Jackhammer Baseball

Joliet JackHammers

Two players to watch for in 2014

Spring break can reveal a couple of useful information about players and the teams that playing for, but sometimes results are inconclusive. The Orioles for example are doing a great job preseason and given their offensive prowess it is only safe to assume that they will be fairly successful once the regular season begins. Among the players that they will rely on in 2014 is Manny Machado who shows a lot of promise one year ago and is expected to feature as soon as April 15.

The only reason for why Manny if not going to play from day one is that he has suffered an injury in the second half of 2013 and he is still recovering. Current estimations say that he will start the season on a 15 day disabled list, but as soon as he will be fit to play, he will take his place in the rotation. He plays third base and did it very well last year, winning a Gold Glove and scoring 14 home runs.

Manny MachadoThe Orioles have plenty of skilled players upfront and they will probably be one of the best scoring teams especially if Manny Machado returns to fitness. Baltimore is among the favorites to make the playoffs and recent transfers have greatly strengthened a team that usually started seasons as the underdog.

Another player that we should keep an eye on is Javier Baez who plays for Chicago Cubs, a team that has a tradition of disappointing fans. They rarely make the playoffs and even when they do they tend to lose games in dramatic fashion, which explains why the bookmakers don’t hold them in high regard. There are not many good players in their rotation and it is hard to keep those who stand out from the crowd due to the fact that the Cubs lack convincing results.

Javier Baez is one of them and ever since he was transferred to Chicago, he exceeded expectations even though he’s yet to make his Major League Baseball debut. The critics might argue that what happens in the minor leagues doesn’t matter, but it is hard to deny his merit when he scored 37 home runs, 111 RBIs and has 75 extra-base hits. Javier will probably be a replacement for Darwin Barney but if he can keep up the same run production, it is only a matter of time until he will become a regular.

It is not like the Cubs have so many options that they can afford to keep Baez off-pitch, so all that the young player needs to do is to stay healthy and productive. Spring training results are encouraging, as Javier replicated his 2013 performance and he is a serious contender for second base. His contribution to Triple-A Tennessee is undeniable so the Cubs should take a leap of faith with him in 2014.