“Baseball-2019-Lots of Teams-Lots of Questions”
The 2019 season is off and running. The free agents have mostly been signed, the trades made, the new rookies have arrived.
A trip across the MLB road map with storylines worth paying attention to.
PADRES…The lineup should be better with Manny Machado’s arrival, but the big question, do they have enough pitching to last 162-games? The growth of Joey Lucchessi, Eric Lauer, the emergence of Matt Strahm, and the explosiveness Chris Paddock bodes well for the season. After that it is anyones guess. Someone must surface from AAA-El Paso as spring turns to summer, because they really need depth. Average age of the rotation, 24-years old. Fernando Tatis will be fun to watch, only time tells if he is ready to do this. His minor league track record of growing as the season has gone on, says ‘yes’.
DODGERS…A different roster, with the arrival of AJ Pollock, but the question remains, will they miss the power outbursts Matt Kemp-Yasiel Puig-Yasmani Grandal provided? The other question will be the continuing health issues of Clayton Kershaw. Keeping hot young pitching prospect Julio Urias away from further arm problems, bears watching.
ANGELS…The money has been spent on Mike Trout. They will await the return to health of Shohei Ohtani. They hope to get a full season out of Albert Pujols To be determined, what do they get out of Matt Havey and Trevor Cahill in the rotation. Tough to not have Ohtani and Andrew Heaney as part of the starting staff.
ARIZONA..Life after Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin and AJ Pollock will be challenging. Zack Grienke has been left behind, and they will need good seasons from Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker in the rotation. The bullpen is good with Greg Holland and Archie Bradley.
ATLANTA…Josh Donaldson meet Freddie Freeman, and they are joined by hotshots Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Aviles, and that’s a pretty good foundation. They seem thin in pitching after Julio Teheran and Sean Newcomb, but there are kids on the way.
CUBS…The return to health of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, Pedro Strop and a bounce back season from Kris Bryant makes a difference. Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez are stars, but they need more to stay upper echelon.
CINCINNATI…The Reds have been down a long time A busy winter of rentals brought them virtually a new team.pitchers Sonny Gray, Alex.Wood, Tanner Roarke plus Kemp and Puig will make a difference. They are awaiting more from the farm system.
COLORADO…They have arms, a bunch of young quality starters, and they have Nolan Arenado. Do they have enough in the lineup to protect him. Getting David Murphy adds grit to the lineup, but will they miss some of the bullpen who left, plus the decision to let DJ LeMaheiu walk?
MIAMI..The overhaul engineered by incoming CEO-Derek Jeter is pretty much complete. It may be years before the farm system can produce talent, like Victor Mesa Mesa. They might lose 115 this year, and they won’t draw.
MILWAUKEE..How serious is the arm injury to reliever Corey Knebel? Do they have enough quality starting pitching? Or will they just hit the ball out of the yard all day long and not worry about the mound corps? Yasmani Grandal is the latest big bat addition.
METS…What a whirlwind winter their new front office had, adding Robbie Cano-Jed Lowrie and ex Mariners closer Edwin Diaz. Superb starting pitching and a promising array of young bats led by Peter Alonso and Dom Smith. A healthy year from Zach Wheeler and Steven Matz could,make this a tremendous pitching rotation. IF the old line vets like Robbie Cano holdup, they could be good.
PHILLIES….Bryce Harper could hit a ton at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark, and vets like Jean Segura, Andrew Mccutcheon and JT Realmuto will give them production and leadership Jake Arietta and a collection of young arms, led by Aaron Nola, will be fun to watch. Rhys Hoskins and the guys around him could hit a ton.
PIRATES…No one seems happy in Pittsburgh with the leadership-ownership. They are collecting lots of young arms, so much will be expected of Chris Archer, Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrave, Trev Williams and Nick Kingham. Young bats like Greg Polanco and Josh Bell and others need to stay on the field.
ST LOUIS…Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller join a good team. But of big concern is the ongoing health of once known ace Carlos Martinez. They need healthy years from Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright too.
SAN FRANCISCO….Bruce Bochy’s farewell tour is underway, next stop will be the Hall of Fame for Bochy and his 3-World Series rings. Not much of an off season. Have to hope the battered roster of last year bounces back, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Madison Bumgarner. Looks like, feels like, major rebuilding.
