Eight Stars From Week One of Spring Training
Spring is In The Air
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.
Marlins Pitcher Wade LeBlanc
Phillies First Baseman Ryan Howard
A's Outfielder Michael Choice
Red Sox Outfielder Jackie Bradley
White Sox Pitcher Dylan Axelrod
Mets Outfielder Collin Cowgill
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