Welcome to the spring training recap for March 10th! Every day throughout spring training we’ll be providing a rundown of the top news and performances from the previous day’s games, as well as highlighting things to watch for in today’s matchups. It was a terrible day to be a major league reliever today, and we were lucky enough to get an offensive explosion from an unlikely source. Let’s get into it
- Astros RHP prospect Forrest Whitley is set to undergo Tommy John surgery.
- Mets RHP Carlos Carrasco will be held out of action as he has been experiencing some elbow soreness.
- Reds 1B Joey Votto has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be placed on the IL
- The Texas Rangers announced they will be allowing full capacity at Globe Life Field for Opening Day.
Top Hitting Performances
Bobby Dalbec (1B, Boston Red Sox): 1-for-3, HR, R, 4RBI
As it was last Thursday, I’ll be starting off with Red Sox 1B and home run hitting cyborg Bobby Dalbec, who cracked his 4th homer of the Spring on Wednesday. Dalbec made this one special, though, as he decided to make it a grand slam that turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 victory for Boston. With Dalbec hitting bombs with reckless abandon, he is tightening his grip on the 1B job for the Sox. And for good reason. Dalbec still may struggle a bit with strikeouts, but man can he hit them out. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Starlin Castro (2B, Washington Nationals): 2-for-3, HR, 3B, R, 3RBI
Castro continued to build upon his strong Spring on Wednesday, collecting 2 hits in the form of an RBI triple and a 2-run homer. Castro was responsible for all of the Nationals’ 3 runs and each one counted as they narrowly defeated the Cardinals 3-2. Castro looks like he’ll be Washington’s everyday second baseman with Carter Kieboom moving over to third as the Nats look to rebound from a disappointing 2020.
Jose Trevino (C, Texas Rangers): 2-for-3, HR, 2R, 3RBI
Trevino was one of several Rangers to join in on the hit parade as the team exploded for 17 runs against the Mariners. He got started early facing a shaky Justus Sheffield with a 2 run shot that was merely the first chapter in a long book of scoring for the Rangers. With only Drew Butera and John Hicks to compete with, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa roaming the infield, Trevino looks like he’ll have his first chance to handle most duties behind the plate for Texas this season. At least until prospect Sam Huff starts blazing a trail to the majors.
Ramón Laureano (CF, Oakland Athletics): 2-for-3, HR, 2R, 2RBI
Oakland’s leadoff man showed off his power potential on Wednesday, cracking a solo homer off the usually lockdown Josh Hader. Although his 2020 wasn’t much to write home about, Laureano had quite a breakout back in 2019, compiling a .861 OPS, hitting 24 homers, and swiping 13 bags in just 123 games. With a full season ahead of him, Laureano and his cannon arm in center have a real shot at a 25/25 season or even more if he can stay healthy.
Sebastian Rivero (C, Kansas City Royals): 2-for-2, HR, 2B, R, 4RBI
Rivero was all over the Reds pitching in this one, smacking a first pitch, 2RBI double in the 2nd inning off Michael Lorenzen to give the Royals a quick 3-0 lead. He came back for seconds in the 4th when he took reliever Sean Doolittle deep for a 2 run shot. It was a banner day for the 22 year old backstop who is fighting to make the Kansas City Roster as a bench bat. It’s an uphill battle as Rivero has only 8 plate appearances above High-A, and faces a lot of competition for Salvador Perez’s backup gig.
Colton Welker (3B-1B, Colorado Rockies): 1-for-1, HR, R, 3RBI
It was only a one-hit day for Welker but boy did it count. Coming off the bench for Chris Owings, Welker came to the plate in the 6th with Brendan Rogers on base, Mason Thompson on the mound, and the game tied at 3. He turned on a toothless belt-high slider and deposited it into the left field seats to take the lead. The homer kicked off what would be a 4-run inning and ultimately make the difference in the game as the Rox went on to beat the Padres 7-5. Welker will most likely start the year at AAA but should be eyeing the Rockies’ 3B job by the end of the season.
Max Scherzer (SP, Washington Nationals): 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
This outing was vintage Scherzer that we’ve all come to know. Mad Max was perfect through 3 frames, racking up 5 strikeouts including striking out the side in the 2nd inning and 33 of 42 pitches for strikes. Scherzer looks as if he is completely unbothered by an ankle sprain he suffered during the ramp up to Spring Training. We’ll see if the 36 year old still has a few seasons of 200+ IP and 30+ K% left in him. By the looks of things early on, he just might.
