Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Training Thoughts: Week One

Well, sort of week one. Pitchers and catchers actually reported circa the second week of February, but they weren't really doing anything for our benefit until the last few days. This is by no means a comprehensive rundown, because you have The Internet for that, and I (like most of you, I'd wager) still haven't gotten a chance to actually see these dudes in action, so I'm mostly spreadsheeting from my mother's basement here. But nonetheless, some thoughts below the jump.

Mark Reynolds -- The three true outcome king continues his tyranny. Reynolds' "first at-bat as an Oriole" -- with the caveats that it was not a statistically recorded at-bat, took place in an intersquad game, and came at the expense of Oriole name wunderkind Chorye Spoone -- resulted in a grand slam. He's been somewhat rubbish since then, but most people love that grand slam. No one really seems to mention it was just the opening salvo against Spoone, one of the Orioles' top pitching prospects now that Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman have graduated, and signaled the beginning of what's been a disappointing spring for him so far. But this is the Mark Reynolds entry! He's having a pretty bad spring so far against actual opposing pitchers. Grounding into double plays, striking out, the usual. Means nothing, of course, but be sure you'll see more of it.

Vladimir Guerrero -- Vlad's playing like a dude who's being paid eight million dollars, even if three million of it is deferred. Then again the Orioles paid Aubrey Huff to OPS+ around 80 every other season for about that much, so we'll take our victories where they come. Guerrero has a dinger or two, an RBI double today against the Sox, and generally looks like he'll be ready for the season. I don't think anyone was worried about.

Nolan Reimold -- Reimold's plate discipline is back, and it's looking like his power is returning too. Had three walks and a homer his first game against the Rays; hit a three run blast against the Tigers yesterday. I'm sure he's just trying not to get sent down so he can put up a .220/.400/.370 line in a utility role. Well, that's a bit harsh; there's no real room for him on this team right now, but if he turns it on, and he actually proves he can consistently hit major league pitching and stay healthy, they'll find places to play him. For instance...

Derrek Lee -- ...this guy isn't healthy yet. And he suffered another setback. FORMER CUBS!

Chorye Spoone -- Spoone has missed generous time the past two years with injuries, and spent a good portion of last year sidelined with shoulder issues in Double A Bowie. He's not had the best spring so far, giving up two runs on three hits a couple days ago against the Twins and the aforementioned Mark Reynolds grand slam, but it's spring and he's not expected to be a part of the Orioles' plans this year. Might get a look in the bullpen later on if he impresses.

Nick Markakis -- Nicky is slugging bombs left and right. Save some for the season, if you would. Markakis getting back to his 2007 form would be nice; he won't be getting as many IBB and "unintentional intentional" walks this year, since he won't be the only guy not named Luke Scott in the lineup with an ounce of plate discipline and power.

J.J. Hardy -- Looks nice so far, performing like he should. Hopefully he stays healthy.

Zach Britton -- Kid had a self-admitted case of the butterflies his first spring appearance against the Phillies, but he didn't do badly at all: 2 IP, 2 hits, 1 K, no runs allowed. I am also informed he struck out the one they call Ryan Howard, First Baseman, Pre-Eminent Slugger, the Man of One Hundred and Twenty-Five Million Despairs. Maybe he should begin the year in Baltimahahahaha no, that would be insane. Britton is a good bet for a mid-season call up if he continues to impress in Norfolk in April and May, however.

Felix Pie -- From all reports, he continues to be very fast with little plate discipline and hints of Figuring It All Out. Hopefully this will continue as the team's fourth outfielder.

Adam Jones -- Haven't heard much about him, actually. Probably not a good sign. Still, it's just spring.

Brian Matusz -- He had a solid debut. I'm not worried about him.

The Bullpen -- Honestly, I can't find it in my heart to be interested in how relief pitchers are faring in Spring Training, not even for a bullshit blog post to prove I'm still alive and watching baseball.

Matt Wieters -- He's gotten some hits. We'll see how he fares when the games start counting. And really, when you think about it, I could have just written this for all these guys and it would have been just as sensible.

Except Craig Tatum. Enjoy AAA Norfolk, Craig.

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