Spring Training Breakout Games Day 1

Recapping yesterday's Spring Training Breakout Games

The first day of Spring Breakout games was a major success. While Spring Training typically fails to generate much hype (outside of die-hard baseball fans), the Spring Breakout games were something many were excited to watch. We got Paul Skenes versus Jackson Holliday as well as a look into plenty of other prospects. If you missed it, we’ve provided a recap of each of the first two games!

Be sure to head over to the Pitcher List Dynasty page for plenty more content from the team.


Spring Training Breakout Games Day 1


Cincinnati Reds @ Texas Rangers


What We Saw From The Top Prospects From Each Team:


Rhett Lowder has become a popular player in the dynasty community. The Reds’ first-round pick from this past season pitched well in two innings on Thursday. He needed just 11 pitches to retire six batters while managing to still post two strikeouts. He got Braylin Morel on a wipeout slider and could move quickly through the Reds’ system. His mustache and long hair give him a bit of an old-school intimidating presence on the mound which is enjoyable to watch.

After a mostly disappointing 2023 season, Cam Cauley has been a man on a mission throughout Spring Training this year. This continued in the Spring Breakout game as he went two for two hitting in the Rangers’ only run on his RBI triple. Cauley has always been a gifted athlete with excellent speed, but he looks stronger on the field now. He is showing the ability to launch the ball more which could help fuel a 2024 breakout.


Which Prospects Struggled:


The performance of Carlos Jorge was a little bit disappointing. Jorge struggled after being promoted to High-A last season and it will be interesting to see how he performs against more advanced competition. He looked overmatched in this game but I am not pressing the panic button just yet. The one interesting thing to note was Jorge getting the start in center field. Jorge has primarily been a second baseman throughout his professional career but began playing some center last season. The Reds could realize that their infield is too crowded and continue developing Jorge as an outfielder in the future.

In his two plate appearances, Braylin Morel appeared to be overmatched. He struck out both times (once on the slider from Lowder mentioned above). Morel is coming off an impressive DSL campaign during which he slashed .344/.417/.644. The concerning part of his stat line comes in the form of a hit tool issue. Morel posted a swinging strike rate of 33.3% in 47 DSL games. Two strikeouts again today highlight this potential issue moving forward for Morel.


Which Prospects Stood Out the Most:


Brock Porter’s potential was on full display. The Rangers’ fourth-round pick from 2022 showed off everything that has turned him into one of the game’s best pitching prospects. Porter’s pure stuff has always been electric and he would have been a first-round pick if not for his commitment to Clemson. He only threw one inning but showed off a fastball with good late life and most importantly the ability to locate. His changeup does not get the same recognition that Drew Thorpe’s does, but this pitch also was able to generate multiple whiffs yesterday. Porter could rise quickly up prospect rankings and showed everything dynasty managers wanted to see.

The biggest swing from either game yesterday came from Cam Collier. Collier took the Bryce Harper route dropping out of high school to attend a JuCo, but his first full professional season did not go as well as Harper’s. Collier struggled in 2023 but showed off some of the raw power that makes him such a tantalizing prospect. He took a pitch over the outer half of the zone out to left field with an effortless-looking swing. He is still learning how to connect the lower and upper half of his 6’2″ frame, but he could be in for a big second season.


Baltimore Orioles @ Pittsburgh Pirates


What We Saw From The Top Prospects From Each Team:


We have known for a couple of weeks now that the stage was set to get Skenes versus Holliday. Arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball against the top hitting prospect in baseball. After Holliday forced Skenes into a bit of a deep count, Skenes worked his way back ultimately striking Holliday out on a filthy changeup down and away. Skenes’ fastball was on full display. He started the game pumping three fastballs by Enrique Bradfield Jr. all over 100 mph. While the stat line looked strong for Skenes, his fastball command was spotty at best. Although the Orioles failed to do any damage, he routinely left his fastball over the plate to lefties and did not elevate them as much as he probably wanted to. His short-arm undoubtedly provides deception, which should help him overcome some control issues.

The Orioles batters who we have seen do significant damage against major league pitching struggled in the showcase. Both Jackson Holliday and Coby Mayo both went hitless in two plate appearances. Holliday appeared a bit amped up to face Skenes swinging out of his shoes on his final two swings. Mayo was fooled in his first plate appearance going down looking. One important thing to remember is that this is a one-game sample. While we all wanted to see a big home run from one of these players, this does not change anything about their long-term outlook.


Which Prospects Struggled:


Overall, Cade Povich’s Spring Breakout game performance was a bit underwhelming. In an organization filled with hitting prospects, Povich still managed to rank inside of my top-100 prospects. The Orioles allowed Povich to go three innings despite a shaky first. Inconsistency has been the primary issue for Povich throughout his professional career and that was on display. Povich surrendered leadoff walks in each of his first two innings. Every baseball fan knows the leadoff walk is one of the biggest sins of pitching. Povich has the stuff to be an impactful arm for dynasty managers but the relief risk is growing larger with each season.

Although it was just one game, I was excited to watch Jack Brannigan swing the bat for Pittsburgh. He was hitting fourth and is one of the more underrated prospects in baseball. Unfortunately, the swing-and-miss issues that started to pop up at High-A last season seemed to follow him into the game last night. He struck out in both plate appearances. He has struggled all spring and this Spring Breakout game was more of the same.


Which Prospects Stood Out the Most:


The easy answer for Pittsburgh is Paul Skenes, but I already talked about him. Instead, let’s focus on another bright spot from this Spring Breakout game for Pittsburgh. Jace Bowen is a prospect nobody is talking about in the dynasty community and quietly had a nice game. He went two for three at the plate hitting two balls with an exit velocity over 96 mph. Bowen has some strikeout concerns but he hit 23 home runs and stole 26 bases last season. He is a name to keep an eye on.

The Orioles only used two pitchers all game. One landed in the struggled section and the other finds himself here. To be honest, I had not known much about Trace Bright before watching him pitch, but the fastball was electric. The pitch only averaged a velocity of 94 mph but reached as high as 97. He relied heavily on a curveball which generated four whiffs on just 13 pitches. Most importantly he only needed 42 pitches to get through three innings. This is important for a pitcher who has shown spotty control in his major league career.

Adapted by Kurt Wasemiller (@KUWasemiller on Twitter / @kurt_player02 on Instagram)

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