Tuesday, February 21, 2006

40 days until Opening Day!

Forget the upcoming WBC, now we know that baseball is officially almost back! Why? ESPN has released its first "MLB Power Rankings" for 2006! No major surprises, with the White Sox leading the pack and the depleted Marlins bringing up the rear. Our overrated Mets come in 6th. (Readers who will visit this blog often will quickly discover that Al is the much more optimistic fan...I'm the realist). Not that ESPN's opinion matters, but what I am most pleased about is my other team placing 2nd, and getting the respect it deserves. Which GM has had the best offseason? The best GM in baseball, of course:

Add Frank Thomas and Milton Bradley to the lineup and add Esteban Loaiza to an already deep rotation and what do you have? A title contender.

Let's go A's!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harden, Zito, Loaiza (whose numbers should improve in the Coliseum), Haren, Blanton. Kennedy, Duschererererer. Street. Nice rotation. Hopefully Haren and Blanton won't blow their arms out after the increased workload from last year.

The A's problem last year was that the top of the order was hot when the heart of the order was cold and vice versa; they never seemed to be "greasy" 1-6.
Keys to offense will be:
Kendall and if he can have more than one good stretch after seeing AL pitchers for one year.
Swisher and if he can continue to develop into a consistent force.
Bradley - hopefully he won't be a distraction on a team that is more Dancing Bears than 50 cent. And while I expect his HR numbers to go down, he should be able to rack up a lot of doubles and triples after a couple months of AL pitching under his belt.
Thomas - health - in the coliseum, he's going to need to rely on legging out doubles rather than on bopping long flys out of US cellular. we'll see how long those screws can take the pressure. my guess? not very long.
Chavez - needs to gain consistency. and he needs to be able to hit consistently from both sides of the plate (not one side one year, and then the other side the next year). and strike out less, even though he does take a lot of walks.

There's a lack of good OBP guys with speed in the Majors, and the A's are no different than most teams in having a weak top third. Kendall, who may have decent speed for a catcher, was a poor number 2 hitter all last year even though he hit in the top third at Pit his entire career prior to Oak. We'll see how that goes.

anyway, that's enough for now.

That said, Oak has proven Run producers - Swisher, Thomas, Chavez.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006  

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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine