Art imitates, uh, other art?

Today was the first day of the MLB Draft (you hadn’t heard?), and the Indians had four picks. Here’s a round up of all four. What makes me excited about the draft? Justus Sheffield. Not only did I actually also draft him in OOTP (and he’s a full time starter for the first time this coming season), but he’s already signed a contract!

In more substantial news, Zimmer has solid speed, a great arm, and could play in CF but probably right. He’s got very good pitch recognition and a big frame, so he could be a real good one if he develops power. Sheffield is a high school lefty with good speed, but is a bit on the small side. Papi (Mike Papi, that is) sounds like Zimmer, but projects purely as a corner OF/1B. He’s got better on base tools, but again, has yet to show a lot of power. Hockin, in addition to being Harmon Killebrew’s grandson, is another high school pitcher with good command. Lacks ideal velocity, but that could change, of course.

Colin Kaepernick’s new contract

National Football Post has the breakdown. First of all, if we can’t include de-escalators in the next version of Madden, I will be very disappointed. But, to the point. Is this a good contract or not?

If everything works his way, he’s the second highest paid player in football by average salary. That’s a pretty sizeable chunk of change. Now, the various intricacies mean he won’t see all of that, of course, and the 49ers have done themselves a tremendous service by building the contract this way. They are protected if he falls flat on his face, and if he succeeds, then he’ll be amply compensated.

The first thing I thought of was Joe Flacco’s contract. I wasn’t the first person to think of it, but thankfully, Jamison Hensley was the first, and all he cared about was the money.

What I wanted to find out was, exactly how good are these QBs? Are they going to be worth the cash?

Here’s Joe Flacco:

Year ▴ Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
2008 23 BAL QB 5 16 16 11-5-0 257 428 60.0 2971 14 3.3 12 2.8 70 6.9 6.3 11.6 185.7 80.3 32 276 5.86 5.29 7.0 1 2 11
2009 24 BAL QB 5 16 16 9-7-0 315 499 63.1 3613 21 4.2 12 2.4 72 7.2 7.0 11.5 225.8 88.9 36 218 6.35 6.12 6.7 1 2 13
2010 25 BAL QB 5 16 16 12-4-0 306 489 62.6 3622 25 5.1 10 2.0 67 7.4 7.5 11.8 226.4 93.6 40 294 6.29 6.39 7.6 2 4 12
2011 26 BAL QB 5 16 16 12-4-0 312 542 57.6 3610 20 3.7 12 2.2 74 6.7 6.4 11.6 225.6 80.9 31 203 5.95 5.70 5.4 2 3 12
2012 27 BAL QB 5 16 16 10-6-0 317 531 59.7 3817 22 4.1 10 1.9 61 7.2 7.2 12.0 238.6 87.7 35 227 6.34 6.33 6.2 4 4 12
2013 28 BAL QB 5 16 16 8-8-0 362 614 59.0 3912 19 3.1 22 3.6 74 6.4 5.4 10.8 244.5 73.1 48 324 5.42 4.50 7.3 0 0 8
Career 96 96 62-34-0 1869 3103 60.2 21545 121 3.9 78 2.5 74 6.9 6.6 11.5 224.4 83.7 222 1542 6.02 5.69 6.7 10 15 68
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/7/2014.

And here’s Colin Kaepernick:

Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
2011 24 SFO 7 3 0 3 5 60.0 35 0 0.0 0 0.0 19 7.0 7.0 11.7 11.7 81.2 0 0 7.00 7.00 0.0 0
2012 25 SFO qb 7 13 7 5-2-0 136 218 62.4 1814 10 4.6 3 1.4 57 8.3 8.6 13.3 139.5 98.3 16 112 7.27 7.55 6.8 2 2 9
2013 26 SFO QB 7 16 16 12-4-0 243 416 58.4 3197 21 5.0 8 1.9 64 7.7 7.8 13.2 199.8 91.6 39 231 6.52 6.65 8.6 0 0 15
Career 32 23 17-6-0 382 639 59.8 5046 31 4.9 11 1.7 64 7.9 8.1 13.2 157.7 93.8 55 343 6.78 6.96 7.9 2 2 24
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/7/2014.

