Spring training games start this weekend, with Ryan Borucki and Sean Reid-Foley getting the starting nods in the pair of scheduled games. The light at the end of the tunnel is looking less and less like a train.
Here’s a round-up of things I read and enjoyed this week, and thought you might too.
Good friend @BaseballBetsy has been behind-the-scenes integral part of the process to upgrade the Blue Jays minor and major league spring training facilities, and gives us some insight as to the schedule of events for the next few months.
Otto Lopez played a multiple of positions for Vancouver last summer, as the Jays appear to be grooming him as a future utility player. Having had a few looks at the Montreal product (you read that right), there’s a lot about his game to like: Lopez gets on base, has a high baseball IQ, and does a lot of little things well. Niall at Cs+ Baseball interviewed Lopez, and posted earlier this week.
Sung Min Kim has written extensively about the Asian leagues, and I’m thrilled to see he’s become a regular contributor for Fangraphs now, where we can find more of his excellent stuff. Kim wrote a great piece about the latest Blue Jay signing, lefty knuckleballer Ryan Feierabend, ex-KBL hurler, last March. Unlike a lot of other knuckleball pitchers, Feierabend doesn’t use the pitch exclusively, but had success in Korea with it when he was ahead in the count. He may be more minor league starting depth than anything, but throwing a different pitch from the left side is a funky look, and he’s an intriguing signing.
RHP Daniel Espino left his native Panama for Georgia at 15 to improve both his academic and baseball future. Now a high school senior, Espino is lighting up radar guns and wowing scouts as he builds his stock as one of the highest rated MLB draft prospects. Few commodities in baseball comes with as much inherent risk as a high-profile high school pitcher, however, and in this day and age of data-driven player development, teams are opting more and more to take lower-profile pitchers and build them into starting prospects. In an article for The Ringer, Ben Lindbergh updates the notion, first developed by Baseball Prospectus, that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, given their risk and inevitable breakdown.
Thanks to the media, we’re getting an early look at Rule 5 pick Elvis Luciano. The 19-year-old, who has never pitched in full season ball and would have to be kept on the 25-man roster for the whole season if he makes the team faces some pretty long odds, but as TSN’s Scott Mitchell writes, he has an electric arm that makes him worth a long spring training look.
When he was new to the Angels after defecting from Cuba, Kendrys Morales was taken under the wing of one Vladimir Guerrero Sr. Now, as ESPN’s Marly Rivera observes, the veteran Morales is poised to return the favour with baseball’s top prospect.
That’s it for this week. If you’re in Southern Ontario, prepare to batten down the hatches on Sunday.