Cy Guys & Quarterback Genius


By: Jeff Yoder

Good Morning,

It’s Cy Young celebrations this morning before the MVPs of the 2023 MLB seasons are announced tonight. Major injuries and suspensions clouded the middle of the week, but we’ll cap today’s edition with a positive attitude and an underdog feature on the latest journeyman QB who is earning the recognition he deserves (finally). Don’t miss it at the bottom of today’s edition.

Letter Rip!


Awards Week: Cy Young Winners

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Gerrit Cole (Yankees) & Blake Snell (Padres) Win 2023 Cy Young Awards

Awards week continues! Wednesday’s focus was on the top pitchers in 2023, and Gerrit Cole has finally broken through. The Yankees’ ace won his first Cy Young award while Blake Snell took home his second. Cole was a unainmous pick by the BBWAA (30/30), and Snell wasn’t far off (28/30).

AL: Gerrit Cole (Yankees)

Cole captures his first ever Cy Young (hard to believe) after two runner-up finishes in previous campaigns. The Yankees’ righty was a unanimous selection in a year where he was head and shoulders above the AL competition. Cole was long regarded as one of the greatest pitchers to not have a Cy Young honor to his name, but those days are gone. In 2023, Cole was 15-4 (.789%) with 209 IP, 222 Ks and a 2.63 ERA. 2nd Place: Sonny Gray (Twins) / 3rd Place: Kevin Gausman (Blue Jays)

NL: Blake Snell (Padres)

Snell’s second Cy Young award comes as no surprise. He won his first as a member of the Rays in 2018. Snell was 14-9 in 2023 with 234 Ks and a 2.25 ERA. He’s the 22nd pitcher to win the award multiple times, but only the seventh player to win Cy Young awards in both leagues (NL & AL). Only three other pitchers won multiple with a larger gap (five years) in between — Gaylord Perry, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay. 2nd Place: Logan Webb (Giants) / 3rd Place: Zac Gallen (D-Backs)

MLB Awards Week Schedule

Rookies: Corbin Carroll & Gunnar Henderson

Managers: Brandon Hyde & Skip Schumaker

Wednesday: Gerrit Cole & Blake Snell

Thursday: MVP Awards



Brown Down: Watson Out for Season

Photo: Diamond Images / Getty Images

Browns Dealt Another Blow, QB Deshaun Watson to Undergo Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

The Browns are a really great football team, but the curse continues in Cleveland. Despite being 6-3 and boasting one of the best defenses in the league, the Browns announced Wednesday that QB Deshaun Watson would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a fracture in his throwing shoulder. Watson reportedly suffered the injury in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Ravens before miraculously engineering a second-half comeback. He’s the second star of the Browns’ backfield to go down for the season after RB Nick Chubb suffered a torn ACL in Week 2.

Oddsmakers Oust the Browns

Cleveland’s Super Bowl odds dropped from 22/1 to 55/1 on Wednesday after the Watson injury news. Their chances to win the AFC title also fell from 11/1 to 25/1, making it the second-greatest injury-sparked odds shift of the 2023 season behind only Jets QB Aaron Rodgers.

The Worst Contract in Sports?

The 28-year-old Watson was given a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract by Cleveland after they acquired him from the Texans in 2022. They also gave up three 1st-round picks in that deal. Watson served an eight-game suspension last season for his previous off-the-field issues while in Houston, and he’s already missed three games this season. So far, he’s been paid $92 million over the past two years for just 12 games played where he produced 2,217 yards, 14 TDs, 9 INTs and a 59.8% completion rate. Not great. But the Browns were 8-4 in games started by Watson.

AFC North Standings

Ravens (7-3)

Browns (6-3)

Steelers (6-3)

Bengals (5-4)

Ironically, Josh Dobbs (today’s underdog) was on the Browns roster at the beginning of the season before being traded to Arizona. The Browns will now turn to Dorian Thompson-Robinson to lead a 6-3 team in the loaded AFC North.

