Who are some rookies that we should be talking about for this year in both the AL and the NL? Who has the best farm system in baseball from a depth perspective?
Well, the big one to watch is pitcher Matt Moore of Tampa Bay. Jesus Montero will hit in the middle of the Mariners lineup, probably in the 5-hole. How much he'll catch and how much he'll DH remains to be seen.
In the NL, Reds C Devin Mesoraco and SS Zack Cozart will play key roles if the Reds are to conted. As for deepest farm system, ESPN Insider Keith Law ranked the Padres No. 1.
Jim Tracy with a forever contract? Can I get some of what O'Dowd has been smoking?
Can't wait to see how he runs out his lineup this year.
over/under on Royals wins this year?
I'm not as high on the Royals as it seems a lot of others are. I see the rotation still being a huge problems and I'm not as high on the pitching prospects as some others. They won 71 last year ... I'll say 75.
Chris Carpenter for Theo Epstein? Did we throw in a bucket of chicken and some beer?
I think the Cubs were hoping to give the Red Sox Alfonso Soriano.
Hi David, I was reading on Wilson Ramos and playing winter ball in Venezuela. I was a little surprised that the Nats let him play winter ball as a catcher due to all the wear and tear it has on a catcher in particular. Do teams normally discourage catchers from playing winter ball in order to save their legs??
I don't know how many games he caught, but for a young catcher like Ramos it's not a big deal. And the young Latin American players still like to return home and play at least a few games in front of their home country fans.
I have a good feeling about Figgins batting Lead Off but not so sure about Ichi hitting 3rd. Would rather see Ackley at 3 and Ichi at 2. What do you think? BTW, Mariners are the 2012 World Series champs!
You may be the only person feeling good about Figgins hitting leadoff! I think Figgins is done and would prefer to see Kyle Seager get the job. yes, the M's still have $17 million invested in Figgins. That money's spent whether or not he's in the lineup. Play the best player, regardless of contract.
Do you play fantasy league baseball?
I do. Unfortunately, I played last year in a league with Karabell and all the guys from the fantasy department.
Am I crazy to think that Carl Crawford will have a pretty good year this year?
What's a pretty good year? But, no ... the skill-set isn't any different than it was two years. Assuming he comes back healthy from the wrist surgery, I think he'll be fine.
Met's fan's need what Justin is smoking.
Am I crazy to think that Moore might have a better season than Price this year? No innings limit and better pure stuff, no?
I think everyone needs to calm down the hype just a little on Moore. Yes, I saw that playoff start like everyone else. Yes, he has David Price potential. But I believe only two or three rookies in the past 20-something years have posted an ERA under 3.00 while pitching at least 162 innings. (Hellickson was one of them.) Moore did walk 3.1 per nine in Triple-A, which certainly isn't bad, but if that jumps up to 3.5 or 4 in the majors, he'll have trouble keeping that ERA under 3.50. Of course, it could drop ... in which case, watch out.
Do the Angels have a plan for thier 5th starter other than Jerome Williams?
Their No. 6 guy right now would be prospect Garrett Richards, who has a terrific arm but needs to throw more strikes. But that fifth spot could end up being a bit of an issue.
Hi David, Do you like what the D Backs did in the offseason (Cahill, Kubel, Saito) and think the offense (Upton, Goldschmidt, Young, Drew) and the very young rotation give them enough to contend for the NL Pennant in 2012?
I like the moves (although I think they paid too much for Kubel). I wrote a post a few weeks ago pointing out how bad the back end of the Arizona rotation was last year, so now they have five good starters, plus prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs waiting as reinforcements. I'm a big fan of Goldschmidt and project 30-plus home runs. I think they're the team to beat in the West.
Do you think J. Sanchez will rebound this year for the Royals? OR will the walks be too much in the AL central for him to succeed?
Let's put it this way: I wouldn't be drafting him for my fantasy team. He leaves a good park for pitchers, in a division with some mediocre offenses, where he gets to face the opposing pitcher ... I just don't see him having a year close to 2010 (3.07 ERA) and would project his ERA in the mid-4 range at best.
