Spring Training Job Battles: Early March Update

Spring Training Job Battles: Early March Update

This article is part of our Spring Training Job Battles series.

Games have been played, press conferences have been had and players have gotten injured. This week's article will look at which job battles have changed and which haven't through the first two weeks of spring games. All stats are through Thursday.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Rotation

Whether there's a battle here still hinges on Mike Leake's fractured non-throwing wrist. If he's forced to open the year on the injured list, that would leave just three names (Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Luke Weaver) fighting for three spots. Manager Torey Lovullo said it could be tough for Leake to get ready in time, though the veteran continues to work through his throwing progression, pitching live batting practice Thursday. As for the others, Gallen owns a 5:1 K:BB and a 0.46 WHIP through 4.1 innings. Weaver has struggled, giving up six runs in just two innings, striking out five but walking four. Kelly has a 3:2 K:BB and a 2.00 WHIP in four frames. Alex Young and Taylor Clarke could theoretically be in the conversation, but there's been no indication that they're ahead of the aforementioned names.

Closer

Archie Bradley has yet to be named the team's closer but has thrown two scoreless innings while allowing just one baserunner. Hector Rondon owns a 6:0 K:BB in three innings and has allowed just one baserunner as well, though that baserunner came on a solo homer. Kevin Ginkel deserves a mention, as his 1.48 ERA and 29.2 percent strikeout rate in his

Games have been played, press conferences have been had and players have gotten injured. This week's article will look at which job battles have changed and which haven't through the first two weeks of spring games. All stats are through Thursday.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Rotation

Whether there's a battle here still hinges on Mike Leake's fractured non-throwing wrist. If he's forced to open the year on the injured list, that would leave just three names (Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Luke Weaver) fighting for three spots. Manager Torey Lovullo said it could be tough for Leake to get ready in time, though the veteran continues to work through his throwing progression, pitching live batting practice Thursday. As for the others, Gallen owns a 5:1 K:BB and a 0.46 WHIP through 4.1 innings. Weaver has struggled, giving up six runs in just two innings, striking out five but walking four. Kelly has a 3:2 K:BB and a 2.00 WHIP in four frames. Alex Young and Taylor Clarke could theoretically be in the conversation, but there's been no indication that they're ahead of the aforementioned names.

Closer

Archie Bradley has yet to be named the team's closer but has thrown two scoreless innings while allowing just one baserunner. Hector Rondon owns a 6:0 K:BB in three innings and has allowed just one baserunner as well, though that baserunner came on a solo homer. Kevin Ginkel deserves a mention, as his 1.48 ERA and 29.2 percent strikeout rate in his 24.1-inning debut last season has most fantasy owners turning to him, not Rondon, as a late-round saves sleeper in Arizona. His tiny 1.2-inning sample this spring has come with mixed results, as he's struck out four batters but allowed two runs.

Atlanta Braves

Third Base

Reports from early Grapefruit League action suggested that Johan Camargo is ahead of Austin Riley in the battle for the hot corner. The Braves reportedly will demote whoever loses the battle in a bid to keep both playing regularly, raising the stakes considerably for this competition. Both players have hit well through seven spring games, with Camargo's 1.032 OPS beating Riley's .842.

Rotation

Cole Hamels (shoulder) still does not have a timetable to resume throwing, let alone one to return to games, so there should be two spots available in the Braves' rotation for some time. Sean Newcomb has emerged as the favorite for one of those spots, according to reports. He owns a 7:0 K:BB in five innings. The favorite for the second spot is not yet clear, though Felix Hernandez is making his case with an 8:3 K:BB and a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 frames. Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson and Touki Toussaint could still have a shot, however. Wilson is the only one of that group who has started a game, though he's allowed five runs while striking out just two in 5.1 innings. Wright, meanwhile, owns a 7:0 K:BB in five scoreless innings, while Toussaint has a 5:2 K:BB and has allowed just one run in 4.2 frames.

Closer

The Braves have nothing to indicate they've changed their plans for the ninth inning. Mark Melancon remains the primary option to close, with manager Brian Snitker reportedly happy to turn to Will Smith or Shane Greene as needed. Melancon has struck out three while allowing just one baserunner in a pair of scoreless frames. Smith owns a 2:1 K:BB while allowing two runs (one earned) in three innings. Greene has gotten knocked around, allowing eight baserunners and six runs (five earned) in 2.2 innings.

Baltimore Orioles

First Base/Outfield

It's never wise to overreact to 15 plate appearances, especially when those plate appearances come in spring training, but am I going to miss the chance to point out that Chris Davis of all people is batting .556/.647/.1.556 with three homers? No, I am not. A bet on Davis based on that sample while ignoring his .172/.256/.308 line over the last two seasons likely wouldn't be smart, but if his hot spring continues, there's a good chance he'll get the at-bats early in the season to prove it's not a fluke. That would push Trey Mancini to the outfield and cut into the at-bats of Anthony Santander, Dwight Smith and DJ Stewart. Mancini and Santander could just be regular starters in the outfield corners, with the other two filling true bench roles. Whether Stewart cracks the Opening Day roster remains to be seen, as he's still working his way back from ankle surgery and hasn't played a Grapefruit League game.

Rotation

Asher Wojciechowski has recovered from a blister to make a pair of spring starts, striking out four and walking one while allowing one run in five innings. Tommy Milone has made one spring appearance but is battling a stiff neck. The issue probably won't keep him out long enough to wipe out his chances in the battle for the team's final three rotation spots. Kohl Stewart hasn't pitched due to forearm soreness but is expected to do so Sunday. Wade LeBlanc, Keegan Akin, Ty Blach, Tom Eshelman, Chandler Shepherd and Rule 5 pick Brandon Bailey have made Grapefruit League starts, which doesn't provide much clarity. David Hess has only pitched in relief.

Closer

Mychal Givens was being drafted as the presumptive closer after leading the Orioles with 11 saves last season. His 4.57 ERA was hardly closer material, though his 33.1 percent strikeout rate is promising. An illness has limited him to just one appearance this spring, though the greater threat to his stock might come from manager Brandon Hyde, who indicated Thursday that he had plenty of confidence in Hunter Harvey as a high-leverage weapon. Long considered an interesting prospect but never able to stay healthy for an extended period, Harvey finally reached the majors last season as a reliever, striking out 11 of 26 batters faced. The Orioles haven't officially named Harvey the closer, and there's certainly no guarantee that he'll suddenly have a healthy season, but his ADP likely will rise following Hyde's comments.

Boston Red Sox

Rotation

A battle for one spot at the back of Boston's rotation became a battle for two when Chris Sale was shut down with a flexor strain. He'll miss at least several weeks at the start of the season in the best-case scenario and might not be back until mid-2021 if Tommy John surgery is necessary. In the meantime, Collin McHugh has joined the team on a one-year deal and would seem to be a favorite to start, but he won't be ready to go by Opening Day as he's still working his way back from an elbow injury he suffered late last season and has only recently been cleared to throw. He's likely to earn a rotation spot once healthy, but that's no guarantee, as he's spent most of the last two seasons in the bullpen and could be best served to remain there due to his health issues.

While Sale and McHugh could round out the rotation eventually, there are still two spots available for the first few turns through the rotation. Ryan Weber has staked his claim through two spring starts, striking out seven and walking none in five scoreless innings. Kyle Hart, Tanner Houck, Brian Johnson, Bryan Mata, Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs have started as well. Johnson has perhaps looked the best in his limited sample, allowing just a single baserunner while striking out four in four scoreless innings. Hector Velazquez, potentially an option for the role, was designated for assignment to clear a spot for McHugh, seemingly taking him out of competition.

Chicago Cubs

Second Base

Manager David Ross said the Cubs' situation at second base is "wait and see." Nico Hoerner, David Bote and Jason Kipnis remain candidates. The trio has been mediocre in Cactus League. Bote's .663 OPS edges out Hoerner's .648 mark and Kipnis' .569.

Center Field

Albert Almora came to camp with a new swing after his poor 2019 campaign, standing more upright with less of a closed stance and a reduced leg kick. The sample is, of course, small, but the early returns are positive: he's hit a pair of homers and owns a 1.333 OPS through seven games. Ian Happ has looked great as well, hitting two homers himself and edging out Almora with a 1.389 OPS. Both players have exclusively started in center field. Steven Souza is staking his claim for at-bats as well, posting a similarly strong .974 OPS in seven games.

