Continuing our trip around the league and the 1991 soundtrack, let's take a peek at the two best historically: Le Dupont Torkies, our historically best team, and Nevermind, the year's best album.
I don't care, care, care, care if it's old.
I was about to muster up a defense of A-Rod as a franchise cornerstone, then I read JoePo's top 32 players column where he couldn't decide who was better, Mr. Diaz or Adrian Beltre. Now this comp does include defense, I hope, but yikes. It's not that Rodriguez sucks, and he plays a thin position, but his injuries and age have to be cause for concern.
It's even more cause for concern here because this infield is laden with question marks. Jorge Posada is useful because he qualifies as a catcher but is calcifying faster than Jeter. Soto is good but not elite. Furcal's also an injury risk. And Ben Zobrist could put up numbers that rival Mike Schmidt or Mike Gallego, and neither would be surprising. So while ARod and Uggla are a good start, question marks abound on a bunch that's not at all deep.
Amazes me the will of instinct.
The Farman strategy has always been to load up on a lot of pitchers and keep a thin offense. And this year is no exception because there are 4 outfielders here, including Zobrist. The problem? None are elite. Shane Victorino is a nice 5-category player that shouldn't be your top OFer. Jayson Werth's career is reminiscent of guys like Alfonso Soriano--huge numbers at a young age for decent teams, but now moves to a shitty Nats team where he's unlikely to get a ton of RBI's especially once freed from Philly's bandbox. As for Nate McLouth, he's never had a .360 OBP, 25 HR or 25 steals. And that's the entire outfield. Hard to see where the stud might be.
I'm worst at what I do best and for this gift I'm feeling blessed.
It's long been a Torkie strategem to load up on pitchers and run them in and out every day based on who's hot, who's not, and matchups. This has worked well in the past. I'm not so sure it's going to work well this year.
Starting out with the positives, Brett Anderson is a guy I love this year and a legit Cy Young candidate if healthy. There's a few guys that I like here to have bounceback seasons--John Lackey, CarZo, and maybe even Johnny Cueto. After that, it's a lot dicier. Edwin Jackson will walk the ballpark and threatens to kill the team's WHIP is not used carefully. Ivan Nova and Kyle Drabek are curiosities, but they're young 4th starters for now.
Now look, there are no real "stiffs" on this roster of pitchers. But there's a lack of guys who will be top-shelf pitchers in 2012. Come next year, when Adam Wainwright is healthy and Drabek and Anderson have some more innings under this belt, this could be a scary staff. But for now, it appears to be a clear level below some of the squads sporting aces up top.
Finally some good news--a staff I like. Brett Anderson is a guy I love and a dark horse Cy Young candidate. Lackey, Neimann, CarZo and Cueto are all good bounceback candidates, figure 2 of those should work out.
I'm so ugly, but that's okay cause so are you.
This staff has NINE relievers, and if we asked 5 people to get there opinion on who the best reliever is, I think we'd get 5 different answers. Is it Ryan Franklin, who is probably the safest source for saves? Is it JJ Putz, who's looked good all spring? Is it Craig Kimbrel, who has the potential to be the next Joakim Soria? Or is it Chris Sale, who's probably the best pitcher of the bunch, but is currently pitching in the 7th inning?
There's a good chance that this team gets a ton of saves because there's a lot of closer mass here, and some guys who should get a bunch of vulture wins and K's. So yeah, that's one category they should be good at.
What the hell am I trying to say?
It's hard for me to say something negative about a team that hasn't finished below 5th in ages, but this looks like a consolidation year for the Torkies. This isn't a surprise per se, as the team had to hemorrhage a lot of good players over the last two years, then this year ended up with 2 picks in the top 70 of a fairly shallow draft. And one of those was used on Wainwright, who won't help until next year. Which is the next time we think this team will compete.