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NL East Update: The one where Hanley’s head holds him back

Is Hanley Ramirez a legitimate candidate for the NL MVP award?

The short answer is Yes. Anyone who possesses the talent that Hanley does has a realistic shot, but there is no question that he lacks the “intestinal fortitude”. This is what separates someone like Hanley from a Albert Pujols or a Justin Morneau, two players who you can expect to go out there everyday, compete, and give their all. Ramirez will always put up MVP type numbers but until he embraces the role of carrying his team on his back he will never reach the next level.

After five innings of work this spring, Chris Young has yet to allow an earned run.

At this point Young is considered a lock for the rotation, I mean that’s why the Mets signed him. His first two appearances have been very encouraging, as he seems to be building off last season’s late success. Lets not forget that when Young was healthy he was widely considered to be one of the top starters in baseball, so this shouldn’t come too much as a surprise.

Does the Philadelphia Phillies lineup have too many lefties?

ESPN’s Buster Onley thinks that the Phillies will struggle late in games when the opponent calls in a left-handed reliever for a more favorable match up. I don’t make too much of that statement because for the other team to tap into their bullpen that means that the Phillies must have a lead…right? Philadelphia’s dominant starting pitching will shut down the opponents bats deep into games, so chances are the Phillies won’t be in dire need of run support that often.

Chop-N-Change looks at this weeks “Stock Watch” for the Atlanta Braves.

Can’t say that these results surprise me. The two players who I would be most concerned about are Nate McLouth and Freddie Freeman, and they have started their springs on the right track. In general, the younger players have been far more impressive, which is definitely something to be happy about if you’re new manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Jordan Zimmermann “feels great” in his first Spring Training since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Lets hope Stephen Strasburg is saying the same thing twelve months from now. Zimmermann is a favorite to be the starter on Opening Day and looks to have a big year in his first full season with the Nationals. With Strasburg out, Zimmermann will be the focus of Nationals fans hoping he can continue to grow and develop.

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