I’ve jotted down a few ideas for a possible column over the last week or so, but having had so little baseball played so far I’m reluctant to make any particularly strong proclamations about what we’ve seen so far. In order to avoid getting carried away with small sample sizes and meaningless events, I’m listing them here as no more than observations, many of which I doubt will offer much predictive value over the rest of the year. I might revisit the format as a monthly piece to cover things that don’t quite warrant a full column, but for now here’s the notables from the first week and a half.
- Yoenis Cespedes is box office. His Carlos Peña-esque .212/.350/.545 line doens’t really do justice to the excitement his at bats seem to be generating at the moment. Twitter is acting as my personal ‘Cespedes Alarm’ during every A’s game, alerting me to when the Cuban import is due to hit and very grateful for it I am too. Cespedes still has plenty of the unknown about his game but the huge power we heard about has already been in evidence, as have the huge strikeouts. He’s the type of hitter whose slumps are going to look ugly but what we’ve seen has been tantalizing.
- Keeping with the Cuban theme, Aroldis Chapman may just have figured something out. In 8 innings over 5 appearances he’s allowed just two singles and a triple. That’s the extent of the base-runners against the Reds fireballer. He’s also struck out 15 of the 27 batters he’s faced. If the Reds are insistent on using him in relief at least they are sending him out there for multiple innings, but it’s hard not to ask yourself what he could do if given a chance to start.
- Derek Jeter isn’t going to hit .400.
- Vernon Wells might be owed $63m or so over the next three years, but Mike Trout is doing his best to force the Angels into making a decision about their outfield alignment. Possibly the top prospect in the game, Trout is hitting .435/.491/.652 through his first 11 games at Triple-A and would likely be starting at the big league level right now for a number of clubs. Perhaps the fact that it was current GM Jerry Dipoto’s predecessor Tony Reagins that was responsible for bringing Wells to California will make Dipoto more comfortable with moving the overpaid veteran aside for the young future star.
- It seems that Brian Matusz’s excellent spring was a mirage after all. After pitching himself into consideration as a sleeper comeback player while in Florida, the young lefty hasn’t been able to carry over those results into the regular season. In 9.2 innings so far he’s walked 8, struck out 5 and given up a couple of homers. It’s been a sad fall for the former top prospect and most baseball fans should be pulling for him to turn things around.