Tampa Bay Devil Dogs (2 days until opening day)
DRG here again to get you through the weekend…
Yesterday: Reds 6, Tampa Bay Rays 3.
- The Good: Carl Crawford was 3-4 with 2 doubles…Carlos Pena hit a ball so hard off the top of the wall in right field that he was held to a single…Dioner Navarro continues to hit, adding 2 more hits and is at .366 in March…Matt Garza went 5 allowing only 2 unearned runs…Jason Bartlett and Aki Iwamura combined on yet another picture-perfect double play.
- The Bad: Miscommunication in center field with BJ Upton allowed a routine fly ball to drop, leading to 2 unearned runs, after Matt Garza cruised through the first four frames.
- The Telling: Joel Guzman had a great game in the field getting several tough plays and handling them well including throwing a runner out at home. With the addition of Nathan Haynes, Eric Hinske is probably out meaning the third baseman is either Guzman or Elliot Johnson if Willy Aybar is not ready on opening day…Oops. Just found out this morning that Guzman is out, Hinske is in.
DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- A total of 8 players were cut yesterday. Other than Grant Balfour, the biggest names were Mike DiFelice, Josh Paul and Andy Cannizaro meaning that Shawn Riggans will indeed be the backup catcher and Elliot Johnson will be the backup-whatever. [Tampa Bay Rays]
- Word just came down that the final roster spot will go to Eric Hinske with Joel Guzman being optioned. [The Heater]
- Scott Kazmir threw in the outfield yesterday and all reports were that he looked and felt good. [Tampa Tribune]
- Willy Aybar and Cliff Floyd are both on track to be ready for opening day while Rocco Baldelli was officially transferred to the 60-day disabled list opening a spot on the 40-man roster. [St. Pete Times]
- Baseball Prospectus looks at the leading candidates for the top pick in the June amateur draft, with hot shot high school shortstop Tim Beckham looking like the odds on favorite these days. Sweet Fancy Moses! I am drooling just reading the scouts takes. Better than Justin Upton? Sign me up. [Baseball Prospectus]
Beckham is without question the toolsiest player in the draft, and he’s lived up to expectations this year, if not exceeded them. A true shortstop with outstanding hitting skills, power potential, plus speed, and good fielding skills, most insiders agree that no position player comes close to his overall upside. “He looks like Justin Upton to me, only Upton had the throwing problem in high school and this kid doesn’t,” said one scouting director. “He’s also a lot stronger than I thought he was,” he continued. “I wasn’t sure of the power before, but I’m pretty convinced now.” Another scouting director agreed that he was one of the elite players in the draft. “He’s a guy who has proven it at every event and every showcase, he plays up the middle and he doesn’t have to move,” he said. “It’s hard to classify high school players as safe, but this one is about as safe as it gets.”
- The Wall Street Journal grades the managers in three categories and then ranks them. Joe Maddon comes in at #14. Interestingly, he is tied with his former boss Mike Scioscia. [Wall Street Journal]