With yet another week of spring training in the books, the sample sizes are getting larger and we’re getting a better look at who’s turning things around and who needs to. In case you missed the previous lists, here are week 1 and week 2.
On the rise:
Bryce Harper, RF Nationals
Harper was still a good player last season but he wasn’t his MVP self. While a 20/20 season is solid for most players, the 2015 NL MVP is better than that. With his spring batting average and on base percentages much closer to his career averages, Harper’s power stroke has returned as he leads all spring players in long balls. Look for MVP caliber numbers again from Harper.
Taijuan Walker, SP Diamondbacks
Once a rising star in Seattle, Walker got hit around in his first few seasons in the bigs but seems to have turned things around this spring. Walker has an ERA of 2.08, a WHIP sitting comfortably at 0.85, and a K/9 of 14.53, he is finally missing bats and keeping runners off base when he doesn’t. Look for the breakout season we’ve all been waiting for from the new Diamondbacks righty.
Masahiro Tanaka, SP Yankees
While it’s no surprise that Tanaka is putting up good numbers, his spring has been absolutely outstanding so far. How many runs has Tanaka given up so far this spring through 4 starts and 13.1 innings? Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Pair the 0.00 ERA with his 0.38 WHIP and .071 BAA and Tanaka is setting himself up for a Cy Young caliber season.
Carlos Carrasco, SP Indians
Chicks dig the long ball, and apparently so does Carrasco this spring. After surrendering a career high 21 home runs last season, Carrasco still put up a 3.32 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. This spring has been a different story though with Carrasco surrendering 5 home runs in 4 starts to go along with a 15.75 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP. The high ERA and WHIP suggest that he is still hitting plenty of barrels and not just for home runs anymore.
Jeremy Hellickson, SP Phillies
The former AL Rookie of the Year had a nice season last year in Philadelphia but is off to a rough start this spring. No one has given up more more hits or runs than Hellickson this spring and few have surrendered more home runs or earned runs. While still putting up a respectable 7 strikeouts per 9 innings, Hellickson needs to limit the damage done when he doesn’t miss bats.
Chris Carter, 1B Yankees
The Yankees free agent pickup has not been stellar so far this spring. While Carter’s low batting average and high strikeout rate is nothing new, this spring is proving worrisome so far. Carter is striking out in just under 50% of his at bats this spring which is way too much compared to his career mark of 38%. Not only that, but he has homered in just over 3% of his at bats this spring which is under half of his career mark of 7%. With the emergence of Greg Bird, Carter may very well lose the job he was brought in for before the season even starts.