Fifth Starter

Tyler Chatwood has looked good in his three spring starts, striking out seven and walking two while allowing a pair of runs in six innings. Alec Mills hasn't allowed a hit or a run in his six innings, though his 4:3 K:BB isn't particularly good. Adbert Alzolay and Colin Rea have also made starts, while Jharel Cotton has only pitched in relief. 

Chicago White Sox

Fifth Starter

Dylan Cease always seemed likely to win a rotation spot despite a poor rookie campaign, and his 8:0 K:BB through six spring innings certainly isn't hurting his chances. There could still be a temporary starting role available, however, with Lucas Giolito (chest) and Gio Gonzalez (shoulder) battling injuries. Giolito made his spring debut Friday, however, and should still have time to make a handful of appearances before Opening Day. Gonzalez is throwing but doesn't have a start scheduled yet, so his readiness is more up in the air. Michael Kopech isn't exactly primed to jump at that chance, however, as he's also throwing but not yet pitching in games as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. Ross Detwiler and Alex McRae, both in camp as non-roster invitees, have each made two starts. McRae has looked passable, but Detwiler has a 2.08 WHIP and a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 innings.

Cincinnati Reds

Outfield

It's hard to say that much clarity has emerged for who will roam the outfield next to Nick Castellanos this season. Nick Senzel has been brought along slowly as he works his way back from September shoulder surgery. He made his spring debut as a designated hitter Thursday but has yet to play the field. Jesse Winker has battled a bruised wrist and an illness but has gotten into four games, going 3-for-8 with a walk. Aristides Aquino is hitless in 14 spring at-bats, fueling speculation that he might open the year in the minors. Shogo Akiyama hasn't shown much yet, hitting .235/.278/.235, but he's at least playing after fracturing his foot last fall. Travis Jankowski, always a long shot to earn significant time, hasn't played since suffering a hamstring injury in late February. The struggles and injuries of his teammates could mean good news for Phillip Ervin, who has a 1.367 OPS, though he's not expected to start too many games.

Cleveland Indians

Outfield

The situation in the outfielder for the Reds' neighbors to the north hasn't gotten much clearer, either. Oscar Mercado is dealing with a sprained wrist and has an uncertain return date, while Tyler Naquin is still recovering from knee surgery. None of the healthy options has particularly stood out this spring. Delino DeShields Jr. has a decent .710 OPS and a stolen base. Domingo Santana's OPS is .400, while Jake Bauers' is .409. Jordan Luplow's .348 OPS is even worse, while Greg Allen has gone 1-for-15 with a .243 OPS. Compared to most of his teammates, Bradley Zimmer's poor .550 OPS looks quite good.

Rotation

Carlos Carrasco has returned from a hip injury and should have time to be ready for Opening Day. Mike Clevinger is working his way back from a meniscus tear but will miss a few turns in the rotation, meaning there's an additional temporary spot up for grabs. Aaron Civale has returned from a sore groin and should have the inside track on one of the three available jobs. Zach Plesac, Adam Plutko, Logan Allen and Jefry Rodriguez have started as well. Plesac has struck out nine and walked two in 8.1 innings. Plutko owns a 2:1 K:BB in four frames while allowing three runs. Allen has struck out five but also walked five in 4.1 innings. Rodriguez has had a rough spring, allowing eight runs while walking five batters in 4.1 frames.

Colorado Rockies

Second Base/Left Field/Center Field

Ryan McMahon will play at least 150 games this season if healthy, per manager Bud Black. While some of those games could come at first base, the majority will come at second. That complicates things for Garrett Hampson. It remains to be seen whether Hampson will get meaningful time in center field, pushing David Dahl to left, or if Dahl will start in center with Ian Desmond and Raimel Tapia platooning in left. Sam Hilliard could factor in somewhere in the outfield but has no obvious spot. The Rockies haven't made their plans clear and won't decide based purely on Cactus League stats, but Tapia and Desmond have hit the best of the bunch, with Tapia posting a .965 OPS and Desmond's OPS coming in at .771. Meanwhile, Hilliard owns a respectable enough .723 mark but Hampson's is just .495. Brendan Rodgers has served as a designated hitter as he works his way back from shoulder surgery, though he's yet to take the field and is unlikely to make the Opening Day roster.

