Spring Training Notes: 2/24/18

I’m not sure how often I’ll go through the league each day during spring training but it should be fairly often. I’m going to focus on the players whose status is up in the air and could see their values change.

Detroit vs New York Yankees

Miguel Cabrera swings (8 and 1:02-minute mark)

I am no trained scout but even though he got a single in his second at-bat, there was no power behind any of his swings. I’m not buying any improvement for now.

Mets vs Braves

Zack Wheeler was one of the few pitchers who threw Friday I wanted to see how he performed after missing the two months last year with an arm injury. It was only an inning of work and the camera angle was rough but he looked fine. Here are his pitch velocity’s from the broadcast radar gun.

  • FB 94-97
  • SL 87-88
  • CU 77 12-6

Athletics vs Angels

Daniel Mengden

He’s still rocking the 80-grade mustache

  • He’s cleaned up his windup some. I’m not sure if it’s for the best. I think his old jerkier windup kept hitters off balance. When the bases are empty during his career, he’s posted a 3.04 FIP (.294 vs. wOBA). With runners on it jumps to 6.26 (.390 vs. wOBA).
  • He had some control issue with some pitches not even close to the strike zone.
  • He didn’t get hit hard but he had no swing-and-miss going.
  • Seems like a spot starter to me.

Rays vs Pirates

Matt Duffy is batting 2nd for the Rays. No Carlos Gomez or Mallex Smith in the lineup so that may change. The extra plate appearances could boost his value. Monitor the situation as spring training continues.

Cardinals vs Marlins

Magneuris Sierra (acquired from the Cardinals) was leading off for the Marlins. If he can stay near the top of the lineup he could be a decent value. He was replaced by Scott Van Slyke who proceeded to hit two home runs.

Jack Flaherty

  • A horrible camera angle. I felt like the camera was being run by a lawn troll placed in front of the shortstop.
  • He located his breaker too far from the plate hoping hitters would chase. He’ll need to be closer to the strike zone for major leaguers to go after those pitches.
  • Overall he pitched fine but his fastball seems fairly hittable.

Arizona vs the Rockies

Yasmany Tomas had a fielding error in his first game. There is just no reason to own him at this point and I could see him getting cut or maybe traded to an AL team. It would have to be reserve pick in an NL-only league before I’d consider owning him.

Fastball Velocity Values (from pitch tracking systems installed in three Arizona ballparks)

Note: The Yankees and Mets home games show a stadium radar gun reading on the broadcast (possible more teams but that is all I saw yesterday) for those looking for Florida velocity readings.

Usually, Brooksbaseball is all over the spring training velocities of Arizona venues (and maybe only Salt River this year) but they aren’t posting them yet. But the GameDay feed does have them so here are some values I found interesting.

Jeff Hoffman
92 to 94 mph

Spring Training 2016: 96 mph

May 2017: 96 mph
… steady decline to …
October 2017 93.5 mph

Hoffman was not on many fantasy radars and he should stay that way for now as he tries to find his old velocity.

Adam Ottavino
93 to 94 mph
2017 Avg: 94.4 mph

Brad Boxberger
89 to 90 mph
2017 Avg: 92.3 mph

We have no history with Boxburger’s spring training velocities so he may be one of the few pitchers who throw softer in spring training. He should be followed by potential owners to see if he gets the velocity back.



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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Jason Collette
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wonder how much of the Rays split squad situation yesterday influenced Duffy’s lineup spot