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What We've Learned In ST 2007

  • Based on 8.1 innings, either the entire organization believes Brandon Morrow is ready for the big time, or Bill Bavasi doesn't have the huevos to overrule his coaching staff. If it's true, then Morrow's pretty much a historically-unique pitching prospect, and the guys in charge look brilliant for ignoring the conventional wisdom. If it's false, then the whole thing is a waste, Morrow's confidence is shattered, and we deal potentially irreparable harm to our biggest hope for the future. This decision may very well go a long way towards determining how we look back on these coaches and executives in the future (and if Morrow gets lit up, that future may come even sooner than we thought).
  • Jeremy Reed, Jose Vidro, and Jose Lopez left their power in whatever the hell year it was they had it last. I don't put any stock in flukey ST performances (pay attention, Willie), but continued trends carry a little more weight, and these guys combined for all of zero homers in 181 at bats. This is both distressing and completely unsurprising. Ichiro and Johjima also went homerless, but uh, yeah, I'm not too worried about those guys.
  • George Sherrill sucks in March. This year's ten runs in eight innings bring his career ST RA to 10.21. Not to worry; once the season starts, he should be fine.
  • Richie Sexson was experimenting. Based on last year's 23% strikeout rate, there was less than a 1% chance that he'd only strike out six times in 61 spring plate appearances. It's not an ideal mathematical approach, but for our purposes it gets the job done, and it shows that Sexson was almost certainly trying to do different things with his swing over the past few weeks, like make contact or drive the ball the other way early in the count. The point being, Sexson wasn't going up to the plate with the same approach he's had during the regular season, so I'd try not to be too worried over his lackluster results. He's going to do his normal thing.
  • Ben Broussard is a liar. You buying him as a backup corner outfielder? Neither am I.
  • Jose Guillen might suck all year long, but his final numbers are going to be driven up by our six series against the Angels. This guy despises his former employer more than most mailmen, and the more of his uncontrollable rage that's directed at the opposition, the better. Objective #1 is to send a screaming line drive at Vlad Guerrero's temple out of revenge. I think I'm going to like this guy.
  • Brandon Morrow parties hard. Morrow wasn't able to start yesterday's game against the Cubs due to "flu-like symptoms", which popped up the morning after Jon Huber - his only competition for a spot in the bullpen - was optioned to Tacoma. You do the math.
  • Our rotation looks exactly like we thought it would. Felix's K/BB: 6.00. K/BB for the other four starters: 1.76. If one of these guys gets a major injury during the summer, there's a 20% chance that it'll really suck, and an 80% chance that it won't make the slightest bit of difference. As far as terrifying potential headlines are concerned, "Ramirez Hurt, Needs New Ligament" is pretty low on the list.
  • The competition is injury-prone. Maybe not the Rangers, but the other two haven't gotten off to a rollicking start. The Angels, already without Bartolo Colon and Juan Rivera, watched Chone Figgins and Jered Weaver go down, while Oakland's going to be without 22% of its starting lineup for a few months. Oh, they've also had Esteban Loaiza pull up with pain in his shoulder and Bobby Kielty eat a "bad cheeseburger". Injuries: the great equalizer. If the Mariners want to end up in first place, they don't necessarily have to be better than their rivals on the field; being better in the trainer's room might just make all the difference.
  • Rafael Soriano, at least for the time being, is as healthy as he's ever been, throwing 95+ and mowing down opposing batters. He's posted nearly twice as many strikeouts in nine innings as Ho Ramirez has in 18.1. Just in case you didn't know. While we're on the subject of bad trades, which person is worse - the guy who gives Chris Snelling away, or the guy who blocks him with inferior players? Watching Snelling get little playing time with the Nationals is only going to make me angrier.
  • Rey Ordonez spent his three years away from baseball studying witchcraft and the black arts. There's no other explanation for his breaking camp on the ML roster. Thanks to Player A's noteworthy 2005, Ordonez is unlikely to set a new benchmark for unparalleled awfulness, but that doesn't seem like a reasonable justification to me. Jose Lopez claims that his ankle is fully recovered and feeling fine, so there's no reason whatsoever to carry this steaming load on purpose. His date with the glue factory is long overdue, and while I don't mind that the Mariners'll be the ones driving him there, I do mind that they're giving him a chance to say his last words. He's done nothing to earn that privilege.
  • Rene Rivera isn't bulletproof.
  • Sean White is a crazy groundballer. His peripherals aren't any good, but he keeps the ball down, and looks to have some measure of success this year by keeping the infield busy. Whether hanging on to Sean Green v2.0 while exposing the original to waivers and demoting Jake Woods is the right move, I can't say yet, but I'm a man who loves his groundballs, so at least there's minimal Thornton potential here. White's going to share long-man duties with Julio Mateo, which essentially means we'll never see him in a winning effort anyway. Let it be known that a Sean Black was drafted as a pitcher by the Nationals last summer, and that Sean Brown might be jonesing for a chance on the mound after washing out as a hitter at Eastern Illinois a few years ago. We're still waiting on a Sean Burnt Orange.
  • JJ Putz is worrisome. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but any time you have the most important non-Felix pitcher on your staff saying things like "(just) a little pain I can work through" before April even begins, you could be in trouble. If Putz gets hurt, this team is boned.
  • Spring Training sucks. It's time for real baseball to begin.