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Pitchers and Catchers...

Its almost here. If you need a fix, get the 2005 Devil Rays Spring Training Roster here.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training this week. Every player who arrives in camp has the same basic goal. They hope to make an impression on the organization. What time they show up, what time they leave, the work ethic they show in practice, how healthy they are, will all be judged.

Piniella's main goal of the camp has got to be deciding who will make up the starting rotation. That is where the strongest competition lies. A few weeks ago, the rotation seemed like it was all settled upon. However, with the trade for Casey Fossum, and the signings of Nomo and Neagle, no spot is guaranteed.

With 33 pitchers in camp fighting for 10 spots, it is going to be a battle. One guy to keep an eye on is Seth McClung who made the team out of Spring Training two years ago. Another pitcher who could surprise is Casey Fossum who also is battling back from an injury from 2003 and hopes to show he can pitch like he did before the injury. Nomo if he is healthy could be an added boost to this rotation. He could fill the stopper role that Victor Zambrano displayed the past few seasons. Neagle has done nothing the past few years related to injuries, and his latest brush with the law has hurt his checkbook along with drawing questions about his character. Despite the competition, I still see the young trio of Kazmir, Waechter, and Brazelton being a part of this rotation. The DRays have fallbacks for the rotation in Rob Bell and Jorge Sosa. Bell had his best season last year. If Jimmy Haynes is any part of this pitching staff, you know its going to be a long year. And, I almost forgot about Hendrickson. Ok, so here are my pre-camp rankings:

1) Hendrickson - Rays best pitcher in 2004
2) Nomo - The veteran , expect alot of Ks
3) Brazelton - in the rotation unless a real bad spring
4) Waechter - nice offseason progress
5) Kazmir - its just the beginning
6) Bell - could be traded
7) Fossum - has something to prove
8) McClung - 2004 comeback continues
9) Neagle - AAA
10) Sosa - Bullpen