Pitchers and catchers what? Woohoo!

OK, guys and gals, a new baseball season is upon us! Let your voices be heard. How has your team improved, not improved? Predictions? Run wild in the fullness of your joy (unless you are in Detroit, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Pittsburgh or Kansas City…then just try not to kill yourself).

The Anaheim Angels are the defending World Series champs. Predictably, Stoneman didn’t make any moves to really improve the team. But he won us a trophy, so I suppose I can’t level him with the full fury of my wrath for a few more years.

Anyway, I’m not really worried about how the Angels will do in the playoffs, I’m worried about them making the playoffs. Once again, the AL West is ridiculous…although, Seattle is one year older and Oakland is one year closer to not being able to resign their key players. Of course, since Beane seems able to pull good players out of his ass at will, that isn’t much of a consolation.

Some key questions for my boys in red:

  1. Does Spiezio get resigned after this year with Kotchman waiting in the wings? I think no. I love Spiezio, but if he has another great season, he will be too expensive if Kotchman is ready and if he has a not so great season, there’s no reason not to replace him with Kotchman. Hopefully he has a good season and gets a big contract with another team.

  2. Two more seasons of Sele and Appier. Sigh. I get so nervous watching them pitch - it looks like they are just going to fall apart. Obviously, they don’t get resigned after the end of their contracts what with Jenks and Calloway sitting around. The real question is if the opportunity to trade them comes along, should the Angels take it? I say yes. Even for a mediocre prospect, the ability to get 7-10 million dollars off the payroll is worth it.

  3. Will Washburn ever develop a good outpitch like a slider or a changeup? I’m not holding my breath, but I really, really wish he would. He’s keeping a sub-4.00 ERA with smoke and mirrors and teams are just bound start focusing on him now.

  4. Will Ortiz suffer a panic attack on the mound and need to be hospitalized this year? I swear, he’s like a hamster thrown into a roomful of ravenous cats out there. Not good times.

  5. Does Glaus get his numbers back up? I think he does.

  6. Do they repeat? I’m not so sure. I think injuries will be a problem on the pitching staff this year if they aren’t careful. I’m also wary of the bullpen…was last year’s performance by Donnelly a fluke? And would you trust Schoeneweis with anything except a 5 run lead against Detroit? Ick. Thank god for K-Rod and Percy.

I now open up the floor for discussion, analysis and rants about other teams, death threats to Selig, etc. I’m particularly interested in hearing about White Lightning’s desire to have Epstein’s love child.

I like the Angels, Neurotik. Impossible as it may sound, I think they’re still underrated even though they won it all. I think people believe they just got lucky in the playoffs, but that is not the case; they were a great team. Look at the run differentials:

Angels: 851 scored, 644 allowed, a +207
Yankees: 897 scored, 696 allowed, a +200

And the Angels were playing more games against AL West teams - two excellent teams and a mediocre one - while the Yankees got to play a good team (Sox) and mediocre team (Blue Jays) and two atrocious teams (O’s and Devil Rays.)

People seem to assume the Yankees are better. I don’t see it. I like the Angels to make the postseason again.

MY team, the Blue Jays, are getting better. Big time. New management has brought new ideas and they’re paying off. But…

  1. Which kids are for real? Eric Hinske won the Rookie of the Year Award, Josh Phelps hit like a crazy bastard, Vernon Wells drove in 100 runs. Are they all really that good? Or can we expect sophomore jinx?

  2. Roy Halladay is great, but will his arm hold out? He led the league in IP - but man. he was awesome.

  3. Who’s going to emerge as the premiere starters behind Halladay? Will Cory Lidle last another year?

  4. Will Shannon Stewart be traded? He’s in the last year of his contract, and he’s not J.P. Ricciardi’s kind of player.

  5. What the hell is that now logo? Holy CRAP that’s ugly.

I like the Jays to go 86-76. IF the pitching snaps through better than I’d expect, maybe more.

Oh, and Bug “Skeletor” Selig can kiss my hairy ass.

Oh, I think they were a great team last year. And I think they are damn good this year. But the AL West is so close, and there is a lot of competition for the Wild Card, too. I’m more worried about injuries to the staff. Washburn logged a lot of pitches last year, and Appier and Sele are just trainwrecks waiting to happen, IMHO. But I’ll remain hopeful. Like I said, if they can make the playoffs and be healthy going in, I think they’ll do well.

And yeah, the Jays have a bright future.

Anaheim Angels A-O-K!
Anaheim Angels all the way!
etc. (whole song can be seen and listened to here

I have already ordered my next year’s tickets. I am starting with 25 games and then will buy extra individual tickets as the NEED to go to more games hits me.

Neurotik, did you know that the Angels farm system is listed in the top 10 for talent. strikethree.com We have some pretty good looking pitchers down ont he farm. I like Johan Santana, but I doubt he will be up this year, maybe next year.

I think we should send Shone Figgins down to the farm system. He may be fast, but he needs more practice on when and how to run.

The Angels bullpen was one of the best last year, but sometimes they made me reach for the Tums. Ben Weber had lots of problems getting batters out towards the end of the season.

