Friday, March 12, 2010

Davis Powers Rangers; Blanton Blanks Tigers

Players of the Day for Thursday, March 11, 2010 American League Just what Texas needs: more hitters. That appears to be the case as the slugging Rangers hammered Colorado, 16-5, for their first Spring training win. First baseman Chris Davis banged out 4 hits in 4 at-bats, including a 1st inning, two-run homer, and drove in two more later in the game. Overlooked on a roster full of high-octane batsmen, Davis played in 114 games for the Rangers last season and banged out 21 homers and 59 RBI. He'll have to work on cutting down the Ks (150 in 391 at-bats), but the first base job seems to be his to lose. National League There's a reason the Phillies decided to keep Joe Blanton as part of their rotation for 2010. He's good, and getting better. On Thursday, Blanton blanked the Detroit Tigers for 4 innings on three hits as the Phillies went on to a 4-0 win, their thrid of the Spring. Mixing fast balls with a change-up, Blanton had Tiger batters stymied as the Phillies built a 2-0 lead and expanded it with single runs in the 5th and 6th innings. The Phils rotation appears to be set as Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Blanton, J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick have all looked sharp in brief appearances. MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals Finishing tied for last place with Cleveland in the Al Central was a usual spot for the perennial downbeat Royals. 2010 doesn't look to be much more hopeful, though there are signs of revival. Having traded away one of their best young players, third baseman Mark Teahen, to the White Sox, that job now belongs to Josh Fields, from the Sox. The move didn't make much sense except from a salary perspective. Fields iis a career .229 hitter in three partial seasons. Around the horn in reverse are Mike Aviles at short, Chris Getz, a speedster, also from the White Sox, at second, and Billy Butler at first. Butler should blossom into a solid power hitter. He cranked out 21 homers and 93 RBI in 2009. The outfield consists of the well-traveled Scott Podsednik (Seattle, Milwaukee, White Sox, Colorado) in right, Rick Ankiel, from St. Louis, in center, and the under-performing David DeJesus in right. Jason Kendall will be behind the plate this season. He will be 36 this June and is well past his prime. The good news is that the Royals still have Zack Greinke as their #1 starter. Greinke is one of the top 2 or 3 pitchers in the AL, but after that, the rotation of Luke Hochevar, Gil Meche, Brian Bannister and Brian Davies is uninspiring. Bannister has some moments in '09, but he finished 7-12 with a 4.79 ERA. The future looks pretty dismal for one of MLBs worst teams over the past decade. The Las Vegas future book has them only at 150-1 to win the World Series, a pretty poor wagering opportunity. Anything other than last place would be considered a great season for the Royals.

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