Rotation

Kyle Freeland left with back spasms in his first spring start, but he's expected to return to the mound Sunday and should still have time to claim a rotation spot. Chi Chi Gonzalez, Peter Lambert, Antonio Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman and 36-year-old Ubaldo Jimenez have made starts and appear to be in contention for one of the final two spots. None has done much to stand out, though Lambert and Senzatela both have a 5:1 K:BB. Wes Parsons has been sent to minor-league camp and is no longer in contention for a spot.

Closer

Wade Davis was named the closer prior to camp despite an awful 2018 camp, and he hasn't done anything through two spring innings to lose his job, striking out two while not allowing a baserunner. Scott Oberg has gotten back on the mound after being shut down with blood clots late last season. He's struck out three in 1.2 scoreless innings.

Detroit Tigers

Third Base

Both Dawel Lugo and Jeimer Candelario have done a poor job of lobbying for a starting role this spring. Lugo's .250/.250/.313 slash line looks good next to Candelario's .100/.100/.250 line.

Corner Outfield

It looked to be a three-man battle between Victor Reyes, Christin Stewart and Cameron Maybin for two corner-outfield spots in Detroit, but JaCoby Jones has missed more than a week with a calf injury, potentially allowing all three to start. Travis Demeritte has been on a tear, however, hitting four homers in 13 at-bats, including a pair off Gerrit Cole. Reyes owns a strong .956 OPS, but Stewart (.243 OPS) and Maybin (.192 OPS) have struggled.

Houston Astros

Right Field

Kyle Tucker started his spring very slowly, going hitless in his first 16 at-bats before his three-hit day Thursday against the Red Sox. Josh Reddick has been brought along slowly as he makes his way back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, going 1-for-8 at the plate. It's possible at-bats are open for both players at the start of the season due to Yordan Alvarez's knee soreness. The young designated hitter is in the middle of a brief shutdown, though his absence is considered precautionary.

Fifth Starter

Josh James has seen his stock rise considerably in recent weeks, coming in at an ADP of 254.1 in the NFBC the last two weeks after previously being drafted at a 370.5 ADP through Feb. 20. That helium appears to be simply drafters comparing his potential to his competitors, Framber Valdez and Austin Pruitt, as the Astros themselves haven't announced their plans for their final rotation spot. James' 5:0 K:BB and 0.20 WHIP through five spring innings certainly doesn't hurt, though Valdez' 9:3 K:BB and 0.90 WHIP in 6.2 frames is quite good as well. Pruitt has a 0.83 WHIP in six innings but has yet to strike out a single batter.

Kansas City Royals

First Base

Ryan McBroom and Ryan O'Hearn have both done what they can to stake their claims for at-bats this spring. Both Ryans have two home runs. McBroom is hitting .273/.360/.363 in 11 games, while O'Hearn has hit .304/.385/.652 in nine games.

Rotation

Jakob Junis was scratched from his start Tuesday with a lower-back strain, potentially opening a second spot in the Royals' rotation, though manager Mike Matheny says the issue isn't serious. Among the candidates mentioned as favorites in the first installment of this year's job battles series, only Jorge Lopez has started a game. He's allowed one run in 5.2 innings while posting a 6:2 K:BB. Glenn Sparkman, Jesse Hahn and Eric Skoglund have pitched exclusively in relief. Skoglund has pitched just once due to tenderness in his arm, potentially taking him out of the running.

