Welcome to the spring training recap for March 9th! 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 were 14 games on Tuesday’s slate, featuring a handful of offensive outbursts and big names making their spring debuts.
- Miles Mikolas (shoulder) will undergo additional testing and is not expected to be ready of Opening Day.
- Zack Britton will undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow and is expected to be shelved for 3-4 months.
- Rangers righty Jonathan Hernandez has been diagnosed with a low-grade UCL sprain is will be shut down for 4 weeks.
- The Blue Jays do not expect young righty Nate Pearson (groin) to be ready for Opening Day.
- Yordan Alvarez (knees) is getting closer and will likely return at some point next week barring a setback.
Top Hitting Performances
The statcast anomaly has been on fire of late, with another strong performance bringing his OPS to 2.128 on the spring. France demolished a homer onto the concourse in the bottom of the first (107 mph EV), the second of back-to-back bombs given up by Royals starter Danny Duffy. He added a RBI double (105 mph EV) in the second inning and continues to hold his own defensively while playing 2B. He is an intriguing fantasy sleeper and is pushing for regular ABs on a rebuilding Seattle roster.
Daniel Johnson (OF, Cleveland): 2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Daniel Johnson smashed a pair of homers in Tuesday’s 9-2 over the Rangers. The 25-year-old outfielder seems to push for playing time every season, yet still somehow get overlooked in an empty Cleveland outfield. After getting a brief five-game cup-of-coffee in 2020, it appears he is making the push once again in 2021. He has a potentially fantasy-relevant power/speed combination if finally given the chance to play regularly.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, Pittsburgh Pirates): 2-for-2, 2 R, 2B, BB
The Pirates young star continues to torch Grapefruit League pitching, reaching base three times in the Pirates 10-run, 17-hit afternoon against Atlanta. Hayes singled in the first and doubled to lead off the third against Braves’ lefty Drew Smyly, capping it off with a walk in the 4th and a pair of runs scored. He now has hits in 7 of 14 ABs with an OPS nearing 1.500 on the spring.
The Cubs’ newest outfield addition hit his 3rd homer of the spring on Tuesday, launching a solo shot off Sergio Romo in the fourth inning against the A’s. Pederson hit an RBI double in the 5th and came around to score later in the inning. He’s 6-for-14 with 3 BBs on the spring and will be given the chance to play every day after spending the majority of the past few seasons in a platoon role.
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwakee Brewers): 2-for-3, HR, RBI
Yelich socked his first homer of the spring, taking a slider from lefty Sam Selman deep to left-center in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 13-7 win over the Giants. Though he struggled to get going in the shortened 2020 season, few seem to be worried about the former NL MVP. He now has 3 hits in 4 games this spring as he looks to return to form in 2021.
The Minnesota ace continued to shove, striking out four over three scoreless innings again on Tuesday. The 2020 AL Cy Young finalist threw 31 of 41 pitches for strikes and has now racked up 7 punch-outs in five innings this spring. While there was plenty of offense around the league today, Maeda and company scattered 3 hits in a 1-0 shutout win over the Orioles, with the teams combining for just 6 hits total. There are certainly questions about whether Maeda can replicate his strong 2020 season, and while regression is likely, he still appears likely to be one of the league’s top starters and may not be valued nearly enough in fantasy circles.
— Ben Palmer (@benjpalmer) March 9, 2021
Lynn had an uncharacteristically high variance outing on Tuesday against the Padres, allowing 6 of the 13 batters he faced to reach base, but avoided damage nonetheless. He walked 3 straight batters to begin the second but struck out the next batter and was bailed out by an inning-ending double-play to end the threat. The lack of command is not something we are accustomed to seeing from Lynn, but he will undoubtedly consider it a tune-up against a lineup of San Diego starters.
Snell shared the mound with Lynn and breezed through a somewhat uneventful two innings of work. The most action from Snell’s outing was a first inning balk that allowed Leury Garcia to advance to second, though a lazy fly-out on the next pitch made sure nothing came of it. He gave up a lead-off single to Adam Eaton in the second but quickly erased it with a 4-6-3 double play. Most interestingly perhaps was Snell’s postgame comments, noting that the seams on the new baseballs are noticeably thicker, which allows for easier breaking-balls.
Strasburg continues to work his way back from carpal tunnel surgery, pitching a relatively clean 1.2 innings in the Nationals 4-4 tie against the Astros. Stras struggled with command a bit, needing 38 pitches to get through his outing, but still struck out 4 of the 6 batters he faced. According to the stadium gun, his FB was sitting in the 91-93mph range and still flashed his typically strong curveball. He will likely be eased along this spring but there has been nothing yet to suggest he won’t be ready for opening day.
Deivi Garcia (SP, New York Yankees): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
The battle for the Yankees’ fifth rotation spot rages on, as Garcia was impressive over 3 shutout innings against the Tigers. He needed just 37 pitches to get through 3, allowing just two weakly hit singles and striking out 5 in the process. It was a solid performance for the 21-year-old, who gave up a pair of homers over two innings in his first start of the spring. It’s anyone’s guess how the Yankees rotation lines up behind ace Gerrit Cole, but with more starts like this Garcia is making a strong case for a spot.
Bruce Zimmerman (SP, Baltimore Orioles): 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Kremer and Zimmerman combined for six shutout innings as the Orioles and Twins battled in a scoreless tie for the majority of Tuesday’s game. Kremer hit 97 mph with his sinker, something he didn’t do in all of 2020, and showed off his improved cutter to go along with a couple of filthy curveballs to strikeout Alex Kiriloff. There were a pair of line-drive outs, but overall Kremer’s stuff looked very good throughout his start. Zimmerman followed him with three hitless innings of his own, and has now allowed just a single and a walk with 6 Ks in five innings this spring. As mentioned in the prospect roundup, Kremer and Zimmerman are two of many young Oriole starters who will get extended looks in 2021 with the possibility that this type of piggy-backing carries into the season as well.
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) March 9, 2021
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Berrios: How’s the CB? FB at 95 mph ?
Boyd: SL good? 93 mph?
Howard: FB at 95+ ?
Quantrill: Still the Un-Quantrifiable?
Lorenzen: 96 mph? SL & CH dope?
Keller: How’s the breaker? 93/94 mph?
Kershaw: 91 MPH?
Patino: Oh dang.
MacKenzie Gore: DOUBLE DANG.
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 10, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)