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Spring Training 2011 – Top People to Watch

Boston Red SoxRaise your hand if you’re sick of winter.  :: raises hand emphatically::

Unless you’re one of our fairer brethren to the South, the rest of the country is stuck in a deep freeze until only knows when.  So, for now, let’s think ahead to warmer days and more specifically the cracks of the bats, cold beers in the bleachers and the roar of the crowd.  I’m talkin’ baseball, people!

With the hint of spring, perhaps maybe in the air, let’s talk prospects and spring training. Spring training is very indicative of how a player will perform in the upcoming season and often helps scouts see how players have recovered, or not, from injury, and also whether or not to expect a player who did poorly the season previous to repeat or improve.

Below are a list of players that we should watch in spring training and the upcoming season:

Derrek Lee, Baltimore Orioles – Lee left the Chicago Cubs on August 19th and signed a one year deal with the Orioles with the hopes of reviving his career.  2010 was a tough year for Lee.  He was a candidate for the Triple Crown earlier in his career, and it is still a possibility that he could hit .300 with 30+ home runs again. The Orioles are not bountiful with other offensive superstars; Lee is expected to be a great addition to the team with runs productions.

Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays   Drabek’s first three starts in the majors were pretty piss poor, going 0-3 and with a 4.76 ERA.  The Blue Jays didn’t exactly show up to those games either.  His potential, however, is still excellent and should not be discounted. 

Drabek has been a force to be reckoned with in minor league pitching for three years now with a record of 14-9 and a 2.94 earned run average in 2010. His perseverance is duly noted with a record of 26-12 in the minors in the past two seasons.  His hunger to win is apparent. 

The 2011 season looks promising for the Jays as they are positioned to have one of the better offensive games in the league.  Drabek is crucial to this strategy. If his pitching skill is on par with seasons previous at a number two starter level, the Jays may gain the lead on the Rays and/or even, perhaps maybe Yankees this season. 

Ivan Nova, New York YankeesNova is sitting pretty in a nice spot after Andy Pettitte officially retired last year.  If he can reach his full potential in the 2011 season, the Yankees will be eternally grateful as their line-up is not nearly as strong this year.

During the 2010 season, Nova had an impressive 12-3 record with a 2.86 ERA in the minors, pitching 145.0 innings. Nova has been highly advertised, however he has shown susceptibility. He will be one to watch for sure in the 2011 season.

 Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox  27-year old Jacoby Ellsbury is an critical part of the Red Sox offense. The lineup would seem like a bunch of kids without him.  Do you really need to be reminded that that the Red Sox have made the playoffs in every season he has been a full-year starter?  Notably, when he was on the disabled list last year, they didn’t even make it to the post season.  Think about that one for a second.

While he might not be in top notch state by Opening Day, he will still be a force to be reckoned with as he is expected to assume a starting role. 

His base stealing skills are what legends are made of, with a total of 120 bases stolen in 2008 -09. If he can even match what he performed in 2009, the Red Sox will be quite the formidable team again with their amazing offense.

Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays The Youngin’s are the key for the Rays in 2011 as most of their veterans did not return, including their best pitcher, Matt Garza.  Hellickson has the golden opportunity to lead this team in 2011.

Like the others listed above, Hellickson shined in the minor league.  In 2010, he has a record of  12-3 with a 2.ERA.   Not to be ignored, his major league career also has many high points, notably his flawless 4-0 record with a 3.47 ERA, striking out 33 batters and walking a mere eight during the 2010 season.  Impressed yet?

 While this is obviously not a complete list of talented players emerging for the 2011 season, this is just a random sampling of ones that could do exceptionally well.  Stay tuned to freeticketclassifeds.com for all your baseball ticket needs!