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Aaron Schoonmaker

A 9-minute guide to the 2013 MLB season

Posted March 29, 2013

Yes, I know it is the heart of the NCAA tournament right now, and if you are a Duke fan, you are still fully invested. But this weekend is also the start of the Major League Baseball season and for those with fantasy teams, favorite teams or at least a half-hearted interest, I have a nine-minute breakdown of what you missed during the offseason and what to expect over the next eight-plus months.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Getting the pearl
For those unfamiliar, the “pearl” is a fresh game ball – so let’s look at starting pitching.

Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, who was held out of the postseason last year because of an innings pitched limit and forced to watch an epic collapse from the bench, will have no such limit this year. Nat’s fans are immediately optimistic.

Staying in the NL East, Mets pitcher Johan Santana re-injured his shoulder and may miss the entire season if he opts for surgery. Career-ender? Perhaps.

Pitchers on the move include knuckler R.A Dickey, who heads north to Toronto along with Josh Johnson and Mark Bueherle. Kansas City also stocked up getting James Shields and Ervin Santana. The last of the big moves saw top free agent Kyle Loshe sign with the Brewers. Moves that could also pay off include Zack Greinke in Los Angeles, Edwin Jackson going to the Cubs, Shaun Marcum joining the Mets and Dan Haren helping the Nationals.

Big contracts went to the big names. Felix Hernandez signed a 7-year, $175 million deal to stay in Seattle and Adam Wainwright got $97.5 million over two years to lead the Cardinals. Oh, and just today, Justin Verlander got a record $180 million contract. Seriously.

Those following former D.H. Conley and UNC pitcher Alex White, he figures to be in the rotation for the lowly Astros as they transition to the vicious AL West.

Hit and run
Athens Drive product Josh Hamilton changed addresses but not divisions as he joined the Angels. A lineup that now boasts Albert Pujols, Hamilton and Mark Trumbo hitting consecutively is downright frightening. Also penciling-in a nightmare lineup is the Tigers who added Torii Hunter to their arsenal of Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.

The Yankees are old and getting older with the additions of Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner. The latest acquisition: Vernon Wells.

Staying in the east, Toronto bolstered by getting Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera, the Red Sox added Stephen Drew and Shane Victorino and the Rays picked up James Loney.

Atlanta, trying to keep pace with Washington in the NL East, united the Upton brothers, B.J. and Justin, to compliment Jason Heyward.

On deck
There is no clear-cut Bryce Harper or Mike Trout this year, but people want to talk up a few players anyway. If you want that scouts edge, I have a few names for you.

Right here in Durham, you will get a first-hand look at Will Myers – but you better get your tickets fast. The Rays top prospect, Myers is a power hitting outfielder that surely won’t be in the minors long. A close-cut for the opening day roster, the former 3rd round pick combined to hit 37 home runs in the minors last year.

Thought of by many to be the best prospect in all of baseball, Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar will open in Triple-A, as will Cardinals outfielder Oscar Tavaras. Each will undoubtedly get MLB service in 2013.

The first names to know as far as the top-crop young arms: Gerrit Cole in Pittsburgh, Dylan Bundy in Baltimore and a future closer in Detroit, Bruce Rondon. All three should get their cups of coffee this season.

A fourth name that you already know is Clayton native Chris Archer. Expect the Rays to call him up first if their rotation has a vacancy.

My dark-horse prospect to make an impact before the year’s end: Adam Eaton. The 22-year-old outfielder in the Diamondbacks organization can straight fly on the basepaths and hits for a high average, too.

Playing the numbers
ESPN.com and the AP each reported that Alex Rodriguez will make more than the entire Astros team this year. A-Rod will make $29 million this season – and he might not even play because of his injury (which injury is irrelevant because even bubble wrap can’t keep him in the lineup these days). The Yankees will be the highest paid opening day roster for the 15th – yes, 15th – consecutive year. Meanwhile, the Astros opening day, 25-man roster will make a combined $19 million, the lowest since the Marlins payroll totaled $16 million in 2006.

On the bench
Terry Francona has found a new dugout in Cleveland. I doubt he can help the Indians to the postseason, but at least he will bring in a few more fans early on.

The same forecasted success can be said for new Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss. The former UNC shortstop who played with the with the A’s, Braves, Marlins and Rockies makes his home in Denver and just last year was coaching at a high school in the Denver area. Unfortunately, the Rockies made zero offseason moves to help the new guy out.

Two other new faces with first-time jobs that have nowhere to go but up are Bo Porter in Houston and Mike Redmond in Miami. I personally like Porter’s upside, but both teams will be terrible.

Seven-minute stretch
Enjoying the stadiums around the league, you will see a few changes, most noticeably in Seattle where they are moving the fences in. The spacious Safeco Field will get a hitters helper as the left-center field gap comes in 17 feet and the deepest point in center comes in an additional four feet. The Mariners aren’t skimping on visuals either as they announced plans to construct a Dallas Cowboys-esque video board measuring 201.5 feet by 57 feet.

