• Jul

    HHP: Five things we learned in the 1st half, five we need to learn in the 2nd

    by Hangouter poster: Singleton

    With so many young players, I feel like much of each season is learning what we have and what we don't. Focusing exclusively on the MLB team, here are 5 of the most important things I think came from the first half (beyond wins/losses) that we weren't sure of in April and should feel more solid about now. And 5 things I hope we get close to settling in the 2nd half.

    In no particular order:

    1. Jim Johnson is a reliable MLB closer. He didn't have much experience before 2012 so it was far from certain. He's been one of the best in the game in the 1st half. We're set at closer for a while.

    2. Adam Jones is still on the rise and with his contract settled, we know he'll be a middle of the lineup hitter and in our outfield for the next several years.

    3. Hammels and Chen are solid MLB starters who can compete in the AL East. It's been a long time since we've had 2 starters pitching well for this long. (It will be interesting to see how the club deals with Hammels in the offseason).

    4. Chris Davis is not the 4A player some feared. Though he has weaknesses, he also has value and can be a solid contributor if used in the right way.

    5. Strop and Patton are solid bullpen guys (mabye better).

    There's still a lot more we need to determine and I hope the picture gets clearer -- preferably for the better -- in prep for the future.

    1. Can we rely on any of our young starters. Tillman and Arrieta have shown flashes. Britton and Matsuz will likely return to the majors at some point. We say this all the time but we need at least some to develop more consistency. If none step up, we're going to have to add more SPs this offseason.

    2. Speaking of consistency, as much as I appreciate Matt Weiters, he had a very streaky first half. It happens but like most here I believe the best is yet to come. It would be fantastic if he could take it up a notch further. (not complaining though).

    3. Brob is hurt again. I think we need to see him play at a higher level or we need to address the 2nd base issue for 2013. (I don't see Schoop as a legit option for next year). It's hard to be optimistic.

    4. Markakis was on his way to his best first half in a long time before he got hurt. Was it a good couple of months or is he producing at a higher level.

    5. Will Avery (or Hoes) show us enough to think they can be part of the solution at LF. If either shows they can play at this level and Reimold were "expected" to be healthy for next spring, I'd think the club might focus too much on LF in the offseason.

    A few other random thoughts: can any of our minor league pickups show enough to warrant future consideration: Pearce, Eveland, Gonzalez, etc.

    Talk about it here.

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