We’re working our way out of the baseball doldrums and about to enter spring training season after just a few moreÂ excruciatinglyÂ long weeks. I don’t know about you, but I’m reaching the point where I’m starting to get more and more optimistic about the upcoming season. I try to stay grounded because of the disappointment this team has provided all of us over the last 20 plus seasons, but taking care of renewing my season tickets and booking my trip to Arizona for spring training has me pretty darn excited for the 2013 season.
- On that point, sometimes when I wite articles I try to take off my “fan” hat and look at things statistically and logically. The fact of the matter is that being a fan sometimes defies logic. I’ve talked about this before, and what I notice is that I sometimes find my enjoyment is taken away by looking so deeply into the numbers. I’m going to try to pick a few games this year and turn that part of my brain off and just watch the game like I’m a kid again. I know that seems ridiculous, and I’m not sure if I can do it, but I think it might be fun.
- The Royals ZiPS projections came out yesterday and based on those, things look a wee bit bleak, but the first thing I want to point out is how difficult it is for any projection system to handle a team like the Royals. I’m not saying the projections are wrong because the bulk of them look about right to me, but a young team like the Royals tends to be a little more difficult to project due to looking at past seasons and typical aging curves. For example, a guy like Alex Gordon who had a terrible 2009Â andÂ 2010 still has those seasons working toward his projection even though he’s pretty clearly a different player now. I would also say that guys like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are sort of wild cards because they were generally pretty rough last year offensively, but clearly have potential through the roof. If they realize that potential, ZiPS will look terrible, but this is fully based on what they’ve done in the big leagues to this point. It’s an interesting read, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in it either way. And yes, I’d say that even if the system painted the Royals as a 90 win team.
- Based on interviews and common sense, it looks like there will be just a few battles on the roster in spring training. On the offensive side of the ball, there are just a couple of battles, and they’ll directly impact the others. The first is the starting second base job which will be between Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella. This is Giavotella’s last shot, I think, and I still believe he won’t make it with the Royals. I also still believe based on what I’ve seen from him in the minors that he’ll make it with some other team if he’s given a chance. The wild card in this is Miguel Tejada who is also in competition to be the Royals utility infielder. I think its his job to lose, and I don’t think he will, even if he plays poorly in the spring. Those are the two battles I’ll be watching very closely. Additionally, Jarrod Dyson and David Lough will battle for fourth outfielder (and maybe someone else brought in) and then we’ll see the fifth starter battle which will ultimately alter the makeup of the bullpen. So, in short, there are no real big battles, but the right decisions could give the Royals three or four additional wins or maybe even more. In a year when the Royals hope to compete, that could be big.
- It’s early yet, but if you had to ask me today what the Royals roster will look like on Opening Day, I’d put it like this (and yes, I’m going to put Hochevar on here…my hope of him being traded is dwindling):
Pitchers -Â Shields, Guthrie, Santana, Davis, Hochevar, Mendoza, Chen, Teaford, Crow, Collins, Herrera, Holland (I do think Gutierrez has a shot over Teaford)
Catchers -Â Perez, Hayes
Infield -Â Hosmer, Getz, Escobar, Moustakas, Tejada
Outfield -Â Gordon, Cain, Francoeur, Dyson
Designated Hitter -Â Butler
25th Man -Â I see this going one of three ways – Lough, Abreu/Falu or Gutierrez
- Hopefully you had a chance to see Sammy Sosa’s new Pinterest page. If not, I’d recommend it. If you need a pick me up, you can use this as your new desktop wallpaper:
Have a great weekend everyone!