Spring training is officially underway for the MLB and there is just over a month remaining before meaningful games will be played.
It's one of the most exciting times of the year for baseball fans, but it's also a huge moment for players who signed with a new team in the offseason. With each one of these familiar faces in new places looking to make their presence felt early, even spring training games will be crucial.
A plethora of players are now donning new jerseys and looking to make an impact, so there were several different names to choose from.
With spring training games finally getting started, here is a look at a few stars who will get off to hot starts with their new teams.
Mark Trumbo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Finally getting out of a crowded situation with the Los Angeles Angels where he was somewhat undervalued on a team with huge-contract players, Mark Trumbo will now get an opportunity to shine with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Unlike a few other players who were either traded or signed in the offseason, Trumbo joins a team that already has some pop in the lineup with Paul Goldschmidt, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill.
Even with an entirely new set of surroundings in Arizona, Trumbo is already meshing with the team, as Cody Ulm of AZCentral.com reports:
Whether you like it better or worse, you find a way to adapt. That’s part of the challenge of being a professional and being a good teammate: coming into a new place, trying to get acclimated as quickly as possible to make new friends [and] earn respect.
[...] You have to transition into it a little bit and get to know guys but we’ve been going at it long enough now that I’m pretty comfortable and I’m making new friends. The dialogue we’ve had so far, especially between hitters, is phenomenal.
On a loaded roster that has included Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols through the last two seasons—Hamilton only for one of those—Trumbo led the Angels in home runs.
Now with the D-Backs, Trumbo has a chance to hit in the same lineup as Goldschmidt and could have an even better season in Arizona. According to MLB's official Twitter account, he's already showing off his power for fans during spring training with his patented "Trumbombs":
In a lineup where he can continue to flourish, look for Trumbo to sizzle in spring training before helping the Diamondbacks work toward a playoff spot.
Ian Kinsler, Detroit Tigers
With the Texas Rangers, Ian Kinsler was an explosive hitter who hit an average of 24 home runs with 26 stolen bases through the first eight seasons of his career.
As a member of the Detroit Tigers after being part of a trade for Prince Fielder, Kinsler plans to do much more of the second part of that equation to help his new team.
Kinsler said he wants to take a new approach into his ninth season with Detroit to get on base more often, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com:
I want to get back to [being] more of a line-drive-type hitter, a guy that's on base a lot more and gives the guys behind me a lot more opportunities to drive in runs. That's the goal, regardless of where I'm hitting and who's behind me.
[Comerica Park is] spacious. You get a ball past an outfielder in that ballpark, you should be looking for three regardless of what line it's on.
In a park where home runs don't come easily for even the best hitters in the game, Kinsler's approach might be one that proves perfect for what the Tigers need.
With a great core of power hitters that already includes Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson, Kinsler is due for another great season as the leadoff hitter in the Motor City.
Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
When talking about players that need to get off to a hot start, Robinson Cano should be at the top of the list.
The 31-year-old second baseman signed a 10-year, $240 million contract to play with the Seattle Mariners and help turn them into a power in the American League West.
While the aforementioned Trout and Kinsler don't come into a situation where they have to breakout immediately, Cano is a player who has to make an impact right away. He also quickly becomes the biggest offensive star for the team, as Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports points out:
But once Cano shows up, the spotlight will be his—from now until, well, the day he's no longer a Mariner. Camp opens Tuesday, and Cano would do well to enjoy the last hours of normalcy before then. The moment he arrives in the Mariners' clubhouse, he becomes their [Derek] Jeter. And all of his teammates will be watching.
No pressure, Cano.
Much like Pujols when he joined the Angels for a huge contract, Cano is now the face of the franchise. It's not a matter of will he break out, but a matter of how big will his offensive explosion be in spring training.
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The core around him may be young, but it's not devoid of power hitters. Both Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak hit over 20 homers while Corey Hart comes in as another veteran bat after hitting a combined 56 home runs in his last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers.
And that's not even mentioning the pop that Mike Zunino is capable of from the catcher position.
Cano will look to continue right where he left off last season in the spring with his new team and fans can expect him to earn his money early on. As for nine seasons from now, we'll just have to wait and see.
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