Welcome to the Spring Training recap for February 26! 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 16 games so let’s get right to it!
- Giancarlo Stanton suffered a Grade 1 strain to his right calf which could keep him out for Opening Day.
- An MRI showed that J.D. Davis had “no structural damage” to his left shoulder.
- Brandon Nimmo was sent for precautionary cardiac screening tests – nothing concerning was found.
- Chris Sale will not be ready for Opening Day and should start the season on the IL.
- Eugenio Suarez still has no timetable for a return for Cactus League games.
- Dustin May has not thrown off a mound since the opening day of Dodgers camp.
- Mike Soroka (groin) will start Friday against the Yankees for his Grapefruit League debut.
- Julio Teheran will likely make his Cactus League debut Sunday or Monday next week.
- Boston and San Diego are “unlikely” to reach a trade agreement centered around Wil Myers.
Top Hitting Performances
Wil Myers (OF/1B, San Diego Padres): 2-for-3, R, HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Myers was able to drive a Phil Maton fastball over the right-center field fence for a home run as one of his two hits Wednesday afternoon. While the Padres have been trying to move Myers’ remaining contract of 3 years and $61 million dollars remaining, no team has bitten thus far and he should stay in San Diego to start the season. Myers should be a reserve outfielder and possible platoon option with Eric Hosmer at first base this year.
Michael Brantley (OF/DH, Houston Astros): 2-for-2, R, RBI
Brantley hit a couple of singles with a sacrifice fly against the Mets, hitting from the second spot in the order. The Astros also had a game against the Cardinals on Wednesday, so I wouldn’t look too much into the order change. Expect Brantley to occupy the third or fourth spot in the order a majority of the time this season.
Lane Thomas (OF, St. Louis Cardinals): 1-for-5, R, HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Thomas hit nicely for St. Louis in his short stint with the club last season, registering 12 hits in his 38 at-bats. While he broke out with 27 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, Thomas generally has not shown much power—but Dexter Fowler‘s poor form and Tyler O’Neill‘s inconsistency could give him a path to consistent playing time.
Matt Chapman (3B, Oakland Athletics): 2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Chapman was one of many A’s hitters who found success in Oakland’s thrashing of the Diamondbacks by the score of 16-3. Chapman has grown leaps and bounds at the plate, almost reaching the heights of his defensive wizardry, making him an easy top choice at the hot corner in fantasy.
Javier Baez (SS/2B, Chicago Cubs): 2-for-3, R, HR, 1 RBI
Baez unloaded on a changeup and deposited it way over the left-field fence. It’s good to see that the star shortstop is finding his power stroke in early action.
Jarren Duran (OF, Boston Red Sox): 2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI
Duran showed off impressive opposite-field power against a Mitch Keller fastball. He is not known for his power, but if Duran can drive the ball and improve his defensive ability, there could be a spot for him later this year in the outfield.
Here was our list of starters to watch from yesterday’s games:
SPs to watch on TV today:
Genesis Cabrera: FB/2ndary good enough for SP spot?
Urquidy: Don’t be bad
Keller: FBs up, CU/SL heavy mix, <3
Woj-Bomb: Cutters/Sliders wicked?
Thor: Fbs up, 2ndary stuff down?
Canning: Healthy n all?
Dunn: Throw strikes please
Paddack: new CB!
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) February 26, 2020
A few more:
Tanaka: Is his splitter working?
Joe Ross: Anything more than FBs/SLs?
Pruitt: Good enough to start?
Newcomb: Curveball/Changeup okay?
Josiah Gray + Brady Singer: I’m excited to sit and learn
Sonny “the other” Gray: Still CB/SL heavy and good down?
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) February 26, 2020
Here’s how some of them fared:
Genesis Cabrera (SP, St. Louis Cardinals): 2 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks
Cabrera had a nice outing against a majority of the Astros’ star-studded lineup. While he didn’t exhibit great control, often missing in the heart of the plate, Houston was not able to square him up. Outings like these put Cabrera on the right path to potentially forcing himself into the Cardinals’ rotation.
