There is plenty to love out there this Valentines Day. Most of the baseball players reporting for spring training are in love with their best-shape-of-my-life stories - aside from maybe Pablo Sandoval - but that's no surprise.
It's hard to discern what new offseason mechanical tweak or change in diet will do for a guy's fantasy baseball outlook this year. I guess all we can do is take it in stride and on a case-by-case basis.
Anyway, I wouldn't say I'm totally in love with a pair of dudes that disappointed their owners last year based on news about them, but I'm definitely crushing over them right now - just a tad…
Giants | Tim Lincecum making mechanical adjustments
New digs, new stance
San Francisco Giants SP Tim Lincecum looked good in his first bullpen session this spring Wednesday, Feb. 13. Last year, his biggest problem was his inability to keep the ball down because his upper body was "leaking" toward the plate too early. Lincecum felt much better Wednesday and was able to keep the ball down. "I felt my front leg was actually stabilizing my motion when it comes to an end and I'm actually following through as opposed to just falling out of it or wheeling off. My follow-through was a lot better and on target."
Since his faulty mechanics were a big reason for his inability to keep the ball down last year, this is an important development for Timmy. Let's see if he can keep that up in subsequent mound sessions and spring games. He also admitted his stamina was poor after reporting to camp out of shape last spring (thanks to plenty of In-N-Out burgers). His diet has changed and he's leaner and focused, it appears. Along with a snazzy new short haircut, we could see a very different Lincecum compared to last year. There's value to be had here if that's the case.
Indians | Drew Stubbs ditching leg kick
Cleveland Indians OF Drew Stubbs worked with Cincinnati Reds assistant hitting coach Ronnie Ortegon this winter on eliminating his leg kick at the plate in favor of a smaller toe tap that he will use in his swing as a trigger mechanism. Stubbs is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Detroit Tigers OF Austin Jackson, who eliminated his leg kick and improved his batting average from .249 to .300 and drastically cut down his strikeouts.
I was never a big fan of Stubbs before, but I'm not going to totally overlook him. New team, new stance now… Can it get any worse for him after a slash line of .213/.277/.333 last year? Well, let's just hope this works as well for him as it did for A-Jax. The arrival of Michael Bourn scared many initially, but it looks as though Stubbs will still see plenty of PT, unless he gets traded, which remains a possibility. Leg kick or not, he needs to drastically cut down his career K percentage (29.3) and improve his plate discipline. I'm optimistic, though, since he's in a new environment and will likely hit near the bottom of the order.
If you don't have a significant other to shower love down on today, then perhaps you can find a player(s) to gush over as we head into the 2013 campaign. If that's not your thing, at least most of you can love the fact that baseball season is technically upon us. It's a beautiful thing.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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