Monday, March 3, 2008

Position Battles

Throughout Spring Training we will follow many position battles. Here's an update on a few:

1. Red Sox, 5th Spot in Rotation

Many assumed that the 5th spot in Boston's rotation was Clay Buccholz's to lose after Curt Schilling went down with an injury. But the Sox signed former Cy Young award winner Bartolo Colon to compete for the job. Colon, who is coming back from several injury plaguedseasons, threw 42 fastballs in his latest bullpen session, reaching 90 mph on the gun. Conversely Buccholz was lit up for four runs and five hits in two innings of work against the Twins on Sunday. One start means very little, but this is a great competition to keep track of, as any starter in the Red Sox rotation is sure to win a lot of ball games.

2. Arizona, 3B.

Chad Tracy and Mark Reynolds were expected to battle it out for rights to the hot corner in Arizona. Tracy, previously a solid player with a good batting average and some pop in his bat, was troubled by injuries throughout '07. Reynolds, an unheralded prospect, was called up from the minors and pleasantly surprised the Diamondbacks with 17 homers and 62 rbis in only 366 at-bats.

We expect Reynolds to be the starter on opening day because Tracy is still only doing agility drills after September surgery on his right knee. All bets are off, however, once Tracy is back to full health. It may be difficult for Reynolds to retain the starting job if his BB:K ratio is the same as last season -- an unhealthy 37:129 (not that Tracy's is historically much better).

3. White Sox, outfield

The battle between Carlos Quentin and Jerry Owens is on. Quentin, formerly one of the tops prospects in the Diamondbacks system, doubled and scored a run on Sunday. For fantasy baseball owners, the key to this battle is whether there will be extra stolen bases or homers available on draft day. If Owens wins the job, expect him to steal 30+ bases with less rbi's than your typical little leaguer. If, Quentin is the starter expect about 15 homers, 60 rbi's and a good OBP%. This one is too early to call.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure there's much of a battle in Arizona, where Reynolds seems to have the edge, and Chicago, where Quentin seems to have won over Ozzie, but I'm right there with you in Boston. There is a reason why the Sawx picked up Colon, and it's not to be a long reliever. If he has a pulse, he's gonna be in the rotation. Buchholz might pitch anyway if Wakefield isn't in complete health.