Baseball's best defenders can amaze you in the blink of an eye
AP Photo/Richard Drew
HANDS ARE QUICKER THAN THE EYE
By Tim Kurkjian, ESPN The MagazineDefense is my favorite part of baseball. I could watch the very best in the game take ground balls all day long.
BEST OF THE BLOGSEach day, ESPN.com's contributors offer a wide array of thoughts and analysis in their blogs. Buster Olney asks some baseball people to give their impressions of spring training 2009: This is the never-ending spring training, almost as long as the artificial spring of 1995, when replacement players were used, and which turned into a scramble after the players' strike was settled. I asked some talent evaluators, over the phone and through e-mail, to offer some observations on spring training 2009: on players, on teams, on trends; whatever came to mind for them. Here is a sampling. From an AL talent evaluator: "No. 1: It would not surprise me at all if both the AL Central and AL West went for fewer than 88 wins. The parity in the Central has been well-documented, but I just don't see the pitching in the West for anyone to run away and hide (particularly if John Lackey joins Ervin Santana as unable to go). "No. 2: What precisely was Will Ohman's agent thinking? He has said for a month that he had $1 million-plus on the table and just wanted performance bonuses to get to $2.50 million. Now, it is a week before Opening Day and the word out from his tryout for the Dodgers is that he isn't close to ready to go. He should have just given up the ghost for '09 and signed two weeks ago like Beimel. (Update: Later Monday, Ohman signed with the Dodgers). "No. 3: You have to feel for the folks who work for the Padres. They have several great baseball people over there, people who have had their decisions handicapped by off-field issues relating to their owner's divorce. It is not going to be easy to watch the unit they are forced to run out there over the next six months." For the rest of this entry from Buster Olney's blog, click here.
BBTN ON THE AIR: TUESDAY
|3:30 p.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analyst: Buster Olney
BBTN MINUTE: BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
BASEBALL TONIGHT MAILBAG
Have a question for one of our analysts? Ever wonder what it's like behind the scenes at "Baseball Tonight"? Curious about a player or a team or an executive?
MONDAY'S BEST AND WORST
|• While the Angels will start the season without righty John Lackey, the team was "encouraged" by the MRI results on Lackey's right elbow and now hopes to have the pitcher back by the end of April or early May, Angels GM Tony Reagins said.||WORST|
|• The Phillies made it official on Monday: The night they begin their title defense, they will do so without Cole Hamels on the mound. Hamels officially was ruled out as the Opening Day starter, with the job instead falling to Brett Myers. Instead of pitching Sunday night against the Braves in the opener, Hamels will work an exhibition game Saturday and could make his regular-season debut April 10 against Colorado.|
ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.Tonight he looks at Brett Myers, who will start Opening Day for the Phillies, and wonders exactly which Brett Myers will appear:
|Brett Myers (past two seasons as a starter)|
|First 12 starts
|First 17 starts
|Last 19 starts
|Last 13 starts
ANGELS ENCOURAGED BY LACKEY
NUMBERS TO KNOW
The Angels will be without, for at least a few weeks this season, two of their best pitchers from a year ago in Ervin Santana and John Lackey. Lackey will start the season on the disabled list, though the Angels did say Monday they are "encouraged" by Lackey's MRI results and expect him to return to the mound in late April or early May. The Angels hope to have Santana back around the same time.
(Rank on Angels' starting staff in 2008)
|K pct. of PAs||23.9||1||19.3||3|
|K-BB pct. of PAs||5.2||1||5.9||2|
FANTASY PREVIEW: SPRING RISERS
Have questions about how to build your roster? Whom you should choose early or late in your draft? Which catcher you want? We have the answers. Draft Kit