Saturday, April 2, 2011

Season Preview: chad has pretty feet

For most of my previews, we've looked at some of the great albums that were released in 1991--classics from R.E.M, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden. Arguably the album and production that received the most attention in 1991 was the new flashy Broadway play Miss Saigon, which brought Modern Butterfly into the Vietnam War, and engaged in some wonderful ethnic sensitivity by hiring the Welsh Jonathan Pryce to play an Asian man. This wasn't quite as bad as the use of blackface in Holiday Inn, but still put the theater world in quite a tizzy.

And in the end, it was hardly justified because Miss Saigon sucked. Sure it ran on Broadway for years. That doesn't mean it was any good--so did Cats. The music wasn't very good, the acting was subpar, the story derivative, and it was an overproduced mess that nobody particularly liked.

Which makes it a perfect analogue for Ironhead's squad. One of three teams to have never cashed a check in the league, Governor Lowercase makes a lot of noise and show with little return. Is 2011 going to be his Rent or his Spiderman Turn off the Dark? Let's see.

Infield

I still believe, the time will come.

Probably the best infield in the league. Adrian Gonzalez, now unleashed from PETCO Hell, should go apeshit in the AL East. If healthy, Dustin Pedroia and Jose Reyes are studs at the middle infield. Mark Reynolds and Mike Napoli are well above average at their position. There's really nothing to criticize here. Even the backups are pretty solid--Neil Walker is a fine sub for 2B, Howie Kendrick's a good flyer to have just in case he finally hits .350, and you could do far worse than Ass Cabrera at short.

Outfield

I will not cry, I will not think, I'll do my dance, I'll make them drink

Sort of the inverse of Teddy's preview, where we started with a horrible infield and moved on to good sets of players. We now come to the outfield, which would have been dominant in 2002. I mean, Bobby Abreu, Vlad Guerrero, and Vernon Wells? Is there a requirement that he draft a certain number of former and current members of the Angels? Where the hell is Tim Salmon? And Luis Polonia?

Now there are some useful assets here. Jose Bautista is unlikely to hit 54 home runs again, but even if he goes .350/35/100, he'll be very very good. Delmon Young has a shot to finally live up to his potential if he stops throwing bats at other players. But really, this is not a group of outfielders that will make up a championship roster.

Starters

I'm disgraced, I can't get ahead.

Quietly, this rotation could be very good. CC Sabathia, who was a steal at #5 in this year's draft, Roy Oswalt are a pair of aces up top. Phil Hughes and Madison Baumgarner are a nice pair of young guys--while there's commensurate risk that they implode and become useless, they also could put up 30 W's and nice rate stats. I'm less high on CJ Wilson than Ironhead, but if you need a flyer at the 5th spot, he's fine.

Relievers

You're telling me this half-breed rat is the son of a Marine? Let me see his western nose.

Matt Capps isn't closing, Rafael Soriano won't be closing, and Tyler Clippard shouldn't be closing. As constituted, this group is going to accumulate 10 saves. That won't be good enough for anything more than 1 save points and won't help their starters overcome their issues.

Outlook

She's sort of a virgin...well, more or less.

One of these years this team will pop its cherry. 2011 won't be it. The outfield is too questionable and there's little of practical use in the pen this year. Unless the likes of Abreu and Vlad have a renaissance, we're looking at another year of not-quite-good-enough to contend.

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