Spring Training Recap: March 2

Innings and injury news are ramping up in Florida and Arizona.

The interesting arms are back on TV, Trevor Bauer got Matt Beaty out after telling him what was coming, and the injury news just keeps going. Here’s what to know after another day of palms and cacti:

 

News

  • Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both expected to miss opening day.
  • Chris Sale (elbow) is scheduled for an MRI after soreness.
  • Cody Bellinger was scratched with side soreness.
  • The Yankees have inquired about a trade for Steven Matz.
  • Freddie Freeman (elbow) started a game for the first time this spring.
  • Cole Hamels is still dealing with shoulder irritation, and has no timetable for return.
  • Jimmy Nelson (groin, lower back) started playing catch again.
  • Steven Brault (shoulder) has been shut down for two weeks.
  • Andrew Miller is “having trouble getting a feel for the ball.”
  • Kwang-Hyun Kim (groin) was scratched, but threw a bullpen session.
  • Jose Bautista has worked out as a pitcher, hopes to play as a two-way player.

 

Top Hitting Performances

 

Christian Bethancourt (C, Philadelphia Phillies): 2-for-2, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI

The one-time catcher/outfielder/pitcher hybrid took both Shane Greene and Will Smith deep after coming into the game in the 7th. He’ll have to do a whole lot more to sniff the Phillies’ major league roster, but this was a fun showing from the former top prospect who never quite put it all together.

 

Jesse Winker (OF, Cincinnati Reds): 2-for-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB

Winker had trouble playing his way out of a platoon in 2019, and the crowded Reds outfield is doing him no favors. That makes it all the more meaningful that he reached base against both David Price and Julio Urias, lefties whom he would probably have sat against last year.

 

Matt Beaty (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers): 2-for-3, HR, 2B, R, RBI

In an environment where every utility player is a “super-utility man,” and half the Dodgers’ lineup might get used like utility players, Beaty is going to have to be super to earn his share of at-bats. He added two more extra-base hits yesterday, pushing his spring OBP to .474. His upside is likely still capped at the righty side of a platoon, but he did manage a .840 OPS against them last year.

 

Kyle Seager (3B, Seattle Mariners): 3-for-3, 2B, R, RBI

Seager was a notable member of the BSOHL club this spring, and while injuries have stolen the past two years from him, seeing him healthy is a huge plus. Whether the Mariners could benefit from him having a healthy and productive 2020 may depend more on whether another team likes what we’re seeing.

 

Tommy Edman (2B/SS/3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI

With third base and much of the outfield in flux in St. Louis, Edman has lineup spots to fight for this spring. We know he can make contact, but whether he starts to walk more than the 4.6% rate he showed in the majors last year might be more worth watching this spring.

 

Delino DeShields (OF, Cleveland Indians): 2-for-3, 2B, R, RBI

Going to bat against his former club, DeShields saw his most important action with RISP, despite hitting leadoff. His defense and speed have never been in question, so seeing him making hard contact on his ground-rule double was a great sign. He’s slated to be the fourth outfielder in Cleveland, and needs more of the same, especially minus the strikeouts, to earn more time in April.

 

Eloy Jimenez (OF, Chicago White Sox): 2-for-3, 2B

There’s really nothing notable about Jimenez hitting baseballs. The bats ahead of him struggled against Chris Paddack and Craig Stammen, limiting how full his line could get, but it’s good to see Jimenez without any clear issues heading into his sophomore season. He’s slashing .300/.408/.615 so far this spring.

 

Joey Rickard (OF, San Fransisco Giants): 2-for-2, 2B, 3B, R, 2 RBI

Before we go all-in on the “former Oriole breaks out” narrative again, it’s worth noting that Rickard did his damage against the lesser arms of the Diamondbacks’ staff. But considering Rickard’s creeping strikeout issues and problems with breaking pitches, it was good to see him torch a James Sherfy curveball for his double.

 

Sam Hilliard (OF, Colorado Rockies): 2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI

The Rockies gave their highly-touted outfield prospect a good workload yesterday, and he mostly delivered. The two extra-base hits were indicative of the power potential he has, but he also struck out twice. We’ll expect more of the former, but Hilliard is going to have to bring the strikeout rate down to earn the playing time we’d like to see and get the most out of Coors Field.

