Opening Day Notes

 

  • Jackie Bradley Jr. has made the Red Sox’s Opening Day roster, as the Red Sox’s placed Shane Victorino on the 15 day Disabled List.
  • Eduardo Nunez has been optioned to Triple-A, this is a huge blow to his stock as the possible successor of Derek Jeter.
  • Mike Olt made the Cubs Opening Day roster after a very good spring.
  • Jonathan Schoop has made the Orioles roster and is possibly the biggest second baseman in baseball at 6 ft 3 and 230 pounds.

 

 

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Yankees Position Update

As reported yesterday and predicted here at the beginning of spring training, Michael Pineda has made it into the New York Yankees rotation as the number 5 starter, beating out David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren. Pineda has had a great spring posting a 1.2o era in 15 innings and only walking 1 batter. Look for David Phelps and possibly Adam Warren to start the year out of the bullpen with Vidal Nuno starting the year at Triple-A.

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Jurickson Profar Update

The Rangers announced today that Jurickson Profar will be sidelined 10-12 with a muscle tear in his right shoulder. This comes as a huge blow to the rangers as he was slated to be the starting second basemen. Look for guys like Josh Wilson and Adam Rosales to get the opportunity to be the second baseman come opening day. However, the guy to watch in all of this is Rougned Odor, who is one of the Ranger’s top prospects, Heis only 20 years old and hit .303 with 11 home runs between Single-A and Double-A.

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Cardinals Update

Kolten Wong has been named the starting second baseman for the red birds. No surprise here, especially with the way Wong has produced this spring posting a .375 batting average, while slugging.700. Mark Ellis, who signed this off-season will backup Wong and give depth to the Cardinals infield. The Cards still have one more big position battle left between Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, and Tyler Lyons all battling for the fifth spot in the rotation. We will have an update when the Cardinals announce the winner.

Update: Mike Matheny announced today that Joe Kelly has won the 5th starter job and Carlos Martinez will begin the year as a the setup man to Trevor Rosenthal.

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Outfield Prospects: Springer, Marisnick, Bradley, Piscotty, Polanco

The Houston Astros recently offered George Springer a contract worth $23 M for 7 years.  Springer rejected it, and both sides have yet to comment on the rejected contract.  A popular question is: If Springer is worth so much, then why is he not on the big league squad?  Ken Rosenthal debates that question and others about Springer’s contract and future.

Jake Marisnick of the Marlins has been having a big Spring Training.  He was called up to the big league roster last year but was sent back down after struggling and not hitting much.  The Marlins have some depth in the outfield but could use his hitting if he can stay consistent.  Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel in Miami tweets that if he makes the team out of ST, then he will be a starter.

Sam Dykstra recently highlighted different prospects battling for starting positions with their respective teams.  One of these is Jackie Bradley Jr., who was expected to win the spot outright.  Grady Sizemore has been on a tear lately and if he can prove that he can play consistently healthy, many speculate that he could win the job.  Dykstra disagrees, saying that Bradley has the edge to the center field spot.

With Oscar Taveras out due to injury again, the next outfield prospect for the Cardinals, Stephen Piscotty has been seeing lots of playing time.  He has been hitting well, and many are starting to ask if he could break camp with the Cardinals.  Jenifer Langosch of mlblogs.com states that Piscotty won’t make the Cardinals roster since being pulled up to sit the bench would hinder his development.  He will be good, but he may be a September call-up at the earliest.

Jon Paul Morosi opines that Pirates OF Gregory Polanco should make the Pirates outfield sometime in 2014.  He points out that if the Pirates are willing to put Polanco into the Super 2 status, then they may start him in the outfield for Opening Day.  That scenario will likely not happen, since the Pirates have the financial benefit of keeping him in the Minors and Polanco would benefit from a little extra time in the Minors.

 

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Royals Postition Battle Update

Yordano Ventura has won the 5th starting pitcher job for the Kansas City Royals. Ventura has a good spring stats with a 1.76 era. Ventura brings a power arm and a fastball that can touch 100. However, The guy I thought would win the job, Danny Duffy, has been brutal this spring posting a 11.00 era in nine innings.

