Tag: 2013 MLB Spring Training

Odds of Top Boston Red Sox Prospects Making 2014 Opening Day Roster

In 2013, the Boston Red Sox turned from a last-place franchise into a World Series champion.

This sort of transformation, while rare and difficult, was the direct result of a number of key moves from general manager Ben Cherington—moves that combined incumbent stars with the right type of free agents to solidify what would be a championship team.

Looking forward to 2014, Boston will once more rely upon some magic.

This time, instead of focusing heavily on free-agent acquisitions, a number of young and talented rookie prospects will likely be asked to fill the voids left by certain players who are no longer with the team—or at least pending departure as is the case with shortstop Stephen Drew.

Along with Drew, Boston lost a number of the players that helped it win its third World Series in the last nine seasons.  Gone is center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury along with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

The Red Sox major free-agent acquisition to address these needs was catcher A.J. Pierzynski.  Other acquisitions landed bullpen depth as well as the needed retaining of first baseman Mike Napoli.

These losses open up the door for minor league and rookie prospects to have a shot at making the Red Sox’s Opening Day roster.

For the purposes of this article, we shall examine the top five Red Sox prospects and determine their chances of making the Opening Day roster.  This author shall use the rankings provided by Alex Speier of WEEI for Baseball America.

The report tells us much of what we already know—Boston has a very deep farm system and should be in excellent shape in coming years.  Yet, given the cast of incumbent Red Sox starters, many of these players will not have an impact in 2014, which leaves the door open for only a few guys to make the roster.

Some, like Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., have an excellent chance given the opportunity.  Others may have to wait their turn.

In any case, let us evaluate these top five prospects and determine whether or not we will see them at the start of the 2014 season.

Begin Slideshow

Seattle Mariners: Predicting the First 5 Prospects to Earn a Promotion in 2013

Welcome to the big leagues Brandon Maurer.

Thursday afternoon, fans of the Seattle Mariners had hoped to see the rookie hurler make the leap from Double-A to the majors unscathed following his impressive showing at spring training.  

Unfortunately, the Oakland A’s had other plans (Yahoo!Sports).

Over the course of six innings, Oakland scored six runs on eight hits, two of which were home runs, against Maurer. Yet, what may have seemed like a step backward for the young Maurer, was actually an important step toward the future for the Seattle Mariners.

After all, one bad outing does not make a season, and Maurer will likely have his fair share of ups and downs while in Seattle. More importantly, though Maurer’s appearance should be the beginning of a new era for the Mariners, as they hope to move past a decade of mediocrity.

Ever since general manager Jack Zduriencik took over the ballclub back in late 2008, the team has been stockpiling prospects (MLB.com) that fans have been eagerly awaiting to see in action for the M’s. After years of seeing a slow trickle of talent make it to Seattle, this year, quite a few potential stars appear to be knocking at the door.   

Yet after Maurer, who turned out to be the biggest surprise this spring, who will the Mariners be tempted to promote this season?

While I can’t imagine the M’s being in any major rush, here are the first five players I can see the team promoting to the big leagues in 2013.   

Begin Slideshow

MLB: 5 Successful Spring Training Teams That Will Disappoint This Season

With spring training headed out the door and fans welcoming Opening Day tomorrow, the excitement is building around the country.

Spring training allowed players to get back into the swing of things with their teams, after taking a break in the offseason. This time lets new acquisitions get used to their new teams for the upcoming season.

Teams like the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles excelled in spring training. Sometimes, spring training success doesn’t always translate into the regular season.

Here are five successful spring training teams that will disappoint in the upcoming season:  

Begin Slideshow

Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies Set Opening Day Roster

After weeks of speculation and predictions, the Philadelphia Phillies have officially set their Opening Day roster and determined which players will be charged with making the 2012 season a distant memory and 2013 a return to the postseason.

According to Ryan Lawrence on Philly.com, the Phillies have chosen Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Ender Inciarte and Humberto Quintero to fill out the 25-man roster.

