Some Early Spring Training Thoughts: Mike Trout, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Others

Stephen Dunn

Ray Guilfoyle offers his thoughts on some early spring training news.

Now that our offseason rankings are completed for the most part, I will start a semi-regular Spring Training Thoughts series where I will offer my thoughts on the goings-on in spring training, including position battles, injuries, and things that enter my brain throughout the day.

Before I get to that, I want to let you know that I will be publishing my Top 100 Rankings on Monday morning. I am about a quarter of the way through them at the moment. I may push it to 200 if I can get some free time this weekend.

If you are looking for more than a Top 100, make sure you head on over to Bret Sayre's blog-Dynasty Guru-as he published his Top 500 Dynasty League Rankings yesterday. While there, there is a downloadable spreadsheet of his rankings.

Speaking of Bret, he published his last article for Fake Teams yesterday, as he is moving on to Baseball Prospectus as a Senior Fantasy Writer, so make sure you check out his awesome fantasy articles over at BP going forward. From what I understand, his first piece will be published today, so check out what he has to say. He will be missed.

Now on to the spring training thoughts:

Yesterday, we learned that Mike Trout reported to camp weighing 240 pounds, which seems pretty heavy for a base stealer. Reports indcated that he gained 10-15 pounds this offseason, yet played last year at 210 pounds. Now, I am not sure about you, but unless reporters are using a new math, it appears he gained 30 pounds this ofseason. He was one of the fastest guys in the game last year, but I have to imagine adding that much weight will slow him down a bit on the basepaths. More weight could lead to leg injuries as well.

As I write this, I am participating in a mock draft over at Mock Draft Central, and anytime you jump in one of their mocks, you run the risk of a team on autopilot. Well, between the guys on autopilot and the horrible rankings, I saw some guys go earlier than they should, and others go later, as a result. For example, Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson was the 9th pick in the draft...in the first round!! And Jose Bautista was the 7th pick! As a result, Reds first baseman Joey Votto lasted until the 5th pick in the 2nd round. Ugh.

The Dodgers signed Korean left-handed starter Hyun-jin Ryu this offseason for a combined $61 million, so it is almost a sure thing he will be part of their rotation come Opening Day, behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Josh Beckett. Here is what Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt had to say about Ryu after watching his first bullpen yesterday, courtesy of Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:

"I would have signed him myself just looking at the video. This guy has command of four pitches, and that's highly unusual for a young man," Honeycutt said. "Seeing him live, his size (stands out). He's a big man, and has good body control. ... To have command of four pitches, and have it come out nice and easy. He has the plus-plus changeup. I didn't see the breaking pitches, but I saw those on video and know he's been commanding those also."

He apparently took his sweet old time in their running drills yesterday, but it was nice to hear that he has command of four pitches with a "plus-plus changeup". It remains to be seen how he will perform at the big league level, but I am leaning positive on him. Plus there is this little bit of info from FanGraph's Jeff Sullivan on some changes to Dodger Stadium this offseason.

The A's were dealt some bad news yesterday as closer Grant Balfour will be out 4-6 weeks as he will have surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his right knee. If he is not ready to go at the start of the season, Ryan Cook will probably get the first chance to replace him, with Sean Doolittle a possibility as well.

Speaking of closers, the Tigers are built to win now and don't know who their closer will be this season....yet. The candidates include prospect Bruce Rondon, who reaches triple digits with his heat, Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel and Al Albuquerque. Manager Jim Leyland stated yesterday that we may not know who their closer is even when spring training games have completed. I see a desperation trade for a closer come July 31st.

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