National League Spring Situations to Monitor
Todd guides you through a tour of the Senior Circuit, stopping at each team to point out what to look for.
Why do we always start with “A” when we do team-by-team reviews? How would you feel if you were the Washington Nationals? The writer is usually fresh and pithy so Arizona Diamondbacks get all sorts of clever bandwidth but by the time it’s the Nats turn, we’re tired and cranky and just want to file the piece.
Grog say Strasburg good <<stamps foot>>
That’s a clown job bro. Washington deserves better. So today we’ll pay homage to those that can recite the alphabet backwards and start with the Nationals on our journey through the National League, highlighting what to watch for this spring.
- Nothing to see here, next….
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
- Is Matt Adams in a strict platoon with Mark Reynolds or does Reynolds only face the tougher southpaws?
- Keep an eye on where Kolten Wong hits in the order. If it’s second, bump up your cheat sheet.
- Adam Wainwright will be under the microscope big-time. There was already concern with a dropping whiff rate. Add in recent abdominal pain and he becomes even more of a risk.
- Tim Lincecum is slated for the fifth starting spot, putting Ryan Vogelsong and Yusmeiro Petit in the bullpen. First off, it will interesting to follow their usage patterns. If it appears that Petit will toss multiple innings in many relief appearances, he could be in the group of solid middle relievers that can help in mixed leagues. In addition, with the brittleness of the starters not named Madison Bumgarner, either Petit or Vogelsong will need to start at some point. If that is discernable from the spring, the that hurler becomes an interesting reserve in deep leagues.
- If Andrew Susac gets a lot of spring reps, that could be a sign Buster Posey will spend more time at first base.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
- Can Wil Myers handle center field? They can’t match his offensive potential but Cameron Maybin and Will Venable can shag flies better.
- There should be a heated battle at the hot corner between Will Middlebrooks and Yangervis Solarte.
- Brandon Morrow will likely be given first dibs at the last spot in the rotation with Robbie Erlin and Odrisamer Despaigne making him earn it.
- Corey Hart deserves a look. He’s slated to platoon with Pedro Alvarez at first base so he’ll get reps there but if he gets time in the outfield, which could indicate a lack of confidence in Gregory Polanco.
- Jung-Ho Kang’s usage could be telling. Keep in mind if he shows some power in the spring, it’s not assures to carry over in the cavernous PNC Park.
- It’ll take an Albert Pujols like spring, circa 2001 to make the team, but at least Maikel Franco has a chance.
- I can see it now. The Phillies will get in trouble for sending split squad lineups without ample starters and have to convince everyone that Freddy Galvis, Domonic Brown, Grady Sizemore and Cody Asche really are starters.
- If Cliff Lee looks good, he could be signing his ticket out-of-town.
NEW YORK METS
- Observing how many at bats Lucas Duda receives versus southpaws will be important since Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry offer a couple of easy exit strategies.
- Can Wilmer Flores pick it well enough at shortstop to keep his stick in the lineup?
- First test which way the wind’s blowing, then watch how many pitches Matt Harvey is allowed to toss
- The current timetable for Bobby Parnell is May at the earliest. It’s not definite, but it’s likely Jenrry Mejia fills in.
- Because he’s near or at the top of the catcher pool, Jonathan Lucroy’s usage and the extent of his hamstring woes should be tracked.
- It may not be clear from the spring but the plan for Gerardo Parra could impact deep league ranks.
- Perhaps it’s narrative for some trying to appear on top of things, perhaps it’s a genuine concern but all eyes will be on Giancarlo Stanton as he faces pitches under game conditions for the first time.
- The batting order will be fun to follow since there are several possibilities. Anything that gets Marcell Ozuna higher on the order works for me.
- There will be tons of attention on Jose Fernandez – try not to get caught in the optimism. Think All-Star break, not June 1.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
- Perhaps it will be easier to discern towards the end of the spring, but whether Carl Crawford or Joc Pederson are regulars or cede time to Chris Heisey and Scott Van Slyke will be noteworthy.
- The replacement for Kenley Jansen is of obvious importance – Joel Peralta being the lost intriguing option.
- Hopefully the Wilin Rosario situation fleshes itself out but if not, where he plays could dictate his expected playing time (platoon with Justin Morneau?).
- It may be hard to glean from the spring but the split between Nick Hundley and Michael McKenry is relevant in that McKenry is a better hitter – and it’s Coors.
- Unless you play in a 16-team, NL West only league then ignore all pitchers not named Jon Gray and Eddie Butler.
- His approach aside, watching to see how well Joey Votto is driving the ball will be worth following since his approach is dropping him down cheat sheets.
- The back-end of the rotation should be Anthony DeSclafani and Tony Cingrani, but neither are ingrained so their numbers may mean more than other starters.
- Chances are Kris Bryant will spend some in Triple-A regardless of how he performs in the Cactus League, though the better he hits, the sooner he gets the call (figure May 1 earliest).
- Javier Baez will have to earn his spot, especially with Arismendy Alcantara and Tommy La Stella available for backfill.
- The back-end of the rotation is in flux with Kyle Hendricks likely, followed by Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson and Tsuyoshi Wada.
- Will Eric Young Jr. earn some playing time in the outfield or second base?
- Will Freddie Freeman ever see a strike?
- Does Jonny Gomes really play versus righties or will be fall into the short side of a platoon?
- The fifth spot in the rotation is up for grabs with Michael Foltynewicz an interesting guy to watch
- Grog says Goldschmidt good <<stamps foot>>
OK, I was kidding. Here you go.
- Can Ryan Zimmerman handle the transition to first base?
- Whoever replaces Jayson Werth could be playable early in the season. Michael A. Taylor and Nate McLouth look to be the one to benefit.
- So much revolves around Yosmany Tomas and whether he sticks at third base. This opens up playing time for David Peralta and Ender Inciarte. If Tomas has to play the outfield, that could spell some lost playing time for A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo.
- Can Peter O’Brien receive well enough to get his strong stick in the lineup?
- Are Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa ready for prime time?