The Phillies starting staff has been set since before spring training began, with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan opening the season in the rotation.  Hamels has been chosen as the team’s Opening Day starter and will take the mound Monday night against the Atlanta Braves.

Hamels finished the spring with 15 strikeouts in 19 innings and a 0.95 ERA. 

Halladay remains as the only question mark in the rotation to start the season, health wise, but is currently scheduled to start the second game of the season for the Phils.  Lee, meanwhile, gave up one hit and struck out five in four innings during his last start leading up to the regular season.

The Phillies bullpen remained as the only unsettled area during the final week of spring training, but Aumont has beaten out Michael Stutes to start the season.  Neither pitcher was overwhelmingly successful in their most recent outings, but Aumont’s seven strikeouts to four walks earned him the nod over Stutes’ eight strikeouts to nine walks.

Both Horst and Valdes improved as camp continued and give the Phillies a balanced Opening Day bullpen with three left-handers and four right-handers.

Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo have also made the Opening Day bullpen, although all four were considered locks prior to spring training.

The Phillies used 19 different pitchers in a relief role last season, meaning that pitchers such as Stutes, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman will all likely see time in the major leagues.

The infield was locked into place following the release of Yuniesky Betancourt, but Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis have now officially made the 25-man roster as reserve infielders.

Galvis, who has recently spent time in the outfield, has now played five positions this spring.  His defense has remained above-average while his offense has also improved.  However, Galvis has also struck out 22 times while drawing just two walks, giving him an OBP of .284.

Both Galvis and Frandsen will backup starters Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young, all of whom had starting positions guaranteed prior to spring training, barring injury. 

Howard and Utley, both of whom were recovering from injury, are batting .337 and .279 this spring, respectively.

Erik Kratz will open the season as the Phillies starter at catcher and will be backed up by Quintero, who beat out a late charge by Steven Lerud to earn a roster spot.  However, Quintero’s spot on the 25-man roster will likely only last until Carlos Ruiz’s return in late-April.

The Phillies entered spring training with one starting outfielder and several players battling for the corner spots.  As spring training concludes, the team now finds itself with two solidified starters in center fielder Ben Revere and corner outfielder Domonic Brown.

Brown, arguably the Phillies best player this spring, is batting .368 with seven home runs and 24 runs scored.  He will play one corner outfield spot, with John Mayberry, Jr. and Laynce Nix platooning in the other.

Inciarte, the Phillies Rule-5 selection, has made the Opening Day roster unless the Phillies are able to make a waiver claim or find another outfielder that has been released by a team.  Inciarte’s roster spot will also be in jeopardy once Delmon Young returns from injury.  For now, however, Inciarte provides a late inning defensive option for the Phils.

The Phillies remaining decision prior to Opening Day involves the starting lineup, with manager Charlie Manuel having options regarding where to bat Revere, Rollins, Young and Brown.

This Opening Day roster differs significantly from the 2012 Opening Day roster, but the Phillies have nevertheless determined which players will be asked to get the ball rolling towards starting a new postseason streak in 2013.


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Oakland A’s May Lose Another Piece of 2012 in Travis Blackley

The Oakland A’s made a couple of transactions yesterday by claiming a couple of minor league right-handers off waivers, and to make room the A’s designated Daric Barton and Travis Blackley for assignment.

Barton has been up and down for the last several years in Oakland. The first-base job has been his to lose for a while and, finally, the A’s found a power hitter in Brandon Moss to replace Barton. Barton had a stellar glove in the field, but lacked production at the plate.

As for Blackley, he was claimed off waivers on May 15, 2012 after the Giants let him go. Blackley became a reliable arm in the bullpen and was good to make a spot start in the rotation when needed. Blackley ended up starting 15 games in 2012, going 6-4, and had an ERA of 3.86 in his 24 total appearances.

