Submitted & Written by: Dan Adams
Can JPA get his OBP to a respectable number so that he’s not hurting our lineup? Can Rasmus bounce back? Who the hell do we stick in left field; the player with the highest ceiling (Snider) or some combination of players who should be 4th outfielders (Thames, Davis, Francisco)?
Can Lawrie sustain his success as MLB pitchers begin to make adjustments? Which Kelly Johnson is going to show up, the one from a few years ago or the one from last year? Same goes for Adam Lind.
Can Morrow put it all together this year? Will Alvarez hold his own over a full MLB season? Can McGowan stay healthy, pitch well, and provide enough innings over the course of a full season? Is Brett Cecil’s conditioning program really going to translate into significant improvement? If anyone in the rotation gets hurt or lit up, can either Hutchison/Laffey/McGuire step in and perform admirably?
Some of those question marks are bigger than others. Watching Lawrie’s swing, I gotta believe he’s the real deal and wouldn’t be surprised to see him put up a .280/.370/.580 slash line with 30 HR’s. I also expect that AA and Farrell would have talked to JPA after the season and told him to work on controlling the strike zone a little better; bringing down the K rate, and taking a few more walks. So, I expect improvement from him (which actually only increases the chances he gets traded).
Other than that, there’s just so much uncertainty surrounding this team. We don’t need all of those question marks to turn out the way we want in order to win 90 games, but we probably need most of those to work out.
I think AA is going to stand pat for the rest of the offseason and wait until the season starts to see what he’s got. Once some of those questions begin to be answered, AA can make a few more moves at the trade deadline and then next offseason to set up a run in 2013.
It’s also important to note that minor leaguers such as D’Arnaud, Gose, Hutchison, McGuire, Aaron Sanchez, Hechavarria, and possibly Marisnick, Syndergaard, and Nicolino will be pressing to make the jump to the big leagues in 2013. That will give AA all kinds of options for next offseason. He doesn’t have to worry about trading players off the major league roster since there are stud prospects waiting to take over.
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