More HB: Harper will win MVP, Ellsbury slump, Eli and Peyton Manning

We’re back for some More HB. An old format from the original Hitting Back. This will be our first entry on the server. Among the topics are Bryce Harper, Jacoby Ellsbury and the Mannings.


-For a while, it looked like the NL MVP was up for grabs. With the Nats folding, there was even talk about Mets rental Yoenis Cespedes winning it. But reality has set in. With top candidate Bryce Harper slugging two more home runs in a rare September Nats win tonight, he’s up to an NL best 39 dingers moving one up on Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado. The 22-year old right fielder also leads the senior circuit in hitting with three more hits raising his batting  average to .338. His line of .338-38-90 on a mediocre underachiever is worthy. As much as I kill him for his lack of big hits versus the Mets, he’s the runaway winner.

-If I had to vote, I would go in this order:

1.Harper 2.Greinke 3.McCutchen 4.Goldschmidt 5.Cespedes

-In the AL, it’s all about Josh Donaldson who has powered the Blue Jays past the Yankees for the AL East lead. With 38 home runs and a major league-leading 119 RBI’s and 109 runs scored, nobody has had a more productive season. He does benefit from a ridiculous lineup that also boasts sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. But the former Oakland Athletic should easily outdistance Mike Trout, who has faded down the stretch.

-Our AL MVP top 5:

1.Donaldson 2.Trout 3.Cain 4.Davis 5.Rodriguez

-With another 0-for-4 effort in a bad Yankee loss to the Rays, Jacoby Ellsbury is 0 for his last 24. The slumping starting center fielder is looking like a nightmare signing. He is signed thru 2020 to a 7-year 153 million contract with a team option. Johnny Damon he is not.

-If you notice, A-Rod is in my top five for AL MVP. He deserves it. The full-time DH has come up with many big hits for the Yanks. With 32 long balls and 83 RBI’s, Alex Rodriguez has had a season for the ages. At 40 with most writing him off following a year off. He will never make Cooperstown. But that doesn’t mean he’s not one of the greatest ballplayers of the modern era. He is and has been a team leader after Jeter. Didi Gregorius’ improvement can be attributed to listening to Alex. Say what you will about him off the field. On it, he is an asset.

Eli Manning taking full responsibility for that awful third down pass on what should’ve been another run to run time off the clock is what you come to expect from the former Super Bowl MVP. Here’s what I don’t understand. How does that happen on a Tom Coughlin coached team?

-Once Tony Romo got the football back, you knew it was coming. And they marched down so fast, you wondered if there were any Giants defensive players out there. Would it have killed Coughlin to use a timeout and stop the Cowboys’ momentum?

Peyton Manning is starting to show his age. He didn’t throw for a touchdown in a ugly Broncos 19-13 home win over the Ravens. However, it’s a bit premature to write off one of the all-time best. Give it some more time.

-What a shame that Terrell Suggs lost his season to a torn ACL in Week 1. The NFL is unlike any other sport. Unforgiving. It is so fast that it stops for no one. Vinny Testaverde just called.


Published by

Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.

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