Los Angeles Angels

Right Field

It's not clear whether Jo Adell is even being considered for an Opening Day spot, but he's not having one of those springs that would make starting him in the minors unthinkable. His .294 average in six games is strong, but he's yet to walk and has just one extra-base hit. He's also struck out in eight of his 17 plate appearances. Brian Goodwin continues to look unexciting but capable, posting a .743 OPS.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Fifth Starter

Dustin May only just resumed playing catch Thursday after being shut down since mid-February with side tightness. The delay should take him out of the running for the Opening Day rotation, though it's possible he's knocking on the door quite early in the season if all goes well with his injury. Julio Urias appears to be locked into the fourth-starter job, though how long he'll remain there given his light workload over the last three seasons remains to be seen. Alex Wood looks like the favorite to open as the fifth starter. He's showing increased velocity, hitting 92 and 93 mph on his fastball, after spending time at Driveline Baseball this offseason, though it hasn't translated to success in his tiny spring sample. He's allowed three runs in 2.1 innings. 

Tony Gonsolin started both of his outings, allowing just one baserunner and no runs in three innings, but he's likely ticketed for a relief role to start the year. The same goes for Ross Stripling, who's also started two games and thrown three scoreless innings. Jimmy Nelson, already a long shot, just can't catch a break. It doesn't appear that he'll have time to build up to a starting workload by Opening Day as he's been slowed by groin, back and lower-body issues and has yet to throw a competitive pitch.

Miami Marlins

Right Field

Lewis Brinson is in a rare run of good form, going 7-for-17 with a pair of homers and four total extra-base hits. Given his previous prospect hype, the Marlins likely will give him regular at-bats if his hot streak continues. Garrett Cooper and Matt Joyce have had unremarkable starts to spring, with Cooper posting a .721 OPS and Joyce's OPS coming in at .620. Matt Kemp's OPS is just .417 through seven games. He'll reportedly fill a bench role if he makes the team and isn't being considered for a starting job.

Rotation

Jose Urena has looked good in five innings, posting a 4:0 K:BB and giving up zero runs. Meanwhile, Elieser Hernandez has allowed six runs in seven innings while struggling to a 3:4 K:BB. 

Milwaukee Brewers

First Base/Right Field

Nothing appears to have changed with the Brewers' plan to move Ryan Braun between first base and right field, with Justin Smoak and Avisail Garcia covering whichever position he doesn't. Braun has yet to make his Cactus League debut, but he doesn't appear to be injured and is expected to play within the next few days. Neither Smoak nor Garcia has had much success in their brief, five-game samples. Smoak's OPS is .583, while Garcia's is .533.

Third Base

The plan to platoon Eric Sogard and Jedd Gyorko appears intact. Sogard has gotten off to a 2-for-14 start this spring, while Gyorko has gone 3-for-8. Brock Holt has been used exclusively at shortstop, though it's not clear that he'll be needed there during the regular season with Luis Urias and Orlando Arcia capable of handling the position. Ryon Healy has made it back from last August's hip surgery, though he hasn't done much at the plate, posting a .258 OPS in seven games.

Fifth Starter

Brandon Woodruff, Josh Lindblom, Adrian Houser and Brett Anderson seem to have safe jobs (with Houser's thumb issue and Anderson's illness seemingly not significant), leaving just one spot open at the back of the rotation. Eric Lauer and Freddy Peralta are reportedly the primary contestants. Lauer, who owns a career 20.6 percent strikeout rate, has struck out nine of 20 batters faced. Peralta signed a five-year extension and is working on adding a slider, perhaps in a bid to remain in the rotation. He has a 7:4 K:BB and a 0.91 WHIP in 7.2 spring innings. Corbin Burnes is stretching out as a starter but appears to be a long shot to open in the rotation. He has a 7:2 K:BB in six spring innings and, perhaps more important, has yet to give up a home run. Shelby Miller hasn't been ruled out of the conversation but appears set to open the year in the minors.

Minnesota Twins

Fifth Starter

Homer Bailey appears to have a firm grip on the fourth starter job, leaving just one spot temporarily open until Michael Pineda completes his suspension in mid-May. Jhoulys Chacin, Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer have started games this spring. Dobnak's 1.50 ERA and 0.50 WHIP are both easily the best of the bunch, beating Chacin's 7.20 ERA and 1.00 WHIP as well as Smeltzer's 5.68 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. Lewis Thorpe is back in camp after a personal absence but hasn't pitched in a game.

