Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring Training Position Battles

Pitchers and Catchers have already reported to Spring training and position players will soon be filing in. So, I wanna touch on what I think will be a few pivotal position battles to watch.

1. Red Sox Closer
Contenders - Mike Timlin, Jonathan Papelbon, Joel Piniero
My Favorite - Jonathan Papelbon

Papelbon was an allstar last year and put together a tremendous Rookie campaign as the Red Sox closer. Although Piniero will give him a run for his money i think that Papelbon should hold on to his spot as the closer. I see Piniero fitting in well as a set-up man or long relief pitcher. Also they need Piniero to possibly step into the rotation if injury strikes and need presents itself.

2. Dodgers Right Field
Contenders - Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Marlon Anderson
My Favorite - Matt Kemp/ Andre Ethier

With JD Drew gone the Dodgers have a relatively large void to fill in RF. I think you can bank on seeing a Kemp and Ethier platoon in RF this season. Ethier will bat left-handed and Kemp right-handed in the platoon. This should work out fairly well for the Dodgers. If it hadn't been for Ethier's slump in the second half of last season I would give him the job but I think a platoon seems most probable.

3. Royals Third Base
Contenders - Mark Teahen, Alex Gordon
My Favorite - Alex Gordon

The future is NOW in KC the fans and the organization are both ready for him. If they know anything about what is good for this team Gordon will come away with the job and a few more seats will be filled. Look for the Royals to favor Gordon here with this one. Alex Gordon is my pick for AL Rookie of the Year in 2007, and also for an MVP further down the road. He is the best prospect in all of baseball and I think that the job will be his. Even though Teahen put together a nice little season for himself last year - 290 AVG/.357 OBP/.517 SLG, - I think the Royals will for somewhere else to put him (Probably 2B or a corner OF spot)

4. White Sox Center Field
Contenders - Rob Mackowiak, Ryan Sweeney, Brian Anderson
My Favorite- Brian Anderson

Anderson had a terrible first half last year, however he was able to bounce back in the second half (257 AVG/.301 OBP/.393 SLG). That's obviously not that good but I think he will come out with the job. He has the potential to be a good hitter and his defense is what will get him the job. If Mackowiak's glove was a little better in CF I would give him the job.

5. Cubs 4th and 5th Starters
Contenders - Angel Guzman, Carlos Marmol, Wade Miller, Jason Marquis, Sean Marshall
My Favorites- Wade Miller and Jason Marquis

If Prior, Wood, and Lilly can hold their own and somehow manage to not get injured I would go with these two for the next two spots in rotation and in that order (Miller (4) and Marquis (5)) Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol have great young arms and I think they will no doubt make the team. I just think that coming out of camp you gotta go with experience and give it to Miller and Marquis. With those two as your 4th and 5th starters that rotation should win a lot of games.


twins15 said...

I'm interested to see if Gordon can get into the Royals lineup, especially after hearing so much about him. Teahan played very well the 2nd half of last year, which will just make the race even more interesting to play out.

stephen a said...

I will eat a piece of clothing if the Royals move Mark Teahen to 2B

twins15 said...

I am now secretly rooting for the Royals to move Teahan to 2B. If only Allard Baird were still in town.

grittysquirrels said...

Unfortunately i see Teahen really in a corner OF spot. When I mentioned 2B i was speaking in mere happenstance. Sorry Jon, I as well really would like to see stephen a eat a piece of clothing.

Just for mere happenstance what type of clothing would it be? Just incase Mark Teahen somehow ends up playing some 2B.

stephen a said...

Well since there's no way it's happening, I'll go with a sock that I've worn all day. Also, I would like to raise objection to the Sox having Papelbon as a closer, I think hat would be pretty dumb. And no offense to your Cubs thing, but I dont see the Cubs winning many games with Wade Miller and Jason Marquis

grittysquirrels said...

- fair enough
- who do you see then? Piniero? B/c if not Papelbon that's the only other person i see closing games
- Those two guys are pretty above-average 4th and 5th starters. Rather they end up winning a lot of games or not who knows. They are the cubs.

stephen a said...

I think they're gonna start with Timlin since he's done it before. And I dont think a 6.02 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP make Jason Marquis above average.

grittysquirrels said...

fair enough

Anonymous said...

papelbon will be MUCH more valuable as a starter. why only use him for 90 innings, when you can use him for 200? it isn't logical.

grittysquirrels said...

Yea I know but you can spin that a number of ways. When it's bottom of the 9th at Yankee Stadium in August/September and you have a couple runners on and need to get 1 or 2 outs to close out a key victory - or really any pivotal game at that point. Who do you want closing it out. Papelbon is valuable everywhere. I'm sure he'd be a great starter and I know he's a awesome closer. Just personal preference I guess.