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March 19, 2014

Minor League Update

Spring Training Games of March 18

by Jeff Moore

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  • Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF, Red Sox: 1-4, 2B, 2 K. Bradley has had a rough spring and is now hitting just .189. This wouldn’t matter nearly as much if he hadn’t struggled in the majors at the start of last season and/or if Grady Sizemore weren’t having a strong spring. Bradley was thought to have a job waiting for him in April and none of his struggles, either this March or last April, negate his abilities. It could be enough, however, to force him back to Triple-A to start the season.
  • Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox: 0-3, K. Bogaerts essentially just proves the point I just made with Bradley. Bogaerts is also having a poor spring at the plate, hitting just .143, but because he had success during his trial in the majors last season (including holding his own in the post-season) and because the Red Sox don’t have any internal options breathing down his neck, no one is using his spring training batting average as a reason to start him in Triple-A.
  • Marcus Stroman, RHP, Blue Jays: 1/3 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, BB, K. Things have gotten really bad for Stroman this spring, as he’s all but cemented a trip back to the minors now that his Grapefruit League ERA is in the teens. Long term, a few bad weeks in March do nothing to diminish his soaring prospect stock, even if they were really bad weeks.
  • Nick Castellanos, 3B, Tigers: 1-4, R, 2B. Castellanos is having a great spring and showing off his doubles power, hitting his seventh in 14 games. While there is 20-25-home-run power in his bat, I don’t expect to see that this year. I’d expect him to land somewhere in the mid-teens in home runs in 2014. The doubles power, however, will be there in spades, and 40-plus doubles aren’t out of the question.
  • Tyler Collins, OF, Tigers: 2-3, R, HR. Collins has carried over his breakout power display from 2013 into spring training, where he is slugging over .700 and now has three home runs. As a thick left fielder, Collins will need to continue to hit for power for his bat to play as anything more than a fourth outfielder, but with some pop off the bench, he could be a nice player in that role.
  • Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs: 2-5, R, 2B, HR, K. Baez gave us a little bit of everything on Tuesday night, doubling, homering, and playing second base, where he made his first error of the spring. He’s getting experience at a new position which will only increase the ability to get him in the lineup come June when he already has 20 home runs in Triple-A.
  • Mike Olt, 3B, Cubs: 1-2, R, HR, BB, K. Olt entered spring training as the forgotten man in the Cubs organization because it felt like forever ago that he was a top prospect in the Rangers system. Struggles with vision and contact (with baseballs, not lenses) led to a lost 2013 season, but a great spring should be enough to steal a lot of at-bats from Luis Valbuena.

Jeff Moore is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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