Spring Training Recap: February 27

Here's what (and who) went down in Arizona and Florida.

February 27 brought troubling news about several pitchers, and promising performances from both rookie and veteran hitters—but little of it was televised. Here’s a recap of what happened from Jupiter to Goodyear and everywhere in-between.

 

News

 

  • Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery
  • Chris Sale (pneumonia) is likely to begin the year on the IL, but no arm issues were reported
  • Griffin Canning has “chronic changes to the UCL and acute joint irritation;” more tests to come
  • Emmanuel Clase is out for 8-12 weeks with an upper back strain
  • Jorge Alfaro (oblique) was scratched from the Marlins’ lineup, is day-to-day
  • Will Harris (left abdomen) was scratched from his outing
  • Jimmy Nelson was shut down due to lower body discomfort
  • Adeiny Hechavarria (oblique) is day-to-day after being scratched by the Braves
  • Brandon Nimmo (heart) was cleared to resume baseball activities
  • The Mets and Athletics are among teams interested in Russell Martin

 

Top Hitting Performances

 

Ryan Mountcastle (3B/1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles): 3-for-3, HR, 2 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI

Several other Orioles deserve recognition for their part in the team’s 13–0 blowout against the Pirates, including Austin Hays, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles. But Mountcastle was arguably the best of the bunch and is now hitting .417/.417/.833 for the spring. We know he can hit for power, but we need to watch whether he can increase his walk rate, manage his strikeouts, and look comfortable in left field during spring training.

 

Rougned Odor (2B, Texas Rangers): 3-for-3, HR, 2B, R, 4 RBI

After a disastrous 2019 campaign that saw his strikeout rate jump seven points to 30.6%, Odor comes into Texas’ camp as part of a confusing battle for playing time at second base and outfield between himself, Danny Santana, and Nick Solak. He’ll need more performances like these to guarantee that he keeps his spot in the lineup, or at least some signs that he can make contact consistently.

 

Shed Long (2B, Seattle Mariners): 1-for-2, 2B, BB, SB, 2 R, RBI

Long showed off a little bit of everything that should give him the second base job in Seattle this year. He only stole four bases in 98 games last year — how often he gets the green light deserves to be monitored this spring.

 

Mike Ford (1B, New York Yankees): 2-for-2, HR, R, 2 RBI

Luke Voit got the start in this game, and Ford only came in as a pinch hitter in the 6th. Ford has thus far earned much of his playing time mashing against lefties, so it’s very notable that both of his at-bats came against righties. Whether the Yankees can give him further opportunities to work on his platoon splits deserves to be watched.

 

Orlando Arcia (SS, Milwaukee Brewers): 2-for-2, HR, R, 3 RBI

Arcia comes into camp with his job at shortstop threatened by the currently-injured Luis Urias. He’ll need to show blanket improvement to keep a grip on that job after posting a .633 OPS and a 12th percentile Outs-Above-Average mark last year. With Urias out with a broken hamate bone in his hand, he’ll likely get a chance to start the year and will need more days like today to make good on it.

 

Taylor Trammel (OF, San Diego Padres): 2-for-3, RBI, CS

The big piece coming back to San Diego in the Franmil Reyes trade, Trammel batted in the only run of the Padres’ game against the Angels yesterday but was then thrown out to end the inning. Trammel swiped 41 bags in 2017 at Full A Dayton, but has he had his totals limited since by nagging injuries since — watch to see how often he runs this spring and how successful he is when he does.

 

Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals): 2-for-2, HR, 2B, BB, 3 R, RBI 

Batting leadoff, Eaton took Christian Javier‘s fourth pitch of the day deep down the right-field line and didn’t look back. Eaton managed a healthy season for the first time since 2016, increased his launch angle to tap into more power, and will continue to hit in a premium position in the Nationals’ lineup — but saw his NFBC ADP fall from around 150 in 2019 to 200 this year.

 

Chad Pinder (2B/OF, Oakland Athletics): 2-for-3, HR, R, RBI

Pinder got his start in right field, the spot that Roster Resource gives to Steven Piscotty. He’s worth watching mostly to see how the camp battle for second base plays out, and if he continues to get time elsewhere, we may be able to trim him from the extended list of suitors for that job. Oakland’s outfield is also full of right-handed bats, so Pinder will need to continue to hit to justify his place in the squad.

 

Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals): 2-for-2, HBP

Perez’ performance as a hitter was certainly encouraging — he reached base all three times he came up to the plate — but he was moved off of a start at catcher after getting some dental work done earlier this week. We’ll have to wait to see how his recovery from Tommy John went, though we’re told that he’ll be donning the tools of ignorance again soon.

 

Simon Muzziotti (OF, Philadelphia Phillies): 3-for-3, R, 2 RBI

Muzziotti stands out not just for his performance, but largely because he still hasn’t seen a second of AA pitching yet. The 21 year-old Phillies prospect has shown low strikeout rates and excellent speed so far in the low minors, but not much power. Whether he can push his ISO over .100 during the spring or in AA this year will be worth watching.

 

Pitching Roundup

 

 

The MLB’s fight to keep us from watching baseball continued yesterday. Here’s how those whom we could watch fared:

 

J.A. Happ (SP, New York Yankees): 3 IP, 2 Hit, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Happ turned in another outing full of good signs, throwing 30 strikes over 40 pitches and allowing just two baserunners. His fastball has been in the 92-93 mph range, and a report from Lindsey Adler of The Athletic detailed how he has reworked his kinetic chain this offseasons to keep that velocity up. Zone charts are hard to rely on during spring training, but several Rays batters did end their at-bats on balls up and in, just like we’d like to see. So far, the 37-year-old lefty is showing us the right things — we’ll just need to see him keep it up.

 

Tony Gonsolin (SP/RP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 2 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Gonsolin saw what we should expect to be the Indians’ starters and made quick work of them through two innings. Only a Jordan Luplow double put anyone on base, and he managed to strike out Fransisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, who both sported strikeout rates below 15% last year. His secondaries, particularly his changeup, generated whiffs at a high rate, and he was placing fastballs high and in the strike zone early in the count. All told, this was a massively encouraging start for Gonsolin.

 

Max Scherzer (SP, Washington Nationals): 3 IP, 3 Hit, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Max Scherzer did not throw a single wild pitch in all of 2019, but he had two in the first inning against the Astros yesterday. Thanks to those and some poor infield defense, two runs crossed the plate before he recorded a single strikeout. Scherzer then struck out the next three batters on nine pitches, with his fastball topping 96 mph on the 0-2 pitch that got Chas McCormick. We didn’t get a moment as satisfying as Justin Wilson‘s strikeout of George Springer, but the completeness of his performance, once he settled in, was well worth going back to watch.

 

Tyler Beede (SP, San Fransisco Giants): 2 IP, 0 Hit, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

I’ll let explain this one:

The results seemed to follow from what looked like increased fastball velocity. We’ll be watching to see if Beede can sustain it and if his secondaries show anything new as well. But this is an encouraging start.

 

What to Watch for Today

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Alexander Chase

Alexander Chase starting playing fantasy baseball in 2010 because he didn't have a real team to support. Since moving to Baltimore, he still hasn't found one, but he likes Camden Yards. Alexander tweets about sports at @chase_rate.

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