Read More

B/R: Browns to Start Dorian Thompson-Robinson Amid Watson Injury

Video: Deshaun Watson ‘In Disbelief’ After Hearing Season-Ending Surgery Diagnosis

USA Today: Deshaun Watson Injury Leaves Browns Dead in the Water — Through Fault of Their Own



Dray Away: Losing Big Green

Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images

Warriors’ Draymond Green Gets 5-Game Suspension (Loses $769,970) for Chokehold on Rudy Gobert

Tuesday night’s altercation between the Warriors and Timberwolves resulted in a few fines for three players involved, but one man is getting much more than he bargained for. Draymond Green received a five-game suspension for putting Rudy Gobert in a chokehold. He’ll also be without pay during the ban, which is quite a financial hit for the four-time All-Star ($769,970). By comparison, the other three players involved — Klay Thompson, Jaden McDaniels and Rudy Gobert — received $25,000 fines. The NBA released a statement saying that Green’s past history of ‘unsportsmanlike acts’ were a factor in the severity of his punishment.

Dray’s Rap Sheet

Green has long been viewed as the Warriors’ hustle player, wreaking havoc on opponents by getting in their heads and being a pesky defender and rebounder. But that role has started to grow old for the NBA’s conduct crew. Green received a one-game suspension in last year’s playoffs (April) after stomping on Kings’ Domantas Sabonis. That was less than a month after he recorded his 16th technical foul of the season, also resulting in a one-game suspension. He was suspended on two other occasions for conduct detrimental to the team (2018) and an incident with LeBron James in the Warriors-Cavs NBA Finals (2016). Those four one-game bans were minimal, but this five-game penalty is a clear message from the league.

Read: NBA Fans Had Plenty to Say About the Length of Draymond Green’s Suspension (SI)

NBA Scores & Highlights

 Mavericks def. Wizards (130-117)

*Tim Hardaway Jr. Drops 31 Off the Bench

Celtics def. 76ers (117-107)

*Jayson Tatum (29-8-6) Puts C’s On Top of East

Bucks def. Raptors (128-112)

*Damian Lillard (37 pts, 13 asts) Catches Fire for Bucks

Suns def. Timberwolves (133-115)

*Kevin Durant & Devin Booker Score 31 Points Each

Kings def. Lakers (125-110)

*LeBron James (28-10-11) 2nd-Oldest Player With Triple-Double





Today’s Must-Watch List


Bengals at Ravens (8:15 pm ET, PRIME)


Nets at Heat (7:30 pm ET, NBATV)

Thunder at Warriors (10:00 pm ET, NBATV)


Lightning at Blackhawks (8:00 pm ET, Hulu)

Panthers at Kings (10:30 pm ET, ESPN+)

 Soccer (Concacaf Nations League)

USMNT vs. Trinidad & Tobago (9:00 pm ET, TNT)


#20 Maryland at #8 UConn (6:30 pm ET)

Clemson at #1 South Carolina (7:00 pm ET, SECN)

Kansas State at #2 Iowa (8:30 pm ET)

Download The Sportsletter’s Must-Watch Calendar



Josh Dobbs: Quarterback Genius

Photo: Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

3 Teams in 1 Season? Here’s Why Everyone Will Regret Not Taking a Chance on The Underdog Genius (By Marissa Kasch)

The NFL seems to cycle through big names. Some become evergreen due to the player’s continued talent and performance, while others fade away just as quickly as they came. Years ago, it was Patrick Mahomes. He’s evergreen, obviously. Preseason, it was the Aaron Rodgers and Sean Payton feud. Big evergreen names, but the news went away when the Broncos couldn’t perform and Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury. They’ll be back, though, because they’re evergreen. In the beginning of the season, it was Rams rookie Puka Nacua, who broke the NFL record for most receptions through the first eight games of a pro career. The jury is still out on him, depending how he finishes the season. Now, there’s a new guy on the block, and his name is Josh Dobbs. He’s the current big name of the NFL, on his way to finding an evergreen home, but his success didn’t come overnight. 

