USA TODAY Sports
The Chapman-Leake battle heats up with, well, not the weather, but with the inexorable passage of time at least.
The big story is the Leake-Chapman fight over against the Angels recently. Leake went 3IP, 4H, 1BB, 2K while Chapman went 2IP, 3H, 1R. Spring stats are stupid, though. Fay tries his best to drum up the controversy, with Price sounding a bit mad-scientist in his "let's see what happens if Chapman starts" sort of take. Price's quote to Sheldon sounds like it was him, not Chapman, who uses an interpreter: "Amongst the physical talents the Leaker has, he is gifted as far as his makeup and ability to compete. He's a tremendous competitor. It doesn't hurt anybody to have to come to camp to compete for a position." Buried in that article is the fact that Miguel Cairo works as Chapman's interpreter nowadays, which is a brilliant move because now whatever Chapman says will go through the Consummate Teammate.
On the undercard storyline, Mesoraco is having a heck of a spring, just a heck of a spring. Fayman has a Dusty compliment (“He’s getting better defensively. He’s getting better throwing. He’s getting better hitting. I told him last year that there’s a lot that a catcher has to think about.”). Hal McCoy - who wonderfully has a hotmail.com address - notes that Hanigan is taking the week off, so Mesoraco is going to be catching some of the top guys and really has the chance to gain the pitching staff's trust. It could be fun.
Johnny Cueto is Mario Soto. "He said when you're young that you need to learn from a veteran guy. He taught me how to pitch in [different] counts. He said it's different in the Minor Leagues when they'll swing at any pitch. Up there, you have to focus so much with every pitch you throw," said Corcino, while carrying Cueto's baggage around and buying late-night snacks for the right-hander. Fortunately, Mario Soto is Mario Soto too, and is teaching Corcino how and when to use a changeup. Have I mentioned how excited I am for the AAA rotation?
Lefty homeruns off of lefty fastballs are always great fun to watch. Thankfully, we have Jay Bruce. It's not quite vintage Griffey, but it's a heck of smackeroo. Choo, Votto, and Bruce...can we get a nickname for these guys? "Ends with vowels, starts with runs"? That's stupid, isn't it? It sounds stupid.
Doc's gonna Doc. This isn't even the trolliest thing he wrote, but "The era of scoffing at the stats nerds is as done as anabolic steroids." He also mentions that "Ryan Ludwick is the only true free agent on this team." What the heck is that? Like a True Yankee? Did Jack Hannahan get kidnapped and dragged to Cincinnati against his will and if so, why is he getting two years? Even when he tries the All Hail Middle Management thing, he can't quite manage. This guy, guys...
Brisbee does his "NL Central Bellwether Players" today. The theory is, "As goes [PLAYER], so goes [TEAM]." His pick for Cincinnati is Aroldis Chapman, noting that if he's successful, he is "absolutely terrifying" but adding the caveat of "for some reason it reminds me of Hawaii bringing in snakes to eat the rats, which forced them to bring in mongooses, which are just as annoying as rats. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU MESS WITH NATURE, EVERYBODY." I really like the metaphor of "Bringing in poisonous predators to an idyllic ecosystem" for Aroldis' arm. LLa Boa Cubana, anybody?
Spencer Hall's Bad Decision Bracketology. Or as jch calls it, "my age-24 season."