Welcome to the spring training recap for March 16! Every day throughout spring training, we’ll be providing a rundown of the top news and performances from the previous day’s games, as well as highlighting things to watch for in today’s matchups. Tuesday saw numerous teams score in the double-digits and a quartet of aces on the bump as well.
- Alex Wood is scheduled to undergo an ablation procedure on his spine, though manager Gabe Kapler did not clarify its effect on his readiness for Opening Day.
- Ketel Marte (ankle soreness) was pulled from Tuesday’s game. It is likely lingering soreness from a HBP on Monday, and he is considered day-to-day.
- Willie Calhoun (groin) is likely to begin the season on the Injured List.
- The Orioles signed INF Maikel Franco to a one-year deal
Top Hitting Performances
Shohei is on an absolute tear. After slugging a pair of homers yesterday, he took reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber deep today — with a mammoth blast over the batters eye that went an estimated 464 feet. He’s now slashing a comfortable .579/.571/1.211 with 4 HR in 19 ABs this spring. Fantasy value aside, it’s easy to forget just how incredibly good Ohtani is. He has nine strikeouts in four innings on the mound this spring as well. If he stays healthy for 2021, we could be witnessing something special.
SHOHEI OHTANI HOME RUN OVER THE BATTERS EYE OFF SHANE BIEBER SZN pic.twitter.com/aI5zqirHSK
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 16, 2021
Vlad Guerrero Jr (1B, Toronto Blue Jays): 4-for-4, 2 2B, 3B, 3 RBI
Vladdy had himself a day, with 4 hits in the Blue Jays’ 14-5 win over the Phillies. Though he was held homer-less, it’s worth noting that two of those were a 414-foot triple and and 409-foot double. They were both crushed, landing just below the yellow line in straight away center field. He showed off the wheels with that triple and an infield single, and hit the ball both hard and in the air. Those are promising signs for the 22-year-old as he looks to break out in 2021.
Astrubal Cabrera (1B, Arizona D-backs): 2-for-3, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
The veteran infielder got the start at first base on Tuesday, hitting a two-run double off Jesus Luzardo in the 3rd and homering off Burch Smith in the 5th en route to a 12-3 Arizona win over Oakland. Cabrera signed a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks in the offseason and appears to have a leg up on a bench spot over youngsters Andy Young and Pavin Smith.
Daza collected four hits, including a homer, and scored three times in the Rockies’ 11-7 win over the Reds on Tuesday. The 27 year-old outfielder has been more of a depth piece for the past several seasons, failing to get an AB in 2020 after a healthy 44 games in 2019. His presence on the roster periphery likely doesn’t make him a fantasy-relevant player, though Coors could amplify his production if given the chance at a semi-regular or platoon role.
Longoria was in vintage form on Tuesday night in the desert, blasting a pair of homers and driving in four in the Giants 10-6 slugfest loss to the Rangers. He took lefty Taylor Hearn deep to left-center for a two-run dinger in the 2nd and then welcomed Spencer Patton into the game with another two-run homer, this one to right-center field, in the 5th. With hits in three straight, Longoria is slashing .538/.571/1.308 this spring.
Jacob deGrom is good. Aside from a homer off the bat of Astros prospect Jeremy Pena, deGrom was his dominant self, with a 38% CSW across an even 50-pitch outing. He was casually sitting 98 to 100 mph with his fastball and 92 to 94 mph with his slider, both at least 0.5 mph higher than his averages last season. At this point there are few that don’t consider him the best pitcher in baseball, and he seems to get better every year.
Jacob deGrom, 100mph Fastball and 93mph Slider, Overlay.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 16, 2021
It was not a banner day for the Phillies’ ace, as he surrendered six runs on seven hits in a 14-5 drubbing against the Blue Jays. If there is a positive to come from it, he got up to 70 pitches. Otherwise, his velocity was down across the board (including by over 1 mph on his change-up and sinker) and he struggled to locate his curve consistently. The velocity regression is not overly concerning just yet, and it’s always possible Nola was simply working on things this outing, but it could be something to monitor as we get closer to opening day.
Musgrove has had a strong spring, allowing just two runs in 9 innings with a WHIP just over 1.00. He gave up three runs on Tuesday — all of them unearned — as the Padres defense spontaneously combusted behind him. Four different Padres committed an error in each of Musgrove’s four innings. He got through the White Sox lineup twice nonetheless and still managed to strike out four.
Shane Bieber (SP, Cleveland): 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 k
Speaking of spotty defense, Cleveland appeared to be playing on a slip-n-slide behind their ace on Tuesday. With Andres Gimenez all but named the official starting shortstop, Ahmed Rosario made the start in CF and it did not go well. I will spare you the gruesome details, but it led to Bieber allowing nine runs — just one of them earned — in Cleveland’s 17-8 blowout loss to the Angels. Bieber certainly did not have his best stuff to begin with, as evidenced by the seven hits and the aforementioned moonshot to Shohei Ohtani, but the defense played a significant role. He didn’t seem too worried after the game, as he enters 2021 looking to defend his AL Cy Young crown.
Lindblom had nothing but kind words ahead of facing the team that drafted him on Tuesday, and he was sharp in 3.2 shutout innings against the reigning World Series Champs. Though he benefited from the Brewers rolling an inning early, Lindblom still managed to strike out four despite clearly not having his best stuff. He should be locked into the Milwaukee rotation to start the year and will be pushing for fantasy relevance if he can continue to miss bats.
Kershaw was roughed up for five runs on eight hits in four innings of work on Tuesday, giving up homers to Kolton Wong and Luis Urias in the 1st and then three straight singles to begin the 3rd. Perhaps the lone bright spot for Kershaw came at the plate, where he singled to left off old friend Josh Lindblom. The future Hall-of-Famer should get at least a couple more tune-ups before he make his 9th career Opening Start later this month against the Rockies.
Bauer came into the game in relief of Kershaw and finished off the game’s final 5 innings. He was great through his first two innings, not allowing a single baserunner while striking out 5. He allowed a pair of solo homers, one each to Luke Maile and Zach Green, but otherwise showed better command than his last outing. He looks to have already built up stamina and may be one of the only pitchers to push the 200 innings mark in 2021.
What to Watch for Today
SPs to watch on TV today:
Glasnow: New slider?
Mitch Keller: 95 mph? Solid SL/CB?
Skubal: Good pitch mix?
Wheeler: SL whiffs?
Buehler vs. Giolito: OH DANG
Triston McKenzie: FB command? SL/CB for whiffs?
Luis Castillo: SL looking good?
Paddack: FB working?
Hendricks: Velo Schmelo
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) March 17, 2021
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)