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Friday, February 17, 2006

 

Preview Season Begins: The Lineup

The start of Spring Training also means the start of preview season for bloggers, columnists, and all of the other unsavory and "unofficial" types. Thus without further ado, let me make my bold mid-February prediction for the players that will make it onto the 25 man roster come April. Position players, starters (only two limbs to go out onto here) C - Molina, R 1B - Pujols, R 2B - Spivey, R (to start the season); Miles (replaces Spivey around mid-June) 3B - Rolen, R SS - Eckstein, R LF - Bigbie, L/Taguchi, R platoon (contain your excitement) CF - Edmonds, L RF - Encarnacion, R Rotation R - Carpenter L - Mulder R - Suppan R - Marquis R - Ponson/Reyes I really think Reyes will start games this season. It's hard to say if that will happen if at a set point in the summer when/if Ponson falters or tires out, or if he just gets worked into the rotation splitting starts with Ponson as the season rolls on. I'm putting him next to Ponson via slash, and stating that I think they'll both be on the active roster. Surely they would stick Reyes back in Memphis? The Pen R - Isringhausen R - Looper L - Rincon R - Thompson L - Flores R - Nelson R - Reyes/Ponson Bench C - Bennett, R OF - Rodriguez, L OF - Taguchi, R IF - Luna, R (at the expense of Cruz, he's a known commodity) IF - Miles, S Chris Duncan will be the first one up when one of the regular or bench OFs get injured. Last year, La Russa took six benchers to St. Louis in April, but with the 5th starter situation, I tend to believe that he'll carry the extra pitcher. I also wonder if they bring up Travis Hanson if anything happens to Rolen (please God don't let that happen)? Another wonder: If Hanson starts some time, successfully, at 2B in Memphis, as speculated before, they bring him up when the 2B situation starts really stinking with Spivey/Miles? LBoros posts his speculation on the infield and bench situation in the community Spivey projection today. He's going with Cruz rather than Luna as the backup for Eckstein. I still think Luna because of his status as organizational man, but if he ran afoul of Tony or can't contend with La Russa's love for aged role players, he's in Memphis and/or part of a trade package. I see Bigbie as the primary starter in LF, mostly because he's a lefty and that allows TLR to keep the R-L-R-L-R thing from the top thru the middle of the order. Eventhough lots of others are predicting Spivey to hit second, I still think Bigbie gets the nod for that spot, at least for the lion's share (mmm, Lion's Choice) of PAs. I'm honestly not as cynical with Bigbie as I am Spivey; I really think Bigbie might do okay in left and hitting second. If he doesn't work out, I'd rather see Rodriguez in there with his lefty bat, and that would almost definitely mean a platoon situation with Gooch. The seven man bullpen is interesting, and is probably the area most apt to change as spring rolls on. Izzy's a given, as is Looper. Thompson, Rincon, and Flores are 99.9% sure things too. Right now, I think one of the Reyes/Ponson (probably Reyes) slots into the Cal Eldred role. Again, I find myself most frustrated with the high value TLR places on age and experience, even at the expense of talent and ability. I'm too excited to rant though. Interested to hear your feedback.
Comments:
I'm your bizarro-world opposite on Spivey. I think he gets about 500 ab's and provides consistent offense/defense. .270/.350/.440 range.

O don't see the short man DP combo happening. Miles is not much of a fielder, and having two small, weaker armed middle infielders doesn't sound like a TLR move. (or maybe it does...) Miles is Bo Hart's Memphis replacement, IMO.
 
i hope you're right on Spivey
 
cards won't repeat it appears but who does anymore
 
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