It’s a new year and a new season and while pitcher’s and catchers reported yesterday, the first real day of spring training is today. To kick things off, the Cleveland Indians made things interesting by signing Michael Bourn and while that’s a nice long term move for them, I don’t see he alone making a huge impact on the race.
This sounds a lot like my prediction from last year but the Tigers are, on paper, the best team in their division and they should win the American League Central by 15 games. They should have done the same thing last year and while they managed to make things interesting, they still made it all the way to the World Series. With that, the Tigers didn’t fix any of the weaknesses they showed when they were man handled by the Giants in the World Series. Namely coaching (we still have the sames ones) and our bullpen (which could be really good, but a lot of things have to happen).
The big story this spring (hopefully because if it changes it means someone got hurt) will be who is the closer. Bruce Rondon looks like he has the leg up because of his minor league pedigree but he comes with some risk because of his high walk rate. The 100 mph fast ball is nice, but if he’s walking the leadoff man to start a lot of games, it’s going to make those saves tougher to come by. He also had his struggles this winter in Venezuela especially against lefties.
My choice for close is Rick Porcello if they’re not going to use him in a long relief role (a nearly non-existent thing these days, i.e. a reliever who throws more than one inning). He keeps the ball down, doesn’t give up a lot of walks or home runs and he’s pretty good the first time through the lineup. Let Rondon pitch earlier in the game when we need a punch out, let’s not waster him with nobody one and nobody out in the ninth inning.
College basketball is heating up. For those of you who remember, I’m an MSU grade and I’m hoping the Spartans take care of business tonight against UM. I don’t usually bet on March Madness but I like MSU’s NCAA tournament odds. They’re probably just as good as any other team in what’s shaping up to be a weird season.