Welcome to the spring training recap for March 30! 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. Tuesday featured a smaller slate of games as the final day of exhibition play before Opening Day on Thursday.
- Eloy Jimenez underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair his torn left pectoral muscle
- Ji-Man Choi will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and is expected to be out until late May
- George Springer is “making progress” from Grade-2 oblique strain, unlikely to be ready for Opening Day
- The Red Sox officially activated Franchy Cordero from the COVID-19 list
- Myles Straw was cleared to return from COVID-19 protocol and will rejoin the team before Opening Day
- Jake Odorizzi is still getting stretched out but is in line to make his season debut April 13
Top Hitting Performances
Ozzie Albies (2B, Atlanta): 2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Albies is getting hot at just the right time, launching a homer and driving three in Atlanta’s spring finale. Batting 2nd against lefty Martin Perez, he doubled in the first inning and before his three-run homer in the fifth nearly cleared the mini-monster at Fenway south. Though he was slowed by nagging injuries in 2020, it’s easy to forget Albies is still just 24 years old and just a year removed from back-to-back 40 double 20 homer campaigns. He closes out the 2021 spring schedule with three homers and a .262/.354/.500 slash line as the team heads north to face the Phillies on Thursday.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 30, 2021
Mookie Betts (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers): 2-for-3, 2R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Mookie Betts hit a pair of homers on Tuesday night as the Angels and Dodgers wrap up the 2021 exhibition slate at Dodger Stadium. He led off with a bomb to straight away center off Jose Quintana in the first, then tagged the veteran lefty with a second homer to right field in the fourth. There isn’t much else to say about Betts and the reigning world champs, who appear to be clicking on all cylinders heading into the season.
Jarren Duran (OF, Boston Red Sox): 2-for-2, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI
It’s only fitting that Duran be featured in the final recap of Spring Training, with a double and homer on Tuesday bringing his final line to .340/.367/.702 this spring. The outfielder out of Long Beach State has looked fantastic and has certainly boosted his prospect status heading into the minor league season. A retooled swing has helped increase his power output every season. With a tantalizing power/speed combination and a capable defender in CF, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Duran patrolling a major league outfield at some point this season.
Kolten Wong (2B, Milwaukee Brewers): 1-for-2, R, HR, 2 RBI
By virtue of a weak offensive day around the majors, Kolten Wong’s third-inning homer places him amongst the best offensive performers of the day. Not to say Wong’s offense is anything to sneeze at, quite the opposite in fact. A credit to his newly found strength, the former Cardinal finishes the spring with 4 HR and 6 RBI to go along with a .306/.375/.722 slash. He heads into the season as the Brew Crew’s everyday second baseman and should be in a strong position offensively hitting in front of Christian Yelich.
Drew Smyly (SP, Atlanta): 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Drew Smyly worked around six hits while allowing a pair of unearned runs across 4.2 innings in his final tune-up against the Red Sox. He looked sharp throughout, showing good command of both his fastball and curve and limited hard contact. Unfortunately the game broadcast did not have a working radar gun, so we are unable to track Smyly’s velocity. He was sequencing well though, with a 0-1 curveball for a called strike leading to a sword from Bobby Dalbec on the proceeding fastball. He made significant gains in his year-end sample with the Giants last season and looks to carry them into a full season with Atlanta. He finishes the spring with a 3.29 ERA and 16 Ks in 13.2 innings and is currently slated as the team’s fourth starter.
Mike Soroka (SP, Atlanta): 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Soroka made his much anticipated return to game action on Tuesday, working back from the ruptured Achilles that ended his 2020 season prematurely. He’s been throwing sim-games and side sessions nearly all spring but the team is obviously taking a cautious approach with their young ace. He pitched the final two innings against Boston and shook off some rust to earn the save in Atlanta’s 5-3 win. Soroka looked like himself, getting consistent strikes with the sinker and whiffs with his sharp slider. The only ball hit with any authority was the long homer run to Jarren Duran, with the remaining batted balls all hit on the ground. He will continue to build innings as the team heads north and looks to rejoin the rotation before the end of April.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 30, 2021
Dylan Cease (SP, Chicago White Sox): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K
Dylan Cease was fantastic on Tuesday, striking out 11 in 5.1 innings against the Rockies. He got up to 86 pitches in the outing, reached 98 with the fastball, and had on overall CSW of 43%. He scattered six hits and importantly didn’t walk anyone, with the only real mistake being a solo homer off the bat of CJ Cron. He has been working all spring with new White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz and appears to have made command improvements, posting a 1.06 ERA and 22:7 K:BB ratio in 17 innings this spring. He is in line to start on Sunday’s opening series finale in Anaheim against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels.
Aaron Civale (SP, Cleveland): 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Civale concluded Cleveland’s spring with a solid tune-up start against the Dbacks. He threw 64 pitches over 4.1 innings and looked to be mixing his entire arsenal throughout. Though his 27% CSW leaves something to be desired, his 4-seam, Sinker, and Cutter velocity are all around his 2020 averages and his promising new split-change (50% CSW) looks to be a strong addition to an already abundant repertoire. He will follow Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac in the Cleveland rotation, in line to make his first start of the season on Sunday against the Tigers.
JT Brubaker (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates): 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Brubaker hasn’t had the best showing this spring, but his underlying metrics and strong pitch mix continue to make him an intriguing deeper league flier. He finished it off with 5 solid inning against the Twins, holding them to just a single first-inning run in a game that finished after 7 in a 1-1 tie. He was perfect for the next four innings, with three punch outs and a cumulative CSW of 31% in the outing.
Dustin May (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
After officially being named the Dodgers’ fifth starter earlier in the week, May pitched 5.1 stellar innings against the Angels on Tuesday night. May can be one of the most polarizing pitchers in the fantasy landscape, as his wiffleball-esque stuff has yet to translate to success in the whiff department (though his 21 strikeouts in 19 innings this spring are promising). Sadly, the Dodgers care not about your fantasy team and it remains to be seen how long May will remain in the rotation — with David Price and Tony Gonsolin capable in the bullpen and top prospect Josiah Gray waiting in the wings. Even with the uncertainty, May gets first crack at a rotation spot and will certainly carry value should he carve out a permanent role.
What to Watch for Today
The start of the regular season tomorrow! Thanks for reading, and best of luck this season!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)