Saturday, March 12, 2005

S-T with a feature piece on Blalock 

Kathleen O'Brien of the S-T has a nice feature piece on Hank Blalock today. Typical stuff...hard-working, supposedly overlooked because of the other stars in the infield (something I'd disagree with -- Blalock is possibly the most prominent member of the infield right now)...

O'Brien does say that Blalock wants to improve his patience at the plate this season, lamenting Blalock's 149 strikeouts in 2004, which was second in the A.L. Blalock did draw 75 walks in 2004, boosting his OBP to an extremely respectable .355, but Buck is expecting him to reduce the Ks and increase the bases on balls this year.

If he can make some improvements in those areas, he could start putting up Bobby Abreu-like offensive numbers...an OBP approaching .400, with a slugging percentage in the .525-.550 range. That would put him solidly among the offensive elite in the league, and put him right there with ARod, Chavez and Rolen among the best third basemen in baseball.

With guys like Blalock moving from young player to bonafide veteran, increasing patience at the plate, I ask again: Why is it that this team isn't going to produce at the plate this year to compliment a moderately improved pitching staff?
Blalock is the only guy I think is likely to take a big step forward this year.

Young and Soriano, I don't expect much change from, Teixeira might improve a little but not a whole lot, and the outfield as a whole I expect to perform similarly to last season.

The pitching staff, on the other hand, I expect to regress a little bit. The Rangers had the best bullpen in the A.L. last year, and I don't expect that to happen again.
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