With spring training officially upon us, I've started back up with my weekly baseball column at the Roto Times. We have roughly six weeks until the start of the regular season, so for the next three I'm going to be recapping some of the important offseason moves and identifying potential sleepers for each team. I reviewed with Eastern Divisions in each league on Monday, and will tackle the Central Divisions next week.
Head over to the Roto Times to read the whole thing, but here's a taste:
New guys: Forget Kris Benson, Kevin Millar, Ramon Hernandez, LaTroy Hawkins, Jeff Conine and Corey Patterson - the biggest offseason acquisition by the Orioles was inking the legendary Leo Mazzone to be their pitching coach. After helping the Braves churn out ace pitcher after ace pitcher for years in Atlanta, Mazzone's first priority this year will be helping youngsters Erik Bedard and Daniel Cabrera take the next step. Benson, Rodrigo Lopez and Bruce Chen also stand to benefit in what could end up being a surprisingly solid rotation. As for the lineup, the biggest moves of the winter were the decisions not to move Miguel Tejada or Javy Lopez after each player demanded a trade.
Sleepers: After posting a ridiculous 0.96 ERA over 37 innings with Double-A Bowie last year, Chris Ray skipped Triple-A completely and jumped directly to the majors. After posting a 2.66 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with more strikeouts (43) than innings pitched (40.2), it's safe to say he held his own. In fact, after watching B.J. Ryan leave as a free agent, the O's have already tabbed the young Ray their next closer. Count on him taking the job and running with it.
Eastern Divisions Preview [Roto Times]