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Pitching Prospects Updated: K’s leader, Walker, Bauer, Spring Training Cuts

In a recent article Jim Callis, Jon Gray of the Rockies was voted to be the likely Strikeout Leader for the Minors in 2014. The runner-ups are Tyler Glasnow of the Pirates, Henry Owens of the Red Sox, and C.J. Edwards of the Cubs.

Taijuan Walker of the Mariners is healing and almost fully recovered from his shoulder issues.   Today he is throwing a 50-pitch bullpen including breaking balls.  This is the first time since injuring his shoulder that he has thrown breaking balls.  If today goes well, he looks to be ready right after Opening Day.

Trevor Bauer and his electric fastball look to be back.  In his last start, he was hitting 96, 97 consistently.  Look for him to get a chance to pitch for the Indians soon if he can keep up his consistency.  McAllister has been struggling and the Indians rotation is what helped them make the playoffs last year.

There have been many cuts so far in Spring Training.  There are some of the bigger named prospects that have been sent down to the Minors. Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero of the Mets were sent down.  Chris Dwyer and Kyle Zimmer of the Royals were also sent down.  The Blue Jays sent down Ricky Romero and Marcus Stroman.  Jameson Taillon of the Pirates was also sent down to Minor League camp.

Yordano Ventura, a top ranked Royals prospect has made the Royals rotation.  He throws extremely hard and will impress many as he goes through the rookie ups and downs.  He has pitched really well in Spring Training.

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Spring Training Battles: Kansas City Royals

The Royals actually open this year up with only one question mark on the team and that is who is the number 5 starter. The Royals rotation lines up to be James shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas, and Bruce Chen. The fifth starter competition is between Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy, and Wade Davis. Ventura, 22, made his major league debut last year and started 3 games posting a 3.52 era. Ventura is the number 50th ranked prospect, according to Keith Law and put up good minor league stats going 8-6 with a 3.14 era. Danny Duffy went 2-0 last year in 5 starts after returning from Tommy John surgery. He is only 25 and had a 1.85 era last year, but he has some injury issues as he finished last year on the disabled list with a tight forearm. Lastly, there is Wade Davis, 28, who has seen time in the rotation and the bullpen in his career. He posted a 5.67 era last year in the rotation before being pushed to the bullpen where he posted .90 era in 10 innings from the pen.

Prediction: Look for the Royals to compete for a wild card spot again this year as they are returning a very similar team from last year. As for the rotation look for Wade Davis to be back in the bullpen, Ventura to start the year at Triple-A and Danny Duffy to win the job. However, if Duffy or Chen falter look for Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer, the number 10 prospect in America, according to Keith Law, to take their spots. 

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Spring Training Battles: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers made a couple of  headlines this off-season by trading away Prince Fielder and Doug Fister, acquiring Ian Kinsler, Steve Lombardozzi and got a first time manager in Brad Ausmus. Even with these deals the Tigers should still expect to be in the post-season come October. These trades might hurt the Tigers offensively, but look for them to be a better defensive team this year with Cabrera moving to first, Kinsler at second and Castellanos, one of the tigers top prospects, to playing every day at third base. Also the rotation, barring injury, is pretty much set with Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly. The Tigers plan on starting Torri Hunter in right, Austin Jackson in center, Victor Martinez at DH, leaving the one position battle is who is going to play left field. The competitors are Rajai Davis, Don Kelly, Steve Lombardozzi, and Andy Dirks was in the competition before getting back surgery yesterday. Davis, 32,  batted .260 last year with the Blue Jays with 6 home runs and 45 stolen bases in 108 games. Kelly, 34, is a career .229 hitter with only 23 home runs in 6 years. Lastly, there is Steve Lombardozzi, a career utility man, batted .259 last year with 2 home runs.

Prediction: The Tigers no matter how inexperienced their manager is, find a way back to the post-season. Look for Rajai Davis to see a lot of time in Left field to begin the year and getting a day off to Lombardozzi and Kelly against a tough righty. However, as soon as Andy Dirks is able to return look for it to be a platoon between Dirks and Davis. 

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