Fox Sports: Burning Questions Heading Into Spring Training
1. What youngsters will be in the spotlight?
One of the most compelling things about Spring Training is the opportunity to see young performers test their mettle against seasoned major leaguers. In 2008, a number of players who have yet to exhaust their rookie status could make an impact at the highest level. Of course, first they need to show up in Spring Training, lest their respective organizations decide they're not ready. To wit, keep an eye on Jay Bruce of the Reds, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox, Ian Kenndy and Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees (calm down, Yankee homers — Philip Hughes is no longer a rookie), Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks, Andy LaRoche of the Dodgers, Cameron Maybin of the Marlins, Evan Longoria of the Rays, Franklin Morales of the Rockies, and many others.
9. What will Dusty Baker say about the young talent?
The Reds have potential as a sleeper in the NL this season, but a number of things need to break their way. In particular, their young talent needs to step up in a hurry. One problem is that young talent tends to be fairly unpredictable, and another problem is that the Reds' manager, Dusty Baker, tends to play the veteran hand. Nonetheless, guys like Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez will need to play often and well. As far as the "often" part goes, how much Baker uses them in Spring Training and what he says about their performances may be telling.