Parts One (starting pitchers), Two (Infielders) and Three (Outfielders)
Part Four: The Bullpen
This is a long list, so get ready.
RHP Juan Rincon
Adorableness Quotient (AQ): Juan played a cute part in Cuddyer's magician ad last year. I liked it. And that's sort of where my list of AQ positives end. It could be that I never warmed back up to him after the doping violation, or maybe my impression of his recent GABF performance bleeds over into my impression of his adorableness...but I just am not a huge fan.
Final AQ Score: 4.35
Good At Baseball Factor (GABF): Remember when I said that a consideration when determining a player's GABF score could be the number of ulcers we think they caused? Well, I don't know about full-on ulcers, but I lost count of the number of nauseating tummy aches Rincon caused me last season. I recall one game where I got up to go to the bathroom when they sent Rincon to the mound during a potentially winnable game, and by the time I got back to my seat, the bases were loaded and he was sending in a run. Or three. It was painful, nauseating, and unpleasant....but not at all surprising. That 5.13 ERA from last season tells a pretty accurate tale. Blech.
Final GABF Score: 3.50
Total Awesomeness Rating (TAR): 7.85
Ouch. I won't say anything more, because "if you can't say something nice...."
RHP Jesse Crain
AQ: Jesse suffers from the same "looks like somebody we might have gone to high school with" affliction as Jason Kubel. Except, Jesse is Canadian. So, that helps. Those Girls have a pro-Canada bias. It's weird. Plus, he is just super nice. He kind of reminds me of Charlie Brown. Also weird. And in another Kubel parallel, after Twinsfest this year, I also vowed not to say anything mean about Jesse either.
Final AQ Score: 6.95
GABF: Remember how freaking awesome Jesse was in '05? Jesse and Silva were like, the awesomest that year. How bizarre is that? But then things went a little downhill, and Jesse caused more than his fair share of ulcerific tummy aches as well. He spent almost all of last season broken. I'm anxious to see how he throws this spring. I'm kind of hoping for some sort of Rookie of the Year ligament tightening weirdness to have happened.
Final GABF Score: 6.00
Keep your fingers crossed to see some '05 Jesse again this season.
RHP Matt Guerrier
AQ: Those Girls love Matt "Shaggy" Guerrier. He's funny, friendly, and (we suspect) brilliantly diabolical in entertaining ways. He likes cribbage. We like cribbage. He's kind of just overall awesome, and he has really pretty eyes. His name is fun to say, or growl. And in his case, the shaggier the better...so minus a quarter point for those times when he insists upon going the clean-cut way.
Final AQ Score: 9.75
GABF: Matt just seems to get better and better. He's a stablizing force for our team. I never even feel slightly throw-uppy when Matt gets the ball in tough situations. I trust him. He does good work. He can throw long-relief if we need him to. He can set-up. He can start in a pinch. Whatever we need him to do, he does. He's worth a heckuvalot more than we pay him.
Final GABF Score: 9.00
Total Awesomeness, indeed.
RHP Pat Neshek
AQ: During a radio interview at Twinsfest, Jesse Crain and Kevin Slowey fielded the question "so, just how crazy IS Neshek, anyway?" They both plead the fifth. Pat Neshek can only be described as a little bit "wacky." In a good way. Pat loves baseball the same way we all love baseball...he's just lucky enough to also get to do it as a job every day. He signs autographs for everybody. He blogs. He is, perhaps, the most constantly cheerful person I have ever encountered. Although that, as adorable as it is, can also be a little irritating if I'm being entirely honest.
Final AQ Score: 9.25
GABF: Pat was slightly less GAB this past season than the year before (although not ulcer-inducing yet). I don't know if that was due to fatigue, or if the novelty of his crazy-ass delivery is wearing off and batters are starting to figure it out. This season should help us figure that out. He should be rested up and stronger than ever.
Final GABF Score: 8.25
Keep up the awesomeness Pat, and we'll try to get you in that All-Star game eventually.
LHP Dennys Reyes
AQ: I don't know what to say here, except to say that sometimes I think Dennys Reyes is a little bit adorable in spite of himself. He is the most unlikely looking pitcher ever. It amuses me. I'll just leave it at that.
Final AQ Score: 5.65
GABF: The '07 season made Reyes's phenomenal '06 numbers look even more fluke-y, unfortunately. That, and he was frequently broken. It does not inspire great confidence. The fact that he's late to Spring Training because he forgot to renew his passport inspires even less. Sloppy. Still, he can be a pretty useful lefty specialist, so I'll give him credit for that.
Final GABF Score: 6.00
LHP Carmen Cali
AQ: I know he's new. And I know we don't know all that much about his personality yet. But Carmen Cali is so damn adorable, it's unreal. He's really pretty. He has a disarming smile. And it is super fun to yell his name like "Marco Polo" at the games. But minus a quarter point for pretending not to hear it. An interesting side note: Carmen and Matt Guerrier were both born in Cleveland just 3 months apart. Apparently Cleveland wasn't totally evil yet back in '78. Weird.
Final AQ Score: 9.75
GABF: His numbers weren't great last season. But (and I hope I'm not letting his extreme adorableness cloud my judgment on this) he also has never had a real opportunity to get used to the major leagues and settle down. Maybe if he can start the season with the team and go from there he'll warm things up a little and we can get a more accurate read on his true GAB potential.
Final GABF Score: 6.65
"CARRRR-MENNN!" "CAAALL-EEEEE!" Soooo fun. Try it.
RHP Julio DePaula
AQ: I can't think of anything for Julio. Aside from the fact that I dig the name "Julio." If anyone knows anything about this kid that could affect an AQ score....fill me in.
Final AQ Score: 5.25
GABF: Julio had a rough, ROUGH season in the bigs. It was, quite frankly, painful to watch. Although, to be fair, he also did not have all that much of a chance to get used to things. He pitched just 30 innings, and some might argue that it was 30 innings too many. Maybe he just needs a chance to adjust to the majors, and he'll settle down and be all right. Or maybe not.
Final GABF Score: 3.20
We need to see a huge jump in these numbers, and quickly.
LHP Glen Perkins
AQ: Glen Perkins is a lot more of an "Aww Shucks Minnesota Boy" than Mr. Sideburns, in my opinion. Which is a definite plus in the AQ department. He's way cute, and is a textbook example of Minnesota Nice. Bonus points for being BFF with Kevin Slowey.
Final AQ Score: 8.75
GABF: It sucked when Glen broke himself last season, because I was really looking forward to seeing exactly what he could do once he settled into the majors. I guess we'll see that in '08 instead. I know he'd like to be a starter, but he's been really classy about accepting his role in the 'pen and doing whatever he needs to do to make the team stronger. I expect greatness from Glen.
Final GABF Score: 8.75
It's hard not to love Glen Perkins.
Closer Joe Nathan
AQ: It's hard to even explain in words the appeal of Joe Nathan. He's got some sort of serious mojo working for him.
Final AQ Score: 10.00
GABF: When they play the Stand Up and Shout song from Rockstar, and Joe Nathan takes his place on the mound, all is right with the world. If I was a batter on the opposing team, and I saw Joe Nathan looming over me, all twitchy and angry-like, I'd probably just pack it in and go home. But Nathan did have some shaky moments this last season...some of which were a more than a little ulcer-inducing. Still, he's one of the best closers in the game, hands down.
Final GABF Score: 9.45
Please, PLEASE, just pay him! Whatever it takes. Don't take Joe Nathan away from us!