Obviously, you have to take Spring Training for what it is, but it's exciting to me that the Royals (13-1) and Orioles (10-3) have the two best records in baseball right now.
This time of year, most of the people getting playing time are the ones fighting for roster spots, so while not a definite foreshadowing of Regular Season victories, Spring Training success does bode well for organizational depth. For upstart young teams like the Orioles and Royals, organizational depth is key, as evidenced by Baltimore's improbable run last year, using a pool of way more than 25 players.
Orioles camp is stacked with talent this year, giving them the enviable "problem" of not having enough roster spots for every deserving player, an issue they hadn't had for decades. With several bench spots up for grabs, many invitees have been really stepping up their games.
Some pleasant surprises have been:
OF Conor Jackson, OF Lew Ford, 1B/OF Steve Pearce, C Luis Exposito, 2B Alexi Casilla, OF Jason Pridie, OF Trayvon Robinson, P Mike Belfiore, and top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Top positional prospect, 3B Jonathan Schoop, has put up impressive numbers playing for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
I do not envy the difficult decisions Manager Buck Showalter and Executive VP Dan Duquette will be forced to make in the last days of Spring Training. But as they showed last year, players who start out the season in the minors will still be given opportunities to contribute to the big league ballclub, which is why so many under-appreciated players migrated to their squad this year.
Here's what the 25 man roster is shaping up to be (although some spots have yet to be won):
C Matt Wieters
1B Chris Davis
2B Brian Roberts
3B Manny Machado
SS JJ Hardy
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Nolan Reimold/Wilson Betemit
Louis Exposito/Taylor Teagarden
Conor Jackson/Steve Pearce/Lew Ford
Alexi Casilla/Ryan Flaherty
Jake Arrieta/Jair Jurrjens
I always enjoy following Spring Training and look forward to the MLB regular season every year, but last year's excitement and success coupled with the many potential-filled players at this year's camp have me counting down the days until April 2nd.
Copyright 2013 Denim McDemus