MLB Spring Training 2021: Highlighting Most Impressive Pitchers and Hitters
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Adam Frazier has put together the dream Spring Training profile in Florida.
Frazier is one of the hottest hitters in the Grapefruit League, and it is expected that he gets at least one hit in every game.
The early success is a positive sign for an organization that is not projected to challenge in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
If individuals, like Frazier, are able to translate the spring success into the regular season, the Pirates could at least be a more noteworthy team.
Boston Red Sox slugger Bobby Dalbec and Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara are also enjoying their time at Spring Training.
Alcantara's success may be more important to his team than the hot bats of Dalbec and Frazier since he is expected to lead Miami's young rotation through a division with treacherous lineups.
Adam Frazier, 2B, Pittsburgh
Frazier has one of the hottest bats in the major leagues right now.
The Pittsburgh infielder owns a 1.566 OPS and .966 slugging percentage in 30 plate appearances over nine games.
Frazier reached base through 17 hits, seven of which were extra-base knocks. He has four doubles, two triples and a home run.
The success has stemmed from a conversation Frazier had with teammate Colin Moran about adjusting where his hands were in his batting stance, per TribLive.com's Kevin Gorman.
"It felt kind of good and just started working on the timing aspect of it and just being honest I didn't do a single thing like this during my offseason," Frazier said. "He comes in, mentions it to me and I started playing with it and it's working. So I am going to stick with it until it doesn't work."
Frazier is one of three Pirates in the top 10 in hits in Spring Training. Ke'Bryan Hayes and Kevin Newman are the other two.
Whether the Florida form translates to the National League Central gauntlet remains to be seen, but it is nice to see a team that was projected to struggle carry some momentum into the regular season.
If anything, the hot bats in Florida may contribute to an unexpected start that could keep the Pirates more competitive than people think.
Bobby Dalbec, 1B, Boston
Dalbec is trying to be a not-so-average No. 9 hitter in the Boston lineup.
The Red Sox are expecting the first baseman to provide power from the bottom of the order at a spot that is traditionally saved for players trying to get on base for the power hitters.
Through 16 Spring Training games, Dalbec mashed six home runs, drove in 13 and recorded an OPS of 1.221.
"I mean, I think the lineup speaks for itself, pretty dangerous lineup, especially when everyone's firing on all cylinders," Dalbec said. "I'll hit wherever they want to put me. And hitting ninth is cool. I get to flip the lineup potentially and hand it off to the next guy, and that'll be my thing if that's where I am."
Dalbec will be part of a revamped Red Sox lineup that should include newcomers Hunter Renfroe and Enrique Hernandez in the bottom half.
If Dalbec remains in the No. 9 hole, he could be a runs machine if he gets on base with Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers leading the lineup.
Verdugo had 62 hits in 201 at-bats last season and chipped in 16 doubles and 15 RBI. If Dalbec thrives out of the No. 9 hole, that could make Verdugo a more dangerous fantasy baseball option in front of the team's known sluggers.
Sandy Alcantara, SP, Miami
Miami's young pitching staff headlined by Alcantara will be the reason it remains competitive in the National League East.
Alcantara's preparations for the 2021 campaign have gone as well as any pitcher in baseball. He has 24 strikeouts and conceded two earned runs over 17.1 innings.
Alcantara's progression earned him an Opening Day start. Marlins manager Don Mattingly has come away impressed with how the right-handed hurler's game has improved, per MLB.com's Christina De Nicola.
"I think Sandy has matured obviously with his stuff," Mattingly said. "Talked about him over the last couple of years a lot. I feel like the progression has been really good and continues to be good."
The 25-year-old displayed potential in 2019, when he fanned 151 batters over 197.1 in a losing season. In seven starts last season, Alcantara struck out 39 hitters over 42 frames.
If he maintains that strikeout power, Alcantara could pose a dangerous matchup for Ronald Acuna Jr., Bryce Harper and the other sluggers in the NL East.
A strong start in April and May could also infuse confidence throughout Miami's youthful rotation that includes top prospect Sixto Sanchez and Pablo Lopez, among others.
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Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.