Today's post is partially to remind myself that I'm still out here in baseball land, and partially to get some of the Spring Training excitement out of my system.
I haven't written much lately, mostly because I've been gearing up for the defense of my PhD dissertation (and making subsequent revisions). With everything about to be finally handed in this week, I'm just about to be ready for baseball overload!
In terms of what to expect from the blog over the coming weeks, here it is. I'm getting close to being done my 2012 prospect wrap ups (almost finished the writing part, I'll get to posting them by the end of March).
Also, it looks like I'll be heading down to Florida for a week or so of Spring Training, which, I hope, will get me some great content for the blog.
I did think about writing a preview of the coming season and what we can expect/not expect from this revamped 2013 Blue Jays squad, but just about every blogger has pretty much beaten me to it (I've been busy with other things).
While some think the Jays are going to be the "Beast in the East" (like Yahoo!'s Tim Brown), personally, I'm not so sure. I have a lot of questions about this team. While we're far deeper than we were last year with a much more balanced team on offense and defense, there are still things that we can't count on.
1. Which version of Ricky Romero will show up?
2. Is Melky for real?
3. Who's gonna play second base, and whoever it is, can he hit enough to not wish for Aaron Hill back?
4. Can Jose Reyes stay injury free?
5. Is Jose Bautista's wrist good to go?
6. Is EE for real?
7. Can Mark Buehrle give us another 200 inning season of solid ball?
8. How does Josh Johnson hold up in the AL East?
9. Does Brett Lawrie progress or not?
10. Bullpen pt. 1: Are Casey and Sergio ready for opening day?
11. Bullpen pt. 2: Can Steve Delabar and Esmil Rogers repeat what they did after their mid-season trades last year?
12. Bullpen pt. 3: Who's gonna make the last couple of spots?
13. Anyone remember Adam Lind?
14. Mark Delarosa? Really?
15. Will Colby Rasmus actually be able to be good.... ever?
So as you can see, there are a lot of questions. However, I think it bodes well to see that my question about Brett Lawrie is #9. However, it doesn't bode all that well to think that John Gibbons is talking about batting him 5th in the order.
So here's my biggest concern: You've got a potentially fantastic top 4 in the order in Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista and Encarnacion IF they all have good years. But they all have questions about their ability to come back and put up those kinds of numbers in 2013. Reyes's durability, Cabrera's PED-less body, Bautista's wrist and Encarnacion's one big season all beg the kinds of questions that could make the Blue Jays somewhat less than they are expected to be.
With a 5-9 of Lawrie, Rasmus, Arencibia, Izturis/Bonifacio, and Lind/Davis, there are a lot of IFs in this lineup.
Only time will answer these questions.