Posted on February 25, 2010 at 10:46 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
Maybe it's just me, but with the coverage we are getting from Jupiter, it's almost like being there. After a session reading all this stuff in front of my computer, I'm bitterly disappointed to go outside to 30 degree weather. Let's bring on the spring already!Last night
Andrew from Pitchers Hit Eighth
and I had some real good discussions with a couple of the media folk in charge of bringing us all this info. Geoff Goldman of Fox Sports Midwest and David Solomon of KTRS 550 were on the program, letting us have a glimpse of what is coming up this season, what the plans are for media coverage, and promoting what they've been doing this spring.
For example, just check out the spring sites of FSMW
. You've got writeups, video, audio, everything you need to make you feel right at home with spring training coverage. Factor in the Post-Dispatch
and the Globe-Democrat
, plus all the guys on Twitter and you feel like you are there.
I mean, in years past, would you be able to see the slow motion capture
of Matt Holliday facing the knuckleballing Charlie Zink? Or actually hear Rich Hill talk
about his bullpen? I don't think so. It's a wonderful time we are living in.
Let's use Hill to transition to talking about some of those things, rather than the coverage of them. Hill threw a live BP yesterday and, as you can hear in the above link, was very pleased with his performance. Everything was going for strikes, which has been the concern with him (besides his health, of course). If he can show command, he can be a valuable asset for the Cardinals.
Hill says he's healthy for the first time since 2007. If you take him at his word, and we have no reason not to, that could mean that '07 is a decent benchmark about what you can expect out of him. Here are his numbers from that season:
11-8, 3.92 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .235 BAA, 183 K, 63 BB in 195 innings
He did give up 27 home runs in 32 starts that season, a number that would possibly come down if Dave Duncan is able to reach Hill and get him to start being more of a groundball pitcher. Hill will be 30 in just a couple of weeks, so there's still a chance that those numbers could improve, but even that line would be a wonderful thing out of the fifth starter slot.
Duncan came out and said the fifth starter slot is between Hill and Kyle McClellan, basically meaning that Jaime Garcia will be starting in Memphis as he continues to distance himself from that surgery. If Hill is back to '07 levels, it's going to be tough for McClellan to overtake him for that fifth spot, since HIll also would have the advantage of being a lefty in an all-right handed rotation.
Couple of stories on the center fielder floating around today. Colby Rasmus spent the winter
, besides becoming a new dad, getting stronger so as to be able to handle the rigors of the long season. I love this quote out of the article: "I don't want to use the word comfortable because Tony doesn't like that." No, I don't imagine that he does. I figure if you say you are comfortable, he's going to do all he can to make you uncomfortable!
Colby had an acceptable season last year. There were a lot of holes and it wasn't what those that had Rookie of the Year in their heads were planning, but he contributed to the team. If his new regimen does what he wants it to do, he could make a major step forward this season.
He talks in the article about all the information and different things that were going on last year in relation to facing lefthanders. For all of Tony's efforts to give all the players information and put them in places to succeed, sometimes he's constant playing for the edge can backfire. This year, Rasmus should be facing a lot more lefties--I mean, who plays center when he's not in there--and if he can strengthen his numbers against them, that may put him in the second spot in the lineup, figuring that the opponent bringing in a LOOGY for the back to back hitters of him and Skip Schumaker won't be as effective if he's hitting lefties as well.
No matter where he hits, LaRussa wants to see him producing
. You can't argue with TLR not putting numerical goals or thoughts out there. You don't want to see Rasmus thinking, "Man, Skip thinks I should have 30 HR this year and I've only got 10 now, I've got to start hitting!" That kinda thing doesn't work in any job situation. Still, looking forward to see what Rasmus will do this year. It should be a lot of fun.
So much more out there to talk about, from Skip being a core player
on the team to the update on Brendan Ryan's recovery
to the announcement of the Cardinal television schedule
, but I've run out of time. Hope to get a few more Playing Pepper entries up today, so be sure to come back for that!
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