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March 11, 2014

Minor League Update

Spring Training Games of March 10

by Jeff Moore

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The Good

  • Tommy La Stella, 2B, Braves: 1-2, 2B. I can’t say that if it weren’t for Dan Uggla’s massive contract that La Stella would have a good shot at the Braves second-base job this spring, because La Stella has just 81 games in Double-A to his credit. But he has done nothing but hit at every level at which he’s played, and that includes spring training. He’s already 25, so he might be able to handle the jump if he weren’t blocked.
  • Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers: 3-4, 2 R, HR. Castellanos probably just wanted to make sure there was no question about whose job it was to play third base in Detroit this season.
  • Steven Moya, OF, Tigers: 3-6, 2 R, 3B. The 6-foot-6 Moya is more athletic than you’d expect at first glance, but his ultra-aggressive approach limits his production. When it works, however, the results can be pretty.
  • Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins: 2-5, 2 R, 2B. I’m not sold on Marisnick’s bat at the major-league level yet, but I’m also not sold that it can’t come around. He just needs time back in the minor leagues to figure things out. He shouldn’t have been in the majors last year, and he shouldn’t be there now, but all is not lost for him just yet.
  • Addison Russell, SS, Athletics: 1-2, 2 R, 2B. Russell continues to look unfazed facing much older competition this spring, but he did leave this game early with a strained hamstring.

The Bad

  • Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Brewers: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, K. Continuing to prove that the three most important things in pitching are location, movement, and then velocity, in that order.
  • Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians: 2 IP, 7 H, 7 R (6 ER), 2 BB, K. Much was made of Bauer’s velocity returning to form on Monday, as it reached consistently into the upper 90s for the first time in a while, but until he begins to command it, it doesn’t matter how hard he throws. It’s a nice start, but the same issues that have plagued him in the majors will continue to do so until he can throw the kind of strikes with his fastball that he needs to throw.

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. 
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