As Spring Training rages on, all of the teams are working in new faces on the teams, as well as mainstays. For each franchise, there are certain in bigger needs of concern. There are also the questions of when players from the farm system will be ready for the main stage. But can their progress translate to the regular season if it were to start today?
Here are Spring Training trends to keep an eye out for.
Spring Training 2019: On the Rise?
Some teams have gone off to a red-hot start in these sessions, particularly the Toronto Blue Jays. Winning eight in a row, Toronto have found their way to the top of the Grapefruit League. Bo Bichette and Rowdy Tellez are swinging with authority. But with storied prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. suffering an oblique injury, not many see this hot streak running for very long.
Meanwhile, and equally as surprising, the San Diego Padres hold the lead over the rest of the Cactus League. San Diego made big waves signing Manny Machado to a long-term contract. But Machado isn’t the only one looking to make a significant impact in his new uniform. First-baseman prospect, Aderlin Rodriguez, leads the charge on offense, as well as the team in home runs and RBI. No. 77 has yet to hit the majors. But his recent strides are worthy of attention. As for San Diego, there is still work to be done to retain attention from the crowd. They first must build a team worth staying around for.
Spring Training 2019: Too Soon to Tell?
Sitting just a little over .500, the Baltimore Orioles tread through Spring Training in the midst of a rebuild. New manager, no Adam Jones: though some remain skeptic about the effort, whatever is working should be built upon while Baltimore still has it. Chance Sisco has caught fire from the batter’s box and can stand as a cornerstone for 2019.The regular season may not be kind for Baltimore. But the Orioles cannot allow a painful 2018 outing from repeating itself.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals stand three games above .500 as of now. Their offense has been the coal that’s keeping the train rolling, so much so to lead the majors in team batting average. With names like Meibrys Vilora, Bubba Starling, and Chris Owings tearing it up, Kansas City may have found a bright area for the new campaign. But things will be tough without Salvador Perez out for 2019. Not to mention they finished last in their division just last season.
Spring Training 2019: Already Not Looking Good?
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a thorny patch at this time around. Along with their 7-10 record in the Spring Game, they boast a -23 run differential. Like some other teams, Pittsburgh is looking for their identity for the 2019 outing. Ke”Bryan Hayes is making promising strides this year. Hopefully, the 22-year old third-baseman will land on the 40-man roster soon. But much more must be done for the Pirates to regain relevance. Their pitching will need to step up, and offensive production has to start making appearances.
The Texas Rangers are not showing much for fans to cheer about. Now, sitting 5-9 in the Cactus League, their spring rounds have gone sour. Not to mention that their pitching is already struggling, sitting next to last as of now. Their -18 run differential is not doing them any favors.
As of now, the Cincinnati Reds have been shaky while working in a plethora of new faces, including former Dodgers players. These include Alex Wood, Matt Kemp, and Yasiel Puig. Standing at the bottom of the Cactus League, Cincinnati will need to find winning formulas now and adapt as the season enters another chapter.
Featured image courtesy of Spring Training Online
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