Welcome to the Spring Training recap for Monday, March 22. Every day throughout spring training, we’ll be providing a rundown of the top news and performances from the previous weekend’s games, as well as highlighting things to watch for in today’s matchups. 28 teams played on Monday, so there are a few things to talk about!
- Uh-oh. Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen was scratched from his Monday start due to right forearm soreness. Manager Torey Lovullo said that he got it ’swinging a bat,’ and has been receiving treatment for it for the past 10 days. This is always deeply worrying news.
- Albert Pujols had to be removed from Monday’s game after an HBP to the forearm. X-Rays fortunately came back negative, though.
- Khris Davis was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Monday, a scary moment which saw him lifted from the game for precautionary reasons. He’ll be OK.
- The Phillies announced that Zach Eflin (back) should be good to go for his first turn in the rotation.
- The White Sox optioned, among others, RHP Reynaldo Lopez to the alternate site, meaning that he will not break camp with the team.
- Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo announced that the club will not be naming an official closer to being the season.
Top Hitting Performances
Tommy Pham (OF, San Diego Padres): 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Pham has been through the ringer and then some when it comes to injuries in recent seasons, but he has shown nothing but resilience in fighting back to everyday form. Coming back from a bizarre offseason stabbing incident, there were certainly skeptics. But Pham has been solid for the Padres, hitting .297 with an .882 OPS. Monday featured his first long-balls of the spring, but he has nonetheless looked like the player San Diego hoped to suit up out of their lead-off spot come April.
Ryan McMahon (INF, Colorado Rockies): 3-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO
McMahon figures to see some challengers at second base this year (Hampson, Rodgers), but is a versatile option, with first, second, and third base eligibility in most fantasy formats. Do not expect much from him, though — his .215 AVG with 9 HR and 26 RBI featured a paltry .714 OPS. He’ll get starts in a weak Rockies lineup, but he’s not a starter.
Bobby Dalbec (1B/3B, Boston Red Sox): 1-for-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Young Red Sox with power potential are always going to get extra attention, and Dalbec has certainly been a topic of conversation. He ranks near the top of spring training in everything from home runs, to RBI, to OPS, and even total bases. He’s a likeable kid with a beautiful swing, and with no natural solution at first entering the year, it seems increasingly likely that Dalbec breaks camp with the big club, and a real shot at playing every day innings.
Bobby Dalbec's current Spring Training stats and MLB ranks:
HR: 6 (T1)
RBI: 13 (T2)
R: 13 (1st)
SLG: .889 (3rd)
OPS: 1.304 (4th)
TB: 32 (T3)
XBH: 8 (T3) pic.twitter.com/Fg9A1yoemQ
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 22, 2021
Franmil Reyes (DH/OF, Cleveland): 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Reyes has had an excellent spring, hitting 4 home runs and a 1.164 OPS in a designated hitter role for Cleveland. Coming off a respectable 2020 (.275/.344/.450, 9 HR, 34 RBI), he’ll need to fill an even bigger role in the 2021 lineup, taking into account everything Cleveland lost in the offseason. He looks primed to do so.
Nick Solak (2B, Texas Rangers): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 SO
Although the Rangers are going to be in tough shape to win games this year, it’s doubtful it’ll be on account of Nick Solak, who looks like a real stud in the middle infield. Monday’s performance featured his fourth home run of the spring, and elevates his BA to .324 and his OPS to a stellar 1.018. Considering the speed threat he possesses (7 SB in 2020), this is a guy who should be on your radar as a late-round sleeper in fantasy baseball.
Aaron Nola (SP, Philadelphia): 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Wow. Monday was an absolute masterclass from Nola, who had struggled up to this point in the spring. Monday’s start was a tasty reminder of what he can do when he’s on his game — and it should be noted that it was against a top-shelf Yankees team, fully stocked with studs. His off-speed stuff was on, and in particular the knuckle-curve. He threw 84 total pitches, with 56 of them for strikes. His fastball was sitting around 93 mph on average, and he looks locked-in as we approach the end of March. Couple that in with the no-duh moment of the Phillies naming him their Opening Day starter on Monday, and you’d have to say it was a half-decent start to the week for Mr. Nola.
Aaron Nola, Pure Filth (Knuckle Curve & Changeup) 🤮 pic.twitter.com/K9AJsMfdHf
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 22, 2021
Lucas Giolito (SP, Chicago White Sox): 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
Speaking of aces, the White Sox main guy had a solid outing on Monday, going scoreless in four-and-two-thirds against the Giants. Giolito has been on this spring, allowing just 3 earned runs in 17.1 IP, and throwing 21 Ks. The Giants didn’t exactly throw a world-beater out there on Monday, but Giolito probably would’ve put up a similar effort against that side, too. His stuff is just so deceptive right now, and he looks prime to frustrate lineups again in 2021.
Trevor Bauer (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 5 K
It was a very up-and-down day for Bauer, who faced just one over the minimum number of batters through four innings, but served up three home runs in the 5th before getting pulled. Bauer has mostly been strong this Spring, and boasts a 21/5 K/BB rate (see Monday’s numbers of 5/0), but he hung a fastball and a curve to Evan White and Mitch Haniger, while Jose Marmolejos hit a hit-and-tight fastball to right. It’ll be interesting to see where Bauer goes from here, as he still seems likely to be the #3 in the rotation for the Dodgers.
Jose Berrios (SP, Minnesota Twins): 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
It was a quietly effective outing for Berrios, who managed to get six swinging strikes off Atlanta in the first inning alone. Other than a weak outing against the Pirates last week, Berrios has been very effective in the spring, and seems on track to start the year off strongly as the Twins #1B.
Brandon Woodruff (SP, Milwaukee Brewers): 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 4 K
A few days removed from being named the Brewers Opening Day starter, Woodruff took to the mound for an extended look on Monday — and looked mostly good in doing so. He threw just 68 pitches across 6 innings, and other than a Franmil Reyes home run, was in control. Considering the LH-heavy Cleveland lineup he faced, there’s even more reason to like what the Brewers ace put up on Monday. Calling him a top-10 pitcher may be underselling his potential heading into the year.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
G. Richards: Command better?
Kluber: 92 mph?
Skubal: Sub 60% FB? Solid SL/CB?
Stroman: CH working? FC filthy?
Plesac: SL/CH whiffs?
Heaney: FBs up? CBs/CH getting strikes?
Keuchel: 🎵Livin' on the Edge 🎵
Walker Buehler: Long outing?
Burnes: FC/SI cmd?
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 23, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)
Hmmmm – not trusting McMahon’s re-worked swing? I thought he might be a good target this year, but you’ve got me thinking that a cheaper Shaw might be a smarter use of auction $ (deep NL league).