Welcome to the Spring Training recap for March 3! 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 12 exciting games so let’s get to it!
- A.J. Puk will be temporarily shut down with a mild left shoulder strain.
- Mike Clevinger threw off flat ground from 150 feet and is looking at a mid-April return, barring any setbacks.
- Blake Snell (elbow) played catch yesterday and is set to do so again today.
- Adam Eaton left Tuesday’s game after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring.
- Yordan Alvarez was scratched from the lineup Tuesday due to knee soreness.
- Christian Yelich reached an extension with the Brewers good for $215 million over the next nine years.
- Kyle Freeland (back) is set to throw another bullpen session on Thursday.
- Stephen Woods has been shut down from all baseball activities due to an ankle injury.
Top Hitting Performances
Austin Riley (OF, Atlanta Braves): 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI
Batting cleanup and playing as the designated hitter in this one, Riley homered in the sixth inning to provide the Braves with their only two runs of the game. The 22-year-old is currently in a battle for the Braves starting third base job with Johan Camargo, so he will need more days like this in order to begin the season in the starting lineup.
Brandon Lowe (1B, 2B, OF, Tampa Bay Rays): 1-for-1, R, 2 BB
Brandon Lowe continued his strong spring yesterday, reaching base in all three of his plate appearances. He is now batting .417 with a 1.200 OPS, and he looks poised for a big year out of the leadoff spot, assuming he can stay healthy.
Gio Urshela (3B, New York Yankees): 1-for-2, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB
On a day where the Yankees put up nine runs on 13 hits, Gio Urshela was the only Bronx Bomber to hit one out of the park, for his first homer of the spring. Urshela looks to be a lock to be the Yankees’ starting third baseman on opening day, as he aims to build off a huge breakout season.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, St. Louis Cardinals): 2-for-3, HR
The veteran first baseman had a nice day at the plate, crushing his second homer of the spring with a third-inning blast against Justin Verlander. Performances like these are certainly encouraging after a disappointing 2019 season by Goldschmidt’s standards.
Jeff McNeil (2B, 3B, OF, New York Mets): 2-for-3, HR
Batting leadoff in this game, McNeil led things off for the Mets with a solo shot off of Jordan Yamamoto for his first bomb of the spring. McNeil is now batting .533 in spring training thus far, and he could certainly find himself in the running for a batting title this season.
Jorge Mateo (SS, Oakland Athletics): 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, SB
Mateo got the start at shortstop and batted atop the order in this one, collecting three hits and stealing his third base of the spring. The 24-year-old is in a heated battle to win Oakland’s everyday second base gig, so he will need more of these games if he is going to secure the job.
Franmil Reyes (OF, Cleveland Indians): 2-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI
Batting out of the five-spot yesterday, Reyes slugged his third round-tripper of the spring, this one coming in the second inning off of Andrew Heaney. Reyes has been crushing the ball so far, with an OPS of 1.770. Coming off a 37 home run season and reportedly in much better shape this year, 40 homers aren’t out of the question.
Wil Myers (1B, OF, San Diego Padres): 1-for-3, 2 R, HR, RBI
After an offseason full of trade rumors, Wil Myers is still in San Diego and is crushing the ball so far in spring training. Myers hit his third home run of the spring in this one, and it seems like he could be looking at regular playing time once the season begins. Despite an underwhelming 2019 season, the former AL rookie of the year is a legitimate threat to have a 20/20 season, which could make him a nice value pick at the end of fantasy drafts.
Kole Calhoun (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks): 1-for-2, HR, BB
Batting third in this game, Calhoun smacked his first homer of the spring off Greg Holland in the fifth inning. Coming off a career-high 33 home runs with the Angels before signing with the Diamondbacks, Calhoun could provide some late value in fantasy, especially if he sees most of his at-bats out of the three-spot in the order.
Here was our list of starters to watch from yesterday’s games:
SPs to watch on TV after you vote today:
Hudson: SL for whiffs?
Tanaka: Splitty good?
Thor: 4S up? SLs down/out of zone?
Heaney: CBs and CH for whiffs? FB up?
Carrasco: Cmd good? CH/SL for whiffs?
Weaver: CT for strikes?
G-Rich: Cmd good?
GO S̶t̶e̶p̶h̶e̶n̶ VOTE
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 3, 2020
Here’s how each of them fared:
Justin Verlander (SP, Houston Astros): 2.2 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
After skipping his first scheduled start of the spring with some groin discomfort, Verlander took the mound and threw 53 pitches against the Cardinals. While he didn’t have his best stuff in this one, last year’s Cy Young award winner hit 97 on the gun and looks ready to go for opening day.
Dakota Hudson (SP, St. Louis Cardinals): 4 IP, 2 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Starting against the Astros, Dakota Hudson was able to get through four solid innings in just 46 pitches. He allowed just his first walk of the spring, a very encouraging sign being that he has given up 104 free passes in 202 career innings. If this seemingly improved control carries throughout the season, Hudson could be in for a very nice year.
Masahiro Tanaka (SP, New York Yankees): 3 IP, 0 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Making his second start of the spring, Tanaka was brilliant in his three innings of work, retiring all nine batters he faced on five strikeouts and four ground outs. Fully recovered from a minor procedure in October to remove bone spurs from his elbow, Tanaka will once again be a huge part of a Yankees rotation that’s already riddled with injuries.
Noah Syndergaard (SP, New York Mets): 3 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Pitching against an underwhelming Marlins lineup, Syndergaard allowed three total runs (two earned) across three innings of work. More importantly, Thor continues to work with Wilson Ramos behind the plate in an attempt to build chemistry, after having very little success working together in 2019 before Syndergaard requested that Tomas Nido be his personal catcher down the stretch.
Andrew Heaney (SP, Los Angeles Angels): 3 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Going up against an Indians team that essentially had its opening day lineup on the field in this one, Heaney looked good for the most part but did give up a two-run blast to Franmil Reyes, as talked about above. Heaney has some decent upside but has struggled to keep the ball in the park, a problem that led to a 4.91 ERA last season despite an intriguing 11.14 K/9.
Carlos Carrasco (SP, Cleveland Indians): 2 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Making his first start of the spring, Carrasco gave up two runs on three singles in two innings of work against the Angels. He had solid command in this one but was unable to record a strikeout at the start. Now fully healthy, Carrasco should be able to get back to his 2018 form that saw him post a 3.38 ERA with 231 strikeouts across 192 innings.
Luke Weaver (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks): 1.1 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
After imploding for four earned runs while recording just two outs in his first spring start last week, Weaver was not a whole lot better in this one, surrendering two more runs in the first inning against the Royals. Overall, his command was shaky and he simply hasn’t had his best stuff or anything close to it in either of his Cactus League starts. Fortunately, he still has plenty of time to shake off the rust and get back to his 2019 form, when he posted a strong 2.94 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 64.1 innings.
Garrett Richards (SP, San Diego Padres): 2 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
In his first Cactus League start, Richards looked sharp, striking out two batters over two scoreless innings. He hit 96 on the gun and looked to be in mid-season form. His workload will be a major concern as he hasn’t topped 77 innings since 2015, but he should be effective when he’s on the mound.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Glasnow: Splitter? Overall cmd?
Soroka: SL/CH for whiffs?
Flaherty: In rhythm with FB/SL?
Woodruff: Still 97mph up?
Cease: FB & 2ndary cmd?
Bundy: Lots o’ SLs and CH please
Bumgarner: 91mph + CB increase?
Cueto: IS HE GOOD?!
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 4, 2020
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)