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Quick Hits For Week 1 of Spring Training Games

I haven’t written in a while so lets just bounce around a little bit.

  • James Kaprielian, the Yankees’ first round pick last June, a starting pitcher out of UCLA, was impressive in his first spring work. A ton has been written about him in the New York media in the last few days and I think people are starting to visualize a Kaprielian, Luis Sverino – based rotation of the future in New York. I was not impressed by Severino’s first outing of the spring, he had absolutely no idea where the ball was going but it was his first spring game so no big deal. My bigger concern with him is his ability to handle a full season work load and I think both he and Kaprielian are destined for more bottom of the rotation futures but I hope they prove me wrong.
  • I saw somewhere that former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd mentioned publicly that the club had once considered using 13 relievers and zero starters on their pitching staff. O’Dowd said the team was never serious about it but I think if any team should rethink the way pitching staffs are organized its Colorado. The Rockies can’t be competitive playing the same 5-starter game as everyone else, they have to do something differently to find an advantage. Bill James recently suggested using 3 starters with strict pitch counts since it seems like its not frequency of pitching that leads to injuries but length of pitching outings. With some conditioning, starters could absolutely go every 2 days for short bursts. They already throw mid-rotation bullpen sessions. That way, Colorado could avoid throwing bad starters in Coors field and give more innings to their best pitchers and best one inning relievers. They need to do something.
  • Jenrry Mejia is accusing the MLB of conspiring to kick him out of baseball for refusing to give the league info about his drug network. I think that’s probably ridiculous. Mejia was and is the only person ever found to be taking the specific type of steroid he used three separate times. Based on that fact alone, why would MLB be so convinced that he was part of a broader conspiracy that they would collude to ban him for life for not rolling on his non-existent fellow users. However, it seems likely there is more to the story than we know because I find it equally hard to believe that Mejia used the same drug he’d been caught with twice more after his first suspension. No one’s that dumb, right?
  • I think the Orioles and Blue Jays are going to be worse than people think. Baltimore spent the most of any team this offseason but most of it was to keep guys they already had. Those guys are now older and more expensive, offering the team less flexibility going forward and the team wasn’t successful last season with younger, cheaper guys. In Toronto, I’m worried about the rotation. It wreaks of 2015 Red Sox- a bunch of good-not-great guys behind and unproven ace. I think the Jays are going to be faced with, best case, a whole cast of unremarkable starters, none really better than any other and none really very good. At the very least, their games will be a blast to watch, very high scoring.
  • The biggest problem with the National League being so bad is that it makes going to games a little less fun. In Washington, the Nationals play entirely too many home games against Miami, Atlanta, and Philly. They even host the Reds at one point and the Cubs are only in DC for three games all season. Washington better be good or its going to be an ugly summer in the capitol.

-Max Frankel


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