Patrick Corbin has been striking out ST hitters at a high rate in his fight for the #5 starter job. - Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
So we're a little over two weeks into Spring Training and that's when many of the youngsters get most of their playing time before the regulars start taking up the majority of the at bats and playing closer to full games. So let's run down the list of guys who we might have been looking for some positive signs of things to come. (Cue the "small sample size" and "ST stats mean nothing" excuses in advance.
Didi Gregorius - hasn't played in the field yet due to a lingering arm issue, but started taking at bats recently and is 3 for 6 with a home run. He's apparently trying to make the case he's just another of those all-hit, no-glove shortstops. Boy do we have a ton of those. Hope to see him in the field soon. I'm guessing the team is almost a little happy that they have a ready-made excuse to start him at AAA so they don't have to deal with an awkward roster decision right out of the gate if Didi had a great Spring.
Chris Owings - Another shortstop showing off his bat. Hitting .316 with a pair of homers with a .737 SLG. As expected though his OBP is exactly the same as his BA. Zero walks in 19 plate appearances. I did see him play in the exhibition game against Mexico and witnessed a defensive play that was good and bad. He dove to his right to make a great stop of a sharp grounder and popped up quickly to make a throw, but double-clutched and threw it into the dugout. But he looks pretty natural at shortstop. And more importantly they're playing Owings at SS and Nick Ahmed at 2B, so Ahmed is not above Owings at this point in the SS pecking order.
Adam Eaton - Looking terrific so far and getting tons of playing time with Parra out for the WBC. Hitting .395 with a .386 OBP (you don't see that every day) and slugging .558 with 2 homers and 9 RBI. I worry less and less about him being an impact player every day. He's going to be a difference-maker for this offense and will remind us how much an impact leadoff hitter can mean. They should start giving him a few more days off so as not to burn him out before the season even gets started.
A.J. Pollock - Doing okay, not great, not terrible. Playing all the outfield positions, good OBP at .351. He won't hurt us if he has to man one of the OF spots for a stretch. You just worry whether an extended lineup spot will start to expose him. He's not hurting himself so far though, he's just not as dynamic as Eaton.
Tony Campana - 4 for 18, .262 OBP. More of the same problems for speedy Tony. Looks like an emergency CF guy only. He'll be Reno's starting CF and only comes up if two out of three from Parra, Eaton and Pollock go down.
Matt Davidson - Not having a great Spring. Hitting below the Mendoza line. Eight Ks in 29 PAs isn't going to cut it. His PT will start dwindling with Prado due back in the next couple of days after Venezuela's ouster. I was hoping Davidson would show a little bit more but he does have three doubles. Next year will be a more meaningful ST. Good for him to get exposure to ML environment.
Alfredo Marte - Another guy I was hoping would do a little more. He's gotten a lot of playing time but hasn't done too much with it. I saw him hit a couple of hard-hit balls against Mexico that he's not getting credit for. He looks good at the plate and isn't striking out much so one or two good outings will clean things up quickly. But he's not really turning any heads either I fear. His playing time will start diminishing too with Parra back and Ross not far behind.
Nick Ahmed - Playing mostly in reserve and has just two hits in 15 ABs. Also playing mostly 2B rather than SS. He might be staying at 2B for a little while now and man that spot alongside Owings in Mobile until somebody moves up and opens up a spot for him at SS.
Patrick Corbin - Two good outings, one bad outing. It's still early but has seemed like the one to beat so far in the fight for the #5 starter. Velocity is up so stock is rating a Buy at the moment. In the thick of it for the job and still has to be considered the favorite. 9 Ks in 6 innings says he's got it going on.
Tyler Skaggs - First outing was horrific and last outing was actually worse than it looked. Pitched very well against Mexico and pitched out of a very difficult jam not entirely of his making. Consistency will be his key going forward so still has a fighting chance for the #5 start. But it won't be a disaster if he starts the year in AAA. Corbin might not give in and force Skaggs to be electric to take it away from him to start the season.
Randall Delgado - Has not been effective at all yet and needs to get it going or he's going to be left in the dust for consideration of a big league job. Has yet to strike out a batter and has allowed 9 hits in 3 innings. We'll pretend he's working on some new pitch and look forward to what's coming next.
Charles Brewer - After a tough year in AAA last year not much was expected of him but has looked very good so far with 4 hits and 1 walk allowed in 7 innings across 3 outings. 4/3 K/BB is okay. Good to see him having a solid Spring and hope it leads to a better 2013 AAA campaign and a shot at a ML job in the not-too-distant future.
Eury De La Rosa - Somewhat surprising performance so far from the diminutive left-hander. Allowed his first run of the spring after 4 scoreless outings.7 Ks and 1 BB in 6 innings. Making his way up the prospect list and onto the short list for future LH relievers. Very promising work so far.
Zeke Spruill - Very good so far and doing it the way he always does by pitching to contact. Just one K in 6 innings and one earned run. One just gets the sense he's getting lucky but good results so far. Keep watching.
Eric Smith - Someone the team has always liked but hasn't had the results. Having a really good spring so they must know something.
Chase Anderson - Another mixed bag performer. Has looked outstanding a couple of times but had one bad outing that ruined the numbers. 3 Ks in 7 innings says more seasoning is in store but has had his moments.
Archie Bradley - Got to pitch an inning and my heresay report says he struck out the first two hitters and was throwing an 86 MPH curveball. I like the sound of that.
David Holmberg - Looked good in first two outings then got pummeled today allowing 5 runs in a little over an inning of work. It's a reminder he's not there yet.