March 2014

The Marathon Begins

So much has happened this spring, it’s difficult to believe we’re now watching games that count. The injuries have piled up and I believe they’ll impact several pennant races. Injuries are part of the game-and the teams with enough depth to overcome adversity may well prevail.

Here are my American League predictions for the season (including an off the wall prediction in one of the divisions):

American League West-
Los Angeles Angels-too much firepower and an improved pitching staff make it very tough on teams that have been banged up. I think the trio of Trout, Pujols and Hamilton will play to expectations. Pitching is better. 90 wins.

Rangers-Loss of starting pitchers will be difficult to overcome. I do like the new offense with Fielder and Choo. They’ll have to score plenty of runs though.-89 wins

Athletics- They, too, have some pitching injuries and not as much firepower as the two other clubs. However, we’ve all said that before and we’ve seen what happened. 86 wins

Mariners-Better, but not there yet. Cano will help. But why pitch to him? They need another bat to push them further towards the top. I like their young players and see promise in them-79 wins

Astros- I’m not as convinced that they will turn things around even with Appel, Springer and Singleton. They get much better when Carlos Correa arrives. He’s the key for me. 62 wins

American League Central-
Detroit-In a nutshell, it’s the pitching, but Miggy will miss Prince. They’ll all miss Fister. Left side infield defense will be a major problem for their outstanding pitchers. Still the best though. The team to beat in the division-90 wins

Royals-The popular flavor of the month, I don’t think they have nearly enough pitching to keep up with or catch the Tigers. Offense is coming together. I really like Yordano Ventura and Sal Perez. Kyle Zimmer will help later in the season. 85 wins

Cleveland- No Ubaldo, no Kazmir and not as much good luck in close games. And can they beat up Chicago like last year? No. I see regression. I think Kipnis will have a huge year along with Kluber. Santana is no worse at 3B than Chisenhall. 82 wins

White Sox-People will buzz about how good Jose Abreu hits. But I still don’t think they’ve turned the corner—yet. I have just a bit of a concern about Avisail Garcia after watching him this spring. I hope I’m wrong. Holes at 3B, 2B, C. Pitching isn’t there. 70 wins.

Twins-I think they’ll be counting too much on Buxton and Sano (when he gets healthy) for their future. Too much pressure on them. Lack organizational depth in pitching and position players. Tough year. 67 wins

American League East-
Baltimore-I really like the offense and I think the pitching will surprise. They can flat out kill the ball, especially in that park. They’ll miss Machado. Need him quickly. 90 wins

Rays-I think they might be a tad overrated. I really like Cobb and Price but I wonder about the rest of the rotation. Very good pen. Need another bat IMO. 89 wins

Yankees- Too many infield holes to fill. 1B will be an issue if Tex can’t hit. Like the additions of Ellsbury, Beltran and McCann. Not enough though. Pitching solid. 84 wins (tie with Boston in wins)

Red Sox- I think they’ll miss Ellsbury and Drew. I liked Bogaerts at 3B with Drew at shortstop. Victorino being hurt to start the season is a bit of an issue.. Lots of offensive pressure on Ortiz. Pitching is stable and good.-84 wins (tie with New York in wins.)

Blue Jays- They never fixed their pitching. It’ll come back to haunt them in such a tough division. Big, booming bats in spots and pop guns in others. 73 wins.

AL Champs: Angels
Most Valuable Player- Mike Trout
Rookie Of The Year- Jose Abreu

Tomorrow: National League Predictions.

Thank you for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. You can listen to Short Hops podcast every Wednesday on iTunes.

That’s it. I’m done.

Rounding Third

We’re into the last week of Spring Training. I must admit I felt it went rather quickly. But I’m still exhausted.

I want to thank you so much for your great comments and questions on twitter during the entire spring marathon. We’ll continue with baseball talk during the regular season.

I want to share some of my impressions of the spring before I do my last Spring Training blog at the end of the week and before the “real” season starts.

The Dodgers have to be flying high following a two-game sweep of the Dbacks in Australia. On the other hand, how would you like to travel that far and come away with no wins. Demoralizing, to say the least.

I think the Dbacks will have pitching issues all season. The loss of Patrick Corbin was crucial. There just isn’t enough depth.

If you ever go to Peoria for Spring Training, try the chicken/rice bowl from a vendor on the concourse. Superb.