 

Cristian Pache (OF, Atlanta Braves): 3-for-3, 2 SB, R

Pache did two of the three things we want to see more of in 2019 yesterday. His two steals were more than he managed in his Triple-A stint last year, and a quarter of his season total. And three hits means zero strikeouts, which were something he was having trouble with in Double-A. His power is still developing, and we didn’t get any glimpses of it yesterday. But if his .333 OBP and .500 SLG continue this spring and into April, we might get what we really want to see: Pache in a Braves uniform this year.

 

Pitching Roundup

With Kwang-Hyun Kim being replaced by Genesis Cabrera, the intrigue only increased. Here’s how these pitchers to watch fared:

 

Asher Wojciechowski (SP, Baltimore Orioles): 3 IP, Hits, ER, 1 BB, 2 K

The 31-year-old Oriole showed us everything that made him a popular pickup last summer before Camden Yards came for him. It will be hard to trust his defense and home park to keep the runs low if he’s striking out fewer than one per inning, but if his stuff continues to show up like it did yesterday, he might have a role in fantasy in 2020.

 

Charlie Morton (SP, Tampa Bay Rays): 2.1 IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Morton didn’t manage any strikeouts, but the other results were certainly there. As for dopeness, I’ll let you evaluate:

 

Genesis Cabrera (SP/RP, St. Louis Cardinals): 1 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Cabrera left the game with a trainer with a cracked fingernail after walking the first batter he faced in the top of the second, which is something of a double-edged sword. He only allowed two base-runners in his first inning, not three, which is more palatable. The Cardinals expected him to be able to pitch longer, which bodes well for his ability to start games. But if this keeps him from pitching this spring, we may have less to evaluate, and he may have somewhat less of a chance to break camp as a starter. And with Kwang-hyun Kim scratched, the already-thin Cardinals rotation is going to need some serious help.

 

Chris Paddack (SP, San Diego Padres): 3 IP, 2 Hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Paddack threw nine curveballs out of his 42 pitches, up from two in his last outing. Both of his hits came on weak contact, and while the strikeouts left something to be desired, the walks didn’t, and it’s more encouraging to see that Paddack is investing time in this new offering. The net outcome paints a picture of an unpredictable pitcher who got results even while toying with batters — a very good result.

 

Dallas Keuchel (SP, Chicago White Sox): 4 IP, 6 Hits, 1 ER, BB, 1 K

There was plenty of room for interpretation in Keuchel’s first start. Zero walks and one run through four innings is more than good enough, and he induced eight groundouts and a lineout to short. But Tim Anderson‘s defense cost him an infield hit, and all five balls to clear the infield were hits, including a ground-rule double. Chicago is depending on Keuchel to give up manageable weak contact, and he did a lot of that yesterday, but signs that things can go wrong were also there.

 

Sonny Gray (SP, Cincinnati Reds): 2.2 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Matt Beaty‘s solo shot to start the second was Gray’s only run allowed, and he was replaced after 12 batters. This wasn’t a perfect start — he clearly wasn’t as dialed in as he was during his monster second half — but he also kept the game under control against a strong Dodgers lineup. Worth watching is what he’s doing to his curveball: He dropped it down below 75 mph in this start after it was living in the low 80s last year. He put an emphasis on “fun” in postgame interviews, and an effective slow curve is certainly that.

 

David Price (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 1.1 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Sonny Gray‘s opposite had much less fun, allowing five to reach base and getting just four outs. He admitted to nerves after the game, saying his “legs were shaking” during his outing, but also discussed how his wrist was feeling considerably better than at the end of last season. And the stuff was there, at least when he was getting strikeouts — we’ll want to see more of this cutter he used to strike out Joey Votto.

 

Merrill Kelly (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks): 2.2 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Kelly’s fastball hung in the 92-94 mph range, just below where we’d ideally like to see it, but not terrible, either. All three hits were singles to center, and his one earned run came after Trevor Clifton gave up two hits with outs in the third. Overall, this was a solid start for Kelly — three strikeouts through less than three innings, no command problems, and no issues with hard contact can’t really be read any other way.

 

Frankie Montas (SP, Oakland Athletics): 2 IP, 0 Hit, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Montas made short work of the Cubs yesterday, giving up zero hits over two frames. At this point, we would have hoped that Montas could have gone through three innings, but without any other clear red flags, it’s probably unwise to read into that. And his two strikeouts showed off exactly what we want: big heat up, and splitters below the zone.

 

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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