Friday, April 01, 2005

 

Why isn't it Sunday yet?!?

These last few days before the season starts are nothing but agony, especially since I've been writing and you have all been reading for the past few months with the previews and the spring training notes...I think I'm going to explode. But on a good note, today is the day for the John Sickels interview! If you have any questions, please post them and I will send in the questions this afternoon (probably after 2 when my class is out). Please, please please get some questions in, as John is a master of his craft and will share what he knows.

I already had a slight panic attack this morning, when I went to Sickels Minor League Ball site and saw the April Fool's joke with David Wright getting traded to Tampa Bay. I believed it for a second thanks to last year's debacle with Scott Kazmir. Now I'm waiting for the Mets to do it thinking its a good idea.

My mind is a mess waiting for Sunday and the first taste of real baseball that counts. One thing on ESPN did catch my eye though...I saw the Sportsnation Poll at the bottom of the page asking "Which of these teams has the best chance of making the playoffs?" with the choices of the Athletics, the Indians, the Rangers, and the White Sox. What upset me is that the Rangers, after almost 52,000 votes, have a higher percentage of the vote than the Oakland A's. I find it interesting that the Indians have the highest percentage, considering I believe their chances of overturning the Twins are less than the Athletics beating out the Angels. This means that more people think the Rangers can either A) Win the Wild Card or B) Beat out the Angels and A's for the AL West. Did anyone pay attention this offseason? The Athletics improved, and the Angels sort of did. The Rangers did what? Sign a guy who might hit .220 with 4 homers or .287 with 22? That is reassuring. One of their primary offseason goals was to resign David Delluci, with all his minor injuries adding up and affecting his playing ability. They did not fix the pitching at all (sorry Pedro Astacio, but no). They still are the owners of Chan Ho Park. The offense might get a little better with more growth from Michael Young and Mark Teixera and others, but it is still a lineup devoid of on-base consistency. This team's problem last year actually wasn't pitching, as Hershisher did a good job of keeping the pitching staff effective throughout the year. The offense stagnated in the second half, and the team cannot hit on the road. It is like Coors Lite Park in Arlington, and the Rangers are making the same mistake as the Rox; build a lineup with a few serious stars, and surround them with no names who will hit well enough at home to disguise their shortcomings. The pitching is obviously never going to be dominant with the home park the way it is, but they could have tried to add an arm rather than sit around and try to sign Carlos Delgado to play a position he didn't want to play for less money than he wanted to sign for. Maybe if Alex Rodriguez had been a free agent we would have seen some money thrown around in Texas this offseason. Luckily, to soothe my anger at this situation, the White Sox only got 17.7% of the vote, which means Sportsnation isn't falling for this Podsednik shit that Kenny Williams is trying to pull. But seriously folks, you think the Rangers are going to make it over the Athletics? I put the Rangers and Mariners chances at roughly the same spot, with a slight edge to the Rangers based on their ability to score runs at home.

Don't forget to post a question for John Sickels in the comment section of this post! We'll have it up for your sometime soon I'm guessing. If you haven't read the Will Carroll article yet, the link is on the sidebar on the left, as it has fallen off of the main page.

By the way, I added a link the Athletics Nation on the left, as well as one for Heads/Tails. Check out both of those sites, and make sure to comment on Heads/Tails when Mike Hurtya and I begin posting. We are planning on doing something related to teams counted out of the playoff picture and their chances this upcoming season. Should be a good argument. See you there I hope.

Comments:
What young player or rookie do you see having the best chance of breaking out this season in the majors?
 
Whats your preference for the 2005 Red Sox 3B: Bill Mueller or Kevin Youkilis? If you like Mueller for 2005, who would you rather have in 2006?
 
I’ve heard varying reports on Jeremy Reed, from a surefire RotY candidate, to SAFECO hurting him, and some say he may not even be the real deal. What’s your take on Jeremy Reed?
 
Whats your take on Chris Narveson, who the Sox got in the BK deal with the Rockies?
 
I think the Cleveland Indians have a real good chance at taking the American League Central from the Twins. Do you think their young hitters and pitchers can continue to improve, stagnate, or go backwards?
 
What's your ranking of baseball's divisions from the strongest to the weakest?
 
I'm going to see a lot of Colorado Springs Sky Sox baseball this year. What are your thoughts on Justin Hampson and Mike Esposito, two pitching prospects that figure to start at that level? Do they have what it takes to succeed at altitude in terms of stuff?

Also, where does Jed Lowrie figure to end up in the draft this summer?
 
Here's a bunch of questions... feel free to answer those you like...

Who do you think is comparable to Brandon McCarthy at this point?? Anybody jump to mind?

Did anybody really know about Ian Kinsler or Jason Kubel before last year??

Your pick for this year's Kinsler/Kubel?

What would Roberto Petagine's line be if he was given a full year in the bigs? How did you rate him when he was a prospect?

Have you seen Macier Izturis play? Is he as good as his numbers would indicate? Do you question the sanity of Jim Bowden?

Who are 3 AAAA guys who could start on almost any other team?? Here's mine: Kevin Youkilis, Wily Mo Pena, and Michael Restovich (now he will get a chance).

Speaking of Restovich... do you think he'll succeed against major league pitching?? I'd give him a 35% chance of doing well enough this year to start next year. Is that too harsh?

Top 3 favorite minor league parks and/or cities?

Would you favor Las Vegas getting a MLB team?

Is Oakland going to have the best pen in the AL West? I like the Angels and K-Rod too, but a pen is more than just your closer. Thoughts?

Matt Thornton and Bobby Madritsch: Buy or Sell?

Who's the next 'Moneyball' GM? Do we know his name and do we know what team he'll go to?

What grade does Sidd Finch, the Mets prospect from the 80's, get today? Great arm, but seemed like there were some makeup questions. (Today is April 1st)

Biggest differences between the Bigs and the minors? Is it defense and the pitchers control? Other things?

Best minor league promotions you've seen or heard of.

ROY picks (Top 3 in each league)?

Okay those are it for now. I'm going to link to this from my website too, if you don't mind Marc.

Thanks for doing this John. Maybe after the season gets going, yourself and the rest of the Twins bloggers can do a roundtable IM chat about the 'State of the Twins' or something. Email me at wink26@msn.com if this sounds like something you'd be interested in.

Can't wait for opening day!

Andy Wink
http://twins.mostvaluablenetwork.com
 
Do the Red Sox have any prospects with good power potential?

What is your favorite minor league ballpark to take in a game? Ever been to Pawtucket?
 
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