I’m not expecting the playoffs this year. Not by a long shot. I’ve long been saying that this year reminds me of 1983 and that we’re right on the horizon of better days.
I’ve seen changes the last few weeks that I wasn’t expecting. They’re changes for the better.
Since the beginning of the roster shakeup in June, the entire atmosphere around the team has changed. Eric Young adds speed, excitement and hustle to the top of the lineup. Eric Young has essentially replaced Lucas Duda in left field. Change for the better. (I have other opinions on Duda, but they are not for this post).
Juan Lagares provides great defense and effort in center field. His bat hasn’t quite caught up to major league pitching yet, but he’s been able to handle the stick at prior levels which gives me confidence that he’ll be okay. This is most definitely an improvement over Cowgill, Ankiel, and Nieuwenhuis. (True, Nieuwenhuis is getting time in center, but I don’t think he is long for this team).
Marlon Byrd has most definitely surprised me. Not too long ago, I fully expected him to have been released by now. Instead, he’s provided power and defense. He’s not a long term solution for the team, but he’s been fun to watch.
David Wright. Because he’s David Wright.
Omar Quintanilla has been a bright spot. We saw what he did last year. He’s back and he’s been making sparkling plays in the field and showing us why he was a former first round pick. Ruben Tejada has seemed lost and has at times lacked hustle. Q is playing his heart out. Is he an All-Star? Hardly. Never will be. But he’s been flashing the leather.
Josh Satin – it’s great to see him getting a chance and him taking advantage of it. Ike Davis is no longer clogging up the order and may very well have been Wally Pipped off of this team if Josh continues to perform.
The pitching future is bright. We get to see Harvey every 5th day. Zack Wheeler is raw, but time will show us what we have. Jon Niese is a solid #3 on any team and great for the rotation (heal well, Jon). Gee has been getting it together after a rough start. Hefner has been like pitching anything but a fringe major leaguer and has been their second best starter.
Oh, and they have other starting prospects on the horizon in case one or two of the five guys we currently have flames out/gets hurt.
So am I excited about where this team is heading? You bet I am. And in the meantime, they’re a whole hell of a lot more fun to watch right now while we’re waiting for the future to become the present.