Spring Position Battles…

With Spring Training more than half-way done, it’s time to look at who is winning some of the position battles that are going on this spring.

Lowrie is having a great spring

Lowrie is having a great spring

Red Sox SS, Julio Lugo vs. Jed Lowrie. Early in Spring Training it appeared as if Lugo was going to win the starting SS job from Jed Lowrie. Then Lugo suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee which has knocked him out for 3-4 weeks. Lowrie has made the most of the situation by hitting the snot out of the baseball this spring. Lowrie is hitting .439/2/10 with 2 triples and 6 doubles in 41 ab’s. Projected Winner – Jed Lowrie

Yankees CF, Brett Gardner vs. Melky Cabrera. Cabrera and his .268 lifetime avg seems to be nothing more than a 4th OF. Gardner, who struggled in 127 ab’slast year with a .228/0/16/.283 has really turned it on this spring. Gardner has put an impressive .395/3/6 with 4 sb’s in 38 ab’s. Perhaps Gardner can be for the Yankees was Scott Podsednik was for the White Sox in 2005. Projected Winner – Brett Gardner

Yankees RF, Nick Swisher vs, Xavier Nady. For a team who is approaching a $200MM payroll, it seems odd that they would have 2/3’s of their outfield unsettled. Between Swisher and Nady, neither has had a spectular spring. Whoever loses this battle will be relegated to bench duty because the DH spot is being occupied by Hideki Matsui. With Swisher having the ability to switch hit and work the count (avg 93 walks the last 3 years), he might have the edge over Nady. Projected Winner – Nick Swisher

Reds LF, Chris Dickerson vs. Jonny Gomes. Dickerson, who in his end of year audition last year tore up the baseball by hitting .306 with 6 hr’s and 15 rbi in just 31 games with the Reds. He hasn’t slowed down this spring has he has hit .325/2/6 with 5 sb’s in 40 ab’s. Gomes, who was signed in the offseason can hit the long ball and also can hit left-handed pitching (.266/25/61/.369 in 414 ab’s). With the Reds now favoring speed and defense, it looks like Dickerson might have the edge heading into opening day. Projected Winner – Chris Dickerson

Giants 2B, Kevin Frandsen vs. Emmanuel Burriss. A good battle between 2 young players. Neither has hurt themselves this spring. Frandsen has hit .315/1/5 in 54 ab’s and Burriss has hit .415/1/5 with 2 sb’s in 53 ab’s. With Burriss having the ability to steal a base (117 career minor league sb’s) and to switch hit, I give him the edge over Frandsen. Projected Winner – Emmanuel Burriss

Motte has 4 saves this spring

Motte has 4 saves this spring

Cardinals Closer, Jason Motte vs. Chris Perez vs. Ryan Franklin – Jason Motte has taken this competition by the throat. Motte has looked awesome this spring to the tune of a 1.08 era with 4 saves in 8.1 innings. At 26 years old, Motte seems poised to be the Cardinals’ closer come opening day. While Motte has been dominating, Chris Perez has been sidelined with a shoulder injury and Ryan Franklin who closed games last year for the Cardinals (17/25 in save opportunities), seems destined to be put back in his familiar role of set-up man. Projected Winner – Jason Motte.

Rockies Closer, Huston Street vs. Manny Corpas. This is an interesting battle. Do the Rockies give the job to Manny Corpas who took the closer’s job from Brian Fuentes in 2007 and helped the Rockies reach the World Series but flamed out in 2008? Or do they give the job to Huston Street, a proven closer who was acquired in the Matt Holliday trade but had a below average 2008? Despite Corpas having a solid spring, I believe Street will ultimately win the job. Street has averaged 24 saves over his 4 career and I agree with Rotoworld that giving Street the closer’s job would increase his trade value. Projected Winner – Huston Street.

Also, on a side note to Spring Training congratulations to Ricky Nolasco, Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez of the Florida Marlins who combined to no-hit the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Very impressive!!!

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