Kevin Kiermaier on Monday sounded off on the Tampa Bay Rays’ recent roster moves, saying he is 100 percent frustrated and very upset by the team’s decisions to part ways with All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson and veteran pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
It’s hard to worry too much, though. Obvious QB questions aside, the Mountaineers return a ton elsewhere on the depth chart. Star running back Jalin Moore is back, and a receiving corps that had to lean heavily on freshmen last year (and survived doing so) now gets to lean on sophomores. All-conference left tackle Victor Johnson is back, and while there are a few pieces to replace in the defensive front seven, the secondary is loaded.
There’s more turnover here than what fellow SBC heavyweights Troy and Arkansas State are dealing with, so maybe the Mountaineers merely go 6-2 or so in conference this year. But that’s still a long leap from 5-14.
With Lamb behind center, Appalachian State formed a reliable identity. The Mountaineers were going to run first and run second, and in the few instances per game in which Lamb was asked to make a play, he’d do so. He was a terrific scrambler, and he completed between 60 and 61 percent of his passes each year as a starter.
The formula obviously worked. But in 2017, we saw both a better and more volatile version of the App State attack. Volatility tends to be a product of massive turnover in the receiving corps.
This year I did three things differently, Cespedes said through a translator Monday following the team’s first full workout. I ran. Then I did weightlifting, but not so much heavy weights. And then I did yoga trying to get ready for this.
A two-time All-Star, Cespedes signed a $110 million, four-year contract before the 2017 season and bulked up in the weight room. He wound up on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain from April 28 until June 10 and then with a right hamstring strain from Aug. 26 through the end of the season. Cespedes hit .292 with 17 homers and 42 RBIs in 81 games.
With yoga, my muscles are more flexible right now, he said. I used to work out with heavy weightlifting. I had strength, but I wasn’t flexible. Now I’m flexible because of the yoga. … The yoga has been working for me. When I showed up in the last couple of seasons down here, the lower back of my body was very tight. I haven’t felt that yet.