I’m up to deliver the Grapefruit League updates for Saturday’s games! I’m hoping I can go at least two innings before giving up a homer …
It’s our first full weekend of Spring Training games, and in Florida, we had some cloudy, balmy weather.
It had that snowy look — without the cold air, or that white stuff.
So as I review Saturday’s Grapefruit League games for Fantasy Baseball purposes, think sunny thoughts!
Saturday’s Grapefruit League Updates
Pittsburgh Pirates (1), Tampa Bay Rays (1)
Just when you thought a nine-inning one-run tie was boring, the Bucs/Rays bust out a 10-inning one-run tie … A.J. Burnett looked good in two scoreless innings in his return to Pittsburgh, where he had a breakout season in 2013. He woke up to find out Philadelphia was just a bad dream, after all. He was the co-leader in starts in the NL last season with 34 … Josh Harrison (ankle) remained sidelined … Alex Cobb threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut also, and he remains one of those top 20-30 starting pitchers that smart owners will snatch up if they wait on pitching. He has 200-IP/200 K ability in a pitcher’s park, on a team not getting a lot of pub this season.
Boston Red Sox (7), Baltimore Orioles (6)
Two rookies, one for each team, smacked three-run homers Saturday. Dariel Alvarez for the Orioles, and top prospect Blake Swihart for the Red Sox. Swihart could be an interesting reserve pick in 15-team mixed leagues, considering the Red Sox have actually been moving youngsters into the lineup in recent seasons (see Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, etc.) … Matt Wieters (elbow) is set to catch in practice games next weekend.
Minnesota Twins (2), Boston Red Sox (4)
Clay Buchholz pitched well against the Twins (three hitless innings), and while we shouldn’t get too excited about it, he put it into great perspective for us. “Results, obviously, aren’t that big of a deal in spring training,” he said. “But you can gain some confidence from any outing you pitch in.” … Phil Hughes, meanwhile, left after facing two batters in the second inning. He had a decent season last year, his first in Minnesota, but keep an eye on him throughout the spring … Brian Dozier missed the game with illness (bad tummy?) and he might miss Sunday’s game, too (somebody’s going to be binge-watching “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix!
N.Y. Yankees (9), Houston Astros (4)
Not much exciting in this game to talk about really, but Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) threw 29 pitches in a simulated game, and he should get into spring action sometime next week … Alex Rodriguez could start at third base either Sunday or Monday … Dallas Kuechel actually pitched well, allowing one hit in two scoreless innings. Did you know he had five complete games last season, leading the American League?
St. Louis Cardinals (5), Washington Nationals (6)
It was a tale of two innings for Stephen Strasburg Saturday. He threw 12 pitches to get through a clean first inning, then he allowed five straight batters to reach base in the second inning. He said he had good command on his pitchers, except for his changeup, and that’s what Spring Training is for. No worries here.
N.Y Mets (7), Miami Marlins (8)
Henderson Alvarez, who could get the Marlins’ Opening Day start, threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with one strikeout. The Venezuelan could make for a sneaky late pick, considering his home park and an improved offense around him. Sixteen of his 22 pitches were for strikes. He could also have RP eligibility in your league … Giancarlo Stanton crushed a ball that would have left the field if not for a strong wind in his face, according to manager Mike Redmond … DIllon Gee threw 2 2/3 innings for the Mets, possibly as an audition to join the Rangers in place of Yu Darvish (Tommy John surgery)?
Detroit Tigers (12), Atlanta Braves (6)
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Justin Verlander threw two shutout innings against the Braves’ split-squad lineup, which even in the regular season might look like a split-squad lineup. Before we move Verlander up five rounds in ADP, let’s remember that pitchers are usually ahead of hitters in Spring Training …
Don’t tell that to Shelby Miller, however, as he gave up four earned runs on three hits and two walks, getting just one batter out in his one-third of an inning. He’ll need to rebound big-time in his second start later this week or else he’ll go from a late-round pick to a possible in-season repalcement … Nick Castellanos had two hits and two RBI, and he looks like a nice post-hype sleeper for 2015.
Toronto Blue Jays (4), Philadelphia Phillies (5)
Josh Donaldson homered for the first time in a Blue Jays uniform, and Mark Buehrle pitched two scoreless innings. Once again, he’ll get picked up late in Fantasy leagues as one of the lowest ceilings in all of baseball. He gets innings and some wins, but really doesn’t help you as much as you might think … Jonathan Papelbon also pitched well, striking out two and allowing one hit in his one inning of action. He put on weight this past offseason — on purpose, not like me — and he’s looking good.
Atlanta Braves (1), N.Y. Mets (3)
While most pitchers are seeing just two innings of work this first go-round of spring games, Mets sophomore, and current NL Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jacob deGrom threw three innings against the Braves. Don’t get scared though, as it was an efficient 27-pitch outing, allowing one run on two hits and one strikeout. The kid threw 22 strikes! … On the other side, Mike Foltynewicz, who came over in the Evan Gattis trade and is battling for the Braves’ fifth spot in the rotation, gave up one run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Don’t forget to check out RotoDaddy’s recaps of the Cactus League games — even though, the Grapefruit League updates are so much more awesome-r.
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