Like the state of Florida, Arizona stands a proving ground for both veterans and newcomers to the diamond. Teams are working in roster changes, as well as various tactics that could spell out victory. With Opening Day less than a week away, the Cactus League has provided an opportunity for those fighting their way up to the 40-man roster.
Here are some of the brightest shining stars of the Cactus League.
Cactus League MVPs: Position Players
Jose Abreu: First Baseman, Chicago White Sox
Chicago’s power-hitting first baseman is starting to regain his All-Star strides in this preseason. Jose Abreu has recorded 14 RBI and four home runs as of right now, along with an above.330 batting average. The future seems fairly uncertain for the Chicago White Sox. But with Abreu’s batting and the anticipated arrival of Eloy Jimenez, White Sox fans should not start worrying before their season can actually begin. Do not let number 79’s age fool you. The 32-year old first baseman still baseball left in him. If he can consistently hit his All-Star strides, he could become a cornerstone in Chicago’s climb back into contention.
Yasiel Puig: Right Fielder, Cincinnati Reds
Like his fellow Dodgers players that moved east, Yasiel Puig is working his new shoes on the Cincinnati Reds roster. But he is starting to strike rich from the batter’s box. So far, Puig has recorded an above.360 batting average, along with four home runs and 13 RBI. With a few days left of Cactus League play, there is still a chance he could have a new personal best in RBI for preseason play. As for the regular season to come, Puig can hopefully carry this success to Opening Day and the weeks that follow.
Mark Zagunis: Right Fielder, Chicago Cubs
As the Chicago Cubs ready to take back the NL Central, Mark Zagunis is working for his spot on the 40-man squad. He has recorded career highs in Spring Training from the batter’s box. He has tallied four home runs and 12 RBI, plus an above .340 batting average. This is still preseason play for the Cubs, but for Mark Zagunis, 2019 could be the big break he needs tshowcasese his true talents. If can replicate these offensive talents, the Cubs can once again become one of the most feared teams in the National League.
Ryan McMahon: First-Baseman, Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are looking to exceed their success from 2018 in the upcoming regular season. One player whose looking to be the next Rockies All-Star is Ryan McMahon. In this year’s Cactus League games, the 24-year old boasts an above.400 batting average, along with three home runs and 11 RBI. With a team loaded with All-Star talent, McMahon could be the next Rockies name due for a breakthrough season. It seems than the future for Colorado couldn’t be any brighter.
Jorge Soler: Right-Fielder, Kansas City Royals
The season already looks bleak for Kansas City, and it hasn’t even started yet. Without their best player, Salvador Perez, 2019 will not be pleasant for the Royals to say the least. But Jorge Soler is sharpening up in Cactus League play. In this current run, Soler has belted four home runs and 15 RBI, with an above .300 batting average in tow. As for Kansas City, it is going to get worse from here before it gets better.
Cactus League MVPs: Pitchers
Frankie Montas: Oakland Athletics
One of the best parts of Oakland’s 2018 burst of success was their pitching crew. As we have seen this preseason, Frankie Montas can be the next weapon in the A’s camp. number 47 currently stands 2-0 from the mound, with a below 1.00 ERA in Cactus League play. As Opening Day draws near, Montas and company are looking to finish what they started in 2018.
Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/Reed Saxon
You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Manuel!
“From Our Haus to Yours