Got my first look at Baby Japanese Jesus today, although it was via live streaming video. I wish I was there in person. Would have been fun to see.
Anyway, I watched the first inning versus the San Diego Padres. Yu struck out Cameron Maybin looking on a nasty curveball. He also fanned Carlos Quentin on a slider that CQ missed by a foot.
Darvish 1 – MLB 0.
The San Diego Padres seem to be headed in the right direction. Of course, when you’re at the bottom of the NL West, there is really only one direction to go. Josh Byrnes takes over as GM and will improve the team. How much better will they be? Tough to say, but I don’t see them losing 90+ games again.
Carlos Quentin is reunited with the GM who drafted him in Arizona, a move I love. I cannot wait to watch CQ hit some home runs off the Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field. The other outfielders are stars in the making with Cameron Maybin patrolling center and Will Venable in right. In Maybin’s first full big league season last year he stole 40 bases while hitting 10 home runs. Venable, too has shown speed and power.
The Padres top prospect from a season ago, Anthony Rizzo was traded to the Chicago Cubs. The front office in Chicago clearly thinks highly of Rizzo as GM Jed Hoyer has now traded for him twice, once to the Padres and now the Cubs. Cubs President Theo Epstein drafed Rizzo when he was with the Boston Red Sox, a front office that also included Hoyer.
Their newest top prospect also plays first base and came to San Diego in exchange for Mat Latos. Yonder Alonso hit .330 last year in limited playing time with the Reds and has legit deep power. Whether that transfers to Petco Park remains to be seen. Other newbies include pitchers Edinson Volquez, Huston Street and Andrew “Cash Money” Cashner, whom the Friars got in the Rizzo deal. Cashner can throw the ball 100 MPH. That’s fast. Hopefully he can control it.
Mix in Chase Headley, Mark Kotsay, Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson and catcher Nick Hundley and the Padres might surprise some people. Their pitching rotation is stacked, led by one of the best pitchers in the NL West that nobody has ever heard of, Tim Stauffer. Look for much of the same, low scoring, pitching duels, but with a bit more talent this year, the Friars will win some of those games.
Fearless prediction: 79-83, 4th in NL West.
Up next on Tuesday in our Cactus League Spring Training Preview, Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s and Moneyball.