Elsewhere, the Miami Marlins find themselves in a lawsuit after putting up a billboard-style advertisement in the sight lines of season ticket holders - like they needed any more reason to turn away fans.

Call to the bullpen
Mariano Rivera is back. David Robertson will set him up. The problem will be the Yankees getting a lead into the late innings with the worst roster they have fielded in a decade. Joel Hanrahan has moved to Boston to close, but the Red Sox are in the same boat as the boys from the Bronx.

Two closers to watch closely: Aroldis Chapman in Cincinnati and Ernesto Frieri in Anaheim.

Walk-off
I will leave you with these items…

My World Series prediction is Detroit over Cincinnati in 5 games.

The best record in baseball will go to the Tigers and Verlander will notch another Cy Young. MVP: Joey Votto.

The worst record in baseball will go to the Rockies who edge out the Astros by a game for futility. Still, Weiss should get a second season and hopefully they make some moves for 2014.  

The most improved team and likely to exceed expectations: the Royals. Don’t be surprised if they claim a wild card spot.

I still hate the designated hitter and do not approve of the expanded playoff format even though the Cardinals were overwhelmingly benefitted by it last year. The unbalanced leagues creating year-long interleague play is a horrible idea that I cannot fully support either.

With that, Play Ball!

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  • Sac Fly RBI Mar 29, 3:04 p.m.

    Just bring the baseball weather here to NC with opening day.

  • ACC: NC State at UNC

    Today at 12:58 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Mississippi State at Ole Miss

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at Baltimore

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Michigan at Ohio State

    Today at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CFB: NC State at UNC

    Today at 12:30 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at Purdue

    Tuesday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
Final
PIT 2
CAR 4
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
Final
UF 64
UNC 75
Final
TULSA 32
ECU 49
12:30pm Today
UNC
NCSU
1:30pm Today
NARZ
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUKE
WAKE
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CHA
 
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
Final
CHA 101
GSW 106
Final
TOR 102
DAL 106
Final
DET 88
MIL 104
Final
ATL 100
NOP 91
Final
HOU 85
LAC 102
Final
OKC 105
NYK 78
Final
IND 98
ORL 83
Final
SAN 112
SAC 104
Final
DEN 122
PHO 97
Final
POR 99
MEM 112
Final
LAL 119
MIN 120
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
NOP
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CHA
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIL
HOU
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
LAC
 
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
Final
VT 24
UVA 20
Final
TULSA 32
ECU 49
12:00pm Today
TEMPL
CIN
12:00pm Today
UGA
GT
12:00pm Today
NW
ILL
12:00pm Today
LOU
KENT
12:00pm Today
OSU
MICH
12:00pm Today
TXSANANTO
UNT
12:00pm Today
FATL
ODU
12:00pm Today
IND
PURD
12:00pm Today
LATU
RICE
12:00pm Today
CLEM
SCAR
12:00pm Today
ISU
WVU
12:30pm Today
TROY
LALAF
12:30pm Today
UNC
NCSU
12:30pm Today
BC
SYR
1:00pm Today
COL
UTAH
2:00pm Today
APPST
IDAHO
2:00pm Today
GASTATE
TXST
3:00pm Today
ARKST
NMST
3:00pm Today
NMU
WYO
3:30pm Today
TTU
BAY
3:30pm Today
FSU
UF
3:30pm Today
PSU
MSU
3:30pm Today
WISC
MINN
3:30pm Today
MISS
MSST
3:30pm Today
USC
ND
3:30pm Today
MD
RUTG
3:30pm Today
SDST
SJST
3:30pm Today
SMISS
UAB
4:00pm Today
MEM
UCONN
4:00pm Today
KST
KU
4:00pm Today
VANDY
TENN
4:30pm Today
CAL
BYU
6:00pm Tonight
GASO
LAMON
7:00pm Tonight
FRES
HAW
7:00pm Tonight
UTEP
MTST
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
PITT
7:00pm Tonight
DUKE
WAKE
7:45pm Tonight
ALA
AUB
8:00pm Tonight
ORST
OREG
10:15pm Tonight
BSU
UTST
10:30pm Tonight
UNLV
NEV
10:30pm Tonight
WASU
WASH
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 59
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
Final
FSU 58
CSOU 47
 
Final
VALPO 66
DRAK 46
Final
CIN 69
MTST 51
Final
SDU 75
PRIN 65
Final
WASU 76
RICE 74
Final
CSFU 64
USCU 79
Final
GT 61
RIDE 54
Final
TXPA 79
ALAST 91
Final
NCSU 60
BSU 54
Final
TCU 57
BRAD 49
Final
WAKE 65
DELST 72
 
Final
HART 83
EMERSON 50
 
Final
STJ 66
GONZ 73
Final
CLEM 62
HIGH 59
 
Final
SYR 72
HC 48
 
Final
MD 61
MON 56
Final
JVST 74
SAV 71
 
Final
MIAMI 87
SALA 75
Final
RUTG 68
VANDY 65
Final
PETE 66
TENST 58
Final
MARS 59
CLST 68
Final
JST 56
HOF 86
 
