Welcome to the Spring Training recap for March 8! 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. Lots of action in both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues so here we go!
- Blake Snell will return to spring training on Monday after receiving a cortisone shot to his elbow
- Carlos Carrasco is experiencing “mild elbow inflammation” but the team is not too concerned
- Adalberto Mondesi is on schedule recovering from shoulder surgery and the Royals hope he can be ready by Opening Day
- Dodgers Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, and Jimmy Nelson are all on track to return to action soon after a variety of ailments
- Justin Verlander was removed from his Cactus League start in the second inning for precautionary reasons after he experienced triceps soreness
- Tyler Chatwood is the leader for the Indians final starter role according to David Ross
- Joe Ross appears ready to edge Austin Voth for the fifth starter position with the Nationals
- Willie Calhoun suffered a broken jaw after taking a Julio Urias pitch to the face. Will be further evaluated Monday.
Top Hitting Performances
Hunter Pence (OF, San Francisco Giants): 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Pence drove a high fastball over the left-field fence in the fourth inning and doubled as well, driving in three and scoring two runs. Pence could be a good pickup late in the draft in deep formats, but keep an eye on where he fits into the Giants lineup as he is likely to start the year on the bench.
Darin Ruf (1B, San Francisco Giants): 3-for -3, 3 2B, 2 R
Coming off a hot day at the plate on Saturday, Ruf continued to tear things up with three doubles and two runs against the Mariners on Sunday. A non-roster invitee, Ruf will have to keep up the blistering pace – he has a 1.525 OPS this spring – to win a spot on the Giants’ roster.
Peter Alonso (1B, New York Mets): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI
Alonso hit an RBI double in the fifth inning off of Jose Urquidy to give the Mets the lead. Without a home run this spring, Alonso had gotten off to a slow start. After his stellar rookie campaign, he’s being drafted among the top first basemen.
Yandy Diaz (3B, Tampa Bay Rays): 2-for-2, 3B, R, BB
Diaz hit a ground ball triple just inside the bag down the right-field line that rattled around in the corner allowing Diaz to reach third base. Typical of Diaz he hit the ball hard on the ground and this time it worked out for him. No doubt the fantasy managers taking him in the later rounds join the Rays in hoping he can bring his launch angle up and put that power to good use.
Kyle Farmer (SS, Cincinnati Reds): 3-for-4, R, RBI
Farmer had a big day at the plate with three hits to drive in one run and score one himself. Farmer figures to be on Cincinnati’s bench to start the season.
Carter Kieboom (SS, Washington Nationals): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI
Kieboom has big shoes to fill as the replacement for Anthony Rendon in Washington at third base. He hasn’t shown much pop this spring, but slugged a double today and drove in a run.
Anthony Rizzo (1B, Chicago Cubs): 2-for-2, 2 2B, R, RBI
Rizzo doubled in both of his at-bats against the Reds on Sunday. He missed a couple of games with a blister issue but it didn’t seem to bother the stalwart first baseman today. He is on pace to remain one of the better options in a comparatively thin field for first base.
Here was our list of starters to watch from yesterday’s games:
SPs to watch on TV today:
Dakota: SLs for Whiffs?
PabLo: solid CBs?
Clarke Schmidt: Someone to consider mid-season for stream?
Verlander vs. Thor: YES PLEASE
Urias: CBs/SLs for whiffs?
Lyles: Good CBs?
Sheffield: FB command + good CH?
Paddack: new CB?
Shelby: 94mph velo?
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 8, 2020
Kenta Maeda (SP, Minnesota Twins): 4 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K
Maeda and Martin Perez found themselves in a pitching duel to start the contest between the Twins and Red Sox in Grapefruit League action Sunday. Maeda had the better outing, slicing and dicing the lineup of Sox regulars with a good combination of soft stuff and fastballs. He threw four scoreless allowing just two hits, striking out six without a walk.
Martin Perez (SP, Boston Red Sox): 4 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, BB, 7 K
Not to be outdone, Martin Perez threw four scoreless himself and while he allowed more baserunners, he struck out seven Twins. Scattering four singles, Perez was able to prevent any damage by inducing most of his outs via the whiff, which is not his usual modus operandi. Perez is slated to be in the middle of Boston’s rotation with the departure of David Price.
Noah Syndergaard (SP, New York Mets): 3 IP, ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K
Syndergaard continued his walk-free spring by striking out four and walking none on Sunday against the Astros. He looks good to rebound from a down year in 2019 to reclaim his spot among the top-ten drafted pitchers. Bitten by a 13.3% HR/FB rate in 2019, Syndergaard could be a big beneficiary if the ball returns to a less bouncy state.
Justus Sheffield (SP, Seattle Mariners): 3 IP, ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K
Sheffield has apparently added a two-seamer to his arsenal and was unleashing it for the first time Sunday to very good effect, striking out five Giants. The Mariners’ prize in the James Paxton trade, Sheffield is almost certain to be a fixture in Seattle’s rotation all season for the M’s.
Julio Urias (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers): 3 IP, 0 ER, H, BB, 3 K, HBP
Though marred by the HBP that sent former minor league teammate Willie Calhoun to the hospital with a broken jaw, Urias was otherwise excellent. He tossed three scoreless innings with no walks and three strikeouts, allowing just one single. The talented young pitcher is the likely fifth starter for the Dodgers, but he has never thrown more than 79.2 innings and is unlikely to throw much more than 130 this year.
Mitch Keller (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates): 3 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, BB, 5 K
Keller allowed one run on three hits and a walk over three innings, striking out five Rays. Keller indicated all his pitches felt good in a post-game interview. He should be in the Pirates’ rotation and could be a good mid-to-late option to round out a pitching staff.
Reynaldo Lopez (SP, Chicago White Sox): 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 5 K
Though knocked around for five hits over the first 4.1 innings of what would be a shutout of the Padres, Lopez struck out five with no walks. He commanded his breaking pitches well against the lineup of mostly regulars, who did not manage an extra-base hit off the ChiSox righty. Always a talented pitcher who has never put everything together, this is the kind of stuff that might tempt managers to draft Lopez earlier than his ~ 300 ADP.
Matt Shoemaker (SP, Toronto Blue Jays): 4 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, BB, 4 K
Shoemaker allowed just one walk through four hitless and scoreless innings against the Phillies’ lineup which contained a good mix of regulars. Although he can’t be counted upon to be healthy, Shoemaker will have a spot in Toronto’s rotation and is coming at a very low price in drafts.
What to Watch For Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Nola: FB cmd in-and-out
Happ: FBs up-and-in
Kwang-Hyun Kim: Deserved #5 spot?
Garrett Richards: FB cmd + SL whiffs
Cease: Overall command
Tony Disco: SLs = whiffs, CB/CH good?
Heaney: Overall command
Wood: 92/93 mph?
Prince Felix: Deserved #5 starter?
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) March 9, 2020