Mr Wonderful's MLB Assessment Sampler of the Season's Start
Please find the following 2013 MLB seasonal "preview" to be what is actually going to happen. My powers of prognostication are not limited solely to baseball alone.
OK, so it's only two weeks into the season. Is that any reason for Angel fans to be panicking? It is if Hamilton and Pujols continue to hit like Engelbert and Timmy Lupus. Mike Trout's only weakness as a ballplayer is Kryptonite, so I don't see him having much trouble putting up similar numbers in this his sophomore year. Jared Weaver may have a disturbingly creepy resemblance to Tatum O'Neal, but if he continues to pitch like her when he returns from the DL, Coach Buttermaker will be playing 'musical pitchers' until the trade deadline approaches.
The biggest story out of New York so far this year has to be CC Sabathia, who seems to have recovered nicely from this off-seasons gastric by-pass surgery. It was rumored that when the doctors opened him up, they found an old boot, a box of nails, a dolphin, a Louisiana license plate, and Bartolo Colon. Word is the Yankee shot-callers were happy to see the back of CC's neck no longer seems to resemble a pack of hot dogs, but they were less than thrilled he just fired his long-time agent to ink a new, more lucrative deal with Boar's Head. They will be handling any of his future contract negotiations as well as providing his immediate family with a lifetime of free meat products.
CC's appalling diet aside, the Yanks are still the same team Motown exposed them as being in last years playoffs: old and one-dimensional, and not very good in that dimension, if I might add. If there are any other bright spots on this Yankee roster thus far, it would have to be Vernon Wells, who seems to have re-gained the stroke that had struck fear into the hearts of AL pitchers for years. Except for the last three in which he appeared to be hacking away at the plate like a blind, drunken woodsman. That bodes well for Kevin Youkilis, another bright spot so far. If he can stay vertical and continue to hit like he has with Vernon protecting him, they will re-name this team the New York Youkees.
Justin Masterson can pitch on my team any day of the week. That being said, a playoff team usually has at least two dependable studs at the top of the rotation. It's entirely possible that U-ball-go Jimenez might be left-handed ... or is he just a true NL hurler like, say, AJ Burnett? It may take AJ four hours to watch 60 Minutes, but at least he was smart enough to opt out of the junior circuit to seek refuge back in the NL with the Buccos, where there is no pressure and no hope of winning, either. The Tribe might want to think about dealing U-ball-go to the Cubbies for Matt Garza as long as his wing is sound. He is still young, and while with the Rays, he was a proven stud in baseball's toughest division. They have a bunch of good, young sticks, but history shows that pitching and defense wins championships.
And if pitching and defense win championships, then why not just give the trophy to the Tigers right now? Justin Verlander is this generation's Nolan Ryan. He is capable of completely shutting down any offense on any given night. Along with Doug Fister and his power sinker and Mr. Filthy McNasty, Max Scherzer, Detroit power arms up and down their roster. Combine that with the Motown Lumber Company featuring baseball's best one-two punch of Baby ManRam, who will be giving AL pitchers night-terrors for the next ten years, and the owner of the prettiest and most hellacious swing since Will Clark, Prince Fielder. Add in a dash of Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson, and Detroit has the perfect récipe for dominating the short series.
Look for Hosmer, Gordon, Moustakas and Yuni to rebound from their dismal 2012 season. These guys are going to flat out rake. Billy Butler anchors a line-up that will tune up AL pitching on a nightly basis. As for the pitching? Any staff with Shields, Hocheavar and Davis at the top of the rotation has a shot. Except the only way any of these guys get a Gold Glove will be with a can of spray paint.
Is it me? Or am I missing something here? If the M's can lose with Felix Hernandez, they can certainly lose without him. If the Mariner shot-callers were smart, they would have dealt The King to a team in return for their top three or four MLB-ready blue-chippers. Instead, they gave him all that cabbage and all those years when it's only a matter of time before he experiences arm problems as all pitchers do at some point. Their system is loaded with good, young arms, as evidenced by their dealing away Fister and Piñeda. On the brighter side, Nintendo went out and got Kendry Morales who, when he's right, is a .300+/30 HR/40 doubles guy who will knock in 120 and end up with 200 hits. then there's Mike Morse a beastly, bulging man who will very soon inspire Safeco Field patrons with tickets in the left field seats to sign an insurance waiver upon entering the park. Dustin Ackley will win a batting title someday, too, but for now,Seattle is still a couple years away from competing seriously.
The Red Sox:
The re-tooling of Boston's line-up could help erase the memory of the tool that was Bobby Valentine. The Bosox brass has tried to go back to the formula that brought them two World Series titles in the last ten years, ie- dirty, gritty, hard-nosed ballplayers that are going to grind out at-bats. They have a revamped bullpen with some power arms that could make it one of baseball's best. The biggest question will be how Joel Hanrahan and his 'Linda Ronstadt' fastball translate to the AL. When you've got a guy who can dial it up into the triple digits before you can blink, then it's already Blew By You. Time will tell how long he remains in the closer's role after his less-than-auspicious start to the season. With Andrew Bailey healthy and throwing Tylenols in the set-up role, it's safe to say -- as a former closer -- he could make the transition to being the hammer at the back of the pen again.