Hi David, how do you think A.J. will fare in Pittsburgh, also reunited with Rod Barajas?
Good pickup by the Pirates. In New York, EVERY start for Burnett became a front-page story. Fans were on him. I give him credit for dealing with it, always answering questions and so on. But I have to think it will be a bit of a burden off his shoulders. Is he a great pitcher? No. Does he have a chance to be Pittsburgh's best starter? Yes.
Over/Under on the Pirates wins? Will this be season number 20?
Who will be in CF at the end fo the year for the Rangers?
That's a really good question. Is it me, or does it seems that everyone seems to be ignoring the Rangers have two lineup problems in CF and 1B. Hamilton doesn't play much center anymore and Moreland isn't that good for a first baseman. Anyway, you would think the Rangers end up going with the best defensive center fielder, which is probably Craig Gentry over Martin or Borbon. But Gentry can't hit so ... if I had to bet I'll say Martin.
Any guesses as to Manny's final season line? Does .250/.320/.405 sound reasonable? Way too optimistic?
I should do an over/under on this. I really have no idea. Chatters?
What do you think becomes of Wade Miley? He's apparently pretty good (Baseball Prospectus thinks so, at least), but has 7 guys in front of him. Trade bait or stashed away in AAA?
Good question. I like Miley as a potential back-end starter, but like you say there's not much room for him. I say stash him away in Triple-A for now. You probably lose Saunders after this year, so maybe he becomes your No. 6/7 guy next year.
Who will make the 3B transition better, Hanley or Cabrera?
Hanley doesn't weigh 250 pounds.
Do you think Jason Heyward's season last year was just a bad year or do you think it's a warning he might not be as good as advertised?
Had a shoulder injury. I like his chances to bounce back. Buy low.
If you had to pick just one for your team for the next decade, Bryce Harper or Mike Trout....and why?
I think I give the slight edge to Harper. To me, the power potential could be such a game changer and there aren't a lot of guys in the minors right now who project as 30-homer guys (let alone 40). Plus he does project as a good defensive right fielder. He's not some lumbering tree out there.
How short of a leash should Austin Jackson have this season in Detroit hitting in front of Cabrera and Fielder? If his OBP is as bad as last season will he get moved to the bottom of the order?
I'd have a short leash, but certainly it appears Leyland doesn't. His lineups last year were horrible -- Jackson leadoff, Peralta and Avila down in the lineup all season, the horrible Delmon Young in the middle. I know Jackson is the only guy with much speed on the team but that .317 OBP means a lot at-bats for Miggy with nobody on base.
Who Do you think the Phil's could get if they HAVE to trade Hamels?
They're not trading him. But in a theoretical world, let's see ... who was the last No. 1 traded with one year left before free agency? Cliff Lee got Justin Smoak from the Rangers. Smoak was the No. 13 prospect by Baseball America entering that year (although had struggled in the majors). Say the Jays are in contention. Would they trade C Travis d'Arnaud for Hamels? I don't think so.
It's bad enough letting your worst hitter get the most at-bats, but why on earth would Wedge just give Figgins the gig before spring training even begins?
I think it's one of those things where the manager feels positive reinforcement will help. I guess.
I think a lost guy in the M's outfield equation is Treyvon Robinson. Had huge numbers in the minors. He needs to spend time in AAA but does he equate to a big league regular in time?
He's intriguing, but I think he strikes out too much to ever hit enough. He is wearing glasses this year after having some problems with contact lenses last year.
Brandon Inge wants to play 2nd Base. Do you let him?
Don't see it. Still can't hit.
Manny's 2012: .270/.350/.385
"Hanley doesn't weigh 250 pounds." Miggy lost 25 and is still trying to get down to 250! Insert 'best shape of my life' joke here.
That's right. Which begs the question: What did he weight last season?
Who has the bigger impact to their team this year? Darvish, Iwakuma, Kuroda or Wei-Yin Chen?
