3/12 Spring Training Report

brett wallace castroauto

It’s taken quite some time for these two former first round collegians from the 2008 draft class to emerge as solid, everyday major league players.  In fact, whether it be injuries or poor approaches at the plate, both Wallace and Castro have not yet met the expectations heaped upon them after being drafted almost five years ago.  Wallace, a career .307 hitter at the minor league level, has struggled to hit an even .250 with just 16 HR in 232 major league games.  Castro played 87 games in his second season, hitting .259 with 6 HR and 29 RBI despite missing nearly all of July and part of August to injuries.  Both players are turning in solid springs thus far.  After going 3-3 yesterday, including his 3rd HR, Castro is now hitting .500 with 8 RBI in just 16 AB.  Wallace is well on the way to turning in his best spring as well.  With his 2nd HR yesterday, the Astros’ starting 1B raised his spring average to .321 and now owns a 1.066 OPS in his 28 at bats.

Yesterday was a day for the pitchers in both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues.  Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb posted another dominant outing, striking out six in five scoreless innings. Clay Buchholz tossed four scoreless innings for his second win.  Spring also gives the occasional long inning save opportunities.  With many established 9th inning specialists working earlier in games against MLB hitters, the later innings are usually filled by other bullpen or prospect arms getting extended work. That was the case with Houston’s new arm Philip Humber.  Last year’s perfect game hurler (the only good outing of his 2012 season) threw five innings of one hit ball striking out three and earning his first save of the spring.  Boston Red Sox prospect Allen Webster surrendered an unearned run over three innings of three hit ball, earning his second save.

3/12 Player of the Day

Click Pic to see this card @ Collector Revolution

Click Pic to see this card @ Collector Revolution

If you recall, I made a plea to the Braves long time top pitching prospect to take a big step forward and become the pitcher that the organization and a myriad of MLB scouts projected he would someday be.  He’s done his part this spring.  Yesterday, Teheran threw five no-hit innings allowing a couple of walks and striking out six for his first win of the spring.  Teheran has been a beast so far, allowing just two runs and four hits over his 14 innings of work.  Command has been a bugaboo for him in the past, but he’s only walked four hitters and has struck out 18.  Teheran is assured a spot in the Braves rotation for 2013 and should be a frontline contender for N.L. Rookie of the Year.

Other Notable Performances

  • Ben Revere—3-3 3R 2 2B
  • Chase Utley—1-4 HR(1) 3 RBI
  • Alex Avila—3-4 2 2B RBI 2R
  • Don Kelly—3-4 2 2B RBI 2R
  • Ramon Santiago—2-4 GS HR(1) 4 RBI off of Roy Halladay
  • Brett Wallace—2-5 HR(2) 2 RBI
  • Jason Castro—3-3 2B HR(3) RBI 2R
  • Matt Dominguez—2-2 HR(2) 2 RBI
  • Phil Humber—5 IP H 3K SV(1)
  • Alex Cobb—5 IP 2H 6K
  • Ivan Nova—4 IP 4H 2K
  • Todd Cunningham—1-2 3B 3R SB(1)
  • Ernesto Mejia—2-2 2B 2 RBI 2R
  • Jim Negrych—2-2 HR(2) 2 RBI
  • Clay Buchholz—4 IP 3H K W(2-0)
  • Allen Webster—3 IP 3H UER 3K SV(2)
  • Brad Miller—2-4 HR(1) RBI 2R
  • Patrick Corbin—4 IP 4H ER 2K W(2-0)
  • Felix Hernandez—3 IP H ER BB 3K L(0-1)
  • Alex Gordon—2-3 HR(3) RBI
  • Elvis Andrus—1-3 RBI 2R BB SB(1)
  • Mike Olt—1-1 HR(2) 2R 2 RBI BB
  • Alexi Ogando—4 IP 2H 3 BB 3K W(2-0)
  • Dexter Fowler—2-3 HR(1) ER 2 BB 5K
  • Mat Latos—4 IP 2H ER 6K
  • Everth Cabrera—3-4 2R 2 SB(3)
  • Freddy Garcia—4 IP 3H ER BB 6K W(1-2)
FREE Unlimited Listings!  FREE Transactions Under $5! Buyers Rewards Points For Every $ Spent!Click Here to Join Collector Revolution FREE Today!

FREE Unlimited Listings! FREE Transactions Under $5!
Buyers Rewards Points For Every $ Spent!
Click Here to Join Collector Revolution FREE Today!

2013 MLB Team Preview: New York Mets

metsteam

2012 In Review

The 2012 New York Mets season was a tale of two halves.  Buoyed by outstanding pitching and the resurgent bat of David Wright, the Mets blazed to a 46-40 record at the All-Star break.  Then things started to fall apart.  Former ace southpaw Johan Santana, after tossing two shutouts (including a no-hitter) in the first half of the season, completely fell apart.  The Mets’ $23MM man tossed just 14 innings after the all-star break before flaming out on the DL in August.  Santana’s 16.33 ERA over that stretch all but erased what was a solid first half and was responsible for five of the 48 post All-Star losses the Mets suffered.

Aside from Santana, the starting pitching was outstanding.  38 year old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey won 21 games and the Cy Young Award.  For a two month span (May-June), Dickey was nearly unhittable.  The righty compiled a 9-0 record with an ERA of 1.31 and 88 K’s in 82.2 innings of work.  #2 man Jon Niese posted career best marks across the board last year, earning 13 wins and striking out 155 hitters en route to a 3.40 ERA.  As impressive as Dickey and Niese were, the real pleasant surprise was the rapid ascension of 6-4 225 lb. powerhouse and UNC alum Matt Harvey.  The 23 year old earned his first career start in July and dominated from the get go.  In his 59.1 innings, Harvey disposed of 70 hitters by way of the K and held them to a .200 BA in his 10 second half starts.  His 3-5 record was indicative of the struggles had by both the bullpen and offense.

With the fences moved in, the Mets seemed to sell out for power.  While the club hit 33 more homers than 2011, their batting average slipped from .263 in 2011 to .249 last year.  Also down were the number of runs and bases on balls, while strikeouts were up by nearly 200.  David Wright’s first half numbers (.351/441/.563 11 HR 59 RBI 27 2B) were vintage splits, but the second half saw his OPS dip by more than 250 points, his plate discipline vanish (31 BB/65 K’s) and his runs, RBI, and doubles take drastic drops.  It was almost as if Wright was trying too hard for too long to carry a sluggish offense on his back.  Ike Davis led the Mets with 32 HR, but his .227 BA was among the lowest for Mets starters.  On the bright side, Davis’ second half produced 20 of his 32 HR’s and his average was increased by 40 points over his first half numbers.

