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February 28, 2014

Minor League Update

Spring Training Games of February 27

by Jeff Moore

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Sure, we got things started with a small slate of games on Wednesday, but Thursday’s nine-game schedule feels much more like the regular season we so eagerly anticipate.

The Good

  • Chris McGuiness, 1B, Pirates: 2-2, 2 R, 2B. The Pirates have a three-way battle for the left-handed half of their first-base platoon between Andrew Lambo, Travis Ishikawa and McGuiness. The former Rangers and Indians prospect who struck first.
  • Gregory Polanco, OF, Pirates: 1-3, R, HR. Polanco is a strong candidate for spring articles that exaggerate the likelihood of a prospect making the Opening Day roster, and homering like he did on Thursday isn’t going to help. He won’t make the Pirates Opening Day roster no matter how well he plays because the Pirates have shown a strict adherence to being patient when it comes to service time considerations, but it will help justify why the Pirates didn’t overspend on someone like Nelson Cruz and are willing to suffer through two months of Jose Tabata and Travis Snider.
  • Tyler Naquin, OF, Indians: 1-3, R, HR, BB, 2 K. Box scores can be deceiving, because Naquin struck out twice and hit a wind-aided home run that probably would have been a fly out on most afternoons. Still, he put good wood on a ball off of fellow prospect Michael Lorenzen of the Reds and showed easy power on the swing.
  • Mitch Haniger, OF, Brewers: 1-1, R, HR. Haniger’s power has come mostly in the form of doubles thus far in his professional career, so any examples of him driving the ball over the fence are a good sign for a weak Brewers system.

The Bad

  • Maikel Franco, 1B, Phillies: 0-3, R, BB, E. In his first game, Franco played third base, but he got the start at first base in his second game on Thursday. He also now has an error at each.
  • Mike Olt, DH, Cubs: 0-2, K. The Cubs are bad and Olt is now 24. He’s had plenty of time in Triple-A and needs to rebound from a disastrous 2013 season that included injury and ineffectiveness. If he can’t beat out Luis Valbuena for playing time on a horrid Cubs team, it won’t bode well for his chances of playing in a Cubs infield that is only going to get more crowded.
  • Ismael Guillon, LHP, Reds: 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, BB, K. Guillon’s mid-90s fastball and plus changeup arsenal wasn’t fooling anyone on a windy day in Arizona. Guillon has some major control issues to work out, but his problem on Thursday was missing within the strike zone, not outside of it.

Notable Innings of Work*

*During spring training, there are a lot of pitchers getting work in short stints that don’t really tell us a whole lot. I’ll include them here each night without commentary, because there’s not much you can tell from one inning unless it’s exemplary or disastrous, but it’s still nice to keep tabs on who’s getting work.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jeff's other articles. You can contact Jeff by clicking here

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