I’ll be going to the new Cubs park tomorrow for the first time.

These are some guys I saw this spring I’m very high on. Remember-this is not a complete list. These are guys that made me sit up in my seat: Jose Abreu (White Sox)
Francisco Lindor, (Indians) Yordano Ventura (Royals) Kole Calhoun (Angels) BILLY BURNS (Athletics) Dustin Ackley (Mariners) Stefan Romero (Mariners) Brad Miller (Mariners)
Rougned Odor (Rangers) Andrelton Simmons (Braves0 Nick Markakis (Orioles) Ubaldo Jimenez (Orioles) Henry Urrutia (Orioles) Mike Foltynewicz (Astros) Carlos Correa (Astros)
Steven Matz (Mets) Tim Cooney (Cardinals) Anthony Rendon (Nationals)

Of course, there were countless other guys that I really, really liked. But these guys showed me some special talent. They may not all make it to the big leagues this season. And of course, many are already big names.

I didn’t see the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees or Blue Jays.

I think Brad Ausmus and Matt Williams will be fabulous managers.

The Angels have to have everything go well with their starting pitching. They have no (as in zero) pitching depth.

Most clubs have a gap the size of the grand canyon after their third starters. Good teams must—and I mean must—beat up on the 4th and 5th starters.

There are few home runs to be found.

I look at their team and I can’t figure why the Mariners don’t win. They have a collection of good players. But they don’t play them. Stefan Romero is a good player. Will Corey Hart ever be healthy? Nick Franklin is a good player. Where will he play? Does having Robbie Cano make them a contender? Will he sell lots of tickets? I’m just askin.

Why haven’t the Tigers signed Stephen Drew? Why didn’t Max Scherzer take the Tigers offer? Does he think he can win a World Series elsewhere next season? And for even more money than the Tigers offered? Lots of questions with the Tigers.

How much money is enough money? I’m just asking here.

I’m getting more and more annoyed by these blind sales calls on the telephone. I thought they were banned five years ago when we signed the “don’t call” list. No-I don’t have caller ID. Don’t try to call me and sell me new shingles for my roof. I just had three calls in a row trying to sell me something and I’m trying to write here.

You know what ticks me off? When a fan pays money to see a Spring Training game and excepts to see some recognizable names. He gets to the park and maybe one or two of the guys are starters. It’s wrong. Almost immoral in my book. Most box seats cost $23 or $24 bucks for a non-premium game. I don’t feel sorry for players that have to take a bus trip to the game. It’s their job. Fans take airplanes to see those games. It’s wrong!

I was a little kid when Herb Score got hit in the eye in Cleveland by the Yankees Gil McDougald. It made me sick then. Now-this injury to Aroldis Chapman. It was sickening. And it really shook up Salvador Perez. Really. He was devastated.

I know Billy Hamilton gets lots of publicity for his blazing speed. But have you seen Billy Burns of the A’s? Yikes! He’s a blurrr from home to first.

I worry about Michael Bourn. Can he hit? I’m just asking here.

I haven’t given up on Trevor Bauer. But I’m gettingthisclose.

The hamburgers at Salt River Fields are outstanding.

Ever get to Freeport, Illinois? I suggest you visit Little Cubs Field at Read Park on Empire Street. And throw em a few bucks to help keep the place going.

Have I told you yet that I love the Orioles this year? I do. And once they get Manny Machado back, they’ll be even better. Chris Davis. Are you kidding me? He sees a fastball and has to wipe the drool off his shirt. Very balanced club with a good manager in Buck.

Why? Why didn’t the Indians go get another pitcher or two? Or keep Kazmir and Ubaldo. And why will they let Justin Masterson go? Yes-I know why. And to think–George Steinbrenner wanted to buy the Indians but he was refused by the current owner at the time. What might have been.

The most sacred words in baseball are….draft pick. Ask Stephen Drew. Or even Nelson Cruz or Ubaldo Jimenez or Kendrys Morales or Kyle Lohse. I hope that rule gets changed. These guys are too good to be held hostage to a….draft pick.

Five Falling: Atlanta, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh

Five Flying: Kansas City, Colorado, Baltimore, Washington, San Francisco

No change in the rest. They’ll be as good or as bad.

Next blog: My predictions.