Justus Sheffield (SP, Seattle Mariners): 2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
It was a slog from the start for the Mariners’ young lefty. In his first inning of work, Sheffield allowed every Rangers batter to come to the plate and it culminated in his team coming to bat with a 4-0 deficit. Sheffield tried to limit the damage in the following frame but instead issued a free pass and a subsequent 2 run homer off the bat of Eli White. It would have been 3 runs had Jason Martin not been picked off 1B earlier. The Mariners still allowed him to come back out for the 3rd to get his work in, but after a groundout Sheffield issued his 3rd walk of the night and Scott Servais had seen enough. It was a tough assignment for Sheffield as the Rangers appeared to be firing on all cylinders. Hopefully he can set things right in his next outing as he tries to make a good impression for one of the team’s last rotation spots.
Mackenzie Gore (SP, San Diego Padres): 2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K
A lot of eyes have been on Gore this Spring, and for good reason. Gore is the Padres’ best prospect and the top pitching prospect in all of baseball right now. After a clean 2 inning outing last week, Gore fell victim to a few mistakes against the Rockies. He looked pretty sharp in the 1st, walking the leadoff man Chris Owings but striking out the next 3 batters which included both Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon. But things began to get away from him in the 2nd. A leadoff double to Elias Díaz was followed by a Greg Bird strikeout and a Brendan Rogers groundout. But with 2 outs, the Rockies strung together 3 consecutive singles to make it 2-0 Colorado. It wasn’t Gore’s finest day, but he is still crucial in the Padres’ future. It remains to be seen how he’ll fit on a roster so crowded with talent.
Sean Doolittle (RP, Cincinnati Reds): 1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
Make it back to back nightmare outings for the Reds’ newest reliever. Doolittle gave up 3 runs in an inning of work back on March 7 against the Giants, and outdid himself 3 days later by giving up 4 to the Royals. The 3 walks in just 7 batters faced is pretty concerning as well. Still, Doolittle himself has downplayed his poor performance so far, chalking it up to Spring Training being exactly what it is – exhibition games. Nevertheless, it would be wise to keep an eye on Doolittle who in 2019-2020 has had a bit of a turnaround from his usual stalwart results.
Jimmy Herget (RP, Texas Rangers): 1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, K
Lucky for Herget that the Rangers decided to score so many runs today, because he was definitely giving the Mariners a chance in a more typical game. Texas already had a 6-0 lead going into the 3rd when he came to the mound, and he only escaped with a 2-run lead. All told, he gave up 3 doubles, 2 singles, a walk and a hit by pitch that can only be described as dreadful. The walk was also to Jake Fraley, a free pass that forced in the final run of the inning. It was a low pressure environment after all, and Herget still escaped with a lead, so I guess it’s a moot point. Still, this is one outing that Herget would like to ferget.
Josh Hader (RP, Milwaukee Brewers): 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, 2 K
After a “down” season in 2020 by his standards for the typically dominant Hader, his Spring debut didn’t do much to quell the creeping feelings of doubt. While the strikeout upside is still evident in Hader’s 2 Ks in less than an inning of work, one of the main problems that’s plagued him the last few seasons reared it’s ugly head – home runs. Hader posted a 1.78 HR/9 in 2019 but was still one of the best relievers in baseball and while he improved it to just about league average in 2020 (1.42/9) he was back to having a penchant for the longball in this outing, giving up 2 home runs to Austin Allen and Ramón Laureano. Hader is set to be the Brew Crew’s primary closer again in 2021 as part of the excellent duo of himself and Rookie of the Year winner Devin Williams.
Justin Wilson (RP, New York Yankees): 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, K
The Yankees brought Wilson on board as part of their bullpen makeover, and he has already been thrust into a more important role with the injury to Zack Britton. And this showing was far from what the team and Wilson himself would have liked to see. New York came into the inning up 5-0 and Wilson almost immediately refunded all of those runs to the hapless Pirates. He gave up a one out home run to Jared Oliva before allowing a single, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dustin Fowler that ended in a throwing error from Oswald Peraza, and another single to Wilmer Difo that loaded the bases for Brian Goodwin. Wilson got 2 strikes on Goodwin before allowing a grand slam over the right field fences. It was 107.4 MPH off the bat, which would have been in contention for hardest hit ball of the night had multiple Yankees and Pirates not been hitting lasers of their own. Wilson will most likely be handling mid to late game work for the Yankees’ relief crew this season.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Mitch Keller: 95 mph?
Shoemaker: Splitter working?
Eduardo: 3rd pitch for strikes?
Minor: FB back at 92/93?
Lindblom: 91 mph? SL great?
Canning: Overall command?
Bauer: No longballs? Spin rate still high?
Cole vs. Nola: OH BABY BABY
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 11, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)