Spring Training numbers need context before taking them seriously. It’s more important for those competing for jobs. Here are some things that have caught my eye in the spring.
Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson competing for Rockies starting second base job.
McMahon seemed to be the odd man out, but he’s crushing in the spring with a .429 average (18-for-42) with three home runs, seven doubles, four walks and six strikeouts. McMahon struggled last season in limited opportunity with 202 plate appearances and a slash line of .232/.307/.376 with a 31.7 percent strikeout rate. He changed the position of his hands and it has helped. Hampson has played well, too. Hampson is 10-for-32 with three home runs and six steals. Hampson is going in the middle rounds of drafts due to his speed, while McMahon is going in the reserve rounds. Both guys deserve to play.
Jon Gray teasing us….again.
I had a few shares of the Rockies right-hander last season and it was a rocky road. Gray has been inconsistent, but has excellent stuff. The problem is Coors Field. In 17.2 innings, Gray has a 22:1 K:BB ratio and a 2.25 ERA. Gray had a 9.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 last season, so the ability is there. I might have to get at least one share.
Jack Flaherty’s stock is rising.
The Cardinals right-hander has dominated in the spring and he’s moving up draft boards. He has a 2.77 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and a 37.3 percent strikeout rate.
Dakota Hudson leads the battle for the final spot in Cardinals’ starting rotation.
Hudson had another good outing on Monday with five scoreless innings, striking out eight. He has a 1.72 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and a 17:4 K:BB ratio in 15.2 innings. John Gant is also in consideration for the spot.
Victor Robles is the real deal.
Some might have forgot about Robles since he was hurt last season. If he was healthy, Robles might have got the call instead of Juan Soto. Robles has excellent and speed and some surprising pop. The Nationals outfielder has a slash line of .353/.465/..559 with two home runs and six stolen bases. He might start the year batting eighth, but don’t be surprised if he moves up.
Kyle Wright competing for spot in Braves starting rotation.
He was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 draft and had a 3.46 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 133 strikeouts in 138 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He’s 23 and in 12 spring innings, he has a 3.00 ERA, allowed 11 hits, two walks and struck out 16.
Jung Ho Kang will start at third base for the Pirates.
Kang has shown power in the past and has five home runs in the spring, but that’s all he has done with 13 strikeouts and no other hits with a .179 average. He’s worth taking a shot on in the reserve rounds.
Pablo Lopez and Caleb Smith shining for Marlins.
The Marlins are going to be bad, but they have some solid pitchers, including Lopez. He has a 1.29 ERA over 14 innings and allowed eight hits, one walk and struck out 11. He made ten starts for the Marlins last season with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 58.2 innings. Expect him to have some value in 15-team mixed leagues. Smith has allowed one run in nine innings and allowed two hits, no walks and struck out 13. Smith has a high spin rate on his fastball and had a 10.2 K/9 last year.
Pete Alonso has immense power.
The Mets first baseman is hoping to make the Opening Day roster and he’s impressed with his power in the spring. Even if he doesn’t make the team to start, he should be up quickly. The key will be how he adjusts to breaking pitches, but he can hit 25-30 home runs.
Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa battling for spot in Yankees starting rotation.
Cessa pitched 44.2 innings for the Yankees last season and didn’t impress. He’s out of options and could start in the rotation to open the season with Luis Severino and CC Sabathia sidelined. Cessa has done what he can to win a spot with a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings and allowed seven hits, one walk and struck out 13. German has a great arm and has a 1.54 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and an 18:2 K:BB ratio in 11.2 innings. German is the one to take the shot on.
Frankie Montas pitching well for A’s.
The A’s have a lot of questions in the starting rotation and Montas is hoping to be an answer. He made 11 starts last season and with a 3.96 ERA, but only 43 strikeouts in 63.2 innings. He throws in the high 90s with a slider and added a splitter. In 13 innings, he has a 0.69 ERA and allowed 11 hits, walked three and struck out 13.
Is the bad Lewis Brinson back?
The Marlins outfielder got off to a fast start, but he’s slumping again. He struck out three times in four at-bats Monday and has one hit in his last 16 at-bats with five strikeouts. Brinson has five home runs and one stolen base in three attempts.
Hunter Pence is going to make the Rangers.
Pence is tearing it up in the spring. He is 15-for-39 with five doubles and three home runs and four stolen bases. Pence turns 36 in April and has been injury prone the last few seasons.