New York Mets

Left Field

Yoenis Cespedes isn't expected to play in games until mid-March as he works his way back from a broken ankle. He'll be cutting it quite tight for Opening Day, especially given that he hasn't played since mid-2018. J.D. Davis isn't guaranteed to be ready by Opening Day, either. He jammed his left shoulder when diving for a ball in late February and hasn't returned to game action, though he's  taken part in on-field workouts and still has enough time to make the Opening Day roster. If both Cespedes and J.D. Davis aren't ready to go, Dominic Smith and Jake Marisnick will compete for at-bats. Marisnick's .702 spring OPS isn't good, but it's better than Smith's .330. Matt Adams could take advantage of the opportunity as well, but he missed more than a week due to cardiac screening. He's since returned to baseball activities but has yet to return to games.

Fifth Starter

There have been suggestions that Steven Matz may follow an opener, though it appears that he's still locked in as the team's fourth starter, leaving Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha fighting for just one job. Porcello has allowed just one run in six innings while posting a 7:1 K:BB. Wacha has thrown five scoreless frames, though his 3:3 K:BB is less impressive.

New York Yankees

Third Base

This battle appears to have been decided in favor of both contestants, at least for the start of the season. Gio Urshela was said to be the favorite at the hot corner heading into camp, and now the injuries to Giancarlo Stanton (calf) and Aaron Judge (pectoral) have opened up a spot for Miguel Andujar at designated hitter or left field. Judge reportedly is still holding out hope that he'll be playing on Opening Day, but that seems to be overly optimistic.

Left Field

The aforementioned injuries to Stanton and Judge appear to have decided this one as well. Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier and Andujar will fill the outfield corners and the designated hitter spot in some combination. Frazier is off to a hot start in camp, posting a 1.192 OPS. Andujar's OPS is .818, while Tauchman has yet to get off the ground, posting a .403 mark with just a single hit.

Rotation

Luis Severino's Tommy John surgery has turned a temporary rotation spot into a permanent one, in addition to the temporary spot left by James Paxton's back surgery and Domingo German's domestic violence suspension. Manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that Jordan Montgomery had the fourth-starter job locked up, though expecting a heavy workload from him in his first season back from Tommy John surgery may be unwise. Michael King might be the favorite for the final rotation spot, as Jonathan Loaisiga is stretching out as a starter but is expected to fill multiple roles. Luis Cessa is expected to pitch out of the bullpen.

Oakland Athletics

Second Base

The Athletics haven't offered much clarity for their second-base situation. Chad Pinder, who likely will  get at-bats all over the diamond, has opened spring with an excellent 1.060 OPS. Tony Kemp boasts a similarly strong .985 mark. Franklin Barreto (.757) and Jorge Mateo (.717) have also performed respectably in that category, while Sheldon Neuse's OPS is a modest .607. Rule 5 pick Vimael Machin has also acquitted himself well, posting an .809 OPS. Barreto has played the most innings at the position, followed by Kemp and Machin, with the others finding the majority of their at-bats elsewhere on the diamond.

Philadelphia Phillies

Fifth Starter

The Phillies haven't done anything to suggest that Spencer Howard will be rushed to the big leagues by Opening Day, so the fact that a seemingly minor knee issue has kept him from making his spring debut is unlikely to impact his eventual major-league debut date. Vince Velasquez has pitched better than Nick Pivetta, as his 1.80 ERA crushes Pivetta's 8.22 mark, though Pivetta's 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings is at least somewhat encouraging. Ranger Suarez spent all of his big-league time last season as a reliever, but he's stretching out as a starter this spring and has thrown five scoreless innings.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Catcher

Luke Maile missed a bit of time with a tight hamstring but has since returned to action. He's gone 2-for-8  this spring. Jacob Stallings has looked good in his small sample, posting a 1.045 OPS in five games. Andrew Susac has matched Maile's 2-for-8 mark while adding two walks.

San Diego Padres

Catcher

The Padres haven't done anything to suggest that they're looking at anything other than a fairly even split behind Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia behind the plate again this season. Hedges owns a .516 OPS through six spring games, while Mejia is hitless in 13 at-bats.

