We've alerted you to Brent Stecker's excellence before. He's got yet another great read up this morning. Go hit that, then come back for Dr. D's reactions:
1. Mitch Haniger gets recognition this year.
... I know what he means; he has the big 32-homer, 117-RBI year that cements him as a franchise player. I can relate. But my reaction to baseball industrywide, with all the "Hanger is better than Harper" shtick, is that I wonder whether you can get so underrated you're overrated.
If Haniger is Dwight Evans that's plenty nuff for Dr. D. I'll take the under on his repeating 2018, by a little bit, but that's still a 4+ WAR player and a great guy to represent your franchise.
2. Kikuchi has the novelty advantage.
I'll see anybody and raaiiiiise on this factor. Novelty is one thing, but when it's novelty plus a Cy Young game fully grown-up?
3. Domingo HR's.
SSI Denizens way ahead'a me on this one. Lessee, first three games doesn't he have two sizzled HR's and two hard-hit doubles?
I'm starting to wonder about lineup synergy, about no rest for the pitchers. LOL. Well, that's what three games will do for yer.
4. "Quote machine" Mallex Smith. ... okay :: blinks ::
5. Marco being a #1 starter, growing into "Ace Status" in terms of his pitchability. Quoting Brent just a bit:
Something that really jumped out to me over the offseason was an interview Gonzales had on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Hot Stove in January, where he talked about why being on the same pitching staff as some crafty veterans has helped him grow.
“That was the culmination of really learning from other guys – guys like Wade LeBlanc, James Paxton, and probably the most important guy that people may not know is Mike Leake,” Gonzales said about his strong 2018 campaign. “(Leake is) a guy that just has balance and feel for all of his pitches. Being able to watch a Mike Leake bullpen every week, those are things that I really learned from and put into my own game.
“You learn how to kinda push and pull the hitters in and off the plate and keep guys off balance, and I learned how my pitches kind of work like that, which pitches work with each other and which pitches don’t. … Putting that all together helped me put together a strong balance and repertoire to attack hitters.”
6. Gerson Bautista the next* Edwin Diaz?
Nice little .gif and quotes to go with the bullet point. I'm surprised to find three RP's who encourage me early: Strickland, Rosscub, Gearrin. That's just "show encouraging signs."
7. Dee Gordon back to himself again.
8. Road Trips to Cheney. .... Brent is talking about being able to drive down I-90 and see Shed Long, J.P. Crawford, Braden Bishop, Erik Swanson, Justus Sheffield & Co.
9. Justus Sheffield.
If we had an office pool on when he'd be up, what would be the quickest youse guys would take? I'm hoping six weeks, to accommodate Felix early, but there's no real reason for more than two weeks, is there?
If this ballclub kept piling up wins, then do we get an RP or two, do you think? .... Gimme one real 8th-inning stud and gimme a break on Gerson Bautista, and I'm down to see what happens here. Granted, Beane's recipe is watch for 2 months first? First three days have seen like 2 months, as far as the HR rationing has gone :- )