Welcome to the spring training recap for March 4th! 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. Yesterday had 14 games so let’s get right to it!
- Jackie Bradley Jr. signed a two-year, $24 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.
- Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said center fielder Cody Bellinger (shoulder) is progressing nicely.
- The Red Sox signed Danny Santana to a minor-league contract including an invite to Spring Training.
- The first diagnosis is that Framber Valdez (fractured ring finger) will require season-ending surgery though the Astros are getting a second opinion.
- Nate Pearson has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of the groin.
- Max Scherzer (ankle) will make his Spring Training debut today against the Cardinals.
Top Hitting Performances
Nico Hoerner (SS, Chicago Cubs): 3-for-3, 2 R, SB
Hoerner got a hit in all three plate appearances Thursday, as the Cubs’ shortstop now has five hits in six at-bats this Spring. The 23-year-old also showed his speed in the first inning, as Hoerner was able to advance on a wild pitch from Dodgers starter Jimmy Nelson, then stole third base and subsequently scored on a throwing error by Nelson’s battery mate Austin Barnes. The young shortstop should have the position to himself in 2021, but considering he hits a large number of his balls on the ground (55.3% GB last season) and doesn’t have a penchant for stealing bases (career-high of 8 SB in 70 games in AA), Hoerner is probably not worth keeping an eye on too intently for fantasy purposes.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, Pittsburgh Pirates): 2-for-3, RBI
Hayes started his multi-hit effort with an RBI triple against the Braves. Pittsburgh’s third baseman was a standout in 2020’s final month (.376/.442/.682) while hitting the ball hard (55.4% Hard Hit%) but most of those on the ground (47.7% GB). However, Hayes has done a good job of keeping the ball in the air so far, as with Thursday’s performance, the Pirates’ top prospect now has three extra-base hits — two doubles and a triple — in three games this Spring. Hayes is a 20-20 threat currently, but if he keeps this up, there could be many more home runs in store which would make him a top-flight third baseman for fantasy.
Pete Alonso (1B, New York Mets): 1-for-3, R, HR, 4 RBI
Alonso opened his Spring account with a blast onto the right-center field bank, resulting in a grand slam. The Polar Bear did not have the same success in 2020 as he did in 2019, hitting for far less power as indicated by a .100 point drop in his slugging percentage. This season, Alonso will hope that with his number of home runs he keeps his average near .260 as he did in his rookie campaign, and swings, as he had for his grand slam, will aid that cause.
Mitch Haniger (OF, Seattle Mariners): 1-for-2, R, HR, 3 RBI
After having a core and a back operation, Mitch Haniger missed all of 2020. But with no setbacks during his offseason recovery, Haniger is now back to doing what he does best — mashing baseballs. Haniger has registered a hit in every game this Spring, including hitting his first home run against the Rockies on Thursday. Given the Mariners’ right fielder hit 26 home runs with 93 RBI’s and eight stolen bases in his last full season in 2018, a strong spring will ease concerns of fantasy managers who are anxious given Haniger’s long layoff since his last major league game on June 6, 2019.
Mickey Moniak (OF, Philadelphia Phillies): 2-for-2, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Moniak only replaced Odubel Herrera in center field in the fifth inning but still had a monster two-homer game. The power outburst is not common for the former number one overall pick, as he’s only hit 22 home runs in his professional career. While Moniak made his major league debut last season, it’s unlikely the outfielder makes a significant impact for the Phillies in 2021.
Here was our list of starters to watch from yesterday’s games:
SPs to watch on TV today:
Maeda: how you doin’
The Fratty Pirate: CH/FC good as ever?
Deivi: Solid push for #5 spot?
Moore: Oh. Hi.
Canning: Command good?
Bumgarnder: Is he at 91mph?
Civale: FC focused? CH/SL good?
Houser: FB/SL working?
Nelson: Zommmbie-eh-eh (please be good)
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 4, 2021
Here is how some of them fared:
Kenta Maeda (SP, Minnesota Twins): 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Does Maeda even need Spring Training? The Twins ace was lights out in this one, striking out three while posting a scoreless outing despite having to work around two errors in the first inning. Keep picking up Maeda wherever you can.