Prediction on Manny - he never plays a game for the A's. After his 50 game suspension, he'll go to Sac AAA. If he's not great, they won't bring him up. If he is great, they'll spin him to someone else before July 31 for prospects.
Interesting. But nobody is going to trade for him based on a few games at Sacramento. I think he'll to play for the A's before they potentially trade him.
You mentioned issues for Texas at 1b...can Young move there permanently?
I think that's an option. You could do that, let Hamilton DH some, play David Murphy in left. Although by doing that you are weakening your defense at two positions. And Young did look horrible at first in the playoffs although you'd think he'd be able to adjust with enough reps.
What's taking so long with the Ryan Braun decision?
That's the million-dollar question with no answer.
The fences are in and the club [not counting x-factor Johan] looks healthy. Gotta think the Mets are gonna surprise some people, no? Collins sure squeezed a heckuva lot more wins last season w/ an undermanned crew than people had expected.
I don't think the Mets are as bad as everyone thinks, although you do lose a lot without Reyes and Beltran. The division certainly should be tougher, but I don't think this is the 95-to-100 loss team that a lot of people believe.
My prediction for Jeff Mathis. He will hit .222 and be the Jays everyday catcher. Am I even close to reality?
I think that's our first question ever about Jeff Mathis.
Not sure I understand Leyland, whom everyone has always held in high esteem, and with good reason. Some of his moves -- like moving Cabrera to 3rd instead of keeping him at 1B and DHing Fielder, and insisting on leading off A-Jax -- seem like Manager Mistakes 101.
I'm not going to disagree. Of course, he won a World Series in Florida with Bobby Bonilla playing third and Bobby Bo had to be close to 250 by then.
Who finishes the year in the rotation? Paxton or Hultzen? Or both?
Both. Hultzen up by the All-Star break, Paxton in August or September.
The Stros lost 106 last year, and only played a half season with Bourn / Pence. They also have Wandy (and Myers) on the trading block. I could see them approaching that many losses again in 2012. Can you do a post on the last team to lose 105+ games in back to back seasons?
I'll add it to me list, although it would be the 2002-03 Tigers. 106 losses followed by 119 in 2003. But reached the World Series in 2006. So put the Astros down for 2015!
The Reds are allegedly going all in with Votto. Obviously, he will be gone in 2 years. Seems risky. Wouldn't they have been more prudent to trade him for a boatload of prospects and put Alonso at first? ... I can't help but think of the 2001 M's who won 116 without Griffey, A-Rod or Johnson.
Except they believe they can win *this* year and that wouldn't have been the case with Alonso and some minor leaguers. Mariners did lose those three but they also added Mike Cameron (in Griffey trade), Freddy Garcia/Carlos Guillen (Johnson trade), Ichiro (free agent), John Olerud (free agent), Bret Boone (free agent). So they also spent money to get there.
Florida didn't have a DH. I believe Leyland is very good at managing a pitching staff (even with the Rodney one game playoff debacle) and it appears players want to play hard for him but his in-game strategies are questionable and his lineup construction is horrible. The lineup problems go back to his Pittsburgh days.
In Leyland's defense, this year is about getting Cabrera accustomed to 3rd in anticipation of the return of a healthy Victor Martinez to full-time DH duties. And to answer your question from earlier, the general consensus is that Cabrera played at around 285 give or take last year; and won a batting title.
If Justin Smoak doesn't perform this year will the Cliff Lee trade officially be a fiasco for Jack Z (as if the Josh Lueke element wasn't bad enough)? After all, he could have gotten Montero then and still had Pineda now.
Yes, if Smoak doesn't perform that ends up being a HUGE strike on Z's resume.
Are there any surprise teams this year a la 2011 D-backs? Can the Corey Patterson and Jayson Nix-less Blue Jays finally get through the AL Beast?
I think there will be a surprise. Lately, we've been getting at least one team each season that goes from under .500 to the playoffs. And those odds only improve if MLB adds the second wild card. I guess the Reds would be the most logical choice for that this year. As for Toronto. I love what the Jays are doing, but that's a tough division and I wonder if the rotation is still a bit thin.
