We have our answer to the first question of every Spring Training: Which players were the first to show up in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium?
Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes provided the answer on Twitter yesterday after arriving at the Washington Nationals' spring home:
Among the early arrivers to Nats camp: Danny Espinosa, Jordan Zimmermann, Tanner Roark, Doug Fister, Heath Bell, Gio Gonzalez.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) February 17, 2015
Hmm, Danny Espinosa is there early, let's all take a moment to read into that together... ... and Heath Bell, who signed a minor league deal w/ an invite is an early-arriver, clearly determined to make everyone take notice.
Next big question? Offseaon beard growth? No. How about: Which pitcher or position player is ITBSOHL?
For those of you who are new to the coverage game, that stands for "In The Best Shape of His Life."
Every year, without fail, one player will show up and WOW reporters with their physical appearance, prompting a writer or maybe even the player in question to comment that they've arrived at camp in the best shape of their life.
Bryce Harper's biceps were the subject of internet awe when he released his rope-pulling Vine last week. Will he come in jacked and ITBSOHL?
Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report tomorrow, position players next, on the 24th of February, and the first full-squad workout is scheduled for next Thursday, the 26th. Let's get ready, to get ready...
NATS BEAT: Spring Training stories; storyline wraps
• "Soon the clubhouse will be half full with pitchers and catchers, and the bullpen cages will be buzzing with spinning seams and the pop of gloves." - "Welcome to Nationals’ spring training" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
We meet again Space Coast Stadium. pic.twitter.com/JwBA4lUrSV— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) February 17, 2015
• "This year, though, feels different. The Nationals aren’t just expected to win in 2015. They’re expected to win it all." - "Nationals spring storyline No. 1: Dealing with the pressure to win" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Time to take a look at the part of this Nationals team guaranteed to damage a plethora of hitters' egos and cause a lot of sleepless nights for opposing managers in 2015..." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats positional preview: Starting pitchers" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "It was the offense that slipped during the National League Division Series against the Giants, which forced the end of the Nationals' season earlier than expected." - "Nats to use spring to gain comfort in new positions" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Scherzer signing hate: It's strong out there
• "Fourteen free agents received at least three votes for the worst signing distinction, with Scherzer leading the way with 15." - "MLB execs vote Nationals’ Max Scherzer the worst free agent signing in ESPN poll" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
From my Best & Worst poll: One player ranked near the top in Best Free Agent & Most Outrageous Contract. Guess who? http://t.co/dGNnjD4KWm— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) February 17, 2015
Polls and odds: We've got polls and odds to measure things
• "That makes the Nationals the favorite to win the 2015 World Series at 6-to-1. And that’s not a good thing." - "Nats are the preseason World Series favorites which means they won’t win title" - Neil Greenberg, The Washington Post
All MLB execs who voted #Nats signing of Scherzer as worst free agent signing this season don't understand the time value of money.— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) February 18, 2015
• "The Washington Nationals' signing of Scherzer, by the way, was picked the worst free agent signing, with 15 votes." - "Detroit Tigers voted one of AL's most 'unimproved' teams in ESPN poll" - Steve Schrader, Detroit Free Press
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Over/unders; time clocks; ST trip ideas
• "A roster full of talent helps, sure, but things still have to go right, which means it might make sense to be suspicious of the Nationals and Dodgers." - "Picking the best MLB over/under bet for 2015" - Grant Brisbee, SBNation.com
• "Overs: 1. Washington Nationals. With that rotation, I think they're a much better bet to go over 92.5 than the Dodgers. Of course, we said this two years ago and they won 86 games." - "Over/under totals for every team" - Dave Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
Over/under totals for every team http://t.co/w5M4YuLBDL— ESPN.com's SweetSpot (@espn_sweet_spot) February 17, 2015
• "I’m not a fan of the pitch clock. The rule has been on the books for a long time and rarely, if ever put into effect. There’s probably a good reason for that..." - "Want to speed up the game? Give relievers a chance" - Bill Bray, Sporting News
• "The Nationals will be leaving their current spring training home on the Space Coast for a new home in West Palm Beach beginning in 2017." - "10 baseball tales in one month: A spring training road trip" - Matt Mauney, Orlando Sentinel
• "Alec Keller, senior captain of the 2014 team and drafted by the Washington Nationals, is a player who’s hard to replace." - "After losing key seniors, Tigers lean on underclassmen to perform" - Miles Hinson, The Daily Princetonian
•"Meyer was the player the Twins wanted when they dealt established leadoff man Denard Span to the Washington Nationals." - "MLB Spring Training 2015: One prospect to watch on each AL Central team" - Ben Shapiro, masslive.com
NL EAST UPDATES: Beard growth, roster changes, Ryan Howard + more
• Phillies: "Here are three questions the Phils hope to answer before Opening Day on April 6 against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park..." - "Howard's production among Phillies' key questions" - Todd Zolecki, phillies.com
• Mets: "Jenrry Mejia, who seemed natural in the closer role last season, is as known for his post-game stomp off the mound to celebrate saves as he is for his unruly head of hair..." - "Mets reliever Vic Black sports Yukon Cornelius-style beard" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News
• Marlins: "Yesterday, Eric Mullin mentioned that Baseball Prospectus recently ranked the Miami Marlins' farm system as the second-worst system in baseball." - "Marlins' farm system empty on prospect value" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes
The Second Annual Jack McKeon Golf Classic is getting ready to tee off! pic.twitter.com/71yf5IhKY8— Marlins Ayudan (@MarlinsAyudan) February 18, 2015
• Braves: "Gonzalez has indicated that first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right fielder Nick Markakis might be his only true everyday players." - "Spring camp full of intrigue for new-look Braves" - Mark Bowman, braves.com