Ace pitcher Roy Halladay makes his National League debut with the two-time defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies. (But hands up, Phillies fans, if you're nervous that he made the cover of the Sports Illustrated baseball-season-preview issue.) And the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols is now joined by the fearsome Matt Holliday. Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre are in Boston, with former Red Sox Jason Bay meeting the Mets. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley will strive to alter the course of the Seattle Mariners.
And how about the new stars of the show? The most exciting prospect must be the Atlanta Braves' rookie right fielder Jason Heyward. In the words of Braves manager Bobby Cox, "How could we keep him off the team? He's done everything this spring." The 20-year-old Heyward went into a recent spring-training game batting .366 with a homer and five RBIs in 41 preseason at bats. He also had a .500 on-base percentage and a .537 slugging average. Also look for the Washington Nationals' flamethrower Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall draft pick, and the Cincinnati Reds' 22-year-old Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, another rookie, who also throws in excess of 100 m.p.h.
Next Cliff Notes