Outfield

Tommy Pham has been limited to designated hitter duty in camp due to a side injury, though it appears that he'll be ready to go by Opening Day. Josh Naylor has been temporarily shut down with a stiff neck. Trent Grisham and Wil Myers have been having strong springs, with Grisham posting a .955 OPS and Myers smashing three homers en route to a 1.476 OPS. Meanwhile, Franchy Cordero has gone 2-for-10 with four strikeouts.

San Francisco Giants

Second Base

Mauricio Dubon spent a bit of time in center field, potentially preparing for a super utility role. He's also started two games at shortstop. At the plate, he's been on fire, going 7-for-17 with a pair of homers. Wilmer Flores has played both first and second base. He's gone 5-for-17 at the plate.

Fifth Starter

Tyler Beede is out of this competition after an MRI revealed a flexor strain and a UCL sprain in his right elbow Tuesday. Dereck Rodriguez has started a pair of games, allowing two unearned runs in 2.2 innings with a 3:2 K:BB. Logan Webb has started once and relieved once, giving up two runs in 4.1 frames while striking out four and walking two. Andrew Suarez has started one game and relieved in two more, posting a strong 9:1 K:BB in 6.2 frames while allowing a pair of runs. Tyson Ross appears to be a candidate as well, though he's appeared in relief in both of his Cactus League appearances.

Closer

Tony Watson is seemingly the favorite for this role, but he's yet to make his spring debut as he works through a minor shoulder issue. Shaun Anderson had been considered a candidate but is stretching out as a starter. He's only been used in relief in Cactus League action, however, and is having an awful time, giving up nine runs in 2.2 innings. Among the other potential candidates, Trevor Gott has a 4:4 K:BB in three innings while Tyler Rogers owns a 4:0 K:BB in the same amount of work. Jandel Gustave has allowed three runs with a 3.50 WHIP in two frames and has been sent to minor-league camp. The possibility of new manager Gabe Kapler never naming a dedicated closer remains.

Seattle Mariners

Rotation

The Mariners have yet to lay out their rotation plans behind Marco Gonzales and Yusei Kikuchi (who is showing increased velocity and has struck out 10 batters in 6.2 innings). Taijuan Walker has only pitched in intrasquad games but is reportedly feeling fine as he prepares for his first full season since recovering from Tommy John surgery. Justus Sheffield has started spring hot, posting a 7:0 K:BB in five innings. Kendall Graveman has thrown four scoreless innings in two starts. Wei-Yin Chen has pitched in relief in both of his outings without much success. He's allowed four runs in 3.1 innings and has yet to strike out a batter. Justin Dunn has started twice, posting a 5:2 K:BB in 3.2 frames. Erik Swanson was delayed by a back injury and has appeared just once in relief.

Closer

Yoshihisa Hirano's stock appears to be rising with manager Scott Servais stating he'll be used in high-leverage situations, though he's yet to be confirmed as the team's closer. He's allowed three runs while striking out three batters in four innings this spring. Matt Magill has yet to pitch this spring due to shoulder discomfort, which would seem to make Hirano the favorite for the role. Among the top alternatives, Sam Tuivailala has also yet to pitch due to shoulder issues, while Carl Edwards Jr. has adjusted his delivery again and has a 7:3 K:BB in four frames.

St. Louis Cardinals

Third Base

Tommy Edman owns a respectable .739 OPS this spring while both Matt Carpenter and Brad Miller have dealt with back issues. Carpenter has since returned to the lineup, while Miller is expected to do so Saturday.

Left Field

Dylan Carlson is having the spring he needs to have if he's to force the Cardinals into calling him up on Opening Day, hitting .417/.533/.625 through nine games while showcasing strong defense at all three outfield spots. Tyler O'Neill has done nothing to lose his job, however, posting a 1.090 OPS. As usual, however, he's struck out in 32 percent of his plate appearances.

Rotation

Carlos Martinez appears to be locked into a rotation spot, but one position is still open temporarily until Miles Mikolas returns from a forearm injury, which could happen sometime in April. Kwang-Hyun Kim has returned from a sore groin and has a strong 7:1 K:BB in five scoreless innings. Ryan Helsley has thrown six scoreless innings, though they've all come in relief and have been paired with a poor 2:3 K:BB. Daniel Ponce de Leon has pitched eight innings, also exclusively from the bullpen, striking out 10 while allowing just one run. Alex Reyes has struck out seven batters in 3.1 innings of relief, though that's come with a 2.70 WHIP and 10.80 ERA.