Deivi Garcia (SP, New York Yankees): 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
As he starts his fight for the Yankees’ fifth and final rotation spot, Garcia showed flashes of promise in his first showing. The young right-hander operated with a fastball ranging from 91-93 MPH, in addition to his curveball and changeup, en route to three strikeouts. Unfortunately, Garcia gave up a couple of solo home runs which hurt his line — the first on a changeup to Scott Kingery and the second on a fastball to Odubel Herrera. Garcia has struggled with home runs the past couple of seasons (1.80 HR/9 in 2019-AAA and 1.57 HR/9 in 2020), and it’ll be something to monitor as the spring progresses if the 21-year-old is to seize the last rotation spot.
Matt Moore (SP, Philadelphia Phillies):2 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, 2 K
Opposing the aforementioned Garcia was Matt Moore. The former Tampa Bay Ray was making his first start in the states since 2019 after pitching for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Japan last year, and the left-hander had a nice outing. Moore struck out two — Mike Tauchman swinging and Clint Frazier looking — while keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard. Moore is projected to be in the Phillies’ rotation though we should see more good outings like Thursday’s before anyone considers drafting him.
Madison Bumgarner (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks): 2 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
‘MadBum’ was sensational in his two innings of work, recording all of his outs via the strikeout. After a much-maligned 2020, centered around his diminished velocity, Bumgarner was able to throw harder today than he did a year ago — even touching 91 MPH. Mixing in his cutter and curveball as well, Bumgarner showed how good he can be if he’s got noticeable separation in velocity between his offerings.
Madison Bumgarner struck out the side, sat 89/90 mph, hit 91, and got a pair of whiffs on curveballs.
He averaged 88 mph last season. pic.twitter.com/RWPMxPQFXl
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 4, 2021
Aaron Civale (SP, Cleveland Indians):3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Sporting a new arm path, Aaron Civale threw three perfect innings in his first spring start. Civale struggled in 2020 with a 4.74 ERA and served up home runs at a rate of 1.34 HR/9, more than double of that in 2019. Even though Civale did not struggle with walks last season (5.1% BB), the shorter arm path could help the right-hander command his pitches more effectively, therefore decreasing the number of home runs conceded.
Jimmy Nelson (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers):1 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, K
It’s been a long road for Nelson after suffering an unfortunate shoulder injury while running the bases a couple of years ago. But tonight’s outing was a good step in the right direction, where Nelson could possibly have a shot of making the Dodgers’ rotation — depending on how the Dodgers decide to use Dustin May, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin. The burly right-hander sat around 94 MPH while also flashing his plus slider against the Cubs, which is all we could have asked for.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Shohei Ohtani: IT'S SHOTIME
Boyd: Please have your slider back
Domingo: Deserving of #5 spot?
Brad Keller: How's the breaker?
Kuhl: New four-seamer at 95+ ?
McKenzie: How's his overall command?
Kershaw: Is he at 91 mph?
Stiever: Show Me What You Got
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 5, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)
The mechanical changes Civale made to tighten his arm swing along with his shortening and quickening through his motion will need to play out. Initial looks have me concerned this motion will put more strain to maintain velocity because it isn’t as natural and effortless as prior mechanics. It’s a deception play that could eat into stamina, so I’ll be watching for that.
Ok I’m personally going to go through a cpl guys hitting and pitching… Nico has some decent pedigree with plus plus speed on a better offense than a kevin Newman type with potential to bat 1st by the 2nd have of the year imo. Kebryan ….well Charlie created a great human being I’ll never forget the catch Charlie. I’m all the way in. Alonso scares me at his adp. Mitchy boy I’m drafting on every team. Think that offense is very underrated going into 2021. On to pitching . Maeda lived up to everything his previous numbers said he should be and if your not drafting him were not in talking terms. Deivi is losing to german. Bold prediction medium and kelly finish top 100.