Friday, March 14, 2008
11 Days and counting until my New Years, AKA Opening Day baseball. So far I have seen a few surprises this spring, such as the Redsox and the Marlins and a few not so shockers, such as the Giants piss poor pitching. I do expect these rankings to be a bit shorter as time goes on.
1 (1) Boston Red Sox (5-8)- There is bad news and even more bad news out of Saux camp. The bad news- Curt Schilling is on the 60 day DL. Say what you want about him, he won 9 games in 24 starts and had an ERA under 3.50. More bad news- Josh Beckett will miss his opening day start. The good news is that he has not been placed on any DL so as a Beckett fantasy owner, I pray that his back heals nicely.
2 (2) Detroit Tigers (11-5) - Who would have thought Pudge Rodriguez would have 6 ST Homeruns?? The offense is running up the price of baseballs due to excessive homeruns. That and the pitchers are looking good. Hell, even Kenny Rogers looks to be unbeatable (1-0, 2.89 ERA). Recommendation- the Tigers need to a new closer and fast!
3 (3) Chicago Cubs (6-10) - Breaking news out of Cubs camp: They are trying to acquire Brian Roberts…..Again! This time it seems the offer puts more emphasis on pitching with the addition of Jose Ceda and Donnie Veal in the deal. I hate to say this but the Orioles could see a long term benefit with this trade. And of course the Cubs will have the best base running team in the bigs.
4 (4) LA Dodgers (6-8) - Andy Larouche is out for 2 months, Jeff Kent and NOMAH are questionable to start the season, and the rotation is looking stiff. They lack infield depth and if either one of them hit the DL, they could suffer early in this season.
5 (5) New York Mets (9-5) - Did anyone else see that amazing Ryan Church catch on Wednesday night? “Holly Cow”- Harry Carry. Moist-Hands Alou may be on the DL but who the hell cares. We’ve seen Church in DC and we know what to expect. Rumor has it the Mets have their eye on Barry Bonds. Yikes!
6 (6) New York Yankees (6-5) - My new favorite rivalry might just be the Yanks vs Rays. There is so much intensity to make a donkey choke. My only gripe is that Billy Crystal found a way to garner more attention. His saving grace is that *61 was a damn good movie.
7 (7) San Diego Padres (8-5) – They may have the most complete team this spring so far. Great offense, great bullpen, and great rotation. The stats don’t lie.
8 (8) Cleveland Indians (7-8) – Travis Hafner promised Indian fan that he will put up 2006 stats and as of now, he is living up to that. He is having a great spring, as is the rest of this team. They have a few weak links in the rotation and of course, a still crap for a closer.
9 (9) LA Angels (8-6) – It’s all gravy in LA right now. I look at the stats and just about every starter is hitting over .300. The pitching has been so-so but there is enough power in this lineup to compensate for a few bad starts.
10 (10) Arizona Diamondbacks (6-9) - The offense is pathetic, nuff said. But the pitching looks second to none right now.
11 (11) Chicago Whitesox (8-9) – I repeat, Nick Swisher (.382 AVG, 10RBI) is on fire this spring. Javier Vazquez (5IP, 7K’s 1Hit allowed in his last start) is fricken phe-nominal so far.
12 (12) Colorado Rockies (7-7) – They are off to a slow spring but they are proven to be an August/September type of team. New acquisition Scott Podsednic is off to a great start and could end up being the teams opening day starting CF. Holliday and Helton are hitting extremely well. The only weakness I see is the pitching, but they proved they can step up when need be.
13 (13) Houston Astros (7-10)- Lets see, Roy Oswalt would need to win 80 games for this team to taste post-season glory. The pitching looks terrible this spring and Tejada hasn’t found his swing yet. Give the offense some time to gel. I don’t see this team lacking in the power numbers once April comes. Funny tidbit- Kaz Matsui will be missing a few games due to an “anal fissure”. Yikes!!
14 (14) Milwaukee Brewers (10-6) – I can’t say that I’m surprised that they are doing this well. They kept their core lineup in tact and even added a veteran catcher. If they keep this up, they could be the NL sleeper wild card pick.
15 (15) Tampa Bay Rays (9-3) - G-Damn I might have a new favorite AL team. They proved to me that they can match-up vs. Goliath (at least spiritually). Round 1 went to the Rays where as round 2 went to….the Rays. Sure, Shelly Duncan struck first blood but Johnny Gomez put a tackle on him that even Mike Singletary would be proud of. That and 2007 Rookie bust (Andy Sonnanstine) is looking terrific. Way to lock up that 3 spot in the rotation.