2012 Lineup

  • C:  John Buck
  • 1B: Ike Davis
  • 2B: Daniel Murphy
  • SS: Ruben Tejada
  • 3B: David Wright
  • RF: Mike Baxter/Marlon Byrd
  • CF: Kirk Niuewenhuis/Collin Cowgill
  • LF: Lucas Duda

In large part, things remain pretty unchanged heading into the 2013 season.  The top of the order will be manned by Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy.  Both players have demonstrated in their relatively young careers a solid ability to hit for a high average, though neither have demonstrated the ability to hit for much power or demonstrated aggressiveness in utilizing their speed on the basepaths.  The middle of the lineup will consist of Wright, Davis, Duda, and probably Byrd.  Davis and Duda will be challenged to alter their pull-happy ways that were key contributors to the prolonged slumps they suffered through last year.  At their best, both Duda and Davis are solid run producers with the ability to hit 20-30 HR each and hit above .270.  Kirk Niuewenhuis is a somewhat intriguing player entering his sophomore season.  His blend of power and athleticism is comparable to Seattle Mariners OF Michael Saunders.  Like Saunders, Niuewenhuis would display tantalizing talent in one moment only to look completely overmatched in others.  He has the ability to hit near the top or near the bottom of the Mets lineup this year, or could find himself back at AAA.

Perhaps the most intriguing pieces of the Mets lineup are on the outside looking in.  New York traded R.A. Dickey in the offseason to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for their #1 prospect, catcher Travis d’Arnaud and RHP Noah Syndergaard.  d’Arnaud could make this roster out of camp, but will likely be sent to AAA Buffalo to play out the first couple months of the season.  The Mets haven’t had an offensively minded catcher since Mike Piazza.  While he may not have the future pedigree of a surefire Hall of Famer like Piazza, his 20-25 HR ability will be a welcome addition to a lineup aching for production.  The Mets have been experimenting with former SS Jordany Valdespin in the outfield.  Last year, the 25 year old put up some solid debut numbers in his 191 major league AB’s.  Valdespin hit 8 HR and stole 10 bases while batting .241 in a part time role.   This spring, Valdespin has already hit three HR and driven in eight runs while playing both the infield and outfield.  It seems that the Mets are grooming him to be a super utility player and are looking for increased opportunities to get his bat into the lineup.

2013 Rotation

  • Johan Santana LHP
  • Jon Niese RHP
  • Shaun Marcum RHP
  • Dillon Gee LHP
  • Matt Harvey RHP

Santana’s opening day status is still up in the air.  He drew some heat from Mets GM Sandy Alderson for showing up to camp out of shape and ill-prepared to pitch—not a desired characteristic for a man drawing a $25.5 MM salary.  The free agent acquisition of Marcum was a low cost option to fill the enormous hole left by R.A. Dickey’s departure.  While Marcum has proven to be a solid mid-rotation starter, there is an urgent need for the other pieces of the rotation to pitch as well or better than last year’s solid group.  Naturally, all eyes are on Santana, who is likely in his final season with the Mets.  Santana’s disappointing second half demise evokes concern that 2010 may have been the best of what the southpaw had left in the tank.

Matt Harvey’s sophomore season will also be an area of keen interest.  Dominant during his fast track ride through the minor leagues, Harvey was actually at his best when donning the Mets pinstripes.  70 K’s in 59 innings, Harvey allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his 12 starts.  He’s got the size, stuff, and command to be an ace of the Mets rotation in short order, however, I’d expect manager Terry Collins to limit his workload to less than 200 innings this season.  Just on the cusp of the major league roster is another electric frontline starter in 22 year old RHP Zach Wheeler.  Wheeler, a former San Francisco Giants 1st round pick, was acquired in a 2011 trade that sent Carlos Beltran to the Bay Area.  Wheeler split time at AA and AAA, going 12-8 with a 3.26 ERA and 148 K’s in 149 innings.  Wheeler’s only made one appearance this spring, which gives reason to believe that he’ll start the season at AAA.  He won’t be down there all year, though.  It’s easily conceivable that the Mets will be sellers at the trade deadline, possibly dealing Santana or Marcum.  When a rotation spot opens, be either trade or injury, Wheeler’s name will be at the top of the list to fill it.

2013 Bullpen

  • CL: Frank Francisco
  • SU: Bobby Parnell
  • RHP: Jueurys Familia, Jennry Mejia, Brandon Lyon, Elvin Ramirez
  • LHP: Josh Edgin, Robert Carson

Last year’s bullpen was abysmal.  Francisco, despite saving 23 games in 26 chances, had an ERA north of 5.50 and struggled mightily with his command.  He’s doubtful to be ready for opening day as he’s recovering from a December elbow surgery (bone spurs).  That may open the door for last year’s set up man Bobby Parnell to seize the job.  Parnell, in large part, pitched well last year, but struggled when given the opportunity to close games, blowing five of twelve opportunities.  Parnell’s fastball is electric.  He can hump it up to 100 MPH, and his knuckle-curve is a devastating strikeout pitch.  Despite the power fastball, Parnell is adept to forcing ground ball outs at a rate of 2.0 or better per fly ball.  The Mets have a couple of promising arms in Familia and Mejia that could serve in a variety of roles this season, either as swingmen, long relievers, or starters at the AAA level.

Five Undervalued New York Mets Cards

1.) Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2012 Serial Numbered RC Autos

kirknAt 6-3 and 215 lb., Nieuwenhuis is a complete athlete who can do a lot of things right on the baseball field.  The Mets have been searching for a leadoff hitter with an ability to get on base frequently and drive the ball with authority.  Nieuwenhuis has the ability to do just that.  In his three and a half minor league seasons.  the 25 year old posted a .817 OPS and stole 47 bases.  He is slated to platoon with Collin Cowgill in CF, but could play a more regular role if he demonstrates that he can hit LHP’s with more consistency.  Nieuwenhuis’ first autographed cards were in the 2008 Razor series, but his first MLB licensed autos are in an assortment of 2012 products, including Topps Chrome, Finest, National Treasures (there’s some beautiful patches there) and Triple Threads.  Surprisingly, serial numbered refractor versions of his autos can be had for prices under $5 each.  For a kid who has flashed five-tool ability and could see time at the top of a New York team’s lineup—that seems pretty darn low.

2.) Brandon Nimmo 2011 Bowman Chrome RC Auto

nimmoThe Mets #1 draft pick from the 2011 season played his first season at one of the most difficult hitters locales in minor league baseball, Brooklyn.  Nimmo, a Wyoming native, didn’t have a high school baseball team and was considered by many scouts and baseball insiders to be an extremely raw project.  Nimmo hit six HR at short season Brooklyn, and doubled 20 times in his 266 AB.  Though he hit just .240, it was Nimmo’s advanced plate approach (46 BB) that drew praise from the organization.  This year will mark the 6-3 195 lb OF’s first full season campaign, and it will be interesting to see if the plate discipline carries forward against more advanced and refined pitching.  Nimmo’s power bat and athleticism will carry him through the Mets’ system, though it may take a while for him to reach the major leagues.  If you’re patient and prone to long term prognostication, Nimmo’s 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft RC autos at $10-12 each could be solid value buys.  More affordable are his 2011 Bowman Sterling autos at $5-6 each.

3.) Lucas Duda 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Patch Auto RC

dudaThe USC alum had a down year in 2012, though his track record at both the minor and major league level would indicate that his struggles could very well be an outlier.  At 6-4 and 255 lb., Duda is a giant 27 year old who I think is primed for a career year.  He’s yet to surpass 400 AB in any major league season, but if he does, it’s not inconceivable to expect a 20-25 HR and 80-90 RBI output from him.  He’ll probably hit in the 5th spot in New York’s lineup, giving him ample opportunities to drive in David Wright and Ike Davis ahead of him.  Duda’s first year autos are in the 2008 Donruss Elite and Donruss Threads series.   There isn’t a whole lot of market data for these cards, but a couple recent sales of the autographed maufactured collegiate patches from the Elite Extra series both drew prices in the $5-6 range.  Honestly, I think if you can find an auto of his for less than $10, you’ll have purchased something with some growth potential.   Also, his 2008 Bowman Chrome non-autographed base RC’s have been nabbed at 50 cents to a buck each.

4.) Gavin Cecchini 2012 Bowman Chrome Draft RC Auto

cecchiniGarin’s younger brother was selected in the 1st round by the Mets this past June.  Baseball America liked him enough this offseason to rank the 19 year old SS as the #2 prospect in the Mets’ bountiful system.  Cecchini’s defense is his best tool so far and he’s projected to be an above average to excellent defender at the major league level.  Offensively, he’s a scrappy hitter with fringe average power potential and the ability to hit near the top of a major league lineup.  He batted .241 in his first professional season at rookie level Kingston and collected just 12 XBH in 191 AB.  However, he’s got some projectability in his 6-1 180 lb. frame and his contact rate and plus speed gives optimism to the notion that he’ll hit for a higher average going forward.  $6-8 range, as I think many people shied away from his unremarkable numbers.  I’d like to see what a full season renders for the younger Cecchini.

5.) Cory Vaughn 2011 Topps Minor League Serial #’ed RC’s

vaughnI’m going off the board a bit with this one.   If you look at any 2013 New York Mets preseason top prospects lists, you won’t see this guy in the top 20.  For a 23 year old who smacked 51 XBH (23 HR) and stole 21 bases in 25 attempts at High-A, that seems a little low to me.  Vaughn is a statuesque 6-3 and 225 lb.  While he’s struggled to hit for a high average (.262 in two and a half professional seasons) he’s posted an .826 OPS and has scored 180 runs.  The only cards of Vaughn’s are his 2011 Topps Pro Debut cards.  These are not autographed and can be found for as low as a quarter apiece.  More intriguing to me, are the serial numbered parallels.  There have been a couple sales of his blue versions (#/369) for less than $4 shipped.  Vaughn’s been solid in his brief spring training experiences and I feel that his 2013 season (likely at AA) will give us a much sharper perspective of his potential.  Keep you eyes peeled for possible autos in 2013 products.  Odds are they’ll be overlooked by several collectors chasing bigger names.

Summary

Better years are in store for the Mets, but 2013 probably won’t be one of them.  Down a Cy Young Award winner, this club will have to rely on several other players improving on their 2012 numbers in order to surpass the 74 wins from last season.  I expect better things from Duda, Davis, and Johan Santana.  Parnell should lock down the 9th inning duties for the entire year, and could be dominant in that role.  The emergence of Travis d’Arnaud will help this lineup and the development of Harvey and Wheeler as the future 1-2 punch for the rotation will be extremely intriguing.  In the end, this team could push past the 80 win mark, but I’d expect a moderate 2-3 win improvement over last year’s numbers.  In the N.L. East, that’s a fourth place finish.

3/10 Spring Training Report

Yesterday's dinger was the first of many more to come

Yesterday’s dinger was the first of many more to come

It’s been a few days since I published one of these!  For those of you who have enjoyed the several previous reports, I apologize for the brief hiatus.

Yesterday’s action saw some top prospects put some nice efforts together.  Miami’s Christian Yelich, who I recently profiled in the Miami Marlins season preview, hit his second HR, drove in a couple of runs and scored three times.  Yelich will probably start the season at AA, but he’s more than shown that he’s quite capable of being considered for a late season promotion.  Minnesota’s Aaron Hicks singled and walked in three at bats, scoring once and driving in a run.  Chicago’s new Cuban import Jorge Soler hit his first HR of the spring in his lone at bat yesterday.  On the mound, Gerrit Cole, the 2011 #1 overall pick, gave up a HR to Baltimore’s Ryan Flaherty, but was otherwise sharp in his four inning victory.  Cole allowed just two hits, walking one and striking out two.

3/10 Players of the Day: Rick Porcello  Detroit Tigers & David Phelps  New York Yankees

porcellorc  pehlps

This duo was chosen just as much for the context of their performances as they were for the actual numbers they put up.  Porcello tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out four for his second win of the spring.  Porcello has been a prime trade candidate for the Tigers this offseason and this spring has only enhanced his marketability.  In the past, Porcello has had trouble using his frontline starter stuff to miss bats, but this spring has been the 24 year old’s best to date.  Porcello has struck out 14 hitters in his 13 innings of work, allowing just three earned runs and 10 hits (.208 BA).  Even better, Porcello has not issued one base on balls in his three outings.  The Tigers are still in search of a potential closer to add to their roster for the 2013 season.  The Boston Red Sox’s Andrew Bailey and Washington Nationals’ Drew Storen have been names that have been bandied about as potential pieces.  Porcello on either of those rosters would be a highly valuable piece.

David Phelps emerged last year as a valuable swing man on the New York Yankees pitching staff.  Phelps, in his first full season with the Yankees, started 11 of his 33 games, striking out 96 in 99.2 innings of work.  He held hitters to a .223 BA and had a respectable 3.32 ERA.  Yesterday, Phelps won his second game of the spring, throwing five innings of shutout ball, allowing a walk and three hits.  Phelps has allowed just one run this spring in his 14 innings of work, walking three and striking out six.  The Yankees rotation currently features Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova in the #4 and #5 spots of the rotation, but Nova’s disappointing second half of last year not only bumped him from a postseason rotation spot, but put his 2013 standing in jepoardy as well.  While Nova has pitched well in his brief outings this spring, Phelps has pitched better.   Keep your eyes peeled on this position battle over the next couple of weeks.

Other Notable Performances

  • Christian Yelich—1-4 HR(2) 2 RBI 3R
  • Chone Figgins—4-4 2 RBI 2R
  • Marcell Ozuna—2-4 HR(1) 3 RBI 2R 2B
  • Chris Coghlan—3-4 RBI 2 2B
  • B.J. Upton—3-3
  • Wade LeBlanc—4 IP 5H K W(1-0)
  • Juan Rivera—3-4 3 RBI 2B
  • Shaun Marcum—3.2 IP H 2K
  • Jamie Garcia—5 IP 4H 2 BB K
  • Trevor Rosenthal—IP 3K
  • Freddy Galvis—3-4 2B 2 RBI
  • Cole Hamels—5 IP H ER BB K W(2-0)
  • Aaron Hicks—1-2 RBI R BB
  • Josh Willingham—1-2 HR(2) RBI BB
  • Andrew McCutchen—1-3 HR(1) 2 RBI
  • Pedro Hernandez—3 IP 2H 4K
  • Albert Pujols—2-2 HR(2) RBI BB
  • Kole Calhoun—2-2 2 2B 2 RBI BB
  • Vernon Wells—2-2 HR(3) 2 RBI 2R BB
  • Hank Conger—1-2 HR(2) 2 RBI 2R BB SB(1)
  • Alex Gordon—1-2 2R RBI BB
  • Alcides Escobar—2-4 2B 2R RBI
  • Billy Butler—3-4 2B 3R 4 RBI BB
  • Chris Getz—3-4 2R 2 RBI
  • Jed Lowrie—2-3 HR(2) 3 RBI 2B
  • Brent Morel—2-4 HR(2) RBI 2R
  • Dayan Viciedo—3-3 2B RBI 2R
  • Seth Loman—3-5 2 RBI R
  • Dylan Axelrod—3 IP H ER K W (2-0)
  • Shin-Soo Choo—4-4 2R 2B 2 SB(3)
  • Jorge Soler—1-1 HR(1) RBI
  • Dioner Navarro—2-3 HR(2) 2 RBI
  • Jason Marquis—4 IP 2H 2K
  • Travis Wood—4 IP H 3 BB 6K W(3-0)
  • Carlos Gomez—2-2 BB 2 SB(2)
  • Jurickson Profar—2-4 2 RBI
  • Leonys Martin—2-3 2B RBI 2R
  • Eziquiel Carerra—1-3 R BB 2 SB(8)
  • Matt Kemp—2-2 R RBI BB
  • Clayton Kershaw—5 IP 2H UER 3 BB 2K W(2-2)

2013 MLB Team Preview: Miami Marlins

2013 Miami Marlins Team Photo

2013 Miami Marlins Team Photo

“Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair”–Sir Edumund Burke

This could very well be the motto of the 2013 Miami Marlins.  It’s difficult to believe that just a year ago, this team was preparing to enter an artistically crafted brand new stadium with a roster of high priced, higher talent players and were favorites to win the N.L. East.  A slow start in April was followed by a torrid month of May (21-8) that saw the Fish climb back into contention in the East.  Then June happened.  Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton went down with a knee injury, missing 30 days and the Marlins went into the tank losing 18 of 26 games and falling back to the middle of the pack.  July wasn’t much better.  Miami went 10-16 and, lo’ and behold….

The fire sale began.

The first to leave were Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.  They were shipped to the Detroit Tigers for Jacob Turner and Rob Brantly.  Days after, All-Star 3B Hanley Ramirez packed his bags and headed to the West Coast as the L.A. Dodgers sent Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough as compensation (ouch!).  Things got worse.  1B Logan Morrison and OF Emilio Bonifacio suffered season ending injuries and the decimated Marlins played out the string of their games in losing fashion, ending up last in the N.L. East with a 69-93 record.

In the offseason, owner Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins front office wasted no time in continuing their roster liquidation.  Closer Heath Bell was jettisoned to Arizona in a three team deal for minor league infielder Yordy Cabrera.  A monsterous trade of Jose Reyes, Mark Bueherle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays netted Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, and a slew of minor league players, including Adeiny Hechevarria, Jake Marisnick, and Justin Nicolino,   The move was a stark indicator to Miami Marlins players and fans that the club had fully committed to a complete rebuild, a move that angered many, most notably superstar Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton has already gone on the record stating his desire to be traded as soon as possible from the organization that drafted him in 2008.

2013 Lineup

  • C:  Rob Brantly
  • 1B: Logan Morrison
  • 2B: Donovan Solano
  • SS: Adeiny Hechevarria
  • 3B: Placido Polanco
  • RF: Giancarlo Stanton
  • CF: Justin Ruggiano
  • LF: Juan Pierre

This could be a group that posts a serious challenge to the 1915 St. Louis Cardinals for lowest runs scored (590) in an MLB season.  That said, the cupboard is not completely bare.  At the tender age of 24, Giancarlo Stanton has already established himself as one of the most potent power hitters in baseball.  He’s a virtual lock for at least 40 HR, though it’s unclear if all of those will be hit in a Marlins uniform this season.  1B Logan Morrison will be looking to liberate himself from an injury-marred 2012 season.  He’s just one year removed from a career power year that saw him hit 23 HR and drive in 74 runs.  He’s quite capable of replicating that, especially if he hits in front of Stanton.  Rob Brantly is a solid all around catcher who has sound plate discipline and a bat that can hit for marginal power and a high average.  Brantly batted .290 in his 31 games with Miami last year, with three HR and eight RBI.  Another sleeper player is Justin Ruggiano, who flourished when given a starting role last year.  In 91 games, the 30 year old hit .313 with 13 HR 23 doubles and 14 SB.

2013 Rotation

  • Ricky Nolasco—RHP
  • Jacob Turner—RHP
  • Henderson Alvarez—RHP
  • Nathan Eovaldi—RHP
  • Wade LeBlanc—LHP

This year’s new look quintet is far less accomplished and less talented.  Nolasco, last year’s #4 starter is now the club’s “ace”.  Jacob Turner, once a blue chip prospect with the Tigers, seemed to turn the corner last year once he donned a Marlins jersey.  Turner had a 3.38 ERA in seven starts, holding hitters to a .208 BA and a 9 BB/29 K ratio in 42.2 innings.  At 6-5  215 lb.Turner has the build and repertoire to be the ace of this rotation as soon as this season, but he will be hard pressed to tally wins with the poor run support that will surely be provided by the Marlins’ anemic offense.  Eovaldi and Alvarez (21 and 22 respectively) have been hard pressed to find success yet at the major league levels and their ceilings are truly as mid-rotation, pitch to contact innings eaters.  The final spot in the rotation is tentatively slated to be filled by 28 year old Wade LeBlanc, though he also pitched as a swingman last year for the Marlins and could fill a role like that again.  The Marlins have a couple of veterans castoffs like Kevin Slowey and John Maine as well as homegrown prospects Brad Hand and Tom Koehler that could also fill the role.

2013 Bullpen 

  • CL:   Steve Chisek
  • SU:   Ryan Webb
  • RHP: Chris Hatcher, Dan Jennings, Evan Reed, Arquidemes Caminero
  • LHP:  Mike Reed, Scott Dunn, A.J. Ramos

This list is just as subject to change, if not more, than the starting rotation.  Chisek saved 15 of 19 games when Bell was on the DL and his 2.69 ERA and 68 K’s in 64 innings is evidence that he’s likely the best candidate to serve in the role again.  Beyond him is an assotment of names that have had mixed results at the major league level.  Don’t be surprised to see a few names from the rotational mix be sent here in long reliever/swingman roles.  In essence, picking the Marlins 2012 staff is like trying to guess the NCAA tournament bracket with 100% accuracy.

5 Undervalued Miami Marlins Cards

1.) Justin Ruggiano 2008 Bowman Sterling Auto RC

ruggianoAfter a several stints of being shuttled between AAA Durham and Tampa Bay, Ruggiano finally was able to receive regular playing time as a member of the Miami Marlins.  The Texas A&M alum hit 13 HR and stole 14 bases in just a little more than half a season’s worth of at bats.  Extend that pace over a whole season and it becomes conceivable that Ruggiano could be a strong 20/20 player in 2013.  Working against him, however, is that a) he’s a Miami Marlin…not exactly a hotbed franchise to collect, and b) he’ll turn 31 in mid-April.  Rookie card collectors tend to have muted enthusiasm for breakout players beyond the ripe age of 30.  That being said, Ruggiano has several 2008 autographs that are flying off the shelves at $3-5 each.  In fact, several low serial numbered cards (#/50 or less) have been nabbed by buyers in eBay auctions at less than $10 each.  I have to think that for a 20/20 player who can hit for a high average (.313 last year), there’s some wiggle room for fiscal growth here.

2.) Giancarlo Stanton 2010 Topps Chrome RC Auto

mike stantonThe man formerly known as “Mike” has carved out a legendary start to his sterling career.  In two and a half seasons worth of games, Stanton has socked 93 HR and driven in 232 runs. Last year’s 37 bombs were hit in just 123 games, as Stanton missed more than a month to injury.  As stated earlier in this piece, Stanton is none to thrilled about being a Miami Marlin, and one would have to surmise that his discontent with the club’s current direction is only going to grow.  Come July, pennant contenders from far and wide will come begging for Stanton’s services, ready to unload the bountiful harvests of their farm systems.  It seems logical to expect that at some point the right deal will come along and Stanton will don a new uniform.  That could only mean good things for the 23 year old’s future market appeal.  Well, that and the fact that he’s a 50 HR season waiting to happen.  Stanton’s 2010 Topps Chrome autographed cards can be had at about a quarter the cost of his 2008 Bowman Chrome autos.  $35-40 per card seem like an ideal catch for a player whose career path could follow another former Marlins great, Miguel Cabrera.

3.) Jose Fernandez 2012 Bowman Sterling RC Auto

fernandezHow nasty was Jose Fernandez last year?  The 20 year old Tampa, FL native was 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 158 punchouts in just 134 innings of work.  Fernandez began the year at full season Low-A ball and ended his season at High-A, but I suspect the Marlins will allow him to pitch the full season at AA this year.  A former 1st round pick (2011), Fernandez can hit 99 MPH on the gun with his fastball, and his curveball has the makings of being a powerful, bat-eluding strikeout pitch.  Fernandez, along with LHP and former 1st rounder Andrew Heaney, have some solid arms at the lower levels of their farm system that should someday join Jacob Turner at the major league level to form a formidable rotation.  Fernandez’s best value autos are in the 2011 Bowman Sterling product.  These can be found for as low as $10 each.  Seeing that Fernandez is one of the top five pitching prospects in baseball, these seem to be bargains.

4.) Rob Brantly 2010 Donruss Elite RC Auto

rob brantlyThe 23 year old’s first audition with the Marlins was a successful one.  With 29 hits in 100 AB, Brantly continued to demonstrate his ability to hit for a high average with a sound approach at the plate (13 BB/16 K).  Offensively, Brantly reminds me most of Milwaukee Brewers receiver Jonathan Lucroy, an offensively-minded line drive hitting machine with average to above average power and fringe average defensive skills.  Brantly will be the starting catcher this next season and should be able to post 10-15 HR while hitting for a batting average north of .270.  Brantly’s sole autographed cards are in the 2010 Donruss Elite Extra (#/819).  These sell for about $7-9 each.  Looking for Brantly RC’s in bulk?  His 2011 Bowman Chrome RC’s can be had for under 50 cents each.

5.) Christian Yelich 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft

christian yelichThe Marlins #1 ranked prospect has raked in the Grapefruit League this year, opening the eyes of the organization even wider than they already were.  Yelich is hitting .379 with 2 HR 9 RBI and 9 runs scored in 29 spring AB’s.  Even more impressive is the 6 BB/4 K ratio he’s curried, drawing praise from current Marlins manager Mike Redmond.  Yelich, in two minor league seasons has hit for a combined .322 BA with 27 HR 130 RBI and 53 SB.  Yelich should start the season at AA Jacksonville and could find himself with the major league club by the end of the season.  Currently ranked by Baseball America as the #13 overall prospect in the major leagues, Yelich will become the face of the Marlins franchise once Giancarlo Stanton moves on….it will happen.  Yelich’s first year autos are in the 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft set, selling for $30-40 each right now.  Those could be a bargain if what we’ve seen this spring is an indicator of the impact that he’ll have once he becomes a full time major league player.  A lower cost, potentially higher return investment are his non-autographed chrome cards from that set.  Those can be had at $1-2 each and regularly available in quantities of 10 or more.

Summary

The Marlins best years are ahead of them.  The fleecing of last year’s potential playoff roster was an outrage to the Dade Couinty community that had just constructed a $600 million stadium project heavily levied by taxpayer money.  The 2013 season will be a difficult one for Fish fans to watch….and they may decide not to.  The prevailing stories to watch for this coming season will be what developments occur in what may be Giancarlo Stanton’s swan song with the club that drafted him.  Also, the development of some of their young talent, Jacob Turner, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, and Andrew Heaney will be of keen interest.  Other than that, this could well be a 100 loss year for a franchise that just a year ago was considered a playoff lock.

2013 MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves

braves

2012 In Review

Last year’s Atlanta Braves team returned to the postseason after missing the boat in 2011.  At 94-68, the Braves earned a one game Wild Card playoff, but lost to the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals.  That fateful October game was the final one of Braves third baseman Chipper Jones’  long and illustrious Hall of Fame career.  Jones finished the season strong, hitting .287/.377/.455 with 14 HR 62 RBI and 58 runs scored.  Other much younger Braves players enjoyed breakout seasons that helped propel Atlanta’s roster to a strong second place finish in the N.L. East.  One of the biggest success stories was the emergence of superstar OF Jason Heyward from his sophomore slump.  While 2011 was utterly forgettable for Heyward, he rallied in 2012, hitting .269 with 27 HR 82 RBI 21 SB and 93 runs scored.  23 year old 1B Freddie Freeman turned in a solid second season, blasting 23 HR and driving in 93 runs.

The 2012 season saw another vintage effort from veteran ace Tim Hudson.  The 37 year old right-hander led the Braves staff with 16 wins and a 3.62 ERA.  An even bigger success story emerged from the bullpen last year to become the Braves most dominant starter in the second half of the season.  Kris Medlen made all 12 of his starts in the second half of the season, going 9-0 with an ultra-Gibsonean ERA of 0.94.  The league hit just .189 off of Medlen and struck out 95 times in 95.1 second half innings.  Sealing the deal for the Braves was, again, Craig Kimbrel who is hands down the most dominant closer in all of baseball.  Kimbrel saved 42 of 45 games and struck out a silly 116 hitters in 62.2 innings.

2013 Lineup

  • C:   Brian McCann
  • 1B: Freddie Freeman
  • 2B: Dan Uggla
  • SS: Andrelton Simmons
  • 3B: Juan Francisco/Chris Johnson
  • RF: Jason Heyward
  • CF: B.J. Upton
  • LF: Justin Upton

Last year the Braves offense sat near the middle of the pack in virtually every offensive category.  This offseason, they set out to make some major changes to the potency of the lineup.  They started by signing former Tampa Bay Rays star B.J. Upton to a 5 year-$75MM contract.  Upton’s presence replaces former leadoff hitter Michael Bourn, giving the Braves a little more youth and a lot more pop from the CF position.  Just weeks after signing Upton, the Braves made a cannonball-sized splash in the trade market, snatching B.J.’s brother Justin from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade that sent Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and a number of minor league players to the D’Backs.  Upton’s 2012 season was a disappointing drop from his MVP caliber 2011 season and his malcontent with the Diamondbacks organization made him expendable.  Playing everyday next to his older brother is a dream come true for Upton, and his ability to put up monster power numbers easily trumps the solid production they received from Martin Prado last season.

Those two additions give the Braves the best trio of outfielders in baseball, and provide a significant power upgrade to help augment the production of solid regulars like Dan Uggla, Brian McCann, Freeman, and Heyward.  The left side of the Braves infield, though, represent question marks.  Second year SS Andrelton Simmons has the biggest burden, as he will be tasked with handling the Braves’ leadoff duties this season.  Simmons had a strong showing in his debut with Atlanta, hitting .289 with 3 HR and 19 RBI in 166 AB.  The 23 year old as adept at making contact with the ball and won’t be prone to the high strikeout numbers that his predecessor, Michael Bourn, racked up last year.  Simmons doesn’t walk or steal bases much, but with the added power behind him in the lineup, that element of the game isn’t going to be as big a factor.  The battle for innings at 3B may end up being a platoon situation.  Left hand hitting Juan Francisco started 49 games there last year and probably has the highest ceiling of any candidate for the position.  His 9 HR and 32 RBI in 192 AB gave only a glint of the immense power he possesses in his 6-3  245 lb. frame.  Strikeouts and work ethic are areas that have historically impeded Francisco’s development as an everyday player.  Reportedly, he spent the offseason playing winter ball in the Dominican Winter League and has gotten off to a strong start this spring (.370 2 HR 5 RBI).  Chris Johnson was the little-mentioned “other piece” in the Justin Upton trade.  The 28 year old established career highs across the board last year, hitting .289 with 15 HR 76 RBI and 28 doubles in Houston and Arizona.  Like Francisco, Johnson’s struggled with strikeouts, though his BABIP is consistently better than his left-hand hitting counterpart.  All signs point to this being a platoon situation, though manager Fredi Gonzalez is letting them play near equal time to try and win the position outright.

2013 Rotation

  • Tim Hudson RHP
  • Kris Medlen RHP
  • Mike Minor LHP
  • Paul Maholm LHP
  • Julio Teheran RHP

We covered the exploits of Hudson and Medlen already.  The Braves swapped out Tommy Hanson to the L.A. Angels in exchange for reliever Jordan Walden–a move I still don’t understand.  Talented righty Brandon Beachy was off to a great start before having to undergo season ending Tommy John surgery.  Beachy’s rehab will continue well into the month of June, leaving southpaw Paul Maholm to claim his spot in the rotation at least until he returns.  The Justin Upton acquisition required the talented arm of Randall Delgado, forcing the Braves to look to a long term prospect to finally fulfill his major league calling.

Julio Teheran, your time is now.

Teheran, still just 22 years old, breezed through every minor league stop from 2008-2011. His first season at AAA was electric (15-3  2.48 ERA 122 K’s in 145 IP).  All things seemed to be in line for him to make a strong rookie impression.  He didn’t.  Teheran looked terrible in AAA going 7-9 with an ERA over 5.00 as Interntional League hitters batted .289 against him and tagged 18 long balls (he surrendered just five in ’11).  A promotion to the majors didn’t remedy things.  Teheran stared four games and surrendered 15 earned runs (four HR) in just 26 innings.  Like the myriad of young, promising pitchers before him, Teheran struggled with his command.  Being a fly ball pitcher with command problems leads to lots of balls being hit far and hard.  Factor in an abnormally high walk rate, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.  The good news is that those problems have not surfaced this spring.  Teheran has thrown nine innings over three Grapefruit League games and has allowed just two runs on four hits with a sterling 2 BB/12 K rate.  It’s early and it’s spring, but those are promising numbers from a still uber-bright prospect.

2013 Bullpen

  • CL: Craig Kimbrel
  • SU: Eric O’Flaherty
  • SU: Johnny Venters
  • RHP: Jordan Walden, Cristhian Martinez, Cory Gearrin
  • LHP: Luis Avilan

The venerable Craig Kimbrel is baseball’s best closer, hands down.  The addition of Jordan Walden in the offseason, gives more late inning flexibility to the Braves as they can use on of their two left-handed setup men, O’Flaherty and Venters, to serve as a more situational reliever.  This unit from the 8th inning on is one of baseball’s best and, with an improved offense, Kimbrel could easily crack 50 saves this season.

Five Undervalued Atlanta Braves Cards

1.)  B.J. Upton 2002 UD Prospect Premieres Auto XRC

bjLast year we had a Triple Crown winner for the first time in 45 years, this year could give us the next 40/40 player.  No, I don’t think it will be accomplished by Mike Trout, but it is not out of the realm of possibility for new Braves CF B.J. Upton to join the list.  Last year, Upton launched a career high 28 HR and stole 31 bases despite playing in a pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field.  Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium is a much more power neutral site, and American League hitters have historically enjoyed greater success when transitioning to the National League.  That, coupled with an improved lineup around him, could push Upton at least into the 30/30 club and, perhaps, beyond.  2002 was the first year Upper Deck released their Prospect Premieres set.  The prospect-laden series was designed as Upper Deck’s version of previous Topps Traded and Donruss Rookies products that featured XRC’s of baseball’s top prospects.  This is Upton’s first autographed card and it can be had for $15-20 each.  I think a move to the National League and to a more robust hobby market like Atlanta will have a positive effect on the values of these cards.  If he goes 40/40 and helps Atlanta play deep into October, these cards could usurp the $60-70 price tag that Prince Fielder’s autos from this set currently command.

2.) Juan Francisco 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Auto RC

franciscoAs stated earlier, Francisco is in the midst of a battle with Chris Johnson for the everyday role of Atlanta Braves 3B.  All indications from manager Fredi Gonzalez point to this being a non-platoon situation and both Johnson and Francisco are rising to the challenge this spring–perhaps that was Gonzalez’s aim.  Francisco’s ceiling as a power hitter is much higher than he’s demonstrated to date.  In 602 minor league at games, Francisco has hit 112 HR and has a career .502 SLG.  He’ll likely get the majority of at bats against right handed hitters, even in a platoon split, and will have plenty of RBI opportunities with the Uptons, Heyward and Freddie Freeman hitting ahead of him.  Francisco’s first year autos can be found in the 2008 Donruss products Threads and Elite Extra. Both of these are serial numbered offerings (Threads #/999 and Elite Extra #/1485) and are extremely affordable.  Francisco’s autos in both products can be had for $3-5 each.  Though his egregious plate discipline severely limits his upside, Francisco could put up a 20-25 HR season for a team that should be playing its most meaningful games well into October.

3.) Mike Minor 2011 Topps Chrome Auto RC

There may not have been a better pitcher in the month of September last year than Mike Minor.  The 25 year old lefty was 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA and a sterling 9 BB/28 K ratio in 31 innings.  During that stretch, hitters batted just .129 against Minor and scored just three runs.  September was just a microcosm of Minor’s season, however.  His first half numbers (6.02 ERA .271 BAA  16% HR/F  40 BB in 92 innings) resembled an entirely different pitcher.  This season begs the question, “was September a turning point?”  If so, his 2011 Topps Chrome autos, currently selling in online auctions for $4-6 each, would be steals.  If not…well…disregard this part of the article.  My hunch is that his true talent lies somewhere in between.  Still, that would be a southpaw that wins 11-14 games per year with and ERA just south of 4.00 and good for about 150 K’s per year.  For a mid-rotation starter, that’s not too bad.

4.) Evan Gattis 2013 Topps Heritage Minors RC

gattisAn Atlanta Braves roster without Brian McCann.  Heresy, right?  That is the possibility that this club faces, though, if it doesn’t get a contract extension done at some point this season.  The Braves haven’t appeared to be in a rush to do that either.  One reason may be the depth of catching talent within their system that is near major league ready.  Defensive whiz Christian Bethancourt has Gold Glove capabilities behind the dish, but can’t hit.  Evan Gattis can hit and has the size and athleticism to play a variety of positions.  Gattis was invited to camp as a non-roster player and has paced the Braves in hitting this spring, batting .450 with six RBI.  Brian McCann is going to miss much of April rehabbing his shoulder, leaving a roster spot behind veteran Gerald Laird for a backup catcher.  Given Gattis’ versatility and power bat (he’s 6-4 230 lb.), there could be some opportunities for him to earn some playing time in April and beyond.  Gattis currently have one baseball card, his 2013 Topps Heritage Minors RC.  This card can be had for a dollar and, if bought in bulk, even less than that.

5.) Julio Teheran 2011 Topps Chrome Auto RC

It’s refreshing to see a present day player who takes pride in their signature!  Teheran’s John Hancock is clear, legible, and even artistic.  It’s reminiscent of Mariano Rivera’s ornate signature.  Perhaps Teheran can channel some of the future Hall of Famer’s greatness and capitalize on the talent that has tantalized the organization for several seasons.  His showing this spring is a leap in the right direction.  Teheran has allowed just four hits over his first nine innings and has a 2 BB/12 K rate.  Virtually assured a rotation spot with the Braves, this is now the third audition that the 21 year old (yes, he’s still that young) has had with the club.  Hopefully, for the Braves and for prospectors alike, it will be the charm.  This 2011 Topps Chrome card is currently moving at $8-10 each while his first year autos in the 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects set are in the $22-28 range.

Summary

The offensive upgrades will provide the boost to this club to keep pace with the Washington Nationals in the East.  The Braves should equal last year’s win total and could challenge for 100 wins if their pitching remains consistent and youngsters like Minor and Teheran step up and fulfill their potentials as the next in a long line of highly successful Atlanta Braves starting pitchers.  That may be a bit much to ask for this season, as Washington’s pitching staff is on a whole other level.   Regardless, the offense will be fun to watch and anything short of another postseason appearance will be an immense disappointment.

3/7 Spring Training Report

alex cobb archer

Those of you who have read the 2013 Tampa Bay Rays season preview that I recently posted would know just how bullish I am about the near future fortunes of Alex Cobb and Chris Archer.  Both pitchers were on top of their games today as Cobb tossed four one-hit innings of shutout ball, striking out five hitters. With the game still scoreless, he handed the ball to Chris Archer who put up another three scoreless frames, walking two and striking out three to earn his first win of the spring.  Cobb is a lock for the Rays rotation and has now struck out 12 hitters in his 9 innings of work, allowing just two runs and six hits.  Archer’s on the bubble for a 5th rotation spot, competing with bounce back candidate Jeff Niemann and offseason veteran acquisition Roberto Hernandez.  Archer’s done his part.  In his seven innings of work, he’s allowed just one hit and has walked three while striking out five.  He’s yet to allow a run this spring, which is more than either Niemann or Hernandez can say for themselves.

Today was a big day for a couple of promising prospects.  The numbers that these two American League youngsters put up makes it too difficult to award just one of them with the top performance of the day.  Therefore, they will share the award.

3/7 Players of the Day: Aaron Hicks & Stefan Romero

hicks  romoero

Aaron Hicks hit not one, not two, but three HR today in a Grapefruit League game against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Most impressive about the blasts were that two of them were towering moonshots to the opposite field.  It was hard to tell if the wind was blowing out, thereby giving aid to what could have been long flyball outs in Target Field, but one thing is for sure.  This switch-hitting 21 year old OF can hit, hit, hit.  Hicks had four knocks today, scoring four times, driving in six and even stealing his first bag of the spring.  Last year, the 6-2  195 lb. former 1st round pick played a complete season at AA New Britain where he filled up the stat sheet (.286 BA 13 HR 61 RBI 21 2B 11 3B 31 SB 100 runs 79 BB).  Hicks is currently vying for an opportunity to break camp with the Twins.  Both Ben Revere and Denard Span went to the National League in the offseason, leaving a vacancy in center field.  Demure speedster Darin Mastroianni has been rumored to have the inside track for the starting job, as he can play all three OF spots and has top of the order speed.  While Hicks seems to be the long term solution for the position, the fact that he’s not played a game above AA serves as a slight detriment delaying his ascent.  Today’s performance, however, may just shift the advantage in his favor.

Stefen Romero, on the other hand, is assured to be a minor leaguer come April 1st.  That being said, the 2012 Seattle Mariners minor league player of the year put up a monster day of his own.  Romero homered twice, including a grand slam, doubled and singled, driving in seven runs and scoring four times.  The 2B/OF prospect split time last year between High-A High Desert and AA Jackson, batting .352 with 23 HR 101 RBI 34 2B 12 SB and 85 runs scored.  Romero is an Oregon State alum who, at 6-2 220 lb., is a polished and potent middle infield power bat.  He should start the season at AAA Tacoma and, seems to be roadblocked by Dustin Ackley at 2B for the time being.  I wouldn’t be surprised, with his size and athleticism to see a switch to the outfield where the M’s are organizationally thin.

Other Notable Performances

  • Wilkin Ramirez—3-5 R
  • Darin Ruf—2-4 2B 3 RBI
  • Eduardo Escobar—3-4 R RBI
  • Clay Buchholz—3 IP 2H 4K W(1-0)
  • Dustin Pedroia—2-4 2B 2R 2 RBI
  • Mike Napoli—2-3 HR(2) 3 RBI
  • Jackie Bradley—2-2 R RBI
  • Tim Beckham—1-2 2B 2 RBI R SB(2)
  • Gio Gonzalez—3 IP 3H BB 3K
  • Phil Humber—4 IP H BB K
  • Ricky Nolasco—3.2 IP 3H UER 6K L(1-1)
  • Matt Harvey—4.1 IP 5K no hits
  • Taylor Linsdey—2-2 HR(1) 4 RBI 3R
  • Travis Witherspoon—1-2 3 RBI 2R SB(1)
  • Howie Kendrick—2-3 HR(3) RBI
  • Khris Davis—2-3 HR(3) 2 RBI
  • Paul Konerko—3-3 2 HR(3) 2 RBI 2R
  • Jose Quintana—3.2 IP 2H ER BB 4K W(2-0)
  • Casper Wells—2-5 HR(2) 2B 4 RBI BB
  • Hisashi Iwakuma—3 IP H K W(1-0)
  • Hiroyuki Nakajima—2-3 R RBI SB(2)
  • Jed Lowrie—1-2 HR(1) 2 RBI 2R BB
  • Tom Millone—3 IP 3H BB 3K W(1-0)
  • Hunter Pence—2-3 2 RBI R
  • Nick Swisher—2-3 3 RBI (.624 BA)
  • Ryan Raburn—2-2 2 2B 2 RBI
  • Chad Gaudin—3 IP 2H 2K
  • Dee Gordon—2-3 2R 2 SB(5)
  • Yasiel Puig—2-3 RBI R
  • Matt Angle—2-2 HR(1) 4 RBI
  • Jeff Baker—2-3 3R
  • Leonys Martin—1-2 3 RBI
  • Tyler Collins—2-2 2R RBI
  • Danny Worth—3-3 2 2B 2 RBI
  • Drew Smyly—4 IP 2H BB 4K W(2-0)
  • Julio Teheran—4 IP 3H ER BB 5K L(0-1)
FREE Unlimited Listings!  FREE Transactions Under $5! Buyers Rewards Points For Every $ Spent!Click Here to Join Collector Revolution FREE Today!

FREE Unlimited Listings! FREE Transactions Under $5!
Buyers Rewards Points For Every $ Spent!
Click Here to Join Collector Revolution FREE Today!

3/6 Spring Training Report

taveras

anthony rendon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oscar Taveras and Anthony Rendon were both slated to be in their respective AAA sites once camp breaks, but both top prospects have been doing everything in their power to push for a spot on their team’s Opening Day roster.  Taveras hit his second HR of the spring and added a single, driving in two runs.  Taveras raised his Grapefruit League batting average to .333 and has driven in 8 runs in 27 AB.  Rendon’s sole hit in three at bats left the park, giving him his third HR of the spring.  Rendon flashed his versatility yesterday, playing SS for a majority of the game and is now batting .400 with 8 RBI as well.

Several veteran pitchers were on top of their games yesterday.  Justin Verlander, Justin Masterson, and James Shields each pitched three or more scoreless frames and earned victories for their respective ballclubs.  Roy Halladay, looking to bounce back from an injury-hampered 2012, out-dueled Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, throwing four shutout innings for his first win of the spring.

3/6 Top Performer: Alex Gordon Kansas City Royals

gordon

The Royals outfielder collected three more hits including a double and his second HR of the spring.  Gordon drove in four runs and scored twice, raising his average to .524.  The Royals have made significant strides this offseason to be a competitive team in the A.L. Central.  Though spring stats have been universally understood to have little to do with regular season success (see: Ryan Raburn), the fact that the Kansas City Royals are a perfect 11-0 in the Cactus League is worth mentioning.  This club is stocked with a wealth of high upside talent like Gordon, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Salvador Perez.  With an improved pitching staff centered around James Shields and Ervin Santana, this could be a team that not only cracks the.500 mark, but gives the Tigers a run for their money in the coming season.

Other Notable Performances

  • Matt Holliday—1-1 HR(2) 2 RBI BB
  • Torii Hunter—1-2 HR(1) RBI 2R
  • Justin Verlander—4 IP H BB 3K W(1-0)
  • Tommy Joseph—3-4 2B R
  • Domonic Brown—2-3 2B R
  • Roy Halladay—4 IP 2H BB 2K W(1-0)
  • Sterling Marte—1-2 2R BB 3B
  • Jose Tabata—1-2 2R 2B RBI
  • Mitch Moreland—2-3 RBI R
  • Robbie Ross—4 IP 4H ER K W(1-0)
  • Alexi Ogando—3 IP 2H ER 2 BB 6K
  • Justin Masterson—4 IP 3H 3K W (2-0)
  • Khris Davis—2-3 HR(2) 2 RBI
  • Rickie Weeks—3-3 R
  • Erasamo Ramirez—3 IP H BB 3K
  • Alcides Escobar—2-4 3B 2R RBI
  • James Shields—3 IP 3H 2K W(1-0)
FREE Unlimited Listings!  FREE Transactions Under $5! Buyers Rewards Points For Every $ Spent!Click Here to Join Collector Revolution FREE Today!

FREE Unlimited Listings! FREE Transactions Under $5!
Buyers Rewards Points For Every $ Spent!
Click Here to Join Collector Revolution FREE Today!