Tag: 2014 MLB Spring Training

Biggest Winners and Losers from Arizona Diamondbacks’ Offseason

The Arizona Diamondbacks are feeling optimistic after an active offseason. Change was certainly expected following a season in which the D-Backs finished 64-98worst in MLB.

With the addition of young pitching and Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, the 2015 team has a new feel to it. 

The departure of certain players has opened up opportunity for others. On the other hand, offseason acquisitions should send certain players to the bench. 

Here are the biggest winners and losers from the Diamondbacks’ offseason thus far.

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Projecting the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-Man Rotation for 2015

The Arizona Diamondbacks enter 2015 with much uncertainty regarding their starting rotation.

According to the depth chart, Josh Collmenter is listed as the team’s top starting pitcher. He is followed by Rubby De La Rosa, Jeremy Hellickson, Allen Webster and Vidal Nuno.

Out of the five listed, only Collmenter began the season with Arizona last year, first appearing out of the bullpen. 

Patrick Corbin will likely serve as the D-Backs ace but is not projected to return until at least midseason from Tommy John surgery. Daniel Hudson and Bronson Arroyo’s statuses are also unknown coming off injury.

And then there’s Archie Bradley, Arizona’s top prospect who has yet to make an impact at the big league level. Overall, the D-Backs rotation is clearly up in the air.

With that said, here is a projection for the Diamondbacks starting rotation in 2015.

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015

With 2015 set to begin, the Arizona Diamondbacks have issues to address that ailed them throughout this past season. 

The D-Backs 2014 season ended 64-98the worst record in the MLB.

However, several injuries could be to blame for such a poor yearPaul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo, to name a few.

While these players should return in 2015, it is the offseason moves that should have fans excited. The most notable acquisition was Cuban power hitter Yasmany Tomas. Yet the D-Backs are still far from competing in the tough NL West Division.

Here are five New Year’s resolutions for Arizona in 2015.

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Biggest Winners and Losers of 2014 MLB Spring Training

Nobody likes to lose, even in spring training.

Sure, the games and the statistics don’t technically count, and those who put too much stock into what goes on during the preseason typically find themselves disappointed during the regular season.

But that doesn’t mean that we should completely discount the spring, which gives us the answers to some of the questions that we had heading into the exhibition season and presents us with winners and losers, both on the field and off of it.

With spring training all but complete and the regular season quickly drawing near, let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from this year’s exhibition season.

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5 Bold Predictions for the New York Mets 2014 Season

While 2015 and the return of Matt Harvey will likely be the realistic time to start discussing playoff odds for the New York Mets, this team has plenty of exciting individuals that should keep fans watching throughout the season.

Through the rest of this slideshow, I have made five bold predictions about the Mets 2014 season. Some of these predictions you might agree with, while others you may find absurd, but that is what makes them bold predictions.

Also, as these are bold predictions, I don’t necessarily think they will come to fruition, I am just arguing why they are within the realm of possibility.

So, without further ado, here are five bold predictions for the 2014 Mets.


All statistics courtesy Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs.

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Omar Infante’s Injury Leaves the Royals with 3 Options at Second Base

The Kansas City Royals acquired the services of Omar Infante through free agency this offseason.  It was a clear move to improve a clear weak spot in the team’s offense.  It may not have been a solid move toward consistency at the position.

Infante is suffering from a bone spur in his right elbow.  The ailment has kept him from game action on a regular basis this spring.  Concerns have surfaced that he may not be ready for Opening Day, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.  McCullough goes on to share the likely plan for Infante:

Manager Ned Yost plans to bring Infante with the team to Milwaukee for a two-game exhibition series that starts Friday. Infante will play in minor-league games here on Wednesday and Thursday. In the second game, he would only take at-bats as the designated hitter.

The larger concern with Infante opening the season on the disabled list is the lack of depth behind him at second base.  The lack of depth at middle infield is a growing concern for the Royals.  The Royals have few options behind Infante.


Mike Moustakas played second in spring

The man they call “Moose” found himself at second base earlier this spring for a few innings.  It was a move done simply for emergency purposes.  Should the team find itself needing a second baseman due to injuries in the depth chart ahead of him, Moose may take the field in a strange position.

Moose projects as the Royals third baseman and, given his impressive spring numbers, a key part of the offense.  Moving him around would be disruptive to a player who is finally putting it all together at his own position.  Ultimately, the Royals will not play Moose at second unless it is absolutely necessary. 


Johnny Giavotella is the only natural second base option

The lack of production from Giavotella was one of the leading factors for the team to sign Infante in the first place.  However, the team acquired Infante and did not invest in another man who played second base primarily.

