Spring Training Stock Watch – March 8

Whose draft stock has changed at the midway point in Spring?

In this article, I’ll look at how the 4 hitters and 4 pitchers I featured in my earlier pieces are progressing. I’ll also look at some other guys who have caught my eye with their performance so far this spring.

Caveat: I won’t be looking at players whose value has decreased due to injury. We have an injury report from Jacob Robinson that goes out every week, so I will refer you to that for your injury news. I am focusing on guys who have raised or lowered their draft stock through their performance or expected playing time.

 

HITTERS

 

Garrett Hampson (2B/OF, Colorado Rockies)

.250/.313/.321, 0 HR, 7 K, 3 BB (28 at-bats)

It’s looking more and more like Hampson will be a super utility guy for the Rockies to start. He’s seen time in multiple positions in spring, and most lineups that look like potential Opening Day lineups for the Rockies have David Dahl in center with Sam Hilliard and Charlie Blackmon on the corners of the outfield. Despite a pair of early steals, Hampson’s performance hasn’t been good enough to force the Rockies to reconsider their lineup decisions especially with the rate at which he’s striking out this spring. I do believe that asking a guy with the injury history of Dahl to play center in Coors, one of the most grueling outfield jobs in the league, is a recipe for disaster, though. So, don’t give up on Hampson even though my verdict for now is DOWN.

Gavin Lux (2B, Los Angeles Dodgers)

..250/.308/.333, 0 HR, 5 K, 2 BB (22 At-bats)

With just five ABs against lefties so far this spring, it’s hard to make any kind of conclusions about Lux’s progression. Enrique Hernandez only has six ABs against lefties himself, so there just haven’t been many opportunities for either of them to state their respective case. Hernandez does have three early homers so far, but that’s not quite enough to push the needle one way or another. We will need more information here. PUSH

Khris Davis (OF/DH, Oakland Athletics)

.250/.400/.250, 0 HR, 4 K, 1 BB (12 At-bats)

It’s still a little early to tell with Davis as he only has fifteen plate appearances. He’s putting the ball on the ground a little more than I’d like early on, but I’m not willing to make any definitive statement one way or another until we get more data. PUSH

Nick Madrigal (2B, Chicago White Sox)

.208/.240/.208, 0 HR, 2 K, 0 BB (24 At-bats)

All of the lineups where the White Sox featured their other starters had Leury Garcia as their starting 2B. Look for Garcia to begin the year at the keystone and Madrigal to begin the year in AAA. Madrigal can still be a valuable mid-season call-up, but for now the verdict is DOWN.

Sam Hilliard (OF, Colorado Rockies)

.194/.242/.484, 2 HR, 11 K, 2 BB (31 At-bats)

See Hampson blurb. We haven’t seen much of Ian Desmond, and we have been seeing Hilliard in starter-heavy lineups for the Rockies despite his rocky performance at the plate (the strikeouts are particularly worrisome). He may just well be their opening day LF (Roster Resource now projects this, in fact) which really raises his stock. UP

Chris Davis (DH, Baltimore Orioles)

.500/.600/1.250, 3 HR, 2 K, 6 BB (12 at-bats)

We always knew Chris Davis could put up major power numbers, but look at his plate discipline numbers this spring! No, I did NOT mix up the strikeout and walk numbers. The man struck out nearly 40% of the time last year, so that’s a pretty big change even with such a small sample size. Don’t look now, but I’m low-key digging the Orioles offense this year. People are starting to ask the question, “Is Chris Davis back?” UP

Paul DeJong (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)

.476/.478/1.095, 4 HR, 5 K, 1 BB (21 at-bats)

He hit four homers in his first 14 ABs to begin the Spring, but also has a mediocre 1:5 BB:K ratio. We saw him come out of the gate hot last April, and he’s put together hot stretches like this before. But does this encourage me that he’s made a lasting change that will bring more consistency? No. The strikeouts are still there at the same rate, and his contact seems pretty similar. Perhaps he’ll make some small improvement this year, but this reads to me like just another DeJong hot streak that could be followed up by a sub-.200 month as easily as a .330+ month. PUSH

Jo Adell (OF, Los Angeles Angels)

.318/.348/.409, 0 HR, 11 K, 0 BB (22 at-bats)

