Some random thoughts two weeks into the season…

The Jeter fascination is annoying. In the many nationally televised Yankees games already this month, I’ve grown tired of listening to the announcers feel the need to defend Derek Jeter at every step because of his down year in 2010. It basically goes something to this effect: “Everyone talks about what a bad year Jeter had last season, but who wouldn’t take a shortstop that scores 100 runs, hits .270 and wins a Gold Glove.” If I hear that line again, I may puke.Here’s my simple answer: Uh, that’s nice and all but I wouldn’t be paying this guy $20 plus million, which is what Jeter’s salary was last year, for that especially when his Gold Glove is a joke.

People will always defend him because of the greatness of his entire career, but let’s face it the guy has lost a step and is currently overpaid. He only hit about 50 points below his career average in 2010. It’s like “Holy cow! We can’t just say he had a bad year because he’s an awesome player and a nice guy!” We’ll see what year he puts together this season, but he’s already off to a slow, mediocre start.

The upside AL Central. While the Twins are struggling at 4-10 and the Tigers and White Sox are hovering around .500, the Royals and Indians are killing it in first place with a 10-4 record. I’m not sure I saw a preseason prediction that included the Royals and Indians anywhere but the basement. It’s a nice start, but at the same time it’s just a nice start. It’s April 16th. I hope both teams actually stay in the hunt, but I don’t see that happening. I liked the Indians lineup in spring training, but the pitching was going to be the question. Well so far, guys like Josh Tomlin, Mitch Talbot and Justin Masterson are pitching the lights out. If one of these surprise teams stay above .500, I see it being the Tribe than the Royals.

Fun fact: The Indians are the first team in the AL to win eight straight games after starting 0-2.

Craig Kimbrel. The Braves new closer is nasty. He nailed down his fourth save of the season today in Game 1 of a DH against the Mets. And he’s been pretty much unhittable since coming up last year. Check out these gaudy numbers: in 26.2 innings pitched in his career, Kimbrel has struck out 50 batters…that’s a 16.9 K/9 rate. Whoa. Kimbrel features a sinking fastball in the mid-90’s along with a devastating slider that hitters haven’t begun to figure out to date. This young kid is making Braves fans quickly forget about retired closer Billy Wagner.

Rockies rolling at 11-2. The Rockies are off to their best start in franchise history. And they are doing it without Ubaldo Jimenez, who is sidelined with an injured thumb. The Rox have certainly been impressive, but it should be noted that they have benefited from playing the Diamondbacks, Pirates and Mets already this season. They are just beating the teams that are scheduled in front of them, but I’m interested to see how they fare against the Phillies, Giants and some of the better teams in the NL.

Oh, and how big was Troy Tulowitzki‘s series against the Mets where he had 10 hits, four HRs and eight RBIs? He’s the first player to pick up numbers like that in one series since Vlad Guerrero smoked the Rangers in September of 2004 with 12 hits, five HRs and nine RBIs.

Charlie Morton has “good stuff.” And he may be finally showing it. The sinker was sinking all over the place Friday as Morton tossed a complete game in a victory over the Reds. He came within one out of the shutout before allowing a Jay Bruce home run. This is all significant because the Pirates had only one CG in 2010 when Paul Maholm fired a CG SO on July 18. Morton already matched their one CG in just two weeks into this season. After his disastrous 2010 season, Morton is off to a stellar start already: 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts. NL Cy Young anyone?

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