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Riley Hubbard

A True Look at Freddie Freeman’s 2020 MVP Chances

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

Last week, official Braves social media began pushing a hashtag campaign for #MVFree to create some buzz around Freddie Freeman’s MVP campaign. This made me think, how good really are Freeman’s chances of winning the MVP this season?

The common fan might be surprised to see Freeman as an MVP candidate since he really has not gotten a lot of media hype, but he certainly has the numbers to back one up this season. Freeman is third in the National League with a .340 batting average (with significantly more at-bats than the two guys ahead of him), second in the league in total hits with 66, leading the league in doubles with 20, and tied for the league lead in both walks with 41 and RBI with 48. It is also worth noting that Freeman is no slouch when it comes to power, as he has 11 homers on the year.

With all of that said, Freeman is really seen as a super steady and reliable bat, but he probably is not seen as flashy as many younger players in the league which probably is a bit of a disadvantage. It would be really interesting to see voters not give consideration to a guy that is batting .340, but according to the latest MVP Poll, that might be the case.

The latest poll of 30 reporters had the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. with 28 first-place votes. The poll had Tatis, Mookie Betts, Mike Yastrzemski, Ian Happ, and Trea Turner as the top five in the league. Tatis definitely deserves a lot of love for the season he has had to this point, but Freeman at least deserves enough recognition to be in the top five.

The Braves first baseman is very quietly having arguably the best season in his entire career, but maybe a little too quiet to be considered for the MVP. In short, it seems that the only people that really understand Freeman’s value are people that watch the Braves often- and Chipper Jones.

At the end of the day, Fernando Tatis Jr. or Mookie Betts probably deserves to come away with the award, but it would be a shame if Freeman, who has been rock solid both at the field and at the plate for a division winning team, to not be one of the finalists for this season’s MVP and receive consideration from the voters. The numbers are all there- it’s just that the media hype is not.

ESPN 106.7 Announces 2020 College Football Broadcast Schedule

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

Even though it is a few weeks later than usual, the 2020 SEC Football season is almost here! In the spirit of college football returning, ESPN 106.7 is proud to announce our 2020 College Football broadcast schedule. Sean Kelley and former Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones will be back in the booth for the call to bring you all of the action this season.

Each of these high-profile games can be heard on air, online at espnau.com, on the ESPN 106.7 app, or on your Alexa smart speaker.

9/26/2020 FLORIDA @ OLE MISS 11:30 AM
10/3/2020 TCU @ TEXAS TBD
10/10/2020 ALABAMA @ OLE MISS TBD
10/17/2020 CLEMSON @ GEORGIA TECH TBD
10/24/2020 SOUTH CAROLINA @ LSU TBD
10/31/2020 VIRGINIA TECH @ LOUISVILLE TBD
11/7/2020 WEST VIRGINIA @ TEXAS TBD
11/7/2020 TEXAS A&M @ SOUTH CAROLINA 7:00 PM
11/14/2020 ALABAMA @ LSU 5:30 PM
11/14/2020 TEXAS A&M @ TENNESSEE TBD
11/20/2020 SYRACUSE @ LOUISVILLE 7:00 PM
11/21/2020 KENTUCKY @ ALABAMA TBD
11/28/2020 GEORGIA @ SOUTH CAROLINA TBD
11/28/2020 IOWA STATE @ TEXAS TBD
12/5/2020 OLE MISS @ LSU TBD
12/5/2020 OKLAHOMA STATE @ TCU TBD
12/12/2020 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP TBD
12/12 or 12/19 ACC CHAMPIONSHIP TBD

How Optimistic Should Braves Fans Be About Cole Hamels?

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

36 year old Cole Hamels made his much anticipated Braves debut on Wednesday night and it was not much to write home about, but there are a few takeaways from the start. Expectations were pretty high for a guy that had not pitched in a major league game since 2019. We knew going into the start that Hamels would not throw more than about 50-60 pitches (he finished with 52), but the fact that he only went 3.1 innings and gave up three earned runs is not promising.

However, this was just his first start in 2020 and overall the velocity was a respectable 88.9 and he attacked the zone well. Worst thing for Hamels is that he will likely only get two regular season starts before the Postseason begins.

Braves fans need to be very hopeful that his next start is a more successful one because otherwise the team will be throwing out even more of a question mark to start in the postseason. Under normal circumstances, Hamels would certainly not be concentered as a postseason starter, but the Braves are happy to have anyone with an “SP” next to their name on the roster at this point.

