First Week Reaction
April 9, 2002
A week of baseball is in the books and many things have gone according to plan: Griffey is hurt again, Bonds is hitting a LOT of home runs, the Yankees are in first, Cubs fans are already worried, and the Rangers are still losing and still spending.
Despite the Yankees' early dominance and other yearly fixtures, there have been a few surprises. The Expos are above .500 and might finish the season close to that mark if their young pitching staff holds up. Vazquez, Armas, and newcomer Bruce Chen should stabilize the rotation, keeping the 'Spos competitive until the end. With a division heavy on talent in Atlanta, New York, and Philly, a .500 mark will be difficult but a 76 win season should be possible with a team that has nothing to lose but the franchise itself.
With all the talk about Jason Giambi struggling with the Yankees, Roberto Alomar should be thankful that no one has noticed that he is actually the worst performing free agent in New York (Mo doesn't count because everyone KNEW he was going to the DL sooner or later). Alomar is hitting just .179 through 6 games with no extra base hits and only 2 runs scored. It shouldn't come as a total shock that he is struggling - the move from one league to another late in one's career is never an easy one. It's like being a 34-year old rookie. Look for Alomar to hit no better than .270 by the All-Star Break and for Giambi to find a groove and settle in at .300 with plenty of dingers and ribbies.
Another surprise: Pirates pitching. This is one surprise that won't last. Ron Villone is by no means an ace and Kip Wells and Josh Fogg are too young and unproven to anchor a staff. Look for the Pirates to falter around midseason when the innings start to catch up with the young pitchers.
- Will someone tell the Braves that Vinny Castilla is no longer a serviceable major league player?
- It's not what you spend; it's how you spend it:
Todd Hundley's 2002 salary: $6.5 million
Magglio Ordonez's 2002 salary: $6.5 million
- With David Wells back in New York, it's becoming easy to hate the Yankees again.
- Producing AND Playing
Sammy Sosa's average games played 1997 - 2001: 160
Barry Bonds' average games played in the past 15 years: 146
- Producing WHEN Playing
Moises Alou's average games played 1992 - 2001: 117
(does not include missing the entire 1999 season)
- This will not be the last time Mo Vaughn goes on the DL this year.
- Adam Dunn will hit more home runs than Ken Griffey for the Reds this year.
- The Twins will finish atop the AL Central while the Indians and White Sox trade 2nd and 3rd place several times.
- Troy Glaus' batting average will finally be worthy of his home run total.