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Rival Roundup, Vol. 39: Rounding Second

Less than three weeks from the season’s start!

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Washington Nationals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The World Baseball Classic is already underway, and despite spring training having just started, it feels like the baseball season will be on top of us before we know it. The Twins start their 2023 season in just 20 days, and we’ll be galloping into winter again by the time this year’s ballgames are all squared away. The mist is clearing as the final free agents leave the board and league-wide Opening Day rosters come into focus. But there’s always time for a little more...


  • Lorenzo Cain spent his major-league career between Milwaukee and Kansas City; drafted by the Brewers in 2004, he debuted for the Crew in 2010 and was shipped to the Royals as part of the Zack Greinke trade that December. It was with the Royals that Cain played the next seven seasons, earning an All-Star nomination/top-3 MVP finish/World Championship in a magical 2015 season. He was an All-Star again with the Brewers in 2018, before age finally came for him, as it does for center fielders everywhere. Still, it was with Kansas City that his star burned brightest.
  • Everyone’s favorite projection nerds took a crack at forecasting how the new rules will benefit teams around the league. Their conclusion? After running their Metric for Assessing Negative or Favorabl Rule-Effect Dynamics (yes — they called it MANFRED), they’ve suggested that the Cleveland Guardians will have the most to gain from the rule changes, given their roster’s predisposition for well-paced pitching, a nearly-league-low overshift rate, and bein’ a quick little guy (also known as speed.) FiveThirtyEight considers them “custom-built” for the new landscape.
  • Detroit cut Julio Rodriguez from spring camp. In other news, Spencer Torkleson is pacing the spring competition in hard-hit balls, ahead of what will be a very interesting sophomore season for the top prospect.
  • The Royals’ 2023 slogan seems to go hand-in-hand with that downtown stadium they’ve been floating around.

Hopefully, those interested are enjoying the World Baseball Classic. Others may be finding solace in Grapefruit/Cactus League action. If you don’t find yourself in either of the above camps, no worries — the real deal is right around the corner. See you next week!