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March 24, 2014

Minor League Update

Spring Training Games of March 21-23

by Jeff Moore

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This is it, don’t get scared now.

It’s the final weekend before the regular season. Sure, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers took their adventure down under, but we all know the real regular season starts this Sunday and that the real Opening Day is one week from today. There may not be too many prospects left in camps, but the ones that are left are there for a reason.

Friday, March 21st

  • Gus Schlosser, RHP, Braves: 4 IP, H, R, 3 K. Schlosser isn’t going to wow too many guys, but he’s an incredibly handy guy to have in your organization. Once thought to be destined for a relief role thanks to his side-arm delivery, Schlosser has fared well enough against left-handers in the minors to continue to start. He’ll never be much more than a fourth or fifth starter at the major-league level, but for a team like the Braves, who are currently triaging their way through a starting rotation, having someone who can come in and give them some decent innings is a valuable asset.
  • Jake Marisnick, OF, Marlins: 3-3, 2 R, 2B. The Marlins still have four outfielders under the age of 25 for three spots, so something has to be done, and no matter how well Marisnick hits this spring, he’s still the least prepared of the quartet to face major-league pitching.
  • Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays: 5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K. Sanchez has been impressive this spring, doing a better job of repeating his delivery. The stuff has always been there, with the consistency being the biggest drawback to this point. If he can continue this progression into the regular season, he could really take off.
  • Raul Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Bubba Starling: Combined 1-8, 4 K. The Royals had a pair of split-squad games on Friday and called up some of their youngsters to help fill out the rosters. It’s great to get their feet wet, but it also serves as a reminder of why these players are in the minors. Amazingly, Starling didn’t have any of the strikeouts.

Saturday, March 22nd

  • Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets: 3-5, 2 R, HR. Flores can flat-out hit, and the Mets are determined to get him in the lineup somewhere while simultaneously determined not to ever let Ruben Tejada play again. The end of that equation is going to be Flores getting time at shortstop and a lot of frustrating balls in the hole, but an answer to what Flores can do at the major-league level with the bat, which should be the Mets’ goal anyway.
  • Zoilo Almonte, OF, Yankees: 2-4, R, 2B. With an older team, the Yankees are going to have their injuries, and if one of them happens to an outfielder, Almonte will be the first person called up.
  • Cody Asche, 3B, Phillies: 2-4, R, HR, K. For once, it seemed that the Phillies were actually looking for a reason to make the right decision and Asche gave it to them over the weekend. He’ll be their Opening Day third baseman.
  • Tim Wheeler, OF, Rockies: 3-3, 2 R, HR. A shell of his once powerful self the past few seasons, Wheeler has seen his power return this spring, slugging his fourth home run in 22 games, almost as many as he had in 109 regular-season games last year.
  • Michael Choice, OF, Rangers: 1-1, R, HR. Choice should see himself in some favorable match-ups and profiles well against left-handed pitching, as he showed on Sautrday by taking Danny Duffy out to the opposite field.

Sunday, March 23rd

  • Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles: 1-2, R, HR. This is what Schoop can do that the Orioles’ other second-base candidates can’t offer. He has his flaws as a hitter still, and would probably be better served spending a few months in the minors, but his ability to shoot one every now and then is something the Orioles have been missing from the keystone since Brian Roberts’ heyday.
  • Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees: 2/3 IP, K. While this performance wasn’t anything extraordinary, Bentances’ spring has been. Bullpen spots are one of the few roles for which spring work really makes a difference, and Betances’ 0.87 ERA is about as good as it gets.
  • Mike Olt, 3B, Rangers: 1-4, R, HR, K. Luis Valbuena hit a handful of home runs over the weekend to all but secure the Cubs’ starting third-base role, but Olt has played well enough this spring to earn a roster spot. He’ll split at-bats with Valbuena at third or even steal some from Anthony Rizzo at first against lefties, and he should earn some additional playing time during the season.
  • Yordano Ventura, RHP, Royals: 5 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 3 K. We’re at the point where this is a bit of a disappointing start for Ventura, and that’s a huge compliment.

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

11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Nojsztat

Are the Cubs really going to start Valbuena over Olt? We know what Valbuena is, but the Cubs should be testing out Olt with the crop of Christian Villanueva, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez et al potentially grabbing 3B at bats in the near future.

Mar 24, 2014 05:38 AM
rating: 1
 
touchstoneQu

Good to see back with Texas! ; )

Mar 24, 2014 06:21 AM
rating: 0
 
Matthew Trueblood

I think it'll be mostly Valbuena for the first month or so, as Olt moves past the sore shoulder that has kept him off 3B most of the spring, and shakes the rust off his leather. Olt will still play in the meantime, but yeah, mostly against lefties and likely not always at third. Then Valbuena will slide to second, Olt will take over full-time at third and Darwin Barney's career as an MLB regular will come to an end.

Mar 24, 2014 08:05 AM
rating: 0
 
Nojsztat

I was thinking Valbuena would make a whole lot more sense than Barney at the keystone, as long as he can still hack it over there.

Mar 24, 2014 09:50 AM
rating: 0
 
oakiegu007

No Gausman?

Mar 24, 2014 05:42 AM
rating: -1
 
billward4

Betances' outing actually was pretty special. Came in with bases loaded, one out, then struck out Joey Bats and got E-5 on a foul popup. Sometimes the boxscore doesn't tell much of anything.

Mar 24, 2014 05:45 AM
rating: 3
 
boatman44

Wilmer Flores has been sent to minors , probably to get some more seasoning at S.S

Mar 24, 2014 07:09 AM
rating: 1
 
oldbopper

I saw that and had a seizure. Please, please tell me that the Mets aren't going to play Ruben Tejada at SS.

Mar 24, 2014 20:01 PM
rating: 0
 
Spkbaseball17

I have seen a lot of Starling on the back fields, been very unimpressed, and the fact he didn't K is indeed a surprise.

Mar 24, 2014 07:57 AM
rating: 0
 
Steenroid

Olt is with the Cubs now not the Rangers.

Mar 24, 2014 09:21 AM
rating: 1
 
MaineSkin

Am I wrong to say Schoop is the best defensive 2B in Os camp? This on an Os team that obliterated the MLs with their #1 defense. Per a scout last year before the back injury, his range at SS was deceptively good and didn't see why he can't stick. There were also raves about the power which plays down as his league and home park mask the raw.
I know this is a "fantasy" comment, but if I'm the #orioles and Hardy doesn't want to extend, I'm selling Hardy at peak value in a SS dead market and allowing Schoop to play SS shading up the middle with Machado's range at 3B. The Cards turned down a C-Mart for Hardy deal, but it supposedly had traction. Hardy's ct% went way up last year and he's showing the same contact oriented approach this spring.
Imo, maximizing the ML team is priority #1 and that is selling Hardy for best available value, moving Schoop to SS and letting Dariel Alvarez show his wrists

Mar 26, 2014 00:22 AM
rating: 0
 
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