National League Cy Young Award – Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies. Halladay’s competition may very well come from any one of his three teammates in the Phillies starting rotation. Not that I need to defend this pick, but Halladay has had a sub-3.00 ERA the last three years, while winning at least 20 games in two of those seasons. Other than his teammates (Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels), Giants’ Tim Lincecum will be Halladay’s only other threat for the award.
The batting order starts with center fielder and speedster Juan Pierre who scored 96 runs in 2010. White Sox fans hope that second baseman Gordon Beckham will improve on his first two years in the majors. The talent is certainly there for Beckham to improve on last years . 252 avg., 9 home runs, 49 RBI line. Right fielder Alex Rios had a solid year last season, hitting . 284 with 21 homeruns, 88 runs batted in and 34 stolen bases.
What worries me is that I’m not sure Owens will be able to simply hit the ball harder. His extra-base numbers in the minor leagues are not impressive: 24 in 2006, 13 in 2007, 12 in 2008 (all with AAA Charlotte). He may not have it in him to get 30+ extra base hits in a season, so if he’s going to stick for at least a year, he has to turn himself into an on-base machine.
Last season was also the first for #Robin Ventura as manager. Ventura, a former player got all he could ask for out of his club in year one. He saw a rising star in sale jerseys have a strong season and a somewhat comeback year from Alex Rios. Ventura also received several votes for American League Manager of the Year, and arguably should have won the award.
Pitching isn’t exactly like riding a bike, but as long as Peavy’s mechanics are fine, his command should come back to him. It’ll take repetition before his command is back to where it was from May-July of 2010, but it should come back quicker than his velocity and stamina. That being said, whatever results Peavy sees in spring should be taken with a grain of salt given his command will take some time to return. But, if by some miracle, his command returns after a handful of spring outings and he’s able to locate within the strike zone well, his return schedule could be sped up.
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.
In a season filled with ups and downs the Sox have a record of 44-48 are are just five games out of first place. This leaves many to wonder if they can turn it around and also what grade would they get going into the second half of the season?