These two are frontrunners for that fifth rotation spot that's up for grabs, meaning the first round, so to speak, of the competition will be on full display this week.
Marita Kramer of Austria jumps during the Ski Jumping Mixed Team HS106 at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Oberstdorf at Schattenberg on Feb. 28, 2021, in Oberstdorf, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)Chicago Cubs face coverings
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You'd have to go back to Correa in 2012 or Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez in 2011 for true shortstops in the draft who were obviously more talented than Lawlar. Other 55 FV shortstops already in the minors are my No. 31 overall prospect Jazz Chisholm (Marlins) and No. 39 Geraldo Perdomo (D-backs).Detroit Tigers face coverings
Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, and Kansas City round out baseball’s top-tier hitting parks. Not all arrive there equally, as Kansas City and Boston are two of the toughest parks to hit home runs in all of baseball. Hitters in Fenway can expect a big boost in batting average but a drain in homers regardless of handedness, so it was no surprise when Mookie Betts finished with his best power numbers after joining LA last season. Finally, no pitchers in baseball rely on their defense more than those throwing in Kauffman Stadium.
The projection systems don't factor any of that into their spreadsheets. They assume Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, Joc Pederson and Zach Davies, all potential free agents after the season (Pederson has a mutual option), will be in Chicago all season. Aside from a potential white flag, there are on-field reasons to worry about the Cubs, particularly in the rotation. Jake Arrieta is back at Wrigley, but his ERA has risen five seasons in a row, including a 5.08 mark in 2020. Alec Mills had a 4.48 ERA in 2020, but a 5.44 FIP thanks to 13 home runs in 62⅓ innings. After that, it's Trevor Williams (5.60 ERA the past two seasons in pitcher-friendly PNC Park) and youngsters Adbert Alzolay, Brailyn Marquez, Tyson Miller and Cory Abbott. With soft-tossers Kyle Hendricks and Davies leading the way, the Cubs are zigging when everybody else is zagging for more velocity.
Anthony Rendon said the other day that earlier in his career he really didn't buy into the concept of clubhouse chemistry. Now, though, the Angels' third baseman has come to understand just how much time players and staffers spend together, and that to enjoy that time is important. Along those lines, he told a story about the gregarious Kurt Suzuki -- who in his 15h season is a teammate of Rendon for a third time now -- and how the longtime catcher helped him in Rendon's first months in the big leagues. Suzuki would arrange for a cab or car service to the ballpark and invite Rendon to join him. When Rendon tried to offer to share the cost, Suzuki waved him off and told him that there would be a day when it would be Rendon's turn to pay it forward for some other young player.Colorado Rockies face coverings
Maddon has said he wants to ease some of the restrictions, such as when Ohtani's turn comes as part of a six-man rotation rather than on a certain day each week. Maddon also is open to the possibility of putting him in the lineup the day after his start, which hadn't been the case.Miami Marlins face coverings