Warning: Don’t be upset with me if I think your team is falling or staying the same. I try to be honest with what I see. If you disagree, just agree to disagree. Don’t be angry. The world is too full of anger. We should agree to like each other. Fair enough.

As always-thanks for reading my work on Pipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. And remember-the podcast with Derek Van Riper and myself comes out every Wednesday on iTunes.

That’s it. I’m done.

Shins, Elbows, Yikes!

I’m never happy when I start my blog talking about injuries. But we have had a horrible injury related week in baseball.

If you followed my work the past few years, my top picks in the spring have included Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. I have always liked the way they attack hitters, throw strikes and take charge of games. Removing them from the Braves rotation due to elbow issues sickens me. It would be like stealing Yo Yo Ma’s cello for a year and telling him you hope it works them same when he gets it back. Medlen and Beachy are quality starting pitchers. I wish them both well.

Beachy left with “forearm” issues. Same as the elbow. Same tendon.

Not to mention that another of my highly touted pitchers, Patrick Corbin (who I begged fantasy players to take two years ago) is getting a second option on his UCL in the left elbow. More ligament damage. If he has to have surgery, he will miss a year. If he has to just rest, it’ll be for months. Randall Delgado seems to be the next in line to join the rotation. Not Archie Bradley. Bradley has not had good control yet this spring and needs more development time.

And just thinking about the shin splints being suffered by Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias makes me feel very grateful I don’t suffer from them. Or gout. There is no medicine he can take to make the shin splints go away. He has to rest. Stay off his feet. Tough to do for a baseball player. Will Stephen Drew get a call? I think the Tigers will look to Steve Lombardozzi to fill the void. Iglesias could be gone a while. Who knows? But will the Tigers call Drew or stick with Lombardozzi and others?

Thank you to SABR for having Barry Bloom, Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and myself on a panel yesterday at their metrics conference in Phoenix. Met some great people.

A little guy named Max asked me if he could interview me for his blog. He was a perfect gentlemen. I was intrigued. I was blown away when I learned that the articulate, well-dressed, confident young man was….12 years old. Go Max.

I saw Jose Abreu. I am very impressed with his maturity on the field. He is very fundamentally sound and looks like he’s adjusting very well. The White Sox have a real winner and a guy with some pop in his bat. He and Avisail Garcia should form a very solid one-two punch in that lineup for years. That’s an improved club.

Justin Masterson has been brilliant by offering the Indians a counter offer for an extension. What happens if the ownership doesn’t step up to a less than market value offer? The ball is in the owner’s courts. Masterson has done what he can to stay.

I clocked both Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton at 3.9 going from home to first. That’s pretty darn fast. Ichiro is the fastest I’ver ever clocked at 3.5. Major League average is said to be 4.3 but I have seen it more at 4.5 in the past few years.

The Mariners are in a great position with Nick Franklin available for trade. Countless teams could use his service including the Yankees. Now add the Tigers. And with the prospect of Dodgers free agent Alex Guerrero starting in the Minor Leagues, the Dodgers could probably check in as well. Lots of suitors for Franklin.

Do the Dbacks trade one of Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings or Cliff Pennington for a pitcher now that Corbin is hurt? I wouldn’t. I’m just asking. I would hold on to each of those guys and wait until things got really hot–second half of the season—and extract a heavy price’. And yes, I’d keep Didi. With Dbacks pitching being a bit more marginal now, defense from shortstop is critical. There are few better than Didi. Trade one of them to New York for Phelps or Warren? Not enough. Maybe Pineda. Maybe.

Nick Markakis could have his best year ever. His 40 pound weight gain is distributed well, with his upper body being the biggest beneficiary. He’s my under the radar, once mediocre, now rejuvenated guy.

I can’t remember a spring without running into Jim Fregosi and hearing his voice in either Florida or Arizona. Man, I miss that. What a character. And what a great baseball guy. He is missed. A major voice has been stilled.

OK-that’s it for now. Thanks for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. Much appreciated. ˙Hope you’ll tune in to Short Hops which is available on iTunes every Wednesday.

That’s it. I’m done.

Observations from the Sunshine State

So I’m almost winding up my trip to Florida’s Spring Training parks. Let me share a couple of observations. And then I’ll talk about some players, of course.

