Most of the league has made their way southbound, in some form or another, preparing for another year of baseball. Anything is possible from here to opening day.
While it is important to keep their skills sharp, the list of priorities always start with safety. No team can perform at their best if they’re stockpiled with injuries. As I share my opinions on what may come, I want you to keep in mind I am expressing my thoughts injury free.
“Good pitching always beats good batting,” is a well-known phrase in the baseball community. It’s a very important discussion in every clubhouse. An ace in the hole may bring in a fortune in poker, but one ace is hardly enough to push a team to continue playing into October.
For the most part, I wasn’t too much into baseball last year, as I was busy with other things. It is rare for me to miss out on the entire sport, as I usually get the opportunity to at least check out how the Indians are doing. Alas, I missed most of it. The only thing I knew about the post season was that Kansas City won the World Series. That’s about it.
I have spent some time checking out what I missed. Had I made any bets at all last year, I probably would have lost more money than I would have won. Just seeing that the Cardinals didn’t even make it past the first playoff round would have been a substantial loss in money. I don’t picture too many people betting on them winning only one post-season game. After all, not only did they have the best record in MLB (100-62), they also had the best pitching staff. They were the only team with an ERA lower than 3.00 (2.94).
Their stats in the playoffs were also pretty nice. They out-hit the Cubs, had a better batting average, and belted more dingers than any other team in the DS. On paper, there could be no other winner, but on the field, t’was how reality makes it what it is.
With that out of my hair, my main post isn’t about what could’a, would’a, should’a, It’s about what has arisen since the dawn of the 2016 Spring Training for Cleveland in Goodyear, Arizona. Cleveland has paid great attention to their pitching staff. Following behind Cy Young winner, Corey Kluber is Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Trevor Bauer. During these training days, they will be considering who will fall into the fifth slot, and there are some notable candidates. Cody Anderson, Josh Tomlin, and TJ House will have to compete for that position.
As of right now, the pitching staff looks good and ready to go.
However, offense is a whole other ballgame.
The good part is the addition of Rajai Davis and Mike Napoli to the lineup. They have both signed onto the organization under one-year contracts, and should both be regulars in the lineup. It may be a bit of a struggle for the organization to find out who will be playing in the outfield along Davis. Michael Brantley is still recovering from shoulder surgery and isn’t expected to play much of, if at all, the beginning of the season.
The outfield depth has quite a few players who will vie for the open spots. These moves will be a key in competing for the types of moves that have been made throughout the AL Central Division. I can sense that every team in this division is going to have quite a battle amongst each other.