The Nats have played their first few games in the Grapefruit League, so the buzz about baseball being back is upon us. That will last for about three or four more days before we realize that they don't play a regular season game that actually counts for another month. There's always some excitement during March about rookies or prospects (Michael Taylor, Wilmer Difo, and A.J. Cole anyone?) to keep us interested while we wait for the calendar to flip to April and the games to count. Most of the time, there are at least one or two position battles to keep an eye on. This year, there just aren't that many battles to look forward to....
- The starting rotation runs six deep. Tanner Roark has been moved to the bullpen, and would be in the rotation of any other team in the majors. Even if there is a starter who implodes or suffers an injury, Roark will just slide into the vacated spot.
- The starting lineup seems to be set, though I can't say just how strong Yunel Escobar's hold is on the full-time starting job at second base. Wilson Ramos, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth (when healthy), Denard Span, and Bryce Harper aren't going to be challenged for playing time because someone has a big March.
- Most of the bench appears to be set. We can say for certain that Jose Lobaton, Kevin Frandsen, Nate McLouth, and (probably) Danny Espinosa will be starting the season on the big league roster. The fifth outfield spot could see some competition between Tyler Moore and Michael Taylor, but even that has a clear front-runner (Moore is out of minor league options... Taylor is probably better served getting regular at bats in AAA than sitting on the big league bench).
- Even the bullpen would appear to be set. Drew Storen, Casey Janssen, Craig Stammen, Matt Thornton, Jerry Blevins, and Tanner Roark all look to be locks to start the upcoming season with the big club. It's also hard to imagine the club leaving Aaron Barrett off the roster after a strong rookie season (2.66 ERA, 2.59 FIP).
|Pitch Type||Four Seam FB||Sinker||Changeup||Slider|
- If he continues to work on the changeup, is there a likelihood that it will turn into at least an average big league offering?
- Is there a higher likelihood that if he scraps the changeup and works harder on refining his slider, that pitch can become a plus big league offering?