We are a few weeks, two intra-squad games and four official games into Spring Training. Now is a good time to take a look at our 2007 25-man roster projections. Over the course of the next month we will update these projections twice a week.
- We understand that a few of the players listed as “secure” are not guaranteed to be the opening day starter at their respective positions. For example, there is an outside shot that Akinori Iwamura could still be the opening day second baseman. Still, at this point there is no indication that a move will happen. The “secure” positions are based on what we believe would happen if Papa Joe Maddon had to name his opening day lineup and roster today.
- Several people have made the argument that our previous prediction of an 11-man pitching staff was unlikely. Their arguments must have been strong because we now tend to agree that Papa Joe is more likely to keep seven arms in the bullpen and only four bats on the bench.
- With those numbers in mind, it now looks as if there are four roster spots up for grabs, with two on the bench and two in the bullpen. We almost listed B. J. Upton as secure, but we still think there is a remote chance that the team will send him back to Durham for more work. Even though Al Reyes is not on the 40-man roster we give him the edge in the final two bullpen slots. As long as he is healthy (and every indication so far is that he is) it is his position to lose. The final bullpen spot is really just a guess at this point.
- We have long thought that the final spot in the rotation would go to J. P. Howell based on his performance towards the end of 2006. However, of the prospective pitchers vying for the final spot, Jae-Kuk Ryu is the only one that has been given a start so far and he pitched a solid two innings.
- Greg Norton has been the DH with the regulars, but we still think when the season starts Papa Joe will go with Jonny Gomes on a regular basis, if not every day.