So I’m driving into Jupiter from Tampa and on the highway there’s a sign to Roger Dean Stadium. Beneath the sign is another sign in small letters that says
“Game Today-1:05PM.” I get off the ramp and there it is again. Way cool. So I think to myself, “who comes out here everyday and changes that sign?” Then it dawned on me. The park is shared by the Cardinals and the Marlins. There’s a game every day. No need to change the sign for a month. Duh! But wait, what about night games? And then it dawned on me. There are no night games in Jupiter. Duh again!

Last year at Lakeland I was surprised when there wasn’t any hot water in the press box bathroom. It’s a great place, well maintained. So I thought there was a problem with the hot water line. Old, etc. So this year I came back, went to the bathroom and …no hot water. So I asked the attendant. The City of Lakeland has shut off all the hot water at the park for the past two seasons. Ok. But I’ll say this. The cold water is really cold.

My favorite park in Florida? I have to say Ed Smith Stadium-home of the Orioles. I’m told the same person that helped with renovations at Fenway did the renovations and remodel of Ed Smith Stadium. It’s really classy. Very well done and very practical. I like practical, not fancy.

For charm, McKechnie Field, home of the Pirates beats them all. Going there and to Dunedin to watch the Blue Jays is like walking into a time machine. But I love it. It’s been renovated, it’s wonderful and it’s intimate. They have no food service for the media, so that’s taken care of by walking a short bit down the street to a fabulous sub-shop. Every sandwich is named according to something having to do with baseball.

I’m so glad I’m high tech because my room in Tampa is in a new hotel. Everything is high tech. Fits me to a tee. Touch the door with your key card and the door opens. No locks, etc. It only took me 15 minutes to get the lights in the room turned on. Not bad. I stubbed my toe and walked into the wall, but that’s not bad. Two showers heads. However, the desk told me they get calls every day about how to turn off the shower. Push it in. Don’t turn the handle. I got that right away after I spent a few turns of the handle and the water got hotter and then colder. No-it isn’t obvious. Not at all. But I didn’t have to call the desk.

OK-now on to some players.

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard exposed two issues that I hadn’t seen before. He is slow to the plate with a runner on first. Opposing teams will run on him. And he doesn’t repeat his delivery consistently. He has to finish his pitches to keep in the strike zone. I still think he’s a star in the making. He isn’t on the 40-man roster yet. If he makes the club, someone will have to be removed from the 40-man.

Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon looks so much better to me this spring than last. Why? He is using off-speed and secondary pitches more and not living with the fastball only.

Steve Lombardozzi is a very good shortstop. Better than I thought. I would not be surprised if he makes the Tigers roster and plays a great deal.

Torri Hunter is still a great outfielder. I saw him make one of his circus catches.

Phil Coke is a puzzle. Do the Tigers keep him as a lefty out of the pen? Is he reliable? I’m just askin’. I have my answer but I’m not sayin’.

I can’t tell you how good Ubaldo Jimenez looked when I saw him in his first start for the Orioles. He was mixing his pitches, throwing strikes and missing bats. Can he do it over and over. I’m beginning to believe he can.

I think the Orioles are one very good club. They have hitting, pitching and good enough defense to win. I still think they need another outfielder. But Nelson Cruz and Jimenez could make major contributions. I also have concerns about their closer.

The Marlins complained that the Red Sox didn’t send any regular players to their sold out game in Jupiter. The game was tagged with a “premium” price. I see that every day. It’s a crime that clubs don’t follow the rule of sending at least 4 regular players to each game on the road. It just doesn’t happen. Especially in Florida. Fans expect to see the guys they know and have heard of. I hope something gets done about it.

Ervin Santana can help the Blue Jays. As I write this, it isn’t final. But I think that’s where he’s going.

Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp caught my eye with a big home run. He’s big and strong at 6-foot-2, 250-pounds. I really like his stroke at the plate. He’s on the 40-man. Remember the name. I’m just sayin’.

They’ve given out a free newspaper at every Tigers home game that I’ve ever attended. It’s really a nice tradition. And fans like the player poster insert.

I hate to say it, but I see some of the old Dom Brown habits creeping back. My bell is ringing. The bell that says, “stay away in fantasy, Bernie.” I will. But that’s just me.

I’ll see the Pirates today.

