Brian, Feature, Questions

Biggest Questions on Opening Day Eve

by Brian Dorsey

1. What do we make of the Chase Utley situation?

In case you missed it, ESPN has been updating Utley’s status all March with headlines like “ESPN REPORT: Chase Utley might start the season on the DL” or “We’re really not sure why we’re telling you this, but there is no news regarding Phil’s Utley.” Thank you, ESPN. You’ve succeeded again at being CNN: Sports Edition. In their defense though, there really wasn’t much to report because Utley and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. (side note: if you’re named after your father, and he isn’t famous, the “Junior” moniker is completely unnecessary) have been tight-lipped. Utley’s goal seems to be a first half return, but there are people (i.e. Brandon Inge) who think it would be a miracle for Utley to play at all this season. I won’t begin to speculate, but I will say this: The Phillies just released Luis Castillo, Utley’s supposed replacement. Read into that however you will, but to me that seems like a good sign for Utley owners.

Continue reading

Brian, Feature, Spring Training

Brian’s Spring Training Journal

Friday, March 25

4:04 PM PST: We hit the road, driving East from San Diego on the Interstate 8. We lucked out big time: no traffic.

7:15 PM PST: Pit stop in Yuma, AZ. Ate at Applebee’s. Not much to report except Yuma is a vacuum. Hard to believe the Padres used to call this place “home” before Peoria.

9:42 PM PST: Arrive in Goodyear, AZ, where we’ll be staying for the weekend. After the long drive, I break out the Belvenie scotch and throw ‘em back like Miguel Cabrera.

Continue reading

Butler, Feature, Spring Training

Spring Training 2011: A Trivial Time

by Ryan Butler

With Opening Day on the horizon, it’s time to take a look at the goings-on in Spring Training 2011.

My personal feelings about the exhibition season can be summed up in five words: wake me when it’s April. Over the years I have learned that what a player does in the spring usually doesn’t have too much bearing on what he will do once the season starts. One guy I will never forget is John Roskos. In the spring of 2000, Roskos, a castoff from the Marlins, was in camp with the Padres. I think he hit like .875 with 78 homers and 240 RBI that March. Nobody could get the guy out. I was young and naive, and took his outrageous exhibition hitting extravaganza for much more than it was worth. I was not alone, as this previously unknown player became a huge topic of discussion in the local papers and sports talk radio. Even (then) GM Kevin Towers  got caught up in RoskosMania, going so far as to call him a “Greek God.”

Roskos was ultimately left off the Opening Day roster, but received a call-up before the end of April. His arrival in San Diego was met with great anticipation by fans who were eager to see him tear the National League a new one. But it was not meant to be. After starting 0-for-18, Roskos managed a total of one hit (a double) in 27 at-bats, and essentially earned himself a permanent minor league vacation.

Continue reading

Brian, Debate, Feature, First Base, Jared, Poll

First Base Debate Class: Howard vs. Teixeira

Rotobrian for Ryan Howard

Over the past five seasons, when you talk about upper echelon first basemen, you’ll always hear Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira in that conversation. Both of these guys are superb hitters.

Teixeira has been known for his fantastic second half play. His numbers will always be 100 R, 30 HR, and 100 RBI. Every year. Without fail. It doesn’t matter how slow he starts, his numbers will be there in the end. And some will argue that since a large portion of his stats will come in August and September, when fantasy seasons are being determined, that he’s one of the most valuable first basemen. “Who cares about April?” Teixeira backers will say. And it’s true, if you told me I had to choose one month for my players to stink it up, I would absolutely take April over September.

But here’s the thing: last year Big Tex didn’t just take April off, he also took September off (partially due to an injury). His second half numbers in 2010 (50 R, 16 HR, 48 RBI) are actually worse than the first half (63 R, 17 HR, 60 RBI). In 2009, his first year with the Yankees, he also had similar splits, and lo and behold, the first half numbers were better. So it’s quite possible what people perceive to be true about Teixeira is different from what is actually true.

Continue reading