A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Neil Walker

Beginnings are beautiful. They can go the other way, too, but alas... there's something to be said for playing games when one isn't mathematically eliminated. For example, Kansas City is off to a 4and1 start. Baltimore is off to a 4and0 start, while the Red Sox overuse of Verizon to phone in the season continues with a loss to Cleveland - a stat that doesn't fare them well for a weekend series against New York, who finally LOST to Minnesota, something that is about as rare as sun on one of my day's off to do something, but yeah... it's the start of the season and for new grass on the field and fans in the seats - unless you're in Cleveland where less than 10,000 fans came to watch their team beat Boston. If you're Adam Dunn, you're apparently wanting to keep Matt Holliday company on the appendectomy list, which is at least more positive than being a Rockies pitcher since 2/5 of their starting rotation is already suffering maladies. This definitely doesn't bode well for real or fantasy teams as there is a need for a big bop from certain players and to see Evan Longoria singing those DL Blues (thank you, Baseball Project), it doesn't look promising. If you're Nick Hundley, you're sitting on top of the world - 8for15 with a .533 batting average to lead the league in offense generation. This is helping San Diego to keep it tight in the NL West, a division that's going to get more competitive as the teams look to capitalize on the parity between each other. Hell, between the Giants, the Padres, the Rockies, the Dodgers, and the DBacks, all of the teams have been to the dance in the past 10 years. Only the DBacks are pretty much eliminated from jump, and if they rebuild, they could be back in the flow soon. A sound GM could definitely make a play for this year or next year with ANY of those top 4 teams - barring injury and having career or contract year explosions from some of their borderline players. But if you're already eliminated, and we're talking about you Pittsburgh, a team that may NEVER EVER see a winning season again, you play for July in order to get traded to a competitive team somewhere else, and that seems like what Neil Walker may be doing. He has 1 full season and a little bit of 2 others under his belt, and he's hitting .333, which is a good sign. He's got 3 doubles and a home run, and he's also got 7 RBIs. Last year, he had 12 home runs, 66 RBIs, and a .296 average for the season (just over 400 at bats), but he did whiff 83 times. This year, he's leading the league in that number. Seeing as teams are willing to be patient with their Mark Reynolds and Ryan Howard type players, this may not be such a conundrum - unless you're batting .063 for Cleveland and are generally known as a player worthy of being a bobblehead giveaway. So here's to all those guys making the cut and those who are trying. And for all of you guys on the DL, there's this to aspire to.

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