Giavotella has been optioned to Triple-A Omaha but could easily be recalled if a player is put on the disabled list.  While the Royals would likely recall him in order to provide some depth, there is very little chance that manager Ned Yost will entrust him with the everyday job, even temporarily. 


Danny Valencia was signed for emergencies like this

Valencia projects as the Royals’ backup infielder.  A natural third baseman, he has been discussed this spring as an option at other positions around the infield.  While he may not be the most ideal choice at second base long-term, he is quite likely the obvious choice there while the team waits for Infante to be ready.

Valencia is likely the player the Royals will use at second base for a short time while Infante prepares to debut for the team.

Infante has not appeared in a major league game since the injury occurred over a week ago, so a disabled-list placement could be backdated.  This would minimize the amount of time he would miss in the regular season, giving the Royals some added flexibility.

Until then, they will look to the above options to fill the gap.


Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com
Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things baseball throughout the season

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Biggest Winners and Losers of St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training

The team St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny plans to take north to Cincinnati for Opening Day is almost set.

Aside from determining the final bullpen spot, the last week in Jupiter, Fla., is used for rotation positioning, lineup tinkering and ensuring the starters are ready for the 162-game grind.

It’s also a time to reflect on the spring training and what players made the most—and least—of their time in Cards camp.



Kolten Wong

Kolten Wong found his confidence in camp and left little doubt he deserves to be the starting second baseman on March 31. He batted .372 with a 1.100 OPS, hit two homers and displayed outstanding defense.

“(Wong) has answered a lot of questions,” Matheny explained to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s really done a nice job of taking advantage of the opportunity.”

Matheny has used Wong throughout the lineup, even batting the rookie second. While short on the pop the Cardinals are accustomed to getting from that spot, his speed would be intriguing behind Matt Carpenter.


Peter Bourjos

Peter Bourjos’ defensive reputation gave him the edge over incumbent center fielder Jon Jay heading into camp. Having a far superior spring offensively, in addition to reinforcing his brilliant glove work, makes him the clear starter.

Bourjos told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he hopes to continue to get love for more than just his glove:

The last few years have been tough. I may not be a .330 hitter, but I’m definitely better than people give me credit for. One of your buddies will show you an article, and it’s really nice about the defensive stuff and not so much the offensive stuff. It’s one thing I’ve been striving for, to become a better hitter and prove people wrong.

Bourjos had his customary strikeout issues, but he drew some walks and showed off his speed. That ability will help even batting near the bottom of the order. It also overcomes range deficiencies from corner outfielders Matt Holliday and Allen Craig.


Pat Neshek

To make the club, Pat Neshek not only had to pitch well, he also needed a break.

Jaime Garcia’s bum left shoulder and Jason Motte’s slowed rehab left two spots open in the bullpen. Neshek claimed one vacancy by posting a 3.38 ERA over eight innings.

Historically, Neshek is tough on righties and soft on lefties. But Matheny saw enough this spring to believe he’s more than a right-handed version of lefty specialist Randy Choate.

The submarine hurler won’t last long in relief, though, if he can’t continue to hold his own against southpaws. Motte’s May return date and Jorge Rondon’s strong spring put extra pressure on Neshek to deliver early.


Joe Kelly

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. That’s the case with Joe Kelly, who had a forgettable spring while being thoroughly outpitched by Carlos Martinez in the supposed fifth-starter battle.

Despite those numbers, Kelly earns the last place in the rotation. That hints at Matheny‘s desire all along to have Martinez in the eighth inning. Kelly’s effectiveness as a starter down the stretch last season for the Cardinals also carried some weight with the skipper.

If Motte can move back into a late-inning relief role in the first couple of months, Martinez could bump Kelly back to his usual long-relief slot.



Jon Jay

Jay wasn’t going to be the better glove man in center for the Cards. So he had to have a superior spring offensively in order to earn a platoon with Bourjos.

Posting a disappointing .167 average cemented Bourjos’ starter status and left Jay moving around the outfield in an attempt to boost his value.

Jay’s roster spot isn’t in jeopardy, but his playing time could be significantly cut. As long as Bourjos holds his own with the bat while displaying stellar defense, he’ll be on the bench most nights.


Oscar Taveras

Oscar Taveras presumably was healthy and ready to make a case for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Except that he wasn’t.

The Cardinals’ young stallion stumbled out of the starting gate, strutted his stuff briefly, then pulled up lame. Now Taveras will get the chance to regain his stud status in Triple-A Memphis.

