March 13, 2014
21. Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers — Pitched very well last year and has a bobblehead giveaway to look forward to — but also has Brandon Kintzler and human bobblehead K-Rod on his heels.
22. Addison Reed, Arizona Diamondbacks — The closer who produced the widest variance in our rankings, Reed is either on the verge of a breakout year or about to lose a competition to J.J. Putz.
23. Nate Jones, Chicago White Sox — His tremendous strikeout rate and breakout potential have made him a trendy sleeper.
24. Bobby Parnell, New York Mets — Pitched well last year, but he’s coming off September neck surgery that caused him to lose 30 pounds. We’ll see how long Terry Collins’s “warm feeling” lasts.
25. Huston Street, San Diego Padres — Bad peripherals last year, a history of injuries, a tweaked groin, and Joaquin Benoit waiting behind him.
26. Tommy Hunter, Baltimore Orioles — A very good WHIP last year, but Hunter doesn’t miss enough bats and gives up too many home runs.
27. Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers — As Joakim Soria excels and Feliz struggles to return from Tommy John surgery, Ron Washington is speaking of a closer committee and longing for “a guy who can get three outs.” Ominous.
28. Jose Veras, Chicago Cubs — If last year’s improvement in walk rate wasn’t permanent, Cubs fans will swear he’s a taller Marmol.
29. LaTroy Hawkins, Colorado Rockies — How long will the Rockies be able to keep Rex Brothers — who was three years old when Hawkins was drafted — in an eighth-inning role?
30. Chad Qualls, Houston Astros — A spotty history and two legitimate competitors combine to drop the ursine righthander to the bottom of our spring rankings. To add insult to injury, Matt Dominguez trounced him in the second round of Astros March Madness.