Tale of the Tape: Early Season Look

Updated: April 6, 2007, 2:55 PM ET
By Tom Herrera | Special to ESPN.com

Have you ever seen the racing presidents mascot race take place at RFK Stadium? If not, you're missing out. It's people dressed in zany costumes of former presidents with giant heads, falling over each other on their way to the finish line, and occasionally flying overhead on bungee cords. Kind of like the sausage race, but a gazillion times better.

Player Notes

John Patterson, SP, WAS -- His couldn't get his fastball past 90 mph against the Marlins, and he lacked command of his curve and slider. His best pitch was his changeup, but he didn't get to use it that much. With so little work in spring training, there could be a few more rocky starts before we see some progress from Patterson.

Adam Dunn, OF, CIN -- Well, so much for the wild notion of Dunn becoming a contact hitter. So far, it's been the same old Dunn: home run or bust. As long as he stays in that 2-hole, where he seems very comfortable, that's not a bad thing at all.

Ian Snell, SP, PIT -- Against the Astros on Tuesday, Snell racked up 11 strikeouts to quiet applause. He was able to throw his excellent slider for strikes and got batters to whiff on it out of the zone as well. He was ahead early on most batters, showed good command of his mid-90s fastball, and mixed in a solid changeup, which is something he needed to do more of last season.

Tom Gorzelanny, SP, PIT --While Snell gets all the attention, Gorzelanny is still out there on the waiver wire. Even when he got into trouble against the Astros on Wednesday, Gorzelanny showed poise and got the tough outs. He commanded his first-rate splitter and reached 94 mph on his fastball.

Zack Greinke, SP, KC -- Everyone will be raving about Daisuke Matsuzaka's brilliant debut on Thursday, but Greinke's great start should not be overshadowed. Greinke displayed pinpoint control against the Red Sox with his fastball, changeup, and curve. He threw three straight pitches in the same location to get David Ortiz looking during one at-bat, and shortly thereafter, he repeated that precision to fan J.D. Drew.

Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA -- In his Opening Day masterpiece against the Athletics, he spotted his 97 mph fastball anywhere he wanted to. His curve and changeup were exceptional. Hernandez is being allowed to throw his slider from the get-go this year, which he fine-tuned in the offseason. Those groundouts are always a welcome sight too.

Rich Harden, SP, OAK -- A spotless spring carried over to his first start against the Mariners. He showed tremendous command of his splitter and changeup. He threw his fastball, which touched 97 mph up, inside to jam hitters with great results.

Elijah Dukes, OF, TB -- His power has been impressive, and he's worth stashing even in deep mixed leagues. He hit an absolute rocket to left field in Thursday night's game against the Yankees. His compact batting stroke and good strike zone judgment are two things Delmon Young doesn't exhibit yet. Keep in mind, though, that Dukes looks like he's bulked up, so his defensive range hasn't held up well in center field

Akinori Iwamura, 3B, TB -- He's been bailing on pitches too early and is having trouble driving the ball, so his expected power may be a while away.

Aaron Rowand, OF, PHI -- He always appears off-balance in his stance, with his elbows tucked in. He's having a hard time getting to pitches that jam him on the inside corner.

Doug Davis, SP, ARI -- Davis is having trouble with his command when pitching from the stretch, where he tends to rush his delivery, as evidenced in his start against the Rockies.

A.J. Burnett, SP, TOR - Chalk up the rough start to the poor weather in Detroit this past week, as Burnett didn't have any life on his curveball. He was uncomfortable from the start, as he constantly kept blowing on his pitching hand to keep it warm.

Miguel Cabrera, 3B, FLA-- Jeez, what has he been eating? Cabrera has increased muscle mass each year, and it looks like this year is no exception. He's noticeably bigger, especially on the legs and forearms.

Chuck James, SP, ATL -- He changed speeds on his fastball well against the Phillies on Thursday, and wasn't afraid of throwing inside to keep Ryan Howard off balance. However, he did run up the counts while missing high in the zone a bit, which doesn't bode well for future outings.

Cole Hamels, SP, PHI -- He didn't always get ahead of hitters against the Braves on Wednesday, but he had outstanding command of his changeup, which is unquestionably one of the best in the majors. He was able to throw it on any count and consistently spotted it on the inside.

Ted Lilly, SP, CHC -- Lilly was great in his National League debut on Wednesday against the Reds, he repeatedly hit the inside and outside corners with his fastball and big looping curve. While his fastball isn't great and he won't always get a generous strike zone, he'll continue to have success if he can maintain that kind of command.

Bronson Arroyo, SP, CIN -- Arroyo's confidence was high right from the opening pitch against the Cubs on Wednesday, and he dealt an excellent curveball throughout. He struck out the first batter of the game, Alfonso Soriano, on three straight pitches: two curveballs that landed for strikes and a nasty slider.

Scott Olsen, SP, FLA -- Chalk up some of groundouts Olsen's lack of control to nerves, but the positives against the Nationals were that he kept his fastball low in the zone, which induced plenty of groundouts. He also had his slider working effectively and mixed in a changeup.

Tom Herrera is a sports video logger and a fantasy sports analyst for TalentedMrRoto.com and ESPN.com. E-mail him with your questions and comments at THerrera@talentedmrroto.com.

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