Eight Stars From Week One of Spring Training

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Spring is In The Air

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Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

The first week of Major League Baseball spring training is in the books and some compelling story lines have already developed.  Position battles are in full swing, injuries have already started to hit several teams, and some organizations are adjusting to the loss of players heading out to join their home countries for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Spring Training performances are mostly to be taken with a grain of salt as the veterans yield the bulk of playing time to prospects, guys fighting to shake the 'quad A' stigma, and teammates coming back from nursing injuries from the previous season.  Additionally, the quality of pitching is lower, many hitters are inexperienced facing major league pitching, and younger players are more prone to making mistakes.

Yet that doesn't mean that player achievements should be totally ignored either.  Hot hitters can carry their production into the regular season and kickstart a team off to a hot start.  Pitchers that have stymying hitters could become valueable assets to a team hurting for pitching depth, have a weak rotation, or a shaky bullpen.

What we have in the following slides are a group of hitters and pitchers that made some noise in the first week. A few you may or may not recognize but regardless, these eight have set the bar for their contemporaries. I've selected five hitters and three pitchers that have made an impression the most thus far with hitters having at least 15 plate appearances and pitchers throwing at least five innings.

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Marlins Pitcher Wade LeBlanc

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports
Miami Marlins' Wade LeBlanc has pitched five scoreless innings with six strikeouts and hitters are a paltry .063 against him.
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Cardinals Outfielder Shane Robinson

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Vincent Pugliese- USA TODAY Sports
I previously wrote about St. Louis Cardinals' Shane Robinson here featuring his .533 average coupled with a 1.544 OPS
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Phillies First Baseman Ryan Howard

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Kim Klement- USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Phillies veteran Howard has nine hits and seven RBIs to go with his .429 batting average in 21 plate appearances
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A's Outfielder Michael Choice

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Denny Medley- USA TODAY Sports
Choice is making his presence felt in the Oakland Athletics' lineup with nine hits in 16 plate appearances to go along with his 1.563 OPS
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Red Sox Outfielder Jackie Bradley

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Kim Klement- USA TODAY Sports
Bradley holds a .588 OBP for the Boston Red Sox along with nine hits in 16 at bats for a .533 batting average.
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White Sox Pitcher Dylan Axelrod

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Bob DeChiara- USA TODAY Sports
Axelrod has six strikeouts in five innings pitched as well as a terrific 0.40 WHIP for the Chicago White Sox
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Mets Outfielder Collin Cowgill

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports
Cowgill is helping the New York Mets offense by hitting three doubles, a home run, and swiping two bases in seven games.
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Diamondbacks Pitcher Charles Brewer

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Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports
Brewer has provided the Arizona Diamondbacks with two wins, a BAA of .176, plus a 1.00 WHIP in five innings pitched.

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