Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Six Favorite Spring Training Players

I'm almost 30 years old. At this age, it is really tough to have a favorite player, Since Kirby Puckett retired, I've dabbled in favorite players like Glenallen Hill, Juan Cruz, and Michael Wuertz, but nobody has stood out above the rest. It also doesn't help that I am often older than them, and outside of fantasy baseball, I don't care that much. I know the Cubs are going to suck, so I can't say that I'm too invested in their season. Maybe they can shock the, they can't, so there's no point in even mentioning it. Anyway, since I moved to South Florida, I had the opportunity to check out some Spring Training games. I went to six spring training games (but only managed to see six different teams since five of the games were Cardinals games [don't judge me], since they were closest), and will give a favorite player from each team I saw.

Cardinals - Pat Neshek
Most dominant player I saw and I would probably deem him my favorite player if he didn't play for the team that I despise the most. His side-arming action was giving hitters fits. Plus, he was hanging in the low-90s while topping out at 94. No hitter ever made good contact against him, and I am so angry that he is on the Cardinals instead of the Cubs. I'd even settle for the Marlins. Anyway, I wish that 7th inning relievers had fantasy value, because I would destroy my fantasy league with Pat Neshek. If Rosenthal gets hurt, I'm picking up Neshek just for the chance that he might take the closer's role; I suggest you do the same.

Nationals - Destin Hood
The Nationals sent their B-Squad for the game I saw, so the only starter I saw was Anthony Rendon. But that didn't stop me from assuming that Destin Hood was going to take Bryce Harper's job. He absolutely crushed a home run and made a nice catch on defense. Don't let the numbers fool you, nerds. It's only a matter of time before they make space for Hood by trading Bryce Harper to the Cubs for Darwin Barney.

Tigers - Miguel Cabrera
I got lucky in this one as I had seats directly behind home plate about eight rows up. Watching Miguel Cabrera is so impressive. He's a large man, but it's not like he looks like an athlete. Still, he really makes it look like he can do anything he wants with a baseball bat. It is effortless. There are players that you should always stop what you are doing to watch them in action, and Miguel Cabrera is definitely that type of player. It did not hurt that he hit two home runs in the game that I saw, but even the single that he hit was pretty impressive.

Astros - Chris Carter
This is a guy I have liked for quite a while. He always did a really good job of making adjustments at new levels where he would go from sucking to dominating. I think that will happen to him in the major leagues this year. He didn't really do anything special, but he's special in my heart. Also, props to the Astros front office for being really nice people. Do you get extra wins for being nice? No? Oh, well, you should.

Phillies - Bobby Abreu
He was hitting line drives all over the field, and he gunned a guy out at home plate. I know he got released, but he also got picked up again. And let's not forget, although Abreu isn't a Hall of Fame player, he was still really, really good. I hope he gets one important hit for the Mets and retires the next day to become President of Venezuela.

Marlins - Andrew Heaney
I really liked what I saw from Heaney. This is the point where I should point out that I cannot scout baseball to save my life, but I know my strengths and weaknesses. Making hitters look stupid is good. Inducing weak contact is also good. Striking dudes out is good too. Heaney did all of these things, and since the Marlins don't care about service time, expect him to be on the big league roster within the week. His ERA was 0.88 in High-A last year. I expect him to do AT LEAST that well in the majors this year.


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