Final
INDST 62
MEM 72
Final
UF 64
UNC 75
Final
LATU 77
SAMF 64
Final
TULA 71
SELA 61
 
Final
NEB 75
TENNM 64
Final
MISS 75
CREI 68
Final
PORT 64
MURST 61
Final
MARQ 68
MSU 79
Final
ARK 89
UNT 73
Final
NCOL 82
STET 62
 
Final
IND 87
UNCG 79
Final
SJST 60
WMICH 79
Final
MNTST 104
TXARL 81
Final
UVA 64
LAS 56
Final
STLU 50
MSST 75
Final
COLST 75
PAC 64
Final
UTAH 90
NDAK 53
Final
ILL 62
BAY 54
Final
UAB 76
UCLA 88
Final
WASH 80
LBSU 70
 
1st OT
UCSB 53
MERC 53
 
11:00am Today
SOUTH
EILL
 
11:30am Today
NCAT
MVSU
 
12:00pm Today
KNST
CHAT
 
1:00pm Today
ND
CHIST
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
UGST
 
1:00pm Today
NAVY
RFLSH
 
1:00pm Today
UMBC
TOWS
 
1:00pm Today
CITA
WWLSN
 
1:30pm Today
NARZ
NCCU
 
2:00pm Today
GWEBB
BREV
 
2:00pm Today
BING
CORN
 
2:00pm Today
DAY
ILLCH
 
2:00pm Today
SFLA
JVU
 
2:00pm Today
MORE
KYCHR
 
2:00pm Today
HARV
UMASS
 
2:00pm Today
DAVID
UNCW
 
2:00pm Today
DUQ
YALE
 
2:00pm Today
NEOM
NEV
 
2:00pm Today
USB
STTHOM
 
2:00pm Today
NIAG
BONA
 
2:00pm Today
RAD
TAMCC
 
2:00pm Today
ODU
VCU
 
2:07pm Today
IOWA
LONG
 
2:30pm Today
GSOUT
SCST
 
3:00pm Today
NE
FAIR
 
3:00pm Today
OU
TOL
 
3:00pm Today
WICHS
TULSA
 
3:00pm Today
ILLST
YOUNG
 
3:30pm Today
CSFU
FIU
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
ABCHRIST
 
4:00pm Today
CLMB
AMER
 
4:00pm Today
ARKLR
CARK
 
4:00pm Today
UWMIL
CONCORDSP
 
4:00pm Today
SHU
GWU
 
4:00pm Today
HOW
GWYNEDD
 
4:00pm Today
FORD
MDES
 
4:00pm Today
GMAS
MAN
 
4:00pm Today
NWST
MOVAL
 
4:00pm Today
MICH
NICST
 
4:00pm Today
WAGN
PENN
 
4:00pm Today
AKAN
RICE
 
4:05pm Today
SILL
OLIV
 
4:15pm Today
CAN
BUF
 
4:30pm Today
PBY
BOBJONES
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
STLU
 
4:30pm Today
WMARY
WOFF
 
5:00pm Tonight
STET
FAM
 
5:00pm Tonight
CREI
MTST
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
USW
 
6:00pm Tonight
CMICH
GRCN
 
6:00pm Tonight
DRAK
PORT
 
6:00pm Tonight
NDAK
TXPA
 
6:00pm Tonight
USCU
WRST
 
6:15pm Tonight
WASU
MIZST
 
6:30pm Tonight
UNLV
GTDNS
 
6:30pm Tonight
WYO
NMST
 
7:00pm Tonight
SEMIZ
ALAAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
OHIO
BEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
LOYC
 
7:00pm Tonight
TCU
MSST
 
7:00pm Tonight
GHND
SIENA
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAS
VANDY
 
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
COC
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
CIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOUB
DCHR
 
8:00pm Tonight
LSU
MCNST
 
8:05pm Tonight
WILL
GVIL
 
8:05pm Tonight
UMKC
WMJEWELL
 
8:30pm Tonight
MURST
VALPO
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTAH
ALAST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
COL
 
9:00pm Tonight
TBA
PAC
 
9:30pm Tonight
BYU
EKENT
 
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
RUTG
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
GAELS
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
IDAHO
NKENTUCKY
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
WLVRN
 
11:00pm Tonight
LMU
UCI
 
11:30pm Tonight
TBA
COLST
 
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
Final
WAS 5
NYI 2
Final
PIT 2
CAR 4
Final
NJD 4
DET 5
Final
BUF 2
MON 1
Final
CLB 0
VAN 5
Final
BOS 2
WIN 1
Final
FLA 3
OTT 2
Final
STL 4
EDM 3
Final
DAL 4
MIN 5
1:00pm Today
NYR
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
CLB
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
DAL
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARI
CAL
 
10:00pm Tonight
LOS
CHI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
ANA