Taveras’ mettle will be tested in the minors after the luster from this star prospect was tarnished. The front office will find out early how he copes with the disappointment, particularly with fellow outfield prospects Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty leaving positive impressions with Matheny and Co.


Jaime Garcia

Garcia will start the 2014 season the same way he ended 2013: on the disabled list.

The lefty’s throwing shoulder acted up early in spring training, prompting the team to shut him down and look for alternatives in the rotation.

The season—and career—for Garcia will come down to his ability to pitch with discomfort. Pain, he says, he’s always dealt with on some level in his shoulder and elbow.

“It’s always been my elbow,” Garcia told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s part of my career. The 2010 season is probably the best I’ve ever felt.

“My goal is to be ready to go. It could be a month. It could be… who knows?”

Soon, Garcia will get back on a mound on some back field and throw for a handful of on-lookers. But it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll take the ball again in front of thousands in St. Louis.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

6 Biggest Winners and Losers of Mets Spring Training

Spring training is almost done, and this means that roster cuts and adjustments have either been made or need to be made in order to come up with the best possible 25-man roster for Opening Day.

This time of year can be very rewarding for those who make the Opening Day roster or very disappointing for those who are either optioned to the minor leagues or released.

Here are three big winners and three big losers for the New York Mets‘ spring training this year.

Spring training statistics are courtesy of MLB.com.

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2014 Boston Red Sox: Biggest Winners and Losers of Spring Training

The Boston Red Sox are getting closer to starting the defense of their World Series title when they begin regular season play on March 31 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Some questions about the roster have been answered during their time in Fort Myers, Fla. However, new ones have appeared due to certain performances, and others still need to be figured out.

A few players have taken full advantage of their opportunity this spring, while others aren’t getting the results they were hoping for. Unfortunately, strong performances from some in Red Sox camp won’t end with a spot on the Opening Day roster.

With the 2014 season-opener less than a week away, let’s take a look at some of Boston’s biggest winners and losers from this spring.


All player statistics sourced from RedSox.com, unless otherwise noted.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Bullpen Battle Takes Center Stage for Roster Decisions

The St. Louis Cardinals came to spring training with very few roster decisions to make.  Most of those decisions have been reached in the last few days. 

Kolten Wong appears to be the starting second baseman, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos will share time in center field, Joe Kelly will be the fifth starter, Carlos Martinez will serve as the eighth-inning reliever and Pat Neshek has seemingly made the club.  That leaves only one decision to be made: Which pitcher will join the bullpen as the seventh reliever?

The competition comes down to three young hopefuls: Jorge Rondon, Scott McGregor and Keith Butler.  Those three arms head into the final week of spring training hoping to win a spot on the roster of players heading north to Cincinnati for Opening Day.

Butler is the known commodity of the group, having pitched 20 innings over 16 games for the Cardinals in 2013.  His performance was far from dominant, walking 11 hitters while striking out 16, but it is enough to earn him consideration yet again.  

His spring performance does not look that great either, having thrown just over eight innings and surrendering eight runs.  His five walks this spring may raise a flag concerning control.  His minor league stats from 2013 do not seem to suggest it is a long term problem, as he only walked 11 hitters over 41 innings.

Rondon is another in the long line of power arms the Cardinals seem to be able to produce from their farm system.  The difference with him is that he may not have full control over the lively stuff he pushes across the plate.  He has only walked three hitters this spring while striking out seven.  

Perhaps most telling is the fact that Rondon has yet to surrender a run.  Rondon did pitch in Memphis last season and did well despite the control issues he faced.  In just under 68 innings, he walked 37 hitters while striking out 42.  He may need a little more time in the minors to prove he has his control settled before making the team.

Manager Mike Matheny shared his thoughts on Rondon with Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

With Rondon, you’re looking at stuff and someone who has improved.  We gave him a task of pounding the strike zone and simplifying his approach. He’s done well and seen some results.

The long shot of the group is McGregor, who is a non-roster invitee to camp.  His four innings over three games this spring have yielded three runs, two walks and a pair of strikeouts.  McGregor spent 2013 as a starter in the Cardinals’ minor leagues and is seemingly being looked at as a long relief option.  

While he struggles for consistency as well as playing time, his placement on the team would also require a subsequent roster move to make room on the 40-man.  

Rondon and McGregor may have taken advantage of the situation to get their names in the minds of those in charge.  Unfortunately, it may come down to experience and the product Matheny already knows.

The final relief position likely belongs to Butler unless something goes horribly wrong.


Statistics courtesy of MLB.com and current through 3/24/14.


Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com.
Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things baseball throughout the season.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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