Among Blackley‘s 15 starts, he started the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Texas Rangers. The win kept the A’s alive in the race for the AL West and led to their eventual division title in a sensational season.  

That was last year, though, and the A’s need to revamp their team to defend the division title in 2013. The A’s stocked up on relief pitching over the offseason and Blackley, and his poor spring performance, became expendable in the eyes of the A’s.  

Blackley is out of options so he must clear waivers for the A’s to be able to send him to Triple-A Sacramento. If Blackley does clear waivers, he must also accept the assignment to Sacramento. He tweeted what appears to be a goodbye letter to the A’s and the fans as if to signal he isn’t interested in playing in the minors to stay with the organization.

It is still possible that Blackley accepts the demotion to Triple-A and rejoins the team at some point in the regular season. It is also possible that Blackley joins a group of Jonny Gomes, Brandon Inge and Brandon McCarthy as guys who the A’s had to let go.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Seattle Mariners: Will Jason Bay Contribute in 2013?

The Seattle Mariners have not made a decision on their final roster spot, but as noted by MLB.com, signs point to Jason Bay winning the job. Casper Wells may still be in the running, but in this case, Seattle may go with the veteran presence of Bay.

A tweet from Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times suggests that Bay may be the guy:

Assuming that Bay does make the team, it will be interesting to see what role he plays for the Mariners. Will he make a solid contribution, or will he simply occupy a spot on the Seattle bench?

Realistically, Bay is not necessarily going to be an impact starter unless Franklin Gutierrez cannot stay healthy or another outfielder is unproductive. At 34 years old, Bay was never intended to be a long-term solution.

The Mariners hope that spring training will be a reflection of Bay’s performance during the regular season. When you look at the 2012 stats, there were certainly signs that there was trouble ahead for Bay.

His 2012 stats looked like this:

Spring training: 46 at-bats, .196 average, 9 hits, 0 home runs, 0 RBI, 15 strikeouts

Regular season: 194 at-bats, .165 average, 32 hits, 8 home runs, 20 RBI, 58 strikeouts

His 2013 stats are significantly better, at least in spring training.

Spring training: 52 at-bats, .327 average, 17 hits, 2 home runs, 6 RBI, 17 strikeouts

Regular season: TBD

Obviously the spring training statistics have to be put in context. Many players hit well during camp, as they are facing a wide variety of pitching talent. In addition, the strikeouts are still a bit high, as Bay is striking out almost 33 percent of the time.

Still, the .327 average and a .407 on-base percentage are good signs that Bay has regained some confidence at the plate. Realistically, the Mariners do not expect Bay to be a dominating presence in the lineup, but it would be nice to have some solid offense off the bench or in an occasional start.

Again, Bay has not officially been awarded the final spot on the roster. However, it seems reasonable that he will be in a Seattle uniform on April 1 when the Mariners face the Oakland Athletics.

If Casper Wells does not make the squad, what will be his fate? Greg Johns of MLB.com tweeted this about the reason that Seattle has yet to announce a decision:

It will be interesting to see if there is actually any market for Wells. What team wants a 28-year-old guy who hit .228 in 2012? At best, the Mariners might receive a low-level minor league or the always popular “player to be named later.”

It is time for Jason Bay to show that he can still play. Otherwise, he won’t be on this team for very long.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Oakland A’s Get More Time to Decide on Roster with Adam Rosales’ Injury

The Oakland A’s were doing a good job of staying healthy this spring until Tuesday.  The A’s suffered two injuries with Hiroyuki Nakajima and Adam Rosales getting hurt.

Nakajima jokingly downplayed his injury to the Japanese media as a cramp, but Rosales’ injury got him put on the 15-day DL.  

Rosales was a part of the wide-open competition for the job opening at second base and was strongly considered a lock to make the Opening Day 25-man roster because of his versatility.  Along with his versatility, Rosales was hitting .324 with three home runs during the spring.

