Normally teams report to Spring training around the third week of February so that by the time teams are two weeks in, they still have 3 to 4 weeks left in Florida or Arizona. But after the lockout, teams reported right before the Ides of March, and so two weeks in means they only have about ten more days to go before the season starts.
In previous seasons this was about when Spring Training would begin to seem to be too long. But not this season. This season we are wondering if the team will be ready when the season starts. And the answer is probably not entirely prepared, but everyone is in the same boat.
So why should we be OK with this second odd start to a season in the last three?
- Our team has been to the playoffs six of the last seven seasons
- Our team has been to the ALCS 5 seasons in a row
- Our team has been to the World Series three times in the last five seasons
- Our team has shown remarkable resilience in overcoming a slew of injuries every single season of the previous five
- Our team has overcome the losses of Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander (two years to injury), Wade Miley, Brad Peacock, Collin McHugh, Ken Giles, Roberto Osuna, Hector Rondon, Will Harris, Chris Devenski, Joe Smith, Lance McCullers Jr. (one year plus to injury), Brian McCann, Josh Reddick, George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, Evan Gattis, Jake Marisnick, and others and still had great success. Yeah, you won’t see the names of Mike Fiers or Carlos Beltran on that list.
- Our team has overcome “IT”, the shame, harassment, booing, and doubts that come with the scandal that tainted their one championship.
- Our team is returning last year’s lineup, rotation and bullpen mostly intact. Yes, they have lost Carlos Correa and Zack Greinke, but they are getting Justin Verlander back and hopefully the pre-injury version of Alex Bregman.
- Our team has two of the best young hitters in the world in Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez, who should just be entering their prime.
- Our team has a set of hitters that could make almost any lineup in the baseball world in Tucker, Alvarez, Bregman, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, and Michael Brantley.
- Our team has young starting pitchers who have pitched at a high level in Luis Garcia, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Jose Urquidy. They have a pitcher who, when he last played a whole season, won the Cy Young Award in Verlander. They hopefully get back a pitcher in Lance McCullers, who was a top ten pitcher in the AL last year. And they have in their back pocket Jake Odorizzi, who was very good as recently as 2019.
- Our team has a closer in Ryan Pressly, the most reliable they have had in recent years. They have some other decent relievers in a bullpen that might still add a part or two along the way to Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek, Blake Taylor, Phil Maton and others.
- Our team has a couple young outfielders in Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers, who did a fine job in the Astros outfield in 2021.
- Our front office and owner have shown the ability and the monetary will to plug the holes in the dike that always occur during long seasons.
- Our team has done almost all anyone could ask of them the last few seasons, and there is no reason to think they won’t do it again in 2022.