Are the Rays for real?
Were two months into the season. It's too far into it to say they aren't. I still they are probably a year or two away from being a real contender. But if they keep getting pitching like they got from Matt Garza, they are going to be tough. Really though, the only difference between them and the team I root for, the Orioles, is the Rays have beaten up on the Orioles. I don't expect the Rays to finish with the best record in the AL East, much less baseball, but a wild card isn't out of the question. And they are going to be good for awhile.
Who do you like in the NL Central race?
I'm planning on watching the Cards and Astros a little bit later (3 minutes) tonight. The Astros have that great offense. Berkman has been unreal, and Tejeda has been rejuvenated. But it's hard to imagine them being there at the end because of the pitching (or lack thereof). Yet they've proven that with Valverde at the backend, they can win a few more than last year. St. Louis has too many holes for me, and I think they've played above their capabilities thus far. But if guys like Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer continue to produce on the hill, I guess they have as good as a chance as anyone. But to me, the Cubs are too deep and too strong, not to be the representative out of the Central.
Who do you think the Orioles take with the fourth overall pick?
I think the Orioles have made it known they won't shy away from some of the Boras guys as it seems to have worked well last year thus far (Arrieta and Wieters), but I think they go with best player available regardless of position. They seem to like both the pitcher out of Missouri and the lefty Matusz from San Diego. In addition, the big first baseman from South Carolina Smoak or the young shortstop Tim Beckham are possibilities. I don't think Vandy's Alvarez gets to them, so on the record, I'll say they take Matusz. I think they are bound to do ok with this pick, I'm more interested to see if anyone falls to them in later rounds. That could be the real interesting situation.
Are the Phillies the class of the East?
They've won four in a row and they are just a game behind the Marlins now. I really like the Fish, but they sort of have that Rays feeling to them. Good soon, but not ready for a full season. But I think the Mets are done. The last half of a season or more, they haven't been good. So maybe it's just between the Phils and the Braves. If that is the case, I definitely think the Phils are the team.
With all the young talent the Rays have, aren't they positioned to trade some of it for help down the stretch?
Yes and no - and hear me out. The Rays will have some tough decisions to make if they really are in contention, because with all the talent they have, teams will try to make them pay for anything they want. Plus what exactly are they going to try and go get. There might be some slots and people available that could make them better. Would they try to get better behind the plate, at shortstop or just a veteran hitter on the bench? Maybe so, but not for what people will try to get from them. Maybe they could add a veteran starter to fill out the rotation, or someone to fill in the bullpen. But somebody like David Price or Jake McGee, might be able to give them more in the pen then what they'd get and they wouldn't have to pay anything to get them. Of course, maybe they could trade for Keith Moreland.
They said on the Cubs game last night that second base is the new power position. Who is the best of those guys to count on?
Chase Utley, Chase Utley, Chase Utley. Although, you can't dislike anything that Dan Uggla has done this year. But I just have more belief that Utley will produce more in the future.