2014 MLB Spring Training

Bleacher Report's All-Spring Training Team, Position by Position

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Bleacher Report's All-Spring Training Team, Position by Position

1 of 15

    Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring training is winding down, as teams are putting the finishing touches on their Opening Day roster in preparation for the regular season, which kicks off on Sunday night with a full slate of games on the schedule for Monday.

    It's always wise not to put too much stock into spring training statistics, as guys are shaking off the rust of the offseason and oftentimes still working on the little things as opposed to looking for big-time results.

    That said, we as baseball fans love our statistics, and they will always be looked at and analyzed, regardless of how much weight they actually carry.

    With that being said, here is a look at this year's All-Spring Training Team. A player was selected at each position along with five starting pitchers and a reliever.

    On top of that, I also named my "unheralded standout" at each position, taking a look at someone who may not be a household name but turned in an impressive spring nonetheless.

     

    Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

Catcher: Derek Norris, Oakland Athletics

2 of 15

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    44.386/.426/.705178 (3)12113/5

     

    Player Overview

    Acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade, Derek Norris entered camp looking to prove he deserved to start in a crowded catching situation that also included John Jaso and Stephen Vogt.

    The 25-year-old hit .246/.345/.409 with 16 doubles and nine home runs last season, but he had to deal with a broken big toe down the stretch and wound up sitting behind Vogt in the postseason. The team is likely to give all three some playing time once again this season, but Norris has shown enough this spring and has enough upside that he deserves the bulk of the burn.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Steve Clevenger, BAL (36 AB, .472/.513/.694, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R)

First Base: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

3 of 15

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    37.405/.452/.811157 (4)13104/8

     

    Player Overview

    After breaking out in his first full season with the Orioles in 2012, when he hit 33 home runs, Chris Davis took his game to an entirely new level last year. He wound up leading the league in home runs (53) and RBI (138), finishing third in AL MVP voting behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

    The 28-year-old would seemingly be headed for at least a bit of regression this season, as he may have a hard time duplicating his MLB-best 29.6 HR/FB rate, per FanGraphs, from last season. But his power is for real, and he should once again be one of the game's more dangerous sluggers.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Tommy Medica, SD (66 AB, .333/.371/.561, 4 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 11 R)

Second Base: Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals

4 of 15

    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    48.375/.434/.646188 (2)9104/10

     

    Player Overview

    With David Freese traded to the Los Angeles Angels and Matt Carpenter sliding over to third base, it was obvious that the St. Louis Cardinals were clearing the way for prospect Kolten Wong to step into an everyday job at second base this season.

    Veteran Mark Ellis was signed to a one-year, $5.25 million deal as an insurance policy, but Wong has had a terrific spring and should be in the mix for NL Rookie of the Year honors if he can keep it up. He has hit .301/.365/.446 with 50 steals over his three seasons in the minors.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Yangervis Solarte, NYY (41 AB, .415/.478/.561, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R)

Third Base: Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

5 of 15

    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    51.431/.531/.7842210 (4)171211/8

     

    Player Overview

    It's hard to get too optimistic about Mike Moustakas based on his spring stats. After all, he hit .394/.429/.718 with eight doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI last springbefore struggling to a .233/.287/.364 line during the regular season.

    Once one of the top prospects in the game, the 25-year-old has yet to live up to his potential, but there is still time. The team brought in Danny Valencia in the offseason to push him, and he'll be looking to use the momentum he's built this spring to prove he deserves to be the everyday guy again.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Marcus Semien, CWS (54 AB, .333/.422/.481, 5 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 10 R)

Shortstop: Brad Miller, Seattle Mariners

6 of 15

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    57.439/.500/.8952514 (4)10177/13

     

    Player Overview

    With the signing of superstar second baseman Robinson Cano, the Seattle Mariners made the starting shortstop job an open competition this spring between incumbent Brad Miller and last year's second baseman, Nick Franklin.

    Miller wound up winning the job with a huge spring, and he will be looking to build off of a rookie season that saw him hit .265/.318/.418 with 11 doubles and eight home runs over 306 at-bats. The 24-year-old did nothing but hit during his time in the minors, and he is among a handful of young players the Mariners will be counting on to step up in 2014.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Brandon Hicks, SF (44 AB, .364/.473/.727, 7 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 11 R)

Left Field: Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians

7 of 15

    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    46.522/.558/.7832410 (0)1244/1

     

    Player Overview

    Following a solid 2013 season in which he hit .284/.332/.396 with 10 home runs, 73 RBI and 17 steals, the Cleveland Indians locked Michael Brantley up with a four-year, $25 million extension this offseason.

    The 26-year-old has quietly become one of the better all-around outfielders in the American League, and it would not be at all surprising to see him take another step forward during his age-27 season. If his spring performance is any indication, his $1.5 million salary this coming year could be among the biggest steals in baseball.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Stefen Romero, SEA (55 AB, .291/.316/.636, 3 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 10 R)

Center Field: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

8 of 15

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    45.444/.490/.844208 (5)9103/9

     

    Player Overview

    Tough call here between Andrew McCutchen and Angels superstar Mike Trout (.407/.458/.796, 9 XBH, 5 HR), as those two have been probably the most impressive performers of the spring. But I'll go with McCutchen thanks to his slightly higher OPS.

