Welcome to the spring training recap for March 17th! 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. There’s a whole lot of news today, and you’ll never guess who hit another grand slam!
- Orioles reliever Hunter Harvey was placed on the 60 Day IL with an oblique strain.
- Blue Jays SP Nate Pearson had a “mild re-aggravation” of his groin injury
- Red Sox INF/OF Danny Santana released from hospital after suffering from a foot infection.
- Orioles SP Félix Hernández exited his last start with elbow discomfort. He is considered day to day.
- Athletics OF Ramón Laureano could return early next week after being scratched with side pain on Tuesday.
- White Sox have reportedly had extension talks with SP Lucas Giolito and prospect Andrew Vaughn.
- Astros SP Framber Valdez has shown “significant healing” in his fractured finger; may not require surgery.
Top Hitting Performances
Bobby Dalbec (1B, Boston Red Sox): 1-for-1, HR, R, 4 RBI
Once again for your viewing pleasure I give you: a Bobby Dalbec grand slam. The Sox 1B has made my write up 3 weeks running and now has a grand slam on 2 consecutive Wednesdays. How ’bout that? You’d think he did it just for me. Anyway, Dalbec has apparently declared war on all opposing pitchers this Spring, as his 1.345 OPS, 5 home runs, and 12 RBI in 27 AB would indicate. His 13 strikeouts aren’t pretty – they’re currently tied for 2nd most in the league – but we all knew Dalbec would swing and miss a lot. But as the old saying goes, you can’t smack grand slams if you don’t swing. That’s a saying right? I look forward to feasting my eyes on many more of these Dalbec Dingers throughout the summer as the 25 year old runs away with the 1B job in Boston.
Rafael Devers (3B, Boston Red Sox): 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, BB
After Dalbec’s long fly off of Matt Shoemaker opened up scoring in the 2nd, Devers got involved with a homer of his own in the 3rd. With runner on 1ss and 3rd, Devers took Shoemaker deep to make it a 7-1 game. The third basemen is looking to rebound from his somewhat of a down year in the shortened 2020, and he already has 3 home runs this spring. The Red Sox are counting on the 24 year old to continue his ascent into elite status after an exceptional 32 HR, .916 OPS campaign back in 2019. If he and teammate JD Martinez can return to form, Boston will have arguably one of the best 1-5 hitters in the league.
Ryan Boldt (CF, Tampa Bay Rays): 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
The Rays had Pirates starter Mitch Keller on the ropes all afternoon, and Boldt joined in. The center fielder took a 2-0 fastball deep to left field to make it 4-1 Rays before adding a RBI double in the following inning and capping things off with a RBI single in the 5th. All told, Boldt created 3 of the Rays’ 10 runs for the day and even came around to score one of his own in the 5th. Boldt is currently trying to make an already very deep Tampa roster after missing 2019 to Tommy John Surgery. He last played in 2018 in AA Montgomery.
Jason Krizan (2B, San Francisco Giants): 3-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
The Giants second baseman held nothing back in this one, reaching base all 3 times and coming around to score twice. With a man on first, Krizan took a 2-2 slider into the right field seats to give the Giants a 2 run lead over the Rockies. Krizan has yet to appear in any major league games as he has amassed 8 minor league seasons in the Tigers and Mets systems. With the ability to play both infield and outfield, Krizan has an outside shot of making the team on the bench. If he can’t, he’ll be one of the first up from AAA Sacramento.
Willson Contreras (C, Chicago Cubs): 3-for-4, 3B, HR, R, 5 RBI, SB
The Cubbies’ backstop was all over Padres pitching on Wednesday – just a double short of the cycle. Contreras even managed a swiped bag in the first after lining a single to right. With 2 on in the following inning, he crushed a 2-1 pitch to left, plating Kyle Hendricks and Ian Happ to make it a 4-0 ballgame. Still not satisfied, Contreras then hit a 2 RBI triple off of Mason Thompson in the 6th inning before being lifted for a pinch runner. Contreras is easily one of the better hitting catchers in the league, and days like this just go to show it.
Mitch Keller (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates): 2.0 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Keller was less than stellar on Wednesday, being lifted from the game before being allowed to re enter after the conclusion of the 1st inning. All told, Keller was getting shelled by the potent Rays lineup and even though his offense picked him up throughout the game, it was all for naught. On the bright side, nothing seemed mechanically wrong with Keller, as his fastball was still maintaining his velo at about 96 MPH, and managed to still get a ton of called strikes and whiffs. Chalk this one up to the Rays being locked in, and don’t panic on Keller just yet.
Sandy Alcántara (SP, Miami Marlins): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Sandy Alcántara is a dangerous man. The 25 year old right hander carved up the Mets lineup through 5 innings, racking up 9 strikeouts throughout. Through 12.2 IP this spring, Alcántara has yet to allow a run and has thrown 19 K’s. Along with Sixto Sánchez and Pablo López, Alcántara is a key part of the Marlins’ 3-headed monster rotation.
Tarik Skubal (SP, Detroit Tigers): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
One of the Tigers’ bevy of pitching prospects, Skubal looked good in this one holding the Phillies scoreless through 3 and only allowing 1 hit. The 6 punchouts are exciting, but the 3 walks less so. The free passes helped contribute to 70 (!) pitches for the young hurler, which is far from the efficiency the Tigers would like to see from one of their future stars. Skubal has now thrown 8 innings this Spring, making 3 total appearances and 1 start without allowing a run and stirking out 12. Skubal may not start the season in the Detroit rotation, but he’ll be up before long.
Jordan Montgomery (SP, New York Yankees): 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 4 K
“Gumby” continued his excellent Spring Training on Wednesday, keeping the Blue Jays hitless across 5 innings. The tall lefty was hitting 95 MPH at time with his 4-seamer and aside from 1 free pass was perfect in his 3rd outing of the year. Montgomery figures to be the Yankees number 4 starter behind Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, and Jameson Taillon in what figures to be a very deep starting 5.
Walker Buehler (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 4.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, BB, 5 K
Buehler was his typical excellent self yesterday, outdueling the fellow star Lucas Giolito to secure the win for the Dodgers. Buehler has been ramping up his innings limit in his 4 starts this Spring, and aside from a 4 earned run outing against the Rangers back on March 7, he’s been excellent, allowing only 2 earned runs and totaling 10 strikeouts in 9 innings of work. Buehler and Clayton Kershaw figure to be the “1-A” and “1-B” ace of the stacked Dodgers rotation this season.
Kyle Gibson (SP, Texas Rangers): 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
The de-facto ace of the Rangers rotation had a strong showing in this one, holding the Diamondbacks hitless through 4 while punching out 6. The sinkerballer Gibson was named the Rangers Opening Day starter just this week, an honor he never earned while spending 7 seasons in Minnesota. Gibson has apparently added a cutter to his arsenal and is able to execute the pitch with pinpoint control – a pitch that could be key for his success down in Texas.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Stroman: New Splitter + solid cutters?
Plesac: Still dope?
Bubic: Good command?
Keuchel: Hitting corners?
Price: 94 mph?
Manaea: CH/SL for whiffs?
Burnes: Still a dope cutter?
Heaney: FBs up?
PabLo: New Slider?!
Ponce de Leon: CBs for strikes?
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 18, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)