THE SEC REPORT

The SEC Report: A&M continues its points explosion, Alabama’s championship run takes a hit and Georgia is in the playoff conversation

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Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

LAST WEEKEND

The Aggies continued their offensive expressions of dominance against South Carolina, who went home trying to figure out who they made so angry to cause a 30-6 game and how do they apologize? Georgia beat Auburn in a good game and has slowly crawled its way into the top 4 nationally giving the Bulldogs a shot at the playoffs as the season winds down. Alabama's season took a turn for the worst as state treasure Tua Tagovailoa's season ended abruptly and painfully Saturday with a dislocated hip. LSU continued its reign of terror over the SEC as they scored 58 against Ole Miss.

STARS OF LAST WEEKEND

Christopher Rodriguez Jr, Runningback of Kentucky: Nn a game Kentucky needed desperately their stud running back ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns on only 15 carries. Moby Dick couldn't be a bigger monster than this kid last weekend.

Georgia's Defense: Seriously they were playing Auburn and held them scoreless through three quarters of football and then after Auburn got a little momentum going, they were able to rally and get a couple of late stops in the game to help keep the lead late and secure the victory.

John Rhys Plumlee, quarterback of Ole Miss: OK obviously, Ole Miss lost and Joe Burrow continued his Heisman hunt with five passing touchdowns but I feel like if I don't act least acknowledge Plumlee's 212 yards and four, yeah, FOUR touchdowns on 21 carries then it's a crime against good football. So Burrow was great, but Plumlee was amazing.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND

This week Texas A&M takes on the role of heartbreakers looking to stop Georgia's low-key end around past Alabama in the rankings. Georgia got the biggest gift in the world with Tua going down and now the rankings aren't as in love with Saban's Crimson Tide as they were a week ago. The Aggies are on the road but they can ruin The Bulldogs perfect storm of a season. Also worth watching is West Carolina coming to Alabama, now before you say anything, hear me out. Alabama's defense hasn't been up to championship standards all year and the team has looked vulnerable for the first time in a while, heck they lost a regular season game! They need a good game to remind themselves that they are Alabama, this is either going to be a masterpiece in coaching and head games or actually tough to watch. LSU hosts Arkansas and unless the Razorback offense can hold the ball for 30 minutes themselves this game, the Tigers will probably hang 50 on them.

THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

Isaiah Spiller, Runningback of Texas A&M: So this season Kellen Mond was supposed to be the leader but by now it looks like they need someone else on crucial downs and plays and a great running game can control the tempo of a game and keep the other team on their heels. Long drives, touchdowns to finish and then defensive stands are how A&M can bury the Bulldogs.

D'Andre Swift, Running back of Georgia: This is the week where they don't want mistakes or turnovers. All they want to do is go out there and in their last big test of the season just execute the plays and rack up the yards and the scores.

Joe Burrow, Quarterback of LSU: Honestly by now this is almost just personal, I like this kid and would like to see him win the Heisman. LSU is having a magical run and he's hitting 78.6% of his throws, he's making great reads and handling the rising pressure week after week as the spotlight intensifies.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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TO BE THE MAN, YOU GOTTA BEAT THE MAN!

The answers in the outfield are becoming clearer than the Astros hoped

*Note: Some Advanced Statistics, courtesy of Baseball Savant, do not include Thursday night's game against the Diamondbacks. Others, courtesy of Fangraphs, do include Thursday night's game*

The Corpus Christi Hooks Twitter account confirmed that Yordan Alvarez is alive and able to take swings, meaning the slugger's return to the Astros lineup is getting closer. Alvarez will get a bulk of the DH at-bats. With Springer being the primary center fielder, and Brantley being the primary left fielder, Dusty Baker will have to choose between Josh Reddick and Kyle Tucker for his primary right fielder. Who should he choose?

How do you boil down picking between two players to one question? What is the most important thing to judge a hitter on? The answer

The better player is the player that does the most damage consistently.

Sounds easy, right? But how do you judge that?

  1. Hard Hit %
  2. BB:K
  3. Contact %

Why these three? Well, hitting the ball hard usually leads to damage, so it is good to hit the ball hard. A player that walks and strikes out roughly the same amount is generally pretty consistent, so BB:K ratios closer to 1:1 (this is extremely rare, and a vast majority of MLB hitters are worse than 1:2) are good. Lastly, players that make contact a lot not only can generally do more of the little things like moving runners over, lifting a ball with a runner on third, or executing a hit & run, but also they generally don't swing and miss at their pitch when they get it. Action happens.

Kyle Tucker has a hard hit % of 38.5% so far in 2020. That is 55th in MLB amongst players with at least 25 batted balls (Tucker has 26). For context, Padres star third baseman Manny Machado is ranked 54th with 38.9%, thorn-in-the-Astros-side Kole Calhoun is t-58th at 37.9%, and Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis leads the big leagues at 66.7% (wow).

So, more than 1/3rd of the time Tucker makes contact, he hits it hard. That's pretty good...But how often does he make contact?

Tucker has a contact % of 75.6%, meaning he makes contact with the baseball three out of every four times he swings the bat. That is 88th amongst qualified hitters. He is 1% worse than the slumping Jose Altuve, tied with that guy Kole Calhoun again, and about 1% better than the also-slumping George Springer. Tucker is far from elite at putting the bat on the ball, but he isn't terrible either.

However, despite hitting baseball's hard one-third of the time and making contact three-thirds of the time, Tucker strikes out entirely too much. His 29.3% K-rate is the 35th worst in baseball, and he doesn't offset the strikeouts with a lot of walks either. Tucker walks just 7.3% of the time, which is the 62nd lowest. Ultimately, Tucker has a BB:K ratio of 0.25, which is 49th in MLB right now.

Lastly, while it isn't part of the criteria above, Tucker doesn't have a very diverse batted ball portfolio. Tucker hits the ball to the pull side 65% of the time, and he's hit it on the ground 50% of the time. Eventually, teams will start placing heavy shifts on him, and those balls that have snuck through holes in the early parts of the year won't anymore.

But, is Josh Reddick any better? While none of Tucker's numbers blow you away, they aren't terrible, and he's a young prospect that needs playing time to develop.

Reddick has a 31.3% hard hit % so far in 2020, about seven percentage points below Tucker. 31.3% places Reddick in 96th place, between players like Marcus Semien and Yuli Gurriel. So, Tucker has Reddick beat here, but it isn't by a landslide.

Reddick has a contact % of 80.5%, which is 50th in MLB right now. He's better than Tucker by 5%, and he's in the top quartile in baseball. Reddick also sprays the ball around when he makes contact, hitting the ball to center field 43.8% of the time, right field 37.5% of the time, and left field 18.8% of the time. His ground ball rate is also 31%, almost 20% lower than Tucker's. That would explain why Reddick and Tucker's Barrel % (hard hit baseballs hit in the most desired exit velocity) are within a percentage point of one another despite Tucker having a seven point hard hit advantage.

Lastly, Reddick doesn't strike out very much. He strikes out 14% of the time, which is the 34th best K% in baseball (funny enough, Gurriel and Brantley are 33rd and 32nd). While Reddick doesn't walk a ton either, he walks more than Tucker, clocking in four percentage points better at 11.6%. That results in a BB:K ratio of 0.83, which is tied with Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman for the 30th best in MLB.

Throw in the fact that Reddick plays significantly better defense, and it's really a no-brainer who should play. Astros fans might want the sexier and newer model in Tucker, but it isn't time to trade in old reliable just yet. When Yordan Alvarez returns, Josh Reddick is the right answer in right field.

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