Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ Category

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Yesterday was just another Spring Training day. Yankees starter Michael Pineda faced off against the Red Sox in just another Spring Training start at Steinbrenner Field. The stakes were very low, as per spring tradition. The lineup the Red Sox sent wasn’t exactly representative of the Sox at their full power, but it was hardly a “bee” lineup. Eh? Eh? Bee?

At any rate, Michael Pineda‘s outing against the Red Sox went very, very well. Pineda had his slider working as he registered five strikeouts in just under five innings pitched, reaching his 60 pitch limit without too much in the way of stress as the Sox scratched out just four hits.

It got the minds of Yankee fans racing. With a rotation of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahario Tanaka, and Ivan Nova, Pineda is one of several pitchers competing for the fifth starter job but, if he keeps pitching like this, it won’t be much of competition. Michael Pineda is healthy and well so the Yanks are set, right?

Right. If only it were so simple.

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MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Washington Nationals

Spring Training is not a time for measuring results. For pitchers especially, Spring Training is a living laboratory for them to better shape their body and mind for the upcoming season grind.

For some hurlers, this means slowly building arm strength up to regular season levels. Pass a pitch count milestone each time out en route to regular season readiness. For others, spring activities are meant for tinkering. For searching for feel and something new. A time for playing around and getting a new wrinkle that will make them better pitchers during the regular season.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Kansas City Royals

Spring Training records don’t matter, right up until the moment that they do. When things go badly for a team during Spring Training, it’s only spring. When a team or player shines under the Arizona/Florida sun, it’s great! It’s all deadly. Swing changes taking effect, players learning how to win, great evidence of organizational depth, the whole nine yards.

It’s all bunk, of course. Bunk. Trash. Hooey.

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Colorado Rockies v Seattle Mariners

No. Well, that was easy. Enjoy your day!

It is not difficult to understand the Mariners quest of offense this winter. The M’s haven’t scored runs for years – due as much to a dearth of talent than the cavernous ballpark in which they play. Seattle’s front office wants runs and, after a slew of moves this winter, runs they shall have.

The Mariners doubled down on the offensive emphasis, bringing in countless DH/3B types in addition to changing the dimensions of their picturesque stadium. The goal was a team able to bang with their division rivals in LA and Texas, two prolific offenses. Early on during Spring Training, the results are pretty good.

Seattle is killing the ball during the early days of Spring Training, hitting multiple home runs in eight straight Cactus League games. Totally 25 home runs through just 12 games, they have the best fake offense during the ongoing fake baseball season. Mission accomplished! The Mariners are fixed!

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Oakland Athletics v Milwaukee Brewers

Whether it’s David Price slamming the New York Yankees facial hair policy or Josh Reddick (pictured above) engaging in a “beard-off” with a rassler, beards are a hot item in baseball right now. Maybe it’s just that spring training is a long, dull drag and we’re all far too easily amused. Whatever the case, beards are rad and there’s a number of Major Leaguers sporting significant growth right now.

Here’s a look at several manes that currently have the attention of beard enthusiasts:

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Domonic Brown‘s prospect trajectory could easily be classified as “tragic.” From can’t miss to can’t hit to can’t get a break, what the Phillies plan to do with their former top prospect — one they wouldn’t part with in any potential Roy Halladay trade — is anyone’s guess. This is a team which signed Delmon Young in the off-season, for the love of everything holy!

Watching Brown’s smooth stroke take Zach Nuding over the batters’ eye in center makes it seem like anything is possible for the lanky outfielder.

It also, convinently, points out a terrific wrinkle added by Baseball Reference today. You can now check out Spring Training stats on anybody’s BR page with a key feature: quality of opposition. Not all spring stats are created equal, so the geniuses at Baseball Reference grade the quality of the opposition. The stats are, unfortunately, not historical but will be kept from this day forward.

A decent reminder that Zach Nuding is not Yu Darvish. Nuding hasn’t pitched about high-A yet so, while he might be good one day, he isn’t quite good yet. Dom Brown hitting glorified BP homers is not nothing but it ain’t quite something either.

Shadows hide the extra chins.

Shadows hide the extra chins.

When Mike Trout reported to Spring Training, ready to follow-up one of the finest all-around seasons in baseball history, he did so carrying a few extra pounds. Because he just came off one of the finest seasons in baseball history, everybody sort of freaked out.

There were a typical amount of jokes and jibes and fantasy lunatics worried about his stolen base totals. While Trout tried to downplay his weight-gain, it still attracted a great deal of undue attention. Which it certainly does not deserve.

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