NL East Update: The one where Sanchez surprises

Marlin Maniac takes a look at what to expect from first base this season.

Gaby Sanchez was a strong candidate for NL Rookie of the Year honors last year, and solidified his role as the teams starting first baseman in the process. Sanchez put up some pretty solid numbers, nothing too impressive, but considering many critics didn’t have very high expectations for him, he was a pleasant surprise for the Florida Marlins.

Josh Thole has some positive news following a bullpen session with left-hander Chris Capuano.

I feel Chris Young is a lock for the starting rotation, leaving it up to Dillon Gee and Capuano for the fifth spot. Honestly, I think Capuano will be better served in the rotation, but at the same time I think Gee will as well. From what Terry Collins has hinted, chances are Capuano will be the team’s lefty specialist. Lets just hope he can prove that he is 100% healthy.

Now that Andy Pettitte has retired, will Joe Blanton be donning the pinstripes this season?

At first glance, this looks like it would make sense, but would the Yankees really want to take on the rest of his contract? Is he really that worth it? My gut feeling is that Blanton will end up in the Bronx sometime this season, possibly towards the mid-season trading deadline if the “patchwork” rotation fails.

With an outfield full of question marks, what should the Atlanta Braves do with the fourth outfield spot?

If it weren’t for his wrist, who knows where Jordan Schafer would be at this point in his career. He is lucky there is an opportunity for him to have a place on this year’s team, but will he seize the moment? Whoever wins the job will have a vital role and could possibly inherit the starting centerfield job if Nate McLouth continues to struggle.

Federal Baseball takes a look at middle infielders Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, two players who are respected by other teams for their hustle.

While Desmond’s attention is mostly generated by his league leading 34 errors, a lot can be said about simply running out of the box hard and putting in just a little bit more effort. By running ground balls out, it puts an enormous amount of pressure on the fielder who is then forced to rush their throw, possibly throwing it away and giving you an opportunity to reach second base. As for Espinosa, he burst onto the scene last year and instantly became a fan favorite. I like his chances to carry the momentum for another productive season.