Quick notes and a projection:
- Everyone seems to think spring stats are useless, especially only eight games into the exhibition season, but I disagree. The lines being put up by Lance Niekro (.375/.500/.625), Todd Linden (.389/.520/.500), and Mike Matheny (.500/.600/.750) don't seem like flukes to me, and all three hitters should carry their gains over into the regular season.
- Everyone knows spring stats are useless, so there really isn't any sense in getting worked up over the bad performances so far. The lines being put up by Matt Morris (9.00 ERA), Noah Lowry (7.71 ERA), and Tyler Walker (27.00 ERA) seem like flukes to me, and all three pitchers should be able to right the ship before the regular season.
- Elizer Alfonzo needs to work on a new first name if he wants any semblance of a future with this club. When I read box scores, I see "E. Alfonzo" listed in the Giants lineup. That keeps me on my toes in the spring, but could give me an ulcer if it were to continue throughout the year. My suggestion: Johnnybench, all one word. Are you telling me you're not going to take Johnnybench Alfonzo as your backup catcher? That might even get him a starting nod over Matheny.
- With all of the furor over Barry Bonds, it's interesting to note that not one media outlet has picked up on this: A picture of another MLB player injecting himself in the butt with steroids, as several lingerie-clad models stand around to watch. Amazing.
- Jack Taschner will have to pitch his way out of the Giants plans this spring, which is something I was unaware of when I projected Jeremy Accardo. In retrospect, I gave far, far too many innings to Accardo. My other theory of Scott Munter needing time to mend also seems far off.
Taschner has been with the organization for a loooooong time, and it was a pretty big surprise for him to emerge last year. When projecting him, I'll stick fairly close to Bill James' "Plexiglas principle", which contends "all things in baseball have a powerful tendency to return to the form which they previously held." Meaning, if a guy comes out of nowhere, he's likely to find himself right back in nowhere the next season. That's a fair rule of thumb, but Taschner was good against lefties, great against righties, and looked like a pitcher who had nothing left to prove in AAA. I could easily see him coming close to what Scott Eyre did for us last year. Splitting the difference: