Welcome to the Ghostrunner on First season preview series. Please bring your expectations to the fully reclined position. Focussing on a different aspect of the team, expect the unexpected! Or at least the uninspired.
Who are they?
- Travis Snider - binge eater with truly elite hitting tools. Team-leading affability skills, wide frame to carry the hopes and dreams of an entire fanbase.
- Rajai Davis - Speedy. Religious. Two things not usually seen in Godless Toronto.
- Juan Rivera - Molting corpse, gladly accepted in exchange for freedom from the tyrannical Vernon Wells regime.
- Scott Podsednik - Can't be any worse at baseball than he is at economics. Slap hitting base-stealer, if you can believe it.
- Corey Patterson - White guys drive like this, black guys drive like this.
What we want them to do
All we need from Travis Snider is to stay healthy and, perhaps, heal the world. Put the Epic Meal Time dudes on his payroll. Endeavor to hit lots and lots of home runs.
It would be nice for Rajai Davis to blossom into a hybrid of 2009 Rajai Davis and Ricky Henderson. Really, just Ricky Henderson will do. Get on, steal two bases, score on a delayed double steal. Small ball!
I would enjoy Juan Rivera lurching back to life in the most jarring way possible, clouting home runs while looking surprisingly spry in the outfield. Not keeling over dead during a walk back to the dugout will suffice.
Best case scenario: Scotty Pods spends just enough time with the big club to prompt a trip to the ballpark from his wife, even just once. Corey Patterson, should he make the club, can hit left-handed pitching hard and play a little corner outfield from time to time. Nothing crazy. NOTHING MORE.
Worst Case Scenario
A long winter of gorging finally catches up to the Lunch Box Hero, rendering Snider's bones too brittle and flesh too meat-sweaty to compete at the big league level. An inability to command the strike zone the way he commands our hearts would also be a drag.
Rajai Davis tragically learns he cannot steal first, no matter how hard he tries. Scott Podsednik loses his foot to gangrene, his wife to a member of the Gang Green. Somebody hits Corey Patterson lead-off.
Realistic Season Goals aka Results We Can Live With
Travis Snider gets 600 plate appearances. Good, bad, or indifferent, all he really needs to do is play. Decisions can be made after a full year's worth of (hopefully) uninterrupted play can be evaluated. Many people (myself included) have nearly unshakable belief in Snider's ability at the plate. He is the One True Barometer for 2011 - his progress is all that matters (more on this later.) The other guys are just guys - they're impact is negligible. It is all about Snider.
Reuters image courtesy of Daylife.