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However, Owens didn’t show that ability to get on base in his 2007 stint in the majors (.324 OBP) and in 2008 in the minors (.346 OPB). Castillo’s OBPs in the minors: .371, .419, .411, .425, .403, .471. While it’s tough to expect anyone to match up to those gaudy numbers, the fact that Owens’ career OBP numbers in the minors (.365, .393, .333, .361, .348) struggle to come at least close to those numbers with consistency should have been a red flag for the organization.

Today’s observations are partly rather personal and partly just watching the scene around me. As usual I was on the left field berm under the scoreboard (under the clock, to be specific). I saw many friends I haven’t seen since last year at Spring Training, so it was great to see them again. Some of these friends are from the Phoenix area, some from Iowa and some even from Connecticut, to name a few. I also saw a few friends from the bleachers at Wrigley. Condolences were conveyed to me by my Chicago friends who, knew about my father’s passing the morning after the second playoff game loss in October.

Boston has only managed to win five of its last 10 games but it remains just a half a game in back of New york in the most heated division race in the Majors. The Red Sox are 77-49 overall; 38-24 at home and 39-25 on the road.

Sluggers such as Paul Konerko and A.J Pierzynski have helped guide the Chicago offense batting .313 and .297 respectively. Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre have also been key catalysts.

One argument that is often used for keeping instant replay out of Major League Baseball is the “human element” that is involved in the game. The umpires are the first and only word when it comes to making calls out on the field. A bad call on a bang-bang play or different strike zones among empires could definitely change the course of a ballgame but that is the way the game has been played for a century and a half. Traditionalists would argue that baseball is as old fashioned a sport as you can get and the game should continue to be played in the same fashion.

Yaziel Puig currently has singlehandedly been breathing life in to the lethargic Dodgers. He has been on a batting tear. The Diamondbacks pitcher singled him out, threw at him and he was hit in the nose. Fortunately, a tragedy did not result, but a brawl erupted.

My research came up with interesting managerial facts. In 2006, sale jerseys manager Ozzie Gillen sent a young pitcher back to the minor leagues because he failed to properly retaliate after the Texas Ranger pitcher had twice hit Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

18. Toronto Blue Jays – The blue Jays plan to give it another run with all of the veterans they acquired last offseason, but what other choice do they really have?

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Just as i feel that players, who use synthetic products to enhance their abilities and give them a competitive edge, are guilty of wrong doing, I feel every athlete who takes the field is obligated to play hard and try to win fairly. To try and maim someone is unthinkable.

While the Twins suffered the losses of most of their bullpen in the off season, the Sox feel they improved their bullpen. Key to that improvement is the acquisition of Jesse Crain from the rival Twins. sale jerseys, in his second season after impressing in his rookie campaign last year, will serve as a set up man to closer Matt Thorton. The Sox let former closer Bobby Jenks leave to go to the Boston Red Sox. They also lost Scott Linebrink to the Atlanta Braves. But with Sergio Santos, Tony Pena, and Jeff Marquez, the Sox feel that their bullpen will be a strength as the season goes on.

Cleveland, which got home runs from Luke Carlin and Drew Sutton in the loss, fell behind 5-0 after two as Justin Germano was unable to escape early trouble in his first start since 2008 when a member of the San Diego Padres.

However, Owens didn’t show that ability to get on base in his 2007 stint in the majors (.324 OBP) and in 2008 in the minors (.346 OPB). Castillo’s OBPs in the minors: .371, .419, .411, .425, .403, .471. While it’s tough to expect anyone to match up to those gaudy numbers, the fact that Owens’ career OBP numbers in the minors (.365, .393, .333, .361, .348) struggle to come at least close to those numbers with consistency should have been a red flag for the organization.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles finished strong and really aren’t that far from being back in postseason play, but they need to make several tweaks in the offseason.

Notes — Milton Bradley’s home run in the third inning landed just in front of me. I was surprised to see Matt Murton batting clean up for the Rockies.

This ties in with arm strength, but could take longer to get back than his velocity. If Peavy’s arm is tiring after three or four innings going at full speed ahead (which, let’s be honest, is the only speed for him), then obviously he’ll need some time after the season starts to regain that stamina. If i had to guess, stamina would be the main reason why Peavy won’t be in the White Sox’s starting rotation in April-it’ll be the reason why he won’t be 100 percent until, say, early May.

The promotion to Birmingham coincided with what appears to be some BABIP luck, as the soon-to-be 24-year-old Leesman’s opponent BABIP sat at .266 with the Barons. That BABIP-along with his 1 percent HR/fly ball rate-should be expected to regress in 2011, so unless he make some improvements as a pitcher, his results won’t be as good as they were in Birmingham. That being said, he’s one of the more intriguing pitchers of this group (given that he at least has a sliver of upside), so if the Sox were to take a chance with him for some April starts I’d personally be more interested than any of the other options.

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15. Washington Nationals – The Nationals are a better team than they showed for much of the season, but don’t buy into the way they played in September, which featured a lot of games against their terrible division.

I’d argue Randy Williams went through stretches like that because he wasn’t very good, but Jim is certainly right that Ohman is actually the fourth-most effective reliever against lefties in the team’s bullpen. His lone job likely will be solely to retire left-handers, and those situations likely will be earlier in games (like, the sixth inning).

Snodgress is a 23-year old with a high upside. A 5th Round pick in 2011 out of Stanford, he too is off to a 4-1 start for the Barons and is ranked by Baseball America as the top lefty in the sale jerseys organization, second best pitching prospect behind Erik Johnson, a second rounder in the same draft. He is also 23 and is off to a 2-1 start with a 1.44 ERA in five games.

16. Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks looked like a playoff team until the second half of the season. They need to improve that starting rotation to be a true contender.

Assuming Beckham avoids that whole April-June thing that happened last year, he’s an ideal No. 2 hitter. He has plus on-base skills and good power-exactly why he should hit second. Hopefully, he won’t have the bat taken out of his hands too often to bunt-after all, isn’t one of Pierre’s greatest assets his base-stealing ability? If Beckham is allowed to swing away, the Sox lineup will have a lot more success.

American League Cy Young Award – Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox. I may have been one year too early in predicting John Lester would win this award last year. Then again, if Lester hadn’t gotten off to such a bad start last year (1-2, 4.71 ERA in April), his stats would’ve looked even better than his impressive final stat line of 19-9, 3.20 ERA. If Lester can get off to a fast start for a change (4.58 career ERA in April), anywhere between 20-23 wins is a possibility considering the revamped Red Sox lineup, the speedy outfield, and the improved (at least on paper) bullpen.

So, two things to watch for with Owens this spring: if he’s able to hit the ball with authority and if he’s able to be patient and get on base a lot. If he can’t do those two things, he still may win the starting centerfield job, but he won’t be any kind of a long-term solution.

Most run production will come from the 1-5 spots in the lineup. Sure, Juan Pierre could have better on-base skills, but for the team’s roster, he’s the ideal leadoff hitter. If Pierre can replicate his .341 OBP from 2010, he’ll at least be acceptable.