Tigers fans need to get accustomed to the fact that Cabrera isn't going to get "accustomed" to third.
HAHAHA - 2015? We'll have botched 2 or 3 #1 picks by then, and traded our prospects for over-the-hill veterans. Oh wait, Drayton McLane is gone, maybe we do have a chance in 2015!!!!!
What would lead you to believe the Mets might not be as bad as everyone thinks? Unless maybe Ike Davis stays healthy and David Wright returns to form, Santana's arm doesn't fall off and Francisco performs like Mariano. Seriously, isn't that what it would take?
Well, yes, they need Davis and Wright to be healthy. Lucas Duda can hit. Ruben Tejeda should be decent at SS. Look, I'm not saying they're going to finish .500. I just don't think they'll lose 100.
What are some positives for my team coming into the new season? I can't find any other than new faces on the roster.
You can always go check out Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado in the minors.
Well, I'm assuming that the Reds would have gotten someone valuable - like say, Pineda - for Votto, that would have helped them this year as well (much like the M's benefited hugely from the Griffey trade with the great Mike Cameron).
Ahh, gotcha. Yeah, that's a good question. But they did end up getting a Pineda-clone in Latos. I just think Votto is SO good that you're damaging your chances to win by trading. The Mariners got a bit lucky -- Bret Boone suddenly turned into Rogers Hornsby, Ichiro was better than anybody expected, etc.
Step 1) Miguel Cabrera gets accustomed to third for 5 games.Step 2) Fantasy glory.Step 3) Don't care.
Is it possible that sabremetrics exaggerates the importance of defense -- perhaps significantly so?
Better season combined fielding and hitting: Franklin Gutierrez, Cocoa Crisp, or Peter Bourjos?
I'll take Bourjos
Can you restate the view (I believe voiced on Club House Confidential) that the #3 hitter in a lineup should be a contact hitter more than a power hitter necessarily?
Statistical studies have shown your best hitters should bat 1, 2 and 4. Why? Because if you go 1-2-3 in the first inning, you want a high OBP guy batting cleanup. So if your No. 3 hitter has a OBP (regardless of power), you may be better off hitting him second or fourth.
Who do you think the Reds need to have step up the most in order to contend for the division: Scott Rolen or Jay Bruce? I think somebody other than Votto has to produce more so Votto can get more good balls to hit.
Well, the two rookies will have to hit and Rolen has to be healthier, but I think Drew Stubbs is the key guy in the lineup.
Mariano Rivera - first unanimous HOFer ever? It should have been Aaron, Seaver, Mays or Williams, but those were different times. What's the argument against Rivera??
Well, two things: (1) Some old guy will simply forget to vote for him; (2) A few may not vote because they don't think relievers should be in the Hall. Seaver and Ryan both got 98.8 percent. I predict Rivera does beat that.
Chirs Perez and Matt Capps seem shaky going into the year. Do both rebound a bit to keep their jobs? Capps wouldn't even be closing if Natahn stayed
I think Perez keeps the job. I have doubts about Capps ... but the Twins even have a reliable No. 2 guy? I guess Glen Perkins would be next in line. Yes, I'll say he's closing by the end of the season.
Please define "best hitter." Can't be the same for #s 1, 2 and 4, right? Especially when differentiating between the requirements of a lead-off hitter (OBP, presumably) and clean-up guy (Slugging)
Best hitter definined by one of the sabermetric figures -- wOBA, say. Say you hit Miguel Cabrera leadoff. Negatives: No speed, bats less with guys on base. But the positives: Will bat more often, will be on base a lot for the guys behind him (more than Austin Jackson). In the end, lineup order doesn't really have that much of an impact, as much as we love to discuss it. Unless, of course, you decide to hit Chone Figgins leadoff.
What is the best baseball snack? Peanuts, crackerjacks or soft pretzels?
Peanuts. Does anyone doubt this?
OK, have to run. Should be back to our regular Tuesday slot next week. Enjoy the rest of your and be sure to check out the SweetSpot blog. Thanks for reading!