Fans in Minneapolis grew restless and worried when Kirk Cousins went down with a season-ending Achilles injury two weeks ago. However, their concerns were mitigated when Josh Dobbs took the field. Since taking over in Minnesota, Dobbs has thrown for 436 yards and three touchdowns, with over a 70% completion rate and no turnovers. Additionally, he has also scored two rushing touchdowns. Perhaps most importantly, he has led the Vikings to two consecutive wins, bringing them to 6-4 on the season. If you don’t know Josh Dobbs by now, you should.

Quarterback and Braniac

Simply put, Dobbs is the superhero Minnesota needed. But he spent most of his life being more of a bookworm than a traditional superhero. He studied aerospace engineering at the University of Tennessee. Before committing to the Vols, Dobbs demanded a meeting with the academic department heads. From there, he balanced academics and football excellently, maintaining a 4.0 GPA while starring as the Tennessee quarterback.

As we saw in college, it is evident that Dobbs will continue to pursue his own intellectual interests regardless of whether he plays football. When he was with the Jaguars (2019), he spent a month at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where he was able to witness the monumental SpaceX launch and work as an aerospace engineer within NASA. His high IQ is apparent both on and off the field and has undoubtedly contributed to teams coveting the QB as their insurance option over the years.

Fun Fact: Dobbs has played for seven teams over the course of seven seasons; Steelers, Jaguars, Lions, Titans, Browns, Cardinals, and now Vikings.

Dobbs’ Diagnosis 

Dobbs’ underdog is particularly unique after he was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that often causes significant hair loss, in third grade. He had completely shaved his head by the time he got to Tennessee. Growing up, alopecia was a struggle for Dobbs. His own struggles inspired his contributions toward the alopecia community in various ways. While he was with the Cardinals, he went to a local high school to talk about alopecia and provide support for others. He also took to social media to spread positivity and promote resilience among those with alopecia by posting with a Cardinals cheerleader who also had the disease. In 2019, he spoke at an alopecia conference in Seattle after becoming a national spokesperson for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Dobbs said he is happy to serve as an inspiration and help others come to terms with their struggle. As if his work with other alopecia patients isn’t impressive enough, he also has his own philanthropic foundation: the ASTROrdinary Dobbs Foundation. The foundation aims to help the less fortunate and inspire the youth through community service, economic empowerment and educational initiatives. Talk about an underdog helping the underdogs!

Another Roadblock

Dobbs is smart, charitable and pretty good at football from what we’ve seen. So, his rise to this role must have been pretty standard, right? You’d think so. But the answer is no – not even close. He was sent to Minneapolis on Halloween, just before the trade deadline. The Vikings are the third team he’s been a part of this season alone after being traded from the Browns and Cardinals. However, the 36 hours before he was traded would have been enough to make anyone’s head spin. The Cardinals told Dobbs he was starting before changing their minds and telling him he was benched. Then, he was told that though he was benched, he wouldn’t be released or traded. Just hours after that promise, he was off to Minnesota. Unfortunately, that whole debacle was nothing new for Dobbs. He struggled to take the field at most stops, even in college, starting only 37 times over his four years at Tennessee, mostly in his junior and senior seasons. He’s also been a backup who has bounced around from team to team. But this could be different…

The Vikings Next Guy?

We haven’t seen enough from him yet, but what we have seen has been impeccable. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said he was excited about what Dobbs’ mobility and unique playing style can do for the Vikings in the absence of Kirk Cousins. However, Cousins won’t be back anytime soon, and Minnesota will likely need a starting quarterback to open next season. Can Dobbs keep up these electric performances to take the underdog Vikings (once 0-3) to the playoffs and secure the job? This could be his evergreen moment. Minnesota’s upcoming matchups are winnable: They face the Broncos in Denver, the Bears at home and the Raiders in Las Vegas. If Dobbs can capitalize on those matchups, the Vikings will be in the playoff conversation sooner rather than later.

Josh Dobbs. Quarterback genius. An underdog worth rooting for.