All but Two Clubs Report for P&C

All major league clubs outside of the Chicago White Sox and Florida Marlins have had pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Here’s a little mid-week blurb about those 19 teams who have reported the past 3 days…

  • The Atlanta Braves hope a year of maturity and experience can propel Jason Heyward to the next level and make him a superstar caliber player. The addition of Dan Uggla helps that line up quite a bit and this squad could find themselves in the hunt for October once again.
  • Everyone’s favorite team not named the Phillies coming into camp is none other than the Boston Red Sox. The addition of Adrian Gonzalez, who should go wild in Fenway Park coming from a tough Petco, and Carl Crawford has everyone going bananas. They need to hope their rotation has a bit of a bounce back year and that none of last year’s injuries resurface.
  • The Lou Pinella era is over in Chicago and the Cubs will be under the command of Mike Quade. No not Dennis Quade, even though he was in that baseball movie he is not qualified to run a major league club. Maybe the Brooklyn Cyclones but not a big league team.
  • The Colorado Rockies report to camp sporting two of the most exciting and electrifying young talents in the game in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. The certainly love the thin air out at Coors and I only expect these two to get better and better as the Rox make another run at the playoffs after falling short last season.
  • KC Royals…the Pirates of the American League? No star caliber players after shipping off Zack Grienke. Great farm system but no reason to expect anything from this bunch for at least a few years.
  • Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Kendry Morales are not the worst 3 guys to have in the middle of your lineup. Dan Haren, Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana are certainly not the worst 3 guys to have atop your rotation. The only problem is the Angels do not really have much to compliment these 6 players.
  • My beloved New York Yankees reported to camp on Monday with holes to fill at the back end of their rotation. At the front end of that same rotation ace CC Sabathia looks trim and is said to have lost 25 pounds. He cut out Capn Crunch from his diet. How long will it be before CC stands for “Capn Crunch” or we refer to him as the Cereal Killer?
  • The returning champion San Francisco Giants, who Chris “Mad Dog” Russo speaks of everyday that I listen to my Sirius XM app on my Blackberry at work, reported Monday as well. Their rotation of Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner is the only one that will be able to rival the powerhouse that is the Phillies rotation. The Kung Fu Panda is said to be looking trim as well, maybe they can actually hit a little bit this year and make their title defense slightly easier on themselves.
  • 43 Days Until Opening Day 2011

  • The Houston Astros should be in the running for ‘Biggest Joke of a Team not named the Pirates’ Award this season. Not much to expect out of this group. Wandy Rodriguez showed signs of improvement in the 2nd half last year but still nothing to write home about.
  • The world seems to be in love with the Oakland A’s pitching staff but I expect a major regression out of them. They simply do not impress me much. Trevor Cahill had a BAbip of .235 which is impossible to maintain. Gio Gonzalez for as good as he looked still has control problems. Dallas Braden is nothing more than an average pitcher who was put on a slight pedastal last season because of a run in with ARod and his perfect game. And Brett Anderson, whether he has all the talent in the world, can not seem to be able to stay on the field for a full season. That stadium will help them  a bit as it is a huge pitcher’s park and they may win the weak AL West but I still do not like this team very much.
  • The one team that made the post season in 2010 that I am most confident will not in 2011 is the Tampa Bay Rays. I believe they simply lost too much from last season to be able to hang with the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees for the division and even the Twins/White Sox/Tigers for a wild card spot. They will contend in years to come but this will be another down year like 2009 in my eyes.
  • On that note, we must ask ourselves whether we believe that the Reds can conjur up some of that 2010 magic and make a push at the playoffs again this year. Cincy has the reigning NL MVP in Joey Votto, a young up and coming rotation, a solid bullpen(with the 105 mph phenom Chapman on the way) and a young core of players like Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs complimented by veterans Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips. They will be a force once again.
  • The Cleveland Indians have some really talented players on their roster, but their young talent simply does not translate into winning. The pitching staff is way too thin after Fausto Carmona(who is not an ace) and Shin Soo Choo can not do it all at the plate. Grady Sizemore has been declining and riddled with injuries the past few years and the duo of Laporta/Santana have not fully matured into major leaguers yet. This team has potential for the future but do not expect any noise from them quite yet.
  • With one Yankee legend, Joe Torre, out in Hollywood and another in, Don Mattingly, the Dodgers need to bounce back big this year after a disappoint swan song for Joey T. If Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley can stay on the field and pitch near their potential they should generate plenty of offense behind the likes of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and James Loney. This NL West is shaping up to  be a fun ride.
  • One of the teams I like an awful lot this year in the NL is the Brewers. Fielder, Braun, Weeks, Hart and McGehee lay a great base for their lineup. With two quality pitchers making the jump from AL to NL in Grienke and Marcum we can expect big things from a rotation which already had a bonafide ace in Yovani Gallardo.
  • The Minnesota Twins bandwagon is one I never seem to get on and then some how they always prove me to be an idiot as they make the playoffs each year. This is not the year I will be jumping on but odds are I will be wrong again.
  • What to say about the mess that is the New York Mets. Their owners are in a slew of trouble because of Bernie Madoff. They made no off season improvements, which is just not going to cut it in New York. And Oliver Perez has a real shot to make the rotation. Maybe in 2012…but more likely the Mayans will have been off by about a month and a half and with the Mets one out away from winning the 2012 World Series the world will go blacker than the last scene of Sopranos.
  • Even though they lost out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes the Rangers still have to feel pretty good. They were the division leaders most of last season even before getting Lee and they have an incredible offense carried by MVP Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and newly acquired Adrian Beltre. If he can stay on the field Ian Kinsler could be a serious contributor as well.
  • Stephen Strausburg and Byrce Harper are great reasons to be a Nationals fan these days. It is only a matter of time until these two are in the bigs full time and at the top of their game. Couple that with a team that is now not afraid to spend money, a talented young core on the major league club and the veteran presence of Jayson Werth and Pudge Rodriguez and this team could be contending for a title in no time.

About jacarfagno

Live, Breathe, and Bleed Baseball
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