Here at Baseball Prospectus, we are dedicated to providing you with oodles of cutting-edge sabermetric analysis and keeping our finger on the pulse of the baseball world. With a slew of daily articles, it’s easy for one piece to get lost in the shuffle or for you to overlook a post while you’re busy hiding your monitor from your boss. Just in case this happens to be your situation, here’s what you might have missed this week at BP.
- The White Sox appeared tattered by the end of 2010: First they were thoroughly abused during a sweep by the Twins, then they limped to a second-place finish as the club prepared to bid adieu to soon-to-be free agents like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski. Not looking for a repeat performance, Papa Jerry Reinsdorf pulled out his billfold to re-sign both men and DH Adam Dunn. Despite a poor performance in the Cactus League, manager Ozzie Guillen believes he has the club to beat in the AL Central. John Perrotto brought details on the latest in Ozzieball during Chicago’s opening series.
- When a closer jogs toward the mound, the first thought in a player’s mind shouldn’t be, “Bombs away!” Yet during the opening slate of matchups in the NL Central, there were an extraordinary number of games blown by the guys paid to slam the door. Noting the considerable amount of closer upheaval in the NL Central in the last 15 years, Larry Granillo checks in on recent closer track records within the division and muses about the potential for another clink to be added to the bullpen turnstile.
- Since “Star Trek: Voyager” took care of telling us the outcome of the 2032 baseball season, Ken Funck decided to take a step back and fill us in on the goings on in baseball in 2031. You must read it. Resistance is futile.
- Kicking off the season in the NL West provided an odd picture: Arizona looked successful, Willie Bloomquist a passable leadoff man, and Dustin Moseley a useful pitcher. Some of the teams expected to flip to the top flopped out of the gate, but there’s no need for panic… yet. Geoff Young trudges through what made headlines during the first week of action in the NL West.
- During Opening Day fever, Russell Martin showed off his wheels, and Jeff Mathis seemed to be in midseason form (which isn’t much different from how he looks the rest of the year). Steven Goldman examined both Mathis and Martin, the historical implications of their performances, and other noteworthy tidbits culled from the American League during baseball’s first week.
- Since the Mariners acquired Erik Bedard for a boatload of prospects, he has been—to put it generously—a massive disappointment. With seemingly more injuries in the last two-plus years than Carl Pavano incurred during his days of pinstripe-phobia, he’s an extreme risk for any team to acquire. But would it be worth trading for him in fantasy baseball? Craig Brown weighs the pros and cons.
- Despite the calendar clearly showing April as the current month, Mark Teixeira has been blasting homers and is looking like a legit big-leaguer. He’s not the only player busy with yard work, either: Jose Bautista is back with his rake, and Brian Roberts has been cleaning up for the Orioles. Ben Kabak examines the early-season taters in the AL East and each team’s respective offenses.
- The Phillies and the Braves may be heavily favored in the NL East, but the Marlins have a respectable club of their own, with a core coupling of Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez. But when stacked against the Four Aces of Philly and the new Say Hey Kid, do they stand a chance? R.J. Anderson argues that South Florida could see post-season action this year.
- Like the teams in the NL Central, the Angels have been having some major ‘splosions coming from their closer—just as Christina Kahrl predicted when the team inked Fernando Rodney. Fed up, the Halos have yanked the whiplash-inducing hurler from his ninth-inning role and handed it to Jordan Walden. Colin Wyers discusses whether the move will have a significant impact in Anaheim this season, or whether the closer carousel is just another bit of baseball frivolity.
- Staying out in the wild, wild West, there were many clues to small sample size fun over the first slate of games: The Mariners put on a stellar performance of pretending to have an offense, the Athletics opened the season seemingly making more errors than Derek Jeter did in his first minor-league season, and the Angels were gobbled up by the Royals. What wasn’t surprising was that the Rangers got off to a great start, but as Joey Matschulat shows, they’re separating themselves from the pack quickly.
- Carlos Beltran’s cranky knees and achy body have kept him from playing at the top of his game for a couple of years now. Over the winter, the Mets decided to swap Beltran’s spot in center and to throw Angel Pagan into the middle pasture. Jeremy Greenhouse explains that it’s hardly unusual for star players to move down the defensive spectrum as they age, and the Beltran-Pagan swap may mean good things in Queens.
- Appendectomies are the new oblique strains, and everyone seems to be lining up for one. Following Matt Holliday’s lead, Adam Dunn took a trip to the surgical table but is hankering to get back in the lineup. He’s not the sole walking wounded, though, so Corey Dawkins and Marc Normandin spin us through the latest aches and pains in the majors.
- Blazing speed on the radar gun is enough to get scouts, teams, and our own duo of Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks salivating, but being able to control the heat is also important. The Mets have such a guy in their bullpen, closer-in-waiting Bobby Parnell, and as David Laurila found out, the kid is only getting better.
- The Angels had one of the majors’ top bullpens during the heyday of Scot Shields, Francisco Rodriguez, and Troy Percival. Now, they’ll settle for a reliever who doesn’t see more bombs than the Allies were prepared to drop during the Invasion of Normandy. As Jay Jaffe writes, while the Angels might be praying for a savior, teams like the Yankees and Rangers should be happy with their relief corps.
Now that baseball is officially back, you are hereby ordered to watch at least four games and report back here on Monday for anything that you missed. Have a great weekend, enjoy the national pastime, and here’s to a marvelous season.