    McCutchen took home NL MVP honors last year, and he will be counted on to carry the Pittsburgh Pirates offense once again this coming season. The six-year, $51.5 million extension he signed back in 2012 is easily one of the best bargains in baseball, as he'll make just $7.25 million this coming season.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Jordan Danks, CWS (42 AB, .333/.378/.738, 2 2B, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 13 R)

Right Field: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

9 of 15

    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Stats

    ABBA/OBP/SLGHXBH (HR)RBIRBB/K
    53.358/.444/.7361910 (5)11119/10

     

    Player Overview

    After back-to-back AL home run titles in 2010 and 2011, Jose Bautista has missed time due to injury the past two seasons, with a wrist injury in 2012 and a hip contusion last year.

    The 33-year-old has still been an impact bat when in the lineup, though, posting a 4.2 rWAR and making his fourth-straight All-Star team last year. The Blue Jays could have the most potent one-two punch in the game with Bautista alongside Edwin Encarnacion if both can stay on the field for a full season.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Steven Souza, WAS (31 AB, .355/.429/.806, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R)

Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

10 of 15

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    IPERERAWHIPHBBKBAA
    2000.000.65 8517.127

     

    Player Overview

    Limited at the start of spring training due to his recovery from surgery on a core muscle, Justin Verlander made his first appearance of the spring on March 11, and he has shown no ill-effects upon returning.

    He was not his usual dominant self in 2013, finishing the year 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA, but he showed flashes of again being one of the game's best down the stretch. After posting a 2.27 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 39.2 innings over six September starts, he allowed just one run in 23 postseason innings.

    That late-season surge, coupled with his big spring, has expectations high for the 31-year-old entering the 2014 season.

Starting Pitcher: Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians

11 of 15

    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Spring Stats

    IPERERAWHIPHBBKBAA
    24.231.090.81 14625.171

     

    Player Overview

    Justin Masterson was the Cleveland Indians' most consistent starter last year, going 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA, throwing three complete game shutouts and making his first All-Star team. Now, with Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir gone in free agency, the team will be counting on him even more to anchor the staff.

    The 29-year-old is a free agent at season's end, and he could be a hot commodity if he hits the open market. He will be making his third straight Opening Day start this year, and while extension talks broke down this winter, the Indians will no doubt try hard to hold onto him.

Starting Pitcher: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals

12 of 15

    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    IPERERAWHIPHBBKBAA
    22.241.590.6614118.175

     

    Player Overview

    Adam Wainwright turned in an up-and-down season in 2012 during what was his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but he returned to his role as the ace of the staff and one of the best starters in all of baseball last year.

    After falling to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series last year, the Cardinals enter the season with legitimate title aspirations once again. Wainwright is as important as anyone on the roster, as he'll be counted on to lead a relatively young pitching staff and take some pressure off of the bullpen by being a workhorse once again.

Starting Pitcher: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants

13 of 15

    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Spring Stats

    IPERERAWHIPHBBKBAA
    22.231.190.7515222.188

     

    Player Overview

    Reigning World Series champions entering last season, the San Francisco Giants saw their starting pitching ERA climb from 3.73 in 2012 to 4.37 in 2013. As a result, they fell to fourth in the NL West.

    As disappointing as the rotation was, left-hander Madison Bumgarner was a constant atop the staff, and he had a career year in 2013, going 13-9 with a 2.77 ERA to finish ninth in NL Cy Young voting. Still just 24 years old, he'll be looking for another big season and hoping he can get some support from the rest of the rotation this time around.

Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays

14 of 15

    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Spring Stats

    IPERERAWHIPHBBKBAA
    13.100.001.201068.227

     

    Player Overview

    Last spring, a St. Louis Cardinals prospect by the name of Michael Wacha was the talk of camp, as he threw 11.2 scoreless innings and struck out 15 batters. This spring, it's Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez who has turned heads with a surprising performance on the mound.

    The 21-year-old Sanchez enters the season as the team's top prospect and the No. 32 prospect in the MLB, according to Baseball America. He has yet to pitch above the High-A level, but it would not be a shock to see him in Toronto down the stretch if he continues progressing like he has.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Jeff Manship, PHI (20 IP, 4 ER, 21 H, 2 BB, 16 K)

Relief Pitcher: Joaquin Benoit

15 of 15

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Spring Stats

    IPERERAWHIPHBBKBAA
    7.100.000.553113.115

     

    Player Overview

    Generally quiet on the free-agent market, the Padres surprised some people this offseason when they gave Joaquin Benoit a two-year, $15.5 million deal to set up incumbent closer Huston Street. Benoit replaces another solid late-inning arm in Luke Gregerson, who was traded to the Oakland A's for Seth Smith.

    Long one of the better eighth-inning guys in the game, Benoit was forced into closer duties with the Detroit Tigers last season when Bruce Rondon, Jose Valverde and Phil Coke all scuffled. He finished the year 24-for-26 on save chances, posting a 2.01 ERA and striking out 73 in 67 innings of work.

     

    Unheralded Standout

    Aaron Barrett, WAS (10.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 8 K)

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices