Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Twins Rotation Almost Set

With about a week left before the start of the season, things almost look to be set in the Twins rotation.

The top, of course, will be Johan Santana, the reigning Cy Young Award winner who is firmly established as the best pitcher in the world. After that, it gets a little fuzzy.

At this point, it looks like Boof Bonser will definitely be in the rotation, which is a good thing, because Boof was really solid at the end of last year. Joining him and Santana will likely be Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson. Both were free-agent pickups, both have uninspiring track records. To be perfectly honest, if either of them develop into a reliable 5th starter, I'll be pleased.

After that, it gets even more fuzzy. It looks like the final spot will be either Carlos Silva's or Matt Garza. Silva is the "veteran" that has been getting hammered on the mound, Garza is the guy that has been pitching better, has much more talent and upside, but is young. If you can't tell, I think Garza should get the spot.

Last year Garza was one of the best Minor League pitchers around, and showed flashes of that at the end of the season. Silva, on the other hand, got consistently shellacked en route to an ERA above 6.

In Spring Training, it's been more of the same. Silva has an ERA above 11 in 16.1 IP, Garza has an ERA of 1.50 in 12 IP. When you put it all together, Garza seems like the no-brainer choice to make the rotation. Hopefully that happens.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Not dead, just sleeping

I know my posts have been scarce here lately, but I can explain. First off, I've been really busy with my other blog.

Secondly, I've been really busy with school and work... lots of tests, and more tests coming up!

Third, I just find it hard to write about baseball when it's not going on... most of my focus right now is on college basketball... I can write when I have stuff to write about (like the playing of the Twins), but when it's Spring Training, or the offseason, I'm just too busy.

So no worries, I'll be back in full swing once the season gets going... just a little scarce for now!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

AL Central Preview: Chicago White Sox

The positional previews were a little boring, both to write and (I imagine) boring for the one or two people that might have skimmed them. So it's time to do something different before the start of the year, and that's to preview the other teams in the Central. Let's start with the Sox.

After a World Series title in 2005, 2006 was a disappointing year for the White Six even though they were in contention for the division and wild card throughout the year. With a taste of success a couple of years ago, the Sox will once again be one of the top contenders to get back to the top.

The middle of the lineup will once again be very potent. Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and Jermaine Dye all had tremendous seasons at the plate in 2006, and the Sox would be happy if they can just get similar production from the trio. Joe Crede and AJ Pierzynski were also solid behind those guys in the lineup, and they help make the Sox offense so good.

But it's not all good for the Sox offense. Scott Podsednik and Darin Erstad are "gritty" players, but unfortunately they're not very good at getting on base a lot, which is what you need at the top of the order, especially with the mashers behind them. They should just focus on getting on base, and that's not really their games.

Next is pitching. While this is what carried them to the World Series in '05, it was their downfall in 2007. Starters like Mark Buehrle, Jose Conteras, and Jon Garland were all workhorses in 2005, which gave them great depth and consistency from the staff. All 3 suffered a dropoff in 2006. Javier Vazquez was not overly impressive in his first season with Chicago. Freddy Garcia (now gone) struggled as well. So they are counting on Buehrle, Contreras, Garland, and Vazquez to get back into form, and new guy Gavin Floyd to finally reach his potential. That's a big gamble.

In the end, I think the Sox will be a very solid team once again, but the division might be a little too tough. With the Twins, Tigers, and Indians joining the Sox, it is the best division in baseball, and I'm just not sure the Sox have the pitching to get through it.