Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Spring Training Baseball's Gift To All

Batter Up March 18th, 2007
Mesa, Arizona.

Spring training is baseball’s gift to the fans. The wins and losses don’t matter. The weather is spectacular. The players all smile. The only thing that counts is getting in shape for the season.
More importantly the story has already begun for the fans in 2007.

The A’s have one of the best young hitters I have seen during the Cactus League. Travis Buck reminds me of a young Jason Giambi.
The ball jumps off Buck’s bat with authority, not only in batting practice, but you can hear the sound when he connects during the game. Buck is not smooth in the field, but as they say in baseball when you can hit like he can, they’ll find a spot for you.
Mike Piazza doesn’t hit with the authority of Frank Thomas. Piazza’s strength is he doesn’t miss his pitch. In the majors, hitters always get one pitch they can hit during an at bat. Piazza punishes that pitch and that’s why he is a lifetime.309 hitter.
Rich Harden is throwing the ball extremely well. He smiles all the time. He feels good. First time out Harden reached 97mph on the radar gun. Unless Harden has some sort of physical woes count on the righty for 18 or more wins.
Daric Barton will hit in the major leagues. Barton seems to be a much better hitter right now than the current A’s first baseman Dan Johnson. If Johnson gets off to a slow start again this season expect to see Barton on the club by the end of May.
Bobby Crosby looks very confident. The shortstop has put on some muscle. If Crosby stays healthy 20 home runs is not unreasonable.
Milton Bradley plays the game with such ferocity, even in Arizona, that you wonder how he will last the full season in center field. Lightening up occasionally would do wonders for Bradley.
Jason Kendall wants the A’s to extend his current contract another two years. I’d do it. As promising as minor league catchers Kurt Suzuki and Landon Powell might be, they won’t be ready to catch this staff in 2008.
Ailing Angels’ starters Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon haven’t pitched in a game all spring. Centerfielder Gary Matthews Jr says he didn’t use HGH in 2004. However, he won’t deny receiving the on line shipment. If he received the drug what did he do with it? His saga has been a team distraction.
The Halos are still short one power bat.
The Cubs could be this year’s version of the ‘06 New York Mets. The New Yorkers hit the ball so well last year they were able to clinch the NL East by the end of April.
Alfonso Soriano is a project in center field, but make no mistake he will hit at least 40 homers in Wrigley. First baseman Derek Lee is healthy. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez is hustling for new manager Lou Piniella. Don’t be surprised if outfielder Matt Murton hits .300 this season. DP combo Mark De Rosa and Cesar Izturis are bona fide major leaguers.
What can go wrong for the Cubbies?
Pitching. Carlos Zambrano has all the stuff in the world, but struggles finishing hitters off. Lefty Rich Hill might have the best stuff on the staff, but this will be his first full season in the majors. Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis need to give Piniella six good innings on a regular basis.
The Cubs ‘pen is tested and reliable.
Maybe the sun is getting to me, but the Cubs are the best team I’ve seen in Arizona this spring.


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