Welcome to the Spring Training recap for March 10! 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 saw 15 exciting games so let’s get right to it!
- The Mariners are considering playing their season-opening series away from T-Mobile Park after the state of Washington has banned gatherings of over 250 people amid COVID-19 concerns.
- Michael Conforto has been diagnosed with a right oblique strain and could begin the season on the IL.
- Bryce Harper has been diagnosed with a bruised left toe and told reporters he is “totally fine”.
- James Paxton will play catch today after sitting out since February 5 due to a cyst removal from his spine.
- Gary Sanchez has been diagnosed with the flu and will be re-evaluated on Friday.
- Giants manager Gabe Kapler has announced that Johnny Cueto is in line to get the start on opening day.
Top Hitting Performances
C.J. Cron (1B, Detroit Tigers): 2-for-3, HR
C.J. Cron continued his hot spring with a second-inning blast off Derek Holland. The slugger is now batting .375 with a 1.274 OPS through 29 plate appearances. Slated to bat cleanup for the Tigers this season, he should be able to hit at least 30 long balls this season if he can avoid injuries.
Yuli Gurriel (1B, 3B, Houston Astros): 2-for-3, HR
After getting off to a sluggish start, Gurriel finally got his bat going with his first bomb of the spring in the sixth inning of this one. Before this strong performance, Gurriel was an ugly 4-for-23 without an extra-base hit, so this was a much-needed game for the Astros first baseman. He’ll look to build on this game as he tries to repeat his breakout 2019 campaign in which he hit 31 homers to go along with a solid .298 batting average.
J.T. Realmuto (C, Philadelphia Phillies): 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Batting leadoff for the Phillies, J.T. Realmuto continued a nice spring with a two-run shot in the fourth inning. While this is a production we have all come to expect out of fantasy’s best and most consistent catcher, the noteworthy part is that he was once again batting atop the order. With Andrew McCutchen set to begin the year on the IL, Realmuto is looking like a serious candidate to fill the leadoff role for the Phillies, a spot that would likely take away some RBI opportunities.
Ryan O’Hearn (1B, Kansas City Royals): 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
Ryan O’Hearn kept his blistering spring training going in this one, crushing his fifth home run of Cactus League play and adding a double for good measure. The 27-year-old is expected to be the starting first baseman for the Royals and could be a decent source of power at the end of fantasy drafts.
Javier Baez (SS, Chicago Cubs): 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
In a game where it seemed like every batted ball for the Cubs would be a hit, Baez was right in the middle of it, missing the cycle by a triple. The strong game brought his batting average up to .462 to go with an impressive 1.379 OPS. After something of a down year by his standards, Baez looks poised to get back to his 2018 numbers, when he finished second in MVP voting.
Willson Contreras (C, Chicago Cubs): 3-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 R
Batting fifth for the Cubs, Contreras was a major contributor to the 16 runs scored by the Cubs, also coming up a triple shy of the cycle just like Baez. Now batting .292 with a pair of homers this spring, Contreras should once again be one of the best catchers in the league.
Mike Moustakas (2B, 3B, Cincinnati Reds): 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Batting cleanup in this game, Moustakas put the Reds on the board early with a two-run bomb in the first inning. Heading into his first season playing in Great American Ball Park, Moustakas has a good chance of repeating last year’s 35-homer season.
Here was our list of starters to watch from yesterday’s games:
SPs to watch on TV today:
Boyd: touching 94mph? Good CH?
Cole: No HRs plz. K thx.
Wheeler: SLs down, FBs up?
Cueto: IS HE GOOD
Minor: Good SL/CB? CH & FB still dope?
Bundy: Heavy SL/CH for whiffs with FBs up?
Kopech: OH SNAP SHOW ME VELO
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 10, 2020
Here’s how each of them fared:
Matthew Boyd (SP, Detroit Tigers): 4.1 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Starting against the Pirates in this one, Boyd was once again terrific, allowing just one earned run and one extra-base hit over 4.1 innings of work. The strong performance gave him just his first win of the spring, despite having a stellar 1.93 ERA. After striking out 238 batters across 185.1 innings last year, Boyd looks ready to make another jump forward in 2020.
Zack Wheeler (SP, Philadelphia Phillies): 4 IP, 4 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Pitching against the Twins in this one, Wheeler made his best start of the spring, striking out six while only allowing a solo shot to Royce Lewis to lead off the third inning. Wheeler has struggled to a 5.40 ERA in Grapefruit League play thus far, but this is nothing new, as he has failed to post an ERA better than 4.80 in any of his last three springs. The 29-year-old should be ready to roll in his first season with the Phillies.
Gerrit Cole (SP, New York Yankees): 3.1 IP, 2 Hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
After getting lit up by the Tigers in his last start, Cole looked much more like his usual dominant self in this one, striking out six and giving up just one earned run over 3.1 innings against the Blue Jays. The Yankees ace should be just fine for the regular season.
Johnny Cueto (SP, San Francisco Giants): 1.2 IP, 9 Hits, 5 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Johnny Cueto was very, very bad in this one. The veteran was shelled by the Cubs for five runs in the second inning, knocking him out of the game before he could finish the frame. Cueto failed to record any strikeouts, but he only gave up one extra-base hit, so things could have been worse? It’s expected that there will be some hiccups while recovering from Tommy John, but this was still a less than encouraging outing overall.
Mike Minor (SP, Texas Rangers): 4.2 IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Making his second start of the spring, Mike Minor was spectacular again, giving up two hits in 4.2 innings of work, striking out three in the strong performance. Minor has now given up four base runners and has not allowed a run through 7.2 innings this spring. Coming off a very nice 2019 season, Minor looks ready to pick things up right where he left off.
Dylan Bundy (SP, Los Angeles Angels): 4 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Getting the start against the Mariners in this one, Bundy looked extremely sharp outside of one mistake to Jose Marmolejos that resulted in a two-run homer. The otherwise solid outing brought his spring ERA to 1.59 with a 0.44 WHIP and a 16/1 K/BB ratio through 11.1 innings. Entering his first year with the Angels, all signs are pointing toward this possibly being a career year for the former top prospect.
Michael Kopech (SP, Chicago White Sox): 1 IP, 0 Hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Making his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery in September of 2018, Kopech looked electric in his lone inning of work. His fastball was consistently in the 100-101 mph range, ultimately recording two ground outs before striking out Greg Bird looking with a 101 mph heater that caught the corner of the plate. Kopech likely won’t be ready by opening day, but the sky is the limit once he is ready to go.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Fried: FB/CB command? SL for whiffs?
Berrios: New/improved CB?
Deivi Garcia: Is this guy legit?
Alcantara: SL/CH for whiffs?
Gausman: Splitters = dope?
Manaea: New SL better?
Lamet: Still CHAOS?
Peralta: New SL good?
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 11, 2020
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)