Good Guys Sports, where you go to read more thoughts about spring training that mean absolutely nothing and will probably be rendered irrelevant in about three days!
- Coming into the spring, the bench was expected to be Hannahan, Byrnes/Langerhans, Garko, and a catcher, with the other outfielder making it if they went with 11 pitchers instead of 12. It’s certainly too early to make any declarations, but some guys might be forcing their way into the picture. Matt Tuiasosopo is hitting the cover off the ball and playing some at SS, and reportedly playing it well. He’s actually playing there a lot more than Hannahan has, as far as I’ve heard. Good Guy Mike Sweeney, an expected extreme long shot for the roster, has been the best hitter in camp so far. He’s still a long shot, especially since he can’t really play the field, but do they keep him if he’s looking like he’s going to have a resurgence? It was kind of missed, but his second half last year was surprisingly good. There’s a long way to go and things will certainly change, but either of these guys forcing their way onto the team means they’re hitting well, which could be an unexpected positive.
- Tuiasosopo is an interesting case. The people who like him feel he doesn’t get his due. Others say he just hasn’t shown much so far. A quick profile (which might be a Y2010M! post soon): excellent athlete (elite college QB recruit); drafted as SS, moved off position fairly quickly; most think 3B or outfield would be best position; frame to hit for power, hasn’t really shown it yet; promoted aggressively by Bavasi, which might have slowed him a bit. He had glowing reviews when drafted, so it’s possible it could gel for him to be an impact player. I’ll save further thoughts for another post, but I was interested in Wakamatsu’s quotes today (or maybe Van Burkleo’s) saying how getting him some versatility is important. It certainly makes sense for this year, but I wonder what they’re thinking for the future for him. Not sure if they see him as a potential regular or just a utility guy.
- Handicapping the 5th starter race, if you can call it that: I think Vargas and Fister are clearly the two being considered most strongly, followed by French and then Olson. Vargas has performed well. Lots of groundballs, few runs, some Ks. I heard The News Tribune’s Ryan Divish point out that last year he was coming off surgery still and couldn’t prepare very well, and this year he looks a lot more confident and just better. Might not make any difference, but some unexpected improvement is always welcome. Fister was a little rough today, but not horrible like Olson was the other day. It sounds like French might have a little more juice back in his arm than last year, but he probably isn’t in the discussion with the other two yet. Lots of time left, so who knows. We might even see another arm added, but if not, I’m sure we’ll see plenty of both Vargas and Fister and a few others as well.
- First round of cuts coming this week, I believe. Who goes doesn’t matter at all at this point, but things start to get a little more serious with each cut. Between spring training and college basketball, not too many times of year I like better than this for sports.