Don’t let the .318 average fool you as it’s buoyed by a .636 BABIP. The top prospect has struggled so far this Spring with just one extra base hit and 11 strikeouts in 22 at-bats. With a 50% K-rate, his chances of breaking camp with the big league club are dwindling if not gone. He’ll need to make more contact and generate more fly balls if he wants any chance of avoiding AAA for the first couple months of the year.  DOWN

 

PITCHERS

 

Mitch Keller (SP, Pittsburgh Pirates)

7.50 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 5 K, 2 BB, 2 HR (6 innings pitched)

He’s said all the right things in interviews. He’s given us every reason to believe he’s working on the things we know he needs to work on to make the next jump. It just hasn’t quite come together yet in spring training. To his credit, it is a considerable improvement over last year’s spring, where he allowed ten earned runs and got just twelve outs. Still, it’s not quite what we were hoping to see at this point. DOWN, but only slightly.

Carlos Martinez (SP/RP, St. Louis Cardinals)

1.93 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7 K, 5 BB, 0 HR (9.1 innings pitched)

He made a big jump in pitch count from outing 1 to outing 2, but the results weren’t quite there as he walked five and struck out five in his first 4.1 IP. The results certainly came in outing 3 as he went five scoreless innings with no walks and two punchouts. This is the target number of innings we were hoping he’d get to by the end of spring training, so it’s really encouraging to see him hit it so early. With Miles Mikolas out, there’s room in the rotation for both CarMart and Kwang-Yun Kim who is doing his best to earn a rotation spot with 7 Ks and 1 BB in 5 scoreless innings so far. UP

Adrian Houser (SP, Milwaukee Brewers)

0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4 K, 2 BB, 0 HR (3 innings pitched)

With just 3 innings so far, it’s hard to say his stock is up or down. The innings have been mostly uneventful, but 4 Ks in 3 IP has me slightly closer to saying up than down. For now, I’ll choose PUSH.

Brad Hand (RP, Cleveland Indians)

2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5 K, 2 BB, 0 HR (4 innings pitched)

With the injury to Clase, that already relieves some pressure from Hand. Then, you have James Karinchak continuing to show control issues with 4 BBs in 4.2 IP, and Hand delivering three straight scoreless outings to begin the spring. I believe the pressure is off for now, but Karinchak has the ability to put together a crazy good stretch in the bigs and put it back on. UP

Clayton Kershaw (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)

0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 8 K, 2 BB, 0 HR (4.2 innings pitched)

He touched 93 and averaged 91 in his first Spring start. It’s not quite where he was in his prime, but it’s already a slight improvement on last year. The velocity and strikeout rate are encouraging signs that Kershaw might be able to squeeze out one more ace-level year, but the velocity should continue to be tracked as we get closer to Opening Day. For now, I think he’s UP

Sandy Alcantara (SP, Miami Marlins)

11.57 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, 4 K, 9 BB, 0 HR (7 innings pitched)

After a strong August and September last year, some have looked at Alcantara as a late-round value pick this year despite his less-than-ideal peripherals. He has yet to put together a decent showing this spring in three outings. Everybody gets batted around sometimes, but more worrying to me are those walks, which have been a problem in all three of Alcantara’s spring outings. DOWN

Spencer Turnbull (SP, Detroit Tigers)

1.13 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 10 K, 2 BB, 0 HR (8 innings pitched)

He already has touched 97 on the gun after averaging 93/94 on his fastball last year. Granted, he was able to touch 97 last year, but doing it this early in spring training makes me wonder if he could get there more consistently in 2020. Could we see a slight velocity bump from Turnbull? That would add a bit more helium to his stock, and give us more reason to believe that his first half last year was legit. UP

Dylan Bundy (SP, Los Angeles Angels)

0.00 ERA, 0.27 WHIP, 11 K, 1 BB, 0 HR (7.1 innings pitched)

After three straight springs with a 7+ ERA, Bundy has completely flipped the script here in 2020. Don’t forget, he was, at one point, the #2 prospect in all of baseball. He’s also getting upgrades in defense and park factors in the move from Baltimore to LA, in addition to the qualitative benefits of a change in scenery. Keep your eye on this one. UP

Photos by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire & Arturo Pardavila

Eric Dadmun

Eric is a Core Fantasy contributor on Pitcher List and a former contributor on Hashtag Basketball. He strives to help fantasy baseball players make data-driven and logic-driven decisions. Mideast Chapter President of the Willians Astudillo Unironic Fan Club.

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