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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Thursday, March 11, 2004
Prospectus Triple Play: Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "While he's still a top shortstop, [Rafael] Furcal isn't the same player he was as a rookie. Back then, Furcal was an on-base machine, hitting a lot of singles and earning a lot of walks. The new Furcal can put a charge into a lot of the pitches he used to take, so his hacks at them have produced a surprising amount of extra-base pop. He also doesn't try to leg out as many infield hits as before, as more than 40% more of his balls in play were hit in the air in 2004 as in 2000. PECOTA predicts that the new Furcal will retain most of the progress he made in 2003, with a .287/.345/.416 projected line." (Baseball Prospectus)

Looking Forward to 2004: Texas Rangers. "[Alfonso] Soriano is a very good offensive player. Sure we’d all like players to draw 80 walks a year, but history is replete with excellent players who swung at nearly everything thrown in their general direction. And it says something pretty special about Soriano that you could take his last two years, stick them in the middle of the careers of Orlando Cepeda or Roberto Clemente or Rico Carty, and you’d never know the difference. If he were still 26 you could feel fairly certain that he’d make a run at the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he’s suddenly 28 and he still can’t field a lick." (Baseball Primer)

Philadelphia Phillies 2004 Team Preview. "The Philadelphia Phillies are like a guy who sprints across a minefield at top speed. He's choosing a simple, direct way to reach his goal - and, well, if he gets blown up along the way, he gets blown up. In an era of caution - both fiscal and otherwise - you've got to admire this, if only from a discreet distance." (Batter's Box)

Anaheim Angels 2004 Team Preview. "Even though the injury bug bit last season, Vladimir Guerrero seems to be a can't-miss superstar in the American League. Guerrero's herniated disc seemed to be a yellow flag for his near-term future, but he absolutely raked when he came off the DL last summer. Anecdotally, I used to believe that Nomar hit line drives the hardest of any hitter I had seen in person, but that was before I saw Vladdy at the Dome. The ball rockets off his bat, whether the pitch is eye-high, on his shoetops, or basically anyplace else -- and he's not above taking a pitch when he recognizes that the opposition is pitching around him." (Batter's Box)

The NL West. A roundtable discussion. (

The AL West. Another one. (

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