Taking a page from Sunday’s blog, here are six questions to follow when the spring training games begin tomorrow.
It’s an exciting time with a real game (granted an exhibition) at hand. We start getting answers to these questions on Wednesday afternoon.
How will Miggi do at third base?
I expect he will at least be an average third baseman on defense by Opening Day. He may not be as good as Melvin Mora was on defense last year at any point.
He has said his biggest hurdle could be handling bunt plays. He has plenty of arm for the position, if he can get used to the hot shots that will come his way much quicker than they did at short.
Will Roberts, Bergesen and Reimold be healthy?
Right now all those injuries seem to be every bit as “minor” as the club says they are. These are three of the most important players on the team and the loss of any for any period of time would be damaging. Let’s hope they all stay on the field and aren’t limited at all.
Will Wieters take charge of the pitchers?
While we anticipate what it will look like when Matt Wieters’ bat really gets cranked up, his handling of the pitching staff will be huge. The fact that many of the pitchers are young should be a plus as Wieters looks to take charge behind the plate. But he also must hold his own with the likes of Kevin Millwood and Mike Gonzalez. He should do well here.
Who will win the final bullpen jobs?
It’s go time for players like Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate. The O’s seem to love the big right arm of Kam Mickolio, who could be a future late-inning guy on this team.
Will the O’s keep a left-handed specialist and who will win that job? We also wait to find out if bullpen roles are in the future for David Hernandez and/or Jason Berken. Also, we begin to find out this spring if Luis Lebron is close to ready for a Major League job.
Will Chris Tillman get any challenge for the fifth starters job?
The consensus is it’s his job to lose and he won’t lose it. That’s how I feel. Tillman doesn’t have anything left to learn or prove at Triple-A. The only way he opens the door for anyone else is via an injury or just a terrible, terrible spring.
How much of a look will young guys like Josh Bell, Brandon Snyder or Jake Arrieta get in March?
Probably not much of one. The O’s feel all three will be future big leaguers - it’s just a matter of when. Even if they do really well in March, they all appear likely to open the year with Norfolk. Everyone will be tracking their progress very closely, starting with Opening Day in the International League.
What is your take on these and what will you be looking for as the games start?