives us his “too early prediction” for Julio Jones next season in the latest edition of his feature on Fansided’s Atlanta Falcons website:
Julio Jones is the future of Atlanta’s wide receivers. He’s making strides to becoming the number one option in Atlanta and even possibly the best receiver in the league at one point. But I don’t think it’ll be this year. I do, however, think he’ll make another push to being the go-to option. I’ll cut to the chase and predict another amazing season.
I believe that 2013 looks like this: 85 receptions at 15.3 yards per catch and 1,300 yards.
I think Roddy White will still have a slightly better season, but Julio is on his way to stardom.
What are your predictions?
Fansided–Dwight Howard has been rumored to the Hawks since the season ended, but the big man has now officially put the team on his watch list this summer:
While Houston, Los Angeles and Dallas are the most talked about potential landing spots for Howard, Atlanta and Golden State may just be the most intriguing.
Atlanta certainly has the cap room to make it happen and they are his hometown team. It would be a great opportunity for Howard to shine where he was brought up and, though his team has said they don’t intend on bringing Howard to his home team, anything is possible.
RamblinWreck–Virginia beat Georgia Tech, 8-2 in their second game of pool play in the ACC baseball tournament yesterday, leaving them at 1-1 so far:
Zane Evans had three hits and Kyle Wren tripled and scored, but No. 5 Virginia hit three home runs en route to an 8-2 victory over the Yellow Jackets Thursday at the ACC Baseball Championship in Durham, N.C. Each team is now 1-1 in pool play.
The seventh-seeded Jackets (34-24), who are the reigning ACC Champions and beat No. 7 Florida State Wednesday, lost for the first time in ACC postseason play since 2011. Third-seeded Virginia bounced back from yesterday’s loss to sixth-seeded Virginia Tech to remain alive in Pool B and improved to 46-10.
Georgia Tech must beat Virginia Tech Friday at 3 p.m. to remain alive. The Jackets advance to Sunday’s ACC title game with a win over the Hokies combined with a Florida State win over Virginia on Saturday.
GeorgiaStateSports–Georgia State University’s Josh Merrigan won the Colonial Athletic Association’s 2013 Baseball Rookie of the Year in what is supposedly the best year of any GSU freshman:
The left-handed hitting center fielder from Marietta, Ga., was also named to the All-CAA second team as well as the CAA All-Rookie team. He is a strong candidate for Freshman All-America recognition.
Hitting in the leadoff spot, Merrigan batted .353 with 36 runs batted in and 52 runs scored. He smacked 15 doubles, five triples and four home runs for a team-leading 121 total bases, and he was 12-for-12 on stolen bases.
Among all freshmen in the nation, Merrigan ranks second in hits, third in runs scored and fourth in batting average. His total of 84 hits is 13th for all players.
“Josh is a great talent,” said GSU head coach Greg Frady. “I think he has the talent to have a professional career and play for a lot of years.
“The thing about Josh is that we as coaches didn’t try to change him,” Frady continued. “We worked to try to enhance the way he goes about the game and we worked on all the little things. He was very coachable, and as the season went on, every part of his game improved. And I think he will continue to get better with a little more physical strength as his body matures.”