Wow, Bruce, wow

Leave a comment

How can you have spent the last 12 years covering the NL and believe that Brad Hawpe is a legitimate center fielder capable of pushing Kosuke Fukudome to right field?
I actually think Bruce Miles is one of the Cubs’ best beat writers, but that’s an ugly error. It’s not like Hawpe is a newcomer. He’s spent five-plus years in the big leagues, he’s averaged a 900 OPS in the last four and he even went to an All-Star Game this year.
Hawpe, though, has never played a game in center field and for good reason. He’s a natural first baseman who moved to the outfield because of Todd Helton’s presence. After doing a respectable job his first few years in the league, he’s declined to the point at which his defense has nullified much of his value on offense.
There’s a good chance that Hawpe will be traded this winter. The Rockies have Carlos Gonzalez to plug into right field on a full-time basis and they should be fine in center with Dexter Fowler and in left with a combination of Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and maybe Eric Young Jr.
It is teams with holes at first base and DH that should be looking at Hawpe, though. He’ll be of more use there than he is as a liability in a corner outfield spot.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

Getty Images
1 Comment

Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.