A division can't be won or lost in the first week, but these teams did have relatively hefty playoff-odds swings already.
Last year, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, PA issued a correction for a piece it had written on the Gettysburg Address, 150 years earlier. “We pass over the silly remarks of the President,” they had written in 1863. “For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of." It took some time, yes, but Patriot-News staff eventually did check themselves before they wrecked themselves.
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Having a healthy Angel Pagan helps San Francisco, plus highlights from Thursday and what to watch for this weekend.
The Thursday Takeaway
When Angel Pagan walked the Giants off with a two-run, inside-the-park home run on May 25, 2013, the then-defending champions were 27-22. On that play, Pagan suffered a serious hamstring injury that required surgery and kept him out until August 30. When he returned, the Giants were 59-74.
Not one of Tyler Collins' or Roenis Ellis' PECOTA comparables was a major leaguer. But Collins, Ellis, and the rest of these unknowns are on MLB rosters today.
Opening Day is here, and that means it's time to introduce the unknowns who made rosters. This year's edition includes some new quirks. In addition to an expanded roster, each capsule now includes the player's major league service time (MLS) and the percentage of their PECOTA comparables who played in the bigs during the comparable season (MLB%), as a crude way to determine the unexpectedness of their Opening Day assignment.
Eyes on Julio Urias, Nick Williams, Christian Arroyo and others.
RHP Cody Buckel: Half-windup; over-the-top slot; showed a lot of effort generating his velocity; fastball worked 89-91; lacked movement; very flat and visible up in the zone; plane when he worked down; found plenty of barrels; dropped several slow lollipop curveballs to steal a few strikes; loose and easy to track; not a legit pitch against better bats; fringy slider in the 82-84 range; lacked sharp break; body language was poor (slumped shoulders and sulked); didn’t record an out in his first inning of work; required several mound visits and encouragements; airmailed a few balls to the backstop; didn’t get a “yips” vibe despite some wildness; pitched with trepidation; find optimism in the fact that he was able to throw some strikes but the stuff and the body language on the mound left a lot to be desired. Didn’t look like a future major-league pitcher. –Jason Parks
OF Nomar Mazara: Lanky; a solid 6’4” at least; very lean and muscular; seemed very comfortable in the box; knew his strengths; laid off some spin down in the zone; got himself into good hitting counts; has big-time bat speed; hitchy timing mechanism; the way his hands load is reminiscent of Chris Davis; timing needs to be perfect, but when it works it’s explosive; pulled a middle-in fastball for a 420-plus-foot bomb; raw power is near elite; game power is starting to actualize; loved the way he hit—he looked for a pitch in a certain spot and demolished it when it came; in his third and last at-bat, he hit one over Terrance Gore’s head in CF for an inside-the-park homer, another fastball over the heart of the plate that he didn’t miss; showed off solid-average speed around the bases as well.
The pitchers are the headliners on Bruce Bochy's club, but there are several valuable bats in the lineup, too.
It was an odd-numbered year, so it only stands to reason that the San Francisco Giants didn’t win the World Series (like they did in 2010 and 2012). Instead, the Giants put up an underwhelming 76-86 record, good for a third-place tie in the NL West with the San Diego Padres. Michael Morse and Tim Hudson were brought in via free agency, but for the most part San Francisco is relying on a return to form and good health by a cast of steady and reliable veterans.
Craig looks at how the Dodgers can help their skipper and how the other teams in their division can try to dethrone them.
My colleague Ben Carsleyintroduced this series to you yesterday, with the moves he’d make for the AL East franchises, so today I give you what I’d do if given the chance to make one move for each NL West club. It’s a thought exercise, and isn’t limited to on-field transactions. It can be signing a player, making a trade (that’s feasible, we hope), or something more over-arching in regards to a club’s organizational tendencies.
We’re both well aware that we’ll likely get pilloried in the comments. In fact you probably hammered Ben pretty hard yesterday, but you wouldn’t play me like that would you? No matter, let us know what you think of our ideas in the comments or what ideas you have yourself, and remember, it’s supposed to be reasonable but in the end this was all about having some fun.