You may remember, way back when in the very depths of winter, I called upon the various and sundry denizens of El Vivi Birders to make predictions as to which player or players would jump up in spring training and make an impression in a big way. Not necessarily players who would make the big-league club, mind you, but players whose names we'll all be bandying about for the next month or two, generally in a, "You know who would be better than these bums?" sort of way.
The time has come for an update, ladies and gentlemen. Seeing as how the spring is not yet over, there will be no official talk of the surprise winners, or of which Veibers chose wisely, but if you would like to toot your own horn in the comments section you're perfectly welcome to do so. (I would, however, request that after doing so you wash your hands. It's just polite, plus it will stop the spread of potential horn-related illnesses.)
Onward and upward.
On the positional side, I had Tommy Pham coming in and looking Phamtastic, prompting hyperventilating internet columnists (mostly of the me variety), to write dozens of stories, all with irritating headlines featuring heavy use of ph. To this point, Pham has phailed to make any sort of impression, and I phind myself somewhat phucked. (See how annoying that is? Now just imagine that in 30 point type, all day every day.)
Matt Carpenter has been far and away the biggest eye-opener of spring to this point. He just doesn't seem to make outs, and his glovework has actually received some very positive reviews. That's more than a little encouraging, given that David Freese is still living under the cloud of imminent ankular collapse. So if you had Matt Carpenter, stand up and be counted.
Elsewhere, Allen Craig has looked pretty good in the early going, as has Colby Rasmus. Schumaker appears to be back in Mr. March territory. Lance Berkman has hit well; sadly, he appears to be a bit more fragile than I think most of us were hoping.
On the pitching side of things, I predicted a David Kopp breakout that would place him solidly above Lance Lynn and the like on the depth chart. Well, I got the Lance Lynn part right, only I had it backward on who would be moving up the depth chart. Lynn has looked very impressive to this point, though his relief outing just a couple days ago didn't help his case any. Then again, so far as I know Lynn hasn't pitched much in relief in his career, so perhaps he had a tough time finding his groove coming in out of the 'pen.
The most impressive pitcher so far, though, has probably been Kyle McClellan. I still have my doubts about K-Mac's ability to stick as a productive starter in the long run, but I have to give credit where credit is due, and he's looked outstanding. Adam Reifer has pitched well in the early going, while Jason Motte has been a bit of a surprise on the down side so far.
I'm sure there are players I'm missing, as I'm just throwing this post together in somewhat of a hurry. Any players you would like to champion as being under- or overrated by me or the world at large can certainly be inserted into the comments section along with all the self-horn-tooting. Just watch where you step.
That's it for me, folks. Enjoy the game today, and keep watching the skies.
The Baron's Playlist for the 9th of March, 2011 -- The 1990s in Video Format #1