We're almost there, folks. Opening Day...the Cubs in town...on what SHOULD be a national holiday. I've been unabashedly optimistic lately, so maybe it's just that lotus talking, but I think there are things to actually look forward to(besides Mike Trout)! The Spring Training games so far have been fun to watch/listen to, but is it just a mirage? We're going to find out real soon, better or worse, ridin' that Spring Pass til the wheels fall off. I'm excited. Until then, we've got a couple more weeks or so, and who knows what can develop between now and then. For now, let's dip into some St. Patrick's Day edition of Mailbag Mayhem, yeah?
Marcus Rovira asks: Are we who they say we are or are we better? Or worse? (If that's possible)
I've got good news, Marcus. If you're asking me, and you literally ARE asking me, so I have to say I think this team will be fine. The West is no cake walk, though, so I'm not quite at the point where I'm calling them division champs. I think they will be a tough team to beat, though, and they'll make it close, like last year...whether to the division or the play-in game. We're NOT worse than last year, at the very least. Look for the offense to click, the defense to rock and the bullpen to roll and you've got a fun, competitive team to watch. (Famous last words, I know. Someone bookmark this for October)
Darrall Busonick asks: You think trout going to kick it up a notch this year ?
I do. Trout is going to kick it up a notch like it's the Food Network in the late 90's.
Trout is looking to steal more bases, and I believe him. He'll also be another year into his career, and the velociraptor he is, that means he's going to be even better at the plate(cut out those Ks, though, will ya?). Mike Trout is going to win another MVP award.
Terry Lamb asks: Where's the power hitting LFer?
His nave is The NavaGentrer, and he's not much of a power hitter. But he'll do, hopefully. If you're still thinking about that power hitting LF, by the way, remember the words of the scholar Garth Algar: "Get over it, man. They'll never afford it. Live in the now!"
Steven Garrison asks: Are you surprised how Daniel Nava has been during the spring? I think he will work out will with him and escobar at the top of the line up and move Calhoun down behind pujols or cron
Surprised, and loving it. Some people, like Turk's Teeth, thought he could have a bounce back year in the cards, if he was healthy. So far, so good. Of course, every time I get too excited, I remember the importance of tempering it the age old chestnut of "It's ONLY SPRING TRAINING!" I like your lineup, too, but give me some Choi in there instead of Cron.
David Wilson asks: What does C.J. Cron stand with the angels? Are we going to see more 1B this year?How come he hasn't been considered for the left field position other than nava?
Speaking of Choi/Cron...C.J. isn't an outfielder; he's not like Mark Trumbo in that way. As it stands right now, I think he figures to play heavily into Mike Scioscia's plans this year...that is, unless Ji-Man Choi continues to have a great camp, then I think if Mike is smart, he takes a long, hard look at Cron and decides that maybe he isn't worth the reps or the roster spot. Choi has had an awesome camp, and finally appears on track to crack the secrets of the MLB. Choi has the glove, the contact bat and he actually CAN play LF. Of course, this is Scioscia. He could totally roll the dice with perennial Spring Training stat star C.J. Cron.
Jonathan Martinez asks: Is Daniel Nava going to seize the LF job for himself and push Craig Gentry to the bench as the 4th outfielder?
Definitely could happen, but I think they're set on a platoon out there as the mode of attack for 2016. When the rubber hits the road though, those plans can change in a day. Rafael Ortega is also in the mix, muddying things up. Next couple weeks are huge for some clarity and decision making out there. But it's a decent problem to have, let's just hope any of them can't keep it up during the season.
Jonathan Gottlieb asks: Will Jared Weaver have a fastball that tops 80 mph? Will his change up make it over the plate? Will he try on the pitcher's protective cap when his batting practice pitches are lined at his head? RA Dickey has more velocity than Weaver and he's missing a bone in his elbow.
Maybe once or twice, here and there, if we're lucky. Probably. Nah, Weaver aint wearing that funky lookin' hat.
Francis Sapien asks: Who bats ahead of trout? Giavotella was a big spark whenever he lead off last year though Escobar looks likely to take that spot as well as Nava could challenge Calhoun for the second spot and move Calhoun to 5
Most likely Nava will be batting in front of him on opening day. Giavotella is pretty good in the 9 spot so i'm cool with it like that, for now. I think they're definitely looking to move Calhoun down some, but they are probably thinking 5th when they should put him 4th. Pujols aint that fearsome of a cleanup option any more.
Stephen W. Shields III asks: Why is the rotation of Richards, Heaney, Santiago, Shoemaker, and Skaggs being so overlooked just because Weaver & Wilson are washed up?
I think there's chance for success in there, with some possibly high scoring affairs, as others here have stated. The things that are probably being criticized, and rightfully so, are question marks like Santiago's up and down numbers, Shoemaker's shaky Spring & 2015, Skaggs' arm post-surgery...a lot to think about there, without even hitting the oft-injured Weaver and Wilson. Richards and Heaney should be studs, though. They'll win us ball games.
Jeff Joiner asks: Will Scioscia run Weaver out there when he's clearly toast? Will Eppler have to cut or release our beloved WTY to keep him from being shelled?
I sure as hell hope not. If it comes to that, I think Weaver will retire. He's a good, straight shootin' dude like that.
Marc Gonzales asks: What are the real expectations for Tyler Scaggs? Is this our bad luck TJ surgery guy or do you think he'll emerge as a dark horse??
Hopefully a #3 or 4 starter, like he was doing in 2014. He'll be on a pitch count for the season, though. Tommy John is conquerable these days...Skaggs just needs to get back to feeling good, getting some Spring reps in and he'll have the odds in his favor.
Thelma Day What's going to happen w/Ji-Man Choi? I think he is a keeper
I do too! Choi over Cron, all day. Let's hope it continues to shake out that way. Angels could use a dude like him aka a good hitter and backup for Albert on the bag. I think he for sure makes the opening day roster as a bench player, at the very least.
Matt Metivier asks: What is the projected 1-9 lineup on Opening Day?
Shaun Miyata asks: Did anybody ever find out who would win in a race between mike trout and peter bourjos?
I think I read back in the day that Mike was faster from the box to 1st, and Bourjos was faster from the box to third/home. Or I have that backwards. Or i'm just totally off, there's always that option.
Tom Platten asks: Who wins March Madness?
I'm from Kansas originally and my family will disown me if I say anything other than Kansas. KU for life, man. RCJH!
Josh Dorgan asks: Any sightings of Josh Hamilton this spring?
I aint seen nuthin', dude. I swear.
Alright, folks. Hopefully you're having a fun, safe St. Patrick's Day out there. I'll leave you with the best song to be listening to today, whether you're knocking back some beer or just wanting to get in the Irish mood. If you got something better, come at me bro(in the comments section):