Lesser Lights Lean on Lithe Left Limbs

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brettcecildavidpricejonlester.jpgGod bless you Spring Training. The time for hope and hyperbole is upon us. Soon will we be awash in beat writer blog posts extolling the virtues of the next can't-miss kid's curveball:

I'll be damned if it didn't fly directly toward the first base dugout, only to pause, slice dramatically toward the batter's head, pause again, finally cutting across the plate, the strike zone and the space-time continuum.

We here at Walkoff Walk think it's important to separate the wheat from the chaff peel from the plantain, so today we'll take a look at some great young lefties you can expect to hear from during the coming season.

The easiest and most obvious starting point is David Price. Oh, you're already familiar with Mr. Price's work? Price has been touted as the Next Big Thing for years, having dominated in college and at all minor league levels. Add his high profile playoff performance and subsequent celebrity and you've got the number one prospect in baseball. His plus slider and plus plus stoicism make him as close to a sure thing as there is at the big league level. His innings will be limited this season, to prevent injury to his arm and my ego. Perhaps Overmanagin Joe Maddon will save me the indignity of inaccurately predicting big things from Price by making him fight to earn a rotation spot.

An even younger pitcher with a good chance to make a splash in the AL East is Toronto's Brett Cecil. Cecil's ascent through the minors has been just a dramatic as King David's. While some unabashed homers may look at his numbers and say they are in fact better than Price's, that unabashed homer would be kidding himself slightly. I asked ESPN's Keith Law if there was a reason Cecil, who's a year younger than Price, wasn't regarded as highly despite comparable numbers. He said, in a word, Cecil's raw stuff is nowhere near Price's, going so far to state they aren't even comparable. He then told me to take off my rose coloured glasses, force fed me a Hamachi amuse-bouche and demanded I try the foie gras at La Palette.

He may have started 22 games for the Dodgers last year, but Clayton Kershaw will only be 21 come Opening Day. Last spring Kershaw was the stud who's ridiculous bender caused the scribes in attendance to spill their Animal Style Fries all over their rumpled khakis. Kershaw isn't exactly sneaking up on anyone in 2009, but a year of seasoning could help him step into the sad clown shoes of departed ace Derek Lowe. Look for Clayton to throw his mighty hammer for strikes more consistently in 2009; ensuring him his choice of vapid starlets bent on destroying his career for their own benefit.

Hulking beast Aaron Poreda has seen his stock rise after each season of minor league ball. He'll be fighting for a spot in the White Sox rotation this spring, against male escort Lance Broadway and fellow lefty Clayton Richard. Richard may actually have the inside track on the spot, but profiling two guys named Clayton on the same day would likely result in my being hired to write a young adult prime time soap opera. Scouts like Poreda's easy gas much more than his roommate, though the same scouts clearly have a personal vendetta against Aaron; labeling him as potentially a "bigger Billy Wagner". That's cold. Poreda's size and fastball velocity has propelled him to the cusp of major league success, he must now develop his secondary stuff if he is to know the pleasure and poetry of Ozzie Guillen's scorn.

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There's a skinny new lefty in Washington with a ton of hype too.

Don't sleep on Seattle's Ryan Feierabend, either.

No, really, don't sleep on him or you'll hurt your back.

There's a rather good lefty starter in Minnesota. We'll see how he does in his first full "post-Tommy John surgery" season. Either way, Lloyd The Barber will rue the day he tagged a post "lefties are lesser people." RUE, I say!

Well, go on, start ruing!

The Astros have an intriguing young lefty by the name of Hampton. I see great things in his future.

Not only am I left handed, I didn't even create that awesome tag!

Liriano is now too old to be considered lithe

I am left handed and from Minnesota, maybe he is talking about me. I am also to old be be a lithe.

I also have gotten my parking validated at the Leftorium.

I think you meant "ton of HOPE"

There was a portly girl in middle school who wrote with her left hand, so we called her Hefty Lefty. I then grew up thinking that all left handers were fat. Prove me wrong John Franco, prove me wrong.

David Wells and Eddy Guardado help perpetuate your stereotype

If Liriano is too old to be lithe, I can't imagine what Randy Johnson would be classified...

But I must admit: While I'm a lifetime lefty legionnaire as well, that's a pretty awesome tag.

I saw Poreda pitch a few times last season and he was very impressive.

Kenny Williams will probably trade him to the Mariners to get Griffey back though.

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