The A’s were beginning to narrow down their spring roster after sending Jemile Weeks to Triple-A.  With Weeks gone, Scott Sizemore, Eric Sogard, Hiroyuki Nakajima and Andy Parrino are still competing for the remaining roster spots that remain open before Opening Day.

Although Weeks was out of the picture, the A’s still had many tough decisions to make with the competitions for the middle infield spots.  

So there lies the blessing in disguise to Rosales’ injury.  Rosales going on the DL opens up a roster spot for two weeks, giving Bob Melvin more time to figure out his 25-man roster.

With Rosales inactive, the A’s can take more time to answer their questions about their 25-man roster.  One of the questions is whether or not Nakajima is ready for the majors.  Another question is whether or not Sogard can continue his hot spring in the majors.  Another is whether or not Lowrie should be a utility guy or a starter.

With all those questions around the roster, the A’s are fortunate to get more time to get it right. It is unfortunate it had to be with the cost of Rosales for two weeks.

Rosales will surely take a roster spot upon his return from injury, but it will buy the A’s time to make up their minds.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Los Angeles Dodgers: 5 Players Doing Suprisingly Well in Spring Training

The Los Angeles Dodgers are less than a week away from their Opening Day game against the World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Some of the Dodger players haven’t seen an extended period of time on the field because of injury and other issues. But, there have been some standouts that fans should be aware of—if they aren’t already.

Some of these players might not make the 40-man roster, because of lack of spots for them, and will have a few more years in the Dodgers farm system before getting called up.

Other players are newly acquired transactions that performed well in the Cactus League.

Here are five Dodgers that surprised fans through spring training:  

Begin Slideshow

Toronto Blue Jays: 5 Biggest Spring Training Busts of 2013

It really depends on who you talk to when the topic is Spring Training.

Many believe that it means nothing. Many believe it can be a sign of things to come.

Many believe that they don’t know what to believe.

Spring training to me is completely unique to the player. There are some players who always struggle in spring training only to come out and have a great year. For example, Tim Lincecum has a career 5.59 spring training ERA.

However, for many players it is indicative of the season they are going to have. Many players had a strong spring and continued it on throughout the regular season.

Let us put it into the context of the Blue Jays.

This article looks at the five Blue Jays who really had a terrible spring.

Let’s get after it.

NOTE: I define a bust as someone who did not come close to meeting expectations and as a result it could negatively impact their projected place on the team. For example, I don’t consider Dickey’s 9.00 spring training ERA to be a bust because he is established and getting accustomed to his new team, let alone the fact that he has only pitched five innings.

Begin Slideshow

Oakland A’s Claim 1B Nate Freiman off Waivers from Houston Astros

In 2012, the Oakland A’s called up a minor league first baseman named Brandon Moss, and he proved his worth to the team, hitting 21 home runs with a batting average of .291.  

In 2013, the A’s are taking another risk on a minor league first baseman.  This year, it is Nate Freiman who is getting his chance after the A’s claimed him off waivers from their new division rivals in Houston (csncalifornia.com).

Why is it significant that the A’s are claiming some minor league first baseman off waivers?  

First of all, he is automatically on the 40-man roster now.  Also, if he is designated for assignment by the A’s, the San Diego Padres (the team who originally drafted him) have a chance to take him back if they want him because of the MLB rules.

The A’s have been searching for a right-handed first baseman to complement Brandon Moss since the A’s traded Moss’ platoon-mate, Chris Carter, to the Astros for Jed Lowrie.

Freiman, in 137 games last year, hit 24 homers and 105 RBI in Double-A ball.  This spring, he is hitting .278 in the Cactus League. He owns a career .294 batting average in four minor league seasons.

This is a low-risk, high-reward situation for the A’s.  If he fails to provide the power he has shown in the minors, then the A’s just waive him.  If his power translates to the majors, then the A’s could have the 2013 version of Brandon Moss.  

Also, Freiman would be platoon-mates with Moss.  They could give the A’s a new power-hitting duo at first base.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress