Hurricanes Baseball Preseason Preview

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

With the start of the preseason a little more than a month away, there are going to be more articles appearing on how great the Canes look this year both in the polls and MLB draft prospects. For those who follow my writings, you know I  take little stock in what is written to what I see on the field. I am sure this season is not going to be any different. On paper, we look as we usually look: post-season bound. Every year, just when it looks like this might be the year, pitching, hitting and fielding take a sudden nose dive and we find ourselves once again shaking our heads at what went wrong. All I can say is sit back, buckle up and prepare yourself for what just might be that magical season when everything falls into place.

The biggest hurdle we are going to have to overcome is what I saw as our Achilles Heel during the fall preseason; that being the bullpen. Pitching once again is the biggest question mark. The starting weekend rotation also is another big question mark. Everyone has Andrew Walters as Friday night but for me he is not a lock. The fall did not show me that he wasn’t in full command like he showed as being our closer last year. You knew when he walked onto the mound last season, the game you could easily feel victory. Even with Andrew, like the rest of the team, his performance level headed south. Once unhittable, that wasn’t the case which carried over during the preseason and I have to wonder if Andrew is really a starter and if he can he go deep or for that matter any of our starters. I didn’t see anyone during the preseason that I would be as comfortable as our closer as I felt about Andrew last year. I see our starting three on the mound will be in flux until someone really steps up and takes command of the mound not only being a solid starter but finding the right person for set-up, closer, and someone to carry us through the middle innings when our starter gets blown out early.

Our hitting looks formidable and one of the best on paper one through nine. Anyone in the starting nine can hit it over the fence which we might very well need if our pitching can’t hold up. This year we can not let off on the throttle during the middle innings where everything becomes stagnated and we struggle both on the mound and at the plate. Need to strike early and maintain the pressure. Sorry to say we are going to have to because of what our pitching has been unable to do to date or what has been our trademark in seasons past.

While pitching is my biggest question mark, on the other side of the coin is a very good thing in the overabundance of quality hitting. Gino’s biggest problem is who he is going to start in the outfield. The infield is pretty well decided but the outfield is a whole different matter. Last year we could not find a steady right fielder. This year, we have 10 quality players competing for 3 slots. 

2023 just might be the year where everything falls into place. Still, a couple of pieces missing in this puzzle, but if the BP becomes electrified, starters go deep and the hitting continues and maintains the pace they had preseason this might very well be a magical year at the Light.


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