Welcome to the spring training recap for March 15! 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 full slate on Monday, with 14 games to track, and plenty of storylines to dissect.
- The White Sox scratched Luis Robert on Monday for what the team is calling ‘precautionary measures.’ The knock is a lower abdominal strain.
- Ketel Marte (foot) was pulled from Monday’s game after taking a HBP. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said he was fine, though.
- The Reds will start Eugenio Suarez at shortstop on Tuesday. The veteran came up through the ranks playing the position, so he’s familiar with it.
Top Hitting Performances
Shohei Ohtani (DH, Los Angeles Angels): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Sho, baby! No player in the bigs has been as exciting to watch in spring training as Ohtani, who is now up to 9-for-16 with 3 HR and a scintillating 1.681 OPS. Both dingers were opposite field shots, with the third inning blast a gorgeous swing off a hanging breaking ball. The entire league knows what Ohtani is capable of if healthy, and with his arm looking impressive in two pitching starts thus far — to go along with these ridiculous hitting numbers — he could very well be the most exciting player in baseball this year.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, Pittsburgh Pirates): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
While the Pirates are hardly a playoff threat this season, Ke’Bryan Hayes should make the year at least marginally tenable for their fans. He is an electric star-in-the-making at the hot corner, and he has shown well in the spring. The Pirates have given him plenty of at-bats thus far, and he is 10-for-24 with a keen 1.253 OPS. Look for him to hit out of the three spot in the lineup, and likely be the only viable fantasy option in an otherwise gaunt lineup.
Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals): 2-for-2, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 2B
Coming off a strong return to form in 2020, the six-time All Star has ripped it up in the spring, and looks like he will once again be one of the more reliable bats in the Royals lineup. He has hit .455 with a 1.429 OPS in 22 AB, and figures to be the second or third catcher off the board in most fantasy drafts. From a pure baseball perspective, he could see a boost from a Royals lineup that should be better in 2021.
Corey Seager (SS, Los Angeles Dodgers): 2-for-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB
In case you were worried that Seager might regress in 2021 after an MVP-caliber 2020, all spring signs thus far point to a big fat nope. He hit his fifth homer in just 23 AB, going opposite field on a high cutter in the 4th inning. His FantasyPros ADP is still just 35th overall, and he is the 8th SS on the board — behind Bo Bichette, Xander Bogaerts, and even Adalberto Mondesi. I mean, come on.
CJ Abrams (SS, San Diego Padres): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 K
He won’t break camp with the club, but it sure is fun to see consensus top-10 prospect CJ Abrams light up spring training for the already-stacked Padres. The 20-year old is hitting a very solid .267 with a .846 OPS in 30 AB, along with 2 HR, 10 RBI, and 3 SB. This was punctuated by a 7th-inning opposite field grand slam on Monday. Opportunity doesn’t necessarily knock for the young fellow this year, but don’t be surprised if we see him getting a few cuts at some point over the summer. He’s too good to hold down for much longer.
Blake Snell (SP, San Diego Padres): 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 K, 0 BB
It was another near-flawless start for Snell, who has pitched six scoreless innings across three starts this spring. His slider was in Snellzilla form on Monday, and he faced just 10 batters. His breaking stuff is on, and the opposition has hit just .105. He’s currently the 14th-ranked pitcher in FantasyPros ADP, likely because of his traditional inability to go beyond 5 innings in a start. But he made a super adorable comment about wanting to hit the ball more and show the fans ‘greatness,’ which reminds us how fun he can be in front of a mic.
Hyun Jin Ryu (SP, Toronto Blue Jays): 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 4 K, 0 BB
Ryu was pretty darn good yet again on Monday, allowing just two hits across 4 innings against the Tigers. The 33-year old has been very, very good for virtually his entire career, and there is no reason to expect he’ll be anything less in 2021. His velocity is up a tick this spring (averaging 92 mph), and his breaking pitches are typically outstanding. The Blue Jays will be competitive again this year, and Ryu — currently the 23rd pitcher off the board in FantasyPros ADP — will benefit inexorably from that.
Domingo German (SP, New York Yankees): 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 6 K, 1 BB
Six Ks across 4 innings are eye-popping from German, who is hoping to remind people of the pitcher he was in 2019 (when he posted an 18-4 record). He has yet to allow a run in 9 IP this Spring, a stat line that includes 13 strikeouts. Aaron Boone has been ‘impressed’ with the 28-year old, and with his breaking stuff showing as it has been, it’s hard not to be. He should be the odds-on favorite for the #4 spot in the Yankees rotation come April.
Max Scherzer (SP, Washington Nationals): 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 7 K, 0 BB
Geez, Max — don’t hurt ’em! The Nats’ ace was on his absolute best stuff on Monday, making Major League hitters look silly with his wicked off-speed stuff, and touching nearly 97 mph on the fastball. It’s great to see him looking so filthy in early spring training, as some had suggested he might be done (??) after a middling 2020 campaign. He is currently the 9th pitcher off the board in FantasyPros ADP, but we all know what he’s capable of if he’s on his game. Don’t be surprised if he returns top-5 value.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Lindblom: SL whiffs? FB command?
Kershaw: 91+ mph?
Bieber: Cutter still dope?
Canning: Avoiding deep counts?
Rodon: Sliders getting swings?
Musgrove: 93/94? 45%+ CBs + SLs?
Brad Keller: Breaker filthy?
The Fratty Pirate: Lots of innings?
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 16, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)