Closer

Giovanny Gallegos isn't having the best spring, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings, but the alternatives to him in the ninth-inning role are thinning out. As mentioned in the rotation section above, Martinez will be a starter to open the year, while Reyes is hardly staking his claim for high-leverage innings. Meanwhile, Andrew Miller couldn't get a feel for the ball Monday against the Twins, but the team has yet to get a handle on exactly what's wrong with him.

Tampa Bay Rays

Designated Hitter

There's been no indication that the Rays won't mix and match at this spot like they typically do. Yoshi Tsutsugo has looked good in his first stateside at-bats, posting a .929 OPS. Ji-Man Choi owns a nice, round 1.000 OPS. Meanwhile, Yandy Diaz, Nate Lowe and Jose Martinez are struggling. Diaz and Lowe both own a .590 OPS, while Martinez's OPS comes in at just .348.

Closer

The Rays have yet to offer any clarity as to their ninth-inning plans. Nick Anderson has struck out three in three scoreless innings, while Diego Castillo has struck out six in four scoreless frames. Potential bounce-back candidate Jose Alvarado has six strikeouts through 2.1 innings but has given up a pair of runs.

Texas Rangers

Infield Corners

Nick Solak appears to be set to play a lot of third base, as Danny Santana is expected to be the primary center fielder. That could push Todd Frazier to first base on a regular basis. He's posted a .760 OPS in seven spring games. His primary competitors at that spot aren't hitting well yet, with Ronald Guzman recording a .671 OPS and Greg Bird's OPS .349.

Toronto Blue Jays

First Base

Travis Shaw has yet to prove that his awful season last year was a fluke, as he's gone 2-for-17 with a .343 OPS. Meanwhile, Rowdy Tellez is performing well, going 5-for-17 with a homer and a pair of doubles. That's come with a 42.1 percent strikeout rate, though that at least beats Shaw's 61.1 percent in that category. Teoscar Hernandez sore groin could potentially open up the designated hitter spot to start the year, allowing both Shaw and Tellez to start, though the issue reportedly isn't too serious.

Rotation

Matt Shoemaker appears to be fairly safe as the team's fourth starter after recovering from a torn ACL. He struck out five in 2.2 scoreless innings in his only start. Among the candidates for the fifth spot, Trent Thornton hasn't given up a run in five innings, starting once and relieving once, though that's come with a 2:3 K:BB. Shun Yamaguchi has started twice and relieved once, allowing eight runs (including four homers) in six innings. Anthony Kay has started three times, giving up six runs in 4.1 innings while walking five batters. Nate Pearson owns a 6:0 K:BB in three scoreless innings and has touched 100 mph, but he won't be opening the year in the majors. Jacob Waguespack has pitched exclusively in relief, escaping with no runs allowed in 4.1 innings despite walking six batters.

Washington Nationals

First/Second/Third Base

Eric Thames is dealing with calf tightness but is nearing a return. Ryan Zimmerman is off to a slow start, grabbing just one hit in eight at-bats. Howie Kendrick has gone 4-for-14 with a .661 OPS, appearing four times at first base and once at second. Starlin Castro has exclusively played second base and is reportedly a candidate to hit third this season, though he's not making a great case for that this spring, going 0-for-14 at the plate. Asdrubal Cabrera owns a .367 OPS while appearing only at the hot corner. Carter Kieboom has also only played third base and hasn't done much at the plate, hitting 3-for-16, though he has at least walked six times.

Closer

The Nationals have yet to specify whether Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson will get the majority of their save chances. Both veterans have been eased into spring following the team's World Series run, each making just two appearances. Doolittle has allowed three runs in two innings while Hudson has allowed six runs while recording just four outs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Halterman
Erik Halterman is the Features Editor for RotoWire. He also co-hosts RotoWire Fantasy Baseball on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio.
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