Oscar Taveras has returned to the playing field for the Cardinals after recovering from his injured ankle-foot. I didn’t get to see him on this trip.

Washington manager Matt Williams has deployed some weird shifts so far. He had two first basemen in one arrangement. The umpire pointed out that the player closest to first base is the only player allowed to wear a first baseman’s glove. I had never heard of that before. Apparently the real first baseman was closer to second than the other player. Confused? Read it again, you’ll get it.

Bryce Harper. I’m looking for a huge year.

Thank you for reading my work on MLBPipeline.com and MLB.com and for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff. And I hope you’ll listen to Short Hops-available on iTunes free each week. Very much appreciated. Always.

That’s it. I’m done.

Live (I think) From Florida

So here I am in Florida for Spring Training.

Last Saturday when I arrived I asked for a rental car with low mileage and XM radio. I got a car with 2,000 miles, but no XM. So every 20 minutes as I leave an area, I have to find a different sports station.

When I return the car the odometer will have no resemblance to the one I picked up. It seems all I do is drive, watch games and sleep. There are no parks close to each other. I remember that from my past trips here, but this year is different. I have teams I want to see for their prospects so I’m criss-crossing the state. And my eyes.

So who has impressed me so far? You may want to remember these names:
Mike Foltynewicz who’s name I can’t pronounce pitches for the Astros. Let’s just call him Mike. Mike threw strikes in the game I saw. Yes, his Minor League history shows a lack of command and control. I saw a huge, 6-foot-4 guy with a gun for an arm. I think he can probably hit 100 with ease. He’s on my futures list. I think he’ll be a star if he continues to progress.

Steve Matz is a Mets lefty with great promise. He threw at about 92-94 when I saw him. Nothing was hit hard. And he consistently repeated his delivery. I think the Mets have a left-handed gem a couple years away. Maybe he’ll change his name to Steve Mets.

Then there’s Tim Cooney of the Cardinals. It’s not as if they don’t have enough pitching to stock two full rotations, here comes an amazing lefty in Cooney. All he did was throw strikes and make hitters miss. And he’s only their 5th or 6th or 7th best pitching prospect. It really is amazing.

So there are so many people visiting in Florida at this time of year that the hotel internet band width can’t keep up. So how’d ya like that? Don’t ever tell me I’m not technologically savvy. I can drop a “band width” with the best of em. So anyway, my connections have dropped every night in every hotel I’ve been in. Maybe they need a new ISP (internet service provider) how’d ya like that one?

The trio of Carlos Correa, George Springer and Jon Singleton showed why they are good prospects. BUT-and here’s the but. Each is still raw. Each has a part of his game that needs refinement before being exposed day in and day out to Major League pitching. But I’m way out on a limb with Correa. He’ll be outstanding. And he’s a huge 6-foot-4 at age 19.

I saw the Twins. I feel sorry for my Twins fan friends. The team is empty. There is little to no depth. And the loss of Miguel Sano is a crushing blow.

Lou Brock took the lineups to home plate before the Cardinals game I saw. Way cool.

The water in Phoenix tastes much better than Florida’s water. But the best water anywhere? Chicago. By far. Love Chicago water.

Tigers don’t look as solid and as complete to me this year. Their fine at the top of the order, but it goes sour very quickly thereafter. And I have concern about their top prospect-Nick Castellanos. Will he hit Major League breaking balls? I’m just askin.

I think the Tigers will really miss Doug Fister. And Jhonny Peralta. And Price Fielder.

Look for Brad Ausmus to attempt more stolen bases, put on the hit and run and be more aggressive than Jim Leyland. He’s going to make things happen.

Who plays left field for the Tigers now that Andy Dirks is having back surgery? I look for a platoon of Rajai Davis and Don Kelly. And by the way, Jose Iglesias has not played yet. There are concerns he may not be available for opening day. Hernan Perez? Ramon Santiago is gone. There are some holes Tigers fans. Some holes.

Jhonny Peralta hit two home runs against the Tigers. In a Cards uniform.

Someone with the Yankees told me there are times they have nearly 100 Japanese media following Masahiro Tanaka. And when I saw Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch for the Mets, there were about 30 Japanese media at that game. It’s fabulous that they love their players so much and their fans have such a thirst for the progress of their guys.