The Wednesday start was a little discouraging, but the next start will go a long way in foreshadowing if the team can rely on Hamels to get through the first four or so innings and get the ball to a strong bullpen in a position to win the game when the postseason starts. In reality, that is all that Brian Snitker will be asking the 36-year-old to do in October, which would be a huge advantage.

Your Home For The 2020 NBA Playoffs is ESPN 106.7

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

Monday night will mark the beginning of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, and we have the action on ESPN 106.7. Below is the upcoming schedule. Remember that you can listen to every game on air, online, on the ESPN 106.7 app, or on your Alexa device:

 

Monday August 17th- Mavericks @ Clippers at 7:30 PM

Tuesday August 18th- Rockets @ Thunder following The Drive at 6:00 (join in progress)

Wednesday August 19th- Mavericks @ Clippers at 7:30 PM

Thursday August 20th- Play in winner @ Lakers at 7:30 PM

Monday August 24th- Heat @ Pacers following The Drive at 6:00 (join in progress)

 

Cancelling FCS Conference Football Makes No Sense For Some Teams Playing Anyway

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

Over the past week, there have been many stories and debates over the decisions made by power five conferences over whether or not to play fall sports. Let those debates stay where they are, but it is important to remember the enormous effect these decisions have on smaller schools with smaller athletic departments throughout the country.

Most FCS and small FBS schools rely on a big paycheck from a large school’s football team to cover the expenses for their entire athletic department (with the exception of a few schools that make money from basketball). They sign a contract to agree to play a power five program in exchange for around a million dollars or more. That money goes to good use, as it funds every program at the school for the remaining year.

The Big 10, Pac-12, and SEC (for going conference only), have put the schools that were relying on that money in major jeopardy. For most FCS schools, no contract with a big team means no other sports both fall and spring because the money to operate them simply is not there. For example, Auburn was scheduled to play UMass at home in 2020 for a fee of a whopping $1.9 million. Now, UMass will likely get a small amount or none of that money that they were relying on to fund their athletics for the year.

On Thursday, every FCS conference in the country announced that they were postponing the football season to the spring (which to most people, just means cancelled).

If the ACC decides to play their schedule as planned, The Citidel will want to play Clemson and Samford University will want to still play Florida State as planned, which both now have no conference games. (Source: SB Nation) The reason is the one I stated above, money. Both of those SoCon schools are promised $450,000 that their athletics need in the contract as long as the ACC schools do not pull out. Since the Southern Conference went ahead and cancelled their season for some reason, this means that (as of now) Samford and The Citidel will be working out, conditioning, practicing, and scrimmaging during the fall for just one game- and a game they really do not have a chance to be very competitive at that. That is absurd, even if the conference does manage to play football in the spring, the players will have to be working out and practicing more than usual.

So apparently, Samford University players are at low-risk to contract coronavirus during workouts, practice, and traveling to Tallahassee to play Florida State, but playing conference opponent Western Carolina for a competitive game of football would be too high-risk. I do not blame the administration of these schools for continuing to play the game as planned because doing so would save the seasons of basketball, baseball, and other sports. However, the decisions made by the Southern, Big South, Ohio Valley, and other FCS conferences denies the players a chance to compete for a championship but left the option out there to get killed by a power five team once or twice out of conference.

Newcomb Yanked After Bad Outing, Thinning Braves Rotation Depth Even More

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

The Braves rotation took yet another hit on Monday night that it could not afford. After Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment after his first start and ace Mike Soroka’s season ended with an achilles tear, the Braves appeared to only arguably have three reliable starters. That number is now down to two.

Sean Newcomb appeared solid in his return to the starting position in 2020 after working mostly as a late inning bullpen arm in 2019. On Monday night though, the former first round pick gave up eight earned runs thanks to six homers in just over an inning of work against the Phillies. Newcomb was evidently on a short leash because after the game it was announced that he had been optioned down.

This move does not make most sense to Braves fans. Not due to performance, which has been hit-or-miss for the left-hander, but due to the fact that the team does not appear to have any better options. In fact, the argument can be made that it’s better to have Newcomb on the mound than Kyle Wright.

The starters on the Braves depth chart now read as follows, Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, and Huascar Ynoa (who made his first career start in the front end of a double header on Sunday). The Braves are banking on Ynoa to be someone that can stay in the rotation long term most would assume, and even if he is able to hold down a starting job that’s still only a four man rotation. According to David O’Brian of The Athletic, a prospect will be brought up will have their shot at being that fifth man.

