I approached ESPN's list of the Top 25 Players Under 25
the same way I'll be approaching the roll-out of the All-Star reserves
later this week: Bracing myself for self-righteous outrage. I figured no
way would Jrue Holiday be ranked high enough for my liking, the rest of
the NBA world being continually prejudiced against him for his team's
lack of success and/or his underwhelming peripheral advanced stats. I
just hoped he managed to crack the Top 25.
Turns out, I needn't
have been so concerned. Kevin Pelton and David Thorpe not only found
room for The Damaja on their list, they put him in the dang ol' top
half—#12, to be exact, higher than such NBA blue-chippers as Anthony
Davis and Greg Monroe. "A borderline All-Star already, Holiday's game
truly will explode when
he's surrounded by better talent, as he has the hoops IQ to make
everyone better," predicts Thorpe. "Based on this season's leap forward,
Holiday's upside is immense," agrees Pelton, also pointing out that of
the 11 plays ranked higher than Jrue on the list, only Kyrie Irving is
What's more, he's not the only Liberty Baller on the
list. It didn't even occur to me to check for Thaddeus Young—not only do
I tend to take him for granted, but he's been on the Sixers for so damn
long (this is his sixth season) that I wouldn't have even thought of
him as still being under 25. (Indeed, he won't be able to legally rent a
car until June 21st.) "Young is a dynamic athlete who knows his limits
-- a rare thing in
today's game," writes Thorpe. "Young can have a big impact on an offense
almost always makes the right decision with the ball or his own
movements. Thus, he is a perfect on-court teammate."
really think of the Sixers as a team perceived as being loaded with
young talent, so to see two of our guys on this list—and neither of them
are the guy who we took with the #2 pick in the draft just three
summers ago, or the guy we might be giving $100 million to in the
off-season—it's a nice little pick-me-up about the Sixers' future
prospects. Even though that loss last night was still pretty rough.
The Phillies' depth at second base has taken a hit.
Jesmuel Valentin, the starter at Triple A Lehigh Valley, is headed for surgery after dislocating his left shoulder. General manager Matt Klentak indicated that it was likely Valentin would miss the remainder of the season.
Valentin, 23, made a good showing in big-league spring training camp and, in fact, was the last position player cut from the 25-man roster. He had been off to a slow start at Lehigh Valley, hitting just .229 with a .573 OPS in his first 29 games.
With Valentin out, the Phillies could promote top second base prospect Scott Kingery from Double A to Triple A. While that is likely to happen at some point, nothing is imminent, Klentak said. The IronPigs will use veteran Pedro Florimon at second for the time being.
Kingery, 23, has been on a tear at Reading. He entered Monday leading the Eastern League in homers (13), extra-base hits (25) and slugging (.651). Overall, he was hitting .289 with a 1.018 OPS.
"Not imminent," Klentak said of a possible promotion for Kingery. "Very possible down the road. We've got more than enough infield coverage (at Triple A) to be fine and Kingery is good where he is."
Kingery, a 2015 draft pick, played just 37 games at the Double A level last season. He entered Monday having played in 37 games there this season.
Kingery on Monday was named the Eastern League player of the week for May 15-21. He went 9 for 30 with five homers, six RBIs, nine runs scored and an .833 OPS.
With all the bat flips going on in Major League Baseball by the likes of Odubel Herrera and Jose Bautista, it's a good bet that kids watching the game are taking notice.
Gloucester Catholic High School's Chris Turco has apparently seen the celebration.
In a game on Sunday, Turco launched the ball high above the wall in left field. However, he may have launched the bat even higher.
Look at this ridiculous bat flip.
According to Kevin Minnick of South Jersey Sports Digest, both of the next hitters were plunked and Turco's team lost.
Despite that, Turco is giving the pros a run for their money in the bat flip department.