The 2010 season is upon us as there are 4 days remaining until pitchers and catchers report. I already previewed the NL Central where I predicted:
The Cardinals have Pujols and Holliday, and Carpenter and Wainwright as both top tier pitching and hitting duos, and they are too talented not to win the central. Here’s how everything else will shake out I believe.
1. Philadelphia Phillies
Halladay and Hamels will combine to win around 35 games by themselves and the Phils also feature one of the best lineups in baseball from top to bottom. They will overpower the rest of this otherwise average division.
2. New York Mets-Wild Card
At least this season, the Mets won’t collapse down the stretch and come in second. They simply won’t be able to keep up from the Phils. I think David Wright’s power numbers will rebound and Jason Bay and Johan Santana give the Mets a shot at the wild card. I think they get it.
3. Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson is quietly developing into one of the best unknown pitchers in baseball. Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, and Chris Coghlan will give them a solid lineup, but I think inconsitency will plague them, and too many holes will be exposed for them to win the division.
4. Atlanta Braves
The Braves and Frank Wren baffled me this offseason with some of their moves. Trading Javier Vazquez for an average outfielder who will only block Jason Heyward’s path to the majors makes no sense to me, even taking money into account. Troy Glaus is not the answer to their hole at first base. However the Braves still have some solid starters with Hudson, Hanson, and the often overlooked Jair Jurrjens.
5. Washington Nationals
There is only one reason to care about the Nats this season: Steven Strasburg. How will he do?
1. San Francisco Giants
I think this will be a suprisingly really good team this year. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are both all-stars. A quick glance at the Giants lineup will raise the question can they hit enough but I believe that as a group Sandoval, Freddy Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, and Mark DeRosa etc will combine to create an offense which will score enough runs to support their pitchers
2. Colorado Rockies
The NL West is really a toss up between the Giants and Rockies I think. The Rockies have a lot of good young players. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge de la Rosa have learned how to pitch in Colorado and pitch very well.Watch out for Ian Stewart this season. Hit BA is less than spectacular but dont be suprised to see 32-35 homers from him this season.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Not as good as people may think. Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw, Padilla is a very average top 4 pitchers in the rotation.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
Talent at some positions but too many holes from top to bottom. Webb is even a question mark this year after a lost 2009 campaign.
5. San Diego Padres
Hey, they’ll beat the Nationals. But a lineup with Nick Hundley, Chase Headley, Will Venable, and David Eckstein is hard to believe in!
As Spring Training continues to progress and now near its conclusion, most roster spots for the Reds have been determined with the exception of a couple of backup roles. The most pressing question remaining is who will be the fifth starter in the Reds rotation: Homer Bailey or Micah Owings.
Owings was aquired from Arizona in the Adam Dunn deal. He was shut down at the end of last season due to a minor shoulder ailment. The Reds were out of the playoff race when Owings arrived and did not want to risk further injury just to have Owings pitch a couple of games. This spring Owings has been impressive, posting a 1.52 ERA and having a 2.5:1 K/BB ratio. Owings is also one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball and Dusty Baker has said that he would not hesitate to have Owings pinch hit at any time (let me be clear though: I dont think Owings should be converted to an outfielder like some Reds fans have suggested).
However, Owings has some stiff competition for the fifth spot. New confidence, and a willingness to accept coaching has led to Homer Bailey’s putting together a great spring as well. Most Reds fans thought Bailey would be etched in stone in the Reds rotation at this point but he has had many struggles. This Spring however has been a good one. Bailey has posted a 2.61 ERA while striking out 20 and only walking four. Poor control had been Bailey’s nemesis in his first two broken seasons in the majors.
Bailey made what will probably be his final spring start April 1st and was good allowing only 2 earned runs and striking out 8 in 6 innings.
So Dusty Baker’s options are this:
1-Owings gets the spot and Bailey goes to the bullpen for long relief and is the replacement for anyone in the rotation who might get hurt.
2-Owings gets the spot and Bailey gets sent down yet again (I do not want this to happen)
3-Bailey wins the spot and Owings is either sent down or possibly (but I doubt it) sent to long relief.
While I would love to see Bailey in the rotation. I would opt for option one if I was the Reds. Bailey gets major league experience and Owings has his chance to continue to strive to reach his potential and both pitchers are put to good use. What will Dusty do? I think he will give the spot to Owings. It should be interesting to see. Please comment because I would love to know what other Reds fans are hoping for and when the decision is made, I would love to hear your reactions.
Go Reds! Its Skyline Time!