Spring training games officially kicked off Monday, but your mind is already wandering to the start of the regular season.
It's OK, you can admit it.
Sure, the exhibition slate has its charms. Mostly, it's just nice to see actual baseball being played in the sunshine again, especially in those parts of the country where winter still casts its icy, soggy pall.
In the end, though, this is all merely preamble to the 162-game marathon and subsequent October chase. That's what we live for.
In that forward-looking spirit, let's take a theoretical leap over the next month-plus of Cactus and Grapefruit League action and predict who some of the biggest winners and losers will be when the spring dust has settled.
This is mostly guesswork, of course. We can't factor in the many surprises—unexpected injuries, late signings and trades, crazy hot and cold streaks—that are guaranteed to crop up.
Still, knowing what we know now, we found room for a Boston Red Sox infielder (though maybe not the one you think), a couple of former aces and a slugger on the comeback trail, a closer in limbo and, why not, a significant rule change.
Feel free to add your predicted winners and losers in the comments, knock the dirt off your spikes and proceed when ready.