But again this year I am optimistic about the Angels and figure they can once again go all the way.

Lastly, how about a bit of trivia. 1) What song is normally used in Disney’s “I’m going to Disneyland” commercial? 2) What song was used in the World Champion Anaheim Angels “We’re going to Disneyland” commercial?

Nothings making me happier than the start of Spring training.

I got my early copy of the new Baseball Prospectus book (there are sometimes advantages to being in publishing…I know someone at the publisher and he overnights me a copy when it comes off the press) and my roto league is starting to wake up…

My predictions:

  1. The Angels will not repeat. The made it last year by having just about everyone play at the top of their game. Expecting that again is tempting fate.

  2. The Yankees will continue to come back to the pack. They’re aging and I don’t think it’s going well.

  3. The Cubs will win at least 85 games and threaten for the NL wildcard.

  4. Midway through the season it will be announced that Les Expos will play the 2004 season in Washington DC or Northern Virginia. You’ll be able to hear my cries of joy on the moon.

  5. No hitting record will be seriously challenged.

  6. One of Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling will get injured and the D-Backs will completely collapse.

  7. Oakland will still be good.

  8. Gammons will remain an entertaining doofus.

  9. Jeffrey Loria will continue to do to the Marlins what he did to the Expos.

And you can quote me.

Ahhhh, spring is near. I can almost smell the grass.

I am still bitter. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate the Angels. This comes from having spent the past four months mumbling to myself “we were only six! outs away”.

I am a Giants fan and I am concerned. I like Alou and I like the bats that they have brought. The current lineup sounds really good:

  1. Ray Durham
  2. Rich Aurilia
  3. Jose Cruz?
  4. Barry “Mr. Baseball” Bonds
  5. Edgardo Alfonzo
    and so on.

What terrifies me is their rotation. Livan is a joke, Reuter is good but not great, Schmidt, I believe, is da bomb, Moss may be better than Ortiz but we’ll see and then we have a rookie in the five spot.

On paper, I would venture to say that the giants are better than last year but that all depends on health.

I can’t wait until opening day.

I agree. The D-Backs are one injury away from bombing. Do you remember what happened when Luis Gonzalez went down?

Yep. They’ve always got a shot if the big two keep throwing goose eggs up there.

But if one of them goes down they won’t win 80 games.

1 day, 13 hours, 26 minutes, and 36 seconds til Giants pitchers and catchers report! (They have a countdown on sfgiants.com, I’m not quite THAT insane. So far.)

I predict:

That in not so much time, I will be listening to Jon Miller’s mellifluous voice narrating Barry Bonds’ home runs. And then, I will be happy, and all will be right with the world. Because it will be baseball season. I will be cheering for the Giants and booing the Dodgers, as is right and proper and good.

As for the games themselves, I can’t really say. I don’t know who’s going to win, and I don’t even really want to guess. I am content to sit back and watch the season play out.

Yay! Baseball! Hummmmm baby!

I disagree. The Angels pretty much played up to par offensively. Only one guy, Kennedy, had a genuine career year. Eckstein and Spiezio showed improvement, but Spiezio’s improvement was more in the walks area and there’s no reason he can’t keep that up. Eckstein is fairly young, so he’s within his learning curve. Anderson will probably drop off a little bit but not much. Molina had the worst year of his career. Glaus was below average. Erstad, Fullmer and Salmon were right around where they would be expected to be, barring injuries.

Granted, the pitching was pretty darn good. Appier was about where he would be expected to be. Sele was about where expected. Lackey was probably no fluke, at least not much of one. Washburn had a career year, but his ERA will probably jump up to around 3.7, which isn’t bad. Ortiz was another one, but he could either stay where he is or go up to low 4 in ERA.

Bullpen was right about where they would be expected.

I think the Angels can repeat, barring injuries.

A concerned Cardinals fan reporting in here, and with good reason. While the defense will be its usual Gold Glove-caliber self, I don’t think we have a pitching staff. Matt Morris and Woody Williams are good when they can stay healthy, but the rest of the rotation looks like this: Garrett Stephenson, Jason Simontacchi and 97-years-young Brett Tomko. Rick Ankiel’s head is still in pieces, and so is his arm.

The offense should be pretty strong, as long as Tino can find his bat again. Pujols, Edmonds and Rolen will anchor the lineup, but they need Tino and Edgar Renteria to contribute regularly to win.

While the Cards pitching situation is probably the weakest part of the team this year, I don’t think it’s something to worry about. The Cards picked up a number of pitchers in the off season to help out. Walt Jocketty is good at finding talent and I’m sure the pitchers he signed will be able to get the job done. After all, look at the season Simontacchi had last year. Did anyone really expect him to do so well?

Also, IIRC, Chuck Finley has not been signed by anyone yet. We could get him back in May.

Every person on the Cards is an offensive threat. And once J.D. Drew comes back from his surgery (probably in May) we may have the most potent offense in the National League.

This is the year for the Cardinals. Everyone has had time to recover from last year. World Series, here we come!

