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The Surprise Update of the Spring

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I've had a couple things come up this morning, work-wise, and so find myself without much time. I hope you'll forgive the rushed nature and brevity of this post.

Anyhow, I wanted to kind of update our Spring Surprises game this morning. I had been planning on going through the comments in the original post and pick out individuals who were doing well so far with their picks, but the time crunch has unfortunately put the kibosh on that. So, instead I'm just going to leave the link in case anyone would like to go and see which of our posters are doing well and which ones clearly don't know the first thing about baseball and should really consider leaving the site, followed by a nice long round of ritual self-flagellation.

Glancing at the actual Spring Surprises post, I see I really only put it up that day due to another morning with no time and no post ready to go ahead of time. Kind of funny. I also see I haven't exactly knocked it out of the park with either of my picks, so perhaps I'm one of those people who should really be leaving the site and flogging myself.

Anyhow, on to the updates!

My picks for this game were Shelby Miller on the pitching side, and Kolten Wong on the positional player side of the ledger. While they weren't bad picks, necessarily, neither of these guys has jumped up and performed in a way that is going to win me any hypothetical prizes or the admiration of anonymous internetanians.

Now, that's not to say neither of them performed well in spring. Shelby pitched well enough, showing solidly in a handful of spring starts, but he's already been reassigned to minor league camp, and the only real surprise he was part of this spring was the fact he appears to have spent most of his offseason working out in a bootcamp run by Kate Moss. Kolten Wong did himself proud as well early on and worked out with Matt Holliday in the offseason (which is kind of awesome, by the way), but the crowded middle infield picture essentially doomed him to less playing time than he probably needed to make the big impression I was envisioning when I tabbed him.

Looking at my list of also-considereds, Bryan Anderson would probably have been the best choice for me to go with. After all, he is hitting .462 this spring, and has shown a bit more drive-ability than I recall seeing from him before. He's not a power hitter still, by any means, but he's shown at least a fair modicum of pop that has been very exciting to watch. (At least for me personally.) Also, his swing looks a little less...Adam Kennedy-ish this year, which may be the biggest cause for optimism about Mr. Anderson of all. Then again, maybe that's just me.

Actually, come to think of it, Robert Stock probably would have been the best surprise pick I could possibly have gone with out of my choices. Surprise! He's a pitcher now! I would have looked fucking psychic. Eh, oh well. Another opportunity missed, I suppose.

Along with the aforementioned Mr. Anderson (who I most definitely do hope wears sunglasses and a ska band suit on his off days), the biggest surprise/breakout/whatever you wish to call it candidate of camp so far has to be Matt Carpenter. He's currently sporting a nifty .996 OPS, a 1:1 K:BB ratio, and hit one absolute no-doubter of a home run to go along with 4 doubles in just 33 plate appearances. This is a very big season for Matt Carpenter, and while spring training statistics obviously aren't particularly meaningful, it is very exciting to see him come into camp ready to make the impression he needs to.

Matt Adams hit well early in camp as well, but has seen his playing time decrease significantly as the spring has gone on; that's the problem with being so inflexible in terms of position. There's really no room for Adams this season, and he certainly isn't going to end up as any sort of utility player, so the opportunities for playing time are very, very limited.

On the pitching side of things, Lance Lynn has shown very well for himself so far, looking better than expected while stretching out to prepare for a possible starting role early in the season. I have to admit, while I certainly don't want to see Chris Carpenter miss any significant time, there's a part of me that would be verrry interested in seeing what Lynn could do with a month's worth of starts.

Even more impressive than Lynn has been Eduardo Sanchez, who has been dynamite in a limited sample size. He's thrown 7.0 innings, struck out 12, has an ERA of 0.00, and given up just a pair of hits. That's just flat-out unhittable. Unfortunately, those good numbers also come with five walks and four hit batsmen, so the control isn't quite where you would like to see it just yet from Eduardo. Still, he's absolutely untouchable when he's on, and it's tough not to be excited about a guy with that kind of stuff.

Despite the showings from Lynn and Sanchez, though, there is one pitcher who has really stepped up beyond either of them this spring, at least in terms of generating buzz for himself, and that pitcher is one Trevor Orenthal Rosenthal. (Okay, his middle name isn't really Orenthal. Wouldn't it be sweet if it were, though?) Rosenthal's name has been on the lips of virtually everyone around Cardinals' camp this spring, and with good reason.

In spite of the fact he has zero chance of making the big league team (want to know how good his chances are? Consider the Cards' official website doesn't even have his picture on his player stat page), Rosenthal has been the most talked-about newcomer in camp, tantalizing any and all with reports of triple-digit velocity and a budding relationship with Chris Carpenter that could bode very well for the kid from Lee's Summit's future. (Remember, the last pitcher Carp mentored turned out to be a curveball-throwing android designated A.D.A.M.) We all knew Rosenthal was a name to watch coming into this spring, but he has jumped up and put himself squarely on the radar in a major way with his showing so far in training camp.

So how have you done with your picks?

I likely won't be around at all today, so be good, enjoy the game, and I'll see you all again next week.