Welcome to Streaking in the Park! My name is Brian Phair and I will be taking you on a weekly journey through baseball’s streaking players and teams. Every Wednesday I will touch on several of the highs and lows of the past week. Whether you are a casual observer of baseball or an obsessive fan, this weekly information will help you stay current and up-to-date about what’s going on around the league.
Since opening day is now only a few days away, let’s begin with looking at the 2010 Spring Training highs and lows. Today will be part 1 of a 2 part Spring Training series in order to get everyone excited and informed for opening day. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!
SP Ricky Nolasco, FLA
The 27-year old Ricky Nolasco of the Florida Marlins has been turning some heads this Spring with his impressive numbers. In 5 starts, Nolasco has gone 3-0 with an era of 1.78 in 25.1 innings, while collecting 21 K’s. Nolasco is looking to continue his strong 2009 campaign where he finished with a 13-9 record in 31 starts and fell just 5 K’s shy of 200. Nolasco could be a dominant force in the strong Marlins starting rotation if he can keep his era under control like it was in 2008 (3.52). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nolasco continue to hover near the top of the NL in wins and K’s in 2010 like he has over the past 2 years.
RF Tyler Colvin, CHC
Tyler Colvin is a name very few people knew before this Spring. This 24-year old outfielder had everything to prove entering the Chicago Cubs training facility in February and has been nothing but spectacular since. In 66 AB’s this Spring, Colvin has amassed 30 hits (.455 average) and belted 2 HRs and 15 RBIs. Colvin is a true 5-tool player who has speed and power along with defensive prowess in the outfield. Colvin was a borderline roster option this Spring, but has earned a spot on the opening day roster for Lou Pinella, acting as the back-up outfielder. Get used to hearing this kid’s name, because he will probably be in the majors for several years to come.
2B Sean Rodriguez, TB
There is no hotter hitter in baseball right now that Tampa Bay’s Sean Rodriguez. The young second baseman is entering his first season in the AL after spending parts of 2 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This Spring, Rodriguez is hitting .439 in 21 games and has been nothing short of a monster at the plate. He has belted an MLB best 6 home runs while driving in 16 RBIs and touching 49 total base’s. The Rays are understandably excited about this 24-year old and expect him to have an impact on the organization long term. Rodriguez will surely get significant playing time in 2010 at all of the infield positions.
SS Mike Aviles, KC
After bursting onto the scene in 2008 with a .325 average in 102 games, Mike Aviles was sidelined almost all of 2009 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. This Spring, Aviles is looking to prove his health and regain a spot in the starting lineup for Kansas City. The shortstop has been hitting the cover off the ball this Spring, collecting 19 hits and 6 BB’s in 16 games, while scoring 13 runs. Aviles will probably begin the season as the Royal’s back-up infielder, but if his recovery goes as planned, could be starting before the All-Star break.
SP Jorge De La Rosa, COL – 2-1, 25 IP, 1.80 ERA, 19 K’s
RF Hunter Pence, HOU – .400, 3 HRs, 16 RBIs, 2 SBs
CF Nate McLouth, ATL
After spending 4 and a half years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Nate McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves at the deadline last season. His career average is not amazing at .260, but he has been a solid player throughout his career. This Spring however, has been abysmal for the outfielder who has hit just .122 (6 for 49) and has struck out 15 times. McLouth has just 2 extra base hits (1 HR and 1 2B) and has only 10 total bases. No one is expecting McLouth to suddenly become a .300 hitter, but his slow Spring is a cause concern for the Braves in 2010.
LF Raul Ibanez, PHI
After a slow start to his career, Raul Ibanez has been impressive over the past few years, especially in the power department. In 6 of the past 8 years, Ibanez has hit 20+ home runs, twice eclipsing the 30 home run mark, but this Spring has been terrible for the lefty. In 41 AB’s, Ibanez has just 4 hits (.098 average) and has struck out 10 times. These numbers combined with Ibanez’s age (37) is a concern if you are a Philadelphia Phillies fan. Right now, Charlie Manuel is hoping his left fielder’s lack of production will become a thing of the past as the season creeps closer.
1B Carlos Pena, TB
After a career lull in 2005 and 2006, Carlos Pena has emerged as a power hitter for the Tampa Bay Rays. Pena has hit 30+ home runs the past 3 seasons despite poor batting averages and has continued his batting average struggles this Spring. Pena has just 6 hits in 15 games so far and 2 are home runs. His batting average is a horrid .142 and his inability to drive in runs (just 5) has been disappointing for the Rays. Joe Madden is hoping Pena can improve from his low .227 batting average last season, but there has been nothing to indicate his average is on the way up in 2010.
SP Jason Marquis, WAS
After a solid 2009 season with the Rockies, Jason Marquis was able to leave the thin air of Colorado and sign with the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately for Marquis, the transition has been poor so far. Marquis has pitched 15.2 innings so far this Spring and has allowed 18 ERs and 26 hits, while collecting just 4 K’s and allowing 10 BBs. His era is over 10 and with the weak offense for the Nationals, Marquis could be in a boatload of trouble in 2010. Right now, I would be surprised to see Marquis match last year’s record of 15-13 with his new ball club.
SS Marco Scutaro, BOS – .184, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 BBs
CF Rajai Davis, OAK – .196, 4 RBIs, 10 Ks, 4 SBs
Topics: Atlanta Braves, Carlos Pena, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Jason Marquis, Jorge De La Rosa, Kansas City, LA Dodgers, Marco Scutaro, Mike Aviles, Mike Sweeney, Nate McLouth, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rajai Davis, Raul Ibanez, Ricky Nolasco, Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay, Tyler Colvin, Washington Nationals