Jose Urquidy (SP, Houston Astros): 1.1 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Urquidy opened his outing with a strikeout of Kolten Wong, but it went south fairly quickly from there. The damage really came to open the second inning where Urquidy allowed a walk and home run to open the frame. It was his first outing of the spring so don’t overreact—Urquidy is still on track to be the fourth starter in Houston’s rotation.
Mitch Keller (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates): 1.2 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks
Pittsburgh’s plan of high heaters with more curves and sliders for Keller was on full display against the Red Sox. Unfortunately, the execution wasn’t great after striking out Jose Peraza and Marco Hernandez to lead off the game. There were too many fastballs that were yanked into the zone that were meant to be up overall, but the fastball to Jarren Duran—that resulted in a home run—seemed to be in the spot that the catcher set up for down and away. As long as Keller continues to follow this new game plan, there could be good things in store for him.
Noah Syndergaard (SP, New York Mets): 2 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks
Syndergaard was sharp in this one as the stat line suggests. Thor hit 97 mph on his fastball and was in the 87-89 mph range on the slider in his Grapefruit League debut. The slider had a good downward tilt, which was nice, but ideally, you’d like Thor to add velocity to his slider and enter the low 90’s.
Griffin Canning (SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim): 2 IP, 0 Hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 Ks
While Canning was able to have a clean outing despite facing most of the Dodgers’ starting lineup, there was a lot of good fortune that went into it. The fastball command wasn’t great—he actually threw some in the dirt—but the slider had nice late movement with his changeup garnering some ground balls. As the spring progresses, better fastball command will be key in Canning maximizing his tantalizing potential.
Justin Dunn (SP, Seattle Mariners): 2 IP, 2 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks
Even though he had a nice “ride” to his fastball and superb depth to his slider, Dunn lacked control in this outing as there were many long and drawn out at-bats by the Reds’ hitters. The efficiency with his pitches will be critical to having success as a starter this season.
Chris Paddack (SP, San Diego Padres): 2 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks
Paddack was in mid-season form with his heater and changeup, recording three strikeouts and giving up no runs. Paddack’s reworked curve has been the discussion of the young right-hander’s spring—though it was not featured much in this start. Of the two he threw, only the one to Nolan Jones is worth discussing—it had a tight spin, not “floating up” before breaking down and eventually into the dirt. The pitch registered at 78 mph according to the broadcast, which is higher than the 76.1 mph he averaged last year. Having a reliable curveball will go a long way into making Paddack a top-20 starting pitcher this season.
Masahiro Tanaka (SP, New York Yankees): 2 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks
Tanaka struggled with his secondary offerings against the Nationals, elevating many of his sliders and splitters—one of those hung splitters resulted in a home run. However, Tanaka has made himself into one of the most precise pitchers around, and I wouldn’t expect too many outings with as many misses as this one in the future.
Austin Pruitt (SP, Houston Astros): 3 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 Ks
Pruitt faced the minimum over three innings, throwing a number of sliders and fastballs to maneuver the Mets’ lineup. With Brad Peacock now essentially out of the running, Pruitt and Josh James are the two remaining options for the fifth starter gig in Houston’s rotation.
Sonny Gray (SP, Cincinnati Reds): 2 IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HB
Gray didn’t have the best control here, but he let his stuff eat. He had a lovely curve that dropped in to strikeout Carlos Gonzalez, then froze Daniel Vogelbach with a front-door two-seamer to end the first. Coming off a breakthrough campaign with Cincinnati after a disastrous period with the Yankees, Gray will look to continue his success for a club with playoff aspirations.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
JA Happ: 4Seamers up-in to RHB?
Tony Gonsolin: Good enough to hint rotation?
Max Scherzer: Sit back and enjoy
That’s it. All of the interesting arms aren’t televised. Beede, Bumgarner, Bauer, Puk, Thornton, Glasnow, Pivetta, Flaherty. 😐
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) February 27, 2020
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)