The start of spring training means two things: 1) Opening day is almost here! 2) We’re about to be inundated with quotes from players and coaches about what type of shape players are in or what new mechanics player X worked on over the winter or which players will earn or lose a starting job based on a few meaningless games where the stats are themselves meaningless.
The quotes are already pouring out. Which words hold water and which are nothing more than words without meaning?
Skeptics Say: All the numbers look great at the end of the season, but going game by game Price's season wasn't at all spectacular. His quality start percentage was tied for 46th among starters with at least 100 innings last year. That's a big part of the reason why he finished with more losses than wins and a reason to be concerned about taking him as one of the first twelve starting pitchers off the board next year.
In 2008 the Pirates that the #2 pick overall in the June Amateur draft and used that pick on Pedro Alvarez. After a lost 2008 due to a contract dispute, Alvarez finally got on the field in 2009 and at 22 years old hit 27 HR's and batted .288 across advanced A and AA. He didn't slow down in 2010 and smacked 13 more HR in 66 AAA games, then got the call, and played 95 games with the Pirates. He hit 16 HR's and batted .306 in Sept/Oct that year. A legend was born. The Pirates had their HR threat to drive in McCutchen and Walker.
Skeptics Say: Game six of the World Series saw a pretty ugly injury to Napoli (as well as the most painful loss in Rangers history), and Napoli said the ankle still isn't 100%. He did claim that he could hit and throw fine, but that doesn't mean the injury will get worse if he pushes himself.
Skeptics Say: Don't look for motivation to come in the form of money. The Yankees have their hands tied for five more years after this season. A-Rod is now 36 years old, and if we are calling this the post-steroid era, virtually nobody produces at this point in their careers. The highest any player was ranked that was 36 or older last season was 117 (Johnny Damon).