JUPITER, Fla. -- Between some very big injuries, one extremely big signing, a trio of superb prospects and a couple budding controversies, it's been quite a spring so far. With just a week to go, here's my spin on the biggest Cactus and Grapefruit league storylines.
The Twins made much of the big news, it seemed. And while
Practically nobody even recalled that Major League Baseball had adopted
The Rangers seemed to bond as a team in support of the well-liked Washington when he emotionally told them in a team meeting about his slip-up, and that's very important now because Washington's going to need all the support he can get. He is said by people with connections to the team to need a strong start. That shouldn't surprise a soul. Rangers management decided to keep Washington last summer, possibly in part because he admitted his mistake even before the test came back positive and possibly also because they preferred not to throw a bomb onto last year's nice success story. Club president/baseball icon
It involves White Sox manager
Williams said by phone that he didn't believe the young Guillen's tweets were representative of the feelings of Oney's father, which is important, and that Williams' own feelings about his manager hadn't changed based on the younger Guillen's tweets, which is more important. Though what matters most are the feelings of club owner
New Astros manager
There were dozens of pretty good ones this spring. But three stood out: Braves outfielder
Heyward is cited by just about every scout as the best positional prospect in years, maybe decades. "If he stays healthy and works hard, he's the next superstar,'' gushed the Yankees'
The polished Heyward made the Braves, and everyone agrees that was the right call. "He was the best player in Florida this spring,'' one scout said. Many believe Strasburg and Chapman are ready, as well, but those decisions are trickier. The Nats sent Strasburg to Double-A Harrisburg but are expected to recall him around June 1. Chapman may go down as well. But if he does, he shouldn't stay down for long.
The Mets' minor-league system looks a lot better now than most realized last year, when so-called experts rated it near the bottom. Those ratings will need to be re-evaluated now that five young Mets looked very good or better this spring. Left-hander
The best team this spring looked like the Rays, who are 17-7. "They keep coming at you with more guys,'' said one scout in tribute to the Rays scouting and depth.
That's a tough one, as the Royals, Pirates, Astros, Padres, Indians and Nationals all have their supporters (or is detractors?). The Astros have too much firepower to be in this group, the Indians' future looks pretty good and the Nationals will start the year with a very good offense and could finish it with pretty good pitching. The pick here would be either the Royals, who would need a miracle to avoid their 16th losing season in the past seventeen years, or the Pirates, who seem destined for an 18th straight losing season.
• The Mariners and
• Asked how
• Diamondbacks star
• The Cardinals "can really hit,'' according to one scout. They have the best hitter in the game (
• The Mets are hoping
• The Nationals made the right call naming
• Proving there is no perfect team, Phillies manager