On Sunday I took to Twitter and asked for mailbag questions. In return, I received a few decent submissions that we’ll try to address. Before we get to that, I wanted to let everyone know that Josh, Sean and I will be recording the first episode in what we hope will be a weekly installment of the VFTB podcast. It should be posted tomorrow so I hope you’ll listen and enjoy it. On to the mail.

“what can Rizzo change for this year in order to raise his Batting ave? Is it mental or can his swing/stance change?” ~ @bonesinis

That is a good question and I think if I had the answer to it, you wouldn’t be reading this post because I’d have job offers from every team in the Majors. The truth is, I’ve not looked at it that closely. I remember coming into the season last year the focus was on the adjusted stance he was sporting that featured his hands low in the stance, which was supposed to allow him to hit better. I’d actually like to go back and look at the video of his at bats from the first part of the year to the end of the year to see if he made any adjustments in that area. I think last years struggles were to be expected. He was so hot the year before that you can’t really expect him to not see any adversity. Now, it becomes a question on if he can return the volley and adjust to the league. They adjusted to him and now it’s his turn to do the same. The good players do and the mediocre ones don’t. 2014 will be an interesting year for both him and Starlin Castro.

“As Of Right Now. What Is Our Pitching Rotation?” ~ @WindyCityKid312

The easy answer on this one is to look at what we can consider “locks”. Obviously Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson are in the rotation. Neither will be going anywhere. Beyond on that, can we really say that any other spot is a lock. Sure, if Jeff Samardzija is on the team, he’ll slot in there as well. Jake Arrieta had a nice showing last year and many feel like he’s got a spot locked up. Newly signed, Jason Hammel was brought in to bring a veteran presence in the back end of the rotation, but there are some that think he’s one pitch away from Tommy John surgery. I don’t think the rotation is a lock as of yet with those five. I think a guy to keep an eye on is Kyle Hendricks. He may not make the team out of spring training, but I think we could see him at least get a look sometime this season. He’s not a blow you out of the water strikeout kind of guy, but he gets outs and keeps the ball in the park. When you do that, you’ll keep the team in the game, and what more are you looking for out of the back end of your rotation?

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail