Playing statistics from spring training games don’t mean a whole lot when gauging player performances; however, they definitely mean a great deal when determining whether or not a player deserves to stay with the team. MLB teams continue to make shifts in their lineups this spring training, testing players at different positions and deciding that some simply aren’t ready for the major leagues.
Spring Training Roundup: Brewers & Astros
Orlando Arcia could have potentially been on the chopping block for the Milwaukee Brewers. The shortstop hit .236 in 2018 and dropped to .223 last year. However, the Brewers just brought in another shortstop, Luis Urias previously with the San Diego Padres, and this may have been the incentive Arcia needed to improve his game. This spring training, he’s hitting .280 wit five homeruns and 11 RBI so far, putting him in a first-place tie with the most spring training homers. If he keeps that up, he won’t have to feel threatened by Urias.
Today was a depressing day for a number of baseball players as they were handed their walking papers. Among these are six from the Houston Astros camp, all of whom are headed to minor league camp. Pitchers Brandon Bielak, Andre Scrubb and Ralph Garza are joined by catcher Lorenzo Quintana, infielder Osvaldo Duarte and outfielder Stephen Wrenn as they pack up their gear, leaving the Astros to work out the remainder of the 42 players still alive.
What About The Rays and Jays?
The Tampa Bay Rays are busy making last-minute adjustment and figuring out if they can count on some of the players expected to make a difference. Blake Snell has a question mark hanging over him, but should ultimately find his rhythm. He’s been playing through elbow soreness and walking four out of five batters this past Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays probably didn’t go over well. Still, he’s not realistically facing the exit door and could ultimately share the Rays spotlight with Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena, both of whom have turned up the heat in spring training. Unfortunately for Arozarena, though, the outfielder might be forced to spend some time in the minors because of the team’s outfield lineup.
The Blue Jays won that game against the Rays, and the reason is clear. Hyun-Jin Ryu was on the mound and gave just over four shutout innings, including four strikeouts. Add that to the grand slam by Danny Jansen and Toronto is starting to show signs of major strength. It’s only spring training and Jansen already has three homeruns and three stolen bases. He’s not holding anything back.
The Kansas City Royals have now dropped 12 candidates after determining that they weren’t quite ready for a permanent spot on the team. Three players – Foster Griffin, outfielder Nick Heath and catcher Meibrys Viloria – are off to Triple-A ball and one, Jeison Guzmán, is going to A-Advanced. Heading to minor league camp are Ofreidy Gómez, Arnaldo Hernandez and Jake Kalish, catchers MJ Melendez and Sebastian Rivero and infielders Gabriel Cancel, Kevin Merrell and Emmanuel Rivera. There are still 50 players in the Royals camp, of which 16 are non-roster invitees.
David Wright has a sweet new job with the New York Mets. After retiring from baseball, and the team, he isn’t quite ready to walk away and has been showing up at spring training to help get players into shape. Spending a week with the team, he gets to maintain his finger on the pulse of the team, but enjoys enough flexibility that he can walk away at any time – something he could never do during the 14 years he played for the team.
Tomorrow sees the start of a new rule in MLB. The three-batter rule is being implemented for pitchers as a way to keep coaches from making multiple changes on the mound, and it will make its debut in Cactus and Grapefruit League games to prepare for its use in the regular season. Instead of coaches being able to switch out pitchers at will, all pitchers will now have to throw to three batters, unless they can get out of the inning first. This might help keep the games running smoothly, but it’s doubtful that it will have any major impact on the fan experience.