I’m not eating well. Either is Rafael Furcal. Looks like he’s put on a few lbs. Well actually, more than a few. But he’s the Marlins second baseman. For now.

The Tigers and Marlins could use Stephen Drew. And that’s just among the teams I’ve seen so far. How does he not have a job yet?

We have a 90% chance of rain today in Orlando. That means there’s a 10% chance it won’t rain. And you thought I couldn’t do math. So today you learned I’m a computer wizard (remember band width from above) and a math genius.

Oh, by the way. Some of you have asked if I’ll have my fantasy selections on BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD. The answer is….yes. As soon as this weekend. I’ll talk about guys I want and guys I’ll avoid.

OMG, IMO I can LOL at my limited computer skills. How’s that for knowing computer talk? Bet you didn’t know I could do that. I can sling it with the best of you. Or, not.

And listen, thanks for reading my work at MLBPipeline.com and for following me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff.

That’s it. I’m done.

Spring Training-The First Week

Ok-so here I am in Jupiter Florida after watching a few games in The Cactus League the first week.

I haven’t seen Clayton Kershaw throw up high as often as he did on Opening Day at Salt River. And that’s a no no against professional baseball hitters. Kershaw didn’t look comfortable at all on the mound. After he left the game, he threw another 15 pitches in the pen. I have no worries about Kershaw. But it was interesting. Nothing was working for him.

Yes, I noticed that Yasiel Puig looked bigger. It was all in his lower body. I didn’t see any weight gain that impacted his speed on a ringing double he hit to dead left-center. It was a shot that just jumped off his batt. Great, great bat speed.

Brandon McCarthy was playing catch in his first start. He looked as sharp and as confident as I’ve ever seen him. If it keeps up, you’ll see smiles on the Dbacks faces.

I still think J. J. Putz will not give up his closer role to Addison Reed without putting up a fight. But I still think Reed will close. At least to begin the season. We’ll see.

We all talk about Didi Gegorius and Chris Owings being in a battle for the shortstop role in Arizona. But let me tell you–Cliff Pennington is a fine defensive shortstop. He makes all the plays and he has a gun for an arm. A club or two may want him.

Paul Goldschmidt was beaten on pitches up in his eyes. In three weeks he won’t swing at that pitch. For now, however, the high pitch probably looks too good to pass up.

The Indians and Reds both wore new jerseys. The Indians have the traditional C on the front and a red and blue combination on the back. I like em. The Reds sported a black warmup and they looked beautiful. I had never seen those before.

The Reds Logan Ondrusek is 6-foot-8, 230 pounds and he pitches downhill. What a great weapon he is is for the pen.

I got my first look at Alex Guerrero. He’s smaller and lighter than I had thought. His power has to come from somewhere. He was late on some pitches but I think he’ll come around. I see him as a wrist hitter. Good swing. Henry Aaron was the best wrist hitter I’ve ever seen. So if Guerrero uses his wrists, I can see some pop.

Where does Jedd Gyorko get his power? He has huge legs. His lower body does much of the work in his swing. I can see him hitting for power. Very strong guy.

Worries for the Mariners. Iwakuma and Walker are going to be delayed. A couple of injuries that have to be monitored and not rushed. Suddenly, a rather nice pitching staff could take an early April hit.

I look for Mike Zunino to have a very solid year for the Mariners. Rushed to the big leagues a bit, Zunino has everything needed to succeed with the bat. His defense is still a work in progress.

Jesus Montero is the balloon we see once the party is over. It starts to deflate a bit. He had some promise. But the Yankees must have known what they were doing. I can’t describe how awkward and desperate his swing looked. It was like-“Let me try this.” It doesn’t look pretty.

It was good to see the Padres Rymer Liriano playing again. He blew out his arm and had surgery. He’s back now, and I think he can have an impactful bat.

I’d like to see Lonnie Chisenhall hit against every left-hander possible this spring. There is no way he will ever get better (and he does need to get better) watching them from the bench or just hitting against them in batting practice. If Chisenhall is going to be a player, he has to play. And he has to hit lefties.

John Axford may have been the beneficiary of the Cardinals pitching gurus. Believe me, he looked very smooth on the mound with his mid-90’s fastball working with sink for the Indians.

Thank you for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff and for reading my work at MLBPipeline.com. It is much appreciated.

That’s it. I’m done.