Spring Training Players to Watch from Week 1

Now that baseball is back in the form of spring training, here are some takeaways from the first week or so.  Obviously it is still early to say the least but here are three players on the rise and three on the decline so far.

On the Rise:

Greg Bird, 1B Yankees

While much of the focus on young players for the Yankees will be on Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, Bird is a player to keep an eye on.  Bird spent all of last year sidelined with a shoulder injury after what some thought was a good start to his career in 2015 when he played in 46 big league games for the Yankees.  So far this spring, Bird has put up a .375/.474/1.063 slash line to go with his 3 home runs in only 7 games.  It appears his shoulder injury is behind him at this point and this could mean less playing time for new Yankee Chris Carter.

Brandon Nimmo, LF Mets

Nimmo got a taste of big league playing time last season and by the looks of his start to Spring Training he doesn’t want to go back to the farm.  Nimmo put up decent numbers in his first games as a big leaguer last season, but didn’t really blow anyone away.  He won’t blow anyone away with power or speed, but Nimmo is putting the bat on the ball at a good clip so far.

Tyler Glasnow, SP Pirates

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Glasnow absolutely dominated after being called up to AAA last season posting a 1.87 ERA and striking out 133 batters in 110.2 innings over the span of 20 games.  He was called up twice last season to pitch in the majors and stayed around until the end of the season after pitching much better his second time around.  So far this spring Glasnow is still missing bats, striking out eight batters in three and two thirds.  This bodes well for the young Pittsburgh righty.  The only thing to keep an eye in is how many batters he is letting on base, whether he strands them or not.

Need Improvement:

Matt Adams, 1B Cardinals

Adams has struggled to make contact so far this spring, striking out 10 times in 17 at bats through his first 7 games.  Obviously it is still early and this could just be some rust, but Adams’ career K/AB is 25% which is less than half his current pace.  He also has just two hits, which means when he does make contact it isn’t very effective so far.

Drew Storen, RP Reds

As many anticipated the Reds signing of Storen would mean he was their new closer, they may be rethinking that.  Obviously too early to call after two appearances, Storen is still giving Reds fans something to worry about after surrendering eight earned runs in an inning and two thirds so far this spring.  Storen has surrendered two home runs in as many appearances after surrendering only seven long balls in 57 appearances last season.

Henry Owens, SP Red Sox

Once a top 50 prospect, Owens has failed to live up to expectations so far in his career and 2017 is not showing any signs of being the year he figures it out.  Owens has allowed eight walks, two home runs and seven earned runs over only five innings and that won’t do a thing to restore any faith left in him going into the season.  Unless he shows a miraculous turnaround over the next few weeks, Owens’ days in the majors are numbered.

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