Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested today that he expects new acquisition Corey Dickerson to handle the bulk of the action in left field for he coming season, as MLB.com’s Adam Berry report on Twitter. No doubt the Bucs will end up giving Dickerson some time off against lefties; while he performed well against southpaws last year, he has long carried wide platoon splits. But it seems the plan is to give him an opportunity to function as something approaching an everyday player, with the Pittsburgh organization evidently willing to stomach the less-than-stellar glovework Dickerson is reputed to deliver. Perhaps the biggest question will be whether the powerful 28-year-old can overcome an interesting problem identified by Travis Sawchik of Fangraphs in a piece today: a tendency to swing and miss at four-seam fastballs.
More from the NL Central:
- Upon his arrival in camp, Reds star Joey Votto made clear he hopes the team can begin pushing toward consistent contention, as Gary Schatz writes in the Dayton Daily News. Votto’s stellar 2017 season was not enough to keep the club out of the NL Central cellar. Clearly, ending up anywhere near a winning record is going to require quite a lot of internal improvement given the organization’s limited additions over the winter. At some point, though, the Reds organization will surely look to outside acquisitions to help take the next step, a topic covered by Rian Watt of Fangraphs.
- One key piece of the Reds picture, both in the near term and especially in the future, is top infield prospect Nick Senzel. Notably, as MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon writes, Senzel will see action at shortstop in what ought to be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Craig Edwards of Fangraphs looks at Senzel’s possible move up the scale of defensive difficulty and puts it in a broader context. Needless to say, the possibility is quite intriguing for the Reds. In other Senzel-related news, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has the fun story of the 22-year-old’s conquest of minor-league skipper Pat Kelly, the Reds’ house wrestling champion who had long fended off challengers from the farm system. No doubt the front office is just relieved that everyone has emerged unscathed.
- The Brewers’ plans regarding Ryan Braun are perhaps an underappreciated spring storyline. As Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes, the veteran slugger is going to find time at first base and perhaps also second. That would potentially allow the club to balance the demands of finding enough time for Braun after adding Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to an outfield that already featured Domingo Santana (with Brett Phillips and others also pushing up from the farm). As a long-time star corner outfielder who is now 34 years of age, Braun is an unusual candidate to turn into a utility player of sorts. But it’s also interesting to consider the potential upside as well as the merits of limiting the load on Braun, who has had his share of nicks and scrapes over the years. Just how things look on Opening Day, though, still aren’t clear. It still seems possible Santana could be dealt. And Jon Heyman of Fan Rag argues the organization still needs to add a significant rotation piece if it hopes to keep pace.