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I attended the first two days of Wingnuts training camp over the weekend. Before I elaborate, let me answer the question on the minds of several thousand people — why am I not calling it spring training? This is baseball, right? Not football…
Well, spring training is something that lasts a month and a half and gets players ready for a 140-game minor-league season or a 162-game major-league season. Wingnuts camp lasts all of 12 days and prepares players for a 96-game season. The number of games is really irrelevant, but the amount of time each event lasts is important to point out. I just don’t know how you get pitchers ready in less than two weeks. Seems almost inhumane.
Anyway, while I didn’t get to see every pitcher throw over the weekend, I saw enough to at least offer some thoughts. So here they are.
New designated hitter Mario Delgado is a large individual. I feel bad saying that almost, but there’s really no way around it. He’s a behemoth, as old WWF announcer Gorilla Monsoon might say. Pushing three bills if not past it. But I guess the Wingnuts don’t need him to be the picture of supreme athleticism. If his bat hasn’t slowed after a year away from the game, he’ll provide them with the power they need to help replace the three middle-of-the-order hitters they lost. Just don’t expect him to go first-to-third on a single too often.
On the other end of the spectrum, Kennard Bibbs is a small individual. Even smaller than manager Kevin Hooper, which is difficult to do. But like Delgado, the Wingnuts only expect Bibbs to play to his strengths. Those strengths are defense, plate discipline and putting the ball in play. Bibbs will hit lots of singles, execute with situational hitting, and play strong defense. At 30, he’s still plenty fast.
Speaking of outfield defense, the Wingnuts’ should be excellent. Chris Colton can run down anything in center field — I’ve said he could play center in the majors, and I don’t know if anyone would disagree. And with Bibbs flanking him in left, not many balls will find the left-center field gap. Ryan Patterson will play right field — not sure how he is defensively, though.
Eric Williams can help the Wingnuts in many ways. But will he make the team? I’ll examine that in my next blog post this afternoon.
The Wingnuts have a lot of hard-throwing pitchers. A lot of big guys on the pitching staff, too. Luke Demko is 6-foot-7, 270 pounds. Brock Piper is 6-3, 260. Gabe Medina is 6-5, 245. Cephas Howard is 6-6, 245. And so on. Nick Singleton is another guy who throws hard, as is Luke Massetti. Obviously, these guys will need more than a fastball to succeed, but velocity won’t be their problem.