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Happy Truck Day!

Truck Day is finally here! The trucks transporting all the Red Sox gear down to Florida arrived at Fenway this morning and are ready for the long trek. With all this, the wait is almost over; baseball season is just around the corner!

With this I just want to throw in some of what I see as being the best storylines of spring training:

- Josh Beckett – Do we sign him now? Or do we wait and see what he does on the season? There are some pros and cons with each situation. Curt Schilling took no time to throw in his say, stating that signing Beckett now is a “no brainer” because of Beckett’s extreme work ethic. But my concern for Beckett’s health is far greater than Schilling’s. The best situation here, though it would be nice to have our top 3 locked for years to come, would be to wait until the all-star break.

- Josh Reddick – Reddick made his first stint in the majors this past season and really struggled at the plate when it came to his strike zone. It was aggravating, to say the least, to watch such a high potential, total package, outfielder get taken over by the high heat fastball. Not that Reddick will be looking at a roster spot this year in my mind, barring injuries, but seeing how his plate discipline against big league pitchers in spring training has improved is a big story for this top prospect.

- Left field – Jacoby Ellsbury has made the switch to left after the signing of Mike Cameron and seeing how he controls that left field will be important to see how the move works out. When I first heard of the move, I immediately thought of Carl Crawford of the Rays and we all know just how dominating of an outfielder he is from that left side. Jacoby should mold his style around that of Crawford’s and we should see some great things.

- John Lackey pitching to V-Mart – This will be his first time working with Victor Martinez, and Martinez’s first time having to develop his play calling without the previous knowledge of Captain Jason Varitek. This is something that gets overlooked too often is that understanding between the pitcher and catcher and I’m going to keep a close eye on how often V-Mart is going to have to go out to talk to Lackey.

- Left side of the infield – There has been a facelift of the hot side of the infield this offseason, and it has tremendous talent. Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro will defend that left side for us and are stellar gloves. Not much will get through the gaps on that left side and seeing the beginning of that will be a great thing to watch. Just a note from the shortstop position, Scutaro committed fewer errors from SS last year than the Sox shortstop by committee had in the first half of last year, and Adrian Beltre was the 3rd best 3B in fielding efficiency last year, a stat that is beyond me when it comes to calculating it.

- The Bullpen – There are the sure spots locked up in the bullpen (Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon S. Ramirez, Daniel Bard, and Hideki Okajima) but the final three spots or so will be up for grabs. The contenders are a struggling Manny Delcarmen, the much awaited (sarcasm noted) Boof Bonser, Lefties Brian Shouse and Dustin Richardson, and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Wake will be a storyline himself too since he is a fan favorite without a spot on this team right now.

- Other various star prospects – Those to keep in mind:

o Jose Iglesias – 19-yr-old shortstop with outstanding upside. They compare him to an Orlando Cabrera or other speedy, everlasting range shortstop

o Lars Anderson – last year’s top prospect who was probably rushed a bit too quickly through the system. I see him making a big impact come 2012.

o Luis Exposito – 23-yr-old catcher. Definitely a work in progress but someone too look at to replace Varitek shortly as the back-up catcher.

o Casey Kelly – Theo’s golden child, Kelly is highly anticipated and has decided to switch full time to pitcher. He is commonly regarded as our pride and joy prospect right now

o Junichi Tazawa – my personal favorite, especially after the then 22-yr-old went into Yankee Stadium and shut down the New York crowd late last season. If injuries strike the starters, look for Taz to step up.

Ed Mahan

2 comments:

  1. Gotta love truck day! Hope they can navigate past the snow in DC. One thing for sure - no snow in Ft Myers!! Go Sox!

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  2. I can't wait to watch this pitching staff all season long. Theo has stuck to the plan. I trust him.

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