WASHINGTON….That’s a lot of lineup to replace with Bryce Harper going to the enemy in the division. Pretty good pitching, adding Pat Corbin and Anubal Sanchez to Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Watch to see if the kids, Juan Soto and Victor Robles become big time players?
BALTIMORE….If you thought 116-losses last year and the trade of Manny Machado was terrible, wait till you see what this year looks like. This will be a major rebuild under their new GM-Mike Elias. They traded for 10-prospects in the off season, not many will start the year at Camden Yards. Not sure what is worse, the starting pitching or the everyday lineup.
BOSTON….Can you replace Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly in the bullpen? The Bosox think so with kids named Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes. What a rotation, headed by the left-handers Chris Sale-David Price, and Mookie Betts and that batting order is superb.
CHICAGO….The longterm rebuild continues at Comiskey Park. Next young phenom to arrive is Eloy Jimenez, the do-everything rookie star from the minors. They hope to buy time with deals for Yonder Alonso, Kelvin Herrera and Ivan Nova.
CLEVELAND….They still have all their pitching after deciding not to trade Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, but they traded a ton of everyday players in a payroll purge. Names like Encarnarcion, Gomes, Donaldson, Brantley, Chisenhall Alonso are gone, as are pitchers Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Josh Tomlin. And now Francisco Lindor is out for months. Ownership needs to be held accountable.
DETROIT…Help wanted-need pitching. The top veteran Michael Fulmer is gone for the year with surgery, and they need arms to help Matt Boyd, Casey Mize, and Alex Faedo. This will take time. Piggy Cabrera, the home run hitter is the only one left from the good old days.
HOUSTON…It’s been 3-great seasons at Minute Maid Park, now the question, will age and injuries start taking a toll. The starting rotation has been thinned out by injuries and defections, but the core remains there, Correa-Altuve-Springer-Bregman. Still the team to beat but they need some pitching health.
KANSAS CITY….The couple of years of fun days with Eric Hosmer, Mike Mustakas and Lorenzo Cain are gone. Alex Gordon is the last man standing for that team. Losing catcher Sal Perez for the year is a crippler. Pitching, what pitching. Royals fans deserve better than ownership-leadership has given them over the last decade or so.
TWINS….They think they are a wildcard team. A busy offseason adding bats, Tyler Austin, CJ Cron, Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez, Jon Schoop makes this a different type of team.. Getting Miguel Sano back on the field to be an All Star would help a lot. But do they have enough pitching to help the young kid Kyle Gibson?
YANKEES….They are going to hit homers, lots of them, with a lineup that features names like Judge-Stanton-Sanchez-Andujar. But do they have enough starting pitching to compliment Masahiro Tanaka, JA Happ and James Paxton.. Who knows if CC Sabathia and Luis Severino can rally back from health issues. The bullpen is brilliant.
OAKLAND…A 97-win season was something last summer in the Bay Area. They’ve got bats, they rented arms, and they are scrambling. Jurickson Profar comes in at shortstop to join Khris Davis, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. But the rent-a-vet pitching issues may do them in.
SEATTLE….They tore it apart this winter. They have added 12-new faces, some young, sold old to the roster. Fascinating to see what the Japanese free agent pitcher Yusei Kikuch turns out to be. Sad to see what King Felix Hernandez has deteriorated into, and they owe him a lot of money. Waiting to see how long it goes before they move Edwin Encarnarcion.
TAMPA BAY….A great young rotation, led by Blake Snell, and now they add veteran Charley Morton to join Ty Glasnow and other young arms. Not a lot of recognizable names in the batting order, but a bunch of guys who can play at the Tropicana Dome.
TEXAS….Massive overhaul underway. Not sure a starting rotation of Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, Shelby Miller, Drew Smyly or Edison Volquez can survive a season. Bad pitching and a long hot summer likely at the Ballpark in Arlington.
TORONTO…The arrival of phenom Vlad Guerrero Junior will be delayed by the oblique injury, but this could be a good young team if they get can get some pitching help for Marcus Strohman and Aaron Sanchez.
So now we find out. “Play Ball”