MLB
March 7, 2013 posted by Chuck Anderson

Spring Training Stats: Hot and Cold for Week 2

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Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals

Hot Hitters

 

Mike Moustakas:  25 AB, .520 AVG, 1.320 OPS, 2 K

 

Moustakas is one of many hot hitters for the 11-0 Royals.  He hit for more power last year than he did in his rookie campaign, but increased strikeouts hampered his productivity.  Bringing his contact rate up is as much of a positive sign as the high batting average.

 

Brandon Belt:  25 AB, 3 HR, .480 AVG, 1.140 OPS, 3 K

 

He keeps making progress, but generally slower than the Giants or his fantasy owners would like him to.  Even with Aubrey Huff out of the picture there are still playing time concerns.  His OPS last spring was also over 1.000 but he slumped once the games started counting before rallying with a strong second half.  He may not be OF-eligible in some formats this year, putting more pressure on his bat.

 

Nolan Arenado:  17 AB, 4 HR, .412 AVG, 1.647 OPS, 1 K

 

His prospect status took a hit last year as he under whelmed in Double-A.  He still projects as Colorado’s future third baseman, and a strong Spring could accelerate the timetable.  There is a hodgepodge group blocking him and any injury could open up an opportunity.

 

Cold Hitters

 

Kirk Nieuwenhuis:  18 AB, .056 AVG, .206 OPS, 7 K

 

He is resting a bruised knee for a few days, and will hopefully figure out why he cannot buy a hit.  He played 91 games for the Mets last year and has the inside track for the center field job, but could find himself on the bench more than expected depending on how the team values Spring Training performance.

 

Dan Uggla:  23 AB, .259 OBP, 3 BB, 12 K

 

Last year he set a career low with a 70.1% contact rate and he does not appear to have made any adjustments.  The soon to be 33 year-old has job and contractual security, but could be hard pressed to deliver much more than league average offensive production.

 

Darin Ruf:  23 AB, .130 AVG, 2 BB, 6 K

 

A feel-good story last year, the late bloomer is experiencing some adversity.  Between a cold bat and unflattering defensive adventures he is playing himself onto the bench.  His ability to slide to first base should be enough to keep him on the roster.

 

Rick Porcello, SP, Detroit Tigers

Hot Pitchers

 

Rick Porcello:  8.0 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 10 K

 

This is quite an improvement from a pitcher that has not averaged over 5.5 K/9 and has a career 2.13 K/BB.  If nothing else this start should allow him to beat out Drew Smyly for the fifth starter’s position.  That would also put an end to the mostly idle speculation of him becoming a closer.

 

Al Alburquerque:  5.0 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 10 K

 

Detroit’s bullpen is in some disarray, and Alburquerque could pitch his way into some save opportunities.  He always strikes hitters out and is very effective against right-handed batters if the Tigers want to platoon him with southpaw Phil Coke.  He needs to improve his control to be a top-notch short reliever.

 

Jeff Francis:  9.0 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K

 

Francis has much to prove in order for the fantasy community to trust him, but the pitching-needy Rockies will put him on the mound as long as he gets good results.  He generated 50.3% ground balls last year, a good feature for any pitcher hoping to succeed in Coors Field.

 

Cold Pitchers

 

Jair Jurrjens:  5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K

 

Non-tendered by Atlanta he resurfaced in an Oriole uniform.  He is pitching for the first time since July so perhaps a longer tune up phase is needed.  Nothing in his skills profile suggests he can survive in the AL East.

 

Jonathan Sanchez:  3.1 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 2 K

 

He is coming off a lost year and establishing some confidence in the spring could have gone a long way towards rejuvenating his career.  The opposite has happened and he appears no closer to proving he can succeed in the majors.

 

Clayton Kershaw:  8.0 IP, 17 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 12 K

 

The strikeout and walk numbers are the only ones that fantasy players should take interest in.  All the rest is just noise.  He remains primed for a big year and could be the highest rated pitcher in fantasy when all is said and done.

 

 

 

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