16 (16) Seattle Mariners (6-8) - Somebody please wake up Ichiro (.040 AVG. He has 1 hit this spring in what seems to be around 22 AB’s. But this is Ichiro, he will hit 200+ hits by August. Their good news is that that Jarrod Washburn is pitching great. If he pitches like this, they will have 3 solid guys in the rotation.
17 (17) Philadelphia Philly’s (5-10) - Even Philly fan is confused why they so bad this spring? Looking at the stats I don’t see a single starter hitting over .250. I know I know, its spring.
18 (18) Toronto Blue Jays (5-10) – Im not ready to take the Jays out of the top 20 just yet. Yes, Casey Janssen’s season ending injury will hurt this team, but keep in mind that the success of their rotation is home grown. Im sure they have a few guys in the stable ready to pitch.
19 (19) Washington Nationals (7-8) - Lastings Milledge is playing extremely well. That and the starting rotation is red hot. Don’t judge this team by their record. Most of their losses came in close, low scoring games.
20 (20) Atlanta Braves (9-5) – Here is my official apology to Braves fan. Im sorry!! Expect a big bump in the PR once the season starts.
21 (21) Minnesota Twins (8-7) – The great news is that Pedro Liriano is pitching pain free and effective. The bad news is that the rest of the rotation is struggling badly. If Liriano pitches like this come August, Twin fan will forget all about Johan! Well, maybe not.
22 (22) Cincinnati Reds- (9-8)- Pre-Season ROY candidate Joey Votto (.160AVG and lots of K’s) is struggling. There was so much hype on this guy and nothing to show for this spring. I never expected him to start the season at 1st but judging by his stats, he may not even start in the bigs.
23 (24) Oakland A's (10-5) - Perhaps I misjudged Mr. Beane. Dana Eveland (yes, the Eveland acquired from the Haren trade) is on a springtime massacre. If his last start is an indication of things to come (5IP, 7Ks 0BB, 0ER) then this team has a chance to scare some contenders. More good news, Eric Chavez claims he is healthy and is ready for the Japan series.
24 (23) San Francisco Giants (4-11) - Gonzo’s wish came true, and it wasn’t because of his non-convincing argument. Noah Lowry is hurt and could miss the first month of baseball. That, and Barry Zito (17.18ERA 3 Starts) forgot how to pitch and got roughed up YET AGAIN. It appears Eugenio Velez will not make the 25 man roster, which has us bayside fans a bit confused. Also, keep and eye out on Justin Leon (.571 AVG, 1HR, 5RBI). He could very well start the season at 3B.
25 (25) St Louis Cardinals (6-9) - Albert Pujols needs Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, yet he is cranking the ball as if he were a rookie all over again. But this is spring and not August. Expect him to hit the DL come June-July. I do love the talent pool in the OF though, Skip Schumaker and Cody Rasmus are making their case to start this season. Good news for Cardinal fan is if Pujols misses significant time, one of those guys can pick up the slack in the OF and allow Chris Duncan to take over at 1st.
26 (26) Pittsburgh Pirates (5-9) - Turns out everyone in Pirate town forgot how to hit. Or at least that’s what the stats indicate. Props go out to Paul Maholm for striking out Billy Crystal. At least you have that going for you.
27 (27) Texas Rangers (8-6) – Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, and Michael Young are men possessed this spring. The Rangers offense is looking more and morel like the Texans rather than the Rangers. The pitching is still a serious concern. But remember, Texas likes em big, that includes ERA and runs allowed.
28 (28) Kansas City Royals (9-6) - Hideo Nomo had another brilliant outing, this time against the Giants. Mark Teahen and Ryan Shealy are crushing the ball and last years rookie bust, Alex Gordon is on fire.
29 (29) Florida Marlins (12-6) – Where the hell did this team come from? I know its spring but they are treating the Grapefruit like rag dolls. Key off-season acquisition Cameron Maybin (.333 AVG, 3HR, 8RBI) should, hell…WILL start opening day.
30 (30) Baltimore Orioles (7-6)- No Dews, despite the record, they are not moving up (refer to the Marlins ST record). Jeremy Guthrie (Last start, 4IP, 4Ks, 3 Hits, 1ER) is having a great spring and could possibly start Opening Day. Oriole fan doesn’t want Cabrera earning that honor; since he has a Ricky Vaughn’s control problem right now.