With spring training now in full swing, I’ll address just a few questions about the National League East…
Will Jayson Werth shave his magnificent beard, or will he summon it’s powers to help earn a long term contract? Werth, coming off a career year in 2009, is due to become a free agent after the 2010 season. With another year similar to the one he had last year, he could be looking at a contract similar to what Jason Bay earned this past off season. Think something like 4 years/$60 million. Can the Phillies afford that? With Ryan Howard due for an extension after the 2011 season, many believe it’s one or the other. The lanky righty, who looks like Grizzly Adams in Right Field with a cannon arm and a nice mixture of power and speed, or the slugging First Baseman who is just about a lock to smack 45 round trippers and drive in 140 runs but strikeout nearly 200 times? Time will tell, but my money is on Howard getting the extension and Werth taking a walk, sadly.
Will David Wright find the power he lost in 2009? Wright, the 27 year old Third Baseman for the Mets experienced quite the power outage last year. In 2008, Wright hit 33 homers, drove in 124 runs, and batted .307 with an OPS of .924. In 2009, Wright’s numbers were down across the board, but most noticeably so in that “HR” column. Last year, Wright only managed 10 dingers. While some can be said about the Mets new, larger ballpark, that wasn’t the only reason. Wright’s OPS dropped nearly 90 points from 2008, and he struck out 22 more times despite getting 91 fewer at bats. While Wright should bounce back, given he doesn’t eat any more fastballs, most of his numbers should rebound, except homeruns. While Wright should hit more than 10 in 2010, he won’t have another 30 homer season this year.
Who’s the best pitcher in the NL East? With no disrespect to the Braves and Marlins, the two top pitchers in the division are Johan Santana and newcomer Roy Halladay. When Halladay was asked who the best pitcher in the division was, he simply said that while he’d never vote for himself, he named Santana, along with his own teammate Cole Hamels, and Josh Johnson. When Santana was asked that same question, he simply answered “Santana.” While many of the stats are very similar, one definitely stands out in favor of Doc. In Santana’s 10 year career, he has thrown 9 complete games. In Halladay’s 11 seasons (not counting his 14 inning season in 1998), Halladay has amassed 49 complete games, including 15 shutouts. All while pitching in arguably the toughest division in baseball, the AL East. While the past is certainly no indication on future success, the fact that Halladay has been able to do that while pitching in Yankee Stadium and Fenway, among others, certainly says something.