Well, once again the Orioles spent the off-season signing a few has-beens and studiously avoiding anyone who might help them out of their offensive doldrums.

If some of their younger players continue to improve, they might finish the season around the .500 mark, but i think that’s about the best they can hope for.

At one stage last year they actually reached .500 (63-63) after being a few games below for months. But the effort was all too much, because they finished the season with a demoralizing 4-32 run to finish 67-95.

Let’s Go O’s!!!

…can’t beleive we lost to Anaheim…can’t beleive we lost to Anaheim…can’t beleive we lost to Anaheim…can’t beleive we lost to Anaheim…

It’s like your six year old niece dropping you with a shot in the balls.

They’re the diseased cousins of the Dodgers, for God’s sake.

We shall be avenged. And we shall laugh at Montreal. And all shall be Good.

Hey Deb2world! Thanks again for the playoff tickets!!! How about we see an Angel or Dodger game in April?

For my money, Spiezio was they key to the Angels. He really stepped up his offensive numbers. More importantly, he played fantastic, although clumsy looking defense. The Angel infield does NOT throw well and Spiezio save mucho errors. GO HALOS!!!

And now, to my first team, the Dodgers.

I just don’t know. I mean we’ve got a lot of talent but a lot of question marks.

Kaz Ishii. Will he find his control? Will be able to pitch without flinching after that nasty hit to the face that ended his season and left him with a metal plate in his head.

Darren Dreiffort. Will this multi-million dollar bozo EVER earn his keep?

Cesar Izturis. A defensive superstar in the making. The problem? Somebody once told him he was a switch-hitter. He’s not. If he bats from the right side only, he’ll be golden. If he tries to switch-hit, he’ll be platooned.

Kevin Brown. Heathy? God only knows.

Fred McGriff. An obvious upgrade from Eric Karros, but this guy is old. OLD!!!

Joe Thurston. Everybody is waiting to see if this kid is ready to play 2nd base at the major league level. And if he can hit.

Adrian Beltre. I’m tired of waiting on this guy. It’s put up or shut up time. Either he becomes the star they have been saying he almost is for years, or we ship him off somewhere and say good riddance.

Todd Hundley. Jesus H Christ, we’ve got Todd Hundley. AGAIN!!!

But we’ve got Shawn Green, Paul LoDuca, Dave Roberts, Odalis Perez and Eric Freakin Gagne ready to raise cane.

It will be interesting to see how it works out.

I’m predicting a great season for myself (so to speak).

And yes, that’s the reason I chose this name.

Did anybody else think this thread was about gay sex??
…I am somehow sorely disappointed. :smiley:

GO A’S!!!

Ah, yes. Baseball season back again. It’s been almost ten years since my beloved Royals even had a whiff of hope…

I do have high hopes for the Royals pitching staff. It’s a shame that Byrd flew the coop, and David Glass couldn’t open his purse strings for anyone better than Albie Lopez, but I liked what I saw of Runelvys Hernandez, Jeremy Affeldt, Miguel Asencio and Shawn Sedlacek last year, and Jimmy Gobble might be ready for the big show too. If even two of those five can weather the shaking-out that this year is bound to be, the Royals rotation is in better shape than it’s been in three years, maybe eight. At least they had the brains to cut Jeff Suppan loose. In the bullpen, ditto Roberto Hernandez. I think Ryan Bukvich and Mike MacDougal have the potential to be a great closers, and Jeremy Hill is in the mix too. I’m very disapointed that they kept Jason Grimsley; the stats don’t show it, but from listening to games, I must say he doesn’t seem to be able to close out an inning like as reliably as a good reliever should.

Unfortunately, they’ll get little run support. Mike Sweeney and Carlos “hit the ro’ in two thousand fo’” Beltran are the only bankable hitters they’ve got. Raul Ibanez had a career year in 2002, and I doubt he’ll repeat. Joe Randa is unreliable, Mark Quinn is constantly injured and Angel Berroa is a huge question mark.

It all comes down to the bullpen, quite frankly…the Royals could have won at least 75 if the blown-lead numbers were even halved. That could happen this year…however, I’m not confident enough that I’d bet on it.

In any case, I’ll still continue cheering on the aura of George Brett, Frank White and Bret Saberhagen. Go Royals!

I share your concerns, Chaco, about the Giants’ rotation. Why did they let Ortiz go? He’s still semi-young and has some growing to do, but I believe he’ll be one of the great ones before his career is over. I doubt that SF can repeat as pennant winners (let’s be honest–they were lucky enough to back into that honor last year), but it should be interesting to see whether Alou can fill Dusty’s shoes.

Look for the Yankees to get back to the top where they belong. If Pettite can have a good year and Weaver can pitch to his potential, then the Pettitte-Weaver-Mussina-Wells quad matches up with anybody, plus whatever Clemens can do. Starting pitching puts you in position to win, and I’m not sure anyone has better 5 starters.

Questions remain at second base (can Soriano keep up his production or was his woeful postseason performance an indicator of things to come?) and at third base (will Henson EVER develop?). IF Matsui lives up to the hype, then the outfield is 2/3 solid.