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!

1 Comment

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Sac Fly RBI Mar 29, 3:04 p.m.

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

  • Big 10: Michigan at Michigan State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Virginia

    Tonight at 7:00 on 620am

  • NHL: Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • Super Bowl: Seattle vs. New England

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
 
4:00pm Today
LOU
UNC
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
IND
SAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
HOU
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
PHO
Final
TENN 71
AUB 63
Final
CLEM 64
BC 49
Final
STJOE 75
DAVID 70
Final
GT 80
NCSU 81
 
Final
PITT 76
ND 72
Final
STJ 75
PROV 66
Final
UNH 63
USB 48
 
Final
WVU 77
TTU 58
Final
TEMPL 55
TULA 37
Final
EMICH 69
WMICH 63
 
Final
IOWA 63
WISC 74
Final
SHU 90
XAV 82
Final
UF 57
ARK 56
Final
STET 75
LIP 73
 
Final
ILL 60
PSU 58
Final
TULSA 78
SFLA 71
 
Final
INDST 64
BRAD 58
 
Final
MAINE 59
GTDNS 77
 
2nd
LEH 87
BU 84
 
1st OT
MARQ 60
BUT 62
 
2nd
DEL 69
COC 63
 
Final
CREI 40
GEOR 67
 
Final
CLST 76
UWGB 62
 
Final
NEOM 65
MAST 75
 
2nd
LOYC 45
ILLST 46
 
Final
KU 68
KYST 57
 
Final
JVU 50
KNST 51
 
2nd
MSST 71
LSU 65
 
Final
SHU 71
MNTER 77
 
2nd
VCU 52
RICH 62
 
Final
ISU 83
TCU 66
 
Final
BING 76
MLOWELL 69
 
Final
HART 46
VERM 65
 
2nd
DEP 52
VILL 60
 
2nd
WAKE 69
VT 67
 
2nd
UGST 74
ARKST 43
 
1st
FAM 12
COOK 19
 
2nd
NDAK 37
IDST 26
 
Half
ARMY 24
GHND 21
 
2nd
BEL 46
TENT 39
 
Half
TXSA 29
UAB 33
 
Half
ILLCH 25
VALPO 39
 
Half
DRAK 29
EVAN 27
 
Half
IND 32
RUTG 30
 
1st
UMO 27
BST 31
 
4:00pm Today
RMU
BRY
 
1st
WAGN 11
CCST 6
 
1st
GWEBB 0
CCAR 0
 
4:00pm Today
MDES
COPST
 
1st
RFLSH 7
FD 5
 
1st
RIU 2
GWU 0
 
4:00pm Today
SCAR
UGA
4:00pm Today
Terriers
LIU
 
1st
PAC 0
LMU 0
 
1st
STLU 4
UMASS 3
 
4:00pm Today
HOW
MRGST
 
1st
DREX 3
UNCW 2
 
4:00pm Today
LOU
UNC
1st
MIZZ 4
MISS 3
 
4:00pm Today
ALCOR
SOUTH
 
1st
NIOWA 7
WICHS 5
 
1st
JMU 3
WMARY 7
 
1st
RAD 0
WINT 0
 
4:15pm Today
EILL
SIUE
 
4:30pm Today
UNCA
CAMP
 
4:30pm Today
MORE
EKENT
 
4:30pm Today
NICST
INCWORD
 
4:30pm Today
CMICH
OHIO
 
4:30pm Today
TEXAM
VANDY
5:00pm Tonight
UWMIL
DET
 
5:00pm Tonight
LAMON
SALA
 
5:00pm Tonight
UNCG
WCU
 
5:05pm Tonight
EWASH
IDAHO
 
5:30pm Tonight
SDKST
DEN
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
HOUB
 
5:30pm Tonight
MVSU
JST
 
5:30pm Tonight
TXST
LALAF
 
5:30pm Tonight
LATU
MARS
5:30pm Tonight
SD
ORU
 
6:00pm Tonight
PVU
ALAAM
 
6:00pm Tonight
GRAM
ARKPB
 
6:00pm Tonight
PRIN
DART
 
6:00pm Tonight
SCST
DELST
 
6:00pm Tonight
COLST
FRES
6:00pm Tonight
NORST
HAMP
 
6:00pm Tonight
MINN
NEB
6:00pm Tonight
WYO
NEV
6:00pm Tonight
SAV
NCAT
 
6:00pm Tonight
GAELS
PEPP
 
6:00pm Tonight
NW
PURD
6:00pm Tonight
BAY
TEX
6:00pm Tonight
CHAT
CITA
 
6:00pm Tonight
SMISS
WKENT
6:00pm Tonight
CORN
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAM
ABCHRIST
 
7:00pm Tonight
BGU
AKR
 
7:00pm Tonight
KENT
ALA
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
BRO
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CSOU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
DUKE
7:00pm Tonight
NE
ELON
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
FIU
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
FATL
7:00pm Tonight
SAMF
FUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DUQ
GMAS
7:00pm Tonight
PENN
HARV
 
7:00pm Tonight
LBSU
HAW
 
7:00pm Tonight
BONA
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
LONG
 
7:00pm Tonight
WOFF
MERC
 
7:00pm Tonight
ETST
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MCNST
NO
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
IONA
PETE
 
7:00pm Tonight
STEPH
TAMCC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
USCU
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
ARKLR
 
8:00pm Tonight
UCR
CSNO
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
NWST
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
OKLA
8:00pm Tonight
UNT
RICE
8:00pm Tonight
SDU
USF
 
8:00pm Tonight
NMU
SJST
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
SEMIZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
TOL
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOF
TOWS
 
8:00pm Tonight
SMU
UCF
8:00pm Tonight
MURST
TENNM
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDST
UTST
8:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
8:15pm Tonight
TXARL
TROY
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TENST
JVST
 
8:30pm Tonight
WASU
STAN
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
CHIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
MTST
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
NARZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
BYU
SCU
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
TXPA
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
WEBER
 
10:00pm Tonight
UNLV
AFA
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
MEM
10:00pm Tonight
CALST
SEAT
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
UCSB
 
10:05pm Tonight
SACST
MONT
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
MNTST
 
10:30pm Tonight
UCLA
COL
10:30pm Tonight
WLVRN
UMKC
 
3rd
DET 3
NYI 1
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
WIN
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
LOS
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
CHI