The best park in baseball? - Rich Pilling
We're now under two weeks until Opening Day. Due to a complete, relatively healthy roster, that has unfortunately focused all scrutiny onto one topic, and one topic only. Just be glad Jhoulys Chacin isn't our Game 1 starter.
C.Trent has been on the Spring Training shuffle, and it appears he's found his favorite spot. While the Red Reporter Spring Breakers never made it to Talking Stick, it was consistently spoken of as a park that was top-class. Also in this is a comparison of Goodyear to Chipotle which, well, actually seems pretty accurate.
Jeff Passan calls out U.S. baseball fans, and he's right. I've only caught a few snippets of the WBC on TV, and though I was present at the USA vs. Italy game, the setting was much different than when the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico are playing. It's rather painful to note how often cheering for my team has resulted in being asked to sit down, but that's the current nature of sports in America. After reading this article, the dichotomy of how the sport is celebrated may well be the one thing I take away from this edition of the WBC...since I'm certainly not going to actively remember who wins.
In Jon Heyman's latest, he details 40 players "making big progress" this spring. On said list, he includes Mike Trout (because, hey, he's surely improving on a 10 WAR season), Howie Kendrick (the Angels 2B who has hit well in every single Spring Training), Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz (uh huh), and ignores Devin Mesoraco's 1.300 OPS, Votto's 1.200 OPS coming off of a knee injury, and Choo's 1.000 OPS following his trade to the NL. No, of course I'm not linking to that.
Jeff Sullivan from Fangraphs uses logic to make a logical suggestion for Aroldisgate. Just try it. Just see what happens. Yes, Chapman likes closing; he's also never started a game at the Major League level. Perhaps, just perhaps, he would enjoy starting, too, once he's had the thrill of doing it in front of 40,000 people (which would happen for each of his first few starts). If it doesn't work, scrap it...but find out.
Fangraphs is also in the midst of their Positional Power Rankings for 2013. I've linked to their SS rankings, but each is worth checking out. So far, the Reds have been in the top half of each position and, well, that's exactly what we all expect for this season.