Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Grapefruit League Lugnuts

(I thought he looked safe at second base, frankly.)
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It's that time once again, for the first time, when we look over the Grapefruit League and Cactus League box scores to see how notable former Lugnuts are performing in camp...
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
* INF Andy Burns (class of '12) is 2-for-3 with an error, showing off thunder in his bat and the potential for highlight-reel defense.  I wouldn't be surprised at all now by a 2014 MLB debut for Burns.
* INF Ryan Goins (class of '09/'10) is 1-for-8 with a walk.  That's not the best early stat line for a player whose bat has been questioned.
* RHP Drew Hutchison (class of '10/'11) looked terrific in two scoreless innings, striking out four.  (It's a good thing when your manager says you were "unbelievable," right?)
* RHP Chad Jenkins (class of '10) is working out of the bullpen and looking fine:  3 appearances, 2 1/3 perfect innings.  In this Toronto Sun article, Hutchison is listed as the #1 reason Blue Jays fans can be optimistic -- and Jenkins is #9.
* C A.J. Jimenez (class of '09/'10) entered late in one game and scored a run.
* UT Kevin Nolan (class of '10/'11) has been substituted late in two games, going 0-for-2 with a run scored.  He remains one of the best people I've ever met in all of baseball.
* OF Kevin Pillar (class of '12) is 0-for-9 with three strikeouts. Tough spring so far for the 2012 Midwest League Most Valuable Player.
* RHP Aaron Sanchez (class of '11/'12), who is either the #1 or #2 prospect in the system (depending upon whether you like him or Marcus Stroman better), posted a scoreless inning despite loading the bases.  This is a nice taste for Aaron, who's heading to Double-A on Opening Day.
* RHP Marcus Walden (class of '11/'12) picked up an easy save in his first outing before struggling something awful in his second game.  Walden relieved Deck McGuire with runners aboard and a 7-3 lead in the eighth inning.  By the time the eighth was over, the Jays trailed 9-7 on their way to a loss.  I'm curious if the sinkerballer gets a shot this year with Toronto.
* OF Kenny Wilson (class of '09, '10, '12) is 3-for-7 with an RBI and a walk.  If he keeps on keeping on, Kenny's defense and speed will earn him an MLB spot.

Other teams...
CLEVELAND INDIANS* LHP Marc "Scrabble" Rzepczynski (class of '08) was excellent in the Indians' bullpen last year.  He has a nice businesslike scoreless inning thus far this spring.
* C Yan Gomes (class of '10) is 0-for-4 in three games.  MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes about the difference between how Gomes enters this year compared to last year.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
* RHP Nestor Molina (class of '10):  1 inning, 2 hits, 1 home run, 2 runs allowed.
MIAMI MARLINS
* LHP Justin Nicolino (class of '11/'12) started against Florida International in a "tune-up" game... and got rocked to the tune of five runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. He has not appeared yet in an exhibition game.
* OF Jake Marisnick (class of '10/'11) is hitting 2-for-6 so far, with a triple, a walk, and an RBI.  Michael Jong of Fish Stripes thinks he'll be a key to the Marlins' 2014 success.
NEW YORK METS
* RHP Noah "Thor" Syndergaard (class of '11/'12) started for the Mets yesterday, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing a bloop single, and striking out two.  The New York Times was impressed.  So was the New York Daily News.  And the Star-Ledger.   And ESPN New York.  You get the picture.
NEW YORK YANKEES
* OF Carlos Beltran (class of '96) is 1-for-8 through three games.  Naturally, that one hit is a home run.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES
* OF Travis Snider (class of '07) is 1-for-6 with a double through two games.  He also has a sweet potato-related injury.

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