Let’s begin with something that will make me sound like a total n00b. I had no idea Kaepernick had only played in the NFL for three seasons. Now that I’ve totally lost all credibility, I’m going to move forward. The big difference between the 2013 of Kaepernick and Flacco is described in three letters: I-N-T. Flacco’s interception rate was the highest of his career, and double Kaepernick’s. Kaepernick obviously had the superior 2013. But let’s take a look at some more advanced stats to see their careers and what they do well (and not so well) as QBs.

Flacco first, again:

Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Att Y/A+ NY/A+ AY/A+ ANY/A+ Cmp%+ TD%+ Int%+ Sack%+ Rate+
2008 23 BAL QB 5 16 16 11-5-0 428 100 95 99 96 97 91 103 93 97
2009 24 BAL QB 5 16 16 9-7-0 499 105 103 106 105 107 101 108 95 107
2010 25 BAL QB 5 16 16 12-4-0 489 106 101 110 107 106 110 113 90 111
2011 26 BAL QB 5 16 16 12-4-0 542 91 94 96 98 89 93 110 107 95
2012 27 BAL QB 5 16 16 10-6-0 531 101 102 105 105 96 98 114 102 103
2013 28 BAL QB 5 16 16 8-8-0 614 83 83 82 82 92 86 85 93 84
Career 96 96 62-34-0 3103
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/7/2014.

And Kaepernick:

Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Att Y/A+ NY/A+ AY/A+ ANY/A+ Cmp%+ TD%+ Int%+ Sack%+ Rate+
2012 25 SFO qb 7 13 7 5-2-0 218 124 119 124 121 106 103 122 96 116
2013 26 SFO QB 7 16 16 12-4-0 416 114 106 114 110 90 108 113 81 107
Career 32 23 17-6-0 639
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/7/2014.

Okay. Wow, that makes the INTs stand out even more for Flacco. In fact, he was below league average in every single statistic you can think of for a QB. The only stat Flacco didn’t set a career low in was sack %. But look at the one number he set a career high in: attempts. Flacco clearly missed Ray Rice, it seems, as did the Ravens as a whole. The one upside from last year: he was healthy (again). Overall, his career marks have been in favor of yardage over completion percentage — he was billed as “throw ball far” coming out of college, so that makes sense — and, until last year, avoiding INTs. I would be willing to bet Flacco will bounce back, even if it’s a dead cat bounce.

We have less information on Kaepernick, but damn, that is one fine 2013 season. He was virtually perfect at everything except Completion % and getting sacked. He even scrambles! He had one more fumble than Flacco — in about four times as many attempts. Impressive stuff.

Okay, let’s bring it all home. What does this mean?

1) Flacco’s contract already looks bad. Really bad. Even at his very best, Flacco wasn’t justifying that salary, and if he doesn’t regress towards the mean in a big way… ouch.

2) Kaepernick’s is still riskier, in the sense that we have less data on him. But the 49ers built in so many protections that I think they’ll be okay.

Why John Kerry?

FiveThirtyEight.com has an article about the decline in Obama’s foreign policy approval rating since his election in 2008. It shows that, even as Obama’s general approval rating has fallen, foreign policy approval rating has plummeted much faster. I only attribute this partially to Obama: as Kevin has pointed out, the Presidency is far too big a job for one man, and he needs capable advisers. So, again I ask, why John Kerry for Secretary of State?

Hillary Clinton was even more incomprehensible, but she does (or perhaps did) have foreign cachet thanks to her husband and her own work. She was also seen as a possible front runner for the nomination in 2016, and it’s a post with a lot of visibility, so even from a purely cronyist perspective it made sense.

But John Kerry is not going to be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016. I’m pretty confident about that one. He was beaten fairly soundly by George W. Bush in 2004, and I don’t anticipate his name coming up in nomination talks again. His foreign policy record is basically Iran-Contra. That’s a bit unfair — prior to his nomination, he was quite active as an envoy in Afghanistan and Iraq — but he’s not a foreign policy expert. More importantly, he doesn’t have the respect of foreign leaders.

In my opinion, Obama either needed to back Kerry or fire him after that incident. Maybe at a bare minimum, find somebody else to front negotiations with Russia. None of those things have happened.

I am not well versed in modern American politics, and I can’t really offer a compelling choice for Secretary of State, but I know that Kerry needs to be replaced. If Obama himself had lots of knowledge on foreign affairs, okay, then maybe you just need a solid administrator to mind the store. But he doesn’t.