Welcome to the spring training recap for March 11! 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 ten games — unfortunately, three were canceled — so let’s get right to it!
- Blake Snell told reporters he felt fine after playing catch as he recovers from elbow trouble.
- Luis Urias will start against the Diamondbacks today.
- Yankees reliever Zack Britton suffered a bruised right wrist from a batted ball during live batting practice yesterday. X-rays came back negative.
- Cubs manager David Ross said either Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks will start Opening Day.
- Carlos Carrasco‘s MRI showed only mild elbow inflammation, yet Indians GM Chris Antonetti said ‘Cookie’ is unlikely to be ready for the beginning of the season.
- Joc Pederson could return next week and should be ready for the start of the season.
- Seranthony Dominguez felt elbow discomfort after Sunday’s outing and will get checked out today.
Top Hitting Performances
Randal Grichuk (OF, Toronto Blue Jays): 3-for-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Grichuk is tearing it up this springm going 8-for-25 with a 1.153 OPS and three home runs. The best part? Grichuk has walked five times against six strikeouts in those appearances. A career 5.8% walk rate against a 28.3% strikeout percentage, Grichuk is breaking his norm and would be an absolute steal late in drafts if — it is a big one — he continues to show good plate discipline.
Austin Slater (OF, San Francisco Giants): 2-for-3, R, 2 RBI, K
Slater nearly hit a home run in his first at-bat but settled for an RBI double with a single against the Rangers on Wednesday. Slater’s poor spring to date — 6-for-24 with one walk against 12 strikeouts — will keep him either on the bench for San Francisco or possibly sent down to Triple-A.
J.D. Davis (3B/OF, New York Mets): 2-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, K
After some turbulence to start the spring, Davis is back and continuing the frantic pace he had last season as he hit a home run against the Cardinals. The Statcast darling has less uncertainty around him now with Michael Conforto‘s recent diagnosis of a Grade 1 oblique strain, which could send Davis’ draft price sky-high.
Matt Carpenter (1B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals): 1-for-2, R, HR, RBI, BB
In a recently released 30 teams in 30 days clip from MLB Network, Matt Carpenter talked about getting back to the hitter he once was — spraying balls to the opposite field. Carpenter said he was forcing himself to look at pitches inside to then pull for home runs. In the quest for those home runs, the Cardinals slugger lost the shape in his swing and struggled mightily last season. Against the Mets, Carpenter showed his commitment to this mindset with a home run off Jacob deGrom to left field.
In the short number of at-bats Carpenter has had this spring, while not displaying a high average, has a .969 OPS. You’d hope with more diligence to this approach, Carpenter will start to raise his average and become a presence in St. Louis’ lineup once again.
Danny Jansen (C, Toronto Blue Jays): 3-for-3, R, HR, 3 RBI
Jansen struggled last year in his rookie season as the Blue Jays’ backstop had a .275 wOBA and 68 wRC+. He was an incredibly good hitter in the minor leagues, and with a 1.953 OPS and four home runs over 17 at-bats in the Grapefruit League, Jansen might have turned the corner with his offense.
Jonathan Lucroy (C, Boston Red Sox): 2-for-2, RBI, BB
Once one of the best catchers in baseball, Jonathan Lucroy now finds himself on a minor-league deal with a chance to be Boston’s backup catcher in a battle with Kevin Plawecki. Both Lucroy (.882 OPS in 20 at-bats) and Plawecki (1.181 OPS in 18 at-bats) have done exceptionally well with the bat, though the latter’s exceptional framing skills could keep him ahead of Lucroy for the roster spot. For now, it seems Lucroy has rekindled some magic with his former and now current manager Ron Roenicke, and it’s a treat to watch.
Here was our list of starters to watch from yesterday’s games:
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
Here’s how some of them fared:
Max Fried (SP, Atlanta Braves): 4.2 IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks
Fried did well not to give up a run against a formidable Minnesota Twins lineup, though five walks in the final line speaks to good fortune too. Atlanta’s southpaw has a dynamic arm and his draft price has soared in anticipation of Fried finally putting it all together. Last year Fried only walked 6.7% of batters faced, so the carousel he had on display yesterday should be an anomaly.
Jose Berrios (SP, Minnesota Twins): 4.1 IP, 6 Hits, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks
Berrios had the opposite result of his counterpart Fried, walking none but allowing nearly a run an inning. To be fair, Berrios was cruising till serving up a home run to Peter O’Brien in the fourth, something that could have been avoided if Josh Donaldson made the play that allowed Adam Duvall to reach. Despite the excuse I made there, Berrios still needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard — it’s critical that he does it to become an ace.
Deivi Garcia (SP, New York Yankees): 3.1 IP, 3 Hits, 3 ER, BB, 3 Ks
Garcia was a little off against the Marlins, throwing a number of balls in the middle of the plate. There were not too many breaking pitches thrown in this start though and Garcia’s is pretty good — I’d expect more of them thrown in his next start.
Sandy Alcantara (SP, Miami Marlins): 5 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Alcantara used his pitches effectively and efficiently against the Yankees, throwing sliders and changeup for whiffs while getting ahead and generating weak contact with his sinker. The only blemish on the afternoon was a misplay by third baseman Eddy Alvarez which resulted in Miguel Andujar‘s RBI ‘double’, so be very encouraged by this outing.
Kevin Gausman (SP, San Francisco Giants): 3.1 IP, 7 Hits, 4 ER, BB, 3 Ks
Gausman was poor in the rain shortened affair between the Giants and Rangers. He hung an off speed pitch to Sam Travis for a dinger before letting Todd Frazier hit a two-run double into the gap. While the hope is that moving to pitcher-friendly Oracle Park would cure his issues, this start gives that theory no favors.
Dinelson Lamet (SP, San Diego Padres): 4 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks
Lamet was sharp against the Mariners, only allowing one baserunner in his four innings. While you would have liked to see more strikeouts, it’s a good sign that he was able to get through his quota without too much trouble. The ability to pitch methodically with electric stuff like Lamet showed last night makes him an intriguing arm, to say the least.
Freddy Peralta (SP, Milwaukee Brewers): 4.1 IP, 3 Hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks
Peralta was able to strike out nearly two batters per inning against the Dodgers, throwing sliders and heaters to reach that feat. Two of his earned runs came after he was removed from the game. If Peralta is able to consistently use his slider and fastball combo, he will be a handful for many hitters going forward.
Walker Buehler (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 4 IP, 3 Hits, ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks
Even though Buehler walked more than he should have, Milwaukee could not capitalize besides an Orlando Arcia run-scoring double. The only thing holding Buehler back from becoming the best starting pitcher in fantasy, and arguably in real life, is the Dodgers’ management restricting his innings.
Yu Darvish (SP, Chicago Cubs): 3 IP, 4 Hits, ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks
Yu Darvish has to be the most intriguing and frustrating pitcher around. He’s got conceivably the best stuff in the sport, but sometimes he’ll just walk the park and give up hits that just make you want to pull your hair out. While his fastball routinely reached the upper-90s, Darvish was too inefficient with his pitches to go deeper into this game. Regardless, I still believe Darvish has the tools to continue last season’s success and will be buying everywhere.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Musgrove: good command? Still 94mph?
Loaisiga: Stretched out enough to start?
Duffy: 93mph? New SL good?
Price: CH/FB command
Lindblom: Consistent Splitter?
Luzardo: Overall command
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 12, 2020
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)