This is the first of many of my reports directly from the fields in Arizona. First and foremost from a fantasy viewpoint you should recognize that while all news is good and it’s great to have baseball games again, we are just over a month away from the start of the 2013 season. Very few starting jobs or spots in the rotation are really up for grabs. Yeah I know you know this … BUT it means you don’t make yearly or even long term decisions based on a pitcher’s first outing – whether it was good or bad.
Because Clayton Kershaw is the Dodgers ace and will have a good season.
And Dylan Bundy is Baltimore’s best pitching prospect but he won’t be in the Opening Day rotation.
So let’s keep those in perspective. Now for my schedule which helps you understand my posts and what I see live EVERY day of spring training (well at least until 3/31 when I am taking a long weekend to drive to Las Vegas for the NFBC drafts and my 10th wedding anniversary celebration).
Most days I see either the Chicago White Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch games. I will see all the other major league clubs during spring training but will see those two the most, followed by the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.
So for starters let’s look at the main question for those clubs.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX – Really the biggest question is whether John Danks is healthy and ready to start the season in the rotation. Well yesterday he threw live batting practice and looked good … a good step but lots of steps left.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS – Health in left field and in the rotation are presumed for Carl Crawford (who should start playing in games next week) and Chad Billingsley who appears to be fine. The Dodgers have about eight starting pitchers and while they “need” to hold one to be ready in case Billingsley has any delays, they have one or two to trade – likely Chris Capuano which is why you see his name mentioned. Matt Kemp did not play in the first game Saturday but is tentatively scheduled to start playing on March 1 – late this week.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS – The fifth starter spot is very much up for grabs in Surprise and there are a lot of contenders. For the second year in a row I will say I think it should be Luis Mendoza but here is a case where over many games not any one, we need to see the results from the Royals pitchers. By the way I saw Danny Duffy’s first bullpen session a week ago and he was happy to be able to start throwing and felt fine. He will be on a slow cruise but if all goes well should be ready to pitch sometime in July and could be a big plus for the Royals then (although in my opinion if the starters are doing fine they should just let Duffy pitch for one of the minor league clubs).
TEXAS RANGERS – Actually lots more questions on this side of the Surprise complex and the questions you really want to know about – named Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt – we likely won’t know about until late next month. They are both here and will be playing a lot with more experienced Rangers off for a week or so playing in the World Baseball Classic. In the very first Ranger game on Friday I thought they might have been pressing a bit, especially at the plate. Olt made a great defensive play in the field while Profar made an uncharacteristic error. The fifth starter spot is a competition here with the winner likely to be either RHP Justin Grimm or one of the young LHP, Martin Perez or Robbie Ross. That will take a while to determine.