While lot of what Jason sees in Arizona doesn't matter, and some of it's just shadows, there's still a lot to report from Surprise.
Day 8: 10:40 PM
It’s late, Patricia, and I’m sorry for not putting fingers to these keys earlier. The sun was magnificent today, like a big, glowing ball of headaches, disorientation, and fire. My eyes starting stinging early, and by noon I realized I was nearing collapse. After the morning workouts and the 1PM game at the big boy stadium–which I will tell you about in a minute–I bypassed a late lunch in order to cool my thoughts in a long shower. I rushed through step three of the showering process because the symptoms of heat stroke were still present and I didn’t feel confident standing in a slippery basin with my eyes closed while negotiating bouts of dizziness. It’s important to avoid cracking your head open.
Day 8: 11:00 PM
I had to drink a glass of flat water with a slice of cucumber gently floating on top. I would have preferred sparkling, but I’ve become particular about my sparkling water and I’m not about to rush into a sloppy water consumption decision just because the selection is limited and my body needs to fight off dehydration. It’s important to stay hydrated, with style when possible. I watched the Royals earlier today, as I tend to do out here in Surprise, and one player in particular caught my eye, as he has every spring since he was drafted. I sat in the scout section behind home plate, allowing the waves of Americana blasting from the stadium P.A. system to crash into my eardrums, waiting to have my eyes opened by a spectacular play or a spectacular player, when from the sky a heroic figure emerged and slowly lowered his human form onto the playing field and picked up a baseball bat. It was Eric Hosmer, and his face was bronze, and his body draped with the cloth of kings, and his skin was wet with the tears of innumerable virgins. His swing was delicious, with a robust finish that was assertive and aggressive, yet tender and passionate.
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What to make of fantasy players shifting across the diamond? Michael looks at the fallout of the Fielder signing, plus potential position moves by Miguel Cabrera, Mark Trumbo, and the already-certain moves of Hanley Ramirez
For fantasy owners, the difference between first- and third-base eligibility is huge—at least in leagues that ignore defense. That defensive liability can still have repercussions in real-world baseball, however, which trickles down to fantasy if a player can’t stick at the hot corner. Last week’s news featured several players going from the right side of the diamond to the left, but not all of those moves may be permanent and not all may be beneficial.
How the Cards can cope with the abdication of Prince Albert (and its implications for his payday), a Barton in hand becomes one in the bushes, and the D'backs, Braves, and Giants pursue blasts from the past for their benches.
Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Jason took part in a slow mock draft with other fantasy experts and is now here to share what he learned from the experience.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a slow—and I mean slow—mock draft over the past four weeks with a few of my friends and colleagues in the fantasy baseball industry. That group included most of the mlb.com folks, Fernando DiFino, and the legendary Joe Sheehan. The draft started on February 17 and survived a few lost weekends, DiFino’s nuptials (congrats!) and several copy and paste issues from some of us that are still using not-so-smartphones.
The Mets' medical staff has the best understanding of Jose Reyes, along with other injury news from around the majors.
Jose Reyes (strained oblique, ERD 7/19) Everyone’s up in arms over Reyes being out for the Mets, but there’s a reason. Any oblique strain is a tough read, but assuming that those of us out here—especially the more paranoid Mets fans out there, some of whom couldn’t think their way out of a paper bag—have better knowledge. So let’s start with that. As far as last year, it was fluke, and let’s give Mets athletic trainer Ray Ramirez and orthopedist David Altchek the benefit of the doubt. There’s also an equation, one that’s overly simplified, that lets you figure this out for yourself. The base of it is MLVr, a stat that gives us a per-game value for every player:
Stephen Strasburg was as good as advertised, now let's hope his name stays out of this column.
Someone asked me Tuesday afternoon why I spent hours on the phone and typing out my article yesterday, adding to the hype of Strasburg's debut. He called me after the game and said "OK, I get it. The kid's good." Yeah, 14 strikeouts and the start of a mythology will do that. This was the first time I got to see Strasburg pitch in anything other than highlights and grainy scouting video. Like most of America, I was impressed. His fastball was nasty with apparent movement and discernible velocity. His slider—actually more of a slurve—was a kneebuckler and as I wrote, an umpire confounder. According to PitchFX, the comparison to Jonathon Broxton's slider was apt. Broxton's went eight inches across and seven down, while Strasburg's went seven across and eight down. And a 91 mph changeup? That's illegal in six states. Simply put, there was nothing I saw out of Strasburg that was unexpected given all that I'd been told by scouts and other baseball people. Given that they had all showered him with praise in every one of those conversations, he did more than live up to their expectations and the hype surrounding an event start. The only thing I'll note is that about the time the announcers started talking about the possibility of him coming out, his pitches were slowing slightly (down to a mere 95-96.) In his last two innings, he amped it up and kept it around 99, dominating in a way that recalled Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout outing. Yes, Strasburg's good and let's all hope this is his last appearance in UTK. The only thing holding him back, as it was with Wood, Mark Prior, and every other young pitcher, is health. Which brings me to my next point...