It will be interesting to see what GM Alex Anthopoulos does to fill out his rotation, which will need one or two arms. Like any GM, Anthopoulos has said that he would like to keep the solution internal, meaning that Ian Anderson or Patrick Weigel may be able to make their debut well sooner than expected.

Auburn Football Players’ Reactions To 2020 Season Plans

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

There was a lot of talk around the future of the 2020 college football season on Sunday afternoon following a report from ESPN that executives from the power five conferences met to discuss the season. The debate now seems to be which of these three options the power five conferences should go with: play the conference-only schedule in the fall (either with or without fans), postpone the season to play in the spring, or just cancel the season altogether.

According to the report, the Big 10 seems to be only conference that is advocating to not play the season as planned. On Sunday, a lot of Auburn players took to social media to share their take on what they would like to see.

Anthony Swartz’s response was also a simple one, saying he was not worried about the talk and that he’s is just ready to start working.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix posted the hashtag “#WeWantToPlay” to show his support of the season.

Nix, as well as many other players in the world of college football, retweeted the thoughts of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence made the point that the players are safer from the virus at their school than they would be if they were sent back home due to the season being canceled or postponed. The tweet received over 15,000 retweets and 59,000 likes.

ESPN 106.7 Sports Minute: Chandler Wooten Opts Out and College Football USA Today Poll Released

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

 

Your Local Sports Headlines for Friday, August 7th 2020:

  • Auburn Senior LB Chandler Wooten Opts out of the 2020 college football season citing concerns surrounding the birth of his first child.
  • The preseason edition of the 2020 USA Today coaches poll was released, with Auburn coming in ranked 11th and Alabama ranked 3rd.
  • Former Auburn offensive lineman Shon Coleman has opted out of the 2020 NFL season with the San Fransisco 49ers, citing COVID-19 concerns. Coleman previously battled leukemia during his time at Auburn.

 

After Soroka’s Injury, Braves Need To Address Serious Rotation Concerns

By | ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

At the beginning of the shortened 2020 baseball season, the Braves had a lot to be excited about with a potent lineup and improved bullpen. Just a few weeks into the season, the Braves have already had some major concerns in their rotation.

At the beginning of the year, the rotation plan was simple- Mike Soroka, Max Freid, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, and Kyle Wright. Now, that plan has completely changed. After Foltynewicz’s July 27th outing at Tampa Bay where the former ace of the Braves’ pitching staff gave up six earned runs and three Rays home runs in just 3.1 innings, GM Alex Anthopoulos made it obvious that the leach was short, as the right hander was designated for assignment within a half-hour of the end of the game.

That, coupled with the struggles of the 2017 first round pick of Kyle Wright through his first two starts of the season had Braves’ fans even less certain of their rotation. The positive light was the one-two rotation punch of Soroka and Fried. The top of the Braves’ rotation gave up a combined 10 earned runs in six starts which was promising, but bad turned to worse on August 3rd when Mike Soroka tore his achilles to end his promising season.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

 

So now the big question for Braves’ fans is this: Do the Braves have enough rotation depth to get through the season and the extended postseason?

As of right now, it looks like the answer is no. Fortunately, Max Fried is looking solid at what is now the top of the rotation. Also, Sean Newcomb has done well in his move from the bullpen back into the rotation. Last season, Newcomb clearly had the stamina to go six plus innings, but he was plagued by walks and high pitch counts (those two things normally go hand-in-hand). Also Touki Toussaint, who made just one spot start in 2019, was impressive in Thursday night’s four hit and nine strikeout night.

That seems to be more than enough for Newcomb and Toussaint to be in the rotation because quite frankly, they do not have any other options. So right now, the Braves have a four man rotation with Fried, Newcomb, Wright (who might be on a short leash), and Toussaint (who has only eight career starts). Personally, I see this as a rotation with only two reliable starting arms as well. This is clearly a concern, but is it really worth it for the Braves to pick up a rental on the trading block for a 60 game season?

(Photo by /Icon Sportswire)

Anthopoulos’ answer to this question did not seem to favor one side or the other. “Today, the likelihood is we’ll stay internal,” said the fourth year Braves executive, “but we’ll continue to inquire and see if we can line up on a deal.”

It would be great to fix the issue internally, but it certainly takes some luck to call up an arm and have them be successful right away. Also, I am not sure who that arm could be other than the first round pick Ian Anderson or Patrick Weigel- neither of which have any major league experience.

Now that the Braves seem to have a reliable bullpen for the first time in years, it seems that Brian Snitker will have to rely on that bullpen for a lot of innings for such a weak rotation with only four men in it.