I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about Edwin Encarnacion’s dreadfully slow start. Not only did he enter Thursday with an .083 average, but he’s also committed three errors already. He hit .221 with no homers last April, so slow starts are nothing new to him. Still, a day off Wednesday and extra work in the cage may have done Encarnacion some good, as he clubbed his second homer of the season Thursday. Looking deeper, there are some other encouraging signs; he’s already walked more than a quarter (10) of his total last season (39) in 475 fewer at-bats, so his pitch recognition is really improving. Of course, Dusty Baker probably views this as a negative.
Staying with the Reds, forward thinking owners might want to stash Homer Bailey now, even in shallower leagues. He’s shown a big improvement in the command department during his last two starts in Triple-A and still possesses major strikeout potential. On a team that’s employing Josh Fogg in the starting rotation, there really should be no hesitation to make the switch if Bailey’s control continues to progress.
When I’m driving and go out of my way to let you in my lane, a courtesy wave of acknowledgement really is required. I mean, is that too much to ask?
Don’t look now, but ESPN poster boy Bobby Crosby is off to a fast start. He’s still an obvious injury concern and not displaying the kind of power most thought would develop, but after striking out once every 4.7 at-bats during his career entering 2008, he’s fanned just once during 36 ABs this year. No one should count on him staying healthy, but there is some upside here.
Brett Favre hasn’t been retired for more than a month, and we are already subjected to will he come back rumors? This feels like an SNL skit or something.
I’m not sure what to make of Zack Greinke. He’s got upside, but he probably isn’t quite as good as his second half last year (2.42 ERA, 1.17 WHIP). But with his mind finally right, there was potential entering 2008, and after allowing just one run against terrific Tiger and Yankee offenses, optimism is abound. However, that accompanying 5:4 K:BB ratio suggests he’s been mighty lucky.
Adam LaRoche got on the board with his first homer of the year Wednesday, but his history in April is remarkable. Throughout his career, he’s now hit .174/.271/.341 during the first month of the season. That comes with a staggering 96 strikeouts over 299 at-bats.
Chuck James is getting overlooked right now. Sure, he’s pitching with a damaged shoulder, but that’s also true with many pitchers, and he feels much better after an offseason of rest. He posted a legit 2.75:1 K:BB ratio over the second half last season with a 1.21 WHIP. He gives up too many flyballs, but his changeup is nasty, and the shelling during his season debut Wednesday came in Coors Field and with another stellar K:BB rate. Let him get the cobwebs out after a truncated spring, but James shouldn’t be unowned in any deep league right now.
I’ve never been more excited about someone who was born in the 1990s, but Angel Villalona is Babe Ruth and Jesus Christ wrapped into one.
Whether or not Austin Kearns’ power will ever return is up in the air, but his component numbers are very encouraging early on. Dating back to last season, his strikeout and walk rates are both moving sharply in the right direction. He’s going to have quite a bit of RBI opportunities if Nick Johnson somehow stays healthy this season.
If Ned Yost removes Manny Parra from the rotation instead of David Bush once Yovani Gallardo returns, then he’s even more inept than I gave him credit for. He should be fired on the spot if this takes place.
Top-5 Rap Songs:
1. “Ambition Az A Ridah” (2Pac)
2. “Juicy” (Biggie)
3. “It Was A Good Day” (Ice Cube)
4. “Triumph” (Wu Tang Clan)
5. “Adrenaline” (The Roots)
One of the worst trades in recent memory that doesn’t get a lot of play involved Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka for Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young. Of course, the ballparks do skew some of the pitching stats, but imagine what Gonzalez would do out of Petco.
Francisco Liriano seems to be dealing with some psychosomatic problems. The team says he’s perfectly healthy, but he’s afraid to go all out with his fastball and is throwing far too many sliders. This is hardly rare for someone coming back from TJ surgery, but for the good of baseball, hopefully Liriano’s velocity eventually comes all the way back.
The Giants are looking for a left-handed hitting first baseman and are active in trade discussions, but club officials said they have no interest in Dan Johnson, whom the A's designated for assignment. Of course they don’t! Why would a rebuilding team want to take a cheap flier on a 28-year-old with a career .298/.388/.517 line in the minors and a 1.07:1 K:BB ratio in the majors when they have Rich Aurilia? Also, Johnson’s disappointing last couple of years can at least partially be blamed on injuries. Brian Sabean’s legacy as GM is turning into an even bigger train wreck than this.