I’m Beginning To Drop Some Names

I certainly want you to know I’ve missed you. I’ve been away for a week, but I’ve kept up on all the happenings in baseball. But frankly, I expected more action last week.

We still have those free agent pitchers and Nelson Cruz hanging around. Having a team lose a draft pick is problematic for pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. I still think someone will get a fine starting pitcher with Bronson Arroyo. I hope he finds a home. Nelson Cruz could land in Seattle-maybe by the time you read this. Yes, it’s a tough hitter’s park, but the presence of Robinson Cano could be a big help.

We heard those great words this week—“The equipment trucks are leaving from Progressive Field to Goodyear, Arizona on Friday.” That’s today. My heart skips a beat when I hear words like that. And believe me, I have to be very careful about my heart skipping any beats.

The new hat designed to provide some protection for pitchers is getting mixed reviews from those who have seen it or tried it on. I think some of the reviews are coming from people who haven’t even seen it. I like that it isn’t mandatory that pitcher’s wear the new hat (with more protection on both the top and sides.) Anything that helps protect players is fine with me. It all comes down to comfort. If a pitcher isn’t comfortable with the added depth of the hat, he’ll just go back to using the traditional cap.

I don’t quite understand the collision at home plate business. I think it will be very difficult to alter the natural flow and instincts of a runner on a play at the plate. I have to admit that my jury is still deliberating that. I want to see how it unfolds.

There are a couple players I am particularly keen on watching this season. In each blog from now until the bell rings in April, I’ll talk about a couple.

My initial name for today is Jesus Aguilar of the Cleveland Indians. A big first baseman, I’ve seen Aguilar’s power first-hand. He won’t break camp with the club, but if an opportunity presents itself and he’s been hitting in the Minors, he’s a guy that can add some power. And just 13 months ago at the Winter Meetings, he was seen as a possible Rule 5 Draft loss for the Tribe. But he went unclaimed. I’ll be keeping an eye out.

Two other big first baseman I’ll be watching are the Astros Japhet Amador from the Mexican League and the Giants Angel Villalona who is returning to the club after spending time in a serious legal matter.

I really like watching big first basemen. I like to watch them field their position. Both Amador and Villalona are very agile and lithe for such big bodied guys. If they can hit, they’d be under the radar bonuses for their clubs. But believe me, they aren’t under my radar. I’ll be watching closely.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it in this forum, but I’m very bullish on Anibal Sanchez this coming season. If you followed me last year, my main pitcher recommendation was Chris Tillman. He didn’t disappoint. This year? Sanchez. Great stuff. Everything moves. Including the hitter’s eyes. And knees.

Those who have followed me in the past know that I get itchy this time of year. I start talking about guys I really love to watch. And guys I want on my fantasy team. So that’s what I’ll be doing from now on.

I’m thrilled to read the reports that Pablo Sandoval has lost weight. I hope it’s true. We’ll see in a couple short weeks from now.

Next week on MLBPipeline.com I’ll be writing about the Indians Tony Wolters and then I’ll be providing my National League Prospect Dream Team followed at the end of the week by my American League Prospect Dream Team. At the end of that piece, I’ll have an All Major League Prospect Dream Team. Hope you’ll read them. Probably Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Of course, that can change.

Enjoyed talking to the Sun City Grand crowd this week. Thanks for the nice reception and great turn out. Loved talking baseball with you.

As always, follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff, on Short Hops podcast with Derek Van Riper (which you can find free on iTunes) and of course, at my main landing spot-MLBPipeline.com.

And as always, thanks for reading my work.

That’s it. I’m done.

8 Comments

Great insite as usual. I missed you at SABR day!

Thanks so much. Missed you too. I hope to make the next one.

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I too am excited to see what Aguilar can do. Hopefully Santana can manage 3B and Swisher gets thrown to the OF to replace Murphy opening up a spot for Jesus by June.

I just think Aguilar is going to get a chance-and I think it’ll be this season. But they have to let him play. Not play him once and yank him.

Home plate collisions are tough to avoid, and even tougher to write rules to avoid. Having played in several semi-pro leagues where plate collisions were banned, I can tell you that writing a rule that can be consistently applied by the umpires is difficult at best. There has to be equal emphasis on not killing the catcher, and on not having the catcher impede the baserunner unnecessarily. Finding that balance is difficult — most umpires will side with the catcher and call the runner out/ejected or whatever the penalty implies. If I had a dollar for every catcher that stood in the basepath or blocked the plate without the ball, I could retire. Catchers seem to be emboldened when they know they can’t be hit.

I have to admit, Anibal Sanchez’ arm scares the hell out of me. Why are you so bullish on a guy with a track record of injury concerns?

Thanks Bernie! Always a pleasure to read your insights.

@todd13

I’m bullish on Sanchez because I’ve seen what that arm can do. Yes-he’s an injury risk. But you know what? Every pitcher is an injury risk. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

Very true — every pitcher is an injury risk. If you like his arm, that’s good enough for me! 😉 Thanks Bernie!

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