Less than two weeks left until the hostilities begin in earnest.
This is what we know. Anderson will start in center. Fields will start at third. Getz will start at second. Corky Miller will be the backup catcher. Contreras will be ready to fill either the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation.
What we don’t know. Who will fill the other starting spot, either Marquez or Richard at this point, as it appears the Colon will not be ready, and Poreda will likely be sent to Charlotte to work on his “second pitch”
Who will lead-off. Getz is the most likely candidate, but it’s really all up in the air at this point.
The major surprise of the Spring Training; 1 and 1a, the health of Contreras, and just how good Beckham is.
The major disappointment of Spring Training, none of the three candidates for the center position took advantage of the opportunity to make the job theirs. Anderson gets it by default almost because he plays the best defense.
On-field preparations for the 2009 season begin in earnest tomorrow for the Sox.
Three major position battles are tee’d up to take place this spring in center, at second, and at the end of the pitching rotation.
At second the battle will between Sox farmhand Chris Getz, and offseason acquisitions Brent Lillibridge and Jayson Nix. I expect that the slot will go to the guy who shows the greatest aptitude at the plate, as that man may, by default, end up as our leadoff hitter. I am betting on Lillibridge here.
At the end of the rotation Sox farmhands Clay Richard, and Aaron Poreda will compete with new acquisition, Jeff Marquez. Richard has the most experience at the big league lever. Poreda, by all accounts has the best stuff (although he probably needs to improve his second and third pitches to have success as a major league starter), and Marquez has a good sinker (which KW loves). I suspect that the spot will go to Richard with Poreda in the pen, and Marquez down in Charlotte (although options could alter that decision).
Finally, the black hole at center will be filled by Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens, or Dewayne Wise. The relative deficiencies of these players are well documented. Anderson is a defensive standout, who struggles mightily at the plate. Owens has extraordinary speed, but does little else very well. Wise, is a gritty veteran who stand out in no particular area.
If Lillibridge grabs hold of the leadoff spot, I am hopeful that center will be filled by Anderson. If none of the second basemen seize the lead off spot, we could see Owens in center. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t have to happen.
All of that said, the most exciting thing that will occur in Glendale, Az. this spring is the arrival of Dayan Viciedo. He is a big, 19 year old third basemen who comes to the Sox from Cuba. As with A.Ram. last year, reports regarding Dayan’s talent are amazing, but overall he is something of a mystery to Sox fans. But we do hope that KW has caught lightning in a bottle for the second year in a row.