Taking Advantage of Spring Training
We’ve had about two weeks worth of exhibitions games so far this spring training. It’s way too early to start gauging how the season could turn out and it’s also important to not judge every player with the same mindset. Some of the tenured players use spring training to get warmed up and ready for the big day. On the other hand, the younger players go all out during spring training as they fight for their professional life. Either way, it’s still a great time to check out the progress of your favorite player, savvy vet or the up and coming rookie. Here’s a look at some of the players that have gotten off to a hot start.
Marco Hernandez – SS/BOS
The 23-year-old prospect for the Boston Red sox is making the most out of his AB’s. So far, they’ve come in sporadic bunches but that hasn’t deterred Hernandez batting a respectable .500/.556/.813 in 16 plate appearances. What’s most impressive is that five of his eight hits have been doubles giving him the tie for the lead this spring. The future for the Sox 13th ranked prospect is a bit murky. Although, he’s shown flashes of power at the plate and decent range in the field. There hasn’t been enough displayed for coaches and scouts to expect more than a utility role from him in the future. But, if he can keep producing like he has this spring training, he will force those same coaches and scouts to reevaluate their findings.
Nolan Arenado – 3B/COL
Nolan Arenado won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season. He did that last year when he exploded for 42 home runs, 130 RBI and 97 runs scored. In fact, it will be hard for him to improve much upon those numbers. Colorado would be ecstatic for him to recapture the magic and produce the same output he did last year, which had him finishing eighth in the NL MVP race. So far it looks like he’s on that pace. Despite playing in three fewer games and having eleven less at bats than the spring leader, Arenado is one hit behind the first spot. He’s got a whopping .565 OBP% along with 2 home runs and 7 RBI. It doesn’t appear that he’s slowed down much since the end of last season.
Maikel Franco – 3B/PHI
Everyone loves a good power hitter. So far this spring, that man has been Philadelphia’s third basemen, Maikel Franco. Franco leads the league with 4 home runs. He’s also knocked in 10 RBI with a .346 average in ten games. The 23-year-old is trying to follow up a decent rookie campaign where he batted .264 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs in 80 games. He’s definitely got the power but I’m sure his coaches and fantasy owners would like to see a little more diversity at the plate (he has 5 singles and 4 home runs).
Clayton Kershaw – SP/LAD
This guy isn’t new to these types of articles or lists. There isn’t really much to say then what is already known about the 3 time Cy Young award winner. He’s been his usual, dominant self this spring posting a league leading .90 ERA with 10 K’s in 10 innings. Yeah, he’s still good.
Robbie Ray – SP/ARI
Robbie’s pitching like his life depends on it. And he should, because his (baseball) life is depending on his spring performance. Up to now, he’s done a remarkable job backing manager Chip Hale into naming him the Diamondbacks 5th starter. Robbie has earned a 1.86 ERA in 9 innings while striking out 9 and walking 3. If he can stay consistent, the Diamondbacks will have their fifth starter and a very solid rotation. He has the potential to make a very interesting NL west race this year
Jandel Gustave – CL/HOU
Nobody’s perfect. But so far this spring, Jandel Gustave has been pretty much that. Through three opportunities and four innings, he has 3 saves and a zero ERA. Earning him first place in both categories for this spring. He’s also struck out 6 while only walking one batter which has resulted in his .75 WHIP. Jandel appears to be making the best out of his 2016 spring in hopes of making a big league roster for the first time in his career.