The Grapefruit and Cactus circuits are both well underway and prospects all over the league are starting to establish themselves while others have watched their stock slip.
With the spring training schedule at its halfway point, the time to impress coaches and management is now for many of these youngsters. With roughly three weeks to go until teams head north for the summer months, many of the prospects listed below have very limited time to unseat the seasoned veterans ahead of them on the depth chart and onto your fantasy baseball team.
Lets take a look at who made big moves this week and others that fell off.
1) Jeremy Hellickson – TB (LW:1)
The young Rays flamethrower maintains his firm grasp on the top spot this week. Hellickson finally made his first appearance of the spring on Friday, tossing a perfect inning against the Pirates. With a nagging hamstring injury seemingly behind him, the young lefty can really start to lay a nice foundation for himself over the next few weeks and instill some trust from the coaching staff. The plan is to stretch him out over the next couple starts with the ultimate goal of having him ready to take a spot in the rotation once the season begins. Whether that be as the 5th starter or something higher in the rotation remains to be seen.
2) Kyle Drabek – Tor (LW:2)
Drabek is really coming into his own early on in the spring and has many in the organization incredibly excited about this youngster’s future. Over his first six innings of the grapefruit league campaign, Drabek has retired seven batters via punch-out and only allowed two earned runs. He has also yet to walk a batter in those first six innings, which lends credence to early scouting reports that claimed he would have excellent control of his arsenal.
3) Freddie Freeman – Atl (LW:3)
The young man expected to hold down first base for the Braves and possibly your fantasy baseball team this coming season also maintains his spot from last week. With a .364 average in his first five games this spring, Freeman looks more than capable of handling everything that might come his way in his rookie season. The 21 year old Freeman has also compiled three doubles and four RBI already this spring and has dispelled any doubts he wont be ready to assume his role on a team with championship aspirations.
4) Mark Trumbo – LAA (LW:NR)
Bursting onto the scene this spring with numbers that just cant be ignored is this young slugger who is tearing up the cactus league. Trumbo has already mashed four homeruns in his first 36 at-bats with 11 RBI to boot. He does have the propensity to strike out with alarming regularity and still needs to establish his defense, but he could still force his way into the lineup with his hot start. With Kendrys Morales uncertain to return to the Angels lineup for opening day, Trumbo may make it very difficult for manager Mike Sciosca to leave him behind in Arizona.
5) Jake McGee – TB (LW:4)
A slight drop for McGee this week, but make no mistake about the fact that he still looks poised to steal the closers gig away from a group of established veterans this spring. He has yet to allow a run over his first four innings this spring and his ratios have some people in the organization ready to anoint him the go-to guy in the 9th. McGee has yet to issue a walk this spring which is a good sign for a guy trying to lock down one of the most vital spots on any major league roster.
6) Zach Britton – Bal (LW:9)
Another young gun who has made great strides this spring is Zach Britton. Britton has yet to allow a run his first five spring innings and has looked incredibly sharp in doing so. The impressive young lefty hasn’t been blowing people away with fastballs this spring and instead has taken this time to learn how to effective locate all his other plus pitches. He was originally slated to begin the season down in AAA, but if he continues to show out like this he may very well be a part of this young and talented Orioles squad after all.
7) Danny Espinosa – Was (LW:6)
Espinosa is still in a heated battle to make the Nationals opening day roster, but at this point it may be a foregone conclusion. His .407 average in 27 at-bats this spring has been unexpected and he is unlikely to continue that pace. On the other hand, his 2 homeruns and 11 RBI are very real and exactly what Washington figured they were going to get when they gave him the chance to win the second base gig. Expect this prospect to break camp with the big boys and hold down his spot for the foreseeable future.
8) Lonnie Chisenhall – Cle (LW:NR)
Here is a name to file away and keep tabs on. Lonnie Chisenhall faces an uphill battle to wrestle away the third base job from one of the mediocre holdovers presently found there, but hes making a strong case. His defense still needs to show improvement, but his bat has been rather impressive already. With 11 hits in his first 23 at-bats and a couple long balls his bat has proven to be quite potent. Like any young prospect he will need to show a bit more plate discipline going forward, but there is no doubt the talent is there.
9) Madison Bumgarner – SF (LW:NR)
I was hesitant to include Bumgarner in this discussion since he is no longer eligible for the rookie of the year award after hurling 100+ innings last season, but facts are facts and this kid is legit. Many in the Giants organization are hoping he takes his new appointment as a full time member of the rotation and runs with it. Expecting him to slot right into the third spot in the rotation behind Lincecum and Cain is not far fetched by any means. Bumgarner has the arsenal and the makeup to bulldog his way through an entire MLB season with ease. This young power pitcher is ready to shine and he plans to do just that beginning this season.
10) Michael Pineda – Sea (LW:7)
I left Pineda just inside the top 10 this week despite a shaky outing last week against the Indians. He still has some fairly inspiring numbers early in the spring with some real nice peripherals, but will need to show more consistency quickly in order to break camp with the parent club. Pineda will be given a few more starts to show he belongs and the Mariners are hoping he flashes the dominance many in the organization knew he possessed when they drafted him out of the Dominican back in 2006.
Dropped Out: Chris Sale (CHW), Domonic Brown (Phi), Desmond Jennings (TB)