Spring Delusions

The sun is, at least occasionally, shining. The ice is melting. Maybe one of the wars will end. Maybe that nice person that you waved at a couple of weeks ago will wave back next time. Maybe the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks will stay in first place and the Pittsburgh Pirates will contend all season long. Maybe the Oakland Athletics will stay in Oakland.

Spring puts the emphasis on youth, which is why old farts like it so much. It may not be delusional to believe that the American League division races will all be competitive this season. In the East, the only team that I would rule out at this early date is Boston. If the New York Skankees ever get all of their starting pitchers rolling they could run away with it but every season it seems like, for all teams, the question of consistent health and effectiveness for pitchers seems to remain unanswered. So far it has been Gerrit Cole and then try to score as many runs as you can. Adley Rutschman and the Orioles look to finally be relevant and that , of course, is dependent on the pitching. Tampa Bay and Toronto both look very solid so far.

The outlook for the Central Division shows me so far that there is one potential World Series team in there and that is Cleveland. After the Guardians, mediocrity rules.

The A.L. West is a division full of question marks like The Riddler’s wallpaper. Houston is once again very deep and definitely the strongest pitching team, but will Jose Altuve come back strong? The positive effect of his injury will be consistent playing time for Mauricio Dubon. I will root again in vain for Seattle because they are fun to watch. The addition of Luis Castillo made them credible as contenders and they play good defense. Scouts talk as though Kolten Wong is over the hill at 32 but is he? Everyone is tired of reading and hearing about the failures of the Buena Park Angels but really all they need is for Anthony Rendon to be at his 2019 best, another Patrick Sandoval, and for Arte Moreno to either sell them or move them to Oakland, where a pretty good AA team is still boring loyal fans. Texas has Bruce Bochy now and is acting like they mean it while paying Jacob deGrom $45 million per inning pitched. What the analytical geniuses tend to do is over analyze the past and perhaps underestimate the future, as in potential. More than a little bit, young players seem to not be given the opportunity to develop their skills because the computers are telling us that they can’t hit right handed pitchers (or left handed pitchers) or they can’t field their position, or this, or that. Texas might be a team that gives people that opportunity and succeeds as a result.

Philadelphia became the off season favorite in the National League East but as of now I am saying it will be between the Mets and Braves with a slight edge to Atlanta. Both teams have superior pitching but the Mets lost their reliable closer and that might be the difference. Phillies might get hot after Bryce Harper returns but they will eventually discover that, no matter how many runs they score they will never be able to relax and that can sour the hitters.

Why are the Brewers in first place in the Central and the Cardinals in last? It’s unclear to me so far but the Cubs and Pirates might keep things interesting. This whole division is a mystery to me until I see more. Like the American League Central, the National League West seems to have one good team so far. That would be the San Diego Padres. The Giants are a good example of analysis paralysis. There is a different lineup daily, slavery to lefty-righty matchups, and a real challenge to young players to get comfortable with ever changing roles and roster moves. They need fewer coaches and more players. The Dodgers look a little too comfortable as a contrast to San Francisco. Arizona is a good sleeper choice but Colorado has apparently given up.

Now that the television is back in continuous use,we are reminded that nothing insults our intelligence more than one of those devices. The leading example so far this season is the MLB mascot races. I would wager that there are folks who bet on those.

2 thoughts on “Spring Delusions

  1. Very good article! Your insight shows you’re paying attention to all divisions. Personally I can’t get over the Pirates, especially old man McCutchen, who must like Pittsburgh! George


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